The Downfall of Winter

Yeah, I already screwed up my goals for 2019 by not posting at all last week. I had plans to post some things but then my daughter brought home the Worst Head Cold In The Universe and was nice enough to share it with me. I mean, sharing is caring, right? So instead of spending my week writing and laughing and trying to enjoy winter (by the way, I hate winter with the passion of a million burning suns), I spent it trying to find the best combination of cold medicine that would allow me get through the day at my full time job then going to bed as early as possible to try to sleep the damned thing away.

Needless to say, I mostly accomplished those goals. I left work early one day to work from home so my co-workers didn’t have to hear my disgusting noises. But I did get all of my work done in a timely manner. That’s a check in the win column, right?

Now I am feeling much better. (Thank you for asking.) But we still have like two more months of this wretched winter. I’m hoping it won’t be too awful. Maybe if we all wish for spring (or, in my case, summer) as hard as we can, winter will just vanish off the face of the Earth, never to bother us again. Or maybe I’ll just move to Arizona. Please tell me Arizona doesn’t have snow….

Talking about snow, I was stuck in the house all weekend thanks to a forecasted snow/ice storm that was supposed to roll through my area. (Spoilers: It was a little snow but mostly rain which will now all freeze over into ice.) I took the housebound time to update the look of the blog a bit. It’s not a drastic change, mostly some different colors and fonts but I felt like it needed a new coat of paint. After all, it’s been like five years since the last update. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Why I Suck At Using Planners

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I desperately want to be one of those people that use planners. I want to have a pretty layout and use pretty stickers and be all sorts of organized. Every year, I buy a brand new planner with the best of intentions. But, every year, I fail miserably. I use the planner for a few months then it ends up getting tossed in a drawer for the rest of the year. I’m going to try to look into the ‘why’ of my planner failure. Maybe you can help me overcome it so I will be plantastic this year.

First, I’m going to say that I don’t think the problem is the type of planner I buy. I have bought a few different types of planners and they all end up barely used. A couple of years ago, I purchased a classic Happy Planner (not that specific one, though) because I liked the layout and I prefer my planners to be dated. But it was way too big for me. So last year, I purchased a mini Happy Planner so I could fit it in my purse. If I had it with me all the time, I’d me more apt to use it, right? Nope. That also ended up in the drawer. This year I bought an Erin Condren planner that I customized. Maybe if it’s more ‘me,’ I’m more likely to use it.

So why do I think I give up on planners? I think the big reason is the limitation of a physical planner. My personal life, where I maintain the schedules of three people, is entirely kept on my phone’s calendar. I use the DigiCal app to color code all of our events. I can, with the flick of a wrist, tell you what we have planned for any particular day, complete with who planned it or what type of plan it is. (For example, all of my daughter’s dance classes & events are pink but her school concerts are yellow.) Unlike my phone calendar that I can use anytime and anywhere, I have to make time to use a physical planner. I have to find somewhere I can sit with my colored pens (I like to color code things) that isn’t too distracting. Considering I spend approximately three hours per night, three nights per week at the dance studio, it doesn’t leave me tons of undistracted time.

Another possible problem is that, every time I sit down with my planner, I feel like I need to plan at least a week, if not an entire month, ahead. And I just don’t have that many ideas. It was worse when I still filmed videos for YouTube. I’d need ideas for three videos per week plus blog posts. (I think I was trying to post twice a week back then?) I’m creative but I’m not THAT creative. I tend to do a little better when I’m spontaneous. Granted, sometimes that ends up with me sitting at my keyboard with writer’s block. I’ve just never been good at planning things out.

So how do I fix this? How do I become a planning goddess? Give me your tried and true tips and tricks to planning. It doesn’t have to be writing-related. Just how you plan…well…anything!

How To: Make Temporary Tattoos

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Back in September 2018, I made some temporary tattoos for an event my daughter’s dance studio was attending. I posted some pictures of them on my Instagram and some people asked me how I made them. It’s not nearly as difficult as one would think. So here is a quick walk-through on how to make your own temporary tattoos.

