Blogmas 2019 Day 5

I got my Spotify Wrapped this morning (just like everyone else you follow on Instagram). Mine is a little weird because I make a playlist for every month with a bunch of random songs–so I listen to a really wide variety of artists (I discovered 391 new artists this year, apparently) and I feel like my Wrapped isn’t really the best representation of the music that defined my year. But according to Spotify, in 2019 I basically listened to Alessia Cara (no surprise there) and various songs for the show the most (the song I auditioned with, When You’re An Addams, etc). Shawn Mendes was my “artist of the decade,” but I’ve only had Spotify since 2016 and have only used it daily since this year/late last year, so that’s not super accurate.

I slept hard last night and had tap class this morning. It was physically hard, but great to see everyone; we took several of our dances and did the choreography to various Christmas songs. At home I took some time to shower, eat, and watch the DVD of the show that I picked up today.

Then the kitty and I got on the couch for several hours of work: writing an article on cute Swiss towns (all of which I need to visit asap), writing a blog post on human Christmas gifts that are dangerous to pets (i.e. Legos), and prepping some stuff for a video tutorial I have to film tomorrow (I always complain about those and then end up enjoying them). I was given a couple of assignments from new clients today, which is exciting because I’m just now accepting new clients again after several months where I’d pulled back (and one of these new clients is a personal win/pays very well/interesting work). But it’s also stressful–I have some big projects due December 20th but I can’t really work on them yet because I have other smaller projects due every day.

At 6:00 I stopped working and kind of just laid on the couch and vegged out with my phone for a while. Then I made myself get up and practice voice (apparently the cat didn’t like my warm-ups, lol), although that devolved into just singing Favourite Ex and other Maisie Peters songs instead of working on what I’m actually supposed to be working on. I had half a ham sandwich at 8:30 and then fell into bed with a book.

Check out Blogmas Day 5 2018, 2017, and 2016. What did you do today?

 

 

 

 

Blogmas 2019 Day 4

I was super exhausted this morning and didn’t get out of bed until almost 11. I started out the day with some food prep for the party and some work on the Diamonds social media, and then dug into the dating apps research project for the next hour and a half. Around 1:30 I ate something, cleaned the bathroom, and washed my hair. Then it was back to work for a couple more hours (on some email marketing blog posts and a blog post on decorating for Christmas with a cat) before it was time to really start prepping for the party.

(I’m obsessed with my new yellow sweater and my Christmas mugs.)

I was very frustrated and exhausted and stressed in the afternoon, but once I got over that, the party I gave for the 7th-10th grade girls from my church was awesome. Before moving out, I had great plans to host people all the time–but then my health has been so bad the last six months. So although I’ve had plenty of people over to my apartment, I feel like this was the first time I’ve actually planned and hosted something more formal. And it was awesome!

The party went from 5:30 to 8:00 and six girls came; one adult stayed, and later, a couple of parents came and joined in the last few games. I served Hawaiian ham and cheese sliders (with a mustard/Worcestershire sauce/minced onion marinade to go on top–the sandwiches are baked in the oven); chips; grapes; chocolate-covered pretzels; Keebler cookies; sugar cookies; and someone brought soda. We visited, played with the cat (the girls all love her, and for the most part she loves them but also gets overwhelmed when they’re all here haha), ate dinner, had a gift exchange game with gifts I’d gotten, and ended the night with several loud and crazy rounds of Mafia. It was so much fun and I was able to really connect with some of the girls who don’t know me as well.

After the party I put on Maisie Peters, cleaned up, and reflected. Looking at these pictures makes me really happy. This is what I’d always envisioned my apartment to be before getting it–a safe, welcoming, and cozy place for people to gather and connect–and I hope I’ll have the energy to focus on hospitality even more in the near future! But right now, the kitty (who’s mildly traumatized lol) and I are heading to bed. She’s completely conked out on the couch next to me and I’m not far behind… she always sleeps very well after the girls come over!

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Check out Blogmas Day 4 2018, 2017, and 2016. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2019 Day 3

I was tired this morning but enjoyed unpacking all the Christmas stuff I bought last night (the cat enjoyed it too… lol). I worked for a couple of hours on an email marketing HTML blog post and a blog post on customer churn (and also squealed about the Black Widow trailer because AHHHH).

Around noon I went to pick up my Walmart grocery order, my library books, and my packages. I haven’t been able to eat much lately, so my grocery order was mostly household items and stuff for the party I’m hosting tomorrow. (Which I’m getting stressed about because there is a lot to do, lol.)

