NaNoWriMo 2014

Happy, happy, happppyyyy National Novel Writing Month. In all the cool kids circles, it’s known as, of course, NaNoWriMo.

Unfortunately, in my case this year, it’s more like Na-No Write-Mo. Well, I am writing, actually. But my goal is definitely not 50,000 words in a one month time frame, and it’s the first time in three years that I’m not participating. Boo. I made my mind up that I wasn’t going to take the challenge a few days before November. I was seriously debating about it when I looked into the coming months and saw term papers, sports club, debate, theatre, the university newspaper, a family visit, and procrastinating on the internet all coming, and coming too fast, and wow, wait, you’re sure I have that much going on and ohMYGOSH I’M EVEN THINKING ABOUT ADDING 50,000 WORDS ONTO ALL OF THIS? AM I INSANE? So yeah, excuses excuses (you know me!) but I decided that I didn’t want to go completely insane just in time for Christmas, and declined to do NaNo this year.

And although I can’t say I exactly regret my decision, I can say that I do miss all the NaNo-ey things that would be peppering this month, if I had accepted. Late night writing sessions with soda and popcorn and candy. Fun writing sprints where the Word document stays up for at least an hour, no exceptions, no distractions. The sense of being a part of a community of awesome, fun loving, dedicated writers. Plus, I miss the challenge bit of it. I miss competing with myself. Miss that initial thrill as I watch the word count surge upwards. Miss the slum that comes in the middle, solely for the rush that comes from powering through the slum, and making it to the 50k…sometimes on the very last day possible. I just miss it, guys. And I know I’m rambling on and on, so I’ll stop with this train of thought here.

I will tell you one thing that NaNoWriMo has done for me, though. It’s made this month into a freaking time paradox. How is it already more than half-way through the month? How, I ask you. I seriously thought it was still sometime in the first week of the month before I looked down at my laptop’s dashboard and realized for the umpteenth time–Erin, you have a messed-up sense of time. Somehow, NaNoWriMo always slowed the month of November down for me. All that writing put a strain on me, and under the burden of so many words it seemed that each day merely crawled by. Not in a bad way, because the days were enjoyable. But yes, definitely slower. Now, though? December might just be tomorrow.

Okay, I’m going to have to refocus myself here, because I just remembered that this was not supposed to be a post talking about what I miss about NaNoWriMo or blah blah blah. It was just supposed to be a shout-out to anyone reading my blog who is doing NaNoWriMo. I wanted to say: Congratulations! You’re half-way through the month. (Don’t Panic.) That means only a couple of more weeks until you’re finished! Until you’re part of that well-deserved winner’s circle. Because I truly believe that you can do it. I don’t care how far you are right now. You have two weeks, and that’s enough to either keep the momentum going, or add 49,000 words to that 1k you dabbled around with. I trust you. You’re awesome. Keep being awesome. That is all. And if you do end up not making the mark? Well, I still trust you! You’ll get there next year! Or, you’ll end up like me, talking about NaNoWriMo next year, and really, really wishing that you had the guts to stop making excuses and just do it.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If so–no time for comments, get back to writing folks! (Just kidding. Leave me comments, and then go back to your writing. You know I love them. :D) 

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Sunday Funday: Week in Review (2)

With the end of the week comes a week in review, hosted by Girl in the Pages.  This is a fun meme that has you recapping the things that’s been happening in your life, whether book related or not. If you want to join in, click on the link above–it’ll take you to Cristina’s page where she explains what the meme is all about.

It’s summer time, which means I have a fair measure of free time floating around. That said, you’d think I’d be doing all these cool things and adventures, when in reality I’m just kind of milling around, drinking coffee at coffee places and reading books at home. Not that I don’t love doing those things, but they’re kind of a given for me, you know? I’ve done a couple of different things this week, though.

Namely: 

  • I made baklava. This dessert dates back to the Assyrians in the 8th century B.C., and consists of seven hundred thousand like twenty layers of phyllo dough, whose sole purpose in life is to dissolve into sneaky little shreds that are then deemed unusable until you go into rage mode and start tearing them into shreds on purpose. Between these layers go chopped up nuts, and lots of butter, before you bake it and drench it in honey sauce.

