2018 Resolutions

I failed to set any resolutions at the start of 2017 and while I doubt I would have met any of them anyway, given the unexpected turn my life took this year, I still feel like it is important to set them and this year, there are definitely tangible goals I have in mind.


Here are some things I’d like to accomplish in 2018:


  • Study & Sit for my CST 1 in April. I’ve put this off for too long. I’ve got to take it seriously this year if I plan to have a future in this career.


  • Finalize my degree. My company was bought out by a mega corporation in 2017 and let’s just say that the status of my career has been scary these days. In an effort to make myself more valuable I started looking into what I’d need to do to at least have an associate’s degree to make my resume a little more worthwhile and it turns out, I already have all the courses necessary to have an associates, I just have to apply for graduation. I mean, it’s nothing fancy. It’s not a bachelors or anything. But it will put a bit of the guilt I’ve carried since college over wasting my parents money and having nothing to show for it aside. And definitely gives me more power to find a new job if this one fails me.


  • Reacquaint myself with my piano and perfect at least 1 song. Now that I have my piano again, after being without it for nearly 15 years, I’ve just gotta get a key fixed and the piano tuned to start playing again. I’ve been listening to Ludovico Einaudi a lot, dreaming of making such beautiful sounds myself. I’m gonna start with that and we’ll see what else I can do by the years end!


  • Read & Redline Dreamsters. It’s truly been too long since I’ve written something new. And anytime I pick this story up to read, I still love it as much as I did when I wrote it. It’s time I finally tried to do something real with it.


  • Read at least 12 books. I miss reading almost as much as I miss playing the piano. I’ve got to make it a priority again. To escape. To learn. To refill my creative well.


  • Have more Sex. It’s a weird resolution, I know. Believe me, it was even weirder for me to actually type it out. But I really want to be a mother and the only way that’s going to happen is if I try harder. I’m a super busy person and it doesn’t help that for the most part, sex is something that almost never crosses my mind. These sorts of things really get in the way of making babies. I don’t want to make it to 40, still childless, and the reason be that I just didn’t make more time to try.


  • Save for Disney World. I can’t tell you how many times a week Heath asks me, “What if we made [some obscene amount of money] a year?” or “What if we won a 100 million dollar lottery?” What’s the first thing we’d do, he always wonders. And always, ALWAYS, my answer is: Go to Disney World. Or some variation of going to the Disney’s across the world depending on how much money we’re talking about. Since those questions are a dream and not our reality, it’s time to just start being smart and saving because (insert dramatic LOST quote) WE HAVE TO GO BACK! Also, my sister wants to take the kids soon and I want to be prepared to join them!


  • Customize a doll into Star Butterfly. My love for Star Vs. the Forces of Evil is still as big as the day I fell in-love and the same could be said about my frustration for the lack of merch on the series, too. I’ve been feeling compelled to customize a doll for a few years now and Star seems like a good one to start with. In my head, it starts with a Sailor Moon Pullip doll as the base. 😉


  • Give my hair a break. I LOVE having fun hair. In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve had normal hair, I’m not even sure I remember how to. But I bleached my hair more than usual this past year in the name of having “fun” hair and I’ve experienced a ton of breakage as a result. It was bound to happen and I’m lucky it took this long to, but in order to keep enjoying “fun” hair, I’ve gotta give my hair a break. No bleaching for a year will help it grow (because it’s far too short now) and let it remember how to be strong again for when I try to shift out of red. I’ll hate being stuck in this color for a year, but I’ve gotta do it before I ruin my hair for good.


  • Lose Weight. This one’s so typical and on most everyone’s list, but it’s serious for me. I gained back everything I worked off over the past few years and then some. And I want to be healthier, to have more energy, to have a body worthy of housing a baby if/when the time comes. I almost don’t even care how much I lose, just that I start to lose. That I create habits of eating clean and working out again like I had in the past. We have an entire gym in our new house’s basement. There is NO reason I can’t make this happen.


  • Spend more time with God. This year I failed to find a devotional and with moving to another state, church became a thing of the distant past for me. I tuned in to YouTube to their services when they’d post them, but they’re not consistent and neither was I. When packing for the big move started, I set my prayer journal aside and haven’t picked it up since. It’s not to say I didn’t do a lot of talking out loud to God, because boy did I ever, but I want to get back into developing a deeper understanding and connection with Him. Not solely calling out to him when I’m desperate or afraid or overwhelmed with emotion (good and bad). I’m not quite sure how I plan to do this yet, but it’s been heavily on my mind and I’m open to suggestions.


  • Commit to volunteering at the animal shelter on a regular basis. Best Friends of Harford County helped me immensely not once, but twice this year with my stray cat colony and I want to give back. I want to spread some love or service to some other unloved cats as a show of gratitude and also just to humble myself. Volunteering, no matter what for, teaches us to live for someone more than ourselves, and we could all use that reminder these days.


That should be more than enough to keep me busy in 2018, especially since it doesn’t even include the side job of being a photographer or all the house projects we have on our to-do list for the year ahead of us, but I’m pretty amped about checking off these things on my goals list.


What do you hope to achieve in 2018? Whatever it is, You’ve got this, GOOD LUCK!




2016 Resolutions

You wouldn’t believe how long ago I started this post. What’s that thing they say, about starting things right away when they hit you instead of setting start dates in the near future? Yeah, well, I just knew I wouldn’t have time for some of these things, but I didn’t want to forget the desire either. And I figured if I wrote it down six months ago and it still felt like something I wanted to work toward by the New Year, it was meant to be on the list.


