Category: NaBloPoMo

Inspiration: A Dance with Dragons Quote

George R. R. Martin A Dance with Dragons Quote

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” -George R. R. Martin

I was catching up on some reading last night after I posted yesterday. I am about 45% through A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book in The Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin. I suppose it’s good I’m doing NaBloPoMo while reading that book because I can hold on to the book longer. Fellow readers can likely understand what I mean by that. Books are more than just books. We become attached to the characters and the places we read about, and sometimes it’s difficult to let them go when we are finished with the last page.

Last night, I came across a quote in A Dance with Dragons that the character Jojen said. It’s a popular quote judging by the little Kindle notation that told me 9597 highlighters had highlighted it (is that number accurate? I always wondered about that). It struck a chord with me because I feel like when I read a book, it is kind of like being someone else. What’s going on isn’t real, but you are transported to different times and places, living inside other people, knowing their thoughts, dreams, fears, and secrets. You follow them in their paths until it is time to say goodbye.

The story ends, and you find a new life in a different book to share temporarily with new characters.

Is there one book that you were really bummed to finish? What was it? Mine was the Taj Trilogy: Shadow Princess, A Feast of Roses, and The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan. Comment below!

 

Thai Nam Tok Beef

Thai Nam Tok Beef Recipe or Waterfall Beef

Wyoming. The home of vast ranches, robust longhorn cattle, the Big Horn Mountains, and really amazing Thai food. Wait…what? Thai food?

Yes, Thai food. I admit I don’t know that there is an abundance of Thai eateries out there on the range, but sometimes when traveling, you just stumble on something completely unexpected.

When my mom and I took a trip out to Washington in September, we had planned to spend a couple of days in Cheyenne, Wyoming. We have driven through the northern part of the state a few times before, but we wanted to see what the southern route held for us. The evening we made our way into town, we hurriedly checked into our hotel and began searching on our smartphones for a well-loved local gem. We settled on a Thai restaurant called Anong’s.

Trying international cuisine is a roll of the dice sometimes. I feel like a lot of places try to tone down flavors because the establishment thinks that’s what the local citizens want. I need a full flavored, make-my-tongue-dance experience! Take me on a tour of your country through my taste buds! Don’t dull my food please. I can get dull food at a Taco John’s or China Buffet.

A dancing tongue dish at Anong’s is Thai Nam Tok Beef. I cannot describe how mouthwatering this beef was! I must say, in Wyoming, they know how to cook their meat! It’s perfectly charred on the outside, tender and juicy inside. Nam Tok is sliced beef in a lime and chili pepper mixture and topped with red onion, cilantro, and scallions. Anong’s served it atop a few salad greens.

It’s just too…YUM! So, I decided to try it at home! Read more »

Fantasy Wardrobe Friday: Fall Classy Plaid

 

FWF Classy Plaid Fall Coat

I decided I wanted to start a new regular segment on my blog by utilizing Polyvore. I call this “Fantasy Wardrobe Friday.” Basically, it’s a collage of pieces I wish I had in my closet, hence the words fantasy wardrobe. What woman doesn’t dream of more clothes in her closet?

Polyvore is a stylists dream. A fashion lover can go to the site, create an account, and choose from millions of items from thousands of designers to create a style board. If you see a clothing online that you want to see in a collage, you can also use the “Clip to Polyvore” button for your browser. It’s just a fun thing to play with. I admit, this is a bit of a sorry looking collage. Honestly, I haven’t worked much with Polyvore, so this is new to me! This will not be the regular format. I’m still in the experimentation stage. The products are linked using the ShopSense publisher website. The site creates affiliate links and widgets that bloggers can use for their websites. I am playing around with using that as well.

Anyway, about the clothes…I was going to a Fall outdoors look that was classy and edgy at the same time. The coat is a classic, larger scale, black and cream plaid. I thought the red lambswool scarf was a nice pop of color since I stayed with mainly black or gray in the accessories and pants. The black booties aren’t likely the most practical for chilly weather, but since this is a fantasy wardrobe, it doesn’t matter, right?

