Challenge Accepted | 100 Happy Days

happy memories

I’m a curious girl by nature, which accentuates my nerdy tendencies quite nicely. Don’t you think?

You see, when I see someone else talk (or post) about something I’m new to, I naturally have to check it out immediately. So a few weeks ago when I saw this post on A Beautiful Mess, I had to find out more about this ’100 happy days’ challenge. I mean, don’t we all want to be happy?!

So what is the ’100 happy days’ challenge?

Besides the fact that 100 consecutive days of being happy is just freakin’ awesome? It’s a way to document all the awesome little things in our every day lives that are something to be happy about. Because let’s face it, we often get caught up in the chaos of everyday life and forget to enjoy those moments. I’m definitely guilty of that!

And when I came to that realization, you know I signed up as fast as my fingers could type.

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Such A Bad Book Nerd

bad book nerd...read this!

Go ahead and smack me on the hand. I deserve it!

I’ve been a very bad book nerd lately. Not only can I count the number of books I read in 2013 on one hand (totally hanging my head in shame right now), but I apparently let my library card expire. I didn’t even know that could happen, but when I called about my account after seeing something weird when I made an online reservation for a few books I was informed that they now have to be renewed every 3 years. Has it really been over 3 years since I stepped foot in a library?! This has definitely got to be fixed in 2014!

I wasn’t always the book nerd that you see before you. In fact, I used to kick and scream when I was forced to read a book. But things changed my senior year of high school when I was finally allowed a bit of freedom in choosing books to read. All it took was Charlotte Brontë and Jane Eyre to get me hooked, and from there I found many other books that now make me want to curl up on a rainy day & get lost in a good story.

I’m done proofreading my dad’s next book so now I have a bit more freedom in my reading choices, with no deadline hanging over me. Well, sort of. There are actually two online book clubs reading some books that piqued my interest: A Beautiful Mess and Geekocracy. I just picked up the second book from the library yesterday, so I have some nice book-filled lunches in my future this month.

Two books in April, alone? That’s almost half my book quota for 2013!

My second favorite book I’ve ever read is Pride and Prejudice. In fact, I usually read Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice once a year because I love those stories so much. So when I read that ABM was choosing Longbourn for April, that was a name that was very dear to my heart. I feel so close to the residents of Longbourn, so being the nosy girl that I am I have to know more of the story.

But Geekocracy‘s choice of John Dies At The End seems like an odd choice for a girl that dreams of living in Austen’s books, don’t you think? Well, to be honest, I’m a bit of an eclectic with my reading preferences. About the only genre that I just can’t get into are romance books. You know, with those covers of Fabio & scantily clad women.

But enough about something I won’t be reading. Last year Josh and I saw the movie John Dies At The End on Netflix, which was an enjoyable movie. I’m the kind of book nerd that would much rather watch the movie prior to reading the book. I have yet to see a movie that was better than the book it was based on, so why disappoint yourself with the movie version that you would enjoy otherwise? After watching the movie, I was very intrigued what random things from the book were left out. And I’ve been wanting to join the Geekocracy crew with Literally Geeky for months, so here’s my chance!

Now that I have both books in my possession, guess it’s time to grab my favorite bookmark and reading glasses. Yep, I’m getting old. Because there should be no such thing as reading or gaming too much, right?

What book(s) are on your reading list this month?

Do you have a favorite book that you re-read frequently? What is it?

Blogging Makes Me Better | Writing

BloggingGoodness that title makes me sound a little full of myself, doesn’t it? Of course my amazing friend Amanda, who had to figuratively slap me back to reality a time or two (…or more), could probably share some of our daily chats to prove it couldn’t be further from the truth. And it’s because of one of those virtual smacks that I got to thinking, this whole strange blogging journey from the last few years has really changed me…for the better!

Do you dream of becoming a full-time blogger but think your writing skills aren’t up to snuff?

I will be the first to say that I was in those very shoes not long ago. Growing up a math nerd who would rather work a difficult calculus problem than be given a writing prompt, the last thing I wanted to become was a writer. In fact, it took months (or maybe years) after my first blog post before I would call myself a writer. I just couldn’t accept the fact that a girl who was happy with C’s, but celebrated B’s, in English class would ever be good enough to be considered a writer.

And when I created my first blog, which is now lost somewhere in the blogosphere, it wasn’t focused on writing at all. I didn’t care how horribly written the posts were because it was all about my crafting experiences. And we all know that people would rather see pretty pictures of crafts instead of read about them. Especially if the author is horrible at descriptive writing…*shudder* I still have nightmares about that assignment in high school.

So what changed?

I can tell you that I didn’t wake up one day and instantly be a writing genius, but I did have one trick up my sleeve.

Practice makes perfect.

As much as I hate to admit it, there is so much truth to that statement. I didn’t stay up late at night studying. I didn’t meet with a writing coach. I just got behind my keyboard (or grabbed the closest notebook) and wrote. And when I wasn’t writing, I was reading other blogs.

