Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor review

Strange the Dreamer

Hi Everyone,
I’m back today to review Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. A book so magical and lovely it’s hard to describe, but I will do my best with no spoilers.

Strange the Dreamer is book one of what I believe is a duology (2 book series.) It mainly follows the story of a young man named Lazlo Strange. He grew up as an orphan raised by monks in Zosma, but he’s also had a complete fascination with the mysterious lost city known as Weep. Then miraculously the day arrives where he has an opportunity to find out what really happened to the lost city.

Like I said this is spoiler-free because I don’t want to ruin what is probably going to be my favorite book of the year. So, I won’t be talking about the details of the plot, but more about the structure, characters, and the writing itself.

The Basic Plot of Strange the Dreamer

At its heart Strange the Dreamer is a fantasy story, but not a typical one.

Our main character is not your typical hero. There isn’t a lot of magic, only a few distinct powers certain characters have. One character is even determined to find out the scientific workings of the world.

It’s a unique magical adventure.

We start in Zosma with Lazlo working as a junior librarian, when a man known as the God Slayer comes to town looking for people for a secret mission. They won’t know what they are to do until they get to Weep.

While that is the basic plot, there is a lot more to the story that I won’t go into, you’ll just have to read it.

Strange the Dreamer Characters

Each character is fully fleshed out, their personality traits make them each distinct. They each feel like a real person, and you will have an opinion about each of them, good and bad.

Our main characters stand out in the crowd, but the side characters don’t fall by the wayside. This is particularly the case on the journey from Zosma to Weep. We get a good glimpse at a lot of side characters and their individual journeys to this point.

You feel what they feel, and sometimes you just want to give them a big hug or slap them.

Laini Taylor’s Writing

If you’ve never read a book by Laini Taylor I highly recommend you rectify that immediately.

I swear she could make the dictionary a compelling magical story.

Her writing is lyrical and beautiful, you want to savor it but you also don’t want to put the book down. The words simply dance on the page and fill you with happiness.

I will read whatever she puts out next simply to read more of her writing, doesn’t matter what it’s about.

Go Forth and Read

If I haven’t made this clear enough, I thoroughly loved this book and give it a million stars.

If I haven’t managed to convince you yet to read it, I highly recommend you still give it a shot. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Thank you for reading! If you have read it let me know what you thought in the comments!

Taking the Blog in a New Direction

Hi Everyone,
First of all, I’m sorry it’s been a little while since I last posted. I’ve been feeling conflicted about what to blog about. Having started several different posts I wasn’t feeling connected to any of them. 

What I’ve been writing feels too surface level and doesn’t have much meaning. It has felt like something is missing. That’s why I haven’t been writing in the past couple of weeks, I haven’t been able to figure out what.

Let Me Explain 

This blog project was originally intended for a few things: creating samples of writing to show potential writing clients (which I haven’t’ tried very hard to find) and to get my feet wet with writing again (which I think I’ve successfully done.) I think it’s time to start taking this blog in a slightly different direction.  

Right now, I’m not feeling satisfied by a lot of what I’ve been writing here, but I’m glad I did it. From here I need to get back to working on my fiction writing, which I kind of started in July I just haven’t’ gotten very far yet. I also want to create posts I’m proud of. 

Story in the Works 

I’ve had one particular story in my head since I was about 16 (that was 8 years ago) and I’ve done a lot of work on it over the years, but it’s still far from complete.  Lately, I’ve been feeling that I won’t be able to write anything new until I finally finish it. Every time I do, it always comes back into my head and starts influencing what I’m working on. 

Unfortunately, one major thing is standing in my way right now. I can’t find the file. I got a new computer a few months ago and it doesn’t appear to be backed up in the places I thought it was. So that’s clearly step one before I can do anything else. Luckily, I do have a hard copy, so if all else fails, it’s not completely lost forever. I’ll just have to type it all over again. 

What about the Blog? 

Don’t fret, I plan to continue doing this, just in a different way. I’ve talked about my art and writing a little bit on here, but I want to talk about them more. I will write about what I’m currently working on, any classes I’m taking about the subjects, and talk about things on those subjects. I will also continue making reviews for books and movies. There have only been a couple so far, but there are more to come I promise. 

