Tag Archives: in review

2012 In Review: Writing

It’s rather sad that another year of my life has passed without a completed novel in my possession. And my word count this year is only slightly better than last years, but at least I’ll report it this time because if you’ve been keeping track all year you can do the math yourself anyway.

28, 224 words in 2012. There, I said it. Maybe now that it’s out there and I have to carry the shame of all of you knowing it, it will force me to try harder in 2013? I sure as hell hope so.

So, why such a low number this year? Honestly, I’m not sure I have a good reason. I’m constantly thinking back to a few years ago when I wrote 134K words in less than a year and I try to understand what was so different then. What I’m doing wrong in comparison now. But I don’t have any answers. All I know it that this year I at least tried to be more consistent, to write every month, even if it was just a little. I didn’t always succeed, but I did write more consistently this year than last.

I also let shiny new ideas take off when they came to me instead of trying to suppress them for the sake of the current WIP like I have in previous years. As a result, I currently have 3 WIP’s. Yeah… I’m still not sure how well that sits with me because it hasn’t really amounted to a better word count, but it did keep me writing when I wouldn’t have been if I’d been sitting around waiting for my one and only WIP to feed me words. I suppose in 2013, one of my goals will be learning how to juggle 3 WIP’s more successfully.

And I started and finished a couple short stories again finally. After writing none last year, I felt like it was something I needed to work back into my writing routine. It’s good practice. And if nothing else, it helped increase my word count during those months when none of my books wanted to play nice with me. In case you missed those short stories this year, you can check them out here:

A Pill for Bravery

Intrusion

So, I feel sort of weird about this year in review because I’m not completely disappointed with my writing this year. I mean, it’s not really worth being proud of, but it’s also not worth hating. But I really, really do hope to achieve more in 2013. It’s time to be more productive, to spend my free time more wisely, to try harder than I have before. I’m not sure my confidence in this future can sustain another year of so-so success. I want the real thing. I’m hungry for it, even if the real thing is only reaching my own personal goals.

Writer peeps, how did you fare in 2012? What do you hope to achieve in 2013?

2012 In Review: Music (Part 1)

Top 10 Most Played Tracks

For the most part, if you’ve followed my Music Friday posts or my monthly In Review posts, you might be able to predict some of this list. But even if you see a lot of it coming, it’s still fun to see exactly what had the most plays overall for the year. Countdown to number one with me as we bring 2012 to a close!

10. Of Monsters and Men – “From Finner”

I’m sort of surprised this track made the top ten, but not because I didn’t love it – it’s just that I was sure there were other songs I’d listened to more. Turns out I apparently listened to this a lot more than I thought while working on Beyond the Trees this summer

9. Artifex Pereo – “Liable for Tragedy”

It probably shouldn’t surprise you that a song by one of my favorite artists made the top ten this year, especially since they did last year too. Now that their new singer lives near the rest of the band, I am letting myself get really excited for new music. I’ve got my fingers crossed that 2013 is the year! 

8. O’ Brother – “Lo”

Easily one of my favorite *new bands of 2012, but I’ll say more about them in Part 2 of my Music In Review posts! 😀

*new to me, not necessarily to the world

7. The Black Keys – “Hell of a Season”

It didn’t come as a shock that The Black Keys put out another solid album this year. They’ve somehow managed to capture that old school sound and make it work in the modern world so well that as long as they keep doing that I’m sure they’ll be around making quality music for a long time. 

6. Four Year Strong – “Falling on You”

I gave this band a shot this year after seeing so many people list them as a favorite. Loved the album this song comes from so much I had to have more. I can definitely see why so many people listed them as a favorite. They’re really consistent and the kind of band I imagine would put on one hell of a show at a summer festival. 

5. Thousand Foot Krutch – “Quicken”

Heather () got me into this band this year and I’m so glad she had so much to share. A lot of TFK songs came really close to being on this list with the rest of these. I’m a big fan of subtle Christian rock so any time I stumble onto something new I really like, it’s sure to get a lot of plays. 

4. Arctic Monkeys – “R U Mine?”

If you know me at all, my love of Alex Turner and Arctic Monkeys in general shouldn’t be news to you. They released a few singles this year that I ate up like candy and there’s talk that they’ll be making a new album in 2013. I can’t wait! 

3. Underoath – “A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine”

I started the year playing Underoath ad nauseam for the sake of two of my novels and then towards the end of the year played them ad nauseam all over again because of their disbanding announcement. I am really sad Underoath will never make new music again. Such a staple in the music industry. 

2. Mindless Self Indulgence – “Tornado”

After getting reacquainted with MSI last year, they became a huge influence for my novel Dreamsters this year. With a new album slated for release in March 2013, I have no doubt they’ll be a contender for this list once again next year. 

