Thursday, October 31, 2013

This is Halloween

Since I wrote twice yesterday, you're getting a short post today.

When I saw this Tardis dress at Hot Topic a few weeks ago I KNEW it had to be my Halloween costume this year. It's just like me - bigger on the inside. ;) The actual Tardis... not the dress. Although that would be awesome.

I'm pretty excited about Halloween this year. Tonight I have an event at church to help out with (and I get to wear my costume!) then I'm heading over to a friends house for a Halloween get-together. Which is basically just eating food, watching Halloween movies, and giving candy to kids who show up at the door.

What can I say? My friends like to keep it low-key. Which is totally fine with me. I love Halloween but I also like just hanging out with my friends.

Until then, I'll be prepping for NaNoWriMo tomorrow (it's not too late to sign up!), drinking pumpkin spice lattes, watching Interview With the Vampire, and listening to Thriller way too much for it to be healthy.

If you want some more Halloween tunes, check out my post from last year where I shared my top 10 favorite Halloween songs.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Someday I Will

Two blogs in one day - say what?

Yup. Normally, I try not to post twice in one day because who has time for that? However, one of my favorite bloggers hosted her first ever link up and I loved the theme and wanted to give her a shout out.

The Daily Tay

- Someday I will... be able to not chip my nail polish within five minutes of them drying.

- Someday I will... actually finish a novel and have the guts to send query letters out to literary agents.

- Someday I will... live in NYC. Even if it's just for a year. 

- Someday I will... figure out where I'll be working and living come December.

- Someday I will... not hear the fish tank my office space sharer has and think I have to go to the bathroom ALL THE TIME.

- Someday I will...find a time to blog when I'm not in the office... maybe.

- Someday I will... not drop my cell phone every single day.

- Someday I will... learn how to clip Bandit's nails on my own.

- Someday I will... meet Darren Criss and Lea Michelle. I WILL DAGNABIT!

- Someday I will... travel all over Europe. All of it.

- Someday I will... be in the musical Into the Woods. It has been my favorite for a majority of my life, and every time I've had the opportunity I've screwed it up.

- Someday I will... also be in Les Miserables because... Les Miserables.

What are some of your someday I wills?

Awesome Female Role Models- Dani Dennison (Hocus Pocus)

With Halloween being tomorrow, for my final Awesome Female Role Model for October, I'll be featuring a fantastic character from my all-time favorite Halloween movie.

Dani Dennison from Hocus Pocus.

It's about time I featured some young female characters anyways. Who says you have to be an adult to be a great role model?

Dani's got attitude and tells it as it is. She's not afraid to tell the truth and put people in their place. When Max crosses the line at the Sanderson sisters cottage she's not afraid to tell him. She knows when people do something dumb and will tell them so to their face. Even when she's facing the witches, she'll tell them exactly what she thinks of them and call them out on how awful they are.

She knows how to get her way. She'll manipulate, sweet talk, and scream if needed. While... this isn't the best way to get what you want, you have to admire her to an extent. She'll be a power house when she's older.

She is dealing with a ton of crap too, just like Max. She's also trying to make new friends and adjust to their new home, but she also accepts the reality and challenges her brother to do the same. That's all something we can learn from.

She cares about her brother Max, more than anyone realizes. They've always been close, but since moving to their new home things have changed. Dani will do anything to get their relationship back to the way it was. Even if it means forcing him to take her trick or treating. She might embarrass him often (but what are little sisters for?) but she will still support him when he's trying to win the girl. When he's in danger or doing something stupid, Dani wants him to be safe and will come to his aid. In fact, when the witches come back to life and wonder who lit the candle, Dani jumps up and takes the blame, even though she's mad at Max for doing it.

She's freakishly brave. When the witches come back to life and find her, she plays along. She puts on a brave face and tries to play along. She's clearly terrified, but does what she needs to in order to stay sane and safe.

Max loves Dani too. It takes nearly the whole movie for him to figure out just how much he loves her, but he does. Even though she is a brat and loves to ruin his life, he's willing to do anything for her. Even die. To me, it always says something about a person when you see how much others are willing to sacrifice for them.

Dani is an animal lover - and who can't love a girl who loves a cat the way Dani loves Binx? She attaches to him quickly and wants to take him in after their awful night is over. By the end of the movie when Binx reunites with his own sister, you can't help but feel broken hearted along with Dani that she has lost her new friend.