Thank you so much for sticking with me. If you have any thoughts about this change and moving forward please leave them down in the comments. I look forward to making more content I’m passionate about and sharing my journey with you.

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Hi Everyone,
Today, I would like to share my thoughts on the book series Memoirs of Lady Trent, which I’ve really enjoyed so far. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan is book one in the five book fantasy series. I recently finished book three, Voyage of the Basilisk, and with each book, I’ve just loved it more.

The Series at a Glance

I came for the dragons and found there’s actually a lot more to this series than expected.

These books are the fictional memoirs of Isabella, Lady Trent. She is the world’s premier dragon naturalist. The series chronicles her many adventures in search of dragon’s to study.

There are five books in the series; each book focuses on a specific expedition in Isabella’s life. The title gives you a clear picture of what will take place, at least once you start reading.

While on the expeditions we follow as Isabella discovers more about herself, love, friendship, loss and the politics of the world.  I don’t want to give any spoilers, but there are some wild rides.

A Natural History of Dragons

Book one starts at the beginning of Isabella’s life, long before she became a widely known dragon naturalist. We watch as she grows into a young woman. Unlike the sequel books, it takes about halfway to get to the “expedition” portion, but it is still well the worth the wait.

It is primarily set in the country Scirland, which is a clear parallel with Victorian England with all of its traditional rules. The only clear difference is the dragons, obviously.

Isabella has an innate love for these creatures without having much knowledge of them, at this point nor does anyone else. When she is still young, her father gives her a book called A Natural History of Dragon.

She reads it over and over again, growing her love and need to study them further, which *spoiler alert* she does.

Now Go Read it

If it isn’t clear, I highly recommend this series. If you like stories about people’s lives, struggles, romance, adventure, or dragons, then you should pick this up. It has something for everyone.

Even if you aren’t sure, the books are only all just over 300 pages (which are really short for fantasy books) so it’s not a huge commitment.

Have you read these? Let me know what you thought in the comments, even if you didn’t like them!

My Creativity and How Technology has Played a Part

Hi Everyone,
Today, I just want to share some thoughts I’ve been having about my creativity and how it is affected by technology. My ability to be creative now compared to what it used to be has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve always considered myself to be a creative person. I spend a lot of time wandering around my own head.

However, particularly in the last few years, it feels like I have hit a wall.

I want to be creative and make the things I always have, but it feels like there’s an invisible force just stopping me. I’ve always been the person to write, draw, paint, and just create things. And not doing those things, honestly, kinda scares me. It makes me feel like I’m not myself.

I know, I probably just sound dramatic, but that’s how it feels. Especially, after my past two blog posts have been about art, this might seem a little out of the blue. But, that’s me pushing back against the lack of creativity I’ve been feeling.

Now let’s dive into it.

Creativity in the Past

Back in High School, I was probably at my most creative. I hung out with a lot of other artsy people and we would share our art and write with each other all the time. We would give each other suggestions and help each other out. There was just a creative atmosphere among us and it kept us making things.

We’re talking writing and drawing things all the time: before (and during) class, lunch, and whenever we had time. After all, we were just a bunch of weirdos who didn’t really fit in and art was our outlet. What else were we going to do?

Other than the creativity connection, we had very different outlooks on life, which drove some us apart before graduation. After graduation, we completely lost touch.  

In college, I never found quite the same creative dynamic. I definitely need creative people around me so we can draw from each other for inspiration and critique.

That’s easily the only thing I really miss about High School.

Technology in the Past

This may seem obvious, but there was a lot less technology readily available back in the day. Even less than 10 years ago.

Back in High School, my cell phone could call, text, play music, and take not great pictures. That was it. It didn’t even have a front facing camera. I didn’t even have a full keyboard until I was like 17, and I had that phone until last year at 22.

I also didn’t have my own computer; we shared one so I only had access at certain times. The time I did spend was mostly on sites like Fanfiction.net and DeviantArt, looking up other people’s work.

My point in telling you this is to show you that I wasn’t surrounded by as much technology as we are now. That means I had time to focus on other things like art and writing.

