Friday, May 30, 2014

This Week

1. Michael and I watched a penis documentary on Netflix called 'Unhung Hero.' It was actually really interesting.

2. I'm currently addicted to CNN's Crimes of the Century (also on Netflix).

3. I reconnected with a close college friend and couldn't be more thankful for our friendship.

4. Reading through my November 2012 - February 2013 journal, when I was 21 and finishing my last two quarters of University, to get some perspective.

5. Yesterday, Michael pointed out that there's not enough Blaire photos on my blog, to which I replied, "I don't want to be a crazy cat blogger." Nonetheless, here are some more photos of the Blaire Bear.

 
 

6. Though we said we would lay off sushi for awhile, Michael and I are having our date night at Tamura tonight (It's just so damn good!).

7. Starting next week I'm working 4 ten hour shifts so I can get Fridays off for the summer, whooo! Friday = writing date with my manuscript at the cafe

8. Yesterday during my YA Workshop, we talked about publishing, and I don't know why, but I get so giddy thinking about it (though it'll be awhile until that time comes).

9. Today is Friday and there will be Sun in Seattle this weekend :)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Curry Butternut Squash Soup and Extreme Weight Loss

Starting work on a Tuesday really throws me off. I'm tired, lazy, and can't really seem to function. Though the Monday holiday was worth it, don't get me wrong! I just feel like I have holiday hangover!

Over the weekend Michael and I talked about being healthier (we really do eat out way too much). This week we're off to a great start. Since it was my turn to cook yesterday I made a curry butternut squash soup topped with some greek yogurt paired with roasted rainbow carrots! Obviously, from my enthusiasm, you can tell that I am quite proud of myself! It tasted better than I had hoped!


Yesterday, I also caught the first episode of season 4's Extreme Weight Loss. I love Chris and Heidi Powell, but I have to admit I like the previous seasons better where it focused on just one contestant instead of two. You were able to see their transformation more when Chris lived with the contestant for three months. However, it's understandable that they changed it considering his booming family. Nonetheless, I always enjoy EWL better than the Biggest Loser because it's more inspirational to me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

Photo Cred: Cristine
Last year during Memorial Day Weekend, Michael and I were in California for my sister's wedding. This year, we stayed in Seattle. Michael's parents invited us over for a barbeque Saturday, which is always a pleasure for us. Luckily, it didn't rain and the weather ended up turning out pretty nice.

Sunday, however, was a rainy day for us! Nonetheless Michael and I went to brunch, this week at Cafe Flora! Michael loved his traveler's chai and green tea and ginger waffle. I enjoyed coffee and a scramble!

 
After brunch we did our weekly grocery shopping and cleaned up the entire apartment. Afterwards we rewarded ourselves with some lunch and wine at Bottlehouse.
 



The rest of the weekend we took it easy. I finished proofing the second part of M2 so that It's ready to send to my beta readers and so that I can finally start writing the ending! My YA workshop will be done in two weeks, so I definitely won't have that to use as an excuse for not finishing. Also, almost done with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy. Review to come!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tango


For the past few weeks, Michael and I's date nights have consisted of sushi (we have a problem, we know), but we decided to go back to trying new things. This past friday Michael took me to Tango's near downtown Seattle for Spanish Tapas! It was oh so good, and we'll definitely make a trip back. They have a great menu, excellent service, and a neat ambiance.

Boquerone Toasts

Albondigas

Wild Mushrooms

Calamares

Cana de Oveja

Pastel de Limon
 My favorite plate was the Calamares! Best ones I've had in Seattle so far.

A genuinely happy Michael!
After Tango,  I took Michael to watch Godzilla. He loves anything with big giant monsters so we watched in 3D. Needless to say, he loved it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Putting the Pressure on M2

So for a long while, I didn't want anyone to read M2, until it was fleshed out and nearly there, hoping I could impress my beta readers.

But you know what? I really need help. I need feedback for some guidance. Almost done with my workshop course, I realized that I needed more fresh eyes to spot the gaping holes of my manuscript, and also to put pressure on me to finish the last third of my rewrites.

