Saturday, February 27, 2016

Spring




It is definitely feeling like Spring outside. It's a sunny Saturday, the temperature is in the mid-60s, and the air smells fresh. I love Spring and the feeling of newness it brings with it. Indeed, Spring has been the harbringer of renewal for time immemorium. Not only does it herald the end of Winter and bring the weather necessary for the crops of the summer, it also brings with it an emotional sense of renewal. Those who have been cooped up all Winter are more than ready to let in some fresh air, get outside once more for play, and feel the warm rays of sun on their face. 

I know for me, this really is a time of renewal. Last year was quite the year, filled with good and bad of varying degrees, and when this year dawned, it was with the promise of a new beginning. Now that the air is fresher, the weather warmer, and Spring is on the horizon, I am beginning to feel renewed. 

I'm ready to embrace my future anew and go forward bigger and better. I'm excited about the prospect of my writing career and how it knows no boundaries. I'm also fortunate in that I have complete and total creative control over every aspect of my work. It's a great feeling and fills me with a renewed sense of vigor. After this long winter where I went through so much, worked so many extra hours, and waited through the cold, bitter wind, I'm ready for everything.

I've given up editorial writing for the local magazine, and I'm done doing peer book reviews for awhile as well. There might be an end in sight to all the extra hours at work, so I'm ready to get The Box finished and start working towards a full-time writing career doing many freelance works that keep me in charge of my own destiny.

It's a gorgeous day, and I hope you're out there (or will be soon) enjoying it to the fullest. Embrace the Sun today my friends.

-H.A.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Miso-Sauteed Green Beans


The other night, I made this killer meal (vegan of course). I made Miyoko Schinner's Unchicken which I smothered in mushroom gravy, bbq cauliflower, and some miso-sauteed green beans. The whole meal was delicious, but those green beans were my favorite. I came up with the idea after eating some miso-fried brussel sprouts at a restaurant one night. This side couldn't be any more simple or delicious.


Miso-Sauteed Green Beans

12 oz pkg of fresh green beans
1 T cooking oil (I used canola)
2 T miso paste
1 T soy sauce

1. Rinse the green beans and steam them for about 7-10 minutes, until slightly tender.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the oil and the miso. Heat up the mixture on medium-high heat for under a minute.
3. Add the green beans and toss well. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until the green beans soften up a bit more and everything is well-heated through. Keep an eye on the pan and toss often.
4. Turn off the heat and add the soy sauce, tossing to coat.
5. Enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Weekend Getaway

This past weekend was the first weekend in a few months where I didn't work any overtime hours at all. My husband had a scheduled PTO weekend as well, so we decided back in January to secure a cabin for this past weekend. Between all the hours worked and not seeing the kids as much as we'd like (or each other) we had a fantastic time out in the woods. We relaxed, made a big meal, hiked, played lots of games, and plenty of fire was involved. It was a great weekend, where I didn't work in any capacity, and I feel like my batteries have been reset.



We got a cabin with a fireplace and ordered plenty of wood. The first night, we had a heck of time getting a bonfire going (we didn't have any flammable liquid and the wind was too strong) so we decided we should just stick with a fire in the fireplace. 




Besides UNO, Skipbo, and Phase 10, we played Magic the Gathering: Arena of the Planeswalkers. The nerd in us loved it, and we played it a few times. I lost...very badly. :)




So, everytime I try to take a picture of the moon when I'm outside, this is what it usually looks like. The moon did look fantastic this night, so I decided to post my picture of it anyway.




On the second day, we went into the nearest town to get a couple of items, including lighter fluid. Nothing was stopping us from making a big bonfire before we left! Besides, I brought s'mores things.




We got this huge ball when we were in town, and we all had fun throwing it around...outside and inside. 




Because you can never have enough fire when you're out at a cabin, I brought plenty of candles.




So that was my weekend, and it was awesome. I feel pretty renewed and have some great ideas going forward with my writing. I've given up a few other things in my life and so my main focus now will be on my author career. Have a great day, and watch for another teaser coming soon from The Box!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ipsy's February Glam Bag

My February Ipsy bag arrived yesterday! Those of you who keep up with my website know what Ipsy is, but for those of you who don't, no worries. Just read on. I started using my glam bags to organize my big purse, so now it's filled with a few cute Ipsy bags. :)





The bag itself. Cute for Valentine's month!





All of the contents.





First is Seraphine Cosmetics Carrot + Rose hydrating cream. 






Jersey Shore Spa's Anti Anging Lip & Hand Polish. This cream is exfoliating and good for the lips and hands. Can't wait to try this one out!





naked cosmetics Sierra Nevada mica pigment.  Mine is #02 which is champagne/shimmering nude and is multi-use. This means it can be used for eyes, face, lips, nails, and just about anywhere else one can think of. 





I really should've taken this out of the box first! It's a rose-colored fingernail polish.






Last, but not least, is smashbox's Photo Finish Primer Oil. You rub this into your skin before putting on your makeup. I have some creme primer and it's a good way to make your skin ready for makeup, much like using eyeshadow primer which is usu religiously.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Thrifty Buys

I'm a thrifty person by nature. Unless it's a major purchase that I want a long life of good quality out of, I don't want to spend a lot of money on things. I love going to thrift stores and checking out clearance items at other stores. Here are some of the recent items I've purchased in a thrifty manner.




Look at this scarf! I'm into vintage items, so when I saw this scarf at a local thrift store for $1.99, I knew I had to have it. While it isn't vintage, it has a vintage look to it and I love it.