Creativity in the Past Five Years

Now let’s talk about after High School. So, I’m off to college and moving away from home for the first time. To say that my life massively changed is probably a huge understatement.

Surrounded by all new people, a new place, and school on top of it. I was a bit stressed. However, I did do some creative writing that first semester, and throughout my college career. Though some writing was for assignments, it was my major after all.

College was far from all butterflies and rainbows though, and a lot of the time I didn’t do much creatively at all.

Recent Technology

It ended up being easier to turn to all of the technology I had at my fingertips, then doing something creative.

Throughout college, I watched a lot of Netflix and spent a lot of time playing video games, which aren’t necessarily bad things.  Don’t get me wrong I enjoy both a lot, but the easy consumption of stories has made it difficult for me to come up with my own.

There is something so mindless about watching TV, not as much with video games. It’s like your brain isn’t active while you watch, you’re just watching, which just isn’t healthy.

To compare my technology access to before, I now have an Iphone, a TV with cable, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, an Xbox, a PS3, and a Laptop. I don’t share any of them with anyone else.

So safe to say, I’m using technology way more than I ever used to.

Final Thoughts

After everything, it has led us to now. I’ve decided I seriously need to take a step back from the screen jumping I do on a daily basis. Going from my phone, to the computer, to the TV and back needs to take some breaks. In those breaks, I need to create.

In the past month or so creating again has been therapeutic, and seeing people actually like my art is very encouraging.

Now, I’m not ditching technology completely that would be impossible, even if I wanted to. But, I will be spending less time staring at my screens.

I don’t think I said everything I wanted to, but I think I got my general point across.

Please let me know your thoughts on creativity and technology!

Thanks for reading!

Review and Experience of Art School 99 in Somerville

Hi Everyone,
First, I’m sorry I missed a blog post on Tuesday. I was struggling with some writer’s block and started 3 different posts, but just couldn’t commit to one. Today, I’m back with a review of Art School 99, which is an independent art school in Somerville, MA.

I took three classes, one last Friday, then this past Wednesday and my last class was yesterday. However, this studio’s classes schedule is super flexible. I could have taken all three in a week or spread them out over a few weeks if I wanted.  It was completely up to me, which I really liked. Other art classes tend to be much more structured than at this studio.

She is planning to offer even more classes this fall, which will allow for even more flexibility.

Some of My First Impressions

First, let’s talk about some of my first impressions on Art School 99.  I talked a bit about this in my blog post last week about how I found my art class.

I was super excited for this class. It was the first time I’ve taken an art class in a ridiculously long time, so I was way over due.

My very first problem had nothing to do with the school itself, but it’s location. If you’re familiar with Somerville it’s a 15- minute or so walk from Sullivan T station (Orange line,) or a short bus ride from Central Square T Station (Red line.) I ended up using both to get there taking more than an hour each.

The first class was the only one I ended up actually being on time for, due to the long commute early in the morning.

Once I got there, I met the instructor, Alexandra, at the door and we made our way to her studio space. Her studio is only one of many at what is known as Joy Street Studios. It’s a relatively small space, I can’t imagine she is able to host any large classes.

First Class

Now, what did I actually do that first class? Honestly, it didn’t feel like much of anything.

The goal for this class was to gauge where I was skill-wise. I started with a few basic drawing exercises for composition. During this part, I felt a lot of pressure to do well, which I think prevented me from really letting my creativity run wild. So, I sat there trying to think of what to draw for way longer than I should have.

After the drawing exercises, which was probably about half the class, it was time to get out some paint. We then went over some color theory using primarily the color wheel. While I’ve been taught this many time, I did learn something new. In painting, green is a primary color, even though it isn’t one on the color wheel.

And that was the end of class one, I decided which I was going to go to next, then headed back home.

Second Class

In the second class, it felt like I did a lot more, even though I was actually there for less time because I was late.

We started this class with some basic brush technique for blending acrylic paint. Super simple, but super important.  I spent some time doing this on the canvas I brought, (you pay for the use of her materials, but canvas’ are extra) blending blue and white until the canvas was covered.