What am I hoping to achieve this year? More than last year, I’ll start with that. While I know 2015 wasn’t a total wash (I mean I did get married after all) productivity didn’t seem to be my strong suit last year. There were some legit reasons for that in 2015; death in the family, wedding planning, and an unexpected burst in the photography business, but I think another problem might be the looseness of the goals I set last year. I tend to do best with structure and detail and so by casually saying, “Oh, I’d like to write. Doesn’t matter how much,” I really just set myself up for failure because “writing” can mean a lot of things and while I did “write” things, like plenty more blogs than usual, none of them were the type of writing I really wanted to be doing, which was the storytelling kind. So, here are some specific things I’d like to achieve in 2016…

Study for and take CST1 & CST2 tests. In losing my old boss at the end of 2014 and gaining a new one ¼ of the way into 2015, I hit my 10 anniversary of working for the surveying world and finally found the strength to make sure my value (or lack thereof) was noted by the owners. While it saddened me to discover they were oblivious to all the hard work I’d been doing all this time, it made me realize I need to demand their acknowledgement more often if I ever expect to climb a latter of success and income in this business. Being a female surveyor in a world full of men is already against me, but apparently there are ways to make my intelligence and experience known other than by just performance and dedication alone in hopes that someone’s paying attention. My new boss (who’s not so new anymore) said there are several certifications he feels confident I would pass with ease because he sees the level of skill in me and knows that having those certifications only makes me a bigger asset to the company and my future in this field. I don’t think I could take them all in one year, especially since they cost $200 each, but I could probably manage the first two and I really want to make it happen. Not just for the job security it will help me have, or the bargaining tool I’ll have when it’s raise time again, but also just for the pride in an actual organization acknowledging what I already know about myself and my ability to survey.


(CST1 & 2=Certified Survey Technician, Level 1 and 2)

Read ½ a book a week. Maybe that sounds like a weird goal, but in years past I always said, read X amount of books and that’s become increasingly harder to achieve. And it doesn’t feel good. ½ a book a week should be doable. I should be able to find pockets of time throughout a week to squeeze in at least a half a book. And if I read more than that, great, but I need that half at least. I think part of the reason I struggled to write this year was because my creative well was bone dry. You need to read to write and I just didn’t read enough this year. If I only read ½ a book a week, my overall count of books read still won’t be that great at the end of the year, but the consistency of reading every week should help keep my creative well wet all year long.


Write 500 words a week. I missing writing like you can’t imagine. It’s been so long since new words poured from my fingers that I’m not even sure I remember how to write. There were a few moments last year when I felt compelled to write, inspired by music or books I did have time for, but for the most part my creative brain has been a desolate place, completely abandoned by all of my characters. I want to encourage them to come back, to be so loud I can’t possibly ignore them anymore. I want to still believe being a published author one day is an attainable dream I should still be having. 500 words a week sounds like so little. Heck, there used to be a time when I could put out a few thousand in a day. But it’s a starting place to get myself back into the habit of writing and it’s a small enough number that I should be able to find at least a handful of minutes a week to make it happen. Maybe I could try to get back into writing short stories first and then dive back into my novels. I don’t know, I just know I need to make it a priority again, even when photography threatens to steal all my free time.




Learn Photoshop & Other Photography Related Goals. That sounds laughable, right? Even photoshop pros are always learning something new, considering the massive capabilities of Photoshop. What I mean is, learn to use it enough to ditch PaintshopPro and do at least the editing techniques I know how to do there in Photoshop instead. PaintshopPro has been good to me, it really is a decent program for the price, but as my photography wings continue to spread, I know that the edits I could make in Photoshop will be far superior to PaintshopPro and more in line with the level of quality in the pictures I’m already producing. It’s time to make the shift. To help me, I got a giant bible of a book on using Photoshop for photography and even though its size is intimidating, I’m hopeful it will guide me in the right direction so I’m not wasting too much time trying to figure out how to do relatively simple edits while I make the switch in programs.


In addition to learning Photoshop, I want to do a few other things this year where photography is concerned. For instance, take advantage of a magazine subscription for Popular Photography I’ve been getting for a year now, but have never read. There might not be actual education in them all the time, but it would serve me well to read about how other photographers do what they do, just so I’m exposed to other techniques I might not have discovered on my own. So, as a goal, I’d like to actually read this magazine every month.


I’d also like to test out other lenses and apparently you can rent them from places online to do just that. Last year I took a chance on a portrait lens for 100 bucks and I swear, it changed the way I shot and to this day is probably the best 100 bucks I’ve put into my business. It is easily my go-to lens now, but I know there must be others out there that will wow me; they’re just all too expensive to take the same chance on. I’m glad there’s an option like renting them for this reason and maybe by the end of the year I’ll have discovered a new “go-to” lens that is actually worth a real investment.


And lastly, I want to actually make this business more official, with standard rates and logo watermarking. Last year I was often under paid for the effort because I was too afraid to ask for what the work is actually worth and/or people were very quick to take advantage of my unprofessional or amateur outlook on the whole thing, like if I just call this a hobby, then why should they have to pay me for something I enjoy doing? Well, because it meant basically working 2 full time jobs for me and that can break a person. If I’m going to be exhausting every minute of my free time for this, it should at least pay the bills. And while I don’t really want to watermark my pictures, I think it’s a must after I found a few of my photos being used online without any link back or credit to the photographer. Perhaps people would stop looking at them as just pictures and more for the art they are if they’re stamped professionally. Plus, hello easy advertising. I’m still hesitant to do all of this because I’m not sure I can handle a workload much bigger than the one I had last year, but I do think it’s time I take this a little more seriously if I want to keep taking on the work.