 

Admittedly, this is another short post because I have been trying to get a recipe post together. Those take more time for me to plan and compose. Yesterday I got groceries and planned out the execution of the dish. Since I can’t physically take the photos or cook the food, I direct everything step by step. I got that done last night as well! All the photos need to be edited and the content written now!

Reese’s In A Jar?!

Reese's Peanut Butter and Chocolate Spread

The things food companies come up with! Reese’s wanted to go beyond their classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups once again, and have tried to make the candy into a spread.

I haven’t tried this. I probably won’t. From what I have read, the texture of this spread is gritty like their signature peanut butter inside the cups. Reese’s used to be my favorite candy bar. Since I was a little kid, I loved the combo of the chocolate and peanut butter, I didn’t mind the grittiness and slightly salty flavor. That’s what made them special. They were so yummy…

Years later though, they aren’t the same. Many foods taste different than they used to. I blame it on using more additives and cheaper ingredients. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are pretty much dead to me now. The peanut butter is grittier, the salt overwhelms the sweet, and the chocolate…uh, you call that chocolate?

Reese’s Pieces and Reese’s Sticks are better than the cups. Even the cereal is better.

Maybe if they made this spread with smooth peanut butter, I would try it. Until then, I will stick to Nutella.

 

Image Credit: Popsugar

Inspiration: Winston Churchill Said…

If you are going through hell, keep going. -Winston Churchill

“When you are going through hell, keep going.” -Winston Churchill

This is a quote I saw the other day, and I felt it gives some good advice. No matter what hell a person may be going through at a point in his or her life, just keep going. That is the only way to reach the light on the other side. We have all been there.

I thought I’d make this a short post today. I am not saying blogging daily for NaBloPoMo is going through hell, in fact it’s far from it! But some days, short posts are appropriate.

Share and enjoy!

10 Questions: Game of Thrones Meme

Game of Thrones Meme

I am obsessed with Game of Thrones. I love it. It’s the best thing since sliced bread and then some. I’m not just talking about the show either, the books are just as addicting to me if not more.

The fantasy genre has never really been something I was crazy about. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great fantasy movies and books out there, but I have never felt strongly compelled to give them attention. I tried watching Lord of the Rings and it really bored me. I have seen a few of the Harry Potter movies, but didn’t get into them much either. I didn’t even try with that book series.

Usually when there is a book or movie that is given a massive load of hype, I run the other way. I ran screaming from Twilight like no other (not literally)!

Game of Thrones has me though. Perhaps it’s because it’s very medieval, and I enjoy historical settings and costume. GoT isn’t history, it’s in a fictional land with a certain amount of magic and fantasy woven into a good mix of drama, action, wit, and intrigue. George R. R. Martin just had a great formula when he began the book series. It keeps the reader wanting more.

I started watching the show in order to see and understand why it was all the rage. I hadn’t read the books, and I had just watched the Tudor series on Netflix and was looking for a new show to watch. When I saw the first episode, I had been a bit leery. There was a beheading in the first half (ewww…), and I think I remember the whitewalkers (aka zombies) being in the first episode too. If you know me, you understand my hatred of zombies! Regardless, I decided to continue on.

Once I got caught up with the show, I asked myself if I wanted to delve into the books. I waited until the last season was done airing, and this August decided to crack open A Song of Ice and Fire. Now it is November and I am one fourth into A Dance With Dragons which is the fifth book. I think I might be a little lost when I am done reading it! I will have to wait until the next installment comes out before I can continue.

I thought today I would answer some GoT questions as a blog prompt or meme. If you are a follower of the show or book series, feel free to answer these questions yourself as a blog post, and put a link to your answers in the comments below!

Game of Thrones Questions

Who is your favorite GoT character?

Tyrion. His wit makes the show! Sometimes you want him to shut up so he might save his own ass from getting into yet another predicament, but he figures everyone is out to get him anyway, so why not be a smartass?

Which GoT character would you choose to be and why?