Awesome quotes:
- I love you jerkface.
- Okay, okay. But next year we go trick-or-treating as Wendy and Peter Pan... with tights or no deal!
- What do you call 'em Max? Yabbos? Max loves your yabbos. In fact... he loves them.
- It's a full moon tonight. That's when all the weirdos are out.
- A virgin lit the candle.
- It doesn't matter how old you are. You sold your soul! You're the ugliest thing that's ever lived and you know it!
- The cat here, Binx, right? He can talk. My brother's a virgin: he lit the black flame candle. The witches are back from the dead and they're after us. We need help.
- Drop dead, moron.
- I scared you I scared you, hahahahaha.
- I'm Allison! Kiss me I'm Allison!
- Come on Max. Couldn't you just forget about being a cool teenager for just one night? Please?
- Well, this is your home now. So get used to it.
- I'm going to take care of you forever. Then my children, and theirs after that, and theirs after that, forever... and ever...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Juelp Package Review

There's nothing quite like getting a package in the mail. I love coming home on my lunch break and seeing a brown box sitting at my front door waiting to be opened.

It's like having extra Christmases and birthdays.

It's not much a surprise then, that companies which send monthly boxes of goodies in the mail have become so popular lately. All over the place, bloggers are popping up with posts about Birchbox, Stich Fix, and other monthly gifts in the mail. 

Well... not gifts because you usually have to pay for them. But you catch my drift. 

You can find a box for basically anything. Clothes, makeup, beauty items, food, geeky merchandise, heck I've even found a website to provide for every need a girl might have when she's riding the crimson wave.  (Yup, it's a real thing ladies. Click here.)

For awhile I had StichFix - which I loved! I got some awesome clothes from their monthly boxes. However, with the whole "changing my whole life" thing, my budget is pretty tight at the moment. So I cancelled my subscription for the time being. 

Then, a few weeks ago a close friend of mine found a company I hadn't heard of called Julp, which sends you nail polish and other small beauty items, and she had a discount code for your first month. (YAY!) You take a style quiz and they match you up with a certain type of style. (I am bohemian glam according to them.) What's awesome though, is they show you what will be in the box. If you don't like it you can look at other boxes which might suit you better. 

Naturally, I gave it a go and last week I got my box. 

It was so much fun!

It came in a pretty black box.

This letter was the first thing I saw when I opened the package. 

Then, it gave me a description of my style profile.

Look at the pretty packaging!

The first item on top was a small tote back. I love the quote and you can never have enough small bags.

The beauty items I recieved were two nail polishes. I LOVE the packaging and the colors. The orange is perfect for Halloween and even with the sparkles it covers your nails well. Only one or two layers and you're good to go. It's a great accent to the blue polish they gave as well. The blue is very dark and at first I thought it was black, but at a second glance I could tell it was a dark blue. It looks beautiful on my nails and it'll be great with my Halloween costume this year. (I'll try to post pictures on Thursday.) I would show you pictures of my nails, however, I'm awful at painting them. No matter how great of a polish it is, I always find a way to make my nails look like a kindergartner painted them. 

The other beauty item was a repair skin serum. It is for AM or PM and can be used anywhere on your skin that needs repair. It's a clear liquid type of a product and after you put it on, be sure to follow up with moisturizer. I love the small size and how easy it is to use because I can throw it in my purse or a travel bag if I need to. This is handy because we all have skin problems this time of year!

That was my awesome beauty products for the month! I love getting boxes like these in the mail because I can try out things I normally wouldn't. Especially nail polishes. I've been loving doing my nails lately, so this was perfect!

If you want to try out Juelp for yourself, click here to go to the website.

Please note- this post was not sponsored by Juelp. I am simply someone who was recommended this by a friend and I wanted to share it with all of you!

Glossy Blonde

Monday, October 28, 2013

Last Minute NaNoWriMo Preparations

NaNoWriMo begins in on Friday.

Let that sink into your brilliant and creative writing brain there for a minute.

You have four days. Four days to prepare, plot, outline, research, and plan for your novel. While these are all things you can continue to do once November 1 arrives, the next four days are your last chance to focus solely on these things before putting words on paper.

If you are anything like me, you are now filled with a mixture of uncontrollable excitement to start writing...

It's appropriate cause NaNoWriMo indeed does start on a Friday.
Here's hoping Rebecca Black joins in on the fun fun fun.

But also complete terror because you're no where near ready.

Never fear! I'll be the Zack Morris to your Jessie Spano and we'll figure this thing out. You're going to be just fine.

Just as long as you don't grab those caffeine pills. ;-)

Here are my tips for everyone who is getting ready for NaNoWriMo at the last minute:

- Be sure to have your hero/main character ready to go. Create a quick description and bio of them - even if it's just their name, their job, a few cliche personalty traits, and a basic idea of how they look. Your main character is one of the most important parts of your story. Without them, your story will not happen. You can flesh them out more as November goes on and as you write your story. It's a good thing if they change and evolve as you write! However, you need to know your character and love your character. Figure out who they are and what they want. When you know these things, a lot of times you can get your plot from this alone.