Master T25 & Other Health Related Matters. To date, there are 3 series of T25 workouts: Alpha, Beta, and Omega, each of which lasts for 5 weeks. I currently have the first two in my possession and while I think it will take at least 2-5 week rounds of each to actually “nail it” I want to get through those first two series and have to buy the third one because my body will be demanding a new challenge by then. I’ve already said how empowering T25 was for me the first time I gave it a shot and I’m positive that will remain true with the other series as they’re designed to be increasingly more challenging and overcoming them will feel like such a huge success. I’m excited to see what kind of weight and inches I can keep losing with this regimen and how it impacts my sleep schedule and overall mental stability. I don’t know what I’ll do when I’ve successfully made it through all 3 series, but I hope by then to be in such a conditioned state that working out is just a part of my every day routine. Now that I’m married, and we’re hoping to be buying a house, making babies is something I have to get real serious about ASAP (since my age will start mattering whether or not having a baby is even possible soon). I want to be one of those women that already works out enough to keep working out throughout the pregnancy. Being older makes everything harder, especially losing weight. I don’t want to work so hard to get to a happy place only to put it all back on with a baby and then struggle to lose it again. If I just stay fit and active, the repercussions of being pregnant shouldn’t be as bad.


I also want to focus extra hard on my diet this year, for bigger reasons than just losing weight. About 6 months ago I started to make the transition to a gluten free lifestyle after coming to the realization that gluten had an obvious connection to my IBS and other gastrointestinal issues. During this transition I’ve noticed a huge improvement and comfort level with my stomach problems and just as a whole for my body too. But in cutting it out of my diet so much, it literally feels like I’m under attack if/when I ever give gluten a shot again, say in the form of bread and pasta. My stomach will literally swell to a pregnant looking state and the hours of discomfort that follow are not worth the taste of those once go-to foods. While GF foods are becoming more readily available, they’re not all suitable replacements for things I used to love and some of those things I love just don’t exist at all in the GF world. Those will be the hardest parts of completely cutting gluten out of my diet, but I want to work toward it. The more I read about gluten and our bodies, the more I know it’s just not for me. Outside of it being such a problem for my stomach, it also has a huge impact on people with thyroid conditions, which I also have. I hope by the end of 2016 I’ve successfully made the switch and I’m no longer missing the food of my old life, when I was slowly torturing my body without even realizing it.


Go Out & Live Life. I took some pretty significant hiatus’s from the internet this year, some by choice and others because of lack of time, but I learned something in those “vacations” from the internet and it’s that I miss out on a lot of life by devoting so much time to the internet. I spend more time admiring the way other people live their lives than I do living my own and there’s something very wrong with that. In 2015 Heath and I starting bowling once a month, which forced us out of the house and ended with eating out and toy hunting in the wild after. We actually went on vacation with my family to the beach for the first time, despite being offered the trip several times in the past decade. We finally took a bus trip to New York for the day, which is something I’ve wanted to do at Christmastime for as long as I can remember. And the best trip of the whole year was going to Disney World for our honeymoon (which I hope to finally write about soon). As someone who hasn’t traveled much simply because they were afraid to fly, I sure am happy I got over myself finally because traveling anywhere I want seems like a real possibility now. And in doing all these things, in getting out and living life, Heath and I seem closer now than we did even the year before, despite having been together for 11 years now. Clearly date night is an actual beneficial thing and I want to practice it more in 2016. I don’t know that we’ll have the kind of money to take vacations on the scale of Disney again anytime soon, what with trying to buy a house and all, but I want to make it a habit to get out at least once a month to do something with each other outside of our office. And I want to get away on occasion, even if it’s just over a long weekend, so we can escape the pull those computers in our office have on us. I encourage you all to do the same. 🙂

I feel like I’m forgetting a resolution, but this thing is super long as it is and working on these 6 specific things should keep me plenty busy this year so I should probably wrap this up. What are you hoping to achieve in 2016?




2015 Resolutions

At the start of every new year, I find myself wondering how the heck a year has already passed by me again. I swear it gets faster every year. Somewhere, Father Time is laughing at me.


As with every new year, I find it therapeutic to review my previous years goals and set some new ones. It keeps me on the right track all year, gives me some sort of purpose throughout the year so that I don’t reach the end of it and feel useless. So what do I hope to achieve in 2015? Let’s see…


Get closer to God. 2014 brought a lot of brokenness to me, brokenness that wasn’t even my own. My heart was heavy for too many of my loved ones, for too much of the year, and the only way I found myself able to deal with it was through prayer. I had bought a new notebook this year from Not of This World, with the intention of filling it with new words toward a novel, but what it ended up becoming was a prayer journal. Something I could review to make sure I’d included everyone in my prayers and also reflect on when I was feeling extra broken and find comfort in updating the list with answered prayer requests. I absolutely intend on keeping up this prayer journal this year. I also want to get back into devotionals daily. Back in the day, I used to get a lot out of reading a devotional on a daily basis. It’s a good way for me to stay dedicated to spending time with God daily and just good for my soul. I got a new Joyce Meyer one for Christmas and if it’s anything like the last one I read, I’m sure it will be beneficial in my walk with God. I also plan to commit to specific church duties this year, namely running the soup kitchen quarterly with my grandmother. I think there’s something really rewarding about giving to people in need and it’s even more so when it’s done in God’s name.


Time Management. This is really something I always feel like I’m trying to do and failing at. In 2013, I vowed to do all the things and it kicked my butt. In 2014, I vowed to not kill myself like the year before and somehow I managed kill myself even more instead. I’m not suggesting I need a lazier life, but I do need one that allows for small breaks on a consistent basis. I can’t go another 6 month stint of overtime at my day job and side job without ever stopping to relax. I got sick 3 times in just the last 2.5 months and I never get sick, but I’m positive it’s my body’s way of telling me to slow down. The problem is, I live a busy life. That will probably never change. And I’m okay with that, but I hope to spread out the busy a little better this year. To say no when I’m feeling overwhelmed and keep a better schedule so I’m not constantly pulled in all directions.


Get healthy. I know this goal pops up on my resolution every year, but I’ve yet to really get to the healthy level I’m actually satisfied with. Maybe I never will be, maybe it’s always a work-in-progress, but I like setting this resolution to really keep me focused on it. It takes a lot of effort to be healthy in this world, because it’s far easier to just not care, but as I age, I’m finding myself regretting that “easy” life and wishing I’d built a better foundation for success earlier on in life. I don’t want to believe it’s too late. I really want to have before and after photos to be proud of one day, evidence that will never let me slide back into the unhealthy category again.


