Friday, December 30, 2016

Carry On Essentials

I travel a fair amount. Not too much, maybe twice a year in a normal year. However, I'm hoping that 2017 is going to be a good year for Travel. I love traveling and flying and exploring new places and, honestly, I love spending time on airplanes. I love having that time with nothing else to do. It's like the calm before the storm and then the regrouping after. So, I always make sure to try to use this time productively and get something done. Here's what I bring to make sure my flights are both relaxing and productive...

For this trip I'm using my new bag from Thread Up since it really is so big and sturdy. It's so big I can fit everything into it, including my purse if I don't want to carry two bags.

1) Laptop
  • Of course, I'll bring my Chromebook which is a computer by Google that only runs Google Chrome in both online and offline mode. It's light weight and only 11 inches long so it's easy to carry and nice to have around for any internet related things, including typing up blog posts or working on my manuscripts on flights

2) Current Journal & Supplies
  • I'm a writer. Writers write. Books, Blogs and journals. I write in this at least once a week, if not everyday and I love having these as memories to look back on when I'm older. My entire relationship and most of my high school and college years have been documented in these books. I also tape little things into this book while traveling like plane and bus tickets, movie passes and receipts. 
  • I like to be "artsy" in my journal and so I carry things like tape, colored pens, stickers and washi tape. I also carry a packet of cute, blank cards, normally from Target just in case we want to give someone a card for whatever reason. You never know when you might forget a birthday or occasion. 

3) Books
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the book I'm currently reading. I'm a bit late to the party on this one, mostly because I'm such a huge Harry Potter fan that I want to savor this book and not let it end. I absolutely love it. But, now that I know that the FBAWTFT screenplay has been published I can finish Cursed Child with the knowledge that I have another to go on to.
  • The Putt-Putt is a manuscript written by a good friend of mine, Shane Ramey. It's available for sale on Amazon (print & kindle). I'm going to start reading his book once I finish Cursed Child. Congratulations on your first publication! 

4) Purse
  • Like I mentioned above, my bag is so big it can fit my purse. So, I'm going to just slip in my purse with everything that I normally keep inside of it: Keys, wallet, phone, portable charger, lip balm & a neutral lip coloring, gum, a reusable bag, headphones in a case, and, plenty of tea bags.  

5) Cord Bag
  • I am a very organized person and I like to keep my cords and chargers in their own bag that way nothing gets lost or tangled with anything else. I don't have a lot of cords this trip. Just my laptop cord, my portable charger cord and my cell phone wall plug. My cell phone cord and my portable charger are going to be in the main bag or my purse.
6) Empty Water Bottle

  • Travel Tip: always bring an empty water bottle and fill it up once you get through security. I have a large, blue Contigo bottle that I just picked up at Target today because I left my old one at my parents house during Thanksgiving.
This is, mostly, what I carry in my bag when I travel. The flight I'm taking this time isn't very long, just about 2 hours, but these are all things I'll also be using once I reach my destination. What would you add? 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Thread Up

Recently, I discovered this website called Thread Up, which is an online thrift store. Everything on the website is second hand but good quality. People can sell their nice but used things to the website and the website will resell them at a discounted price to people who are looking for those things cheaper than regular retail value. 

I have been looking for a black bag that was big enough for all my school stuff and had an over the shoulder strap for about 6 months now because I loath having to carry a backpack. After only 30 minutes of shopping through Thread Up I already had two beautiful bags in my cart and was ready to check out. 

The black bag was the first one that I found. It's HUGE! (Something like 18x15 inches) and holds everything I carry to school everyday and then some. Normally, I have a backpack and a purse, however, with the black bag I'm pretty sure I can just carry the one bag because it'll fit everything I normally carry in both bags. This bag had a retail value of nearly $60 but I got it for $17 in "Good" quality. However, there seems to be literally nothing wrong with it and I would actually label it "Like New" quality. 

The second bag I got was a smaller brown bag with white lace detailing on the front and gold hardware. It's smaller (11x13) but still holds my laptop, planner and notebooks absolutely perfectly. This bag is going to mostly be my new everyday purse and when I don't have a lot going on during the school day I can use it to just carry my laptop or notebook to class. This bag was a $30 retail value and I got it for $13!


Shipping was faster than expected and the packaging was almost as lovely as the bags I got. The box was adorable, the tissue paper was sweet and colorful and it came with a sheet of stickers to use to make your own crafts. Every part of the packaging was completely reusable and they encourage you to use it to make a craft or wrap a present. How sweet?! 

Monday, December 26, 2016

21st Birthday celebration

My birthday was an amazing day! I'm confident that this next year will be an amazing year in my life. My birthday was filled with friends and food and drinks and all around good times with good people. 21 is pretty fun!

We woke up pretty early and went out of breakfast at IHOP (Mostly because my lovely aunt bought us a gift card and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put it to use). And, despite that fact that it was about 9 in the morning, I was given free birthday Ice cream and you really can't turn that down.

