celebrate yourself, pamper yourself

20 Little Ways To Celebrate Your Birthday

Birthdays are when all the people in your life make you feel special. They might bring you gifts, sing you a song and wish you well on facebook. But sometimes its nice to take a little time for you, and if you are a mom like me, chances are that time is rare! So stop feeling guilty! (Or just buy the kids those gummy bears when you’re ringing up your new outfit. Even trade.)

Here is a list of the little things you can do on your birthday (or any day) to make yourself feel extra special.

Twenty Small Ways To Celebrate Yourself On Your Birthday

1. Get yourself flowers.
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2. Read a magazine.

3. Paint your nails.

4. Spend time with your favorite people.

5. Get all dressed up.

6. Drink coffee in silence.

7. Go shopping.

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8. Write for no reason.

9. Be grateful.

10. Buy balloons.

11. Take pictures.

12. Smile.

13. Laugh. Laugh A Lot.

14. Act like a kid.

15. Do something spontaneous.

16. Eat your favorite foods.
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17. Be surprised.

18. Light sparklers.

19. Get a massage.

20. Drink a celebratory glass.
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21.Toast to yourself.

In what little ways do you like to celebrate yourself?

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Sailing Le Cirque Tweaks and Progress

Hey guys! I might have thought I was done writing about and working on Le Cirque, but boy was I wrong. Not only am I in the process of making a real hold-it-and-flip-its-pages book, but apparently I am also writing a follow up. Oh yes, the other night the beginnings of Le Cirque Part Duex came to me. But it came at the most inopportune time, let me tell you…

He’s part of a team, he’s part of a crew

It feels like family, like a dream come true…

Ooh, I think to myself, there’s that line again. ‘Feels like family’ that’s good, that wasn’t there last time.

I reach for my notebook to make sure I catch it before it slips away again. This movement interrupts my husband’s monologue.

“…so you can do it, but if you get the wires wrong, it will never work aga- what’re you doing?” He asks as I flip the notebook open.

“I should’ve known!” He throws his hands up.

“No, wait! I was listening!”

But he’s already stalked out of the room.

This writing thing, it can be a curse ya’ll.

Sketch of a boat
Sailing Le Cirque homage sketch of a boat

Here’s an update on Sailing Le Cirque.

Tweaks To The Text

I changed a couple of words in one rhyme after I noticed that they didn’t work anymore.

I added an exclamation point. Le Cirque has eight exclamation points, which is rather a lot, but they are only in instances where people are shouting things, I swear. But it’s a circus, so you know, lots of people are shouting things.

Progress On The Book

If an art journal and a picture book had a baby, it would be this book. That’s really the best way to describe it. I’m not that great at drawing or painting or graphic designing so none of those are an option to make this book into a reality. I am pretty obsessed with collages though, so I am going to stick to what I know.

As I mentioned before, I’ve come up with a plan and even tested out a few ideas by making an art journal.

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I also found a binder and paper to serve as the base for this project in the back of my closet. Score!

I will share more in a future post, but for now I can tell you that I completed the concept for the cover and even brainstormed a few of the simpler pages. I am a little intimidated to portray figures like the the Snack Vendor or Mario, but I have a few tricks to get around it. I’m sure once I get going it will all start coming together,

I’ll keep you updated!

What about you? How do you work on your writing projects? Does anyone else like blending creative projects with their writing or is that just me waving my freak flag?

Sailing Le Cirque Gets Some More Work

I was reading over Sailing Le Cirque the other night and this line caught my eye.

The trunks, the cages, the trainers, the stages

According to my own research, there aren’t any animals on Le Cirque. So why would cages and trainers be exiting the ship? Exactly.

The line had to go.

But Noooo!!!!!!!

I loved this line, so instead of trying to figure something out, I shut the computer and tried to put it out of my mind. I know from watching Inside Out the other day that the line must have been dragged into my subconscious, because, “that’s where they take the trouble makers.”

After two days of supposedly not thinking about it, I was in that deliciously hazy place just before sleep, when this line swam to mind and I thought

I really like it because it breaks up the a/b rhyme scheme.

Eyes still shut, but the haze lifted.

Yeah, and it’s similar to dance/prance and draft/waft.

Eyes popped open. Notebook did too.

Scrawled the line across the page. Added a few words from a dead line on top

stands/band
The trunks, the cages, the trainers, the stages

Fiddled and sighed and scrunched up my eyes, then quickly merged them to form a new line (yeah I know it rhymes, sorry, once I get going…).

The trunks, the stands, the dancers, the band

I thought man, that was easy, what was I so afraid of? and I shut off the light.

Thanks, subconscious. Good lookin’ out.

Making an Art Journal

Hey guys. I’m still working my way through Stir, and I’m excited to finish it. I also worked on Sailing Le Cirque.  The writing portion of this project is complete, but I’d like to make a physical book that I can share with my kids. I have some ideas of how I can put something like this together,  but I want to work out the kinks before I go through with it.

A good way to test these ideas and get practice is to make an art journal. I found a great tutorial and used it as a jumping off point to make a journal of my own. They take rather a lot of time and patience, but I think it’s well worth the effort, because you get to be creative when you make it and when you fill the pages.

