Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Wrap-Up

As you can probably tell from my lack of posting, this month was a little nuts. Lots of homework for my classes, grandparents visiting for Thanksgiving, and trying to get as much writing in as I can. So good nuts, but still crazy! I hope you all had a more productive NaNoWriMo than I did. For the first time in eight years, I didn't finish my word goal. I got 20,000 words total written. It's not a total loss since I still wrote a bunch, and some of it might be worth salvaging, but it does feel weird not to be celebrating at this point in the month.

Books I Read

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo


I always like Kate DiCamillo's books, and this one wasn't an exception. This plot was by far the simplest of any of her stories I've read, but I didn't mind it too much. I like character-driven stories. It wasn't boring at all, it was just a sleepy kind of feel, like a lazy summer read, which I found enjoyable. Beverly's character made me laugh and Louisiana was delightfully quirky. The only character I didn't really connect with was Raymie. The other two girls had very distinct personalities, but I felt like Raymie was distant the whole time, which isn't really what you want with a protagonist.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll


What a drug trip. Alice is a bit of a dingbat throughout the whole story. For example, when in the company of several mice, she chooses her cat aka an expert mouse hunter as an appropriate topic of conversation, then proceeds to wonder why the mice are offended. ?????? The plot felt disjointed, and the story rambled at parts, particularly with his specific writing style. But it was very imaginative.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor


HOLY CREATIVITY. I have to admit, I spent almost the entire book thinking this would be a four-star read, and then the ending hit! I was intrigued from the very beginning and really loved Karou as a protagonist (and Zuzana as a side character) and her whole secret life with her "monsters." Plus, it's set somewhere other than the US and England! I love interesting settings and we don't see enough of them in YA. Parts of the story really lagged because I still wasn't quite sure what the whole plot was supposed to be, hence why it was only going to be four stars. There's was too much mystery for too long of a time, which is a big turnoff for me. But then, BUT THEN, Laini Taylor pulls out a whopping plot twist that made my eyes bulge. I devoured the last hundred pages in a day. WOW. I can't wait to read the sequels.

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi


I've learned more about Iran and its culture from this one graphic novel than any article or piece of history I've read. It was really neat getting to see it from the perspective of a young girl growing up in it. The first part of the book was pretty confusing, because the politics seemed to be explained, but then something a character said would contradict what I thought I knew. I couldn't keep it all straight. The rest of it was much more enjoyable, though.

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash


AHHH, how cute was this?! The imperfect illustration style was the perfect way to carry out this story. I loved it. It was simple and raw and humorous and heart-wrenching at times. I would've easily given this a five-star review if it hadn't been for the ending. I don't mind open-ended, especially when it comes to a memoir like this since the author clearly has lived beyond this snapshot into her teenage years, but this felt very abrupt. A gradual slow down would've fit better, I think.

Movies I Watched

"Kate and Leopold"


Super fun and cute. It was an interesting take on time travel, and I always love getting to watch a person from the past try to assimilate to the future. The ending was a little unrealistic, but I guess that's what you get with a rom com and time travel. ;)

"Doctor Strange"


Benedict Cumberbatch. Do I need to say more?

Okay, fine, I will. This felt like a Marvel movie and also totally didn't feel like a Marvel movie. There was way more fantasy than science-fiction involved, which I loved. The special effects were super cool and Strange was both annoying and endearing somehow. Maybe it's the humor. I'm curious to see how he and Tony Stark would interact with each other. Benedict Cumberbatch also successfully succeeded in making his American accent believable, unlike many British actors.

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" 


Ohhhhh myyyyy Goooooood, I loved it. Newt Scamander is totally adorable and exactly the kind of Hufflepuff I'd hoped to see in this movie. And all of the side characters were great. Every single one. I loved seeing what the wizarding world was like in America (though I was kind of hoping for a glimpse into Ilvermorny, too, though I wonder if we'll get that in future movies?). I now want a Niffler, because they're SO CUTE. But there are a couple questions I need to get answered and I don't want to wait another two years for the next movie to figure it out!