1. Shearwater – “Breaking the Yearlings”

It’s funny to me that this, of all songs, is still the number one most played song of the year because it reached it’s height in a course of a few days and I’ve hardly listened to it since. It’s not that I don’t love the song, but it’s definitely not my favorite of the year and I’ve never even listened to other songs by this band. But at the time I downloaded it on recommendation, I literally couldn’t get enough of it and it lived on repeat alongside nothing else for a couple days before I finally had my fill.

Do you keep track of your most played music throughout the year? What made your top 10 songs in 2012?

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2 of my Music In Review, where I pay homage to the best *new bands in 2012!

*new to me, not necessarily the world

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November: In Review

November was honestly one of the most unsucessful months of the whole year for me, which is super disappointing considering how sucessful November's have been for me in the past. It's like I jinxed myself or something. I'm pretty down on myself at the moment after a series of failures this weekend and the realization that it was time to make this also full-of-fail post, so rather than try and make this long and broken up like usual, I'm just going to make this short and sour (because it can't be sweet with so little to report). 

I only wrote a little under 900 words this month. 

I only read Maggie Stiefvater's Scorpio Races.

Of all the pictures I took, this one of Gideon on Thanksgiving is really the only one worth sharing.

13 

I hardly even listened to music, but I did get into Atlas Genius at the start of the month.

I gained weight. 

I'm glad November was over with the quickness. At least this month, even if I fail at all the things I aim to improve on, it's Christmas and it's pretty hard to kill my spirit during Christmas. 

Watch, I probably just jinxed myself again. 

How was your November? Hopefully better than mine. 

October: In Review

For the first time this year, I’m not actually surprised that October was over in a flash. In fact, I’ll be surprised if the next two months don’t pass by just as quickly, if not faster. It’s just the nature of holiday season. This sucks for me since the beginning of fall marks the beginning of my favorite time of the year, but I try to not waste time moping about its fast nature and just soak up as much of it as I can while it’s here.

Writing: Even if the weather wasn’t an indicator of the changing season, I’d be able to tell it’s definitely fall because the writing bug is alive and well within me. Thank you, Autumn!

The month started off with me completing my Halloween short story. If you missed it, click HERE to read Intrusion! I’m rather fond of it and mostly because it came from a dream and while I often draw inspiration from dreams, stories rarely ever present themselves from start to finish the way this one did.

Since I finished my short story earlier than expected, I got to working on Dreamsters. After outlining the better part of the book I decided that the first two chapters I had written just didn't work so I deleted over 4K words. I haven’t added them all back yet, but I’m working on it.

Towards the end of the month we were hit with Hurricane Sandy, which left us without power for 48 hours. I used some of this powerless time to finally read my printed Crack the Sky manuscript (27 chapters worth) and see where I needed to pick it back up. It’s been a while since I read/wrote anything for Crack the Sky (like since March O_O), so I definitely needed a full read through before I could move forward. I was surprised to find that there was little to nothing I wanted to change at all, in fact I found myself captivated by the story which I hope can only be a good thing. But as I reached chapter 25, I shook my head in disturbed amusement over the remaining chapters. It is obvious to me that I must have written them when I still drank because they were horrible. The idea is there, but the execution is laughable. Needless to say, I’ve decided to can the last three chapters (3K words) and try again, not intoxicated.

So, where does that leave me for overall word count for the month? 3,895 words for October. Maybe you’re not completely wowed by that number, but I’m pretty okay with it considering it’s more than the month before. Plus, I’m hopeful that November will be even better.

Reading: For the most part I read the books I’d hoped to read this month. I am still in the middle of one unfortunately because it’s not really that good. Luckily I was smart enough not to let it keep me from other books and was able to read 7 books this month as a result! The titles of each below the picture are links to my Goodreads reviews on each book, if you’re interested.  

October Reads (Smaller)

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
Gatekeepers (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 3) by Robert Liparulo
Timescape (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 4) by Robert Liparulo
Whirlwind (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 5) by Robert Liparulo
Frenzy (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 6) by Robert Liparulo
Vampire Knight, Vol. 1 by Matsuri Hino

Photography: I tried to take pictures of more than just Gideon this month. It’s fall, after all, which in my opinion is the prettiest time of the year. Because of this, I have lots to share this month! 

Gideon Pumpkin Patch
Gideon at the Pumpkin Patch

Milburn Orchard
Milburn Orchard

The Huff's
The Huff Family

Hurricane Sandy
Flooding in my walkway during Hurricane Sandy

If you’re wondering why there aren’t pictures of Gideon on Halloween, the reason is sad. As Hurricane Sandy struck Maryland, Gideon was rushed to the hospital with a 104 degree temperature and a potential meningitis scare. After several tests (including the all-painful spinal tap) they discovered an infectious sac in his neck obstructing his breathing and mobility. They decided to transfer him to the University of Maryland’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and attempt aggressive antibiotics before deciding if he needed surgery or not. Luckily, the antibiotics seem to be working, however he is still in PICU. This situation made the hurricane even worse than it already was. Halloween was nearly forgotten in the grand scheme of things, not that we could have celebrated it the way we’d intended to anyway. 

