Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Latest from the Write Life


Good morning! I got over eight hours of sleep last night so, combine that with a cup of coffee, and I'm feeling pretty good today. I didn't get much sleep on Monday night which meant that last night I was feeling pretty tired. Since I had a meeting at 9 p.m., I thought I would take a quick power nap - something I've done many times before. Instead, I slept for a few hours, waking up well after the meeting was over, so I went back to bed. At least I'm rested, right? 

As you all know, I've put my latest book endeavor Vanished on the shelf for awhile. This was mainly due to my hectic schedule that began early last year. After I finished The Box, I decided to start Vanished, but hold off on writing it in a dedicated fashion until after a big event I'm helping coordinate is over in May. Well, being a writer means writing calls you, not the other way around, so I've been called back to my storytelling. 

Instead of Vanished, I'm back to working on a series of three books that I already had pretty well sketched out. One of the characters from The Box inspired the idea for the series, and, recently, my mind starting thinking about that series in earnest. I'm back to writing again, and it feels good to be back in the saddle. Depending on how it goes over the next few months, I'll be releasing the details as I progress farther.

Speaking of writing, have you signed up for my newsletter yet? It is soon time to release the second of four newsletter installments of my short story "The Scream". There's still time to get the first installment if you sign up by Friday! The sign-up box is in the right-hand corner of this site.

Last, but not least, have you checked out my Patreon yet? If not, click on the Patreon menu up top for more details. I'm releasing "The Scream" there as well, so this is yet another way to read it!  Get it while it's hot.

Have a great week.

-H.A.



Saturday, January 13, 2018

Dollar Tree Haul

Oh, how I love the Dollar Tree. I'm pretty sure I've said that exact same thing on this blog before, but it's true. You can buy things you need and things you don't need for a mere dollar. I live in a city where there are several DTs, and this makes me happy. Some locations have different items than others, and since many of their products are a one-time deal, it's always good to go check out other DTs when possible. After the holidays, I headed to another location instead of my local DT, and here's what I scored.




Oh. Em. Gee. I love thin mints, and I love orange creme, so when I saw these babies I grabbed the box and read the label. They are accidentally vegan so into my cart they went. Let me say, these are delicious. (As you can see, I didn't even wait to open them.)




This is one of those items that must not have been selling very well, so it ended up at the DT. Since I talked about doing more exercise at home when getting out isn't possible, I figured I would grab this. Besides, I can't lose for $1.00.




I found these microfiber facial pads, and since I get sample-sized face cleaners from Ipsy often, I figured these would be great to use with them. They are! I really like my new face routine in the shower. It's quick, easy, and really helps deep-clean my skin. The other item is silicone wine caps. Most of the time, getting a cork back into an opened bottle of wine is tricky. Well, not this time! 




Here's a better view of what they look like. Just pop this on your wine bottle when you're done, and it will help keep your wine fresh until the next time you imbibe.




This was a fun find that got me excited. They had about 4 or 5 different varieties of product sets, sold individually. This one is Lemon Verbena & Mint, and I purchased the bath soap, facial wipes, body cream, and body oil. They also had a hand soap and a bath salts for each type, but I decided against those.




I also bought the Lavender & Chamomile set. Here you see the facial wipes and body oil.




Here is the bath soap and body cream. I might give one set away as a gift, but I might keep it...who knows? 




The last two items I grabbed were some lens cleander spray with wiping cloth; and coconut lip balm. I recently fell in love with lens cleaner - especially if it has the cleaning cloth. It cleans glasses so well, and since I wear them every day, keeping them clean is a necessity. The lip balm is always a good purchase, particularly in the winter when skin is dry from the air. I put one in my car as I ran out of the one I always keep in my glove box.

And there you have it: my latest Dollar Tree haul. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of what a few dollars can get you. Have a great weekend my friends.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Holiday Indulgences


The holidays got me, they truly did. As I sit here, a few weeks removed from the tidal wave that was Thanksgiving and Christmas, I have to admit something: I gained back a few pounds. It's so frustrating when you're working on getting healthier and staying on track and you let something like the holidays derail you. 

Now, I didn't gain back a ton of weight, but it's enough to make me feel like I've failed. I worked so hard to lose the weight I did, and here I am backsliding. I can, once again, feel myself slipping back into those bad habits that gained me the weight the first time around. 

