Monday, July 22, 2013

on writing and selfishness

I have been a very selfish writer.  You  know about people--or at least, I know about people, some of them my friends--who write because they feel called.  Because they have something to say that they believe the world really needs to hear.

I was never like that as a young novelist.  I wrote as an escape from my life, which I found unsatisfying or just...not interesting enough for me.  My reasoning was, if I could create a situation (a boy in the woods without supplies) and get my character out of it (survive, live off the land, a la My Side of the Mountain), it was just as if I myself had gone through that experience.  It meant I was smart--it meant I was interesting.  It meant something to me.

I didn't care if anyone else enjoyed my writing.  I didn't care if anyone else read my writing!  I didn't even care that when my parents did read some of my actually hurt them.  I wrote for me, for my own enjoyment, for my own entertainment.  I'm not sure I even had something to say back then.

It was easy for me to "give up" writing for a few years, because all I had to motivate me was my own pleasure.  Sure, it's not a bad feeling to get some compliments, or place in a contest, but because I didn't care about my readers in a deep way, it wasn't enough to hold me.  I let myself fall out of practice.

A few people have actually said to me, "When you stopped writing, I was actually really offended/upset/angry."  They felt like I had taken a talent that I was given and squandered it--let it die.  It is a refrain of my mother's to say, "If I had a voice like you do, I would be a singer.  If I could write like you do, I would be a writer."  Sometimes I think if I can do something well, I ought to devote my life to it.

Now, yes, and no.  I am, in reality, a hobbyist.  I sing, I write, I take pictures.  I will probably never be an extreme expert in all of those things--but I have a great desire to do many things well.  Not perfectly, perhaps, as my mother would tell you, but I do want a balance of breadth and depth.  So no, I don't believe that I am required to be a writer, simply because I can write.  However, I see their point.  And I think, now that I am getting older, now that my eyes are somewhat open to writing, now that I have something to say, I think I do have a responsibility to try.  To hone my skills, to invest in communicating with people through fiction, to think of someone other than myself when I'm deciding whether or not to practice today.

I'm not sure I'd say that writing for entertainment or relaxation is wrong, but I think if you never grow up and turn your talents to service and to're missing out on a beautiful gift.  I've been blessed in that, even while I have been a selfish writer in the past, my work has been used to encourage and inspire other writers and readers.  I'm so glad for that--but I hope I'm done with that stage, that immature not-caring.  I hope I will carry this feeling forward--this feeling of purpose, calling, and responsibility.  I think it's the next step.

Friday, July 12, 2013

here's to a traveling weekend!

I'm off to Mexico, guys!  I'll be back next Saturday.  I won't be posting while away, so here is a list of links to keep you busy!

Play the game shown above!

Yes this is thirty minutes, but every single part of it is so genius.

Super cool.

I wanted a little reblogging tumblr like all the cool kids have.

This is crazy!

I'm a time-lapse art junkie, and this has so much personality!

Okay have a good week and hopefully I'll survive my missions trip and meet you back here next Monday!


Cheap metal turning your skin green?  Give it a quick coating of clear nail polish and keep on wearing it!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

a short review + a mini diy

Maybe I should call this a fix-it-yourself instead of a do-it-yourself.  But yeah, let me explain what needed fixing.

I made the switch to iPhone a few months ago and I pretty much love it, in spite of a few annoyances.  As a phone, it's a great little balancing of features and quality and all in all, I'm a fan.  Probably for life.  We'll see.

I got the 4 for free, since the 5 was out, and I bought the OtterBox Commuter case, which I have no complaints about.  It's a great case with a slim profile and I drop my phone...a lot....  Since the Commuter doesn't come with the built-in screen that other OtterBoxes do, I got the Invisible Shield screen protector.  It's supposed to be all high-end and fantastical and whatnot, but I hated it.  Here's why:

Ew gross!  The hole for the home button collected all sorts of grime, which stuck to the underside and became a seriously annoying (and nasty) eyesore.  I put it up with it for awhile, but it's not cool.

Luckily, the screen protector came with a sheet for the back of the phone, too.  Who needs that if you have a case on it?  I took that, which I'd luckily saved, and trimmed it down to fit over just the actual iPhone screen.

Stuck in on there, and voila!  Protection just where I need it, and no more gunk.

Much better.  What kind of case or screen protection do you use for your phone?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

review: revlon lip butter

Picked this up at +Walmart today, finally! I keep standing in front of the Revlon cases trying to decide whether or not to get one... but today I decided to go ahead and try one!  I heard good things about the Lip Butters from Estee, and I actually got one she'd mentioned in her coral post. 