Try to get Published. I say try because I can’t just decide I’ll be published. I’m not going the self-pub route and so really my future lies in someone else’s hands where publication is concerned. But I need to make the effort. I need to give my MS a final polish, I need to find the right agents to send it to, I need to stay on top of shopping it around whether I receive rejections or not. I can’t just wish for publication and cross my fingers. There’s a lot to be done to make this dream a reality and I need to get busy.


Pay down debt. I know this was technically sort of on last years resolution list, too, but if I end up not having a long period of overtime this year, putting money aside for the debt pay down will be harder. I don’t want to give up, though. If I could put a similar amount towards my debt this year as last, I could potentially being buying a house by 2016. That would be amazing and I want to give it my all to make it happen.


So just five resolutions this year… seems totally doable, right? 😉 What do you hope to achieve in 2015?




On Moxie & Meeting Maggie



I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere between my teen years and adult years I lost the ability to be social. When it comes to interacting with anyone (but strangers are even worse), I am basically crippled. It’s an especially frustrating thing because it’s not like I want to be this way. In fact, it’s the opposite. I want to do all sorts of things I never end up doing out of fear and then I’m left with regret.


This year, you may remember, I made a resolution to have a little more moxie. Because my life is slipping away from me fast and I can’t accept being old with even more regret for all the things I’d wished I’d done. So I told myself that if events came up this year around me (concerts, book signings, etc…) I would make myself go, no matter how afraid I was. This promise I made to myself was finally put to the test today and I’m happy to report I passed. But it wasn’t easy.


The event I’m referring to is Maggie Stiefvater’s Sinner Tour. For those that don’t know, Maggie is like my writing hero. I’ve never really aspired to be like anyone, ever, but if I could be even a percentage of the writer Maggie is, I’d be happy with life. Her writing ability, dedication to her craft, and overall brave attitude about life is admirable and it encourages me. It seemed fitting that the first author I’d meet be one so important to me.


In the weeks leading up to this event, I asked as many people as I could to go with me, thinking it’d be less horrifying if I wasn’t alone. Because it wasn’t just being at this event that was scary, it was actually getting myself there since it was located in the city – the city in which I never wander and certainly not alone, but no one was up for the trip and I couldn’t be mad about that. For a minute there I almost talked myself out of going, but I held onto that promise I made myself. This morning, in preparation for this event, I mapped my drive there on Google Earth, put a bunch of music on a CD for Maggie, and got myself so worked up over going that I almost made myself sick, but I refused to back out. For one, I’d told her on FB that I’d be there and she even replied and two, I’d promised a friend something from the event. I’m not good at breaking promises, especially promises to other people.


The drive there was less terrifying than I pictured it. Either that, or I’d gotten myself so worked up before even leaving that I’d exhausted all my nervous resources before it was really time to be nervous. I got there a half hour early and was the 14th person in line inside a bookstore smaller than my entire apartment. It already felt packed with just the 14 of us and then about 100 more people showed up. At least. To make the closeness of so many strangers a more uncomfortable thing for a person like me, the A/C was ancient and nearly useless and it was 90 degrees outside. At one point I was so hot I started to feel faint, like I might pass out of throw up. Thankfully neither happened. I met two lovely ladies (Ashley and Shana, both book reviewers you should check out!)  in the line who nudged my social anxiety aside and helped the heat seem more tolerable. And after some parking space drama, Maggie finally arrived.


She parked her Camaro, Loki, right outside the bookstore and a couple of the younger girls squealed which was cheesy and adorable at the same time. Maggie strolled in wearing her signature outfit: a black tank top and boots, removing her sunglasses with one hand and carting a skateboard in the other. She had this air of coolness that made her seem even more famous than she actually is. I was shocked by how much it intimidated me for a minute. She talked for a while before signing, telling stories of her youth and why she wrote Sinner, and then took reader questions and immediately revealed just how regular she actually is. Awkward even, in that perfectly good way. She’s animated and excitable and I watched her in a bit of awe because I can’t even imagine ever having that much confidence speaking to a crowd if/when I ever do get published. I wonder if she was always that personable or if it’s something she’s developed throughout her career. 


The wait in the heat once she started signing was rough, but thankfully I was number 14 in line. Actually meeting her went by too fast. I’d only taken my Shiver series, thinking it’d be selfish to take all my books and waste so much of her time, but I wish I’d just brought them all now. She was really friendly, the kind of person you instantly feel comfortable around like you’ve known them forever, and totally understanding of my awkward anti-social self. I told her I was the one that had predicted WhitePantsNovel was actually about Cole on Tumblr so many moons ago and she did that whole, “That was you!?” surprised reaction. Felt pretty cool to come out of my anonymous status finally.


I left in the middle of a thunderstorm, never happier to drive in the cool rain. I still feel a little high over the whole experience. Partly because I met someone so significant in my writing dreams and partly because I told myself I’d do something terrifying and I didn’t back down. As lame as it might seem to some, I’m proud of myself and meeting Maggie was the reward for overcoming my fear. All-in-all, an awesome day.


Note: You can click through the pictures below. Sorry for the poor photo quality. Unfortunately, my camera wasn’t performing at it’s best. :/




2013 In Review: Everything Else

At the start of 2013, I made this list of resolutions. Eight things I wanted to accomplish this year. And so let’s check them off….


1/2. See – 2013 In Review: Writing


3. See – 2013 In Review: Books


4. Photography – I’ve touched lightly on this already with that post about the Christmas Card Shoots I did this year, but I can expand on it by saying, I did in fact become more comfortable behind the camera in 2013. I still don’t have the confidence I should necessarily, or all the skills I could have where editing photos is concerned, but I have gotten braver and I have tried harder this year than I ever have before. In 2013 I did eleven scheduled photoshoots – shoots in which I got paid, even though I didn’t ask (and tried to refuse) compensation for. I also shot birthday parties and family gatherings and anytime someone asked me to capture a family moment. I shot a lot food, too (ha!). In 2014, I’d like to continue on this path of learning and finding the courage to continue to step outside of my comfort zone and spread my wings as a photographer.