"Noises Off" 


Hilarious. I felt exhausted after watching what the characters put themselves through for the play. Half the script had hardly any dialogue at all, it was just the actors running around backstage, passing props back and forth and mouthing things to each other (and I promise, it's a lot more interesting than I make it sound). It's a super fun movie for anyone into theater.

Quotes I Wrote

It might sound goofy, but one of my favorite things about what little of my NaNo novel I wrote was the cast of characters list I put at the beginning. Since there's a strong theater theme throughout the story, I thought it'd be fun to introduce the characters that way. You can see it in the picture below.

I got into screenwriting again! I was struggling with an idea of what to do until I remembered that I already had a perfectly fleshed out story: "Writer's Camp." It's dramatic and hysterical and written as if the author was sleep-deprived, much like writer's camp actually is. And the best part is 95% of it is true. And the campers I still keep in touch with love the idea, which means I can freely write their characters without worry. Here's the intro:

A black screen. Pitch black.

Most people have a clear idea of what a writer's camp looks like.


A dozen or so students scribble fervently in their notebooks, or type like the wind at their laptops. A very professorial TEACHER smiles at the students as he paces back and forth.

He checks the clock, and as soon as it hits eleven, he claps his hands.

Great writing, campers. Now let's return to our analysis of Dickinson's poem, Hope Is the Thing With Feathers.


All of the campers sit at one long table, eating and talking quietly. Someone laughs once in a while.

Do you mind looking over my first chapter? It's only a fourth draft, but I want it to be totally polished.

The CAMPER passes around their notebook. SAM, a fourteen-year-old girl with a bright smile and a funky fedora takes the notebook and scans the first few lines.

This version is much better than the last, really. Much more showing, a little less telling.

The Camper beams. SCENE FREEZES.

This idea is false.


A tall girl with glasses and a geeky t-shirt of some kind, KATE, sprints down the hall, laughing almost maniacally. She's followed by a much shorter girl with short hair and glasses, DANA, who is also laughing, but a little more nervously. They're both clutching at least half a dozen bags of gummy frogs. They both haven't slept for more than five hours in days. They've become different people in the course of this short camp. SCENE FREEZES.

This is what camp looks like.

Picture of the Month 

This month my dad took me to my first ever "Supernatural" convention in New Jersey! It was so much fun and I'll probably end up posting more about it soon, but here are a couple pictures from it. My grandparents also took my family to see "Something Rotten" on Broadway, which was hysterical.

Mark Sheppard doing whatever he pleases.
Misha Collins sighting in the hallway!
I fought my way through the crowd to get an autograph from Adam Pascal (aka the original Roger from "Rent") who played Shakespeare!

How was your November?

Friday, November 4, 2016

I Love Fall Tag

I was tagged by Engie from "Musings From Neville's Navel" for the "I love fall" tag. Which is perfect, because I'm enjoying some great fall weather and awesome leaf colors right now. :)

The obligatory "look-at-how-cute-my-dog-is-in-the-fall-leaves" picture.
What is your favorite fall month?

If we're talking in terms of weather, September is usually pretty good, usually later in the month. I love mostly sunny weather with a slight breeze so it's cool enough to still wear a t-shirt, but not hot enough to start sweating.

Otherwise, obviously November because NaNoWriMo!

What music do you like to listen to in fall?

Depends on my mood, but I usually transition from things like pop songs, which are totally summer songs, to more Indie/alternative music. (Of course this year I'm listening to a lot of musicals right now, because I've been really into that.) I tend to gravitate towards artists like Melanie Martinez, Sleeping At Last, Louden Swain, The Civil Wars, etc.

What is your favorite fall outfit?

A cute t-shirt, jeans, and a plaid flannel.

What is your favorite fall scent?

Coffee, campfires, cinnamon. Apparently just things that start with "c."

What books get you in the mood for fall?

I know it's obvious, but the Harry Potter series. School starts on September 1st, they always have a Halloween feast, and every book has a part that's just creepy enough to feel like a fall story. The whole series is cozy.

Do you enjoy fall weather?

Absolutely! I prefer crisp and cool weather to sweltering hot days.

What is your favorite fall food?