- Choose a setting. Is the novel your writing in a place you know well? Or is it in another part of the country or world you are unfamiliar with? Or maybe you're writing a fantasy story where the world is one you made up (ex. Middle-Earth from Lord of the Rings.) Get a general idea of your setting and you'll get inspired. Even if it's a place you know well. My story is going to take place in Chicago. I am originally from there so I'm familiar with the setting. However, I still did a bit of research last night and I now have SO MANY new ideas popping up in my mind for my story.

- Create a basic outline. I know some people can just sit down November 1 and start writing without planning beforehand. That's awesome! However, I'm not one of them. I need at least some sort of outline and direction of where to go. This is the part that's scaring me the most. I have bits and pieces of the events which will happen in my novel, but it hasn't come together yet. Yet, I still have a basic idea. Even if you just write a few sentences or simply "Beginning, Middle, End." That's all you need to get started. If you really want to get into intense outlining, this is my favorite video. I've been trying this format for this year's novel and it's helping me to figure out the order my scenes should go in and where my plot still needs work.

- Find some writing buddies. Accountability and working together is huge in NaNoWriMo. You'll have a ton of support and people to bounce ideas around with. I don't know what I would do without some of my friends who write. They help me get a new perspective on my stories and fresh ideas I never would have thought of on my own. What's great about NaNoWriMo is that you have a whole website of people doing the exact same thing as you to choose from.

- Keep an open mind. I love my outlines and planning my story. However, it's okay to go off of your outline as well. It's awesome to have fleshed out characters before writing. But be ready for them to grow and change in ways you didn't expect. So if you don't have everything perfect by Friday, it's okay.

- Relax. Honestly, you're going to be just fine. NaNoWriMo is a challenge - and that's a good thing! You'll have bumps in the road, writers block, plot holes, times your writing is awful, and days you don't write a single word. That's okay. It's supposed to be a challenge. But it's also supposed to be fun. Let the creative process do it's job and let it take you along for the ride.

If you're a NaNoWriMo veteran - what else would you add for the last four days before November?
If you're new to NaNoWriMo, what other things do you want to know before the big day gets here?

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Happy List

This week I am happy because...

The cast and crew of Night of the Living Dead is amazing. I'm so happy I was able to be part of Acting Out's first season

I can listen to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban while in my car and at work

NaNoWriMo begins in 1 week

My pumpkin spice latte was free this morning

After a performance in the cold I can go home to a heated blanket

This week I'll have had great catch up time with three of my friends

Everyone has been incredibly understanding of my scratchy voice and runny nose

I have all day tomorrow to work on old writing projects

It finally feels like fall down here in Missouri

Because of technology issues, I was able to get high school students to act out the opening scene of Hocus Pocus during chapel this morning

What has made you happy this week?

Linking up with The Happy List today.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Awesome Female Role Models- Evelyn The Librarian

With Halloween next week - I'm continuing my theme of Halloween type of female role models.

Today, we have Evelyn (Evy) from  the movie, The Mummy.

Growing up, this was one of my sister's favorite movies. At first it terrified me because I was a wimp, but it grew on me. (Although I didn't want to admit it.) Now, I don't know why I resisted loving this movie. It's fantastic and I love Evy.

Evelyn is clumsy and relate-able. She didn't get into the Bembridge Scholars but she's still brilliant, even if others don't see it right away. Granted - who would when she knocks over some very large bookshelves in the first five minutes of meeting her?

She has big dreams. When she finds the map and does her research, she wants to go for it. Not just a "someday that would be awesome" but she wants to go for it now. Let's find a way and go. She's willing to meet and work with awful people and put herself in danger for the sake of history and adventure. She will pay a lot of money to save Mr. O'Connell's life (even though at the moment she hates him) in order to go on this adventure and deal with the terrible jail keeper guy in order to do so.

Evelyn is a complete nerd. It comes along with the whole librarian thing. But she loves Egyptian history with a passion. She doesn't care about the treasure or the adventure. She wants to preserve history and honor the people of the past. Even through all of the danger she encounters through the movie, this is still important to her. I love all of the times she geeks out about some historical artifact. Evy is proud of who she is. Even if she is drunk when she admits it.

Evelyn recognizes where her strengths lie... but also where they don't. She knows she's not a fighter or an adventurer or anything along those lines. What's great about her is that she doesn't have to be in order to be awesome. Many times we see "strong women" as those who can pick up a gun and shoot (or use archery if your Katniss) or she can tell people off and be crude. Evy isn't any of those things. She puts people in their place, but she does it with intelligence and tact. She doesn't have to resort to violence to be strong. All Evy needs is her intellect and charm.

