Posts Tagged ‘ blog ’

Renewed

Just renewed the domain name, and it’s my blogs anniversary.  Yay!  Happy anniversary, blog!

I haven’t posted anything in awhile.  Been busy writing, doing side projects, and working (which now includes a hefty amount of writing).

Work, so far, is going surprisingly good.  I’m still trying to figure out ways to direct traffic to the site, but the boss likes me well enough.  He seems to think I have a good attitude and the perfect personality for the job.  I sure hope he’s right about me.  A lot of people are counting on me to be successful.  They’re not counting on just me, thankfully, but enough of it relies on my ability to generate interest in the company for me to be extremely stressed.

In the meantime, my personal writing is divided between a script for a comic/graphic novel I’m collaborating on with an artist friend/former co-worker of mine, brainstorming for the game I want to develop that I mentioned last post, and working on a short novel I’m hoping to get finished within this coming year; working title is “White Rabbit”.

On another post, I talked about my DIY projects.  This holiday season, I made laundry detergent, lotion, lip balm, bath salts, and a sugar scrub.  I’m most satisfied with the laundry detergent, lip balm, and bath salts.  The sugar scrub was pretty decent, but I would have to use it long term to determine if I like it or not.  I had a small breakout by the corner of my lip, and I’m suspicious it might’ve been the scrub.  Of course, I could just be seeing the consequences of this past couple months’ major stresses, too.  The bath salt was wonderful to soak in, though, very relaxing, left my skin feeling really smooth, and was so easy to make.  Took maybe 5-10 minutes to mix together.  Sort of used Lia Griffith’s Homemade Lavender Bath Salts and Martha Stewart’s Homemade Bath Salts recipes as guides, kind of borrowing from both and streamlining the ingredients.

My Bath Salts

2 Cups Epsom Salt

1/2 Cup Himalyan Pink Sea Salt (bottles of this are available everywhere now, I’d never even heard of them before.  They give the salts a pretty color, but you could prob sub regular sea salt or just omit it altogether)

2 tablespoons Coconut Oil (though you could probably sub any vegetable oil here, like olive oil or jojoba oil)

5-10 drops Lavender Essential Oil

5-10 drops Eucalyptus Essential oil

Directions: Combine epsom salt and sea salt in a large bowl.  In a double boiler, melt coconut oil (I just put the oil in a jar, then put the jar in hot water from the tap, mixing it until fully melted.  Pour oil over salts, add the oils, and mix until fully combined.  Store in a sealed container (I put mine in glassware with a silicone seal lock-and-lock lid that I got at a home goods store for cheap).

To Use: Add a few tablespoons to bath when you first start running the hot water, and use your hand to stir the salts in until the sea salt is fully dissolved.

I worried after I’d first made the salts that I might’ve put in too much of the eucalyptus essential oil, because it smelled overwhelming in the mixing bowl, but the bath water diluted it a lot.  The Himalyan pink sea salt gave the bath a kind of peppery smell, which was interesting but nice.

As for the lotion, I colored it with powdered raspberries, and that didn’t work out so awesome.  It’s alright, but a bit gritty, so I have to figure out a way to get that pretty pink color without the grit.  The lotion itself was very oily — which the recipe’s author had forewarned, so I already knew it would be — but I think I’ll try out a less oily lotion next time.  It turned out very liquid-y,  which the author had not forewarned about but I think might be due to the oily-ness, and I don’t like it’s consistency much at all.  I want to try making a lotion for my face, my skin gets really dried out.  I started using diluted apple cider vinegar as a face toner after my cleanser a couple days ago.  I haven’t noticed anything testimony worthy yet, but I will say that it does significantly reduce redness after application, but I think that it’s contributing to the dryness of my skin.

Next on my DIY To-Do List is shampoo and conditioner.  I decided I would try out these different “recipes” for a month, recording my results.  Unless, of course, I immediately see drastically horrific results.  I’m thinking I might start a blog about it, but not until I’ve got everything made and have been using them for awhile, so I actually have something worth blogging about.

And that is all for today.  Yup.  Back to writing.

Professional Blog Writer

Today I am officially a professional blog writer.

My first post went up for the company blog.  Check it out!

I’m nervous about it.  I know it’s not a great post, and I’m hoping I’ll get better with time and the more I settle into the position.  At the moment I’m working on several other posts about food, recipes, and other products that we sell.  I’m kind of on a homemade kick, everything from scratch (sort of) but in the easiest ways possible and with tips to make eating homemade simple and muss free, so that may be what a lot of my blog posts focus on.  Did you know how easy it was to make your own dressings and condiments from scratch?  I’ll be posting about it within the next few months on the company blog, so maybe bookmark the page or sign up for the newsletter to get updates.