I don't know if I have a favorite, but warm drinks, Thanksgiving pies, and apples in some kind of caramel/chocolate/peanut butter dips are all excellent. Also our "pumpkin pasties," which are pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips.

Apple pie or pumpkin pie?


Hot chocolate or warm apple cider?


Do you like pumpkin spice lattes?

Yes! It was one of the first coffee drinks I had that made me realize how much I liked coffee.

Tea or coffee?

It depends on the time of day and my mood. Usually I like coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon while I'm writing. Sometimes decaf coffee at night with a cookie or biscotti is really nice.

Do you like candy corn?

Eh? It's been a while since I had it. I wouldn't seek it out or anything, but it's okay.

What is your favorite past Halloween costume?

Ooh, that's tricky. My Luna Lovegood costume when I was eleven was pretty awesome. I had a homemade Quibbler and everything. I also went as Hermione when I was ten. But I also love the costumes I had the past couple years, like the Tenth Doctor and my steampunk angel creation.

My 10-year-old self as Hermione, next to my little brother who's a ninja here.
Luna Lovegood!
My genderbent 10th Doctor.

Who/what did you dress as for Halloween last year?

A steampunk angel! :) I loved the wings so much, I made a couple excuses to put on the costume for other events, like Time Traveler's Day at the Renaissance Faire.

Steampunk angel!
You can see the wings better here. I was going for a coppery look to match the steampunk theme.

What is your favorite Halloween candy?

Reese's peanut butter cups, of course. I also like Kit-Kats, Twix, Three Musketeers . . . basically anything that's chocolate.

Do you enjoy carving jack-o’-lanterns?

It depends on my  mood each years, but most of the time I do!

Do you like to visit creepy graveyards?

Not as a hobby or anything, but walking through them is always kind of cool. I love to get name ideas there and read the epitaphs. The really faded ones that you can hardly read always look like something that belongs in a story.

Cats or bats?

Cats, even though I'm allergic. They're just so darn cute.

What is your favorite scary movie?

I've never gotten into scary movies, but I really enjoyed "The Sixth Sense," if that counts?

Halloween or Thanksgiving?

Halloween for the candy and Thanksgiving for the pie. Because food.

What is your least favorite thing about fall?

Everything seems crazy busy when fall starts. There's a lot less time alone to read and write because even though we're doing TONS of super fun activities, they're all in a row without a lot of breathing room.

What is the best thing about your town during fall?

Seeing cute pumpkin/fall decorations in our small town, corn mazes, coffee shops, etc.

What is your favorite fall memory?

I can't pick out a singular memory, but I have vivid memories from every NaNoWriMo season of writing a certain story. They're still some of my favorites.

What is one thing you’d like to try during fall, but haven’t?

I can't think of any fall specific activities. But what are your favorite things to do during the fall?

In one sentence, why do you love fall?

I love fall because of the weather, the atmosphere, the creativity, and the feeling that comes from it.

Tag, you're it! "Steal" this tag for your own blog, or answer some of the questions in the comments. :) Have fun!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Doctor Who: The Stone Rose by Jacqueline Rayner


Oh, Tenrose, I've missed you so! The author of this book did a really excellent job capturing the voices of both the Doctor and Rose. However, you should definitely read this for the story alone and not so much the writing. That part was a little overly simplistic. The plot was compelling (though it did get a little dragged out and wonky toward the end, almost to the point where I skimmed a bit because I was too confused) and I loved getting to revisit my favorite characters from the show. There was a sense of nostalgia to it.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck


God, that was depressing. I can't say I was bored, and the end took me by surprise, but it wasn't my favorite classic. I have a hard time reading or watching anything where an animal gets hurt, so I didn't exactly love this one. But I'm glad I read it, because it is a classic, and now I'll get way more pop culture references.

Movies I Watched

"Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life"


This was fun to take my little brother and our friends to with my movie theater employee discount. The whole thing felt like a Disney channel special.. It was fun, but not a work of art or anything like that. It had a nice plot twist toward the end of the movie, and good messages about public school education, but everything was very heavy-handed.

"Hamilton's America"


I LOVE LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA. It was so cool getting to see the process of the whole musical and the history behind it. My family ate a yummy brunch while watching it and quietly cried at a few parts into our cups of coffee. It was inspirational and a must-see for any "Hamilton" fan.



