Sunday, January 4, 2015

13 Seasonal Goals: Winter 2014/2015

Hello, everyone! It's been a little quiet around here with the holidays and a general case of the "mehs" on my part. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and is ready to jump in to a bright new year.

Although I achieved some of my autumn goals, there were many that I didn't complete, so I'm looking to be more productive in the coming weeks by setting some goals for the winter season.

Donate to a person/cause I want to support.
I'm not 100% sure what I will donate to yet, but a donation shall be made!

Undecided social thing.

Undecided social thing.
The social things are tough for me because I literally have one local friend and family to hang out with, so I pretty much let things happen as they will regarding social plans. Sad, I know.

Save at least $100.
Perhaps this can be the start of my A-kon fund!

Complete a winter writing challenge.
Lacy and I wrote down 30-ish words/phrases related to winter/the holidays, and I plan on using them to write short stories or poems throughout the season.

Make an accessory for my dark mori witch cosplay.
This is something I wanted to do for my autumn goals, but I didn't have the time or resources to do something. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what I want to make, so I need to do a bit of thinking and planning.

Find a new job.
My job is killing me, and I need to get out. Plain and simple.

Get a haircut.
It's been over a year! I need a fresh start!

Go to a movie.
It's also been over a year since I last went to the theater to see a movie, so I'd like to go see The Hobbit!

Read a book that takes place during winter.
I read a couple winter/Christmas themed books already, but I have a couple more that would make nice season reads.

Create  a playlist for one of my characters.
I love the idea of associating music with stories or characters, and I have a very particular idea regarding by character Berry-Black and music. He's a singer who owns a lounge/club, and I might choose him for this project. 

Paint a canvas.
Still have those canvases. Still have those paints. Still haven't done a dang thing with them.

Make a purchase I've been meaning/planning to make.
There are several things I've been trying to get around to buying, and I'd like to mark at least one of those off my list this season. Maybe I'll buy the wig for my witch costume. Maybe I'll pre-register for A-kon. Maybe I'll by that cheap ball-jointed doll head to practice face-ups on. Not sure what it will be yet, but hopefully at least one of these things will happen.

Well, that's what I came up with for this round. Hopefully I can accomplish a lot and have fun while doing so. Do you have any goals you'd like to complete this winter? Feel free to tell me about them in the comments. Or, if you decide to do a blog post, v-log, etc., about your goals, I'd be happy to add a link to your entry!

For more seasonal goals posts, please take a look at the following:
Petticoat Pedaler
Night Lights and Day Dreams

Thanks for a reading, and have a very Happy New Year!


Saturday, October 4, 2014

13 Seasonal Goals: Autumn 2014

For a year now, my good friend, Lilian, has been setting 13 goals to try to achieve every season. Simply titled 13 Seasonal Goals it is an opportunity to challenge oneself to complete various types of tasks or activities over the 13 weeks of a season. Some tasks are meant to be geared toward the season, but many don’t necessarily have to be festive. For details on the specifics, please check out Lilian’s post here.

This is the first time I’m participating, and I think it will be a fun way to be more creative and to really challenge myself to do more than I typically do. Some goals cross over into more than one category/specification.

Paint a canvas
I have canvases. I have paints. They’ve been sitting around for over a year. It’s time to try to create something with them! Maybe I could paint something fall-themed. Or something creepy-cute!

Donate to a charity/organization
I would like to donate money, supplies, or time to an organization that helps animals. I don’t donate as often or as much as I would like to, so I want to do make sure I do that this season.

Use NaNoWriMo to write 50,000 words of The Unheard-of
I’ve been struggling with this story for so long, and I still haven’t figured out my plot issues. I met my Camp NaNoWriMo goal for this story, but I would like to work hard to get more of it fixed up and maybe finish the thing! It’s very special to me, and I would love to see it completed.

Save at least $100
Every time I try to save some money I end up needing it for something, so I would like to set a little aside each week and have at least $100 at the end of the season. If I reach my goal early, I might be able to use the funds to buy Christmas presents!

Write five poems
I used to write poetry all the time, but I haven’t written as much over the years, and I would like to get back to it.