Eveyln is willing to go out of her comfort zone. She's not one for the outdoors, and toughing it out, and being surrounded by crude men. Yet, she does it anyways. She deals with all of the Americans and the other men she's surrounded by, and holds her own. She doesn't treat them disrespectfully or look down on them because she has a more formal education. Except for perhaps her brother... but what are siblings for?

She never wanted to raise a cursed mummy back from the dead, but she deals with it. She puts herself in danger even though she's terrified out of her mind and helps to save the day. The men protect her, but she protects herself and them too. While she may have been the one to read from the book and bring the mummy to life and is always getting herself into trouble (even if she's just locked in her room), she is also the one who saves everyone because of her bravery and knowledge of Egyptian history.

When Imhotep takes Evy away, she doesn't argue. She goes in order to save the others. The others (particularly Rick) want her to stay with them and protect her, but she goes anyways. They go to help her, but it is not because she's a helpless person who can't do anything. It's because she chose to go and help them. They do things for each other. 

Who are some of your favorite Halloween type women? Is there anything about our favorite librarian that I missed?

Awesome Quotes:
- Evy: "I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gun-fighter, Mr. O'Connell, but I am proud of what I am."
Rick: "And what is that?" 
Evy: "I . . . am a librarian."
- You know, nasty little fellows like you always get their comeuppance.
- You better think of something fast, because if I become a mummy you're the first one I'm coming after.
- You're wondering what is a place like me, doing in a girl like this?
- According to you and my brother it's called "borrowing."
- The only thing that scares me Mr. O'Connell is your manners.
- They take a red hot poker, stick it up your nose, scramble things about a bit, and rip it all out through your nostrils!
- It's just a book. No harm ever came from reading a book.
- Personally, I think he's filthy, rude, a complete scoundrel. I don't like him one bit.
- Well, I wish you would do it sooner rather than later before you ruin my career the way you've ruined yours.
- Oh for heavens sake girl, it wasn't that good of a kiss!
- Mister O'Connell, can you look me in the eye and and guarantee me this isn't all some kind of flimflam?
- Oh my God. It's a sarcophagus. Buried at the feet of Anubis. He must have been a man of great importance. Or he had done something very naughty.
- Take that Bembridge Scholars!
- Oops.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Out of the Youth Ministry Closet

Over the last several months of telling family, friends, and other people about my decision to leave youth ministry... I've had several different reactions.

One of the things I've learned, is that leaving ministry is much different than leaving other jobs. It affects the people around you, and it's almost as though you are leaving part of your identity behind.

Which is why I've learned that leaving ministry can be compared to coming out of the closet.

(Please note: I know that it is nothing like coming out of the closet. What I've experienced is WAY different and not as brave. However, I couldn't help but make the comparison. Also, this isn't a criticism on how people have reacted. Generally, everyone has been amazingly supportive. These are just some observations I've made.)

Some people think you are the bravest person in the world.
When talking to some friends, family members, and even co-workers, there have been people who are all:

"That's awesome!"
"Good for you!"
"That is so brave!"
"You should tattoo that!"

It's pretty empowering to hear people say these things.

Then there's the other end of the spectrum...
I've had people who have been completely shocked. They've argued with me about it, tried telling me why it's a bad choice, and have said "I support you, but I don't agree with your decision."

I guess you can't please everyone.

Others aren't surprised at all. 
Some of the people I'm the closest to saw it coming. Granted, there have been several conversations with my bulls-eye before making my final decision. Naturally, they knew. But there are others that when it came up they said it didn't surprise them. Not that I wasn't good at my job, but my announcement wasn't a big shocker.

While some are completely blown away.
They had no idea it was coming. They had always known me as the "youth ministry girl." From college on, this was exactly what I was going to. This was always my focus. When I announce that I'm thinking of doing something else, it totally catches them off guard.

It's telling people you're not who they thought you were.
As I said before, it's almost like changing part of your identity. Think about it. A pastor is Pastor Whatevertheirnameis. Not just their name. It's part of who they are. It's the same way in other aspects of ministry. I may not go by DCE or Youth Minister Emily, but ever since college it has been part of who I am. I was a DCE student. Part of my identity in college was what program I was in. I moved away from Chicago for my job. In the community I am in, I'm a youth minister. Even outside of my congregation, people know me as this. When sharing with people that God is pointing me in a new direction, it's a game-changer.

It is something I have had to go through as well though. For so long, I have used the "youth ministry" label to help identify myself.