Daenerys Targaryen. I am sure that is a common choice! Although her life hasn’t been without struggle, she’s coming out on top as she gets older. She is smart, gol oriented, kind, but not one to be messed with. She is also a pretty fair ruler. This bites her in the ass sometimes, but she learns from her mistakes and proceeds with caution.

Who is your least favotite GoT character?

It’s really a tie between Joffrey, Cersei, and Tywin. The more I read of Cersei in the books however, she is the worst. I have a feeling she will get her punishment in the end.

If you had to travel across Westeros with a companion or two, who would it be? Keep in mind, there may be danger along the Kingsroad!

Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly. Weird choice, I know. I think when on a trip across Westeros, it would be good to have a strong swordsman, and someone who is really intelligent to help keep the group on track and know other useful information. Plus, between the two I am sure they have plenty of stories to pass the time!

What weapon would you choose to wield in GoT?

Either a sword like Needle if it had to be an actual piece of weaponry, or knowledge and cunning. Physical weapons are important, but if you are a fool in GoT, you won’t last long for sure.

If you were going to live in Westeros, where would you choose to make a home?

Dorne. It’s warm there, they have stayed out of a lot of political stuff, and women can rule. Also, if you were born a bastard, they don’t ostracize you as the other parts of Westeros do. The make it such a huge deal in the rest of Westeros!

If you were to live in the Eastern lands, where would you choose to make a home?

Braavos. I wouldn’t choose to live there for the climate, but it seems like such a diverse place. There appears to be something for everyone in Braavos in the books.

Where would you definitely not want to live? Name two.

I would never live in the North. I already live in the North…Minnesota should change its motto to “Winter is coming.” It’s too cold and knowing there are zombified creatures north of the Wall creeps me out. I also would never live on the Iron Islands. It sounds like such a rough place to be.

Who would you pick out of anyone from the show or the books to rule the seven kingdoms if you had the choice?

As of now, I am torn between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. They seem like the most level headed rulers to me, but as I continue to read the books my opinion may change!

If you were the ruler of the realm, what would your top three priorities be?

  1. Making sure the Wall was well armed and equipped.
  2. Assigning a team to plan and execute a strategy to rehabilitate the war torn areas and get food production going.
  3. Destroy Harrenhaul. That place really needs to be put to the torch. Maybe I’d do the same to the Dreadfort.

Have fun answering these questions, and don’t forget to post a link in the comments so I can read your answers!

Audacity Magazine: My Second Writing Home

Audacity Magazine: My Second Writing Home

We all have a cause or project we believe in and want to see succeed. Besides this blog, one site I am involved in is Audacity Magazine. Back in 2007-08 I entered a contest and was chosen to become a columnist for this online lifestyle publication. I felt it was an important site for me to write for. I had a blog on Myspace back then where I liked to share my thoughts and opinions; it felt like an appropriate time to branch out and expand my audience. I stopped writing for a number of years for reasons you can read about here on the Audacity site. I don’t want to fill the internet with the same story!

Anyway, I had been told many a time if I wanted to return to Audacity and to my column, I was more than welcome. I was a little hesitant at first. You know…I have this “What if…?” syndrome that makes me anxious about things I choose to do. What if I can’t find enough to write about? What if I suck? What if…blah blah blah. Well, I can’t really live life asking that question all the time.

I decided the time was right. If I didn’t try, I’d never know if I could build my writing skills up again and make my voice heard. Let’s face it, I am a bit of a hermit! The time was also right for NaBloPoMo.

So, I am back at Audacity and warming up my typing hand in more ways than one (yes, I said hand–I type one handed while holding a stylus), and am gearing up for the fantastic year of 2015!

Why is the new year going to be so special? For one, Nathasha Alvarez, Audacity’s editor, has some awesome plans up her sleeve for the website’s growth.

She is wanting to hire some freelance contributors and began a fundraiser to raise $20,000 to compensate freelance writers with disabilities for their articles. If the goal is met, this amount can pay writers for 500 articles at $40 per piece.