5. Music – I didn’t go to even one concert this year and I regret it immensely. Some of my favorite bands came through Baltimore this year, prime opportunities for me to see them live, and I was too afraid to attend a show alone. I’ve really got to work on this because I can’t be afraid of going places alone forever. I can’t sacrifice something I love so dearly just because I’m afraid of enjoying it alone. I definitely need to work on this harder in 2014. (Also see – 2013 In Review: Music)


6. Weight Loss – Surprise, surprise, I didn’t lose 60+ lbs. in 2103. I think total I only lost 20 and who knows if that number still stands after consuming nothing but sugar since Christmas. But, I did generally stick to the “clean eating” lifestyle I set out to. And I did work out with more dedication than I ever have before, 4-5 times a week. I even participated in a 5K this year, the first of many more I hope. After working so hard for a few months and making no progress, I sought out medical advice and found that my thyroid was significantly underactive and have since tried a series of medications to get that where it should be (it’s finally in a good place) and that I was severely deficient in vitamin D (I’m working on getting that where it should be now). Both of these things could and did play a factor in my weight loss efforts and almost immediately after changing up the medication routine, I started to finally see results. I’m hoping that having this sorted out and keeping up with the lifestyle changes I made in 2013, I’ll finally have more success where my weight loss goals are concerned in 2014.


7. Baking – Boy did I ever! No, seriously, one month I tracked just how much “creating” in the kitchen I did and in the end it was a whole 7 days worth. That doesn’t sound like a lot in comparison to a 30 day month, but when you think I lost an entire week to just baking – that many hours spent solely in the kitchen – it actually is quite significant. I baked pies and cookies galore, with a few other interesting desserts on the side. I even tried my hand at a few dinners, which is completely out of my realm since I’m not much of a cook, but found myself successful with those dishes as well. Overall, I think I nailed this. My cookies this year were a HUGE hit and my pies were so loved by others that someone actually paid me to make them pies for their holiday celebration. It blew my mind.


8. Productivity – I’d say that I definitely made better use of my time in 2013, but it came at a cost, for sure. While I was able to squeeze in a workout regimen with my work schedule (a work schedule that involved more overtime than I’ve ever worked before) and be a writer, reader, baker, photographer, and you know, still spend time with the people I love, IT. WAS. HARD. Not just hard mentally, but physically. I feel like I was more tired this year than ever before (and partly that could have been the medical issues weighing me down, too). I found myself really regretting using the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” because what good was I to anyone and myself if I felt dead already anyway? None at all. So while I definitely did make the best of my time, I think this year I’ve gotta find a better balance of that use of time and remember that it’s perfectly okay (and necessary) to take a day off for nothing sometimes. I saw Sevenly post the quote, “If you’re too busy to smile, you’re too busy” at the peak of my busiest moments and it hit me hard. I was miserable because I had too much going on, like ready to break down and cry. I don’t want to reach that place again in 2014.


I’d say as far as resolutions go, I’m pretty pleased with my achievements in 2013. Sure, they could have been better, but they were already worlds better than anything I achieved in 2012 and I’m proud of myself for mostly sticking to my goals. I know resolutions aren’t for everyone, but they are a good way to guide me and so I’m sticking with them!


Now… what exactly do I hope to accomplish in 2014? 😉




2013 Resolutions

Last year I didn’t bother making a resolutions list because I’d failed pretty bad at achieving anything I’d set out to the year before, but I think it was a poor decision on my part because I am a list-maker by nature. Even the smallest tasks get written down day-to-day on a post-it and there is this great satisfaction for me when I get to scratch it off once it’s complete. I’m also someone who is pretty critical of myself and the expectations I set for myself, but last year I set none. Basically 2012 was a free-for-all in my head which isn’t wise for a planner like me. I love to live by a schedule. I’m not good at winging it. And so, this year I’ve decided to get back on the resolution train in hopes that this time next year I’m a lot more okay with where I am in my life than I was this year.

So, here’s a list of things I’d like to do this year.

  1. Finish one of my novels. Even if it’s the roughest draft ever, I need a completed manuscript in my hands. I’m just not sure I can keep letting myself believe I can actually be a successful writer one day if I have yet to produce a finished product. So far all I’m good at is having great ideas, great beginnings, but without endings that makes me pretty useless. It’s really time to prove to myself that I can do this.
  1. Write more in general. I suppose this is similar to above, but I mean in different ways. I have short stories I could write, I have other novels that haven’t really budged in a while. I want to improve on that too. I want to really absorb the writer’s life and it seems to me that none of them are ever just working on one thing.
  1. Read 60 books. I don’t know why, but 60 was the number I was really shooting for this year and I came close. There were a few months were I only read one book or none at all. As long as I don’t let that happen again this year, I should be able to achieve this. But just reading 60 books isn’t the only part of this resolution, I want some of those books to be classics, I don’t read nearly enough, and I’d like to sneak in a re-read or two as well. For years now I’ve been wanting to re-read my favorite book (ACHERON, a Dark-Hunter novel), but because of it’s enormous size and the time it would take to read it I always tell myself I need to read something else first. I think it’s about time I get rid of that thought. It’s my favorite book; I should be allowed to re-read it whenever I want.
  1. Learn how to use my camera better, to take better pictures, and to become better acquainted with editing software. I’ve bought a few books that I hope to not only read this year, but actually apply to my effort. I’d like to have a really awesome In Review at the end of 2013 that explores my growth as a photographer.
  1. Go to at least 1 concert. I miss out on shows so much because I have no one to attend them with. It’s a sad sort of thing to love music as much as I do and have no one to enjoy it with. But I’m really regretting all of the shows I’ve missed and I think maybe I just need to get over my fear of going alone and just do it. I know it won’t be the same to go alone, but I won’t be missing it altogether either.
  1. Lose 60lbs. (+/-) This will require a clean eating lifestyle and a deeper devotion to exercise, but I’m really ready for it.
  1. Create more in the kitchen. I’ve really gotten into baking this year, more than ever before. Not only is it therapeutic in some sort of way, it’s rewarding sharing my treats with people. I got a lot of new “tools” for Christmas to improve my skills and I hope to put them to good use this year, creating my own recipes and adding healthy twists to tasty treats.
  1. Make better use of my free time. I want to be as productive as I can whenever I’m not working or sleeping. I don’t want to look back and regret lazy days. I can rest when I’m dead.