Where do I go from here?

When people ask me what I do, that has always been  a part of it.

Or when I think about wherever I go next and going to a church - what do I do? Will I get involved? How will I volunteer? Will I be recruited to lead certain things? Will I want to lead them?

There are so many questions and thoughts going through my mind, as well as the minds of the people around me. Maybe I'm thinking about it too much and worrying more about other people's opinions than I should be. However, if I pretend my choices don't affect others I'm naive.

So here I am, out of the youth ministry closet, waiting for whatever is next.

Totally Posted Tuesday

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Favorite NaNoWriMo Resources

Being the last week of NaNoWriMo preparation (can you believe November is only a week away????) I want to share with you some of my favorite resources for NaNoWriMo. From blogs, YouTube videos, websites, and products... this is what I survive on to get my novel finished.

The Write Practice- this is a fantastic blog even beyond NaNoWriMo. Every day they post writing exercises, tips, tricks, and thoughts about writing. They are also big NaNoWriMo promoters. 

Write or Die- Need help just sitting down and writing? This site is for you! (It's also an app... but it costs money.) You give yourself a timer and/or a goal for writing, and if your fingers leave your keyboard for too long the website will start to yell at you!

Merrian-Webster- It's your basic dictionary and every writer needs one. Whether its an actual dictionary, a website, or an app, USE IT! Especially if you can get words of the day. I love those because then I can challenge myself to be sure I use that word in my writing somewhere.

Pinterest- Not just for DIY and recipes! I have a board for things that inspire me for writing. Sometimes its pictures of people I think look like my characters, or costume ideas, architecture, locations, writing tips - anything! It's a great way to have your favorite references all in one spot and get inspiration.

Penultimate- I use this app almost every single day. Writing, work, fun, etc. I hate typing when I take notes, but love the convience of having my notes all together on my iPad. This app is perfect for it! It takes awhile to get used to writing on it, but once you're used to it, you'll never go back. It's also linked to Evernote.

A Novel Idea- If you want to write on your iPad, and not a computer, this is a great solution. You can plot out your whole novel right here. 

Write Chain- This is a great way to keep track of your word count goals through the month. 

Flesky- This app is perfect if you just need to type really quickly without worrying about accuracy. 

8tracks- This is both an app and a website and I'm addicted to it. Instead of searching for music via genre/artist/song/album, you search via tags. Example, for writing I would search for "writing" and "instrumental" music, or if I'm writing something exciting I can search "adventure" or something along those lines and it'll give me a whole list of playlists with those tags. It's a great way to discover new music and set the mood for whatever you're doing. This is another music website that bases your music choices off of mood and tag instead of just artist, album, or genre. They have a wide variety of music and you'll probably discover new things you haven't heard before. Like 8tracks, you can also get this as an app.

Coffee- naturally, this is one of my all time favorites. Delicious, sets the mood for writing, and caffeine for when you need to boost your energy! I know I'll be visiting my local Starbucks and using my Keurig a lot in November.

Tea- If you're not a coffee drinker, tea is another go-to  drink for novel writing.

Lasagna- I had asked on the NaNoWriMo Facebook group what some people's favorite resources and food for wirting were, and one person said they like to make lasagna, stuffed shells, and other easy things for November. Lasagna is awesome for this because you can stick it in the oven while you write, and it's easy to save the leftovers for later. Less cooking! Basically, any food that you can save to warm up for later and you can make while writing at the same time is ideal.

Finger snacks- I know of a ton of writers who have candy or little things sitting right by their laptops while they write. Having snacks you can munch on and aren't messy, are great for writing because it helps keep your energy up.

Scrivener- This is the program I plan on using during NaNoWriMo this year. It's slightly scary and confusing when you first download it because there are so many elements to the program. You can outline, create character and place profiles, keep your research saved, and write your story scene by scene and chapter by chapter. I love that I can rearrange different scenes and reference my research all in the one program. They have templates for NaNoWriMo, novels, and scripts. They even are doing a special trial version for NaNoWriMo which is free through December 7. Then if (when) you win, you can get the whole program for up to 50% off. 

Open Office- If you don't have Microsoft Word, this is perfect for you! It's free and it works basically the same way as Microsoft Office.

Google Doc/Drive- I would love to learn how to use Google Docs more. You can save your work through your Google account, share it with others, and it's available anywhere because it's through the internet and not just your computer. No more freaking out about your novel if your computer crashes!

So there you have it. Some of my recommendations for NaNoWriMo - in only 11 days!!!!

What resources do you swear by in November?