Music: It seems strange to say I don’t really have a lot to report in this area this month, but it’s sort of true. It doesn’t mean that music didn’t make me happy and that it wasn’t played non-stop like usual, it’s just that I spent more time listening to things I’ve already posted before than anything new, and mostly because Dreamsters playlist lived on repeat A LOT! But the one band I did listen to TONS was Relief in Sleep. And you’ll never believe what characters they woke up from a year long nap: The Cleaphytes. 😀

Relief in Sleep – “Collide”

Misc. Other: For anyone following my weight loss journey, I’m now officially in a smaller size of pants and at a total weight loss of 18 lbs. It’s a slow journey, I realize, but I didn’t gain the weight overnight and I won’t lose it that way either – at least not if I plan to keep it off (which I do). I’m impressed mostly in this past month to have still maintained a successful loss despite my seasonal favorite – pumpkin – being in everything. I even baked every weekend this month, but felt no obligation to keep the baked goods and found more reward in sharing them with others. I’m feeling rather proud of myself for this.

So, what kind of accomplishments did you have in October? What do you hope to achieve in November? Sound off in the comments!

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September: In Review

It really shouldn’t surprise me how fast September seemed to pass, but here I am marveling at the fact that it’s October already. I’m not all that disappointed as we’ve officially entered my favorite time of the year, but still, time really ought to slow down just a little. Anyway, what was I up to in September? Well, let’s see…

Writing

I don’t have some magnificent number to report. I’m hoping October and November are the months I wow you with a hefty word count since I’m statically more apt to write a lot in the fall, but I do have a number and one I’m not ashamed of. In fact, I’m quite excited about it because it’s for a short story I hope to share with you by the week of Halloween (for it’s “scary” nature). I wrote 2,188 words in September, which is about 2/3 of the way through the short. Can’t wait to wrap it up and then start working on my novels again this month!

Reading

Surprisingly I read quite a bit this month considering I also spent my free time writing. It feels nice to have a healthier balance, where usually one side of these two things suffers when the other is flourishing. Anyway, at the beginning of the month I made a list of at least 10 books I wanted to read before the years end and if those 10 books were the only books I read then I’d be okay with that, since I am more apt to write in the fall and holiday season always translates to less free time to do these things. But, I’ve already read 4 of those 10 books this month so I’m feeling even more confident I can beat my own personal goal and maybe even sneak in a few other books just for fun like I did this month. In September, I read 6 books as shown below (clicking the titles will take you to my reviews on each book):

September Reads

Time Untime (Dark-Hunter, Book 17) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Guardian (Dream-Hunter, Book 5) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
The House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 1) by Robert Liparulo
Foxfire (Other, Book 3) by Karen Kincy
Hidden (Firelight, Book 3) by Sophie Jordan
Watcher in the Woods (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 2) by Robert Liparulo

Photography

     All of my planned photo shoots this month fell through. My sister got a new job and her schedule was so busy there just wasn’t time for them. But Gideon got his first haircut this month and sadly no longer looks like a baby, but a little boy instead. It had to happen, his hair was getting so long, but it’s a little sad to say goodbye to baby Gideon and hello to little kid Gideon. 
     

gideon 1

gideon 2

Music

As usual, music was mighty good to me in September.

Envy on the Coast – “Head First in the River”

The drummer of Artifex Pereo turned me onto this band this month and I totally fell in-love. To the point that picking a favorite is impossible, but there were a few that got more plays than others, this being one of them. 

Good Charlotte – “In this World (Murder)”

I’m no stranger to Good Charlotte. They grew up near me and I was very active in watching them climb to fame, but I lost track of them for a lot of years between then and now. Heather got me interested in them again and I’m so glad I’ve caught up because I missed so much great music. I’m sure this particular song will continue to get a lot of plays it will be perfect to write Crack the Sky to! 

Sleigh Bells – “Demons”

I’ve already posted a Sleigh Bells song before, so this isn’t new to me this month, but it got a ton of plays because it’s the song I’m writing my Halloween short story to. While the story doesn’t have anything to do with demons, the song definitely has the sound my characters would listen to. Imagine a bad ass walk sequence to this. :)

The Birthday Massacre – “Looking Glass”

I’m still a little baffled that my dad can take credit for me getting into this band this month. I would never imagine my dad giving this band a shot, but his new obsession with listening to Pandora on his iPhone has turned him onto all sorts of bands I’d never expect. Anyway, I like to describe this band as a merging of Evanescence and Depeche Mode, and really, that sounds pretty awesome already, don’t you think?