Supplies needed:
Temporary Tattoo Paper
Inkjet printer
Scissors or paper cutting machine (like a Cricut or Silhouette)

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The temporary tattoo paper I use is from Silhouette. Not only does Silhouette have cutting machines, they also have a stamp making machine, a 3D printer, and a ton of crafting supplies (like colored vinyl, heat transfers for fabrics, and glass etching, to name a few). I will admit that the temporary tattoo paper is a little on the expensive side. It is $10 for 2 sheets. However, you can get a lot of use out each sheet, depending on how large your designs are. If you don’t want to buy the paper online, it is also available in-store at many Joann Fabric locations.

Create your design in your preferred software. For the yellow ribbons, I downloaded a few designs from various graphics websites and lined them all up in a Word document. If you are creating your own design, you could do it in Photoshop. Silhouette also has a design studio where you can purchase designs from artists for your use. (I think Cricut is similar but I only own a Silhouette machine so that is what I am most familiar with.) If you are using a design with text or numbers, make sure you flip the design before you print it. Otherwise, your text will come out backwards when you apply the tattoo to skin.

Once you have your design ready, you want to print it onto the tattoo paper. (Again, don’t forget to flip any designs with text or numbers or if you want your design to face a specific way!) When you load the tattoo paper into your printer, make sure that the sticky side is the side getting printed on. My printer prints on the ‘bottom’ side of the paper in the feeder so I would put the tattoo paper in with the sticky side down. After your design has printed, set the paper aside for a bit to let the ink dry.

Now comes the difficult part. The clear adhesive sheet needs to be applied to the sticky side of the tattoo paper. Most likely, you won’t get the right on the first try. And that is OK. It took me a few tries before I found a technique that works for me.

At the top of the adhesive sheet is a small peel-off strip. Just peel that part off. This will attach to the top of the sticky side of your tattoo paper. Try to get the two pages to line up as straight as possible. Once that little adhesive strip is attached to your tattoo paper, carefully peel off the rest of the paper on the adhesive sheet. Slowly press the adhesive sheet onto the tattoo paper. As you press the adhesive sheet down, try to keep even pressure on the whole page. The goal is to have no air bubbles on any of the designs. (It doesn’t matter if there are air bubbles on the parts of the paper without the design. We’re going to cut that off anyway.)

When the entire adhesive sheet is attached to the tattoo paper, you can move onto cutting out your designs. If you have a cutting machine, you can follow the directions on your specific machine so it knows where to cut. Personally, I just cut my designs out with scissors. Whichever method you use, try to cut as closely to the edges of the design as possible. The least amount of “white space” on the finished tattoo, the better.

And that’s it! All you need to do now is apply the temporary tattoo. While I have only ever applied temporary tattoos to skin, I have read that some people apply them to woodworking pieces then cover it with a clear coat. Both applications would work the same - peel off the clear adhesive sheet from the design. Place the design on your skin/wood sticky side down. Take a damp cloth and wet the back of the paper. Slowly peel the paper from the design. There is your temporary tattoo.

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As a warning, any clear spaces on the design that aren’t cut out can be a little sticky for a bit. Make sure your tattoo is completely dry before doing anything where it would pick up dirt. The tattoo will wash over after a couple of days or you can remove it faster with some rubbing alcohol. It’s a great way to show some team spirit without a ton of work.

Good luck!

My Favorite Television - 2018

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Even though it’s officially 2019, I’m going to continue talking about 2018 this week. I’m going to talk about my favorite television shows from 2018 today and Friday will be my favorite movies. Much like my list of favorite songs, these shows may not be from 2018 but they are the shows I watched a lot last year.

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When I first saw a commercial for The Good Place back in 2016, I wrote it off as a fluff show. The premise didn’t sound interesting at all. Then I ran out of shows to binge on Netflix. So in a moment of “why not,” I turned it on. It is SO GOOD.

The original commercials made me think this was about Kristen Bell in heaven. It’s not. Well, it is but it isn’t. Kristen Bell’s character, Eleanor, is a trash person. She insults everyone, she literally defrauds old people for a living, and she is only out for herself. When she dies, she is sent to heaven. But she knows she doesn’t belong there. So she tries to get her soulmate, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), to help her earn her way into heaven. Since he was an ethics professor when he was alive, it makes sense that he might be able to teach her how to be a good person.

I would really love to tell you more about the show but I would hate to spoil it for anyone that hasn’t seen it. There are currently three seasons of The Good Place. They are all available either on Netflix or Hulu. You should definitely check it out. You won’t regret it.

