Day In My Life (Winter 2019)

I didn’t take any pictures because I didn’t decide to do this post until mid-afternoon Tuesday (and also because my phone basically crashed earlier this week and it was too much work to get out my camera, lol). Next time!

Tuesday, February 19th

It was an extremely rainy day on Tuesday, just like every other day recently! I had to take my brother to school at 7:30; because of my chronic fatigue, I can’t remember the last time I got up that early, and it was definitely a struggle to not be drowsy on the road even though I went to bed at 8:30 the night before in preparation. Traffic was backed up all the way from the interstate almost to our neighborhood; it was a mess. But we finally made it to his school with about 30 seconds to spare.

When I got home around 8:20, I snuggled with Sophie, rested, and had my quiet time and wrote out my schedule for the day. Then I made breakfast (scrambled eggs and a fruit smoothie), cleaned the kitchen, and we had a Panic! At The Disco dance party.

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My first block of work was from 9:30 to 12:00 (it happened under a blanket on the couch with Sophie, enjoying a quiet house). I finished the first round of revisions on the textbook chapter I wrote a week or two ago–the chapter is about the federal, state, and local laws surrounding education, so Tuesday morning I was researching the rights of students who are pregnant, disabled, incarcerated, etc as well as school safety (bullying, active shooter drills, etc). It was absolutely fascinating. I love that I learn so many different things from my job and the projects I take on.

That took a little over an hour and then I finished writing a blog post that was due Tuesday on the best time-saving Instagram tools for social media managers. I learned some things I didn’t know about influencer marketing, which was cool.

Around noon, I stopped working and watched a few of Madelaine Petsch’s YouTube videos. Then I worked out; since I had a cold/virus thing for over two weeks and had also been traveling, it had been forever since I had the energy to get in a solid workout, and it felt so good. After working out I took a shower and had lunch (which came with another kitchen dance party, this time to Shawn Mendes).

At 1:15 I went to pick up my brother from school. It was still absolutely pouring rain! I had a chance to catch up briefly with some of our friends.

By 2:00 we were home and I was working on a blog post highlighting some wedding venues in Melbourne for an old client. At 3:00 I outlined an article I was writing for an entertainment website (it was on Alaskan Bush People, which my family used to love watching) and sent the outline to my editor for approval; then I took a brief break to be excited about all the mail I got (I received a book as a birthday gift, two copies of a magazine I had an article published in, and a check for the article).

At 4:00 I edited the Instagram tools blog post, added images, optimized it for SEO, and submitted it; at 4:45 I did some brief edits on a piece for Craft Your Content. Finally, I spent the rest of the afternoon doing marketing and admin tasks–which, Tuesday, consisted of pitching article ideas to editors I found on Twitter, applying to some jobs, and answering lots of emails. It was sleeting outside, but I was cozy at my desk in my bay window with fairy lights and a candle!

We had dinner at 6:00 (my dad was out of town, so just three of us). After dinner I played the piano, wrote a letter, watched a few YouTube videos, and read King of Scars. Then Brooke picked me up and we got a pizza and went up to our friends Blake and Luke’s place to hang out with them and Noah. We talked for a while and played 5 Minute Dungeons. By the time we got home a little after 10:00, I was stumbling around with exhaustion–but despite how tired it was, it took me a little while to go to sleep because I was in pain, too. Staying out so late was NOT a smart decision–I was in even more pain Wednesday and didn’t move from the couch with my laptop all day.

Editor’s note: This was much busier than my average day! Most days I sleep until 8:30, work from home all day, and am asleep by 9:00. I might work out OR go somewhere, but not both (#chronicillnessprobs). That being said, my too-busy day Tuesday is part of what sent me into a flare that, five days later, I’m still recovering from; I’ve left the house twice since. But that’s the way life goes for me!

What does a day in your life look like?

27 Questions Movie Tag

Growing up, I didn’t watch a lot of movies. We had a few specific DVDs that I would watch over and over, but that was about it, and we rarely went to the movie theater. The last couple of years, though, I’ve realized how much I love movies. I’ve started going to the movie theater a lot more and watching a ton of movies on Netflix. I even have a client that’s an entertainment website, so I get to write about movies, which is pretty cool. All of that being said, I randomly came across this movie tag and thought it looked really cool. I’m aware that there are quite a few gaps in my cinematic knowledge (for instance, I’m 20 and I saw Titanic for the first time last weekend), and my taste in movies is very diverse. But I’m working on filling in those gaps just as fast as I can!