So, friends, how was your September? What great achievements did you have? What do you hope to achieve in October? Sound off in the comments! :)

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August: In Review

Somehow August managed to seem unusually long and fast at the same time. I know, this is impossible, but it happened. At the end of every week, I was blown away by how quickly it had passed, but every time I glanced at the calendar wishing fall was closer, it was still August. So how did I fare in this long/fast month?

Writing: I wrote 1463 words for my short story and finally finished it! This is the first short story I’ve finished in over a year so I’m feeling pretty happy about it. If you missed its original posting and care to read it click HERE for “A Pill for Bravery.”

Reading: I only managed to read 2 books this month. I’m not necessarily in a reading slump, but I was more interested in writing than reading this month. Nothing in my TBR pile is currently demanding me to read it and so I took advantage of the break and wrote instead. The books I did read at the start of the month are listed below. You can click the titles to see my “review” of each.

Photography: It wasn’t that great a month when it came to shooting my camera. I tried to on several occasions, but it seems like something always got in the way of a photo opportunity (like the time my sister’s kitchen nearly caught on fire right before we were about to take pictures. Yeah, that happened). Luckily, in the last week of the month, we were able to knock out a rather adorable photoshoot, one where I got to play with some new editing apps I bought. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. What do you think?

 “She loves me, she loves me not…” 

“Old Timey”

I have a cute fall based photoshoot idea I want to do with Gideon and my sister would like pictures done for her first year wedding anniversary to sort of recreate the moment so hopefully I’ll have lots of lovely pictures to share for September’s In Review.

Music: Oh, music was so good to me in August… So good that making this list a reasonable length was somewhat of a struggle. 

City and Colour – “Hope for Now”

I'd heard of this artist before, but finally just got around to checking him out this month and after listening to two albums worth of music, I'm sold. He has such a mellow and chill sound that creates such a moody feel. This particular song already belongs to my Crack the Sky playlist. It's making me extra eager to start writing it again!

O’ Brother – “Lo”

Credit goes to Circa Survive for me checking this band out. After they featured them on a sampler for their latest album Violent Waves, I just had to have more O’ Brother and it was such a worthy purchase. 

Grafitti6 – “Stare into the Sun”

My sister’s to blame for this one. She’s been getting a lot of music from me lately (and surprisingly liking it) and she wanted some Grafitti6. I’d never even heard of them, but since their album was on sale, I went ahead and bought it for her. I didn’t necessarily expect to like it, but how can you not want to dance to this song? And several others like it on the CD for that matter! 

Circa Survive – “The Lottery”

I was really looking forward to the release of this album this month and it did not let me down. I have three favorites, two of which will be featured on Crack the Sky and Beyond the Trees playlists, but this track I like just because

Other Life Stuff

After following several fitblrs on tumblr for the last few months, I finally decided to take my weight loss efforts seriously in the last week and half of July with a total lifestyle change to clean eating. I’ve forced myself to try new fruits and vegetables and found that I’ve been missing out on a lot of good, healthy food for a long time. I’ve adjusted my sleep schedule to get 8-9 hours a night and I’m feeling much more rejuvenated as a result, and I quit drinking. It’s not that I had a serious problem, but my weekends were being wasted with drinking on Friday’s and Saturday’s and it’s just empty calories. It also didn’t help going through my dad’s liver attack scare when I was already feeling like it was time for me to give it up myself. If my dad could quit cold turkey after drinking everyday for the last 30 years, there is no reason I couldn’t kick it too. I’m happier now that I have, I don’t miss it a bit. And in these last seven weeks, as a result of my lifestyle changes, I’ve lost 12.5lbs. It’s not huge, and I still have so much more to go, but it’s the healthy way to lose it and hopefully once it’s gone, it will easier to maintain since it will just be part of my life. I hope to begin a reasonable workout regimen in the coming month(s) as well, something that doesn’t feel like a chore and is rather fun instead. Hopefully I adjust as easily to this lifestyle change as I have the current one.

So, how was your August? Any notable achievements? What are you hoping to accomplish in September? Sound off in the comments! :)

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June: In Review

Gosh, June, where on earth did you go? Heck, the first half of 2012, please freaking come back! It is ridiculous how fast time is passing this year. I know I say this every month, but I swear time is listening and challenging me even more with every month that passes. Curse you, Time! *shakes fist angrily*
But enough of my disappointment with time… I’m sure I’m not alone with this lost time thing, so let’s just get on to the review of what was accomplished in the short period of time known as June. 
Writing – It’s not spectacular, but at least there’s a number this month. Total: 822. I should feel ashamed, I know, but I’m just happy to have written anything. It’s summer after all and even though I was struck with the lovely shiny-new Summer Novel idea last month, I wasn’t sure I’d actually achieve anything. But the first half of that number can be applied to Summer Novel (currently being referred to Beyond the Trees), and the second half can be applied to a short story I’m working on. Something, that sadly, might make you cry, but in a good way (hopefully). 
Reading – I didn’t read nearly as many books as I’d hoped to read in June. I started more than I actually finished honestly, but I did finish four, which isn’t a terribly embarrassing number to report. Included in those four, are: The Carrie Diaries, Book 1 by Candace Bushnell, Life as We Knew It (Last Survivors, Book 1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer, Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan, and Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 1) by Charlaine Harris. *Clicking those titles will take you to my thoughts on each book*