Even though I had a little trouble with it (I’m looking at you phyllo dough, and you, almost empty pot of honey) Baklava wasn’t as hard to make as I imagined it to be. And that’s saying something, because I’m no gourmet chef. Like, I’ve been baking more often lately, but that’s only because I like challenges, and cooking is somewhat of a challenge to me. Anyways, if you want to try your own hand at Baklava, the recipe I used was based on the one here: The Kitchn, with a couple of twists because I ran out of honey, and had to improvise…

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(This is the baklava pre-syrup, so it looks more glossy afterwards. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the after version until several chunks were torn out unceremoniously.) 

  • I cut my hair. Well, not I personally, but I in a decision-making way. It’s now a little below shoulder length, and when I saw those huge chunks of dead ends falling to the floor, I had to summon the strength that every Gryffindor possesses. My friends! My memories! The long-haired time we spent together shall not be forgotten…and, truth be told, it will probably be back in a couple of months. But still.

 

  • Speaking of Gryffindor, when I’m bored, I take quizzes, and I was particularly bored at three in the morning last night, so I ended up taking a 150 question test that sorts you into your Hogwarts House. This test is one of the coolest I’ve found, because it’s so comprehensive, and bases it more off personality traits than ‘what would you do in this situation’ questions. Don’t trust me, though. Go take it for yourself, and tell me what house you were sorted into! I got Gryffindor, followed a little ways behind by Slytherin.(Harry Potter Quiz)
  • I also had to go get a shot this week. It went a lot smoother than I thought it would go. In fact, if you’re interested, this was the unofficial transcript:

Me: You must not embarrass yourself, Erin. Stop shaking. Stop that. And don’t make that face. Oh, no. The nurse is coming closer…oh, no…she has the needle with her. Oh, my gosh, that’s not even a needle. That’s a sharpened version of the Empire State Building. 

Nurse: Are you ready?

Me: Of course. I love shots.

Nurse: Okay, in that case, you’re going to need to give me your arm.

Me: The needle has to go INSIDE ME? This is worse than I could have imagined. Maybe I don’t need the shot…yes, I need it for my university, but does anybody really need an education? Maybe if I take laughing gas first, then I’ll be ready, and–

Nurse: Done.

Me: What? Preens. I’m so brave! 

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that bad. But I was definitely anticipating the pain, and when the shot came, I realized that I’ve had more intense ant bites. I never know why I hype up needles to be more than they are; I’m not exactly new to pain. My brother and I used to play a game where we’d slap each other until someone gave, and that was considered fun, so I really should have no trouble, but what can I say?

After I was done, I decided to reward myself by going to the nearby Starbucks. I’m not that much of a girly girl, but you would not know that by my choice of drink. I introduce to you: the iced caramel macchiatto with two pumps of raspberry.

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(Order for the delicious fruity-caramel flavor. Instagram for the appearance.)

  • And finally, I ordered the newest Nancy Drew in order to indulge my inner-sleuth. (Warning: My inner sleuth was drinking coffee and drawing pictures on her wrist when the instructions on how to be a proper detective were passed out.) I always get super excited to play a new Nancy Drew game, but I love it more for the story lines than the actual solving puzzles thing. Usually I have the walk-through pulled up on my phone to sneak glances whenever I get stuck for too long. I can’t help it! I just want to know who the villain is, and what happens in the end! This means I usually blow through a Nancy game in less than a week, while my sister actually solves the riddles and ends up taking six or seven months, working meticulously on the game, taking the time to read the journals, use up every conversation line on the people, etc. Anyways, after the completion of Nancy Drew #30, I got to see a teaser clip for the next one. Which, can I say this: YES. It takes place in Greece, and it centers on the mythology of Hades and Persephone. I’m psyched out! I’m so excited I might not even use the walk through fifty percent of the time…maybe.

How has your week been? Done anything interesting or out of the norm or normal or not interesting but you want to share? Let me know in the comments below! 😀 

 

 

Sunday Funday: Week in Review (1)

Yay! I saw this cool meme at Girl in the Pages. It’s basically a fun way (hence funday) to talk about what’s happening in your life, apart from all that reading, of course!

Week Of: July 7th – 13th 2014

1. I finally submitted my visa application. So happy I can barely breathe. I always go overly cautious when I’m dealing with important documentations, so it took me longer than it should have to gather all the necessary materials and send this off. But I did, and now (hopefully) I’ll be able to spend the year in London as part of my study abroad program for my university. Travel is one of my favorite things in the world, and so I’m kind of freaking about this. So, seriously happy! Coming from a relatively suburban place, the chance to not just spend the year in a big city, but in a whole different country (and continent!) has me  dancing all over the place.