Mingle 240

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Autumn Tag

The Autumn Tag

My friend, Angie, posted this on her blog awhile back, and it's always fun to have something extra in my back pocket for those days when I have writers block. Besides, I'm heading to a retreat with my jr. high youth today, and don't have a whole lot of time to think of a blog post. 

Also - fall is my favorite. So why not?

1. Favorite thing about it?

I love the clothes! The minute it's socially acceptable, I pull out my scarves, boots, sweaters, sweatshirts, and leggings under tights. I love the crisp morning air and the fog that falls each morning, making the streetlights glow like jack-o-lanterns. I love the pretty leaves on the trees and making them crunch under my feet when they fall to the ground. So... everything. 

2. Favorite drink? 

Because I'm your typcial-middle class-white chick-blogger... the Pumpkin Spice Latte. However, I do LOVE LOVE LOVE the salted caramel mocha and chai.

3. Favorite scent/candle? 

Right now I have "Autumn" from Bath and Body Works in my apartment and it's fabulous. When people walk into my place they are always like "it smells so good in here!" 

4. Best lipstick? 

I actually just got the Evil Queen makeup set from E.L.F. and it has a wonderful red lipstick. It's perfect for Halloween.

5. Go to moisturizer?

I don't know what this has to do with autumn... but whatever. I use Mary Kay products when I can afford it.

6. Go to colors for the eyes?

It looks like the remainder of these questions have nothing to do with fall... oh well. 

Lately I've been wearing a lot of neutrals for my eyes with a brown eyeliner.This Sephora pallet is my favorite right now and it's beautiful! I also really like to use silver or grey eyeliner sometimes because it makes the blue in my eyes pop.

7. Favorite music or band/singer to listen to?

Currently, I can't stop listening to Imagine Dragons, Vampire Weekend, and the Legally Blonde Musical soundtrack.

8. Favorite outfit to wear (i.e. boots & a scarf combo)? 

Oh hey! Back to autumn questions. That's nice.

My basic fall/winter "uniform" is a skirt, tights/leggings, boots, scarf, and a sweater or jacket over a basic top.  If I'm feeling super casual, I'll trade the skirt for blue jeans and the basic top/sweater/jacket with a hoodie.

9. Autumn treat?

ALL OF THE CANDY because it's on sale! But I also am a fan of caramel apples. 

10. Favorite place to be? 

Some of my favorite fall memories are from sitting with my friends outside Kaldis Coffee Shop in Clayton, MO (St. Louis) and then hanging out in Forest Park. I'm also really excited for this Jr. High Retreat I'm going to today. I get one last hurrah with some of the youth, and the camp we go to is beautiful this time of year.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

No... not Christmas you silly person you.

And if I hear you playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving, I'm going to start ignoring you.

It's National Novel Writing Month* season!

A few weeks ago I was freaking out because I hadn't decided what I was going to write about. Well, all of that is solved, I have a novel idea in my mind and I'm already working on creating characters.

This will be my sixth year participating in NaNoWriMo, and I plan on it being my sixth year winning as well.

While NaNoWriMo doesn't start until November 1, I still consider October part of the "season." I love taking the month of October to wrap up other projects I'm working on, but also to plan and prepare for my upcoming novel as much as I can.

NaNoWriMo season is seriously one of my favorite parts of the year. While I write all year around and work on several projects, I love having an excuse to dive head-on into a story I'm working on. If I'm up late writing, or sit at Starbucks typing for hours, or find myself jotting notes while at work, I can say "It's NaNoWriMo!" and people understand.

There's also a built in writing community for these months. People I can bounce ideas off of, get suggestions and feedback from, and I can see what projects other people are working on. I can make writing friends and do word sprints at almost any time of day so I can get my word count for the day finished.

If you're thinking about doing NaNoWriMo, here are some of my tips for the month of October as you plan and make a decision:
My notebook for 2013