After that I was exhausted and took myself and my 180 bpm heart rate to bed for an hour and a half. Midafternoon I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed for a few more hours of work: refreshing a blog post on Christmas email countdown timers and then research on the enormous dating apps project, with a break for some food in between.

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When I finished working I made chocolate-covered pretzels for the party tomorrow while listening to a talk from Diamonds 2019, and wrapped the gifts I bought for our gift exchange. Then I went to bed with Andrea Barber’s (Kimmy Gibbler from Full House) book. Today was a super exhausting day!!!

Check out Blogmas Day 3 2018, 2017, and 2016. What did you do today?

 

Blogmas 2019 Day 2

A cold and windy Monday! I was exhausted/headache-y/nauseous this morning and didn’t drag myself out of bed until 10:30; when I did, I immediately sat down to finish a blog post for an Instagram growth service that was due today. Around noon I ordered groceries, ate some eggs with dairy-free cheese and French bread (apparently that’s the only thing I can stomach right now lol), and took a shower.

After lunch I got in about three solid hours of work. It was a lot of research-heavy, really frustrating stuff (although I did nail a marketing automation video tutorial in one take which was exciting). So I was glad to stop working at four when my mom picked me up to go shopping for Christmas decorations with my friend Kenna and her mom!

First we went to Hobby Lobby, where I got decorations for my apartment; some paper goods and gifts for a party I’m having Wednesday; mugs because I don’t have any Christmas mugs; a stocking and toys for the cat; and tins for when I make cookies for people. All of the Christmas stuff was 50 percent off and I saved $80!

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Then we went to Target. I got a couple more things for the gift exchange at the party plus a yellow sweater, because Sunday night I’d suddenly been seized with an urgent desire to own a yellow sweater. *shrugs*

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Finally, we went to Chili’s and visited for a couple of hours about homeschooling, dairy-free recipes, cats, and chronic illness.

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We had a really nice time! I was super drowsy all night and went right to bed when I got home at 8:30.

Check out Blogmas Day 2 2018, Blogmas Day 2 2017, and Blogmas Day 2 2016. What did you do today?

 

 

 

Blogmas 2019 Day 1

Welcome to my fourth annual Blogmas!!! I’ve been so excited about Blogmas + my first Christmas in my apartment, and I’m so glad it’s finally here! My health issues have been really bad lately so I can’t promise how exciting this December is actually going to be, but regardless, I love Blogmas and am so happy it’s back and that you’re here to follow along. 🙂

Today I woke up at 9:00 to my cat sniffing my face. I got ready and headed to church–with my car air conditioner running because it was 65 degrees! My friend Victoria roped me into working with the kids today (it didn’t take much haha, I was happy to), so instead of going to the service I helped first the older kids and then the little kids practice to sing Christmas songs in church in a few weeks.

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Peep all the siblings with their matching clothes, I can’t!!!

I wanted to stay after and help decorate the church for Christmas, but since my morning was busier than I expected, I was wiped out and just headed home. I did some brainstorming for a party I’m hosting this week, managed to eat something, and then put away three weeks’ worth of laundry (lol). I also worked on scheduling all the social media posts for this week for Diamonds 2020 (I’m the social media manager for next year’s conference–follow our Instagram!) and meditated on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 for a while. Finally, I paid my rent, did some bookkeeping tasks, and bought a couple of Christmas gifts.

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Then, since the library books I put on hold days ago still haven’t come in, I watched a movie! It was my first time to see Captain America: Civil War (I’m a big Marvel fan but still catching up on some of the older movies) and, predictably, I absolutely loved it. It was epic!

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When the movie ended I messed around on my phone, had some hummus for dinner, and went to bed with Alice in Wonderland. And that’s what I did today on Blogmas day 1!

Check out Blogmas 2018 Day 1, Blogmas 2017 Day 1, and Blogmas 2016 Day 1. What did you do today?

November 2019 Monthly Wrap-Up

November was definitely characterized by the show I was in! I am so happy about, grateful for, and content with the experience of being in the show; it was just awesome. The show was a Broadway revue and I danced/acted/sang in five numbers. We had five shows in four days (plus, of course, several dress rehearsals prior to that). There were a lot of epic dance parties behind the curtain/in the wings, lots of hanging out on the stage laughing about nothing, lots of red lipstick in the dressing room, and tears from everyone on the last day.