The color is called "Tutti Frutti" because apparently they don't have an Anti-Lame-Name-Authority on their naming committee.  It's a pinky-coral.  I swatched it on my hand when I got home and the thing was a bugger to get off, so that's a good sign!  My first impression is wow is this worth the price!  Six-something at Walmart?  It's a great color, slaps on with no fuss, and lasts forever,  including through lunch.  It's not drying at all, like I don't feel like I have anything on.  So yeah.  I'm a big fan as of right now.  Still more than I like to spend on a regular basis, but still way less than most quality products out there! 

I'm happy with this purchase.  Have you tried the Revlon Lip Butters?  What do you think?

Monday, July 8, 2013

on fighting

I recently heard two things that intrigued me.  Both were connected with how to deal with those little (or not so little) spats, tiffs, altercations, debates, arguments, disagreements, showdowns, ummmm...  I'm out.  Fighting. 

First of all, I watched a Ze Frank video (note: he's hilarious and a genius and his voice is awesome but not all of his stuff is like...kiddo friendly...) wherein he had a list of rules on fair fighting.  His point was, fighting isn't necessarily bad, if you can do it right and be productive through it.  The rules that I liked were:
  • No cussing at people in anger.  Now, most of us would probably say don't cuss in general, but especially don't cuss at the people you love when you're angry with them.  You may think you're totally cool and down with people using non-kiddo-friendly vocabulary, but when used in anger, it really does cut you. 
  • Try not to make huge generalizations for drama's sake.  "You always are the biggest jerk ever and all you care about is yourself and you never ever listen to me!"  . Statements like that are rarely helpful, and pretty much never accurate.
  • Don't threaten to leave as a manipulative tool, because over time it'll a.) become totally cheap and they won't care when you b.) do leave.  Keep your eye on the ball.  If you're in something for the long haul, don't act like you maybe-kinda-sorta-aren't, or you'll find yourself focusing on all the wrong things.
Second of all, this one comes from kind of a long and boring-to-everyone-else story.  I was visiting a different church (Oak Hills Pres, if you wondered) and they were inducting some new members, so they were saying their membership vows.  The one that really stuck out to me was this:
  • Do you promise not to discuss your frustrations with other members with people who are not a.) part of the problem or b.) part of the solution?  I love this!  How many times have I been dragged down into disliking someone simply because one of my other friends didn't get on so smoothly with them?  I hate the feeling of being turned against someone, and the power struggles of loyalty and gossip can just create crater fields in any organization, whether it's a church, family, or business.  You can talk to the person who's offending you, sure, and try to work it out.  If that doesn't work, you can definitely take it to the appropriate authorities (part of the solution), but don't go around ranting to people with whom you and the offender have mutual contact. 
Anyways, that's just something I came across and found really interesting.  Do you have rules for a fair fight?  Do you tend to rant to mutual friends (or enemies) when someone is bothering you? 

Friday, July 5, 2013

here's to a catching-up weekend!

Honesty moment: I'm so behind!  As an internetarian, it pains me to have unwatched Vlogbrothers videos in my subscription feed.  Yeah, yeah, I'm a nerd, but for reals.  I've got blogs to read and write and movies to watch and naps to take...  Thank goodness for long weekends, right?  Here are a few links to help you catch up as well:

I love this post by Lisa Marie, for obvious reasons.

This is the best thing I have ever seen.  Oh my gosh I am in love.

My brother is into this.

The world's largest stop motion.

Sometimes I like using this.

Tomorrow's world.

There you have it!  Enjoy the rest of your long weekend and meet me back here on Monday!


1 egg yolk | 1 spoonful plain yoghurt | drizzle of honey | drizzle of olive oil | mix and apply to face, wait 15-20 minutes and rinse off

Thursday, July 4, 2013

custom blog design work - a loquacious wanderer

I was super excited to get to do the blog design for my friend Anna's new blog, A Loquacious Wanderer!  She'll be moving to England for six months with her family and chronicling her adventures on her blog.  Not only was it a blast to do all the original artwork and HTML design for her site, but I'm also looking forward to seeing her actual posts!  I can guarantee they'll be a lot of fun.  These are just a few screen shots from the process.  Check out the finished product here!

Blog design and illustration is definitely something I'd love to get into in the future....  You know, when I have free time or something. But yeah, go see Anna and follow her, and show her lots of lupine love!

PS: Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

currently reading #2

Brilliant chap!  Absolutely!  I mean, what?

If you like good British wit and humor, a sprinkling of golf stories, a dash of poetry, and a whole lot of understatement and irony... get thee to a bookstore and find thee some Wodehouse.  Or, like, hit up the free Kindle books on Amazon.  Cause that's what I do.

A contemporary of Belloc and Kipling, Wodehouse (pronounced "wood house") was the creator of the Jeeves and Wooster stories, which feature a likable, simple, moneyed gentleman and his genius "man" Jeeves.  I personally love Wodehouse's golf stories and independent silly romances, and that says something, since I generally despise romances.  I resort to them during such trying times as, you know, finals week.  Or when I've just read The Bell Jar and Nabokov in quick succession and need something to make me want to live.  Just kidding. Except I'm totally serious.