2. After two attempts at making macarons went less than ideal, I finally, finally got it right! I made chocolate macarons with chocolate ganache filling, and besides tasting great, they even look like real macarons! Just so you can compare the difference, here’s my second batch of macarons compared to the ones that finally behaved.

For anybody who has tried to make macarons before, they’re pretty fickle creatures, with the ability to go wrong at any small mistake, especially when you don’t follow the directions to the very letter (something I’m notorious for). After drying up about fifteen dollars in lost supplies, though, I finally got my act together! I think a pinch of cream of tartar was really what did the trick 🙂

IMG_2473 (My failed batch of macarons. They tasted ok, but were horribly wonky looking.) 

 

IMG_2481 (Macarons just out of the oven. They actually rose this time!) 

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3. Went to see Jersey Boys (movie version, not play). The movie was good, but not great. The beginning was a bit slow, and I thought certain parts were kind of choppy and could have been put together more smoothly. The songs were cool, though, and now I have the Four Seasons on replay on my Spotify lists. Oh, what a night!

4. Been watching Netflix. Alarming amounts of Netflix. ‘Nuff said.

What have you been doing lately? Having any fundays? Let me know in the comments below! 

Vacation in Volumes

So, if you’ve seen a couple of my past blog posts, you’ll know that I am currently on vacation. My family and I are taking a two-week sojourn in the beautiful state of Michigan, traveling from one city to the next with exhausting velocity. Today we took an eight mile kayaking trip on a river whose name I’m too lazy to spell, and now I’m chilling in the hotel room for a moment before grabbing a cup of coffee. Anyways, since we’ve been traveling from place to place so much, I’ve had a lot of time to read. And knowing that I’d have a lot of time to read, I brought a fair amount of books (not counting those on my iPad). I always bring books in different genres to fit my possible moods. This post is kind of like a book haul post, but just vacation-y themed, since I already bought most of these books and have been just waiting for a time to read them!

1. More Than This by Patrick Ness (The Dystopian) 

I got a free copy of this from a library contest about a year ago, but somehow never got around to reading it. I finished it the other day, though, and it was a lot more interesting than I honestly thought it would be. I was a little bit confused to as where it was going first, but before long I was fully hooked.

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2.Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (The Fantasy) 

I got this book from Barnes and Nobles a while ago, but it became hidden on my shelf over the months, and I just never got to it. I’ve started it on this trip, and so far, am liking what I’m seeing. Only about a hundred pages in, though, (and this book is massive), so I can’t judge yet. I think this one has the prettiest cover of all the ones I brought, though, so even though you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, it didn’t hurt when I picked it out.

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3. So Long and Thanks for all the Fish by Douglas Adams (The Science Fiction with Humor) 

This is the fourth book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and I just had to bring at least one of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books. So Long won by luck of the draw. And by draw I mean I was running late and picked up the first one I saw and crammed it into my book bag. I also brought the guide to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so I could read up on some fun facts!

4. Kissed by An Angel by Elizabeth Chandler (The Romance) 

See my past review for what I thought about this one. It was not good things. Not good things. But…an easy read for a vacation.

Kissed by an Angel

5. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (The Classic) 

This was one of my dad’s favorites, and it looks adventure-y, which I thought was good for an adventure-y vacation. Hopefully I’ll get to read this one soon, maybe while on the way to Mackinac Island. Then I would just smile with satisfaction every time I compared the two islands because I’m that kind of person.

6. Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer (Another Fantasy, but with a very different feel) 

I love Artemis Fowl, and every time I go somewhere I cannot resist bringing at least one book that I’ve read at least ten times. It’s like how some people bring their favorite pillows or their most worn-in stuffed animals. I always need at least one book that is like an old friend to me, and this book was that one.

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I’m also reading a few books like Gone with the Wind and Anna Karenina on my iPad, but those ones above are the only physical books I brought. I’ll probably have read them all by the time I finish the week out, and so if you have any suggestions, I’m stopping by a bookstore soon and would love to have them! Also, what are your favorite books to bring on vacation? Do you usually prefer a certain genre over another while on the go? Let me know in the comments! As always, thanks for stopping by!