I’m no pro at blogging (although I dream of one day becoming one), so take my tips with a grain of salt. But I will say that I’ve improved leaps and bounds from where I began. We can all learn from others, so here are a few of my tips on improving your writing:

  • Write a little every day. You can work on blog posts or just write in your own personal journal, but whatever you do make sure you write a little every single day. Not only will this help you develop your own writing voice, but you will now have something to compare your future writings with and see how far you’ve come.
  • Read. It might surprise you, but reading can do wonders for your writing. Now blog writing can be very different than book writing, so make sure that you are reading in formats that you want to improve on.
  • Pre-plan your posts. If you want to make sure that you share the best posts you can write, planning is key. Jot down notes. Outline. Mind map. Whatever method works best for you, do it! Not only will it help keep your posts on point, but it could save you some precious time when you actually sit down to type.
  • Sit, then edit. If you are going to edit your own writing, make sure you take a few hours/days break before doing so. We know what we mean to say, so sometimes we can look at something that is pretty much nonsense and process it as what we actually meant to say. I’ve seen it numerous times as I proofread my dad’s books.

Being the perfectionist that I am, I still have a long way to go before I will be completely happy with my writing. But practicing these tips each time I work on a post is helping me get one step closer with every word.

Moral of the story?

Even math nerds can write, with a little practice.

If you dream of becoming a blogger but feel you lack the skills, then practice! Heck, it’s true for just about anything you dream of being or doing. We live in a time where a degree isn’t always required for that dream job, if you take the time to practice.

What’s on your list of things to start practicing?

How has blogging made you better?

Web Wonders | While I Was Away

web wonders

I bet you are curious what I’ve been doing while I was away. It’s only natural, nosy neighbor (I kid!). I find myself doing the same thing when one of my favorite bloggers or friends has disappeared from the internet for a few days/weeks (or in my case, months). Well, let’s see. I’ve been slaving away at the zombie job, fighting sickness, daydreaming about new careers, playing video games and my usual browsing of the web.

And while I don’t have any groundbreaking news to share with you about my break, I have found quite a few interesting things during my reading and searches.

  • A fairly new dream of mine is to become a partnered/sponsored live streamer on TwitchTV. Who wouldn’t love to get paid to play video games with their friends?! It’s almost as great as my other dream career of being a professional puppy snuggler. But if you learn anything about putting yourself out there online, it’s that you must have a thick skin because the trolls are out there. It’s easier for some people than others, but here are a few tips to help you learn to not care what others think.
  • I’m not the most fashionable of nerds, but I’ve become extremely interested in discovering what my personal style is. It’s been a bit like a college student in the past, but I’m interested in shedding the hoodies and jeans for something a little more fun…without breaking our already broken bank account. If you are looking at sprucing up your wardrobe without breaking the bank, check out these tips!
  • We’ve been in the process of a room switcharoo the past few weeks. What was my crafting oasis is now the office, and vice versa. You know what that means? New ideas for decor and organization! Two of my favorites? This and that.
  • I’m a tiny bit addicted to making ‘to do’ lists. And maybe even more addicted finding apps, planners and sites to help me do that. In one of my latest searches, I came across the perfect one for gamers that turns your ‘to list’ into a questing adventure: Habit RPG.

And now it’s your turn!

What have you been up to while I was away?

What has been your favorite web wonder this week?

My Crafty Mess | Hats in Progress

messy wip
If I had to pick a single type of project that I’m most addicted to, which picking just one for me is incredibly difficult, I would have to vote for hats. And with so many different styles, colors, or stitch patterns to choose from, I never get tired of whipping a new one up. I guess it’s a good thing that I have so many hat addicts in my life, otherwise I would have too many hats. Wait, is there such a thing as too many hats?

Hats in Progress?

With the sudden interest in live streaming by pretty much everyone in our gaming crew, there has also been an equal amount of interest in fun hats. I have a few I want to make myself (goodness, I really need to work on paring down that queue), like this Gir beanie. So it should be no surprise that my current project on the hooks is a crochet knight hat for my gaming buddy Veskah. You know what I’m talking about, right? I’m sure you’ve seen many variations of these on Etsy or your Facebook feed. 

Even better, I’m testing my design skills with this project.I’m still in the early stages with this project, and often find myself battling my perfectionist tendencies when it comes to the design while I work process.

With all this hat talk, I bet you want to see what all I’ve got done, so here you go:

mullet + facepiece

Please tell me I’m not the only one giggling while looking at that mess. Anyone else see a mullet hat next to that mess of tangled blue & black skeins? I promise you that it will look way cooler when I’m done! And then I hope to have a very happy, goofy giant friend who is ready to stream in style.

Tell me about your favorite ‘fun’ hat.

What projects are you currently working on?

Want to watch us in action? Until I get my streaming setup complete, you can find our gaming crew streaming here. And occassionally I make random appearances on Veskah‘s & Freak4Geek‘s channels, too!