  • Get a notebook and carry it around with you at all times. Heck, if you are a nerd like me, use NaNoWriMo as an excuse to buy some new pens too. It can be a "traditional" notebook that you carry around in a bag. Mine is really small and fits into a small purse and only cost a couple of bucks at Target. However, you can also use the notes feature on your smart phone, or one of my all time favorite apps for my iPad is Penultimate. You can actually write in it, put in pictures, draw, use different colored pens etc. I use it for work all of the time and used it for NaNoWriMo last year. It was amazing! Also, it now syncs with Evernote so you can get your notes on your computer too. But no matter what version of "notebook" you want to use, USE IT! You never know when inspiration will hit and you're going to want to write it down and have all of your notes in one place.
  • Decide how/where you'll write your novel. Will you use a word processing program? I've heard of some people even just using Notes on their iPhone to write their novel. Maybe you'll use Google Docs. Personally, I'm going to try to use Scrivener this year. It's a program for writers, and they're even doing a special trial just for NaNoWriMo participants. You can get it free from now until December 7, and then if you win, you get an awesome discount to buy it. (Normally it's like $40-$50, and you can get up to 50% off.) I only suggest figuring out how you'll write it now. That way, if you're using a new program than normal, you can get used to it now and not have to worry about logistics in November.
  • Start planning now! I know some people can just sit down November 1 and start writing and win. That's awesome! However, I'm not one of them. I need to have some sort of idea of what I'm writing. Use the next few weeks to figure out your characters, get an outline together, think about themes you want to have in your novel, etc. This is the time to daydream and plan to your hearts content! Your outline doesn't have to be perfect and you can leave room for random things to happen. My stories doesn't always turn out the way my outline originally said it was going to. But at least I had a jumping off point. When I know where my story is going, I can figure out how to get there. Also, I love getting to know my characters. A lot of times you'll get to know them as you write, but you can start developing them now. 
  • Get connected to the NaNoWriMo community. I cannot emphasize this enough. Create your NaNoWriMo profile, add buddies (here is my profile - add me!), and get on the forums. Whenever people tell me that they don't have any ideas to write about, but still want to participate, I tell them to go to the forums. You can find a discussion thread for almost anything. Random topics, finding character names, finding plot ideas, creating villains, doing research, getting feedback on your writing, etc. There's also a great Facebook group which is constantly getting traffic because people are getting and sharing advice for November. Also, search your favorite social media sites. There are a TON of people on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. who participate in NaNoWriMo. These people are invaluable to you and helping you get your novel finished!
  • Arrange your schedule. I know a lot of you are busy, and that's one of the number one reasons people say they can't do NaNoWriMo. But you totally can! You just need to rearrange your schedule a bit. Think about some of the things you can cut out. Netflix? Facebook? Tumbr? I'm not saying you need to cut these things out completely, but you can shave off your normal time on those things. They'll be there waiting in December. Use October to figure out your November schedule. One of my favorite things to do is to find one day a week where I can fit in a long Starbucks writing session. Where I can just grab my laptop after work and head over to Starbucks and have a block of time dedicated to writing. You can also use October as a time to work ahead on other things, that way you don't fall behind in your real life in November.
  • Tell people about NaNoWriMo. Accountability is HUGE. If people know you're working on a novel, usually they'll be supportive. The more people who know you're working on NaNoWriMo, the more accountability you have.
There you have it, my tips for preparing for NaNoWriMo. Feel free to add me on the site as a writing buddy, and follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I love doing word sprints and chatting with people about their novels. You can also email me whenever you like if you want to do some serious brainstorming and talking.

Also - find Kristina Horner and Katytastic on YouTube. They've also been doing NaNoWriMo for FOREVER and have some of the best pep talk and advice videos.

*AKA- NaNoWriMo, where people all over the world attempt to write a 50k word novel in 30 days. It begins in November and you "win" by writing all 50,000 words. It's not really a competition against other people. It's all about creating a goal for yourself and making it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Awesome Female Role Models- Sally

It's time for a special Halloween edition of Awesome Female Role Models! The next three weeks I'll feature a female character from a Halloween story and to kick things off, we have Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

While watching the movie and researching her best quotes, I found that Sally really doesn't do a whole lot of talking. She sings a little, and has a few conversations, but she doesn't have much dialogue. However, someone watching the movie can still clearly see her character. I love this about Sally. She doesn't need long monologues, witty phrases, or wise words for us to love her. We can see through her facial expressions and her actions where her heart is and what she's all about. The audience can tell she's clever by how she tricks Dr. Finklestien and the ways she helps Jack.

Speaking of Dr. Finklestien, we know that Sally is in an awful situation. She wants to be free, but he refuses to let her go. She's ready to experience life, but he just won't let her. Sally will do anything to escape and be free from him. No matter how many times she has failed at escape, she refuses to give up.

Sally wants adventure. She's not happy staying cooped up in Dr. Finklestien's home. Sally wants to see the world and all that it has to offer. Even if it is the strangeness of Halloween.

Sally also has an interesting relationship with Jack. Right away, the audience knows she admires him and has a crush. (I mean... in their Halloween town... he's the cream of the crop. I'm sure all the girls have crushes on him.) But she connects to Jack. She understands how he wants to experience more, and she's fascinated by his discovery of Christmas. However, she also can tell when something is wrong. She is there to support her friend and be there for him, but she also tries to warn him that taking over Christmas isn't what he should be doing. She sees Jack for how awesome he really is, and wants him to be true to that. Even when he doesn't listen, Sally tries to do something about it. She's willing to sacrifice a potential relationship with Jack and stand out from the crowd to make things right. Sally might have a crush, but she knows when he's doing something wrong. Yet, when he's in trouble, instead of being all "I told you so," she's there at his side.