Why is this so important?

It creates opportunities. Many people with disabilities cannot work full time jobs. Some really can’t work at all even though they’d like to. Their sole income is SSI or Supplemental Security Income from the government. Unfortunately, the amount of the monthly maximum SSI benefits is only around $721.00 in most states. There isn’t much left after bills are paid to go towards emergencies and other expenses. Living independently off of just that isn’t easy! And independence is important to us.

You can imagine then how far an extra $40 might go for someone. It might help pay for a necessary prescription, food, some gas to get somewhere, or to pay for computer repair.

It’s important for sites like Audacity to exist to serve as a creative outlet and sounding board for the disability community as well. Everyone has something they would like to communicate–awareness, commentary, opinions, and reviews.

I wanted to get the word out so other writers might drop by and have the urge to pen articles in 2015! Let’s fill the place up with great articles! You can find out more on the website.

Now, I don’t want to make this post sound like I’m giving an annoying solicitor’s spiel. I don’t want to pressure anyone to do anything, I simply want to inform and give people the option of donating if it’s something that interests them (I’d make a terrible salesperson).

Audacity is under the non-profit organization name of World Wide Ability Inc. So, direct donations are tax deductible. Sometimes, there are generous individuals who arrange sales of products where the commission is donated. Events like this will be updated on the donation page, but here I will list the main ways Audacity is raising funds.

Ways to Donate

Direct Donations: Point your browser to the Audacity Magazine donation page and click the donate button. Decide what you’d like to give. Even as little as $5 can go a long way!

Amazon Smile: We all love Amazon! Now you can shop and donate! Go to smile.amazon.com and when you are asked for your charity of choice, enter World Wide Ability Inc. 0.5% of your purchase price will go to Audacity at not extra cost to you.

Sponsor an Article: If you have a business or product, and you’d like it highlighted on Audacity by one of the audacious writers, you might consider a sponsored article. Each article is $200. That donation would in turn be able to later pay freelance writers for 5 articles. For more info on this, contact Nathasha at the email nathasha @ audacity magazine . com

I hope that even one person will take the time to check Audacity out and share it with their social networks. My fingers are crossed that will happen and some donations will result. At the very least, it would be fabulous to have more writers with disabilities on board and have more names join the mailing list!

 

Image Credit: WELS.net via photopin cc

5 Things About Me Blog Prompt

5 things about me blog prompt

Today is lazy Sunday and I…am feeling kind of lazy! Even though I am extremely tired today, I know I must post. There is no option in this NaBloPoMo project for me! While I have a few post topics stashed away in the topic pook I am creating, I thought now might be a good time to use a prompt to introduce myself a bit.

Yes, you could always read my About section for that, but writing prompts can be fun. I’d love to see other bloggers do this one and read their answers too!

The prompt I found today is from Mama Kat of Mama’s Losin’ It. I found her site today while I was perusing Twitter. She has some great ideas of things to write about and it looks like she publishes a post with prompts monthly.

The prompt that caught my eye was:

“Five Things. List 5 things we don’t know about you, 5 things you’re knowledgeable about, 5 things you know nothing about, and 5 things you believe.”

So, here goes nothing!

5 Things You Don’t Know About Me

  1. I was a self-taught Photoshop user as a teen (this was way before YouTube and I hated reading software manuals, so I just played around and figured things out). It was a similar thing with website design. I did have to read to learn that though. Then I bought FrontPage software and learned to use it. Since then, web design has come light years and I didn’t learn as time went on so the best I can do are some rough tweaks. At least I have somewhat of an idea of what I need to look for if I need to edit code. Yes, I was a geek and proud! I still am!
  2. I have an eight year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi named India. She is like my child. She barks at people when I need something. She doesn’t like most men or young kids, but she loves little babies.
  3. I love traveling. I find it invigorating to see new places, and I feel more energetic. Road trips are my method of choice only because I have a lot of medical equipment and I haven’t attempted to fly with it since I have had it.
  4. I am a total food snob. I can’t eat much in one sitting, but I have a deep appreciation of good food. I often feel really frustrated when I go to a restaurant and it seems the food wasn’t cooked with care. Food should be satisfying and flavorful, not bland and lackluster (it should also be organic, but that isn’t likely to happen).
  5. I hate carnations. I have harbored a hatred of them for years. They should be banned from public places. I know they’re a filler flower, but they stink and whenever I smell them I am reminded of funerals and hospitals. They’re not cute either.

