Just another monthly update: life, health, birthdays(!), and more. With technical difficulties for that extra touch *wink*
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a 5 things, and with the death of Polyvore, I’ve been thinking how to create new themes.
For today, I give you 5 of the Spotify Playlists I listen to when I need to focus on writing, or while working on projects where I crave no distractions.
Thor: Ragnarok soundtrack
This album is electronic, atmospheric, and just the right amount of adrenaline-pumping to get me going. Really good for writing action.
Late Night Jazz
This playlist works for me at any time of day, but particularly when I want to relax into writing and forget about everything else. I also enjoy this playlist when settling in for a good reading session.
The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack
Like the Thor soundtrack, this one is atmospheric enough to get me going, but smooth enough when I need to focus on words rather than pacing.
I listen to this at work. It’s my version of office muzak. Unobtrusive and easy to listen to when working in an office.
Sometimes I need something dark and sexy to set the tone.
Welcome to another round of “what I used up last month”
- ACURE radically rejuvenating under eye hydrogel masks: I’ve posted these before. Love them and they’re easy to find at my local Target and Whole Foods when I need a pick-me-up.
- California Baby Calendula Cream (for babies and sensitive adults… I’m def. a sensitive adult): one of my favorite creams when my skin is reacting or experiencing a psoriasis flare.
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (citron scent): Another good cream when I’m experiencing a flare. The active ingredient is Colloidal Oatmeal and the orange scent is lovely is you like a light citrus (fades quickly).
- NEST fragrances in Dahlia and Vines: at the time of purchase, this was a Sephora exclusive scent. Light and floral, lasts a long time and didn’t give me a headache (always a win).
- LaVanila The Healthy Deodorant, vanilla scent: When I’m not using Schmidt’s bergamot and lime, I’m using this. It works for me, but deodorant works differently on every body. If you’re new to natural deodorants, this might not be enough to cover the initial detox stank.
- ACURE seriously glowing facial serum: This was a nice blend of nourishing oils, just what I needed when my skin was going through a dry spell. ACURE may have discontinued or renamed this since their rebranding.
- Desert Essence spot treatment: one of my favorites.
- Weleda Almond Lotion sample: Came in a sample baggie. I’ve used this before and continue to enjoy it. Very light moisturizer.
- avatara Calm Down blackhead pore strips: bought these on a whim at Target, they really work.
- Yogi Chai Rooibos tea: another tea successfully used up. Red tea with chai spice, no caffeine and no weird headaches (some chai blends give me a reaction)
- Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night: for when I need a little help to fall asleep.
- Solgar Zinc Picolinate 22 mg: part of my thyroid support protocol
- Mr. Bubble Meltaways Bath Candies: part of a Target discovery box. They do what they do.
- Kiss my Face Sensitive toothpaste, orange mint flavor: My favorite SLS/fluoride-free toothpaste. Been using it for at least 2 years.
- Weleda salt toothpaste: This… was weird. Part of the same Weleda bag mentioned above.
I recently devoured Sarah J. Maas’s Court of Thorns and Roses series (minus the recently released novella, which I will remedy forthwith). Faeries, complex characters, and unexpected sexiness, this is the kind of story I wanted when New Adult became a thing (and completely failed to meet my expectation).
I also mention the series in the video below.
The heat is on and I’ve been feeling nostalgic. I decided to switch my usual RMS blush for an oldie but a goodie: Benefit Dandelion. I wore Dandelion for years (through college and beyond), but stopped using it after greening my makeup. It’s not clean; it’s not cruelty free; it is all things bad and evil, but I love the color and I can live with my poor choices.
Episode 10: Gotham by Gaslight (hosted by yours truly) is now available. This episode focuses on Gotham by Gaslight (the film and graphic novel) and general thoughts on BatCat.
Health, writing, books, and tieks!
I have news! The draft is complete! Except, it’s not… not really, but you know what I mean. This draft, as it stands, is completely revised and mostly rewritten. I finished it on Saturday and had a nice lunch to celebrate, before writing up a quick plan for next steps.
The first step: proofreading and a deep review of the first 50 pages (plus, take care of all those notes I added in the margins).
Next: query and synopsis research, as it’s been a while since I’ve done this and need a refresh.
Agent research, list-making, and more to follow. But, for now, it’s in a happy place and I can relax when I go to my yearly library conference next week.
- Words (re)written in May: 9,998
- Total wordcount: 80,163
- Previous wordcount: 83,124
- Words that survived from the last draft: probably 163
*Patting myself on the back.*
Just another random assortment of empties. #declutter
- ACURE radically rejuvenating under eye hydrogel mask: I was quite impressed by these. They really soothed my under eye area. I keep them in the fridge and have already bought more…
- ACURE facial cleansing gel: Picked this up after I ran out of my last wash. Nice and gentle, but it did not last as long as the cleansing creme from the same brand.
- Kiss my Face moisture shave: Lasts FOREVER and makes my skin incredibly soft. The peppermint is especially cooling during the summer. Always repurchase.