Semi-unrelated, I’m also planning on slowly learning to do homemade lotions, soaps, skin care, shampoo, hair conditioner, and cosmetic products.  Yes, I’m looking at becoming a hippie, except I want to be very scientific about it, track how well things are working, shelf life, etc.  I just need to come up with a recording system, and also run 0ut of the current products I’m using.  I’ve already got plans to make some lotions, sugar scrubs, maybe lip balm, and laundry detergent for the holidays — give some as gifts 🙂 !  Though I’m a bit wary of giving things to my loved ones that I haven’t tried on myself yet.

I might start a blog to post my results on everything.  We’ll see how that goes.

Back to the professional blog writer thing.  Yeah, come by and take a look at the post.  Tell me what you think, because I could use a few tips, pointers, lot of feedback.  Final note, I made breakfast this morning with the product I blogged about.  It was so much easier to use than I thought, though I totally missed the instruction to cover and lower the heat (I covered, no lowered heat…didn’t ruin it too much and I caught it eventually).  Here’s a pic.

20131216_080149

I suggest purchasing one soon. It’s a limited time item.

 

School’s Out, Time to Write

As of this past Thursday morning, my school semester is over.  It was a long and hectic year that ended on a few high notes.  A few good grades and good praise from my teachers, met some interesting people that were far friendlier towards me than I probably deserved.  In personal life, I got a new job and a new car.  The job seems to be going well, which could mean it really is going well, or I’m delusional in my hopes that it works out.

My first blog post for the new job goes up on Monday, if you would care to check it out, here’s the link.  It’s not the best thing I’ve ever written, by far, stifled by the pressure of it being my first paid writing gig and trying to situate myself into a position whose previous occupant left a severely sour taste in the boss’s mouth.  While you’re perusing the company blog, you can read some of the old blogger’s posts as well.  I’m not entirely sure how long we’ll be keeping them up, but I’m petitioning to get them removed as soon as possible.  I’d like to distance myself from her work as much as I can.  One of the earliest bloggers had some decent posts, and I’d like to spruce them up a bit, but I guess there were complications during her employment so her stuff might get removed too, we’ll see.  We’ll also be getting a freelance blogger (who I’ll be semi-managing) to write content for us.  She’s got a lot of writing experience, and thus far in our email correspondence she’s been super nice, so I’m excited to be working with her. I’ll let you know when her stuff goes up as well, let you take a look at it.  Also, you know, buy something from the store.  We’ve got cool kitchen gadgets, the kind of stuff that makes me go, “I want that…and that…and OH MY GOD THAT!”

As per my previous blog (in which I complain about my own failings during NaNoWriMo and hope the readers will take pit on me), I’m going to be doing my own version of NaNoWriMo…apparently, starting today.  Woohoo! Got to write 1600 words today.  I can kill that easy, just need to pick a story to work on.   A little torn between the one I was trying to write during NaNoWriMo and a completely different one.  UGH, I’m already sabotaging myself.  I’m just going to open a word doc and start writing, whichever story comes out is the one I’m going with, so there, take that self-imposed writer’s block!

Right.  Off I go to get some novel written.  Enjoy this picture of the kitten that wouldn’t let me do my homework.

He's a little sad about classes ending because it means his favorite napping spot - my books - is going away for a time.  Back to sleeping on my shoulders, I guess.

He’s a little sad about classes ending because it means his favorite napping spot – my books – is going away for a time. Back to sleeping on my shoulders, I guess.

First Day Over

My first day at the new job is over and, well, it was a little anti-climactic.  I guess I was so nervous I was expecting a fire to break out, or hailstorms to roll in from the north.  Overall, it was just a first day.  Things were a little messy, fumbling around, trying to sort out where I was supposed to be and what I should be doing.  They don’t have a computer set up for me yet so I was sitting in the office at the center of the shop working.  There were windows all around me, that way other employees could peer in at me like a goldfish trapped in a bowl.

Image

I’m exaggerating, of course.  Things weren’t nearly that bad or nerve-wracking.

I was working on a Mac, which I haven’t used one in years, so that made me feel even more like a total noob.  But it didn’t take me too long to pick it back up, like riding a bicycle.  I spent the entire time cursing Macs, that was new.  I used to be a total Apple fangirl.  I’ve grown up a lot, I think.

Everyone at the job was very nice, and a lot of help.  I tried not to be too bothersome, but we’ll see.  I’m pretty excited about the products they sell and thus far, I really like the owner of the company.  He’s ambitious, and has a lot of positive vision.  There’s something inexplicably tantalizing about working for such a small-scale company in the process of growing, and in being a part of that growth.

Anyhow, until this month is over and I’ve proven my worth in salt…or at the very least they decide to make me permanent at this place, the anxiety won’t subside.  That should make writing blog content for their company unnecessarily difficult.  Or put a fire under my bum to turn out something great.  I need to stop being afraid of wanting this, and start telling myself this is what I’m meant to do.

That’s the update for now.  Hopefully I start posting blog articles soon.

Risk – “Junk Drawer JuJu”

Today I had originally planned on posting a completed version of a short story I’d been working on, however, as the story started developing I started to think about my dreams and why I began this blog in the first place.  It’s moniker, “Dastardly Reads”, was inspired by my own cowardice as a writer.

