Organize, ya’ll!

Organizing for the new year?

I know, it seems like it’s a cliche, doesn’t it?  All the stores use January to put organizing items on sale but pump the breaks a second.

Don’t buy immediately, sort and donate first.

Also cliché you say?  Well, I’m here to tell you that most Americans have TOO MUCH stuff. Whether its saving too many plastic grocery sacks, coat hangers, extra t-shirts, or nail polish, everyone has a collection of something that can be edited.  Can you give extra stuff to a friend?  How about donate to Goodwill?  Are there some things that should really be thrown away.

Do that now.

You will breathe easier and have more space.  You don’t need bins to store more stuff you won’t look at in another year.  In case you don’t understand what I mean, I would refer you to George Carlin’s riff on STUFF which is just genius and 100% relevant today.

If you need places to put your “stuff” consider recycling things you already have, like covering cardboard boxes in cool papers or fabrics like THIS.

This was life changing when I found out a better way to store my plastic grocery bags.  These are great for bathroom trash bags, poop scooping, packing lunches and when you have too many, most stores have recycle spots where you can turn them in.  THIS is what I do with them and store them in a coffee can!

One of the most liberating decisions I have made is deciding to work on a capsule wardrobe.  Right now I am in the sorting/donating/inventory phase.  You can find great printables and instructions on my Pinterest board HERE.  Also check out the app STYLEBOOK.  While I haven’t started loading in pictures, this is pretty amazing and will simplify my life in the long run.

Follow along with me as I work through Apartment Therapy’s January Cure.  This gives great, manageable steps to get your shit together without feeling overwhelmed by it.

First task today:  MAH OFFICE

8a9059e7-1184-46ce-bfc2-99494cbc49ac

You can follow along with me on my Instagram page HERE to see my progress and solutions that cost little or no money.  It’s not about buying expensive solutions that just contain more stuff.  It’s about cleaning up what you have and appreciating the purpose of every single thing or getting rid of it.

It’s okay. You can let go of some things.  Let’s do this.

UPDATE:

Done with the office cabinet, now it’s on to my fancy (not really fancy) “library” this weekend.  Hopefully it goes as well!

office

 

Intentions, yo!

Hey ya’ll!  It’s that time of year again.

2016 can suck it, amirite?

While I did get to do a lot of cool things, one thing that did not happen was finding time in 2016 for all my intentions, I am keeping it simple:

2017 is all about ME.

I can already hear you saying “she will never do it” or “there aren’t enough hours in the day” but I am serious.  I put off things too long so the next year will be about getting me, my life, my work, my health and my mind on track for how I want to spend the next 20 years.

Really, isn’t that how we should push our focus?  

Long range planning?  Self-care?  Preparing for where we want to see ourselves?  Why are women so TERRIBLE at moving out of the caregiving role and putting focus where we need to?  Honestly, if you aren’t at 100% there is no way you are a benefit to others.

So opt out.

It’s okay to say no.  It’s okay to do something or go somewhere by yourself.  It’s okay to eat something you want without having to ask permission or share or care what anyone thinks.

You are the boss of you.

SAY IT WITH ME.  A LITTLE LOUDER FOR THOSE IN THE BACK.

Of course, I have had to stop six times while writing this to chase the new puppy who is currently throwing his head back barking at the neighbor he’s never seen because he thinks he is an intruder.  (Funny but also a little embarrassing.)

But I am going to keep at it, keep writing, even when picking up chew toys and stepping in cat puke and…

What was I saying?  HAHAHAHAHA!

 

Meet ‘strami:

strami

Please VOTE Today

I have worked in politics for many years.  I used to say, “Please vote, I don’t care who you vote for, but please just vote.”

This year is a lot different, they advocate policies that could kill my children.

I do want you to just vote but I can’t say I don’t care any more who you vote for.  I have three kids, one who is gay, one who is bisexual and one who is straight.  Legislation in this country is repeatedly being brought up or challenged based on the Right and their anti-equality agenda.  The VP on the Republican ticket literally advocates for conversion therapy.

NOT ON MY WATCH.

There is no way it would be responsible of me to sit back, say nothing, pretend I don’t care.  While I have engaged in a great number of Twitter debates, I have only lurked on DailyKos this cycle because there is only so much hate one person can take.  The amount of Bernie Bros I have had to block calling me an “insider” and “see you next Tuesday” is astonishing.

We do NOT have proportional representation in our legislative body.

You can complain about it.  You can throw your vote to someone who will never get a chance out of principle.  WHATEVER. But there are a number of organizations and lobby groups that could use your new-found enthusiasm to shake things up.  All you do here is to ensure that you don’t get a seat at the table.  Do you really think that Republicans are going to meet with you over your pet project?  They don’t give a SHIT about your project and they WILL look up your voting record before you come to your appointment. (You know that’s public record, right?)

There is a formula for all things, legislative concern is no different.