- Solgar Vitamin D3 2200 IU: I regularly take Vitamin D to help with my lack of energy (hello, thyroid). I amped it up to 2200 IU, but I’ve since switched back to 1000 IU because I’ve started taking Cod Liver Oil again (which also has Vitamin D).
- gaia herbs Turmeric Supreme Joint: I don’t take this regularly, but it’s helpful when my TMJ is flaring and I think it has some effect on my migraines (needs further testing). I’ve switched back to the Extra Strength, which is a slightly different blend of herbs.
- Japanese green tea, Twining’s pure rooibos red tea, and Zhena’s Ambrosia Plum white tea – three teas done!
- Tea India Chai Moments Chai Tea Latte Mix, Ginger: The last of the chai mix I purchased at the Diwali festival. Will miss it.
- Traditional Medicinals Health Cycle: A regular repurchase. Helps with cramps and makes my stomach feel less awful.
I wrapped up the month just shy of my goal, completing 5 chapters (including the prologue. I started the month strong, with some serious, day-long editing sessions, but the end of the month brought a couple of health issues (knocked out by migraines and cramps) and some personal life drama that made it difficult to do more than the basics. That said, it was my best month yet (wordcountwise) and I’m ready to take on the last three chapters.
- Words (re)written in April: 15,530
- Words (re)written in 2018 (to date): 47,222
My goal is to finish this draft by May 19th (ideally, the 13th), giving me two/three weeks before I proofread, and time to focus on the switch from drafting to query prep. Deep breath. I’m going to get over my anxiety and do it.
Finished the Veronica Speedwell mysteries and now I’m in that weird space where I can’t find a book that lives up… In the meantime, I’m trying to find the time to read Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenbery (because as a woman who has been dismissed, misdiagnosed, and chronically sick, I want all the support I can get).
A few posts ago, I gushed about how much I love the Ilia lip conditioner in Pink Moon, then I started to suspect it was causing some irritation. I stopped using it for a few weeks and wore it again last week. Suspicion confirmed, it makes my lips look like I’ve been out in the cold too long. Really dry and red around the edges. I’m debating whether I should return to Sephora or give it away. It had such promise.
Other things I’m loving:
My InstantPot! My mom gave me a mini and I’m loving the speed and efficiency it provides. Even just using the saute function speeds up my meal prep and saves me the extra time and heating costs. (Old Florida apartments were not made for climate change temperatures. My apartment is hot and the kitchen heats up like you wouldn’t believe. Needless heat? No thank you.)
Minisode 8.5: Final thoughts on Star Wars/Spaceballs (and even Howl’s Moving Castle), favorites, and an announcement
In other news: The podcast is now available on Spotify!
All the things, and where have I been?
A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn
Yep, I had to come back for more. This series is my new addiction and I can’t wait to pick up the next book from my library. (I’m currently #4 in line)
Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
I ordered this one for my own library collection (ICYMI, I’m a librarian). I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was intrigued by the idea of YA not-yet-superheroes and Marie Lu does not disappoint. Her Bruce reads like a real person with real doubts and these are all good things.
I tried the Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-hour Primer in Light and I think I finally found a color match. Not 100% green, but I don’t have a problem with the ingredients listed. It scores a 1 on the EWG Skin Deep database and feels really nice on the skin (it’s a cream to powder finish with physical SPF). I’m saving it for travel and ordering a full size.
Episode 8: Star Wars: A New Hope and Spaceballs is live! Give us a listen and follow the pod @bluesoxcircle on Twitter and Insta.
Happy Easter! Here’s what I used up in March.
- avatara wipe out nose pore strips: first time using these and it was quite a nice experience. I picked them up at Target and definitely noticed a difference.
- elf Ultimate Blending brush – Probably my favorite elf brush, but I had it for years and it gave up the ghost
- Juice Beauty SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Moisturizer in Sand – One of my favorite sunscreens. It just matches my skin tone without turning orange. Currently using the un-tinted one in an effort to simplify my makeup look.
- fresh Rose Face mask – sample from Sephora. Just a lovely mask that leaves my skin feeling soft and refreshed. I’d be willing to buy a trial size in future.
- Dr.Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap in Peppermint – a classic. This is a trial size because I like to rotate the scents and even the small size goes a long way.
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides – My favorite collagen supplement for skin and joints, but it’s pricey and I can’t always justify the cost. I splurge when my knees are feeling particularly achy, or I want a skin boost.
- Rainbow Light Just Once Iron-Free – The best multi I’ve tried and one I continue to purchase.
- Jarrow Formulas Femdophilus – Probiotics for ladies. ’nuff said. I can’t say I noticed a difference, but it was on sale and I thought it worth a try.
- Gaia Herbs Quick Defense – This is one of those products that I try to push on people. I keep a bottle on hand for colds and flu and it WORKS. It speeds up a cold like you wouldn’t believe.
- A pen – Because every pen is a success.
- Re-Boost decongestion spray – picked this up a few months ago and it’s come in very handy. It’s a natural product that actually works to clear things up.
- Nature’s Bounty thrive blend – It smells strongly of clove but I like to think that it works to clean the air during cold season. At least it helped when I was stuffed up last month.