Category Archives: Pets

Everyone’s Got A Secret

Good Morning Internet Populace,

You know what caught my attention about Maggie Thrash’s blog page? Her page appeal. The first thing you see is a comment box with the words, “What did you do?” and a blank space and a button that says, “summit your confession.”  Then, it’s posted. Right there underneath the confession box. Anonymous but still. The words are there. Out in the universe for the world to read. It’s calming, and scary, and awesome. It’s a way to promote her book, We Know It Was You, but it’s more than that.  She practically calls you out… or me, or any other person who visits her page. She’s asking for your inner secrets. She’s asking for your private self. She’s claiming every single person has their own secrets, and she is right.

That’s bold to me. I looked at other authors on the list. Raquel Cepeda (here) and Richard Gilbert (here) were so formal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they are great. They even have catchy titles that almost make me want to read like Gilberts’ “Punctuation & my pig tale.” But their pages were clean and sharp and sterile.  All the things I am not. All the things I shy away from for nonfiction. Both authors have books like Maggie, and layers like Maggie. But I don’t feel like I can relate to their content. Anyone remember that old saying about judging a book by its cover? Well, I’m guilty of it. But so are you. Everyone does it. Appearances matter, even if it’s only a fraction.

Maybe it’s the stage in my life. Maggie feels like she’s closer in reach, while others don’t even feel like me.  Maybe when I’m older or wiser the other authors’ pages will have more of an appeal to me. Or maybe not.

I decided to share one of my own secrets on Maggie’s page. The weight may not be gone, but it’s lifted. No one will ever know what I put, but I do. I told the world today. Maybe you can tell the world something too? Go here.

“Writing is writing, and stories are stories. Perhaps the only true genres are fiction and nonfiction. And even there, who can be sure?” -Tanith Lee

XO,

-B

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Onion Layers Anyone?

Howdy Readers,

I decided to read Maggie Thrash’s short stories today (found here). Not 100% a requirement, but when in Rome, right? Besides, I suck at creative nonfiction, and she has some awards under her belt. A good reader makes for a good writer. Behold that this page took me to another page and to another. The story was there, but man, that’s a lot of layers. They even went to another site called Rookie where there were more stories like Maggie’s.

The first story I read was “Don’t Shout It Out” (here), which caught my attention with its swell first line, “I hate you. I want to kill you. Ha ha just kidding!” AND its interesting quote “NEVER EVER tell the truth about your feelings, because people will pretty much run for their lives.” You guys know how I like me some quotes. If you don’t, see the bottom of any of my post, including this one.

Anyways, “Don’t Shout It Out” was cute. I was there in the moment, and I could see what Maggie was describing. The tone and voice were even right on point for me. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but I do read a lot of young adult, and she had me interested. Next, I read “the Surge We Need” and the others. I was taken to another page each time. A new site even, but I felt like I was just peeling the layers back.

I checked out her novels again. Honor Girl is a coming of age story, and We Know It Was You is about teen suicide. Both relevant topics, both are YA lit, both are nonfiction. I mean, these are things we experience now. Things I’m experiencing now. Things she has gone through. Plus, these aren’t easy topics to write about or talk about. Sometimes, they are tear jerkers… I feel like maybe Maggie is showing me just how much I can relate to creative nonfiction. I thought I couldn’t. But I kinda feel like the more I go through Maggie’s blog, the more layers I’m peeling away from her. But also, the more layers I’m peeling away from defining creative nonfiction.

“All that non-fiction can do is answer questions. It’s fiction’s business to ask them.” -Richard Hughes

 

XO,

-B

The Nonfiction Blogger

Hello fellows,

Nearly a year has passed, and man, what a year it has been. Though, I come to you with my tail between my legs because it is for an assignment. Ah, college—what have you done to me?

As for this assignment, I am partaking in a Creative Nonfiction course which you know is not my forte. Yet, I push on and follow these laid out rules. One of which is to follow another blogger and their page. Among the list I was given, I choose Maggie Trash. Her page is here.

At first glance, one can determine that she writes for YA which is at least in my wheelhouse. Her popular and published works are We Know It Was You and Honor Girl, which sadly I knew of neither before visiting Maggie’s page. My favorite spots? Gotta be her main page where visitors post confessions (good idea right?), and her loner comics which are surprisingly funny. Her podcast and videos only add to that. Somewhat relatable. Somewhat funny. Somewhat quirky. I wasn’t expecting that.