5 Things I’m Knowledgeable About

  1. Disabilities. Not only because I have one and understand what it is like, but also because I have known a lot of individuals with various kinds. It’s good to have general knowledge of the different types because abilities from person to person vary so widely.
  2. The Internet. I can find just about anything, even if it’s pretty obscure. Thank goodness the internet exists because how else would I have learned most of the things I have learned?
  3. The virtual world of Second Life. If you don’t know what SL is, it’s similar to a game, but without a point system. It has a monetary currency so you can open your own business or be employed and really earn a little something. There are places where you can socialize, stores where you can shop for clothing or furniture to customize your avatar or virtual home. You can also do things there maybe you are unable to do in your own life. I have “played” there since 2008 and to be honest, it taught me a lot that stretched beyond learning how to simply navigate in there. At first I thought it was only clubbing and shopping. But then I realized charities also could benefit from inworld events. Designers often create exclusive items for events to benefit Relay for Life, Wigs for Kids, etc. I think I might need to do a separate post on it to fully describe my experience!
  4. Photoshop and image editing. I have been using it since I was about 16. Back then I really had no idea how powerful a tool it was. I think that version was 3.0. I liked to make random art with it. In college I gained a better understanding of its features. I am still learning new things about it as time goes on. It’s one of those programs where there is no end to the learning process and I like that.
  5. Creating WordPress sites. I won’t claim to be an expert, but I have installed and worked on quite a few of these. Each WordPress site seems to have its own life, and working on each one was a learning experience. There are always new things to learn about this subject as well.

5 Things I know Nothing About

  1. The Stock Market. I have always been curious about how investors successfully invest and get good returns. I know it’s sort of based on trends and forecasting, but I am not sure how it all works and can be understood.
  2. Organic Crop Farming. I can’t say I know absolutely nothing here, my dad is a farmer and I read articles about organic food and GMO crops and related subjects. I guess crop growing is something I am curious about, particularly organics. I wonder things like: How does a farmer know when to plant? Or how much? How is the soil tested? How can a farmer figure out how much yield he needs to earn his profits? I guess what I am saying is I don’t know exactly the detailed step by step process. It goes way beyond plant, water, grow, harvest, sell, and then profit (or not profit in some cases). I always felt like my dad just knew inherently what needed to be done…like a sixth sense.
  3. How hot dogs are really made. Though, I have a pretty good idea. I imagine it’s similar to how chicken McNuggets are made.
  4. What it’s like to be on TV.
  5. Making iOS apps.

5 Things I Believe

  1. I think if you really listen to your body, it will tell you what foods and beverages makes you feel better. It might be hard to notice, some may say it’s psychological, but I think it’s true. When I eat certain things like wild caught salmon or other healthy things, I feel slightly better. The sense is minute, but the same thing happens when I don’t drink caffeinated sodas and stick to natural sodas.
  2. I believe everyone is here for a reason. We may not understand what our reason is for being here or being who we are, but every person has a purpose.
  3. There are those who want to teach, and those who are born teachers. Those who want to teach are those who earn a degree. Those who are born may not teach professionally, but they simply educate by being who they are.
  4. I believe our government is made up of way too many leaders blinded by greed and they have lost their humanity. This doesn’t make for an effective governing body.
  5. Not to bring religion to the table, but I believe most religions are based on the same overall concepts and only communicate the concepts in different ways.

I hope you enjoyed reading my 5 Things! This became way longer than I anticipated, and it was more challenging than I though it would be too. It was a great writing prompt!

If you decide to do the prompt, please comment below or tweet me @Rangeelichick!