I then went to work for a few hours and was greeted by cupcakes when I went in (they weren't there for my birthday necessarily, but it was a nice surprise!) 


After work I went out and had my first legal drink with my boyfriend and our roommate. I was given a free spiked lemonade at our favorite local bar. Our roommate took me to get a free coffee at dutch brothers and then he took me to the liqueur store for the first time and I spent just a little bit and got two bottles of alcohol, mostly just because I could. 

Later in the day TJ, my lovely boyfriend and I went to Olive Garden, our favorite date place for a nice dinner. We both ordered the Tour Of Italy, which is a sampler of Olive Gardens most popular dishes. We also had calamari & Mozzarella sticks and I had about 2 glasses of a Rosato wine and a few free tastes of other wines.

Finally, we ended the day with a late night showing of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. We're both very big Harry Potters fans and we loved seeing the newest movie in the franchise. 


20 was a big year. A lot of wonderful things happened to me. This blog post goes into a bit more detail about my 20th year. However, I'm so confident and set on making my 21st year even more wonderful. I'm now living with my boyfriend in a wonderful apartment. I have a job that I love and I already know I'm going to travel a bit more this year and explore more places. I always wondered when my life would begin and now I realize that it actually has. And it's a wonderful life! Thanks to everyone in my life who makes it so fantastic! 

Friday, December 23, 2016

5 Things to do in Oregon During the Holiday Season

Oregon is a unique state with lots to do, especially during the cold, Winter months, and, no matter what you celebrate this time of year(even if you don't celebrate anything at all) there's something to do or a sight to take in. My friend and fellow blogger, Nicky who blogs at Nicky Jane and I set out on a quest to show you the top 5 things to do in the places we live during The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Oregon Zoo Lights
Image courtesy of Oregon Zoo
The Zoo Lights are a yearly tradition in Portland, Oregon, and, they are exactly what they sound like. The Oregon Zoo decs out their cages and exhibits in beautiful, magical lights to create a fun, welcoming and...well...magical environment. Even the non-Christmas people can enjoy the beautiful colors, cheerful atmosphere and brightly lit wildlife. Just make sure to bring an umbrella. In case you didn't know: it rains in Oregon. A lot.
Polar Express
Image courtesy of Mount Hood Railroad
Yes, this is an ACTUAL train ride based off of the amazing Christmas movie: The Polar Express. And, while I have never personally taken the journey, all my friends who have come back and boast about their amazing trip. This journey to the "North Pole" includes Music, Lively conductors who punch fun words into tickets, presents from Santa and of course, singing servicemen pouring Hot Chocolate! It's a real movie come to life in Mount Hood, Oregon.
Voodoo Doughnuts
Image courtesy of Voodoo Doughnuts
Voodoo Doughnut is a local doughnut shop that now gets world wide credit for it's unique and delicious doughnuts. Voodoo Doughnuts has locations all throughout Oregon including Portland and Eugene, and have opened locations out of state in Colorado and Texas. My personal favorite is in sugary bubble gum doughnut, while my boyfriend goes for the HUGE Memphis Mafia (a banana fritter with peanut butter and chocolate chips). 

Townshends Tea Company

Image courtesy of Townshend's
If you're cold and looking to warm up, enjoy a hot cup of tea at Townshend's. They are also perfect on a warm day. They serve all kinds of tea, homemade kombucha and any flavor and kind of bubble tea you can ask for. The list goes on and on. Townshend's are located in both Portland and Eugene. 
Enjoy the Scenery

Eugene, Oregon, and particularly the University of Oregon campus is full of beautiful scenery and nature. During the winter layers of ice form on everything and really make us appreciate the beauty around us. Oregon is a very beautiful, green state and we love to keep it that way! Take a walk with your Voodoo Doughnut and your Townshend's tea and enjoy everything that Eugene has to offer! 









Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Goodbye 20!

Today is my 21st Birthday! Woo-Hoo! However, I can't move forward without thanking the amazing people who were there in my past.  This past year has been a whirlwind, but overall, a good year for me personally. I met my lovely boyfriend, finished my second year of college, Stage managed both a Sarah Ruhl Mainstage show & a original Batman Musical, and, finished writing a book that I adore and believe in whole heatedly. My 20th year was a pretty good one and overall was almost exactly what I expected it to be. Here's to hoping that 21 will be just as lovely!









Monday, December 19, 2016

Inspire! | Music

Part 3 of my Inspire! series...
By this point, you all know the drill!  A list of music that inspires me to write:

Finding Neverland Soundtrack
I love this musical, it's probably my favorite. The main character is a writer and is writing the story of Peter Pan while he gets to know a young family coming on hard times. No spoilers, but it is loosely based on the true story and it's so upbeat, quirky and touching.

Harry Potter Scores
All of them. All of it. Harry Potter is one of my favorite stories and the scores were so well composed and the music inspires so many different scenes and feelings and tones and it's so nice to just have on in the background while I write. 