Photography – With June being Gideon’s birthday month, and his 1st birthday no less, there were a lot of opportunities for great pictures. I’ve bundled the pictures via instagram, but clicking on them will take you to their full albums if you’re interested in seeing more. Also, crazy things happened this month in regards to my photography. Things that both excite me and scare the crap out of me. Like, PEOPLE WANT ME TO PHOTOGRAPH THEM! People I hardly even know. They’ve been asking my family and friends and even approaching me about photographing their families or children. I am feeling super honored and scared like you can’t believe. I truly hope I don’t let them down. The other crazy thing is detailed under the first picture so without further ado, June’s notable moments in pictures:
Gideon’s 1st Birthday Photo Shoot
The cupcake used for the shoot was from Cupcake Wars Winner and local bakery, “Flavor Cupcakery.” When I was buying it, I mentioned what I’d be using it for and they asked me to bring in a copy of the picture. When I posted it on their FB page the following day they were so in-love with it that they used the photo to advertise their cupcake flavors for that day! So many total strangers ‘liked’ the photo on FB. It was a really cool feeling for me.
The Huff Family
My sister, Rachel, and brother-in-law, Steve, and their most recent tattoos, and then the both of them, with Gideon, at his 1st birthday party. The last time I shot pictures of them like this was their wedding party. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already.
Gideon’s 1st Birthday Party
It was Pirate Themed, as to be expected based on the birthday invitations I shot last month. He received two of those pirate ship rides and my sister made all the adorable cupcakes and birthday cakes. Overall, it was a successful event! 
Music – As always, music never lets me down. And June was no exception. I wish I could limit this list to a more reasonable number because I know by posting as many as I’m about to post, I’m probably losing readers, but seriously, I just can’t. There were THAT many great bands in June that you MUST know about. If you pass up this list, well, you’ve totally lost out. Just saying.
Artifex Pereo – Liable for Tragedy
It’s always a wonderful thing when one of your favorite bands randomly releases a new track featuring their new singer, for no reason at all, and you love it just the same as all their other tracks with their old singer. It’s even more awesome when they offer you a link to said song for free, even when you’re willing to pay for it, just because you want to listen to it on repeat. Yeah. One of my favorite bands. You get why, right? 😉

Anthony Green – “Get Yours While You Can”

I had wanted his solo album for some time now, but the guilt over the money I’d spend to buy it always got the best of me before. This month, though, I finally let desire win over quilt and Oh, gosh, I wasn’t let down. I had no doubt that Anthony Green was talented. I was well aware of his skill with Saosin and Circa Survive, but this solo record was really something special and I am so happy to finally own it. 

Circa Survive – “Suitcase”

Technically this should probably be the last track listed since it hit me at the end of the month, but since we’re talking about Anthony Green already, I might as well follow up with this gem. Apparently Circa Survive is releasing their next own on their own and it’s coming in in AUGUST! Oh, you don’t even know my excitement over this. Seriously. Expect lots of Circa Survive come August. Just warning you. 

Grouplove – “Tongue Tied”

A friend from high school who actually participates in Music Friday on Facebook suggested I give Grouplove a listen and since their album was on sale, I went ahead and bought it. And I’ll be honest, it’s stellar. If you’re looking for that happy summer sound, Grouplove just might be the band you’re looking for. Check them out, really. 

City and Colour – “Weightless”
So many times I’d heard of this artist, but it wasn’t until this past month that I finally gave them a listen. And of the two albums I now own, I can confirm their absolute awesomeness. If you haven’t check out this artist, you’re missing out. Period. 

Imagine Dragons – “Round and Round”
After expressing my interest in City and Colour my sister exposed me to Imagine Dragons and while there’s only an EP’s worth of tracks to love, OMG, I love them all. If you like indie, and also love a little beat, this might be a band for you. I can’t wait for an entire albums worth of tracks. I’m pretty sure they won’t let me down. 

Letter Kills – “Brand New Man”
If you’ve followed me long enough you know that 1) I steal music from whoever is advertising it, and 2) rarely like a band enough to enjoy every song by them. Well, this band was stolen from the drummer of Artifex Pereo, and were they still around, they may just qualify as one of the bands I like every song by. Too bad they didn’t last. 