So I'm letting go of my ego and calling in my beta readers for reinforcement. I just sent them the first third of M2 and I'm kind of holding my breath.

I always perceived writing to be a lonesome endeavor, and it is for the majority part of it, but I realized now that it's a collaborative effort to improve my writing by listening and learning from others. Not to mention it's the support and encouragement from others that keep me going.

Like a writing group where I can discuss whatever I want, which has led to some great writing blogger friends, and a class full of YA enthusiasts who get why I truy love YA so much. Not to mention friends and family, who continue to believe in me, even when I hardly believe in myself.

These are things I should always keep in mind when writing, but rarely do, so as I reminder to myself, I wrote this blog post.

Hopefully with the pressure, I can squeeze a diamond out of M2.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How I feel about my WIP


 This stare probably says it all. Slightly narrowed eyes with an eyebrow arched as I look at my WIP wondering how I fell so in love with it only to become so sick of it...

Okay so not really. This picture was just me goofing off as my boyfriend Michael snapped a picture of me last weekend while we attended his brother-in-law's graduation, but I felt like it was appropriate to my topic: my feelings about my WIP.

It's been awhile since I've written a 'personal' blog post. Lately, I've kinda just posted about my current reads. I'm a binge reader when writing gets tough as you can tell. In a way when I read books I really enjoy and get lost in, it usually inspires me to get writing again having my cause in mind: to get others lost in my story.

However in the past month, I've dropped the ball on M2. Two thirds done of my third draft, but somehow I lost my fuel and I'm stranded on a road, passing the time reading books in hopes that someone will drive by and help with refueling.

I suppose that's what my YA workshop class is for... and I think it's getting me there. Luckily, I have an awesome critique partner who really has an eye for editing and is sharp to spot the little holes in my story. So maybe with all the collective notes from the end of class, it'll be enough to fuel me up to continue the long, long, journey.

Currently though, M2 is like that amazing song I've put on repeat, listening to it over and over, until I know all the words, but the one I eventually get sick of so I change the station on my radio everytime it comes on. In the end I hope with enough space and time, it'll become the song I'm fond of, always bringing me back to a memory relived everytime I hear it.


But for now, Blaire's expression will suffice in conveying my emotions.

I'm also currently a part of an online writer's group where we meet online and discuss 'writing topics' and I conveyed my feelings to them. They had great ideas for me to make it through my hurdle: get lost on a tangent that can lead to another project, just take a break, push yourself, and just words of encouragment that really help.

So, if you are in a similar place as I in your WIP, I hope this post was a somewhat source of comfort to show that you are not alone.

Best of luck to you and your writing endeavors!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Review: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.

 
Overview: Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.


Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?


Review: I really love it when I catch on to a series where I don't have to wait for the next installment! Why, you ask? Because it allows me to binge read in bed all day long! I love lazy reading days. That's what I did on Sunday. I finished the second installement of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

Let me just say, sequels kind of scare me, just because sequels have always been kind of a let down (except the second installment in the Hunger Games, I thought that was the best in the series), but Taylor seriously does not disappoint! I will say that Days of Blood & Starlight is definitely darker, more grim, filled with pain, and man I just f e e l for Karou, you know? You just keep thinking, things can't get any worse, but they do, and you're just clutching this story in your hands holding your breath, just hoping and waiting things will get better.

But of course, they don't.
Which just makes you read on.

Taylor does a good job with tension in her books and the second installment is an excellent example of it. Her talent with characterization is very impressive. Each character is unique and brings something to the story that really makes it come to life.

I don't want to spoil anything, but I rated it 5 out of 5 so just read it, kay? If you love YA fantasy/paranormal with a tragic romance, than this one's for you.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.


Overview: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?


Review: So remember how I said I was reading this book on this week's RTW post? Well, I literally just finished it like 5 minutes ago during my lunch break, and you can bet your hiney that I'm going to buy the second installment of the series after I post this.