If you're just getting started with Plum (nickname for Pelham), I recommend a compilation of some sort.  After that, go ahead and download a bazillion of the Kindle e-books.  They're quick reads.  I've just finished Uneasy Money and loved it, and am currently into Right Ho, Jeeves!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


I'm nineteen today!
It always makes me smile how people say "It was a great year, here's to the next one!"  Eighteen wasn't a great year for me, and neither was seventeen, but a lot of progress has been made and I really think things will keep on moving forward.

Birthday gnome!

Birthday coloring!

Birthday presents!

Birthday cake!

Monday, July 1, 2013

murphy's laws for coffee drinkers

  1. If you drink coffee shortly before bedtime, it will keep you up all night.  If you drink it at any other time, however, it will have no effect.
  2. If you drink your coffee immediately, you will burn your tongue.  If you wait to drink your coffee, it will be cold.
  3. If you're talking to a real coffee snob, you will accidentally say "eXpresso," even though you know it's "espresso."
  4. If you like your coffee black, but someone else brings it to you, they will put cream and sugar in it.  If you do like cream and sugar, there will be none to be found.
  5. If you are extremely tired at an event and there is free coffee, it will be gone and/or transparent.
  6. If you are wearing a nice outfit or are on your way to an interview, you will spill your coffee on yourself.  At all other times, however, you will be the epitome of coordination.  
  7. If you are making coffee for a friend, your espresso will not pull properly or you will mis-measure the grinds. 
  8. If you have access to a french press, you will only have an extra-fine grind available. 
  9. If you order a coffee out, they will spell your name wrong on the cup.
  10. You will never spill your coffee except on the one day that you set it down too close to your computer or an important document or a library book.
Got any to add?  Leave me a comment!  The genius graphic above is from threadless

Friday, June 28, 2013

here's to a much-needed weekend!

I don't know about you guys, but I'm worn out.  This weekend couldn't come soon enough for me!  Here are a few links to launch it:

I predict I will be spending some time on this site.

These are neat!

A handy tool.


My brother can draw like this!

Uh oh, this site might become addicting....

All right, get some rest and meet me back here on Monday!

salmon + quinoa salad

I love this salad.  It's crammed with all sorts of wicked healthy stuff, and it tastes!  Oh, and by the way, it's pronounced "KEEN-wha."  Best of all, this recipe is free of allergens and fermented soy products, so it's safe for anti-candida diets!

  • Lettuce (Romaine is the best)
  • 1 small packet of salmon
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Tri-color quinoa
  • Red bell pepper
  • Onion
  • Liquid aminos (I use Bragg's)
  • EVOO or grapeseed oil
Just toast a handful of quinoa over medium heat in a dry non-stick skillet while you wash and dry your lettuce.  I recommend covering it with a lid, since the quinoa will pop, kind of like popcorn!  Chop up onion and red pepper to your liking and add that to the pan with the package of salmon.  Squirt in some liquid aminos.  Cook until the onions are transparent and the salmon caramelizes a bit.  When you're all set, pour it over a bed of lettuce, drizzle on some oil and maybe a little more aminos, and enjoy!  Perfect for a summer day, or like any other day really.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

good stuff #2

1. Hay Day, an adorable game on my phone...

2. +Panera and thrifting with my birthday bro...

3. This incredible 50-year-old typewriter we found in perfect condition...

4. Nabokov's ridiculous genius...

5. This incredible song...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

june ipsy

This month came with a sturdy leopard-print bag and some awesome products!  It's also calculated up to about a $65 value.

  • NYX Cream Blush in Tea Rose - I love this blush already.  It blends perfectly and is a wonderful color!  
  • Starlooks Lip Pencil in Tickle Me Pink - I'd never used a lip liner before, but I've been wanting to try it.  I like this color a lot, and the texture is perfect!  
  • Cailyn Cosmetics Line-Fix Gel Eyeliner in Iron - Been seeing people rave about this all over the place!  It's a dark grey, so it's actually quite subtle.  I like it.
  • J.Cat Eyelashes and Eyelash Glue - These are pretty intense, and I haven't tried them yet.  I don't wear/need false eyelashes, but I think these will be fun to try for a special occasion.  Maybe I'll cut them up and use them more like individual lashes.  
  • J.Cat Sparkling Cream Palette in Volta - This product was the only dud, and I don't even care because the rest of the bag was phenomenal!  It's like a body glitter, I suppose, because you can't use it as an eyeshadow... Awkward.  I'm no clubber, but I might try mixing it with a clear nail polish to make my own glitter polish?  We'll see.  If it works, I'll put up a diy!  
All in all, I'm super happy with what I got.  When I saw the lists of products that were possible, I knew what I was hoping for and I got it!  Ipsy continues to impress.  *golf clap*

Monday, June 24, 2013

on writing and trying

This is a sot of an answer to this post.  I found my resolution in the form of a final talk by one of my greatest heroes and mentors, Dan Schwabauer.  Now, I have a lot to think about still on the subject, and on other writing-related subjects.  Hopefully some of that will flesh out here over the next few weeks and months.