My dad and I saw the taped production with Benedict Cumberbatch, and I'm completely convinced he can do anything. Not only was his acting fantastic (as usual), but the contortions he put himself through for the first ten minutes of the play was INSANE. Even the way he spoke throughout the entire thing must have taken so much practice and energy. It was dark, creepy, and perfect for Halloween.

Quotes I Wrote

She cleaned up the blood, but nothing more. Staring at her pink skin, gaunt face, raccoon eyes, in the mirror, at the stranger who stared back, the gash fit. It would leave a silvery scar for sure, just like the others, except this one would be visible. This one she could catch in the reflection of a car window or bathroom mirror. This one could serve as a reminder.
    For what, though, Melody couldn't say. She also couldn’t say why she chose to use her wrinkled fingertips to grip the blade tighter and hack away at her hair until all that was left was a jagged bob, but she sliced through it like it was nothing, like nothing mattered.
The fresh cut on her cheek, her mangled hair, maybe they both served as reminders that she was not the same Melody who stumbled into Sterling just months ago. She entered a runaway and left an omen.
    All would learn to fear the sight of her, the girl heartbreak befriended and followed all across the country.
-'Til the Last Star Dies

“What’s going on, Amy?”
    Melody’s hostility shrank back into something resembling resignation. She felt several inches shorter. “I just need a place to start over.”
    “So what are you hiding from?” For all of Cal’s gruff southern accent, his tone was kind.
    He snorted a little. “Don’t tell me you’re that cliché.”
-'Til the Last Star Dies

The war was far from over, but defeat had to start somewhere.
    Lila sank to her knees in the mud and covered her face with her hands as she breathed through her mouth to minimize the stench of smoke in the air.
    She could go home tonight.
-'Til the Last Star Dies

Melody wanted to say something. No, she wanted to say everything. But she couldn't find the voice or the words that could explain away her actions or what she'd said. There was too much and it was impossible to describe exactly how Melody felt at this moment. Joy, anxiety, grief, anger, ecstasy, they all jumbled and blended and formed a new emotion Melody had yet to name.
    Maybe it was love. Maybe love was everything all at once, just in high definition, at full volume, until it consumed you whole.
-'Til the Last Star Dies

Have you ever tried to read something upside down? It looks like language, but you can't tell what any of it says. It's probably English, but you don't understand it.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm upside down. Sometimes I wonder if people know I'm there, that I'm human, but they just can't read me. So they give up reading and I'm left alone again.
You can turn writing right side up. You can't turn people.
-What's Easily Missed

Obsessions I Acquired

"The Good Place" - Kristen Bell takes quite the change from Veronica Mars, but she's so great in this show. It's quirky, unique, funny, and surprising all at once. The characters are all great for different reasons. I love the character Janet, who's a twist on the classic AI sort of Siri type. The show just makes you happy.

Picture of the Month 

I dressed up as Benedict Cumberbatch's version of Sherlock Holmes for Halloween, and my little brother was Mabel from "Gravity Falls." Genderbending, FTW!

How was your October?

Friday, October 28, 2016

What's Easily Missed--My NaNoWriMo Novel

Because my brain likes to torture me, I've switched to an entirely different NaNoWriMo novel idea within the past week. Which means I scrambled to vaguely write out a plot. Which also means I procrastinated a lot on Pinterest. Which means I've looked a little something like this:

So anyways.

Cait from "Paper Fury" and Sky from "Further Up and Further In" host a linkup every month called "Beautiful People" to help you learn more about your characters. This month is "Beautiful Books," which helps you to learn more about your NaNoWriMo before November hits (AND IT'S IN FOUR DAYS, PEOPLE, THIS IS NOT A DRILL).

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

Rain from "Ivyclad Ideas" wrote about gothic novel tropes over the summer and it got me thinking about things like possibly haunted libraries and hags and nightmares, which collided with my recent obsession with musicals, which brewed for a while in the back of my mind. But of course it only came crashing to the forefront of my mind once I managed to completely plot out an entirely different novel idea.