It’s been a while since I have been to DC, asking questions and knocking on doors.  One thing that was very clear before is that there is power in numbers.  I was told once by an aid that they don’t really pay attention to an issue until they exceed 100-150 inquiries to their office from their constituents.  You feel passionate about a bill coming up regarding shoreline issues in California?  Then get California people to get on the phone, send emails, ask their representative to see your side of said issue.  THEN, when you request an appointment to discuss your organization, they are going to pay closer attention to what you say because their constituents care.

It’s not perfect government, but it’s what we have.

You can be pissed off but the reality is you need Democrats to push progressive bills through.  You will rarely find a Republican sign on to bills deemed “controversial.”  The content of the bill will change more than once in committee and some items removed to appease centrist Republicans.  Does that piss you off?  FINE.  However, this is the system of government we were given. Be realistic.  This is not a dictatorship.  Checks and balances exist so no one person can run over everyone.  How did GWB get away with everything he did?  Because too many progressive people didn’t vote.  We outnumber them.  Start showing up.  If we have “the greatest nation in the world” we should be over a 70% of registered voters showing up to cast a ballot.

You are handing extremists the ability to take over and dismantle Obama’s legacy.

We have all seen the pictures.  The comparisons to a certain period of time in Europe are not just coincidence.  The KKK has endorsed THAT guy.  Your vote for your “principles” is a vote to allow them to take away protections for my children that should be automatic.

Please VOTE.  Please.  Please.

#ImWithHer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always a Little Wonky

This week’s got me like:

krabs meme

When I started trying to narrow down exactly what it was, my head kept correcting me.  I said “WOW, what a week!” and my head went “You mean, what a month, what a year, what a past few years.”

This is exactly why I have self-esteem issues. 

Let’s ignore for a bit that I talk to myself.  Everyone does that, right?  It’s just sometimes, well a lot of times, life in general is freaking overwhelming.  Between school, being a caregiver, being a mom, trying to be an independent person, doing what I have to and trying to find time for something fun, there just isn’t enough time in the day.

There’s not enough time in the day, y’all.

School is chugging along.  I am having to contend with trying to pass and instructors that will not allow even a comma out of place.  When I am say they won’t allow it, I am saying you fail if you have more than four errors.  BIG FAT F.  That stings, I don’t care how old you are.  I know that I don’t/can’t/won’t edit myself but this is a HUGE stumbling block to trying to get out of this Master’s program.  I have three more months.  Say a prayer to the old gods and the new for me…I just need to be done with some bit of dignity left.

I have been writing about Little Monkey a long time.  Every time I go backwards and look at pictures here, I am reduced to a puddle in the floor.  I have said before, the idea that she will be 16 this summer is mind-blowing.  We are making college dream sheets and planning visits and trying to work out the what/how/where.  It is daunting.  The first two were real clear about what they wanted to do and had real decisions made pretty quickly about where that would be but this one, man, this one wants the sun and the moon.

emma louI’m not kidding.

Little Monkey wants to go to an Ivy League school, become a doctor, apply to NASA and become an astronaut.  I blame Interstellar for this.  She watches this movie all the damn time and can’t stop.  She has been obsessed with the stars for as long as I can remember and taking her to Huntsville last year did nothing to help quell that fire.  It’s my job to encourage her, right?  Despite it being a hard road, despite it being complicated, despite it being such a narrow field…I am the MOM, I HAVE to encourage.  She is pretty much a bad ass, so who am I to say that she can’t do something?  The world takes enough from you.  I am looking forward to her punching the world right in the face and saying NOT TODAY WORLD. (If someone can, it will be her.)

My long list of projects continues to grow.  We got all the carpet pulled up but now can’t decide between all hard wood or partial carpet.  It makes my head hurts.  My table is a little too wobbly for the amount that we use it so we are going to build this pedestal, twice, and remedy that.  That means I need new equipment from Kreg but I will figure that out eventually.  Then there is the painting.  The living room, the bedrooms, the bathrooms, the kitchen, outside stuff…

Did I mention I have a headache?

miss kiwiMy sweet old lady dog hasn’t been doing well.  I knew this would happen, it’s just never something you are prepared for, I don’t care how old you are.  In and out of the hospital for weeks, the ladies at Paws and Claws have been fantastic but I am afraid it’s the beginning of a long struggle.  Today she is happy and I am happy for that.

Summer is coming, that’s something to be happy about, right?

My packed calendar tells me I am wrong.  Truthfully, I am always a little wonky.  Being less busy or less worried about things might make it worse.

How do you keep from loosing your mind these days?  Maybe you can lead me by example. Lord knows, I need it!