What do all of you hope to achieve in 2013?


*Fluffy Life

Everyday I find myself reflecting on the same weight related thoughts: How did I get this big? Will I ever lose all of this weight? Is this grueling routine even worth my effort? When will I feel like myself again?

In my mind I imagine myself looking much like I did when I was younger – toned and petite – but this is so far away from what I look like now. I’m not sure if it was this delusional view I have of myself that helped me get to where I am or if it’s natural to just blow up seemingly overnight when you live a fairly sedentary life. It’s probably a mixture of both.

I’d like to be one of those people who work out religiously. I could see a version of myself being this way, but trying to be that person right now at my current largeness feels like an impossible feat. There’s a disconnection between my desire to act and having the actual motivation to force myself into a new habit. Changing my eating habits has been easier.

When I first joined WW I was very opposed to the idea. You may even remember me referring to it as “AA for Fat People.” While I still have a hard time speaking up most weeks, I’ve grown to appreciate the weekly meetings. It’s amazing the things I’ve learned about how we should eat and why. It makes making food choices so much easier on a daily basis. Before I’d solely try to stay within my point range no matter what I was eating, but I found myself hungry and aggravated with no results. Now I eat quite a bit a day, but I’ve chosen “power” foods that help increase the weight loss process (like a lot of fruits and vegetables which are zero points) or foods high in protein to keep me full longer. It has changed my weight loss efforts drastically.

Overall I’ve only lost 10 lbs, but all of that has been recent weight loss because I just wasn’t doing it right in the beginning. While I still have so much more to go, I feel so much better already with just those first 10 lbs gone. There’s not turning back for me at this point. I am more determined than ever. I will succeed!

Peace – Sarah

*Instead of using the term “fat” our WW leader uses the word “fluffy.” When I think “fluffy” I think furry bunnies, cats, or dogs, soft stuffed toys, etc… and because of this I find her usage of the word “fluffy” in regards to fat people very amusing.



4 on the 4th

Like my lack of activity on LJ in November, I also failed miserably last month at my goals. I guess getting an “A” the previous month was a one time thing because I completely bombed my month’s goals. So bad, in fact, that I wish I didn’t have to report the following.

As usual, a review of last month’s goals are shown in italic, while my comments on their success are shown below each in bold.

1. Write: 10,000 words. They don’t necessarily have to be for my current WIP, but I need to be writing more again. Plus, it’s NaNo month. Everyone else is busy busting their butts trying to write, I might as well too even if I’m not participating in the event.

FAIL: Didn’t even come close to happening. I rounded out the month with a little more than 1,000 words which is just unacceptable and sad.

2. Read: This month’s books to-be-read are CLOCKWORK ANGEL (The Infernal Devices Book 1) and THE MORTAL INSTRUMENT Series (all 3). They’re fairly large books and since I really want to write more this month I’m only shooting to finish 4 books this month. However, I did receive FALLEN (to borrow) and TORMENT (I won) and so by the end of the month I may be digging into them just because I can’t help myself. We’ll see.

FAIL: I honestly never thought a month would go by where I could actually fail this goal, but I did this month. First, I didn’t read the books I set out to read. Instead I read, FALLEN, TORMENT, and FIRELIGHT, and I started reading HALO, but I didn’t finish it in time and so I fail. SMH.

3. Book Buying: Still on lockdown. I do have one book on pre-order (George Bush’s DECISION POINTS), but Heath intends to read that first so I’ll likely add it to my December reads. Christmas is right around the corner now so buying any other books for myself would just be wrong.

SUCCESS: The only success I’ll see this month is that I didn’t buy any books from my own pocket. I did get to buy DECISION POINTS because it was already pre-ordered and I also got to buy Dark-Hunter Vol. 2 & 3, HALO, FIRELIGHT, and NIGHTSHADE via diamante_negra’s early Christmas gift, but outside of that the only other books I bought this month were gifts for other people 🙂

4. Weight: Lose at least another 5 lbs. Do something physically active at least twice a week.

FAIL: I’m not even sure why I thought I could lose weight this month considering it’s a month set on eating holiday based foods which are just fattening by default. And because of said deliciousness, I actually gained weight… so yeah, I fail.

Overall, I scored a super low “D” or a high “E” – neither of which are passing in any way, shape, or form, but to be honest I kind of don’t care this month. It’s the holiday season and my mind is definitely pre-occupied with other things so….

Bring on December’s Goals (Which will be nothing like any of the other goals I’ve had for the past couple of months)!

Goals for December:

1. Writing: Write a short story that’s Christmas themed along with my Crit Group. Word Count doesn’t matter.

2. Book Buying: No books for me, only for my friends 😉

3. Christmas Spirit & Mood: Keep it alive; don’t be dismal this month – no matter what!

So, that’s it. Only 3 goals, and fairly easy goals at that so it shouldn’t be that difficult. Once the New Year’s upon us I will have a far more determined and serious goal list, one I intend to break down in a different fashion each month to ensure that I accomplish those goals every month leading up to the ultimate yearly goal!