Well, not too shabby for nonfiction. Perhaps, dippin’ your toe into something isn’t the best way to get a feel for it. I’m having to seriously consider the chops of Nonfiction.

I’ll post again soon, but in the meantime, check out her page here and see what I’m talking about.

“Expand the definition of ‘reading’ to include non-fiction, humor, graphic novels, magazines, action adventure, and, yes, even websites. It’s the pleasure of reading that counts; the focus will naturally broaden. A boy won’t read shark books forever.” -Jon Scieszka

-B

Denver’s Bubble Run!

Howdy Readers!

As promised in a few posts back I went to the Denver Bubble Run today which was awesome! Believe it or not, I thought I might be too out of shape to complete it unless I walked the entire thing. Lucky for me, I have good friends who push me to do more than I think I can. So we walked some and ran some and considered making bubble angels in the bogs of colored bubbles (sadly, it’s in the rules that you can’t do this).

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Our packet of goodies

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Our ‘before’ photo:) Look at those white shirts.

So I woke up this morning telling myself I should just stay in bed and sleep. But I got up and drove with my girl Lindsey to one of the Community College Campuses for the run. For $20 they gave us a t-shirt, a head band,a face tattoo, and a number to pin to the shirt. I was happy for the white shirt and the tattoo. We then trekked to the starting line (which honestly probably added another mile). Every one was standing around waiting for the run and we stretched on the grass. You don’t wanna pull something running through bubbles!

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Just before the race starts.

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Almost halfway and I was just shocked at how many people showed up!

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Lindsey and I, right before.

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A lovely group of ladies let me take their photo. Aren’t the tutus amazing?

They let us go in waves of people and have five bogs (or places) to run through to get covered head to feet in bubbles. White, pink, blue, green, and yellow bubbles and I am not exaggerating when I say you are covered. At one point, Lindsey turned to call for me because she lost me for a moment in the bubble bog and got a mouth full of soapy goodness. It was great!

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Finish line! Yeah buddy!

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She had a blast!

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After shot:)

We ran across the finish line feeling accomplished and soggy. Let me tell you-your t-shirt is dyed, your skin is dyed,  your hair is dyed, and your shoes will never be the same again. I would recommend this run for anyone who wants some good clean fun (wink wink), and as a plus it’s not too long at 5K to bring the kiddos. Just make sure they get glasses or perhaps something to cover their mouths.

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They had another bog after the race and we went and played in the bubbles.

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Caught in the bog of bubbles!!!!

Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. 
-Lou Holtz

It was a blast and I can’t wait till next time. Did anyone else do the Bubble Run?? I would love to see other photos!

-Brandy

10 Must-Do Things to Indulged in When Life Gets in The Way

Heya Readers!

We have recently decided to refinance our home and get rid of our debt/make home improvements. In doing this it has reminding me of several times in my life where I have either been rich, at least in my sense when you have more than five digits in my bank account. OR been eating ramen for weeks and pinching every penny to make rent. Most of the time I find myself in between where I can’t spend a fortune on the finer things but not poor enough that I can’t enjoy life at all.

And then one day, I read a post about splurging from this incredible blog- Single Dad Laughing

Dan talks about a friend who went and got a facial when they were too tight on money and he asked her how her could afford to spend money on it… His friend was honest and to quote her she said- “I can’t. But I just started this thing where I’m forcing myself not to live like a poor person every once in a while so that I don’t forget what I’m working toward.”

And her words made sense to me. In the middle of my penny pinching, I had somehow began living life as a poor woman, and completely forgot how I wanted to be living. Now don’t get me wrong if I had a million dollars and never had to worry about money again I would be set. But this is reality. Using all of your  energy and time focused into making it possible to pay down debt, bills, etc. whatever the case may be and not into making things better for yourself or myself.

So I decided to follow their lead and make a list for myself. Things that I enjoyed when I was barely able to afford it. Things I’d just toss money toward any time I had the chance. The promised myself that I would find a way to do each of those things.

10 Things I Make Myself Splurge On At Least Once a Year

1. A expensive pair of jeans. You know what I’m talking about. You go to Wal-mart and grab a cheap pair of jeans and fix okay but you need to get a new pair because you current jean selection consist of holes and rips. Having a pair of jeans that actually fits you makes you feel sexy and comfortable. And the difference having a good pair of jeans makes on those tough days is insane. This is a must spend at least $50 or more on these jeans.