Of Mice & Men – “The Depths”
Of Mice & Men announced the re-issue of their album, “The Flood,” and while I already own it and have no intentions of buying the whole album all over again, I am definitely anticipating the new tracks that are slated to accompany it, especially if they’re anywhere as awesome as this one.

Chantal Claret – “Light it Up”

It really sucks that I have no youtube link for this track because I promise you it’s so worth listening to and I fear you won’t follow THIS link to actually check it out. But you really, really should. While Chantal’s solo sound will never be in league with her Morningwood sound (IMO), the modern soul thing she’s doing now is really great, and I have no regrets over buying her new album this month!
In case you missed that link above, click HERE to HEAR “Light it Up”

And so, I guess that’s all I have to report this month. It feels like I had more to say, but this is already ridiculously long, so I’m guessing I probably covered it all. What were all of you up to in June?! Please sound off in the comments. I’d love to hear all about it! 

Peace & Love – Sarah

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May: In Review

May was a pretty productive month for me. It might have not been completely productive in all the areas I like to focus on, but I’m not feeling any guilt at the end of it, as if I did nothing. For starters, I read. A lot. My theory was that if I wasn’t going to be writing again for a while, I might as well use the time to read a lot so that when writing is flowing again, I won’t feel compelled to read a bunch alongside writing. Because of this, I read seven books this month! I started an eighth too, but I didn’t get to finish it in time so it will count towards my June reads. 

Pictured above (click the titles to see my thoughts on each book over at GoodReads): Let’s Pretend this Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson, Endure (Need, Book 4) by Carrie Jones, Purity by Jackson Pearce, Body & Soul (Ghost & the Goth, Book 3) by Stacey Kade, Spell Bound (Hex Hall, Book 3) by Rachel Hawkins, Lola & The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, & The Walking Dead, Book 2 by Robert Kirkman

In addition to reading a lot, I went a little wild with acquiring new music. Luckily, some of it was gifted to me by my BFF and critique partner . Her corruption is at it again, but I am hardly complaining!

First band to live on repeat in May was Thousand Foot Krutch, a Christian rock band. There were so many favorites from this band, but I’m posting the first track I knew I loved for sure.

Thousand Foot Krutch – “Go”

Then I couldn’t get enough of the Papa Roach. I had loved this band growing up, but forgot to keep up with them over the years. Thanks to Heather, I’ve caught up! And this song, which got so very many plays, could easily be used for both Crack the Sky and Dreamsters so whenever I do get back to writing them, it will be nice to have a new song on their playlists. 

Papa Roach – “Blood (Empty Promises)”

While perusing the library recently I stumbled upon some Arcade Fire albums and I know I’d heard of them, though I don’t remember where now, so I snatched them up to give a shot and oh was I happy I had. They have a really chill, summer feel to them. I’ve enjoyed many favorites this month, but the one currently holding the highest play counts is this.

Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”

I saw a fitblr I follow on tumblr mention a band they liked alongside other bands I like and Amazon had their album on sale this month so I figured I’d give it a shot. Instantly I fell in-love with this song. The album as a whole did not disappoint either.

Of Monsters and Men – “From Finner”

I’ve posted a song by this group before, a couple years ago when my sister got me into them. They released a new album this week and since it’s tone fit perfectly with the previous two bands listed I went ahead and bought it. While I don’t love it as much as their first album, it has some great tracks like this one that made it totally worth the purchase.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – “That’s What’s Up”

This last band came in at the very end of the month. A friend at work heard me listening to the three groups above and suggested I check this one out too. It’s more southern rock than indie, but it does play nicely with the indie crowd and I am already so in love with them. I’m hoping to corrupt my sister and father into liking them too. Maybe we could see them live.

Alabama Shakes – “Rise to the Sun”

I had some successful photoshoots with Gideon this month, the most successful being the birthday party invitations I already posted HERE. I imagine June will have a lot of successful shots because Gideon will be one year old! Can you believe that? How has a whole year passed so quickly already? Anyway, so that I’m not double posting, here’s a picture from my second favorite shoot. 

Lastly, you’re probably expecting me to say very little about writing. To say something along the lines of, “woe is me, when will fall be here so I can write again?” and you would have been right, but at the tail end of May I totally had an epiphany. One that I can thank my heavily indie based music choices this month for. The music feels like summer to me and I started to feel this yearning for summer as a whole which is odd considering I am totally a fall girl. But it got me thinking…. Maybe the reason I can only write in the fall and winter is because all of my books take place in the fall and winter. Maybe what I needed was a summer book. And it was like the instant I let the theory exist, a story presented itself. And over the course of a few days I had a fully fledged summer story. I’m part way through the outline/synopsis, and really hope to start writing it this month. So that I don’t jinx it yet I’ll only share that it takes place in the south (which I’ve always wanted to write a story in), and it involves the woods – both mysterious and dangerous. I really hope this isn’t some fluke that is just getting my hopes up. I’d really love to write this summer for a change! Wish me luck, please?