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If you couldn’t tell from my Instagram, a lot of my life revolves around dance. Both my daughter and I dance. We spend a lot of time in the dance studio or at dance events. Normally, we don’t watch a lot of dance reality shows. I’ve only seen one season of Dancing With The Stars and I’ve never seen So You Think You Can Dance. But World of Dance had a few dancers that we recognized from social media. Since it’s on this list, you can figure out that we enjoyed it.

We aren’t big fans of the judges. Sometimes they make decisions that make no sense to us. But that’s OK. We’re really there to watch the dancers. Thanks to this show, we have been introduced to a lot of amazing dancers and dance groups that we never would have seen otherwise. If you love dance and you can tune out all of the actual reality show stuff, WoD is a pretty good show.

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Even though we’ve never really watched Dancing With The Stars (beyond watching a few favorite celebrity routines on YouTube), my daughter was looking forward to the junior version of the show. Once again, the lineup featured a couple of dancers we followed on social media. (I think that might be the key.) Juniors was a little more light-hearted than other dance reality shows, which added to the fun a bit. I’m not sure if we would watch a second season, though. It depends on who the competitors are.

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The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I’m not sure I actually have words for this Netflix series. It has almost everything I want out of a supernatural television show. I only say ‘almost’ because I think I would prefer a little more theatrics in my television witchcraft but the show isn’t any lesser without it. The show has a perfect balance between Sabrina’s witch life and her mortal life. And Kiernan Shipka is amazing as the title character.

Sabrina recently released a holiday special that is a perfect witchy companion to all of the Christmas specials out there. If you are into supernatural witchiness, this is definitely the show for you. (Much better than CW’s Supernatural and it can easily be binge-watched in a day or two.)

While this isn’t a comprehensive list of everything I watched in 2018, these were my favorites. A few shows that didn’t quite make the list are Netflix’s Nailed It!, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Good Doctor, and Netflix’s BoJack Horseman. However, these weren’t shows that made me run to my TV every week to watch. I enjoyed them when I remembered to watch them but I didn’t carve out time in my week to fit them in. Let’s just say I’m thankful that DVRs exist.

Were there any shows that you absolutely loved this year? Or are there any older shows you think I should check out? Let me know in the comments.




Goals for 2019

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I’m not really big on making New Year’s Resolutions. Mostly because they feel like non-specific, unattainable things that hang over my head to make me feel bad about myself. Things like “Lose Weight.” It sounds great but what does that mean? Am I successful if I lose 2 lbs? 10 lbs? Instead, I prefer to make a list of specific goals. I’m sharing my 2019 list with you.

Write at least one blog post every week.
As I said back in November, I have failed miserably at keeping up with my blog. I don’t want that to happen again. So while I’m planning to write three blog posts per week, I know that may not be sustainable for me. I can definitely do one post per week, though.

Get more massages.
This one sounds weird. I have some fairly chronic back pain. It’s nothing debilitating but, if I don’t keep up with regular massages, I can get some very painful muscle spasms. Usually one massage every six months is good enough. I would like to get a massage more frequently though. Maybe instead of keeping the pain at bay, it will actually help me get somewhat better.

Finally cover up that old tattoo.
I got my first tattoo in 1995. It’s a shooting star on my left arm. Needless to say, I was a broke college kid so it wasn’t the best tattoo work. I also didn’t do a great job of taking care of it. Now it’s kinda fuzzy and generally terrible to look at. I’ve wanted to get it covered for years but I couldn’t figure out what design I wanted. This thing is almost 25 years old. It’s time for it to go.

Consume less true crime media.
Well, this may be the most difficult of the year’s goals. I listen to a LOT of true crime podcasts. I watch a lot of true crime documentaries. I watch a lot of true crime YouTubers. And I think it might be making my anxiety worse. I’m not saying I’m going to give it up completely. And maybe it’s not making my anxiety worse. But I can try to watch and listen to fewer stories about the terrible people in the world. If less true crime doesn’t make me less anxious, I can always add it back in. So, anyone have some non-murdery podcasts they’d like to recommend?

These are my main goals for 2019. If you are interested in my progress, I’ll gladly do a quarterly update. A monthly update would probably be too boring.

Now it’s your turn. What are your goals for 2019?