2. A nice meal. And I don’t mean head to Olive Garden and get the soup/salad combo and a nice glass of wine and expect that to count.  I’m talking about your plate alone is $50 of steak and potatoes or a fancy piece of fish… Food is usually the first thing we start trying to save money on when we’re pinching pennies, and after being neglected, your body and your tastebuds really need some love.  Yeah, get that kind of meal and remind your palate that the Top Ramen and spam is only temporary.

3. A mani/pedi. Ladies, most of us already know how essential a mani/pedi is when life drags you down. But this one is for the guys as well. Having someone else work on your hands and feet has to be one of the most soothing and calming things you can do. Besides, this one isn’t really that much money anyways.

4. A maid. This one is for everyone. I know that sometimes life just gets in the way and your dishes pile up, or the floor just keeps getting dirtier. And if you’re a parent you know that despite your best efforts, sometimes the house gets so out of control that you want to sit down and cry. There are times after I have had a crazy schedule for work/school/writing and Josh is the same that when I sit and look at the state of my house is just too much, and there isn’t a way I can get on top of it.This is when you grin and bear the call for a maid and ask them to deep clean for you. Even if its just a room. I promise you’ll come home and not want to touch anything. It will be so clean. So what I needed to see that day. Sometimes, I don’t know what it was about it, but that clean house gives you the oomph to jump back into everything else at full speed again.

5. An amazing dessert. For the dessert, pick a really fancy restaurant. Go sit at the bar. Don’t order any other food at all, then pick the best, most delicious looking dessert on the menu. It’ll probably cost you $10-$20. Who cares. You know that in real life you’re never going to order that kind of thing (let alone go out to eat), so go do it all by itself on a night that you need a win and do it for yourself.

6. A nice pair of underwear. Now this one is directly from Dan’s blog post but the way he says it is so perfect that I’m going to cheat and et you red his words.

“Have you ever spent $25-$35 on a single pair of underwear? Neither had I until I finally did (go figure). And I didn’t know what I was missing out on. The way it forms to your body, the way you don’t sweat and stink in it, the way you feel cool and fresh all day? It’s worth its weight in gold. And you really need only one really nice pair because you don’t need a really nice pair every day. Make them your special occasion underwear and wear them when you need them. Wear them on the days when you need good things to happen. It’s almost as if you can’t go wrong when you pull on a fresh, nice pair of undies.” – Single Dad Laughing

7. A nice pair of sunglasses. Now this one is usually hard for me cause I lose them or i don’t use them. But if you’re a sunglasses junkie this can end up paying for themselves. When you know you paid decent money for shades, you usually don’t lose them (unless you’re me). When you know you paid a dollar, you lose them pretty much weekly (totally me). This of course, can be a once every several years purchase if you can keep them around long enough.

8. Nice shampoo. NOW this one I 100% support. If your hair never feels nice, you are never going to feel nice.  At least once a year, you should spend roughly $45 on a bottle of shampoo. The best part is, it lasts quite while (if your hair isn’t crazy thick or long)because you need way less of it to get the job done. That, and you don’t need to wash your hair every day because it stays clean so much longer. The more I used the cheap $1 bottle shampoo, the grosser I always felt my hair was. It was tough, and rough, and heavy, and fuzzy, and not nice to touch at all. Switching to nicer stuff ultimately saved me money but it also saved me from a lot more bad hair days, which will make your days pinching pennies feel a little bit easier.

9. A good laugh. Unnecessary entertainment is also one of the first things to go when money gets really tight. But every once in awhile, you have to get out and laugh. It makes life so much more bearable and more fun. It makes not having money be nowhere near as bad as it should be. So it makes sense, to make sure that once each year, no matter how poor I am or how many pennies I’m counting to pay for bills, that I find a way to buy a halirious movie or perhaps tickets to a stand-up comedy show. Sometimes, laughter really is our best medicine and I believe that filling that hole is a good thing.

10. A fun night out. This one is much like #9, but slightly different. A fun night out me could be bowling, or mini golf, heck last night we went to see Ed Sheeran at Red Rocks and let me tell you it was worth every single penny I will have to pinch to make up for it. Every in and out of life can seem awful and never changing but planning one fun night out and letting go of your worries for just one night can be fantastic. It can be just the thing you need to kick that everyday feeling in the butt, and get that skip back in your step.

And that was my list. But note guys, non of these things should be done on the same days you do the other things.

Actually doing these things have affected me so much that I’m going to continue to do them. No matter what odd things I have to do to make them happen.

What’s funny is, when you start focusing on making sure you can have a taste of the finer things every once in a while, my finances and life started turning around and got better and better until I could keep my list, add to my list, and even repeat things on my list without hurting at all. Sometimes just writing it down and putting somewhere you can see it and follow it makes it happen.