Unfortunately, the day after the show all my health problems plus more rushed back in with a vengeance. I had a cold, a GI flare-up, a fever, was in the ER, and stayed at my parents’ house for a week because I was so weak and sick. So that was basically what I did for the rest of the month. However, before things got really bad I was able to go to tap class once, small group once, dinner with Kenna, and dinner at the Wises’ house, and when I finally got a little strength back after Thanksgiving I also had my first voice lesson and saw A Christmas Carol at the theatre.

This month I’m…

Reading: Uninvited, Lysa TerKeurst (reread). Lab Girl, Hope Jahren. Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Richard and Florence Atwater (reread). The Fountains of Silence, Ruta Sepetys. The Saturdays (reread), The Four-Story Mistake, Then There Were Five, and Spiderweb for Two, Elizabeth Enright. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett (reread). All-American Muslim Girl, Nadine Jolie Courtney. Boundaries, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. The Feather Thief, Kirk Wallace Johnson. 12 total.

Listening to: Pulled, The Addams Family. They Just Keep Moving The Line, Smash. All For You, Seussical. Legally Blonde, Legally Blonde. Under the Sea, The Little Mermaid. Make It To Christmas, Alessia Cara. Swan Song, Dua Lipa. Love Someone, Lukas Graham. Anchor and Carry On, Chris TMV. The Upside, Lindsey Stirling. Bird Set Free, BYU Noteworthy. Be Still, Hillsong Worship. Rabbit Hole, Mindy Gledhill. Literally everything by Maisie Peters but especially Worst of You, This Is On You, April Showers, Personal Best, Favourite Ex, Architecture, and Best I’ll Ever Sing.

Watching: Mean Girls and Dear Evan Hansen Broadway.com vlogs. Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Eating: Bacon burgers and baked Lays. Then… really nothing for two weeks thanks to my GI flare.

Writing: The first part of the month was about getting through the show, but after that I was able to dig back into work and even start doing some marketing for new clients for the first time in six months. As far as other writing, I didn’t do much beyond a few personal essay-type things for my “secret” blog.

Grateful for: A castmate giving me a yellow rose on opening night of the show when no one came to see me. Sitting on the floor of the dressing room playing with a baby. Everything about the show. Discovering awesome new music.

What did you do in November? Blogmas starts tomorrow!!!!!

 

 

 

 

October 2019 Monthly Wrap-Up

October was a really beautiful, fun, all-around great month. There were lots of slow mornings learning to love journaling again, quiet days sitting on the couch with my kitty eating candy corn while I worked, and fun evenings going to either the theatre for rehearsal or out to spend time with new friends. It was awesome!

Health-wise, I didn’t have any major flare-ups thanks to my new abdominal pain medication; just dealt with the usual daily fatigue, nerve pain, nausea, etc. I had an endoscopy that wasn’t helpful and then took a break from doctors because of being so busy with rehearsals. I also had an epiphany on the last day of the month, which I’ll talk more about later if it pans out.

Most weeks I had rehearsal for the show twice a week–once at the theatre and once at the dance studio after class. The last week of the month, we moved into the dressing rooms and had rehearsal every day to block everything on the stage. I also enjoyed going to small group every week. And the weather and the leaves were so beautiful this month!

My grandpa visited the first week of the month and we went to the pumpkin farm, went bowling with my cousin, and more. I went to Victoria’s birthday party; went to the county fair (briefly) with Joshua; had dinner at Panera with an amazing new friend and then, another night, carved pumpkins and ate dinner at her house; went to Joshua’s last ball game; picnicked at the park with Andrea; went out for dinner with my dad; and went to a bingo night with my mom.

 

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This month I’m…

Reading: Educated, Tara Westover. Outrun the Moon, Stacey Lee. Tell Me Three Things and What to Say Next, Julie Buxbaum. Call It What You Want, Brigid Kemmerer (reread). He’s Making Diamonds, S.G. Willoughby (reread). The Weight of Feathers, Anna-Marie McLemore (reread). Becoming, Michelle Obama. To Best the Boys, Mary Weber (reread). Gay Girl, Good God, Jackie Hill Perry (reread). Marcel’s Letters, Carolyn Porter. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages, Trenton Lee Stewart. 12 total.