Then, she taught me what is known as glazing.  This is where you use a glaze, a translucent mixing liquid, with a very small amount of paint.

After learning these two techniques, it was time to start on my painting. I first tried to sketch something from the view in the window, but it just turned into a mess. Naturally, then I went to Pinterest for help. I found a good reference photo that wasn’t too complicated and got to work.

With the instructor’s help, we decided the colors for the background would only be white and gray (I can’t remember the specific gray, but it has a blue undertone.) I used the same canvas that I used for the exercises and just painted over my previous work.

I ended this class with a completed background ready for the rest of the painting.

Third Class

Again, I ended up being late to this one, but it was alright because I still had plenty of time to finish my painting.

This was easily my favorite class of the three. I felt I learned the most during this session, not only through instruction but by doing.   The instructor also gave me some tips and sometimes you just need the right paint color to make your life easier.

I think I had the most fun with the skirt of her dress.  There are at least 4 different shades of red I used to try to create some dimension.

One important thing I learned during this class is, painting is really all about layers. It took about three or four layers to get to the final product you see.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I felt I really learned some new skills when it comes to painting and I had some fun, which was the goal. I was a little skeptical at first, but each class got better and better, and I imagine if I return to this studio it’ll be even better.

All things considered, at normal price it is still a bit expensive considering the value of the classes. While I enjoyed my time, I’m still really glad I got the Groupon deal.

This studio has a super chill atmosphere and there isn’t a lot of pressure, which I liked. There will be even more classes offered in the fall, which gives me, even more, options if I decide to go back.

If it wasn’t so far I would say I would most likely go back, but due to where it is I’m not sure.  It will depend on when the fall classes are, I might go to one every once in a while.

Deciding on an Art Class, How it Went

Hi Everyone,

So, I finally took the plunge and decided to take an art class for the first time in 8 or 9 years.

Art used to be a pretty big part of my life. I grew up in a very artistic family where there was rarely a time we weren’t making something. And, I actually even considered going to art school. That is until my high school stopped offering art, which stopped me a bit in my tracks.

It has been a long time, but I have the art bug again.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I’ve been drawing lately. I really want to advance my drawing skills and explore painting.

Which brings us to today, the art class.

How I Chose Where to Go

This was not easy, I did some serious research to figure out where to take a class.

I live in the Boston area so I have a fair amount of options; if you live in a more remote area it may be more difficult to find the right class for you.

A few things, I wanted to take into consideration: price, the number of classes, the medium being taught (acrylic, oil, and drawing,) when and where the classes are held.

Museum of Fine Arts

First, I checked out The Museum of Fine Arts studio classes.  They have a wide assortment of classes offered for just about any type of art you can think of, but popular classes will often sell out.  Also, sometimes their schedules just don’t work with you or you already missed the first class.  This is what happened to me, I would love to go to an MFA class in the future though. They seem to be priced pretty fairly and they offer discounts to members

Massachusetts School of Art and Design

This was actually one of the art schools I had considered going to. MassArt offers workshop classes and college level classes for non-credit. Like the MFA, they offer a wide variety of classes. This was another one where the timing was just off, most of their classes started in June (you’ll see this is a bit of a theme.) On the surface, they seem a little more expensive, but the classes here are usually a semester long, versus just a few.

Quincy Art Association

Quincy Art Association is the one that is closest to where I live, so would be the most convenient to get to. Here they are a little more focused, they offer classes in painting, drawing, and ceramics. Unfortunately, once again, I missed the start of the Summer classes. They are incredibly well priced. They are also heavily involved in the local art community and offer discounts to members. When classes start back up I’m sure I will be back. It appears one of the teachers has other classes in the area, so I may look more into that.

Michaels/Local Art Stores

Michaels usually offers one-off workshops, versus most of the above are series of classes. They also seem to offer a lot fewer classes, since the employees also have to help run the store. This is a good way to try something out with a lot less commitment. It’s probably worth checking out, they are usually pretty low-cost. Sometimes they even offer free classes.

