After making that last post I realized that it’s not the proper way to welcome to a new month so I decided to make a second post today.
Welcome, September! I’ve been looking forward to this month and am so excited for the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall. We’ve already had some colder days, which I have loved, but we returned to the heat today. Hopefully it won’t last long. At night, when I take the dog out, we can smell the bonfires that people are lighting. Some schools have started up and we could hear the marching band at a nearby high school tonight. I am eagerly awaiting weather that is perfect for hats and scarves and boots. I am looking forward to watching the leaves change color and the leaf piles we will be able to rake up when the leaves start to fall. What’s even more exciting is that this year I will be able to enjoy Fall without a mountain of homework to do!
The dog and I spent a lot of time outside today. I read and she wandered around the yard.
A Game of Thrones. I’m not too far into this, but I’ve loved what I’ve read so far. The writing is so beautiful and I am definitely intrigued in regards to the plot.
The Gargoyle. ♥
She Walks in Beauty. I am finishing this up and I still love the collection!
As we ended our time outside, I grabbed some basil for dinner. One thing I will miss about summer is the herb garden. I might have to start growing potted herbs inside during the winter.
I wanted to pop in quickly on this lovely day before I take the dog outside for awhile to let you all know a few other places that you can find me on the web. I am one of the authors of the Minnesota Mermaids blog, where you can find all things mermaid related! It’s a new blog, but we’re having a blast with it and hope you will have a blast reading it! I just wrote my second post today, both of which have been about the Australian TV show H2O: Just Add Water. Today’s post is about the mermaid tails that were created for the show.
Also, you can find me over at Blipfoto, which is a daily photo journal that allows you to post one photo a day. It’s an amazing site, filled with talented photographers, and is one of the my supportive communities on the web. And, in my opinion, it’s one of the best communities on the web. Go take a look!
Friday night, my friend Heather hosted a Reading Salon. Basically, a group of her writing friends got together to read some of their current writing to each other. The idea behind the Reading Salon is to become more comfortable with reading our work so that when we’re asked to do a reading we’re not going into full panic mode since we already have this experience this behind us. There were six of us, and I was the fifth person to read.
I brought my friend Sarah, who is working on her first novel. This was her first time sharing her writing with people she didn’t know so she was pretty nervous! But I think she enjoyed the experience, even though her heart was racing for awhile after the reading ended.
We heard some fantastic snippets of stories. Some writing samples were very different from others but we discovered that even with the differences, there were some similar threads that tied each story together.
The best part of all was just spending time with like-minded people. As I mentioned on Sunday in my thankfulness post, it’s always refreshing to spend time with people who think like me. It’s also inspiring and the next day I made some progress on one of the stories that I read from. That always feels fantastic!
Or maybe I should say that the best part was the food. She had a wide array of different snacks to choose from, including strawberries and whipped cream and a fantastic, aged white cheddar that I’m still dreaming about! I hadn’t eaten much that day, so this was a wonderful feast!
After the others left, Sarah and I stayed behind to chat with Heather. It’s amazing how quickly time goes by when you’re having a good time. Before we knew it, it was the wee hours of morning and we were all wiping away tears of exhaustion as Sarah and I walked out the door.
I can’t wait for the next one!
As a writer and an English major I should probably be embarrassed that I haven’t read Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë yet, but I have stopped being embarrassed over what I read. (I used to have my “On Campus Books” and my “Anytime Else Books.”) I started it earlier this year, but at this point in time, am only fifty pages in. I guess I started reading other books and this one got lost in the shuffle. It’s not that I wasn’t enjoying it, though, because I was. And everyone has heard of the stormy relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff. So, it’s about time I finish it!
This weekend, while doing some baking I watched the 2009 Masterpiece Classic mini-series starring Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley. I thoroughly enjoyed the mini-series, particularly Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Heathcliff. At times, I loved Heathcliff, at others, not so much… but I always loved Hardy’s performance and thought it very fitting for the character (or, at least, what I know of the character). I am definitely looking forward to finishing this novel!
I’ve been hearing a lot about this series recently so I finally decided I should start reading it. The boxed set that includes the first four books arrived last week and I’m excited to start digging into the first, Game of Thrones. I am sure that this series will take me some time to finish, as I’ll be reading other books as I make my way through, but I am looking forward to the journey!
A wonderful night spent with other writers. It’s always inspiring to be surrounded by writers and to be able to talk about writing with others who understand what you’re talking about. And we had a wonderful group of people!
A week filled with good friends. While it does seriously detract from writing/editing time, it’s always great to break out of the writing bubble and meet with people.
Lazy days. With the dog, wandering around outside, writing, reading, updating/creating new blogs, developing community, baking.
Hanging out with my sister and a successful meeting between the dog and my sister’s dogs. I took the dog I’m dogsitting for an extended period of time to my sister’s so that she could run freely in the yard and my sister’s dogs actually got along with her well.