Isn't deciding to write a totally vague novel idea in 30 days SO much more better than writing one that's already plotted out???

2. Describe what your novel is about!

What's Easily Missed is a YA fantasy romance with a gothic/horror twist featuring a decaying and possibly haunted library, hags, nightmares that have the possibility of being manipulated, a high school production of "Les Misérables," puppiespuppiespuppies, British boys, and magic normalized in everyday human society. For example, every single Starbucks is primarily run by fairies, who can not only add shots of caramel syrup to your coffee, but shots of charisma.

3. What is your book’s aesthetic?

I'll show you a few pictures, but you can also see the whole Pinterest board HERE. 

4. Introduce us to your characters!

Meredith Lockheart - Protagonist, still healing from her brother's death, going after her dream of being on Broadway, extremely claustrophobic, works at a possibly haunted library, keeps a collection of fun mugs and fun socks, likes coffee and waffles, has things to say but nobody seems to hear her say them.

Levi Waters - Love interest, nerdy, optimistic, likes to think he's smooth and charming but really he's more likely to stick his foot in his mouth and knock over a lamp while he's at it, inspiring, appears in seemingly random places (like in Meredith's nightmares, for example), likes junk food and crossword puzzles and tea.

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, chocolate, howling, etc.?)

I relentlessly outline for days on end while guzzling something like coffee or tea, I grumble a little, I pretend I'm being productive while creating my Pinterest board, and then I collapse a few days before November to give my brain a rest so I can write something semi-good.

6. What are you looking forward to about this novel?

All the quirky little details! I'm excited to figure out which fun socks Meredith is going to wear each day, how many musicals I can sneakily reference, what books Levi and Meredith read in the library, what food they'll eat, what mischief Meredith's dogs (Gavroche--or Gavvy, for short--and Ogie) will get into, etc.

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

The book will mostly be set in three places.

1. The library, which is slowly falling apart.
2. The theater in Meredith's school, which has always been her safe place but hasn't been quite the same lately.
3. Meredith's house, where she's usually curled up in her room with a good book, her dogs, and a Broadway musical soundtrack playing.

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Let's do another list (because who doesn't love lists?).

1. To get through her senior year and be happy again, because she's tired of feeling sad.
2. To be heard, because she has things to say.
3. To have the spotlight on her in the musical, because the stage can help her say those things.

What stands in her way:

1. She's still so heartbroken.
2. Nobody seems to hear her, no matter how hard she tries.
3. Georgia Pynes, who, as much as Meredith hates to admit it, is just as good of an actress as she is.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Spoiler alert much? ;)

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

I don't like to plan out themes too much, because I think that's something that happens naturally. If you try to force a theme into a book where it doesn't belong, readers will notice. Themes emerge when the story is right.

But like most of my books, I like my stories to have an ambiguous ending that's bittersweet with a hopeful undertone. I know the ending of this book will have a big question mark and a fill-in-the-blank ending that only the readers can fill in.

Your turn! What's your NaNo novel about? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


I feel like October's been insane. I've barely gotten a chance to sit down and breathe and write besides what I have to write for my college classes (which are so much fun, by the way). Luckily, one of my classes is English Comp 101, so we get to do lots of writing naturally there.

My professor is a total feminist and fangirl (she spent a good five minutes of class just raving about Poe and Orwell), and when I told her my idea for one of the creative assignments, she got so excited.

The prompt, in summary, was to consider how the world or certain attitudes might change if we got rid of one word. We could choose any word we wanted. I decided to remove the word “slut.” Here's the result:

rolling off her bare back like
only when she passes like a
fall breeze.
all from those who barely know her
Somehow they think they have the right to her
But they don’t.
Hands off, because you don’t.
Mouths shut, because you don’t.
“Go home,” “Cover up,” “Slut,” “Slut,”
Shut up.


Confident strides down
hallways wide with
packs of people who
can only gaze.
Legs, shaved or prickly,
shoulders, clothed or exposed,
but chin always tilted up,
she spares them little more than a second glance.
They have no words.
There are no words.
She is she,
and they are they,
and that must always be the way.