Favorite action film?

Black Panther or Baby Driver. I absolutely loved both of those.

Favorite comedy film?

The Parent Trap. Classic. I will never not enjoy re-watching that movie.

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Favorite “dark humor” or “black comedy” film?

I haven’t seen any black comedy films (that I’m aware of).

Favorite scene from this film?

n/a

Favorite animated film?

Fun fact about me: I can’t stand animated movies. I really, really, really just don’t like them. That being said, my friends Emma and Hannah had me watch Kubo and the Two Strings about a year ago and I absolutely loved it! Beyond that, I can’t think of any animated movies I like. I haven’t seen most of the classic animated movies, honestly, like The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Shrek. I’m just really not into animation.

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Favorite short film?

n/a

Favorite romance film?

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before or Titanic. SO GOOD, both of them. Just those gifs are making me grin like an idiot. I also like La La Land and Beauty and the Beast–the 2017 Emma Watson one, not the animated one. 😉

Favorite biographical film?

Hidden Figures. I absolutely love the story of those strong, sassy, intelligent women who wouldn’t let anything stand in their way. I love the acting, the blended soundtrack, and the aesthetic (warm color tones, soul music, heels clicking). This movie reinforces how much of a math person I am NOT, lol, but I love it anyway and it’s such an important story.

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Favorite drama film?

Dunkirk. Dunkirk is quite possibly my favorite movie of all time. Every aspect of it is just so well-done and I love, love, LOVE it. Also, Good Will Hunting (although “favorite” isn’t really the right term for that one, lol).

Favorite music-themed film?

I guess La La Land? I’m not totally sure what’s meant by “music-themed.”

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Favorite indie film?

I really want to see Ashes in the Snow, which is an adaptation of Ruta Sepety’s (one of my favorite authors) book Between Shades of Gray.

Favorite book adaptations?

I know a lot of people don’t like the Narnia and Harry Potter movies, but I do. They’re obviously not perfect, but I think they’re really really really good and they have a very special place in my heart. I re-watch them a lot.

Films you want to see but never get around to watching?

A few titles that are currently on my list to watch: Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, American Sniper, High School Musical (lol), The King’s Speech, and a bunch of Marvel movies.

Favorite soundtrack?

I haven’t seen The Theory of Everything, but I have that movie’s soundtrack memorized. It’s been the background music to so many of my novels and short stories during the last few years. Every note of it is absolute perfection and makes me Feel Things™.

Film you refuse to see?

I refused to see Everything Everything when it came out and I refuse to see Five Feet Apart, which is coming out next month. The book Everything Everything really bothered me because it was ableist and did not accurately represent individuals with chronic illnesses, so for the sake of my mental health I didn’t see the movie. I don’t know whether Five Feet Apart is going to do a better job of that or not, but I’m not going to see it just in case (even though I want to, because Cole Sprouse is in it lol).

Film that you can’t wait for it to come out?

Spider-Man Far From Home!!! So excited! The new live-action Dumbo movie also looks cute and I’m interested in the new Aladdin.

Best tearjerker?

Another fun fact about me: I cry at movies ALL. THE. TIME. If I didn’t cry, it’s not a movie.  Dunkirk made me cry. Mona Lisa Smile made me cry. Free Willy made me cry. Crying about movies is my favorite thing to do, tbh. So basically, it doesn’t matter whether or not a given movie is a so-called “tearjerker”–I’m probably going to cry anyway. I’ve been known to cry at documentaries, okay?

Remake you wish had never been made?

Can’t really think of any. (Although, WHY are we getting a Frozen 2? Ugh.)

Best film you’ve seen in 3D?

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie in 3D.

Most beautiful film? (in terms of cinematography)

Can’t think of any at the moment.

Movie that didn’t meet your expectations?

I was excited about the Maze Runner movies, but the first one really just didn’t do it for me (I LOVED The Death Cure, though). I wasn’t nearly as enthralled with Mary Poppins Returns as I had hoped to be, and the same goes for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It was good, but I didn’t love it like I’d hoped to.

Movie that exceeded your expectations?

Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald BLEW ME AWAY. Literally, it was SO SO much better than I expected it to be. There was also a modern-day retelling of Little Women that came out last year, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but I ended up loving it.