See you in the New Year 😉

Peace – Sarah



6 on the 6th (On time for once!)

This past month seemed to have passed by far too quickly, but then again I’ve noticed with every year I age time seems to slip away faster and faster. ::Sigh:: Anyway, it’s that time of the month again. Goal review time. Let’s see how I measured this month.

As usual, a review of last month’s goals are shown in italic, while my comments on their success are shown below each in bold.

1. Write – I’m shooting for 20,000 words again. I came close last month and if I just stay focused I can do it this month.

FAIL – Honestly, with as much as I read this month I didn’t leave much time for writing, but I didn’t completely drop the ball, I just didn’t reach my goal. I finished the month with just under 11,000 words which isn’t terrible, but it’s not 20,000.

2. Read – I can’t pretend I’d be capable of staying away from a book for longer than a week so I’m not going to even attempt to tame my addiction right now. Plus reading keeps my writing sharp, I have to do it! But since I’m proving to blow through books at ridiculous speeds now (for me at least), I’ll up the goal by 1. Read 4 books for September.

SUCCESS – And a huge one at that. Seriously, I never thought myself capable of reading as much as I do now, but every month that passes I impress myself more and more. I reached my monthly goal shortly after the first week of the month and it just seemed like after that I was testing myself to see just how much I could actually read if I tried (not that it was hard considering I was reading something highly addictive in nature, but still). Anyway, I finished the month with reading 11 books total! 11, can you believe that? I don’t know if that’s common, but I feel like patting myself on the back for it because never in my life could I have seen myself blowing through books like that.

3. Buying Books – So I’ve already ordered the next three Dark-Hunter books, even though I bargained with myself last month after my sick shopping splurge that I wouldn’t be able to buy more books until October. The idea of that, I realize now, is just ridiculous. This is me we’re talking about here. I’m like a wild beast for them. But I will try and keep it a bit tamed. I have a book on pre-order this month and if I buy anymore books it will only be more Dark-Hunter books as they are fairly cheap and I will have almost all of them soon anyway.

SUCCESS – In my mind at least. I said that if I bought any books this month that I would only be the remaining Dark-Hunter books and so that’s what I did. Now, there were apparently quiet a few more to buy than I thought originally, but still I stuck to my word. The other books I received this month were either already pre-ordered and paid for or won.

4. Weight – 5lbs. This has to happen. It’s no longer something I can keep overlooking. My weight is at the ‘spiraling out of control’ point and I can’t even stand to look at myself. That’s a problem. Plus I already promised my sister we’d do weight watchers together in preparation for her wedding next year. I have a lot more to lose than she does, but somehow it’s easier when you’re doing it with someone else. As far as working out (which is a necessity in my battle with this fat suit), I have to find something. I did Wii this weekend and thought I was going to die, but it was fun. It’s something I may steal from my Mom. Or I suppose with fall drawing near I could actually go to the track. All I know is I need cardio – BAD!

FAIL – My weight has been on a rollercoaster ride this month. First I lost weight, then I grained half of it back, then I lost some more and gained it back. Then I got sick and lost 5 lbs in 2 days (likely water weight), then I gained some more weight back over the weekend. I just can’t get this under control.

5. Music – Let it keep coming. Obviously it’s helping me write more consistently again and so I won’t stifle it. Time to update the book’s soundtrack though as it has changed greatly from what it once was.

SUCCESS – I did update my books soundtrack and the new music I’ve been listening to has given me loads of ideas for future chapters and edits.

6. Pray – I’ve fallen out of this habit and nothing good ever comes of that. Maybe it’s why I continue to get little spikes of depression more than usual lately and maybe my stress level over other issues wouldn’t be so high if I remembered to pay Him the respect He deserves.

SUCCESS – With the bonus of answered prayers. Had that scare with my Dad this month (remember the almost heart attack?), but luckily it looks like it might have just been stress induced, part of said stress was that fact that my father, like me, works in the engineering field and because of the fallen economy has been out of work for a year now. But our prayers for work have finally been answered and the weight of that stress has been lifted because he starts a job next week as Senior Project Manager at one of my companies rivaling engineering firms. Yay Dad!

So my grade for the month is a ’C’, which still was never passing in my home growing up, but it’s better than the failure I faced last month so I’m going to try and see the bright side of things and hope it motivates me even better next month. And speaking of next month….

New Goals for October:

1. Write – I’m going to reduce the word count this month. I’m starting to think my ability to produce 20,000 words in one month was a one time thing/fluke and maybe if I drop the number I won’t be as intimidated. So for October, I want to write at least 10,000 words.

2. Read – No problem here (obviously as I’m officially a book-a-holic). But since I blew my goal away so much last month and I already know I’ll be reading at minimum 3 more Dark-Hunter books alone as well as THE REPLACEMENT and BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS closer to Halloween (for their scary factor) that will be 5 books total this month. So as long as I can at least do that, I’m good (which I have no doubt I can accomplish).

3. Buying Books – It’s forbidden. I will receive BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS this month, but it was pre-ordered two months ago and is already paid for. I told myself I will not buy anymore books until after Christmas and I’m sticking to it. I have plenty to read.

4. Weight – Really work for those 5 lbs. and keep them off. Rachel and I are already going dress shopping (for her wedding) the last weekend in October and I’d like to be a little less heavy for the first round of dress testing. My goal is to lose at minimum 50 lbs by next September (her wedding). If I really dedicate myself to it, there’s really no reason why that’s not feasible.

Four goals shouldn’t be hard to work at as long as I practice managing my time better and stay focused. Truthfully, reading seems to be my worst distraction which is odd. Most of the writers I know say it’s the internet, but like I mentioned in my post yesterday it seems I’m going backwards in the way of technology. If it weren’t for the fact that I can only communicate with most of my friends via the internet I doubt I’d even miss it. But I do miss my friends and this is why I feel guilty for bailing on it for too many days at a time (not to mention it takes so much longer to play catch up).