How has your October been? What do you think of the poem? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


I went to my first school dance this past weekend! :) I'm homeschooled, so I don't normally have the opportunity to go to prom or anything like that unless someone invites me to their school, but my friend TJ asked me to go with him to his Homecoming at the beginning of the month.

My parents were awesome and helped me pull together everything I needed. My dad and I spent the entire afternoon going to every single shoe store within an hour from our house to find shoes that were preferably not heels (because ew, who would be able to dance in those for more than like ten minutes), and my mom arranged for a friend to do my hair and makeup. We even did a trial run two nights before the dance just to make sure everything went smoothly.

I guess in my area of Pennsylvania, Homecoming dresses are traditionally short, but I found this long blue gown that I loved, so I said to heck with it and made it work. It's TARDIS blue with silvery sequins in the middle. My mom and I were looking for shoe/purse/wrap color ideas, and bright red looked great with the dress. Then I realized that someone else looked fantastic in TARDIS blue and bright red.

So not only did I end up going with red accents, but then I fell in love with the idea of doing hair and makeup like Peggy Carter.

And the theme was classic Hollywood, so the vintage look totally worked!

This was from the trial run.
And this is from the night of! Desiree did an awesome job with hair and makeup.
You can see the curls in the back here.
Scout was fascinated by my makeup. She kept trying to lick the lipstick off.
We took approximately a bazillion* pictures before we left.
With Max.
With my (probably extremely tired from tons of shopping) parents.
With TJ. He almost wore suspenders to complete his eleventh Doctor look, but apparently they were against the dress code at his school (???). Once we got there we counted at least a dozen guys wearing suspenders though, so he was really mad for not just going with it.
With TJ and his friends.
With TJ's parents.
With my parents again!
TJ got me a wrist corsage that was super pretty and totally went with the dress.
The tickets looked awesome, too.
TJ hates this picture because we caught him mid-laugh, but I'm never letting him forget that it exists.
At the dance.
The dance was LOUD. I was losing my voice by the end of it trying to talk over the music. But the decorations were cool because there were old-fashioned movie posters up everywhere along with gold stars. They even had a station with Polaroid cameras so you could take pictures. I got to meet a bunch of TJ's friends from band, and we all danced lots (like dorks, of course). We ate marshmallows dipped in chocolate and managed not to get any on ourselves.

We even survived the "grinding circle" (which is apparently a thing now and is exactly how it sounds). We didn't go through it on purpose, but there was a conga line going by, so we joined the train, and whoever was leading it thought it would be a good idea to go DIRECTLY THROUGH HELL. And then everyone proceeded to DISPERSE into the crowd of people grinding on each other. So of course after TJ and I managed to escape, we both at the same time said, "It's like the maze in Harry Potter four when it's closing in on them!"

'Cause we're nerds.

So yeah, it was tons of fun. :) I'd totally go again if I could!

*a totally real and valid number.

What were your school dances like? Any crazy stories? Leave a comment!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Time Lady Fashion

Posting about anything even remotely related to fashion or clothing is a first for me, but I was inspired by Loot Crate to post something involving geeky fashion. Which is the best kind, obviously. ;)

Loot Crate is a company that sells subscription boxes of geeky goodies with different themes. Want something fangirl based? They have a crate for that. How about something for your dog? If I had all the money in the world, I'd be buying several of these.

Anyways, onto the outfit! It's "Doctor Who" themed (surprise surprise).

This "Doctor Who" dress has to be one of my favorite finds from Hot Topic.

And this poster is just awesome!!! I found it at a local Comicon. How cool would a tenth Doctor movie be?!

You can see the designs a lot better here. Cybermen, Daleks, the TARDIS, 3-D glasses, various catchphrases, and more are patterned on the dress.

Because you totally wanted a picture of my face this close. Here you can see my TARDIS blue eye shadow and (sort of) glittery blue mascara.

I wear my "don't blink" earrings on a near daily basis.

One of my best friends got this necklace for me, and it's so cute! It has the TARDIS, a TARDIS key, and a sonic screwdriver on it.

And a TARDIS blue bracelet to match.

So that's my go-to cute/casual "Doctor Who" outfit. :)

What geeky/fangirl attire do you have? I'd love to hear about them!