First off, the writing was absolutely amazing and the world-building was just fantastic! It sucked me in right away and I was catapulted into this world figuring out my way just like the main character. The narrative structure was also unique. I didn't feel like the flashbacks were flashbacks, but a parallel story-I was entranced by both.

This story definitely takes everything you think you know about myth, lore, love, and hope and just revamps it in a way that suprises you, but you get completely. It's like Romeo and Juliet as angels and demons, but the demons aren't really demons, and the lore is just so refreshing, and oh my gosh, the characters.

It was a grand time reading it, well except when I came to the ending and my jaw just completely dropped (I guess you gotta readi it to get what I mean).

Laini Taylor, you kind of broke my heart.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

RTW: What are you reading right now?


In response to YA Highway's question, I am currently reading Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Just one fourth in, I have a feeling that I'm going to love it. My YA Workshop critique partner suggested the book to me after reading a few chapters of my manuscript. She thought that I would appreciate Taylor's writing style, since it is somewhat similar to my own. Ha! I can only hope I can do as well as Taylor. Her writing is phenomenal! Not to mention her world building!

Can't wait to finish it. Book review to follow!

What are you currently reading? Post your answer on your blog/social media.

Monday, May 12, 2014

My blog is not dead!

I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since my last post, for that I apologize. I just haven't felt quite like myself. Ever go through that? Ever feel like that?

May has been b u s y. It's the busy season at work, which means after I get off I'm pretty much wiped out for the rest of the day. Too wiped out to post, too wiped out to read, and just too wiped out to write.

Which is bad, because May is the start to my YA Workshop classes! A month has gone by without me being remotely involved in my story. I feel a major disconnection, but it's okay. I think I need time away from it and just to get feedback before I dive back in (or at least, that's what I'm telling myself). Overall, this workshop has been quite a different experience compared to my collegiate workshop courses. Still undecided on my opinion of it, though it's interesting to read other people's work; it makes me feel not so alone in my endeavor.

Also, mother's day was yesterday: Cyber love to all the mother's out there! My first time being away from my mother this year :/ so if you're lucky enough to be close to your mom, don't take each day for granted.

The sun is also back in Seattle, so maybe once I soak in some more vitamin D, I'll start feeling like little old California me.

I hope this post cleared up that I am in fact alive, and that my blog is not dead! To make up for my lack of posting, I threw in a Blaire photo. Happy Monday! More posts to come!



Thursday, May 1, 2014

Book Review: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.

Overview: If Naomi had picked tails, she would have won the coin toss. She wouldn’t have had to go back for the yearbook camera, and she wouldn’t have hit her head on the steps. She wouldn’t have woken up in an ambulance with amnesia. She certainly would have remembered her boyfriend, Ace. She might even have remembered why she fell in love with him in the first place. She would understand why her best friend, Will, keeps calling her “Chief.” She’d know about her mom’s new family. She’d know about her dad’s fiancĂ©e. She never would have met James, the boy with the questionable past and the even fuzzier future, who tells her he once wanted to kiss her. She wouldn’t have wanted to kiss him back.

But Naomi picked heads.


Review: This was a reread of one of my high school faves that survived my move to Seattle (I gave away almost about all of my books). Even about 5-6 years later, I still loved this one. I was shocked when I looked it up on Goodreads. How could the rating be 3.71? It was 5 all the way for me.

Here's the thing, you don't know what to expect when you pick up the book. You don't really know how the story's going to turn out. Because of that, I enjoyed it immensely. You get to know this main character as she discovers herself which I found really interesting. Zevin also does an amazing job at characterization and illustrating their flaws. Especially with James. I have to say, he was the pivotal point of the novel for me, even though he was only in one third of the book (Zevin, you should do a book with James as a MC, I'm curious to know how he'd end up).

I didn't agree with the ending, but then again it isn't my story. I still respected the writing and saw the logic of how it came to be. The pacing throughout was excellent. I read it all in one sitting (both times I read it), and I wouldn't mind reading it all over again.