Here are some pictures of mine so far.

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This is the front cover. I used coordinating scrapbook paper, two kinds of ribbon and some adhesive strips of rhinestones. I love the way the triangle came out on the bottom half. I added it impulsively after cutting the bottom corner of the blue paper too short.

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This is the inner front cover. I cut the paper too short again, this time along the left edge. I added some ribbon to cover my mistake, but it still looks obvious to me.

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Here’s the back cover. I used more matching paper and kept the design simple. By simple, I mean I happend to cut this page to the right size.

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And the inner back cover. For this I used a fun surfboard print. It wasn’t part of the floral paper set, but its beachy enough and the darker colors tie in the black ribbon trimming the spine. Again, I cut the page too small, but this time I colored in the empty space with a sharpie. Also, the pattern might be upside down.

Even though I made a few mistakes, I am pleased with how it came out. Plus, making mistakes was the point, so I can learn from them and hopefully not make them on my book later.

I’m not sure what I will do with this one exactly, but I will be sure to share more as I go along.

Nightstanders

Hey, hey, hey! Happy Monday! Did you know Monday is my favorite day of the week? Oh yes, #TGIM I’m sure its a thing.

This past week, I didn’t really spend much time between the pages of my special notebook. I did drop a poem out of nowhere, but otherwise I’ve been surrounding myself with the worlds and words of others. I like to label these book and movie binges as “research”.
At least, that’s what I told my husband when he came home to this:

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Good ole research

But I know he gets it. The other day I took this picture

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To share with you guys that Spiral Season is on its way, yay! (And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my About Page)

And the next day my husband comes home, without provocation,

“Look what was 17 cents.”

He slaps three spirals on the table. College rule.

“I brought three, so the girls won’t have to write in yours.”

Be still my heart.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been bingeing on in the name of research.

On my nightstand:

This Charming Man Marion Keyes
I’ve read most of her books, so I picked this one up. I don’t read as much fiction as I used to, but I try to read at least a handful or two per year. It was okay. The very serious topics and political bend weighed me down more than say, The Other Side of the Story or even Anybody Out There? But it definitely had great tension and the writing style I’m familiar with and enjoy. It’s partly my fault, I dove in without reading the blurb.

Herbs and Spices
This is a field guide I’m studying for my current writing project. I own two copies, so I decided to cut one up (blasphemy!) and add the relevant sections to a book I’m mocking up for one of the characters.

The True History of Chocolate Sophie D. Coe
Just reading through three chapters gave me inspiration for a fun bit of flash fiction I may flesh out this week. I love learning about plants so it will be fun to learn more about chocolate.

Stir Jessica Fechtor
This is good so far, I’m really enjoying her prose and I’m pretty sure I’ll go back and reread some of her more poetic lines and passages. Might share about it when I’m done.

On my TV:

Chocolat
Don’t you hate when a movie isn’t as good as the book? Me too!
That’s why, I try to watch the movie first if I can. That way, if I like the movie, I know I’ll love the book. Ha!
Anyway, I really liked this one, so I requested the book at the library. And it’s a series. Score!

Spare Parts
This movie got mixed reviews but it was really inspirational. I loved the creativity they used to build their robot.

Stardust
In the name of genre research. Will be reading this one next.

The Secret of Kells
Research for my current book. I really liked this offbeat animated film.

That’s it! Oh and now its Tuesday.

How do you like to do research?

Deleted Lines and Other Things

Hey, I’m back. It’s been a crazy good week. My best friend of 15 years (!) came to visit. I haven’t seen her in years, so it was good to catch up, even though we email and talk and text fairly regularly. I feel like you can just get into deeper and more meaningful conversation in person, you know?

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Deleting is not optional

So I thought I would share a few things that didn’t make it into Sailing Le Cirque. Like I mentioned in this post, I find the process behind a story really interesting, and that is why I decided to share

Deleted Lines

Though every line was changed, many, many times, there were a few that were cut out completely. This set

Come one, come all, all ages delight

In the fun and fancy of this one magic night

because it was too cliche.

And these

Caramel corn in paper cones

Funnel cakes you can’t eat alone

Turkey legs roasted on the bone

because after doing research, these foods would be hard to store and serve from a ship, even if its a magical one filled with circus folk.

And Other Things

The other things I refer to here are the animals. Le Cirque carries only human performers. In early drafts, I planned to have animals as part of the show, but after doing research, I did away with the whole concept. Between animal cruelty issues and the impracticality of having animals living on a boat, it just made more sense. And, this decision gave way to my favorite line

Then they dance, they prance, pull tricks, entrance,

Make fire burn, stand on their hands

so it was a good choice.

Check out this post if you want to read a little more about the cutting process of this story. And to read all about Sailing Le Cirque, check out these 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 posts. The next (and possibly final) post about Sailing Le Cirque will be to share any new sketches I come up with.

But before I go I wanted to share this Florida weather report.

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All Hail Summer

Hail.
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Yes, Hail.
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Have a happy summer night!