Listening to: All That Jazz, Chicago. When You’re An Addams, The Addams Family. Grow As We Go, Ben Platt. Bandstand. Fearless, Mean Girls. Conversations with my Wife, Jon Bellion. I’m Beginning To See The Light, The Ink Spots/Ella Fitzgerald. Nice To Meet Ya, Niall Horan. The Way I Am, Charlie Puth. Happy, Last Dinosaurs. If The World Was Ending, JP Saxe/Julia Michaels. comethru, Jeremy Zucker. affection, BETWEEN FRIENDS. Don’t Give Up On Me, Andy Grammar. Only Us, Dear Evan Hansen. Spirits, The Strumbellas. On My Own, Les Miserables.

Watching: Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald (rewatch). Mona Lisa Smile (rewatch). Broadway.com vlogs from Mean Girls and Dear Evan Hansen. David Dobrik vlogs. A couple episodes of Girl Meets World season four.

Eating: (Overall, not much because of my GI symptoms.) Salad and French bread. Oven baked tacos. Dairy free chocolate pecan brownies. Dairy free pumpkin muffins. Dairy free pizza (lol do you notice a trend here).

 

Writing: Yeah, things were really slow on the fiction side this month; nothing happened beyond a couple thousand words of fanfiction (because I was out at night so much + expending my creative energy into the show, which was fine). I did create a secret “poetry” blog this month too though. And then work-wise, I did the same old stuff for the same old clients — lots of blog posts on social media marketing and email marketing.

Grateful for: Journaling in the morning. Lying on the floor at rehearsal (so relaxing hehe). My pain medicine that WORKS, hallelujah. The girls at church asking me to save me a seat next to them. My new fairy lights. Getting a 20 oz candle for $3. The amazing beautiful weather.

What did you do in October?

 

Dairy-Free Recipes, Foods, and Life Hacks

This past May, my GI issues flared up big time. As part of that, I discovered at the age of 20 that I’m hugely lactose intolerant (as in, eating a slice of cake with butter in it put me in bed with GI issues for five days), so I cut out all dairy from my diet. Today I thought I’d share a post with some life hacks I’ve learned so far.

This won’t be a terribly comprehensive post because I’ve only been dairy free for about 3-4 months. So if you’re dairy-free too, feel free to add your own tips in the comments. Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and everyone’s body is different. This is just my personal experience, so take everything here with a grain of salt.

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Dairy-Free Alternative Brands

Daiya Foods

I heard a lot of good things about Daiya Foods — a brand that creates products free of seven major allergens — and I was so excited to try their mac n cheese. Unfortunately, the rice noodles and non-cheese cheese powder just didn’t do it for me. I had some Daiya shredded cheese on homemade pizza recently and it was decent, but that’s as far as my experience with Daiya goes.

Silk

I love Silk’s almond milk and almond yogurt. Although I don’t eat the yogurt straight (I don’t really like yogurt), I use it to make smoothies, while I buy the almond milk to take all of my pills with because I can’t take pills with water (I know, I’m weird). I’ve also used the almond milk for baking.

So Delicious

So Delicious has a wide range of dairy-free products. I bought a carton of So Delicious dairy free ice cream every week this summer and absolutely loved it — my favorite flavor is cookie dough. Some of the brand’s ice cream flavors are made with coconut milk, while others are made with cashew milk, giving different flavors a different texture. I like it better than normal ice cream! When it comes to dairy-free ice cream, I’ve also tried Halo Top and Talenti sorbetto.

Enjoy Life

I purchase Enjoy Life’s vegan chocolate chips to use for baking, and they’re great!

Country Crock

My family has been buying Country Crock as our “butter” since I was little, and I didn’t fully realize until recently that it’s a dairy-free, plant-based spread. I still use it for my dairy-free muffins, bagels, and toast.

Miyoko’s

A dairy-free friend recently served me some pizza with Miyoko’s mozzarella cheese and it was really good!

Other Brands

These are dairy-free brands that friends have recommended to me, but so far, I haven’t had the chance to personally try:

Dairy-Free Cooking Tips

It’s been pretty easy for me to cook dairy-free food at home. A lot of the meals I eat are dairy-free anyway; I eat a lot of scrambled eggs, salads, and stir-fry type dishes with meat and vegetables cooked in a skillet. The only thing I really don’t cook anymore is any dish that involves cheesy pasta (which is sad). Cashew milk has a slight cheesy taste, though, meaning it can be a great substitute to use in savory pasta dishes.

I save almond milk for baking because it’s very sweet. I also substitute either coconut oil or canola oil for butter and use vegan chocolate chips. I was excited to recently discover brownies are dairy-free anyway (they’re normally made with oil instead of butter) so they taste the way I remember them.