As a child, I used to write with full intention of being an acclaimed author, hoping to one day have my stories out into the world and maybe make a bit of a living off of them.  Yet, as my life went on, and I got older, more world-weary, and a lot too cynical, I became crippled by fear.  I didn’t want to put my stories out there, to let them be heard, because what if no one listened?

Or worse, what if no one liked what I had to say?

It is so easy to tear apart someone who has something they care about, especially something they created, displayed for the world to see.  I think it’s easier than some people realize and still others do realize and happily exploit its ease.   Writers, creators — artists in general, they take a great risk in putting their work out there.  The rewards can be great, or so I’m told, but they’re also rare, and more often the outcome is that you leave yourself vulnerable and wide-open to attack, and attacked you will be.

It’s no wonder Harper Lee cautioned would-be writers, “I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career, that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”

Starting this blog was the first of many steps I’ve been taking in hopes to develop that thick hide, and I think  that it’s time I finally test its durability.  The short story I planned on posting today, I’m going to instead make attempt at getting it published and, once it is finalized, I will begin querying and submitting to a few literary magazines.  If nothing else, it will provide me a little insight into the publishing process.

Wish me luck.

Or even better, I’m posting a very brief snippet of the short story, and would love any constructive feedback you could offer?

Excerpt of “Junk Drawer Juju”

The tiny house at the end of Canterbury Lane looked ordinary by all outward appearances, and Millicent felt skeptical pulling her powder blue Coupe de Ville up sidelong the driveway. She peered vaguely out her window, took in the red brick two story with its wrap around porch, hanging plants clasped to the trellis, scant lawn decorated with pink flamingo ornaments and a dream catcher in the window, ivy growing up the building’s side, and a long hedge poised like a crouched tiger all around. The only aspect of the house that really set it apart from its neighbors’ own tacky layouts was the auspicious tree that stretched high up, over the top of the house, its wicked branches curved into spindly limbs scratching at the clear sun-baked sky.

Millicent threw her car into park and scurried up the walk, tentatively tapping the door, its knocker shaped like a napping cat. She hugged her purse to herself and shuddered, suddenly feeling ice through her veins, though it was a warm summer day. The door swung open and a small, beady-eyed woman filled its frame and gasped.

“You’re late!”

“I…I didn’t know…you were expecting me?” Millicent stammered, taken aback, perhaps there was something to this woman after all, with her bedraggled hair, gold spandex, and swampy “Mizz Thang” sweatshirt.

“Of course. Franz called. Said you’d be here around noon, it’s nearly supper time now,” Mizz Thang answered, swinging her door open wide and ushering Millicent inside.

Millicent softened her expression and smiled at her own silly conclusion jumping.

“Franz. Of course,” she drawled, stepping into the house and flinching when the woman slammed the door shut and tossed its lock and a series of deadbolts into place.

The house’s insides were even less conspicuous, knick-knacks and doilies topped with vases from flea markets, a large clock overhead featured a watercolor rooster cock-a-doodling atop a red barn. A shaggy dog, its eyes — one blue and the other brown, sat on the stairwell, disinterestedly watching the two women enter the house and stride swiftly into the den. There was a tweed sofa, a knit afghan flung over its high back, and a coffee table littered with magazines about gardening, cooking, and high-tech gadgetry.

“Would you like something to drink? Maybe some chamomile tea?” the woman asked and Millicent politely declined. Chamomile gave her hives.

Altogether, the atmosphere in the house seemed pleasant enough, like grandmother’s home, where small children sat quietly on the couch sucking sweet lozenges thirty years expired and hoping their parents would take them home soon.

“Right to business then,” Mizz Thang announced, clapping her hands together and causing Millicent to nearly jump clear out of her own skin, “Will we be casting a curse, hex, or love spell?”

“Aren’t they all the same thing,” Millicent dryly wondered. Mizz Thang grinned, she had maybe five teeth in her mouth.

“Of course not. A love spell is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, a hex is the hasty excise of a fleeting moment of anger that smarts for weeks after, and a curse is a rage so precise and exacting, their great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren will feel it!”

“I see. Then I suppose I’m here for a curse,” Millicent decided, setting her features grim. She was a chubby cheeked woman, prone to fits of giggles when drunk, though, so the effect wasn’t much.

“Of course,” Mizz Thang replied whimsically, “No one is ever here for a hex, but as a matter of professionalism, I’m compelled to recommend the hex over curse. It’s more efficient, economical, gets the job done with a fraction of the side-effects…”

“Well…I don’t know…” Millicent wavered, crossing her arms over her chest and worrying her bottom lip. When Mizz Thang put it that way, it was difficult to resist.

“Hexes are far easier to reverse in the instance of buyer’s remorse, and also, require no animal sacrifice whatsoever. Easier clean up.”

“Ah…well…I do feel bad about the animal sacrifice bit…but no. No. I’m definitely going with the curse,” Millicent announced.

“I tried,” Mizz Thang said…

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