I’ll leave you with a preview of the two main lead girls “look” – Lorelei is 17 and Adelyn is 15. The story will be in Adelyn’s POV. 😉

So how was May for all of you? Sound off in the comments!

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Me, the Slacker?

You’ve probably noticed I’ve failed to make an April: In Review post yet and it’s already the 12th of May…. Yeah, I’ll cover that in this post first (quickly).

        Nothing to report here, April was useless.        

Okay, no, I’m kidding. I mean I don’t have a ton of things to report, but I have a few things to reflect on. Like…

I managed to read two books, neither of which were the completion of those two books I started back in February. (Who knows when I’ll ever finish them?) You can see what I thought about the two books I did read though by clicking the title: Infamous (Chronicles of Nick, Book 3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon & The Walking Dead (Book 1 (Vol. 1-2) by Robert Kirkman 

With my birthday, Easter, and some beautiful Spring weather all going down in April, I put my camera to use more than usual and tested my photography skills on more than just Gideon for a change (though there are some adorable ones of him, too). Rather than post an excess of “favorite” pictures that will likely slow down your feed, I’ll post one from each of the albums and if you want to see more, feel free to venture to the albums by clicking each of the pictures below. 

‘A Mother-Son Bond through the Glass’
Rachel & Gideon, Easter 2012


Me in the Smithsonian Gardens, Washington DC
(Technically Heath took this, but I set up the shot)


Mariner Point Park


Best of Instagram
(Oh, yeah, I’m on Instagram now. Follow me @swhisted)

Music in April was glorious as usual. It’s one of the constants in my life that never lets me down.

Arctic Monkeys released a new track….

“Electricity”

I fell hook, line, and sinker for Four Year Strong and Circa Survive.

“Falling on You”

“Semi Constructive Criticism” 

Saosin and letlive. demanded my ears attention and are still screaming, “Play Me NOW!” despite my attempts to listen to the new loot Heather () sent me for my birthday.

“Sleepers”

“Homeless Jazz”

And I checked out a number of new (to me) stuff by bands like Cage the Elephant, Arcade Fire, and Sleeping with Sirens. (Clicking those names will take you to a song, FYI.)

The oddest song that found itself on repeat in April had to be this, though:

Sleigh Bells – “Comeback Kid”

As for writing (notice how I saved that one for last?), well it didn’t happen. At ALL. And while I’ll admit to it bothering me greatly (like self-doubt is at an all-time high), I realized that it’s Spring, and while I’d love to deny a truth I settled on last year, it means I probably won’t write anything of value or substance until Fall comes around again. The idea of this makes me feel a little insane. If you are a writer, you know what it’s like to have words trapped inside of you with no way of escaping. If you’re not, I probably just sound like a crazy person, but whatever. I really hope that I can somehow break this seasonal writer curse I seem to have placed on me, but my outlook is pretty grim.

Anyway, the real purpose of this post was to tell you what I’ve been up too because it’s been a while since I did a ‘general life’ post.

Last week I had an HBO marathon of the entire series of Bored to Death and The Game of Thrones. Bored to Death was a terribly hilarious series that was canceled too soon in my opinion. Ted Danson is a riot in it. And I’ve already seen most of Season 1 of The Game of Thrones, but I needed a refresher course before I finished what I’d missed. That show is crazy good. I’m glad I can finally keep up with it instead of having all of Twitter and Tumblr spoil it for me. I plan to finally catch up on True Blood next, as the new season begins in June and I’d like the net to not ruin it for me by still being behind.

I’ve also been watching a lot of hockey. I always keep up with the Washington Caps (my team, duh), but since they’d made it into the playoffs, I was paying even more attention than usual. Sadly, they played their last playoff game tonight. I can’t pretend I’m not disappointed, but I can at least conclude that 3rd string goalie, Braden Holtby, is amazing in the way that Olaf Kolzig was back when I first got into hockey and this thrills me. The caps would be foolish to let his talent remain in 3rd string standings come next season.

Today I just finished reading the funniest book I’ve ever read, and it’s a memoir which is not my typical read, so I’m delighted to have enjoyed it the way I did. I’m not lying when I say I’ve literally laughed out loud, to the point of tears, every couple of pages in this book. It is full of comedic value, even at times when you wouldn’t expect there to be anything funny. You should totally check it out. 

“Let’s Pretend this Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” by Jenny Lawson
(otherwise known as The Bloggess)

Immediately after I started reading Carrie Jones’ ENDURE (the final NEED book) and am already half way through it. I’ll likely finish it tomorrow because it’s so great you just can’t put it down, but I’m sure I’ll regret speeding through the last book so quickly because it’s always sad saying goodbye to a great series.