 

 

 

Working on a Series

Angus and Jack
Angus and Jack said HI

This month my screenwriting course had us work on a variety of episodic and serial writing projects.  This included not only TV, but also a web series, video games and comics.  Having come to this course as a novelist, I never really considered writing on a show.  I am humbled and amazed at the amount of work that has to go into season arcs, episode construction and execution.  When people complain about a show, I will be able to say now with authority “you have no idea what you are talking about.”  It is hella hard.  As a staff writer, you are also taking someone else’s creative property for the most part and executing it the way you are told to do.  Can you craft a story that fits that world? Yes.  Will you be in control of its execution? Rarely.  Like adapting a novel the screen results in hard decisions being made by forces beyond your control, you may put all the work in but have very little say in changes or direction.  Think about that next time you decide to hate Tweet a writer! 🙂

I had to publish a blog post on my mastery journal about what it was like to be a staff writer, if you are interested, you can read that HERE.

Cosplay Corner – Knightmage

When I first had the opportunity to interview Knightmage last year, it was for Almost Nerdy.  I was, and still am, completely in awe of his Spawn project.  I got a chance to catch up with him recently about some super cool stuff he is doing so I took the opportunity to ask about his Predator project.

Predator 1

Mixing cosplay and charity is pretty cool and you have been doing that in different forms for a while.  What made you start this new project?  

In an effort to continue to make the costumes I create more meaningful than just a creative outlet for myself, I’ve decided to start a new charity print campaign. I’m partnering with various photographers, charities and websites and doing location-based photo shoots that coincides with the character as well as choosing a charity that directly or indirectly correlates to the character in some way. The character that is on deck is Predator.

Prints can be purchased from my Storenvy. All photos in the set for one flat price.

The charity that proceeds will benefit is “Noah’s Lost Ark“. Noah’s Lost Ark is a non-profit, charitable 501(c)(3) Exotic Animal Sanctuary, located in Berlin Center, Ohio. A facility that is dedicated to providing a permanent safe haven for unwanted and abused exotic animals. They are a NO-KILL facility that allows these magnificent animals the opportunity to live out the rest of their lives in a safe and caring environment.

Photographer Credits: Black Apple Studios – MJP Photos

Gwendolyn Graham (No Link)

I have made it no secret that Predator is one of my two all time favorite movie monsters.  It hasn’t really mattered which movie it was; I still love it. Predator 3

These pictures are stunning!  Tell me how this came about?  Did you just wake up one day and say, “I’m going to make the Predator?”

I love doing collaborations with other cosplayers. Duo and group cosplays are the best. My friend “Mewpuff Cosplay” wanted to do a Predator duo for Katsucon this year. I was really happy that she chose character that but admittedly I was slightly intimidated on how to put it together. Predator is one those characters that many people who cosplay as it takes very seriously, spending sometimes hundreds if not thousands of dollars creating. Me being a budget builder I wasn’t really sure how I would tackle it. After sitting down and really thinking of how I wanted my version to look, I got work. Predator 4

The helmet looks amazing.  How long did it take?

First, I make it know that have absolutely no qualms about modifying store-bought costumes and items. I found the face mask and helmet online for pretty cheap. Once I got it both the mask and helmet was repainted. I also added more dreadlocks to the mask using a combination of backer rod and mesh tubing. A few people told me that it wouldn’t work but that was precisely why I did it. I wanted it to have a unique look. All in all the mask and helmet was done in a few hours with the entire costume being finished in about 4 days.

Predator 2

What ended up being the most difficult thing about this build?  Was it something different in the end than you anticipated having problems with when you started?

The most difficult part was probably finding the fish nets. I never thought that I would have to shop around for those. It was definitely a first. The second most difficult part was figuring out how to put the fish nets on. All in all this build wasn’t difficult but I’m really happy and proud of how it turned out. Especially because the end cost was only $125. Again, there are some serious Predator cosplayers out there and a few have nitpicked my build to a fault. However it doesn’t get to me at all. It really has become one of my most popular costumes. Even catching the eye of the YouTube channel “AWE” and their show “MAN AT ARMS: Reforged”. They brought me in as their Predator for their Predator wrist blade episode which was an incredible experience. Predator 7

What new stuff do you have coming up? 

I’m always working on new costumes and projects. From creating to con appearances to charity events and now with this charity print set campaign I’m staying busy and trying hard to connect with as many charities as I can.  I always feel like I can be doing more. Unrelated to my cosplay ventures I also just started production of a movie that I’m doing titled “Zone 8”. This is going to be a really cool new take on the found footage concept. You can learn more about it here.

How cool is that?  So go get you some Predator prints and give to Noah’s Lost Ark at the same time!

I Am Out of Hibernation.

I love this LIVING room!

YAYdecor

Do you know that feeling; when you have not been to the gym in a year, and decide to go back? You hop on an elliptical, set it to its maximum uphill climb level, start pedaling at 3.2 mph, then after 4 and a half minutes, get dizzy and vomit? So embarrassed, you pack up your new water bottle and speed walk your ass 3.2 mph right out the front door.

That is how I feel now with this post.

I have been absent like a muther. Conquering this little design world, totally ignoring this part of my business. I have been busy. So busy, that I have let my passion become another thing on the to-do list.

Since I have last posted I have moved into an office, become a national spokesperson, done countless interviews, and have designed the shit out of some amazing spaces in the Chicago area…

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