Treat myself to something for my birthday
Even if it’s something silly or inexpensive, I want to find something I really want and buy it for myself as a birthday gift. Maybe I’ll go to Build A Bear and get that Toothless plushie I was eyeballing a week ago. :)

Knit a doll scarf
I’ve been trying to learn how to knit, and right now I’m just doing the basic knit stitch to get a feel for how my hands should move and what the movement of the needles feels like. I would like to do a small-ish, simple project like a doll-sized scarf as my first completed knit job.

Try making a festive recipe
Fall and winter flavors are my favorites, and I always do a lot of baking during the holidays. There are some things I make every year, but I would like to try making something new this year as well. I’m already searching for the perfect thing to make!

Make an accessory for my dark mori witch cosplay
I’m not sure what I’ll make yet, but I would like to take a closer look at how I want to layer my outfit and what accessories will work best. From there, I can try to make a suitable necklace, scarf, or other item to go with it.

Attend a fall gathering or party
I never do much as far as getting together with people during the fall, aside from at Thanksgiving, but I would like to find some festive gathering, either public or private, to attend. It would be a nice way to really celebrate the season.

Go to a fall carnival or other festive activity
A lot of local churches and organizations do fall carnivals or fairs, so I’m going to try to check one out this year. Maybe I’ll go to the pumpkin patch one of the churches does and get a pumpkin to carve.

Make something with Sculpey
Many years ago I bough some Sculpey to make doll-sized food items with. I haven’t messed with it in a long time, but I still have clay left, so I want to try making something again. It would be nice to make use of more of the craft supplies and materials I have stashed away!

Get a haircut
It’s been about a year since I had a haircut, and I usually never go this long between cuts. Even though I might try growing my hair out, I need to get it cleaned up and ready for a longer style.

Well, those are my goals. Some are more challenging/complicated than others, but I think they give me some good things to try without putting too much pressure on myself. The NaNoWriMo goal alone is probably going to be crazy! But I’m going to try my hardest to avoid my enemy, procrastination, and get a ton of stuff done!

Take care, and I hope your autumn season is going well so far!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Memories, Dreams of Autumn

Autumn is upon us! In theory, anyway. Here in south Texas, there’s not much of an autumn to speak of anymore, but I have wonderful memories of the season from when I was a child.

I remember the way the air started to cool, almost imperceptibly, but there was a sense of warmth surrounding the season, the same way the smells of fires burning in fireplaces makes a cold winter day seem somehow warm.

I remember the leaves on our chinaberry tree turning gold, orange, brown, and red. I remember them falling to the ground, hiding the green of grass beneath the new colors of fall. My twin sister, Lacy, and I, along with our friend, and neighbor, Jay, would gather twigs and rocks, sit among the leaves in our front yard, and pretend to be out camping. The crunch and rustle of leaves filled the air as we shuffled through them. We were warriors, fantasy creatures, ninjas, royalty, anything our imaginations could conjure. And although spring, summer, and winter provided unique opportunities for play, I somehow remember autumn the most clearly.

Perhaps it’s because I yearn terribly for the season that seems to escape me year after year. I want the crisp, cool air. I want to see the leaves change and fall. I want to feel the difference between the seasons instead of having only the near-constant heat of spring and summer as they spread later and later into the second half of the year. This yearning is what, on occasion, makes me think I’d like to move somewhere generally cooler so I can experience distinct seasons again. That, and the fact that I want to wander through beautiful forests like some kind of faery, and there aren’t any beautiful forests where I live. Another dilemma is all the amazing sweaters the stores sell around this time. I love so many of them, but it’s so pointless to buy so many sweaters when I can only wear them a couple days a year. It’s tough.

Autumn Leaves by Colin Brough

To me, autumn is magical. I all too often, when working on stories, make sure to build my timelines to include part of the season because I’d much rather write about cozy sweater-wearing characters crunching through leaves, sipping hot beverages, baking delicious pumpkin-based goodies, and anticipating the holidays than any number of things that might take place in spring or summer.

Plus. Plus! It’s the season of baking, steamy bowls of soup or chili, hot cocoa, Halloween, Thanksgiving, warm colors, and so much more! Lacy and I have already made a few pumpkin-based treats, like frosted pumpkin cookies and pumpkin cinnamon roll pancakes. Honestly, for a season that barely exists in this area, I look forward to it almost all year. My body is ready for autumn…always.