Thumbtack

On Thumbtack you can find private contractors/freelancers for just about anything, one being painting teachers. You put in a call for what you’re looking for and then people will send you their quotes. It’s a pretty cool service and totally free. I ended up with 4 quotes with varying accuracy to what I was actually looking for. However, this is how I found the class I did end up going to.

Art School 99

This is the “school” I ended up going with. I use school in quotes because it’s really just one women’s studio space that she teaches out of. She primarily teaches painting, with some drawing classes. I’m not going to lie, what made my decision to go with them was the fact they currently have a Groupon. I was also drawn to them because they were just about the only school that was flexible and has on going classes. You can pay for 3, 5, or 10 classes and then go to whatever ones you want.

The Class Set-up

The class I went to was a small open studio session and there were three of us.  It was my first class, one person had been there a few times, and the third person has been going for years, so there was an interesting dynamic.

Since, it was my first class, she wanted to gauge where I was at so all we did were some basic exercises.  These included some drawing and some color theory. I understand why she did this, but at the end of the class, I felt like I really hadn’t done anything. The Groupon deal was well worth it because the class didn’t seem worth full price.

Will I Go Back?

Now, I do still have two more classes (I got the 3 pack,) so I’m hoping she surprises me and I really learn something. However, right now, I’m not feeling too confident about her class. Not only was I not super impressed with the teacher, the studio was also a pain to get to.Though, when I actually get to paint something, maybe I’ll change my mind. 

At this point, I think after my next two classes, I’m going to go to one of the other places I listed above.  Which do you think I should try?

Writing Goals for the Rest of 2017 and Beyond

Hi Everyone, lately, I’ve been focusing a lot on my writing and trying to push past writer’s block, which is such a struggle.

At the beginning of the month, I announced I was participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. This has definitely has been super positive for my writing, and I’ve mostly been able to keep up with it.

Now that I’ve gotten back into what I’ve loved for so long, I thought I would share some other writing goals I’ve made for the rest of the year and beyond.

1. Stop Focusing on the Numbers

I blame this one on NaNoWriMo and school, mostly.

Now, don’t get me wrong both have been incredibly helpful for my writing in the past.  However, I have found that I tend to cut any corner necessary to meet the goal.

For example, in NaNoWriMo the goal is to write 50,000 words in a month. This goal is great in the sense that they are encouraging you to simply put the words on paper and to put your inner editor away for the month. However, if you focus too much on the goal you’ll end up writing total nonsense, and if you ever decide to edit the mess later you’re probably just going to delete the majority of it.

2. Write Until it Feels Done

This goal goes along with the previous one.  Instead of focusing on how many words or pages I’ve written, I want to focus more on the scene itself. My plan is, instead of writing fluff to fill pages or word counts, I want to work on a scene until it feels done.

That means there is a beginning, middle, and end to each and every scene. The details that are there are not just filler but are serving a purpose.

This is probably the hardest goal, because how do you really know when a scene is complete?

3. Write 15, 000 words in July

I know, you may be saying, but you just said to stop focusing on the numbers. That’s still true, but I still felt like I needed a tangible word count goal for the month. While I am writing I don’t look at the word count, though.

Once I’ve written this chunk, It will prove that I’m back to writing and am ready to really dive in. I’m at just under 4,000 words by the way, which doesn’t include these blog posts.

4. Finish a Writing Project

This is my last goal, as of right now, and it’s pretty broad. Over the past, like 8 or 9 years, I’ve started countless writing projects and have yet to really finish any of them.  The only ones you could even qualify are remotely finished are the ones that I turned in for a grade in school.

So, that being said, if I really want to be serious about my writing, I probably should actually finish something. I have a lot to choose from in my work in progress folder, so hopefully, I’ll be able to accomplish this in the not too distant future.

Let’s Get Writing

The lovely Kristina Horner inspired this post with her creation of Wordbound.  Wordbound is “a weekly writing exercise for anyone who wants to commit to making writing a priority.” She started it back in January, and I’m working through the past prompts now.

Thank you so much for reading, if you are a writer and have any goals please share them down below.

Easy Recipe: Fourth of July Fireworks Cake

Happy Fourth of July!