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Best cinema experience?

I saw The Greatest Showman in theaters three times and each time was better than the last. Seeing Crimes of Grindelwald on opening night was also so much fun because it was the first time I had seen a Harry Potter movie in a theater. I felt like a real fan!

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Most surprising movie moment?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and can’t think of anything.

Favorite dance sequence in a movie?

The La La Land opening scene where they dance on top of cars on the freeway!

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Most disturbing movie you’ve ever seen?

I make a point to not watch disturbing movies. 🙂 I do remember watching this one movie about aliens and cornfields at a friend’s birthday party that was pretty creepy when I was younger. (I think it was Signs.)

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In a year or two, I’m looking forward to doing this tag again and seeing how my answers have changed!

If you want to do this tag, feel free–and tell me a few of your favorite movies in the comments.

Big World. Ours Now? // Birthday Road Trip!

Today is my 20th birthday, and to celebrate, Brooke and I took a really fun road trip to Chattanooga over the weekend. Friday I stopped working at noon and we left around two; we listened to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack multiple times as I drove us up to my grandpa’s house, where we were staying. When we got there, we went to his favorite restaurant, where I had my favorite gyro plate and coconut pie. That evening, Brooke and I started watching Titanic because somehow I’d gone almost 20 years and never seen it.

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The next day, we went to Huddle House for breakfast (where the waitress called Brooke and me little baby-faced deer who didn’t even know it). Then we drove downtown to the Southern Belle riverboat, which runs tours around the Tennessee River. We spent some time in the gift shop (a barge that’s permanently docked) while we waited for our noon tour to begin. Apparently we picked an eventful day to go: Not only did someone have a surprise 40th birthday party on the boat, but TLC star Honey Boo Boo was on the boat with us, so there was a reality TV crew crawling everywhere with cameras.

The hour-and-a-half tour was really fun. We ate lunch, saw a blue heron rookery, and almost fell off the deck when the riverboat captain unexpectedly blew the horn as we passed under a bridge.

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When the tour ended, we went to the Incline and rode up Lookout Mountain, where you can see seven states. We only stayed at the top for a few minutes before coming back down and heading home.

At home, I took a two-hour nap; we got Krystal takeout; and Brooke and I finished watching the Titanic (my new favorite movie) and then stayed up too late talking.

Sunday morning we’d been planning to go to church, Panera, and the IMAX theater. But my body was telling me in no uncertain terms that I had done way too much on Saturday. I was so exhausted and in pain. So I slept from 9-12, we went back to the Epicurean for lunch, and then we watched several hours of home videos. We had popcorn and ice cream for dinner and Brooke and I watched Everybody Loves Raymond and the Grammys for a while.

Today (my actual birthday) we slept in and ate at Ihop for breakfast. Brooke and I didn’t leave Tennessee until noon, and I didn’t get home until about 3:00. I’m planning to spend the rest of my birthday writing postcards, reading The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons (one of my most anticipated 2019 releases), and eating chocolate chip cookie cheesecake. Here’s to a new decade of life!

Room Tour January 2019

I’m planning to move out later this year, and while I can’t wait to get a little apartment and decorate it, all I’ve been thinking about lately is how much I’m going to miss my bedroom. We’ve lived in this house for over 10 years, and since I was homeschooled and now I work from home, I spend a lot of time in my bedroom. It has a bay window and vaulted ceiling, plus lots of books and fairy lights. Normally there’s a candle burning, music playing, and hard work happening (or hard relaxation, depending on whether it’s a weekend or a weekday). I work at my desk, work out on the carpet, and watch Netflix or read in bed. Here’s a tour of my room! (I apologize for the terrible lighting in the photos–I took these pictures at a weird time of day.)

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First of all, we see the pull-up bar that I don’t use nearly as much as I thought I was going to and my bookcase (which I use every day). Most of the 300+ books I own are on here, and they’re arranged by genre. Obviously, they don’t all fit and they’re kind of a mess. But can we appreciate that I have a whole section for Louisa May Alcott?

I have a bulletin board behind my door (and this is a TERRIBLE photo of it). It’s been about a year and a half since I redid it.

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In my chest of drawers (the top is always messy), the top few drawers are filled with pajamas and clothes, while the bottom few drawers are filled with papers (literally–to the brim) and random stuff.