So, what’s autumn like where you are? Do you have any particular memories or thoughts regarding the season? Feel free to tell me all about them! No matter how you feel about autumn, I hope it starts off magnificently for you, and that it is full of delightful surprises.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bargain Shopping!

I don’t know about everyone else, but I love shopping. I really do, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. Shopping for books, clothes and shoes, craft supplies, bath products, cute anime junk at conventions. It really doesn’t matter. And, although there are numerous expensive things I would like to (and sometimes do) buy, I’m mostly a bargain shopper. I love getting a deal, and rarely ever pay full price for something if I know I might be able to get it cheaper later or from another store.

There are some exceptions, as with one of my hobbies, collecting ball-jointed dolls. But a lot of that comes from the uncertainty of after-market availability and prices, as well as some other factors that I won’t get in to at the moment.

The point is, I love being able to get a lot for the money I spend.

Yesterday, after a yummy breakfast with my mom and my twin sister, Lacy (link here), we went to T.J.Maxx/Home Goods to check out what kind of goodies they had. I didn’t really plan on buying anything, but I found a few things I couldn’t resist, and for awesome prices!

  • Adorable nature-themed notebook - $2.99
  • Box of note cards - $3.99
  • Philosophy “Granny’s Apple Pie” shower gel - $12.99
  • Restricted floral oxfords - $16.99

One of the shoes was missing its lace, but I can fix that or wear them without laces. Maybe I could find some thin, pretty ribbon or something to use instead of regular laces. I also bough some meringue cookie things and some other items for my mom and sister, but these are the items that I bought specifically for me.

We also went to Dillard’s a little later, and I found a very inexpensive dress that will be the base for my dark mori witch costume for A-kon 2015.

It’s very difficult to get pictures that show the details on it, but I think it’s going to be the perfect piece to layer with other items and accessories to create the look I’m going for. And the dress was only about $17!

That’s what I call shopping success!

What kind of bargains have you found recently? Feel free to tell me all about them, and I hope you have a lovely, relaxing Sunday!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Things I Love Thursday: Writing Related and Other Fun Stuff!

Greetings, everyone!

I hope this post finds you all enjoying your week and looking forward to the weekend. This week has been pretty rough, but there have also been some great things that made me happy.

Here we go!

  • Writing Excuses 8.47: Roguishness with Scott Lynch – Oh my, but I love Scott Lynch! Lilian linked me to this in a comment to last week’s list, and I listened to it almost immediately. Not only is Scott’s writing amazing, but he seems like a charming and entertaining person. Very cool podcast with great information!
  • Minecraft Space Chickens – This Minecraft series (by Guude from the Mindcrack server) includes mods such as Chococraft and Galacticraft, and there are so many strange and wonderful things. Plus, Guude is a funny and cool guy. Warning for NSFW language.
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray – Awesome young adult novel set in 1920s New York. Deals with paranormal abilities, murder, cult-like religious beliefs, and so much more. Very interesting! I finished this a couple days ago, and will definitely be reading the next book in the series.
  • Autumn candles! – Bath and Body Works already has some fall fragrances out, and I’m so excited. This is my favorite time of year for fragrances.
  • Cheese toast – Such a simple snack, but so delicious. Seriously, toast some bread, put some cheese on it, melt the cheese (This part works best in a toaster oven or regular oven), and eat!
  • Organizing writing resources – I recently decided that, with how many writing-related posts I had in my Likes on Tumblr, I would try to get them out of there and organized somewhere separate from my other Likes. So, I created a Tumblr specifically for those items. I’ve been reblogging stuff from my Likes to that other Tumblr so I can easily reference the information I might need or want. I’ll probably create a tags page in the future, but it seems like it might be a bit time consuming, so it may take me a while.
  • Victorian Trading Co. – This shop has some wonderful pieces I’d love to wear. Quite pricey, but lovely!
  • Midnight in Paris – I love this movie so much! It’s just so wonderful and magical. I could watch it again and again. <3
Well, that's it for this week! Don't forget to take note of all the simple things that can make a big (positive!) difference in your life!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

Greetings, lovelings! Welcome to my first Things I Love Thursday post here on Strangely, Chantel. I used to do these on a regular basis when I still posted on LiveJournal, but I stopped as people switched from LJ to other blogging platforms. Hopefully I will be able to keep these up as a frequent way of reminding myself of all the great things I encounter and enjoy throughout the weeks. Here we go!