The Teen and I joined a gym right after Christmas, but since my husband now works a part-time job most evenings, I don't have access to a vehicle but a couple of days a week. Also, with the weather now cold and icky, walking to work is not an option. So, not only am I slipping back into bad food habits, but I'm not exercising anymore. And I can feel it. All of it.

So, I'm going to take control of the situation before it escalates, and here's my plan:

1. Go to the gym when I can.
2. Quit doing the food cheats.
3. Get back into healthy snacking.
4. Do exercise videos at home when that's my only option.

It's like I talked about when I first got back on the wagon: I can either sit around and cry about it, or I can do something about it. I'm going to choose the latter. I'll keep you updated on my progress. I'm going to achieve my ultimate goal one way or another! How do you stay on track? I'd love to know, so leave me a comment.



Monday, January 8, 2018

Ipsy's November Glam Bag


I've had a few requests recently, asking if I could start doing the monthly Glam Bags again, so I'm obliging. Now, I'm not saying I'll do these every month like I used to, but I might. I kinda missed doing these. At any rate, let's check out November's Glam Bag! Here's the monthly card that tells subscribers about the theme, along with the five items I received.




#1: Colourpop Ultra Satin Lip in Calypso

This is one of those liquid lipcolors that dries into a matte. I tried it once, but I get so many of the same color type from ipsy (which truthfully isn't my favorite color to use) that I don't use them much.




#2: Skyn Iceland's Berry Lip Fix with Wintered Red Algae

This is a lip balm that smells like berry but tingles on the lips. I put this on every morning after I've put on my makeup, especially now that Winter is in full swing and everything on my body is DRY!





#3: Tarte's Deluxe Amazonian Clay in Quirky

This is a beautiful blush that goes on cleanly. I use this one quite a bit, and what a pretty design!




#4: Crown Brush's C141 Small Chisel Brush

I use this brush to apply the above blush. Very nice.




#5: Naked Cosmetics Mica-Loose Powder in Mother Nature #6

I received another loose powder from Naked before, but that one is a light, bright color. This one is in a dark purple with greenish highlights. I used this one night when I was going out by dabbing it on my final eyelid color. It would neat mixed into some gloss for the lips as well.

So, there you have it! Another ipsy from me. I didn't get a chance to post this this past weekend as we went out of town to visit family. I'll be posting again in a few days so I can get back on schedule! Until then, have a great week.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What We Leave Behind



A new year is once again upon us, and, like many people, I'm contemplating the year that was. It was a good year, possibly one of my best, even if it did have its share of dark clouds.

  • I turned forty-five right before 2017 began, and so began another Five Year Shift
  • I got more intimately involved with an organization I feel strongly about, as well as becoming a founding member of another organization that I have high hopes for. 
  • I traveled by taking a wonderful family vacation to the mountains, as well as a couple of weekend getaways. 
  • I explored the numerous places of beauty and wonder that make my home an amazing place.
  • I spent quality time with the people I care most about.
  • I finished & published my book The Box.
  • I lived life with more purpose, meaning, and adventure.

While I enjoyed every bit of these things, it's the first and last ones that resonate with me the most. I really feel that 2017 was the year when my life finally hit its stride. Never in my whole life have I felt more confident, engaged, unafraid, mindful, independent, and sure of myself than I have this past year. My 25-year-old self would be in awe of who I've become. I've truly come unto myself. I'm doing things that I would have never imagined myself doing, let alone imagined that they would have been possible. I still march to the beat of my own drummer, but I'm in charge of my own life and my own destiny. It's been a wonderful year in plenty of ways.

That's not to say that 2017 was all sunshine and roses. It was also filled with some of the hardest moments I've ever had to face. Personal struggles within myself and with someone very close to me cast a long shadow over me. The loss of a friend to suicide and my best friend's dad to heart issues hit me hard. Watching my oldest child make poor choices as he navigates the world of being somewhere between a kid and an adult have made my heart heavy. My ebook publisher, Pronoun, shut down. It's been a tough year in plenty of ways as well.

But, as C.S. Lewis said, "There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind." And he's right. There is a newness about the dawn of another year that gives a sense of hope, and a promise that this year will be better than the last. While I'm smart enough to know that there will still be the occasional dark cloud, I'm wise enough to understand that I can expand upon the greatness of last year as I look forward to 2018.

I'm optimistic, and I hope you are too.