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This bookcase at the end of my bed contains old journals, school notebooks, yearbooks, and magazines, plus my modest DVD collection and the stuffed owl that Hannah gave me (it came bearing my Hogwarts letter). On top of the bookcase is an anthology I was published in recently. To the left, there’s a box full of copies of my book, and a little tray with all my stationary and letter writing supplies.

Here’s my closet with the fairy lights that make my room look purple instead of pink at night. And in the spirit of transparency, here’s what my closet actually looks like inside. (Not pretty: Clothes everywhere, all my extra blankets falling out of the top, and a ton of workout equipment jammed into the bottom.)

Next we get to my desk. I absolutely love my desk, and my bay window, and everything in this area of my room.

The crate on the right holds everything I need for work–folders with W9’s and printed project briefs from clients, notebooks where I keep track of my marketing, etc. The one on the left is where I keep filled notebooks and journals, plus some Bibles and old books and my camera. The little whiteboard (my favorite Alaska souvenir, lol) holds my quote of the week.

I have a few of my favorite quotes of all time–they’re from random books/movies/TV shows and have huge personal meaning to me–on my bay window. The bay window collection of quotes is a very exclusive club. New members are only added once every six months or so.

My desk itself has more quotes on Post it notes, a neat stack of planners/folders, my computer, and a few other little special items. Sometimes I also outline articles with Post it notes on the wall, lol. I like Post it notes.

This is the messiest part of my room, but here’s my dresser (shot sitting on my bed): Old American Girl dolls, a stack of library books (on the floor), stacks of books I own and keep meaning to read (on the bench), and my jewelry box. On top of my antique table I have a ton of Writer’s Digests and magazines I’ve been published in. I can’t figure out a cool way to display them. (Also, peep the big whiteboard to the right–sometimes it’s used to outline novels, currently it’s being used as a habit tracker of sorts.)

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On top of my nightstand, I keep a postcard someone once wrote me speaking life over me, a paper rose that a stranger made me once at a coffee shop, and a gorgeous notebook I’ve owned since last July but didn’t write in until a week or two ago (lol oops). Also, there’s a bucket of bookmarks. Because who doesn’t need one of those.

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There’s nothing I love more than collapsing in bed with a book at the end of a long day. I used to have four blankets on the end, but currently I just have one (my Ravenclaw blanket) because all four would never stay neat. On the wall I have a painting from a friend and some motivational quotes I love.

And that’s my room!

January 2019 Monthly Wrap-Up

I’m glad that January was a really, really good month–happy and busy and full. I was expecting the opposite, so it was nice! I stayed busy with work, discovered so much good music (a big highlight, honestly), and did fun stuff. I also had a lot of energy (well, what counts as “a lot” for me) and felt pretty good physically for most of the month.

The volume of my work stayed pretty steady and I had a good month with some new clients and old ones alike (I made just about as much money as I made in my highest-earning month in 2018), and I enjoyed my first month of having a virtual assistant to take some tasks off my plate. Outside of work, I took tap dance class, picked up/sometimes babysat my neighbors from school, went to my 20’s small group only once oops, and went to small group with my parents’ church twice.

Fun stuff: Anna and I kicked off the month with pizza and shopping on New Year’s Day (I got six items of clothing for $55!). We had lunch with friends from Mississippi, Hannah and I went to Panera and watched a movie, and I had a coffee/mentoring date with a friend from small group. I went out for coffee (which I can longer HAVE because acid reflux–it’s sad), shopping, and lunch with Andrea and Zoe, and Brooke and I caught up over dinner before small group. I played with my favorite one-year-old a lot, went to a brass ensemble performance at a local college with my dad, and we had family friends over for snacks and board games. I attended and helped run Sara’s Diamonds 2019 conference for chronically ill Christians; spent a really fun Sunday with Emma and the Coxes; and spontaneously had a picnic at the park (in the cold) with Brooke. I also ended the month by having my car towed for the first time and getting a cold, neither of which were fun.