What are thankful for today?
Yesterday, I spent the day baking. I love to bake. And cook. But mostly, bake. I’ve always found it relaxing to pop in a book on tape, some music or a tv show and create something in the kitchen. (With this recipe, I alternated between listening to Adele and watching H2O: Just Add Water.) And, of course, the end result is always delicious!
I also see baking as an artform. A baker combines all sorts of different ingredients with different textures, shapes and colors and creates something beautiful and tasty. It’s an artform that uses all of the five senses: touch, sight, smell, taste and hearing. Yesterday, as I was baking, I took pictures along the way and spent some time editing them before bed last night. Before blogging this morning, I was excited when I logged into Facebook and saw one of my favorite blogs, The ‘Thank You’ Project update with her latest post, which is all about baking! Go take a look at the fantastic quote and the gorgeous video that shows baking as the artform that it is!
I spent the day baking a Mocha Cake, from Sparkling Ink, and let me tell you, the bite I tried of this was fantastic! The coffee taste (which is strong and wonderful) is concentrated on the top. The rest of it is chocolatey and not overly sweet.
For the coffee, I used the limited edition grounds from Gevalia that I’ve been using in the morning. The grounds come from Papua New Guinea. I think when I bake this in the future, I will continue to use what I have on hand (which usually changes–or at least rotates). It will be nice to get a slightly different flavor each time I bake the cake!
I have a Keurig and make my own K-cups with my own grounds. This is how I clean out the baskets, by dumping them on a paper towel. It’s also how I clean out tea strainers.
This is the “Yay, this thing is finally done baking!” picture, in which I attempted to show the clean toothpick before I realized that a little toothpick would blend into the background. I attempted another shot against the counter as well and… same thing. But, just so ya know, there’s a clean toothpick in that picture! The cake was finally done. And when I was finally done trying to take pictures of the toothpick as the oven started beeping again, Miss Doggie came out to greet me and see what all the beeping was about. When I tried to give her a “Yay, this thing is finally done baking!” pat, she looked at me before turning to walk away as if she was saying, “Lady, it’s bedtime for this dog. How am I supposed to get any sleep with all this beeping and blaring music?” So, I pulled out the second cake, frosted it and turned down all the noise so that Miss Doggie could catch her z’s. Which also meant that she was licking the tip of my nose (her form of a wake-up call) to wake me up at 7am so that she could go outside and grab a bite to eat.
I made a second cake without coconut flakes so that I have two options for the people I plan to share the cake with. I’ve found that feelings about coconut are pretty strong and those who hate it really hate it! Whenever I’m baking for a group, if a recipe involves coconut I always ask those I know will be there if they’re okay with coconut or just plan on having a second option.
On Tuesday I had my good friend Annelise over to hang out. Annelise and I go way back; all the way back to our Middle School days! I still remember sitting with her in the back of the room at Tech Ed, whittling away at pieces of wood. Although, I guess you wouldn’t exactly call it whittling, more like sanding. At least, I think that’s what it’s called when you take a thing to a piece of wood to smooth out the edges.
As you can see, Tech Ed really stuck with me. My teachers would be so proud! I do remember the terror at the thought of even entering the metal room… and the sounds of the machines on the metal. And sometimes, when I put on a big, chunky ring I think, “This would definitely get caught on one of those machines in Tech Ed.” That’s always a pleasant thought.
But, anyway, moving on. I had Annelise over and I wasn’t exactly sure what we were going to do. Usually we go to a movie or hang out in a coffeeshop. But this week the dog was spending so much time in her kennel that I really didn’t want her to spend anymore time than necessary in there, so I asked if she’d just come to the house. Luckily, Annelise came prepared! She brought a box of cupcake mix and S1 of Burn Notice, determined to convert me to the wonderfulness of the show.
First we made the cupcakes (see above, next to a glass of almond milk), which turned out to be so delicious that we couldn’t eat just one and we enjoyed the cupcakes while playing with the dog (who I’m sure was hoping for a bite). After that, we watched the pilot of Burn Notice. My first thought? Look, there’s Princess Mary from The Tudors! But soon, the witty writing and excellent storytelling took over and I was hooked. Immediately after she left, I added the show to my Netflix queue. If you haven’t had a chance, I highly recommend checking it out!
On Tuesday, I promised all of you a few links that I was going to post yesterday, which I fully intended to do. The problem was, as soon as I sat down to post the links I fell asleep. (It was a long day!) So, I bring them to you now:
♥ Susan Knight Studios: This is the FANTASTIC underwater photographer that Heather had her photoshoot with. Her photos are amazing, so you should all go take a look!
♥ The 3 Tails: The YouTube show that goes along with The 2 Tails, the tail maker that allowed Heather to borrow a tail for her underwater photoshoot. This website also has a link to their YouTube channel if you’re interested in watching their show. It’s pretty cute!