My Favorite Songs - 2018

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With the new year beginning soon, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite things from 2018. I’m going to start with five of my favorite songs. Now, not all of these songs were actually released in 2018. However, 2018 is when I fell in love with them or when I really began to enjoy them. Yes, sometimes I am late to the game and that is perfectly fine.

Boombayah by BLACKPINK

K-Pop phenomenon, BLACKPINK, released this song in 2016 but I think most Americans found out about them this year. I don’t think there are any BLACKPINK songs that I don’t like. This one is just my go-to track.

Favorite lyric: Middle finger up, F U pay me


Dancing’s Not A Crime by Panic! At The Disco

Panic! At The Disco released a new album this year, Pray For The Wicked. Yeah, I’m a pretty big fan. Most people are familiar with the hits that came off it: Say Amen (Saturday Night), High Hopes, and Hey Look Ma, I Made It. However, this track speaks to my soul. My daughter is frequently telling me to stop dancing because it’s embarrassing. Too bad, I love dancing

Favorite lyric: Dancing, dancing, dancing's not a crime/Unless you do it without me


The Other Side - The Greatest Showman soundtrack

The Greatest Showman was released in December 2017 so it’s not super old. Again, most people prefer other songs on the album but the duet between Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron takes the cake for me. The choreography is absolutely amazing. (Little known fact: Daniel ‘Cloud’ Campos plays the bartender in that scene. Not only did he help choreograph The Other Side, he also directed the Panic! At The Disco music video trilogy: Say Amen (Saturday Night), This Is Gospel, and Emperor’s New Clothes.)

Favorite lyric: But you would finally live a little, finally laugh a little/Just let me give you the freedom to dream /And it'll wake you up and cure your aching/Take your walls and start 'em breaking/Now that's a deal that seems worth taking/But I guess I'll leave that up to you


Crush by Tessa Violet

Tessa released two new singles this year - Crush and Bad Ideas. Bad Ideas is a good song but I have been obsessed with Crush ever since the video came out back in June. It is just so dang good.

Favorite lyric: I got a fascination with your presentation making me/feel like you're on my island you're my permanent vacation


Curious by Hayley Kiyoko

As I said earlier, I’m a pretty big fan of Panic! At The Disco. Well, Hayley Kiyoko opened for them on the first leg of their US tour. She released Curious in January, shortly before the tour kicked off, and it makes me want to jump out of my chair to dance.

Favorite lyric: Did you take him to the pier in Santa Monica? Forget to bring your jacket wrap up in him cuz you wanted to?


So, there you go. Five of the songs that rocked my 2018. What were your hits of the year? Let me know down in the comments. I love me some new music!

Merry Christmas

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I failed at the Christmas movie advent calendar, which is OK. I forgot to record one of the movies and one of the upcoming movies on Lifetime’s list was another MarVista movie. I didn’t want to put myself through that again. So, I made it through 21 days - not a terrible run.

Now I can wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and we can all move onto things better than Hallmark and Lifetime movies!

Advent Day #21: The Holiday Calendar

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The Holiday Calendar is Netflix’s lesser known new holiday movie for 2018. It plays a third fiddle to The Christmas Chronicles and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding. As a matter of fact, it took me awhile to even find the movie in Netflix’s menu system. I almost had to do a title search for it, which is a terrible way to advertise your new shows.

Kat Graham plays Abby, a struggling photographer. (I’m not really sure why she’s “struggling.” She has a job taking pictures.) Abby’s best friend, Josh (Quincy Brown), has been traveling the world as a travel photographer and now he’s moving back home. During some time with her family, Abby’s grandfather (Ron Cephas Jones) gives Abby an antique advent calendar that used to be her grandmother’s. Every day, a new door on the calendar magically opens, giving her a small toy. Amazingly, the toys seem to be telling her future for that particular day. Abby follows the clues, thinking it is leading her to the handsome doctor, Ty (Ethan Peck), as a love interest. But Abby’s fate lies in another direction.

I’ve been a bit of a fan of Kat Graham’s acting since she was on the CW series, The Vampire Diaries. Unfortunately, Calendar doesn’t really give her anything to work with. Her character is literally led around the plot and still manages to get everything wrong. The photography thing is supposed to be super important but doesn’t feel like it. Abby talks about wanting to open her own studio and how much she loves photography. Yet she doesn’t do anything to work on making her art better or trying to network. She gets a job photographing the mayor’s family only because her boss and her sister put her in positions to get noticed. Abby doesn’t do anything on her own to make her dreams happen. Life just happens to her. And that is boring.