Anyway, hope everyone attempting goals this month has success with theirs and hopefully by the 4th of November I’ll be reporting an ’A’ for the month!

Peace – Sarah


Note: I spent a great deal of time today catching up on what appears to be weeks of missed posts. Where the hell was I? Aside from all of m_stiefvater’s Tour posts and the short stories on tangledfiction, merry_fates, and sistersfate I’m finally caught up (I think). I will tackle the rest another day, probably this weekend when I have more time to soak up the content better!



**7 on the 7th

**This should have been 4 on the 4th, but with my mind locked in another realm the internet was foreign to me at the time. Sorry, better late than never I guess…

As usual, a review of last month’s goals are shown in italic, while my comments on their success are shown below each in bold.

1. Write – This is always goal #1. I am so incredibly eager to finish my book (for the second time) and get it in motion. So I’m pushing hard on this one. This month my word count goal is 20,000. If I was able to do all that I did this month in basically a week there should be no reason why I can’t do it in a month. And I’m really hoping I will double the goal again next month. That would really put me ahead of the game.

FAIL – I came close, but I only finished the month with 19,200 words (not all of which I even kept). It could have been so easy to get to 20,000 but Sherrilyn wouldn’t let me. Yeah, I’ll blame her. (J/K)

2. Read – Read at least 3 books again this month. This number doesn’t intimidate me and so I will stick to it. Plus of the writing I’ve done this month and shared with my mother she is just blown away by the improvement in ability in just the last year and the fact that I’ve learned it all just from reading. So obviously it’s not something I should cut back on, it’s important. Like free schooling since I’ve never been officially trained. As far as buying books goes. Well I still have 2 books from last months purchases to finish before I should let myself buy more so I will try and uphold myself to that, but my dad is in the process of building me a bookcase and something tells me the second I have it I will be even more tempted to buy what’s waiting for me in my Amazon shopping cart. Those books are: “Captivate” by Carrie Jones, “The Iron King” by Julie Kagawa, and “Fantasy Lover” (Dark-Hunter Book 1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

SUCCESS/FAIL – I’m going to have to start separating these two goals into reading and purchasing because as far as reading is concerned, I read more books this month than I’ve ever read in a month. Finishing six books total, one of which I read twice. As far as purchasing is concerned however, I failed miserably, buying over fifteen books this month.

3. Weight – At least 5 more lbs. I really need to take this weight loss thing more seriously for more than one reason. The most important is my health though. I am wearing 60 more lbs than I should be for my height and age and with those high cholesterol levels the combination is not good. Now the hypothyroidism could be playing a part in this inability to lose weight lately, but hopefully I can get that under control too in the next couple of months. But I’ve also got a little over a year to be ready to stand in my sisters wedding and I don’t want her looking bad with me as “the Blob” in her wedding party.

FAIL – I gained 5lbs. That’s all I have to say about that. Pitiful, I know.

4. Music – Stop Avoiding it. I can’t believe I’m really saying that because Lord knows it can be so distracting to me at times, but I’ve found over the last week with my newly acquired obsession with “Local Natives” that new tunes are necessary sometimes and since my old playlist isn’t exactly giving me the motivation it used to it’s time to let some new songs into my vision. My sister is making me a mix CD based on my acceptance and enjoyment of her “Local Natives” suggestion so hopefully there will be some more goodies to get addicted to on there. Any other suggestions are welcome 🙂

SUCCESS – I listened to several new tunes this month at the aid of my sister and Heather (aka edgyauthor) and they’ve been quite beneficial to my writing.

Overall grade for the month? A sad “D”, which as stated in previous month’s goal reviews was never a passing grade in my home, even a “C” wasn’t passing. Shame on me. You would think with less goals to focus on it would have been a lot easier to complete them, but apparently my mind wanted to be elsewhere for the better part of this month.

Fingers crossed this is not the case this month….

Now, new goals for September:

1. Write – I’m shooting for 20,000 words again. I came close last month and if I just stay focused I can do it this month.

2. Read – I can’t pretend I’d be capable of staying away from a book for longer than a week so I’m not going to even attempt to tame my addiction right now. Plus reading keeps my writing sharp, I have to do it! But since I’m proving to blow through books at ridiculous speeds now (for me at least), I’ll up the goal by 1. Read 4 books for September.

3. Buying Books – So I’ve already ordered the next three Dark-Hunter books, even though I bargained with myself last month after my sick shopping splurge that I wouldn’t be able to buy more books until October. The idea of that, I realize now, is just ridiculous. This is me we’re talking about here. I’m like a wild beast for them. But I will try and keep it a bit tamed. I have a book on pre-order this month and if I buy anymore books it will only be more Dark-Hunter books as they are fairly cheap and I will have almost all of them soon anyway.

4. Weight – 5lbs. This has to happen. It’s no longer something I can keep overlooking. My weight is at the ‘spiraling out of control’ point and I can’t even stand to look at myself. That’s a problem. Plus I already promised my sister we’d do weight watchers together in preparation for her wedding next year. I have a lot more to lose than she does, but somehow it’s easier when you’re doing it with someone else. As far as working out (which is a necessity in my battle with this fat suit), I have to find something. I did Wii this weekend and thought I was going to die, but it was fun. It’s something I may steal from my Mom. Or I suppose with fall drawing near I could actually go to the track. All I know is I need cardio – BAD!

5. Music – Let it keep coming. Obviously it’s helping me write more consistently again and so I won’t stifle it. Time to update the book’s soundtrack though as it has changed greatly from what it once was.

6. Pray – I’ve fallen out of this habit and nothing good ever comes of that. Maybe it’s why I continue to get little spikes of depression more than usual lately and maybe my stress level over other issues wouldn’t be so high if I remembered to pay Him the respect He deserves.

So that’s it, September goals… Let’s hope it’s a better month next month than it was last month.

Peace – Sarah