I admit it, I have a thing for scarves, and to that end I have many. I was at Target recently where I was looking for a darker scarf to wear with a certain jacket I own. I found this one in their clearance section for $7.49. It's the perfect length and goes perfectly with said jacket.




I love accessories in general (who doesn't?!), and am pretty much over what bracelets I do have. I decided I needed some new ones and I found all of these in a set in their clearance section as well. A steal at only $3.88!




I had to make a stop at Walgreens for some medicine, and, like I always do, stopped to peruse the makeup section. I have a eyeshadow kit that includes a primer and a white, sparkly highlighter that I really love to wear for when I go out. I found a tube of it for around $9, but didn't really want to spend that much. I left the makeup aisle, turned the corner, and there, on an endcap at the back of the store, were a whole bunch of $0.49 items. Yes, that's right, 49 cents! I found this tube of the white, sparkly highlighter thereby saving myself $8.50.




I also picked up this package of two nail files in the 49 cent area of Walgreens. You can never have enough nail files, and at those prices, why not?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day



Happy Valentine's Day! I know for some people this means roses, chocolate candies, red stuffed animals holding hearts that say "I love you," and romance. For a few others, it just might involve candles and hot tubs, but I digress. I've never been big into Valentine's Day, and I eschew the traditional gifts that I've mentioned because I find the whole thing to be cheesy. lol Sorry, but this lady would prefer a beer, some alone time with her man, and some peace and quiet. That, to me, would be the ultimate way to celebrate a holiday centered around love. 

However you like to celebrate this day, I hope you get what you expected, or least got something nice, from the person you like most. For all you single people, don't let a holiday centered around love get you down. There are plenty of ways that you can celebrate this day...it's Sunday after all. Sleep in, drink coffee in bed, and hang out in your pajamas all day eating junk food. It's what I would do.

Have a great one! I'll be back to my regular antics this week.

-H.A.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Fun Monday

With all the hours I've been working lately, I've barely seen my children, and I've missed them. Yesterday, since Mondays are my days off, I decided to give my daughter a 'mental health day' off from school and have a mother-daughter day. We went out for breakfast, made a stop at the drugstore for a few items, prepared her valentines for her Valentine's Day party at school, and then we took a trip out to the Strategic Air and Space Museum. They had a science exhibit, and since it was Monday, we were only a few in a handful of people that were there. My daughter loves science, and as we began walking towards the building, she grabbed my hand and said, "C'mon mom! Science is waiting!" It was a perfect day.




This was a great snapshot I took on the way back home. The black and white contrasts of Winter sometimes are really appealing.




The big plane that sits near the road by the SASM.




A view of the glass-paned walls of the museum. It's an impressive sight from the lobby and is 'watched over' by a massive fighter plane that you cannot fit into one shot.




Hangar B of the museum. As you can see, it's very large as it holds many planes, satellites, cockpits, and various other interesting items. There is a Hangar A as well.




In the science exhibit, they had many different stations and the theme was how art can help us understand math and science. Here are some origami pieces that my daughter and I tried our hand at. It was fun, even if they were hard to make.




This station was a fun water projection on a screen. You would stand there and the projection sensed your movements and acted accordingly. It was my daughter's favorite thing.




Jelly Bean Universe. Using jelly beans, this aims to show how the universe is 95% dark matter. The colored jelly beans show the other 5%.




Saturday, February 6, 2016

Favorite Things - #1

Ever since December, I've been a very busy lady. I've been working a lot of overtime (that's the norm for everyone who works where I do, so kudos to all of us!), doing freelance writing, active in peer reviews, and writing my fourth book. With all this busy work, whatever time I have had left in my days has been spent taking care of things around the house, and spending time with my family. 

I decided to give up the monthly editorial I've been doing for over two years, as well as taking an extended break from the peer reviews. I need to focus on my household and my books for now as I'm eyeing freelancing as a real possibility. 

I know my postings here have been a bit more scattered, and those are the reasons why. Anyway, I still have plenty of things to share, and here is a new series I'm starting called "Favorite Things."










I admit it, I tend to do my nails on the fly. It's just the way it goes. For that reason, I always try and find nail polishes that don't need a lot of coats, and that dry quickly...a tall order I know! I was in the drugstore the other day, perusing the makeup aisle, when I ran across some Sally Hansen polish I had never seen before: Insta-Dri. It claims to dry in 60 seconds, and I was instantly intrigued, so I grabbed two of the colors: Cinna-snap, and Navy Fleet. Navy Fleet was put on that evening, and I have to tell you...this stuff is amazing! 

Last night, I put on the Cinna-snap, and as you can see from the photo, that was one coat. So score one for Insta-Dri as you only need one coat (Navy Fleet was just as perfect). Now, maybe if you held your hands under a fan would the polish completely dry in 60 seconds, but as it stands, I had to wait about 5 minutes. Still, 5 minutes is nothing in nail polish land and it works perfect for people doing their nails on the fly like me. 

Final verdict? This stuff is great and I recommend it. I'm definitely going to grab some more colors of these! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Station has been Revised!




After reading some recent reviews of "The Station", I knew it would be beneficial to go back over the entire book and change a couple of minor things as well as fixing any grammar things I missed the first time around. I also uploaded it to a different writing system in hopes that when I converted the book to html that it would look better. Converting from Word to html can look like crap more often than not. 

Anyway, I finally got it done and I uploaded the improved version to Kindle yesterday! So, go out and grab a copy of it here. Only $2.99, or borrow free with Kindle Unlimited. Better get it read now before "The Box" comes out.