Today, I’m hanging out with family at the lake. The fourth of July is such a fun holiday, you get to enjoy the nice weather, food, friends, and family. And fireworks, can’t forget the fireworks.

Everything is decked out in red, white and blue, which is why today I come to you with my Fourth of July Firework cake.  I don’t think you can get much more American than that.

There are three major components in this recipe: the cake base (the fireworks,) the frosting (white,) and our fruit on top(red and blue.)

The Cake Base

I used Funfetti boxed cake mix, but you could change the cake to any flavor you want.  This is the fireworks portion though, so if you want fireworks it has to be funfetti.

Ingredients

Cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup water
1/2 cup of oil

Now, you’ll want to just follow the three easy steps on the box to complete your base cake.  Since we’re making a flag cake you want to use a 9″ x 13″ pan to get the rectangle shape. It’s going to take about a half and hour to bake.

When your cake is done baking you want to let it cool down completely.  A little trick I used to cool it down a little quicker was putting it in front of a fan.  Totally did the trick.

The Frosting

Believe it or not, we aren’t going to be using a jar of frosting from the store! Get your whisk ready, because we’re making this from scratch.  Don’t worry it’s not very hard.

Ingredients

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup of cool-whip
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

It’s best to use confectioner’s sugar, but if you only have granulated sugar you can add a little bit of water, mix it together and melt it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. This creates a kind of a sugar slurry. This is actually what I did, and it worked just fine.

Though, other people on the internet suggest using cornstarch instead of water.  But, if you’re like me, then, if you don’t have confectioners sugar, you probably don’t have cornstarch either.

Step 1. Mix together the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until smooth.  Using a regular whisk is fine, you’ll get a little arm workout, but if you have an electric mixer it will speed up the process.

Step 2. Add vanilla and cool-whip to the mixture and mix again until smooth.

That’s it! Super simple!

Now if your cake still isn’t quite cool enough, put your frosting in the fridge to keep cool.

Putting it all together

Now that you have everything ready it’s time for the fun part, making it look really good.

Ingredients

The cake
The frosting
1 package of strawberries (you’ll use most of them)
1 package of blueberries (you can bring the extras as a snack)

When you’re cake is finally cool, you’re ready to go.

First, you want to prepare your strawberries by cutting them in half and cutting the green ends off.  If you want smaller pieces, feel free to slice them smaller.

Then, you can frost the cake. Carefully, pour the frosting in the middle of your cake, then spread smoothly over the top with a knife.

With your white base down, you can add the red and blue. You can make as many stripes as you want and your blue area can be as big or small as you want.

I didn’t make my “stars” area too big, but I basically put as many strawberries as would fit.  It’s completely up to you how you want your flag to look. You don’t need to have 13 stripes and 50 blueberries, exactly, they probably won’t fit anyway.

Now Enjoy!

Now it’s time to dig into your Fourth of July Fireworks cake!

Make sure to bring it the Fourth of July party and watch as your family and friends marvel at your masterpiece.

Happy Fourth of July! Let me know what you were up to below!

Still, need ideas? Check out my blog post for 5 things to do on the Fourth of July.

I’m Participating in Camp NaNoWriMo

Tomorrow is July 1st, which means it is also the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo.

I made the decision to participate this year about half-way through June, and still don’t have much of a plan.  But, that is ok!

What’s Camp NaNoWriMo?

If you have never heard of it, Camp NaNoWriMo is the summer version of National Novel Writing Month, which happens every November.

NaNoWriMo is an annual event where people come together and try to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. The camp version is the same essential idea, but just a bit different.

Camp NaNoWriMo happens twice a year in April, the month formerly known as Script Frenzy, and July, the round I’ll be participating in.

The Difference Between Camp and the Original

The major difference between July and November is, you don’t have to aim for 50,000 words if you don’t want to. You also don’t have to start a completely new idea, revisions count during Camp NaNoWriMo.

July and April are much more chill versions of the original, after all, we’re on summer vacation. Your goal for the month can be anything! You can choose between words, hours, minutes, lines, or pages, and you can set the number to anything you want.

You don’t have to go at it alone. During Camp NaNoWriMo you have the option to join other writers in a virtual cabin so, you can share your progress.