Sally also is the one to do the "wooing" in her relationship with Jack. She's the one to make the first move by sending him a gift basket. She's willing to be there for him and make herself known. Yet, she does it in a way which doesn't force herself on him. She makes the first move, while also letting him meet her part way. As the movie goes on, Jack soon sees how fantastic Sally is through all she has done for him.

In spite of appearing to be small and fragile, Sally can take care of herself. One of the perks of being a rag doll, she can simply sew herself back up when she falls. She's not afraid to take the big leaps because she can get back up and try again.

Also, Santa Claus likes Sally. He says "The next time you get the urge to steal someone else's holiday, you should listen to her! She's the only one who makes sense in this insane asylum!" And if Santa likes someone... you know they've got to be pretty awesome.

Awesome Quotes:
- What's wrong? I thought you liked frog's breath.
- What will become of my dear friend? Where will his actions lead us then? Oh, how I'd like to join the crowd in their enthusiastic cloud. Try as I may, it doesn't last. And will we ever end up together? No, I think not. It's never to become, for I am not the one.
- But it seems wrong to me, very wrong.
- Mmmmm. See? Scrumptious.
- And sit together, now and forever. For it is plain, as anyone can see, we're simply meant to be.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I Need to Work On My Stalking Skills

First off - thank you all so much for the amazing response I've had from everyone about yesterday's post! I was a bit worried about writing about it, but I knew that you all would be supportive. I can't wait to keep sharing this journey with everyone.

Now... onto today's story.

Oh yes, I have a story for you.

The last several weeks a movie has been filmed here. It's quite the buzz around our little town. Nearly everyone has had a celebrity sighting - except for me.

There also have been casting calls and I know a lot of people who have been extras on set. One person I know has four roles in the film.


It's pretty impressive.

Well, last week when I had announced to the youth about my resigning from St. Andrew, one of the parents approached me afterwards. She is one of the theatre professors at the local university and said I should come to a Q&A which was happening at the university with one of the movie's casting directors, and at some point she and I should get together to talk about theatre professions I could get into.

Um.... YES!

The Q&A was today, so I drove over to the campus after lunch. I was late because it was raining and zero parking, but that's okay. I didn't miss much from what I could tell.

It was really interesting. I'm awful at thinking of thought-provoking questions, so I just listened. But it was really cool to hear this guy talk. He works more in independent film, but he LOVES musicals and has worked in Chicago and New York. Clearly, he needs to be my new best friend.

Since I love writing and I think it would be cool to do something with theatre/writing/web video and such (although I'm not 100% sure if that's the industry I want to get into next) I thought it would be awesome to meet him after the Q&A. I even had business cards in my purse.

Like a real grown up!

I had images of going to Starbucks after to talk about the writing process and maybe him taking me to the set so I could meet the celebrities and directors and everything.

Obviously, I have very realistic expectations in life.

My first strategy was to stick around after to meet with the professor I knew to see if they had an "in."

Nope. They were meeting with their acting class right after and no one else was sticking around. So I sadly walk back to my car, which was across the parking lot and across the street. As I said- there was no parking.

As I approach my car - I saw him going to his red car. Of course, he had a parking spot in the actual parking lot up close. I cursed being short and breakable, because he was taking his sweet old time and I could have ran across the street and met him. But if I had tried, I would probably have fallen and broken a leg.

At least it would have gotten his attention?

I considered yelling at him - but felt that would be creepy and stalkery.

I stood at my car debating for a moment - which was a mistake because he did eventually drive away. Thinking I had lost my chance, I sadly got into my car and drove back to work. However, I kept my phone handy just in case the people I knew at the university wanted to call me to be all "Hey, do you want to meet this guy?"

Again, I have very realistic expectations for my life.

When I pulled up to the intersection to get back to work I noticed a few red cars. And there! Right there! He was in his red car, I could tell because he was still wearing the hat he had on for the Q&A. But curse again! I was in the right turn lane, and he was three lanes over to turn left.

Thankfully, there was a break in traffic so I quickly turned right, turned around in the church parking lot and tried to find him. Because you know... following a guy's car is far less creepy/stalkery than yelling at him across a parking lot.

But alas... he was gone. I drove down the road as far as the intersection for my apartment and there was no sign.

Now I'm here... back at work...

Clearly, I need to work on my stalking skills.

It's either a good time, a good story, or a funny blog post... right?

Or am I just a creeper?

Totally Posted Tuesday