It’s sad that Calendar had a great premise but was so badly executed. I would love to see a movie with a magical advent calendar with a protagonist that actually did something. What we have been given is nothing but a boring waste of time and talent.

Advent Day #20: A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding

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Last year, Netflix’s A Christmas Prince was a surprising hit. The story of a blogger/journalist sneaking into the palace of a foreign country then falling in love with the royal heir was…well, it was kinda charming. Weird but kinda charming. Netflix decided to capitalize on that popularity and released the sequel, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, this year. It’s not as good.

A year has passed since we last saw Amber (Rose McIver) and Richard (Ben Lamb). They have been traveling back and forth between New York and Aldovia. (From what I can tell, the only reason Amber didn’t move to Aldovia is because she wanted to be her own person? It doesn’t make a lot of sense. It makes an even worse montage.) Now it’s time for Amber to begin (?) planning her Christmas wedding. But there is trouble in Aldovia! The finances of the kingdom are a mess and no one knows why. Plus Queen Helena (Alice Krige) keeps putting pressure on Amber to keep her wedding traditional.

Ugh. I can’t even type out this description without cringing. I’ll admit that I was charmed by the first movie, even though it had tons of problems. This one makes less sense. Like, why would Amber choose to continually travel around the world for a long-distance engagement? She’s a blogger. She can literally do that job anywhere. Sure, the writers are pushing the father-daughter relationship this time around but at no point do they mention that is why she stayed in New York. And I can’t imagine any royal family not wanting to keep someone like Amber close to try to teach her the duties of the queen. Also, Queen Amber makes me laugh. Can you imagine living somewhere where your royalty is named Amber?

Then we get into the actual story. There are two big conflicts going on - Amber being forced to have this awful wedding planner plan her wedding (by the way, who waits until a couple weeks BEFORE the wedding to plan it?!) and the financial trouble of the kingdom. (The writers are very careful to call it a kingdom and not a country.) Of course, both are solved when Amber decides to investigate the financial trouble on her own. Well, with her two BFFs, anyway. Amber solves all the problems, marries her prince, and lives happily ever after, I guess?

The sequel absolutely drained all of the charm out of the first movie. Even Richard’s little sister, Emily (Honor Kneafsey), is reduced to a boring side player. She has the opportunity to get a cute little side story about first love but it gets buried under the financial issue. Oh, and suddenly she’s some sort of terrible hacker? She says she can hack into a database but ends up doing it by accident? Poor Emily would have been better if the royals just sent her off to boarding school so she didn’t have to suffer through all of this.

This is another one of those movies that isn’t so terrible that you want to throw your remote through the television. It’s just a boring waste of time. Please tell me they aren’t going to have a Royal Baby movie next year.

Advent Day #19: Hometown Christmas

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As a pagan, I have been fairly comfortable with the amount of Christianity in these Christmas romance movies. While they’ve all revolved around the holiday season, none of them have actually gone into the religion around it. I guess there is a first time for everything.

Hometown Christmas is about Noelle (Beverley Mitchell) moving home to Louisiana from Chicago. She decides to bring back her late mother’s tradition of a live nativity on Christmas. Add in a former boyfriend from high school and that is the entire plot of the movie.

I don’t want to rag on the religious aspect of the movie, even though it is very heavy handed. Unfortunately, that is all there is here. The ‘conflict’ between Noelle and her ex-boyfriend, Nick (Stephen Colletti), feels forced. He’s not mad at her but she is mad at him for no real reason. And her anger doesn’t feel real. It all feels fake, which is terrible for a movie that is desperately trying to push the Christian story. The conflict is fake, the whole purpose of the nativity feels empty, even Noelle’s brother’s relationship doesn’t feel real. It literally feels like this is a group of people reading a script that was just handed to them. It would probably be more believable if they were standing around reading scripts!

Sadly, there isn’t anything good here. The nativity scene ends with Noelle singing “O Holy Night,” but Mitchell is a TERRIBLE singer. Please, stay far away from Hometown. You’ll thank me for saving you two hours.