♥ Candy Ginger: A jewelry-maker who we were able to buy some FANTASTIC jewelry from! I’m in love with the pirate skull ring I bought from her! And she’s also the sweetest person!
♥ World Mermaid Awards: And last, but definitely not least, the World Mermaid Awards, who brought everyone together.
It’s time to finish up Vegas! Saturday was our free day in Vegas as MerCon was a one-day event, however there was one last mermaid-related stop for us to make. Heather had signed up for an underwater photo shoot with Susan Knight from Susan Knight Studios before we left for Las Vegas. She was able to get the first slot in the morning once we met with the photographer at her booth at MerCon. Heather told me that it would be all right with her if I stayed back at the hotel to get some extra rest/relax. My response to that? Heck, no! I was excited to head to the photo shoot and watch the photographer at work (as well as Heather swimming in a mermaid tail)!
Now, let me tell you a little about our morning pre-photo shoot. Heather and I got up bright and early. Well, Heather got up bright and early, I got up a little dull (and groggy after a late night of editing, which I started as soon as we left the pool party) and later than Heather. Fortunately, I didn’t require perfect hair and make-up for the outing. We got ready, grabbed some coffee from Starbucks and left to meet our taxi. And our taxi driver was a character! He was excited to drive the Minnesota Mermaids around for the morning and chatted the whole way to the location of the photo shoot. I have to say, he is one taxi driver I will remember for the rest of my life!
Once we arrived at the location of the shoot we discovered that it was in a neighborhood where we didn’t exactly feel safe. The taxi driver stayed with us for awhile until we sent him on his way. After that, we tweeted/texted our location to our friends and tried to think of ways that we could use the mermaid tail in self-defense if needed. Soon enough (now, looking back) a lifeguard arrived, and he let us into the pool. The photographer arrived just a few minutes later.
Heather had some time to practice swimming with the mermaid tail.
Then, the photo shoot began.
Eventually, other mermaids (and mermen) began to arrive and everyone hung out in the pool before and after their photo shoots.
The final shoot was for a magazine and all mermaids present for private shoots were allowed to participate.
After the photo shoot, we called our trusty cab driver and he came to take us back to the hotel. Once there, we grabbed our first meal in 24 hours and relaxed for a little while before we went out to spend the evening on the Strip.
Our first stop was Caesar’s and we walked around outside looking at the sculptures and fountains:
Mer-horse! Perfect for a mermaid event!
After this, we went back into the casino to walk inside and see all the decorations in Caesar’s and the Bellagio.
While we were at it, we enjoyed the most delicious mochas and cappuccinos ever created!
Eventually, we found spots outside the Bellagio to watch the fountain show.
This is one of my favorite sites of Vegas. I love the music, the blasts of water, the smell that fills the nose and the mist that covers the skin. Afterward, the fellow French survivors (from the French class from hell – no joke!) journeyed over to the Paris Casino and Hotel, where we grabbed dinner and walked to Bally’s.
Once we were finished with our time on the Strip, we journeyed back to the Silverton, where we hung out with the fish. The following day we left, ending our magical vacation to Las Vegas and the world of mermaids.
I’ll be posting links to some of the vendors we met tomorrow.
These days, when I take the dog outside I’m constantly stepping on acorns. They crack beneath the soles of my shoes as the dog walks around the yard and if I’m not wearing shoes, they just hurt! I love it when the acorns begin to fall–a sign that the arrival of fall is near. Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons, along with spring. It’s not too warm and it’s not too cold. This summer, I have been missing winter. Why? I’m not sure. Usually I hate winter, but this year… this year I’m actually looking forward to it. So as the acorns were crunching beneath my feet this morning, I thought, “Winter is coming!” Maybe that explains the Christmas songs that I’ve been singing all day.
I’m still playing catch up on my reading from the last few weeks. Life has picked up a little as the summer comes to a close! So I’ll continue to read those but I will be reading these two as well.
The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson. Last month I discussed book trailers and embedded the first book trailer that actually caused me to run out and buy a book the next day. That post convinced my friend Tara to read The Gargoyle, which she finished over the weekend. I decided to pick it up again as well and will be reading it this week so that everything is fresh in my mind when we discuss the amazingness that is The Gargoyle.
She Walks in Beauty, by Caroline Kennedy. I haven’t read a book of poetry for awhile but as soon as I saw an email filled with recommendations arrive, including this, I knew I had to remedy that! This book has been fun to read. It has allowed me to visit old favorites and has introduced me to new, fabulous poems! I love the mix that Kennedy includes, as she has compiled poems that are both old and new and that are from different cultures. She breaks the book up into different parts of a woman’s life, such as break ups and marriage. This is definitely a recommended read for a lover of poetry.
What are you reading this week?