My Plan for Camp NaNoWriMo

I am aiming to write 30 hours over the month, which boils down to 1 hour a day.

When you break it down it doesn’t seem like that much.  This is because I am trying to get back into writing fiction again. I haven’t written much of anything, besides these blog posts, in a long time.

I have found that I tend to get too focused on what the goal is. This might seem like a good thing, but instead of having a goal and trying to achieve it I will cut corners just to say I did it.

This time I’ll be writing by hours instead of keeping track of how many words I’m writing.  This means I can completely ignore the word count, which I often pay too much attention to.  I will be able to pay more attention to what I’m writing and actually make some progress.

Planner or Pantser?

I will be pantsing this year.

If you are unfamiliar these two terms probably sound a little strange.  They are actually pretty straight forward.

Being a planner means exactly that. You have a clear plan for what you will be writing over the month. This usually includes characters, a plot outline, the setting, etc. already laid out before you start writing.

If you are a pantser it means you have no outline. Your idea can be very vague or you have no idea at all and just start writing.

I have a very vague idea of what I want the story to be and an idea for my main character.  That’s about it.

Let’s Get Writing

I’m really just trying to get out of my own head this time around. The best way to do this is to just write without thinking too much about it.

I’m hoping that I will be able to build the habit to write every day again.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll have something at the end of July.

What do you think about Camp NaNoWriMo? Are you a writer thinking about participating?

Let me know down below!

5 Things to Do this Fourth of July

5 Things to Do this Fourth of July

I can’t believe a week from today is the fourth of July already! This year is just flying by.

The Fourth of July is a Tuesday this year, which may make it difficult for some of you to make plans on the day.  But, here is a list of things that you could still do this year if the holiday snuck up on you like it did for me.

Local Events

If you live in the Boston area, you are sure to already know about the annual Boston Popsperformance on the fourth and rehearsal on the third. This is one of Boston’s biggest events of the year.

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Did you know that there are dozens of other events in the area?

In the Greater Boston area, we have Boston Harbor Fest from June 30th -July 4th packed with different events. There is also 50 Days of Freedom in Quincy, which started June 10th and goes until July 29th with different events every day.

Not in the Boston area?

Every city in the United States probably has something going on for the fourth of July. Since the holiday is a Tuesday the dates of these events may vary from city to city. Be sure to check your local calendars for event details.

Have a BBQ

Not a fan of large crowds, but still want a fun party atmosphere? A great idea is to have a BBQ with all your family and friends.

Summer BBQ’s are always fun.  All you really need are some hamburgers and hotdogs, good company, and good weather then you’re good to go.

Themed Crafts and Recipes

This is for you if you want to get a little fancier. Or you’re just a little too addicted to Pinterest and actually want to try some of the many Fourth of July themed ideas you’ve seen.

There are countless great ideas to try out there. After all, who doesn’t want everything to be red, white, and blue?

For most themed recipes all you really need are strawberries, blueberries, something to put it all together. I’ll be trying something similar to these blueberry cheesecake strawberries.

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Like the recipes, for something to be a Fourth of July Craft all it really needs is red, white, and blue. These crafts can be as simple and kid friendly to as difficult as you want.  One craft I’ve had on my eye on trying is these patriotic mason jars.

Go to the Beach

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Want to keep your plans really simple? If the weather is supposed to be nice where you are this is a great idea.

Head out with some friends and pack a picnic, maybe even bring a frisbee to give you something to do together.

Fireworks

Now for the big finale!

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When we think of the Fourth of July, we think of fireworks, and the holiday wouldn’t be complete without them. There are so many great places to see fireworks.

Like mentioned above, the Boston Pops event on the Fourth of July includes a 30-minute fireworks show after the concert. There will also be firework displays at many events happening in your area.

Happy Fourth of July

Now you have some idea what you can do this Fourth of July, even if it did sneak up on you like it snuck up on me.

If you make something for Fourth of July share it with me down below in the comments.

I’ll be hanging out with family at the lake this Fourth of July. I’m hoping to try out one of those recipes and will be sharing my experience in a future blog post.

Thanks for reading!