 

Reading: The Cricket in Times Square, George Selden (reread). The Secret of a Heart Note, Stacey Lee. The War Outside, Monica Hesse (DNF). The Librarian of Auschwitz, Antonio Iturbe. Taking the Lead, Derek Hough. Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna Kendrick. Gay Girl, Good God, Jackie Hill Perry (cue the tears). The Blue Castle, L. M. Montgomery (aww!). Anna and the French Kiss and Isla and the Happily Ever After, Stephanie Perkins (both rereads–I just wanna live at SOAP). I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai. Revolution in World Missions, K.P. Yohannan. Queen of Air and Darkness, Cassandra Clare (ALL 900 PAGES–IT RIPPED MY HEART OUT AND I AM NOT OKAY–I LOVE THE BLACKTHORNS MORE THAN LIFE). Letting Go of Gravity, Meg Leder (unexpected emotions, hello). The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin (reread). 15 total.

Watching: Riverdale, all of season one and part of season two (so obsessed). Spider-Man Homecoming (re-watch). Glamour’s YouTube videos on money. Some of Monica Church’s vlogs. Good Witch, the beginning of season two. A little HGTV. One episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo because Joshua and I wanted to laugh at it. Mona Lisa Smile (loved this movie so much). The True Cost documentary (as research for a work project, but I loved it). Winner Cake All (just the Broadway Princess Party episode).

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Listening to (I LISTENED TO SO MUCH GOOD MUSIC THIS MONTH, I’M OBSESSED WITH ALL OF THESE SONGS): Natural, Imagine Dragons. Dusk Till Dawn, Zayn ft. Sia. Youngblood, 5 Seconds of Summer. Fear Nothing, Riverdale cast. Wherever I Go, Dan Bremnes. It Is Finished, Passion. Cross My Mind Pt. 2, A R I Z O N A. Start A War, Klergy. Youth, Shawn Mendes ft Khalid. Hold Tight, Sabrina Carpenter. Kings and Queens, Matt Kearney. Life of the Party, Shawn Mendes. Bridges, Johnnyswim (new JS music!). come out and play, Billie Eilish. Queen, Shawn Mendes. Whatever It Takes, covered by Landon Austin. Home, Bruno Major. Wolves, Selena Gomez and Marshmello. Walking the Wire, Imagine Dragons. Particular Taste, Shawn Mendes. High Hopes and Roaring 20’s, Panic! at the Disco. One Of Those Nights, Shawn Mendes. Save Me Tonight, ARTY. Be Alright, Dean Lewis. Nearer My God to Thee, BYU Vocal Point. I also finally discovered the local pop hits radio station.

Loving: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, Buzzfeed News. The Paradox of Jughead’s Hat, Medium. Marie Kondo of Netflix’s Tidying Up: she’s not coming for your books, Vox. Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, Time. The Good, The Bad, And The Guilt Of Working From Home, Fast Company. Wellesley grads frown at “Mona Lisa Smile,” Chicago Tribune.

Writing: At the magazine where I’m associate editor, I wrote two features, wrote the editor’s note, came up with a social media strategy, and proofread the February issue. I wrote four blog posts for a pet insurance company (example); wrote 15 short (and fun!) blog posts for a new client of mine that creates travel content for a variety of brands (example); wrote eight blog posts for a small outdoors brand (example); wrote a couple of pieces for Craft Your Content (read here and here); wrote a rush work piece for a fitness content marketing company; wrote two blog posts for two social media marketing companies; wrote two blog posts on LinkedIn for a content writing company; wrote a fascinating piece on fast fashion (and finished another long piece from last month) for a consumer protection company; and came up with a content strategy for an email newsletter company. Whew!

I also applied to 88 jobs, sent 33 LOI’s, pitched 26 story ideas to 14 publications, and had my final coaching call for the freelance writing course I enrolled in last June.

Fiction-wise, for the first time in months, I began working on a novel (my ice skating contemporary YA novel) and it was just flowing. I haven’t worked on it much, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot, which feels so good. Also, my copy of the Out of Shadow anthology I was published in finally arrived.

 

Grateful for: Book mail (there was a lot of it this month #Christmasmoney). Constantly sending Voxers (voice messages) with a freelancing friend throughout every work day. Being happy. Nailing down monthly retainer clients. THE GRISHA UNIVERSE IS COMING TO NETFLIX. Playing Marvel board games by candlelight. Being excited. Discovering and enjoying so much good music. Having enough energy to walk the dog (this mostly backfired on me though lol). Candles and books on rainy Saturdays. Playing with a cute dog and talking to some nice ladies at my mechanic. A waitress giving us full-size waffles for the price of mini ones. Laughing and drinking hot chocolate in my car in a dark park. A friend sending me a Kindle book when I was having a stressful day. ❤

What did you do in January?