Which is why, if you’re struggling with money, I would challenge you to make a list of your own. And keep it, no matter what you have to do to make it happen.

Except murder for hire  or dealing drugs. Don’t do that. I’ve seen enough TV shows to know that that never ends well for anyone.

There is just one life for each of us: our own. 

Euripides

-Brandy

p.s. Comments, please! What’d you think of the things on my list? What would you add to your list?

Bookbub- A Site for All Your Book Loving Needs.

For the Addicted Readers Like Me,

Now I understand there is a large percent of the world’s population who claims to hate reading. For those in that category- I am sorry. You need help. Go find a book and read it! For those like me, who don’t have enough hours in the day for reading I have found a great site to aid us!

Bookbub is a site with free or discounted books. I have been using it all for a month and have a pile of books I still need to get through! Now this is usually for the off-the-radar books, not the best seller current what is hot books. Just a heads up, but they are written by best sellers or well-known authors. So click here and check out what your missing.

There’s so much more to a book than just the reading.

Maurice Sendak

-Brandy

Oh yeah and a reminder that Gishwhes is coming up soon! Team KamikazeDivas needs more people! Register of the weirdest yet most amazing week of the year!

Writing Prompts for the Struggling Writer

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Readers and Writers and Internet Searchers Alike,

For those of us who put time aside each day to sit and bleed over a computer or a notebook. Or those who read constantly and want the chance to sit and create something beautiful. OR for those who just read that great article in your favorite magazine and want to know how hard it was for them to do it. I have complied a list of writing prompts to inspire anyone on any part of the journey of writing. Knowing what to write about has caught the best of us by surprise…

  • What scares you?
  • Do you have a Plan? Do you need a Plan? Have you had a plan fall spectacularly to pieces?
  • What is your take on soul mates?
  • Are you a worrier? Is there a particular worry that you can’t shake? How do you cope with worry?
  • Dear Past Me . . .
  • Dear Future Me . . .
  • Nobody knows that I . . .
  • Dear ____, it weighs on me that I never told you . . .
  • The biggest lie I’ve ever told is . . .
  • Is there anything you feel guilty about?  Is there anything you need to be forgiven for?
  • What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?
  • What’s your secret desire?
  • What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever done?
  • The most terrifying moment of my life was . . .
  • The most fun I’ve ever had . . .
  • The most surprised I’ve ever been . . .
  • The most disappointed I’ve ever been . . .
  • What are you looking forward to the most?
  • My saddest memory is  . . .
  • Some of the things that make me happy are . . .
  • How do you deal with anger?
  • How easy is it for you to forgive those who have caused you pain?
  • What is the dominant emotion in your life right now?
  • My favorite Sunday ritual . . .
  • The Holiday traditions I most look forward to . . .
  • Things I always did with my dad when I was small . . .
  • Things I always did with my mom when I was little . . .
  • If you could have dinner with anyone currently alive, who would it be?
  • If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be?
  • If you could change one thing about your present life, what would it be?
  • If you could live anywhere you wanted, where would you live?
  • If you could go back in time and change one things from your past, what would it be?
  • Who made you feel good this week?
  • What was the biggest mistake you made this week?
  • What did you do this week that moved you closer to reaching your goals?
  • Is there anything you did this week that you wish you’d done differently?
  • What did you most enjoy doing this week?
  • How did you procrastinate on important tasks this week?
  • What did you learn this week?
  • What’s the funniest thing that happened to you this week?
  • Write a letter to someone you need to forgive.
  • Write a letter to someone who believed in you even when you didn’t believe in yourself.
  • Write a letter to be read by each of your loved ones after you’ve passed away.
  • Write a fan letter to your favorite actor/actress.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your favorite magazine telling them what features you would like to see included in the magazine.
  • Is there something you’re reluctant to tell someone?  Write a letter to help y0u organize your thoughts.
  • What makes you unique?
  • How do you stand out from the crowd?
  • What are your best character traits?
  • What are you really good at?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How would your best friend describe you?
  • What character traits do you need to work on?
  • What are some of your idiosyncrasies?
  • How do you indulge yourself?  Do you need to indulge yourself more often?
  • How do you think others see you when they meet you for the first time?

Here is a list- there is a million more ideas out there. The first draft is always crap so get the words out at they come to you and worry about editing later.

Hopefully, this will help a few of you!

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.

E. L. Doctorow

-Brandy