My weight loss effort has been heavier than ever on my mind. In fact, I’ve become a bit obsessive about it, but like all other things in my life that I let my OCD take over, I can’t see this being a bad thing because it’s keeping me on track more than I’ve been in the past. I’ve been finding all of these people who are as big as me or even bigger who have made remarkable progress – the right way – and it inspires me greatly. If they can do it, there is no reason I can’t believe I can’t do the same. Still, the time it will take can be frustrating. There are days when I feel like I must have made a great progress and the scale has nothing positive to say to me. This can be discouraging, but overall I know I’m making healthier choices and it’s doing something really cool to my mentality. I hope I really keep it up this time. I’d love to post before and after picture with major evidence of my journey.

And, so, that’s pretty much it. My life is so exciting, right? (That’s sarcasm, obviously.) What have all of YOU been up to these days? Please sound off in the comments!

Peace – Sarah

P.S. I know I'm behind on LJ comments. I plan to work on that this week, so sorry in advance if your blog gets a ton of late love.

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March: In Review

So March was full of unexpected stresses that I handled oddly well, but it bit into my typical goals a great deal and in that manner I didn’t handle it well. I know that life sneaks up on you at times and you have to just accept it for what it is, but this month it made me sad that I wasn’t able to juggle it all.

Reading

I started several books this month, but my desire to read died as my stress level increased. Any time I tried to pick up and finish any of the books I’d started, I’d quickly put them back down feeling meh about them as a whole. I’m not sure if it just says they’re not good books or whether my mood just made them feel that way. Hopefully my urge to finish them will return in April and they won’t still have that boring feel to them.

Anyway, since it’d look too lonely being photographed alone, I’ll just link to the review for the only book I did manage to complete this month: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce.

Writing

Considering how successful I was writing last month, this is the most disappointing thing to report this month. I’d like to say that I tried hard and failed, but in most cases when I should have been trying, my brain was too fried with stress to even open my books documents. As a result my official word count for March is only 1669, and I’m pretty positive that almost 1000 of those words are total crap, likely to be deleted. I really, really hope I can come out of April with something more worthy of reporting because this month’s number is making me feel pretty pathetic right now.

Music: On Repeat

Since everything else hasn’t really been worth mentioning, I will let music get a little more shine because it certainly didn’t let me down this month!

The Black Keys – “Hell of a Season”

I kept forgetting to buy this album and finally caved at the start of March. Overall, it is a fantastic record. Every bit of it is easy to listen to; it’s music that feels like summer. I highly suggest giving it a shot.

Alex Clare – “Too Close”

I’m still not sure how I feel about dubstep. Sometimes I think I like it because it makes me want to dance and you must know how much I love to dance, but overall I can’t really see myself just listening to it to listen to it. This song isn’t completely dubstep though so I was able to just listen to it without feeling the urge to pop wherever I was. I blame Internet Explorer’s recent commercial for this song being purchased and played so many times this month. 

White Rabbits – “Danny Come Inside”

The much anticipated “Milk Famous” came out at the beginning of the month and previous posts should have made you guess I’d be snatching that up right away. The album definitely has a different feel than its predecessors, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. My favorite track so far is one I’d heard them perform back in December at the show I attended. I’m still feeling the album out for other favorites.

Chantal Claret – “Bite Your Tongue”

While I’m sad to discover that Chantal’s previous band Morningwood is officially dead, I’m excited that she’s making music on her own now, music that’s being released on an EP in April and a full album in June! As a way to lure listeners in, two songs from the upcoming album have been released, one of which, “Bite Your Tongue,” was released for free download. Because I can’t find an actual video to show you, “Bite Your Tongue,” I’m going to share the video for the other released track, which is equally as awesome anyway (I just have no way of recording how many times I've watched it – ha!).

“Pop Pop Bang Bang” *Warning: Video is a little morbid.

Alice Anna – “Standing in the Rain”

This is a local Baltimore band I stumbled upon this month and part of me wanted to love them solely for being from my home town, but even if they hadn't been I couldn’t deny their amazing talent. I bought every bit of music they’ve released and have been telling anyone I can to check them out. It’s a piano based rock band, with a lead singer with such a smooth voice. What’s not to love?

Blouse – “Time Travel”

A track that somehow slipped in at the very end of the month, suggested by a friend from tumblr. I’m not sure how much I’ll love the entire album, but there’s this great 80’s feel to this track that’s impossible not to bob your head to and step back into time with.

Photography

As always, Gideon is a nearly perfect subject for our photo shoots. I think I've trained him pretty well. There were lots of great shots this month, but I think this one is the sweetest because it captured both his dimple and bottom teeth! He is such a happy baby.

Hopefully life is finished toying with me and April will be a little more rewarding. It is my birthday month after all. That means the universe must play nice with me, right? *fingers crossed*

How successful (or not) was your March?

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