  • Scott Lynch’s The Republic of Thieves – This is the third book in the Gentleman Bastards series, and it was just as thrilling, beautiful, and amazing as the previous two. I absolutely love these books and Scott’s writing! I can’t wait for the fourth book!
  • Master of Tides – Lindsey Stirling – This performance is so cool, and it makes me very sad that I don’t know how to play violin (even though I have a violin).
  • The release of AlchemicMuse’s autumn fragrances! - There are quite a few I’d like to try, such as ZomBee and Bonfire.
  • White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino with raspberry. – I love the combination of white chocolate and raspberry, but I only recently thought of asking the Starbucks barista to add a pump of strawberry syrup to my white chocolate drink, and it was super tasty!
  • Making envelopes! – I found a tutorial online for making envelopes, so I tried making a few. I’m thinking about labeling them and using them to save for various things, like dolls, a new laptop, or an Etsy shopping spree. XD
  • Planning my kawaii witch outfit for next year’s A-kon. – I have a bunch of items favorited on Etsy that would work for my original idea, but now I’m considering doing a dark mori girl style witch. I just don’t know anymore, but it’s fun looking at ideas!
  • Clean sheets and blankets. – I always sleep so well when I have freshly laundered bedding.
The three envelopes I made!

Well, that’s it for this week’s list. Hope you are all having a lovely week so far! Take care!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Writing! And Hunting! Oh My!

Greetings, strangelings! I’m still working on getting posts up on a more regular basis, but things are happening, fun things, so I’m hoping I will have much to talk about.

July was an eventful month as far as my writing goes. I really want to be a published author, but I’ve been in a bit of a funk for quite a while. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write, but I had a lot of trouble making myself do it. To be honest, it was kind of painful to be disconnected from my writing for so long.

So, when my friend and fellow blogger, Lilian, over at Petticoat Pedaler asked if I was going to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, I gave it the briefest of thoughts before deciding that I would. I needed the push, the challenge. I could have started something new, but I chose to edit existing content and write new content for my oldest story, The Unheard-of. My goal was 25,000 words. Although I did a significant amount of copying, pasting, and editing, I also wrote a whole new scene and added quite a bit to the end of the story. I’m still not sure what I will do with the middle to build tension and move the plot along, but I’m pretty happy with what I did considering it’s a very rough piece of writing.

Most importantly, I’m excited about my story, my world, and my characters again. I once again feel the desire to write, to expand my story and learn more about my characters through writing them. It’s an amazing feeling after going so long without writing much. And I’m proud of myself because I reached my goal. Actually, I exceeded my goal a bit. I ended the month with 25, 454 words.

Now comes the task of keeping up with my writing, of developing better habits so I can finish this thing, find an agent, and get published. Writing is the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do, and I need to work harder to make this dream come true.

By Yan Moura

What else? I undertook another challenge of sorts over the last week when I participated in GISHWHES, a scavenger hunt of epic proportions. This was my first time participating, and it was challenging and fun! It forced me to be more social, which is always a bit of a problem for me as I tend to be pretty shy. I did a lot of strange, wonderful, silly things, and I’m fairly certain I will participate again in the future.

I was buried in sand (during which I got a sunburn for the first time in YEARS), played a bookie for a paper boat regatta, created tweed porn and a life form made of books and book parts, played a vampire sucking blood from a doughnut, took pictures for a rock album cover, a Sears-style gender-swapped photo, and several mug shots. I also drew a picture of an actor/panda hybrid, made a museum-style installation using dishes, painted a backdrop, fed a demon, and decided on the next hipster accessory. Most importantly, I met and worked with a lot of really cool and interesting people.

Now, I embark on the rest of the month. Now that the hunt is complete, it’s time for more writing, more searching for a better job, and more creativity in general. I hope you all are having a wonderful August so far, and that the month brings you many wonderful things.