To begin with, I wanted to share my notes.  Here are some basic points:

The question is, how do you write when you feel like nothing you come up with is going to be good enough?

We're going about this all wrong--we've allowed the world to completely shape our perspective on writing.  The world wants to shape your identity as a person into only the thing you do best.  We become human doings, not human beings.  We think if we're good at one thing, that is the one thing we ought to do, and we shouldn't waste time on anything else.

As an aspiring renaissance-person, I always bucked at this.  It's why I quit writing and switched to math.  Math was a challenge.  GK Chesterton said that what makes a man is not just his best thing...but also his second best thing...and his third best thing.

Lie: In order for something to be worthwhile, it must be technically good.

Lie: In order to be good, it must be beautiful.  Ugly things (true things, sometimes) are bad.  This one is especially prevalent in Christian publishing.

Lie: I am qualified to judge the technical merits of something that's only been imagined.

He made the point that nothing we imagine matches up with the finished product.  The idea of the project and the actual output of the project are never exactly alike.  Sometimes it's better than expected...often it's worse...but if it's not predictable, why do we think we can dismiss an idea that's not been manifested yet?

Creating and analyzing happen separately.  Creativity requires risk.  Creativity takes faith to put effort into a dream without knowing how it will pan out.

A friend's sort-of-motto is this: There is no such thing as good writing.  Only good rewriting.  Now, I don't always agree!  I find editing very difficult, and my work tends to be a once-off and then some polishing.  But it's good to keep in mind.

Being an artist means making the imagined real first...and making it good second.  God made every aspect of Creation real before He evaluated it.  Did you ever notice this?  God created x, y, and z, and then He saw that it was good.

Finally, he reminded us that your writing will help someone (even if that someone is you).  Writing, and rewriting, orders the mind, stretches the skills, teaches us love, dedication, humility.  I was looking for something to make this fight worth it--and this is exactly what I needed to hear.

PS: having a couch buddy as cute as my puppy definitely helps!

Friday, June 21, 2013

here's to a reading weekend!

It's turned into a busy week for me!  I'm getting over a virus of some sort, so I'll be spending the weekend reading some of the four books I've got on my plate at the moment!  What are you doing for fun?

Oh yeah.

Books you should read this summer.  Start this weekend!

This is so cool!

This artist still boggles my mind...

This is nifty!

Have a good one, and see you back here on Monday!

how to grow out a pixie cut - step two

Try the sleek minimalist look.

I like to wear my hair up and out and all over the place when it's really short, but once it starts growing out, I try to avoid the troll doll look.  I've been wearing it parted at the side with very little texture, all the while keeping the back trimmed up!  The nice thing is, my hair is super fine and straight, so it baaaasically wants to do this in the first place.  If your hair has a little more personality, you may need quite a bit more gel than I do!  I've been using TRESemme Ultra, which I got at Kroger when I was still in Tennessee.  I wouldn't say it's a fantastic product or anything, but it works for this. 

Cut-wise, I did have it trimmed up the back when I got home from school, in the last week of May or so.  My hairdresser "stacked" it up the back like you would if you had an A-line bob, which lets the top hair kind of "catch up" with the bottom hair.  And, thank goodness, avoids the mullet look.  Still going strong and not even craving a trim yet!  It's been 12 weeks total since I started growing it out from this length, with 2.5 trims in the back and nothing done otherwise.

A final (and optional) part of this look is to start tucking your wispy-sideburn-things behind your ears.  I prefer to keep them growing as long as possible without trimming to avoid any semblance of mulletness later.  It also helps the haircut start looking more like a bob and less like an awkward mess. 

If you're just joining me, see step one!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

good stuff #1

Little things making my week....

1. My little Bamboo pen tablet... Years old but still going strong, and just what I need to work on a super-fun web design project!  (which will hopefully soon be ready to see)

2. +Panera with a friend (cherry limeade has +Sonic beat!)...

3. A beautiful view at my boyfriend's house...

4. Two good books I'm currently reading: The Lost Horizon and Ada, or Ardor...

5. This nail polish, Pure Ice in Home Run...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


The peak!

These are aspens.

Sangre de Cristo mountain range, visible from Pike's Peak.

Garden of the Gods.

Went back to see the old place.

Oh hey, Cleo.  Made me miss Belle.

Is this the best sign or what?

It's always the worst feeling having to leave Colorado.  I think it's the most beautiful place on earth.  Can't wait to go back!