When it comes to snacks and store-bought foods, I’ve made a few small changes. I buy a new brand of granola bars now (Cascadian Farms or KIND bars instead of Sunbelt). There are several foods that I didn’t realize are dairy-free, too; most potato salad, for instance, is safe. Jell-O pudding mix apparently is dairy-free and I made some with almond milk when I was too nauseous to eat much. Peanut butter is dairy free and has been a good source of protein on days when I can’t stomach meat. Even Oreos are dairy-free!

Eating Out While Dairy-Free

I’ll be honest: I don’t have a lot of tips here, because since cutting out dairy in mid-July, I’ve eaten out less than half a dozen times. Dairy is in so many foods that eating out can be really difficult, and plus, I just have zero appetite these days anyway because of my new GI symptoms.

But when I do eat out, I typically go for a salad; as long as you ask them to leave off the cheese and you make sure the dressing doesn’t have dairy in it (I love vinaigrettes, which are often dairy free), you’re good to go. I’m weird and I like to eat French fries with my salad too, so sometimes I’ll get fries on the side. Chicken is also a safe option offered at most sit-down and fast-food restaurants alike, and any menu options marked “vegan” are generally safe.

One other thing to be aware of is that many restaurants cook their food in butter, so that’s something to ask about before you dive in; they may be able to substitute oil instead. Grilled meat is typically safer than fried or baked foods. And depending on how sensitive you are, it might be best to stay away from eating any type of bread just in case.

Some examples of dairy-free meals I’ve eaten out include:

  • A Green Goddess salad at Panera Bread and French bread (I know their bread doesn’t bother me)
  • A hamburger and fries at Steak n Shake
  • The North Atlantic Cod Dinner at Culver’s (their website says this meal includes milk, and while I did go into a huge GI flare-up the day after eating this, I don’t think it was related, but… take this with a grain of salt)
  • Lemonade at Dairy Queen (lol… sometimes there’s nothing you can do!)

Although I haven’t eaten at restaurants much lately, I have been to a lot of potluck events and get-togethers with friends. Those are often even more difficult to navigate! (Never take someone’s word regarding what’s in the dish they brought — ask to see the recipe or just skip it, because people can easily forget an ingredient or not realize something is an issue.) Typically, I’ll eat beforehand, stick to fruit or salad at the event, and/or make something yummy to bring that’s dairy free.

Dairy Free Recipes

I love using the following websites (in addition to Pinterest) to find dairy-free recipes:

Specific recipes I’ve enjoyed making for people include this lemon blueberry cake and these pumpkin muffins. If I ever have an appetite again, I plan to get a little more ambitious and try some dairy-free cheese sauce and other recipes.

Dairy-Free Is Doable

Eating dairy-free can be hard sometimes, but honestly it’s not that bad. There’s definitely something more going on with my stomach than just lactose intolerance, but still, a severe dairy sensitivity is part of it — so I’m glad to have found so many dairy-free foods!

A big thank-you to Aleigha for helping me brainstorm this post! Are you dairy-free? What are your best tips?

Day In My Life, October 2019

Monday, October 14, 2019 (a pretty typical example of a day in my life right now!)

This morning I got out of bed at 10 A.M., ate a few waffles, and spent too much time on hold with my primary care physician trying to get my pain medicine refilled. Then I got to work! First I filmed a video tutorial for an email marketing client; I had a little too much fun designing an Alaskan travel-themed email to use as the example for said tutorial. Then I sat on my balcony in the LOVELY weather, tried not to fall asleep because I was SO exhausted, and smiled at the cute dogs on an adjacent balcony as I wrote my cycling newsletter (subscribe here–it comes out three days a week).

Appetite (meaning lack thereof) has been a big issue for me recently, but thankfully today I was coming off of a (relatively small) GI flare-up and I was very hungry! I had a big salad with French bread and a dairy-free chocolate pecan brownie for lunch while watching a YouTube video. After taking a shower, it was back to work for a couple more very sleepy hours to write a blog post for a pet insurance company and work on one for an Instagram growth service, then watch a few more YouTube videos before I had to leave.

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Late afternoon, I headed to the theatre for rehearsal; tonight I was only needed from 5-6 to go over two numbers. We rehearsed our Razzle Dazzle tap dance and then a slightly different group of us worked on our Grecian Urn (from Music Man) skit. I love going to rehearsal and it’s crazy that this show is so soon.

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When I got home at 6:30, I wanted to go straight to bed because #chronicfatigue, but I forced myself to stay up and make oven-baked tacos (mix refried beans, ground beef, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning and bake it in tortillas). Pro tip, it’s easier to make this recipe if you have a can opener, which I didn’t. Lol. But I figured it out.

I finally ate dinner around 7:30, caught up on dishes, and was in bed with a book (The Weight of Feathers) by 8 and had the lights out by 9:30. As days in my life go, this was a pretty good one–and productive, too, because Monday is the day of the week when I have more energy than normal after resting all weekend!

What does a day in your life look like right now?

September 2019 Monthly Wrap-Up

The first two weeks of September were great! I started writing a novel again, went to dance class/rehearsal for the show, went to a new small group, and hosted a Bible study. The last two weeks were pretty awful—my health flared up big-time and I was in so much pain I couldn’t sleep and so nauseous I couldn’t eat. I basically didn’t leave the house for two weeks and had to cancel my trip to South Carolina for a writing conference. However, I did go to some new doctors and take some steps forward.

Fun stuff this month (in addition to dance and Bible studies): The Wises and my family came over to cook out and swim for Labor Day. I went to an artisan market with my favorite two-year-old. I babysat at church, took my pastor’s daughter to lunch, and saw Mamma Mia! with my dad.

 

This month I’m…

Reading: Little Heathens, Mildred Armstrong Kalish. The Silence Between Us, Alison Gervais. Alex Approximately (reread), The Anatomical Shape of a Heart (reread), and The Lady Rogue, Jenn Bennett (reread). Somewhere Only We Know, Maurene Goo. More Than We Can Tell, Brigid Kemmerer (reread). Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, Morgan Matson (reread). The Land of 10,000 Madonnas, Kate Hattemer (reread). Loki: Where Mischief Lies, Mackenzi Lee. The Downstairs Girl, Stacey Lee. Hope and Other Punchlines, Julie Buxbaum. 12 total. (I also speed-read and reviewed four nonfiction books for work.)

Watching: Thor: Ragnarok (showed it to Joshua and we laughed so loud we kept scaring the cat). Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1. Girl Meets World season four (rewatch–my fave show ah). Roommate Hunters with my family. Do All Disabled People Think the Same?. Tom Holland Goes Undercover on Reddit, YouTube, and Twitter. As/Is YouTube channel. Hadestown Broadway.com vlogs and other random theatre videos. Shawn Mendes Tour with Alessia Cara: The Final Week (and SOBBING).

Listening to: SO BEYOND OBSESSED WITH ALESSIA CARA’S NEW THIS SUMMER EP, especially October (#emotions) and OKAY OKAY (dance party!). All We Know and Growing Pains (Acoustic), Alessia Cara. What A Time, Julia Michaels/Niall Horan. Teeth, 5SOS. What a Wonderful World, Brooklyn Duo. When I Grow Up, Matilda the Musical. When You’re An Addams, The Addams Family. Livin’ it Up on Top and When the Chips are Down, Hadestown. Cell Block Tango, Chicago. Bad Reputation (MTV Unplugged), Shawn Mendes. Home, Gabrielle Aplin. Holding Out for a Hero, Footloose. Money, Money, Money and Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, Mamma Mia. Love Has a Name album, Jesus Culture.

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Loving: Champion School: Inside USA Cycling’s junior development program, VeloNews. Pregnant on Broadway: “Beautiful” Star Kara Lindsay on the Shocking Realities, Backstage. Grace Anne’s Tuesday email newsletters.

Writing: The floodgates opened and a novel–the YA contemporary road trip novel I started last year at this time–emerged. I wrote 15,000 words of it during the first two weeks of this month and also hired an editor, so I have to finish it now, lol. I had so much stamina and felt like I could write the novel in a week! I also wrote 3,000 words of fanfiction this month.

 

Work happened, too. But between my poor health and my fun creative hobbies, freelancing isn’t really my primary focus anymore; I just do the bare minimum I have to do to pay the bills.

Eating: Organic champagne raspberries. Stir frys with meat and fresh green beans. Then for the last two weeks of the month, either nothing or nausea-friendly foods like pudding, bagels/peanut butter, smoothies, and Cheerios, lol.

Grateful for: SPIDER-MAN IS BACK IN THE MCU (thanks Tom Holland). Sitting on the grass feeding Noah raspberries while he signs “please.” Sweet thoughtful letters from a friend at college. Meeting people and instantly connecting with them. Feeling very confident. Writing a novel! A man at church stopping to bring us popsicles.