Disney soundtracks
Easy to listen to. Easy to sing along to. I won't listen to these as I write because I get to distracted but if I'm trying to get in the mood or taking a break, Disney it is!

Christmas music
I don't really celebrate Christmas anymore since I've chosen Judaism, but the music will probably always be a part of my life. It's so easy to listen to and cozy and familiar and just sets a nice environment. Michael Buble specifically.

If I'm going to listen to music while I write, I like for it to either not have any words at all, or for it to be calm, quiet and low key. I sometimes do draw inspiration and themes for chapters, character or entire stories off of songs and lyrics and in that case I just end up replaying that particular song over and over again. As you do. 




Friday, December 16, 2016

Writing is Rewriting



If you don't know (though if you follow me on any social media then you probably do) I've just finished the first draft of my 4th manuscript, which is super exciting. I had it printed and then ignored the book for a week while I focused on other things. Last night I picked up my manuscript and began editing. The process if fairly simple: read the book, mark it up for grammar and spelling and word choice and put sticky notes where I think I should completely rewrite or preform a content change.

So far, I haven't changed a lot of the content. I enjoy what I wrote, I am proud of it and can't wait for people to read it once I finish editing. I do plan for it to go to a professional editor as well mostly for content and development, but I am trying to save money to copy edit myself before I send it off. I have copy edited before and know what to look for in this area.

However, I have never done it before for a book that I wrote. I have never before felt like a story that I wrote is worthy of going into the process of being published. But this story is one that I sincerely fell in love with while I wrote it. And, even after having taken two weeks away from the book in order to clear my mind and distance myself, I was still so eager to jump back into the world of these characters.

I am currently 69/208 pages into editing the manuscript and I've learned a lot about so much: I've been checking for plot consistency and word choice and obviously grammar and spelling. But I've also considered formatting and font size and type. All of these little trivial things seem exactly that: trivial. But overall, they all come to together to help create the theme of your story. 

The next step
Well... Once I finish editing for grammar and consistency within the plot and story lines of my characters, I'll give it to a Development Editor to get a fresh opinion of what needs to be added to, given more detail, or cut from the manuscript. I have a person in mind already who's done developmental editing for my in the past. After this step, which would probably take a month or two, I'll be sending it out like crazy to publishers, agents and anyone else who could possibly get it out there.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I've been writing since I was in 5th grade when a very exceptional teacher told me that if I wasn't happy with my world, I could write out what I wanted my world to be and use it as an escape. This got me into journaling and then into actual plots, characters and novels. Getting a book published and actually making this passion into a career was always sort of the plan, but the side plan, I knew it wasn't necessarily a career choice I could depend on, but it was one that I wasn't willing to let go of. This is the first time I've tried to make it a main part of my life and I'm so excited to see the results...whether or not it gets professionally published. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Inspire! | TV Shows

Part 2 of my Inspire! series...
Last time we talked about Movies, now let's jump on the TV bandwagon! 

Sex And The City
Carrie is a writer. She presents topics in every episode that she then goes on to write about. She writes books and articles and I like to think that if the show was set now, she would have a blog too. Carrie writes about different things than I write about, but it inspires me to change up my writing style and write about real life rather than just fiction. 

The Carrie Diaries
The prequel to the above. Carrie discovers her love for a talent regarding writing when she finds her recently deceased mother's old journals and her stack of empty ones, which she takes and fills with her own thoughts. Since I keep a daily journal of thoughts and events I really connected with the story. And, it was great to see where Sex And The City began.

Gilmore Girls & Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
A year in the Life is very controversial, and I definitely called the whole "Rory writing a book about her life" and the infamous Last Four Words. But Rory has always been a journalist. And, the story and scripts are so well written and the show is so well produced that I can re-watch it over and over again and not really get tired of it.

Parenthood
Maybe it's just Lauren Graham? She makes Gilmore Girls and Parenthood both so amazing! Parenthood inspired parts of both my new novel and my recent children's theatre play that I wrote. The characters are well developed, the drama and action does dip a little in the middle but picks right back up. There honestly isn't a bad season.  I love writing in the style that this show is written in: where it follows multiple story lines that come together and all connect. 

Bunheads
From the lovely, talented and amazing Amy Sherman-Palladino (Co-writer and creator of Gilmore Girls) comes Bunheads, aka, Gilmore Girls: California! A woman (Sutten Foster! AAHH!) moves to a small town in California and meets a bunch of small town characters. The show centered around the talented Kelly Bishop who owns and runs a small dance studio. Bunheads is a coming of age show about girls, body images, the world of dance, love, life, family and adapting.

Greek
It's just drama. It's a situational drama about an experience I will never have but one that I have considered multiple times: joining the Greek system. The characters, while non-realistic are entertaining and offer good inspiration and exaggerated character types and personalities. 


Monday, December 12, 2016

Winter is Coming


Winter is my favorite season. I even have a snowflake tattooed on my body to prove it. I was born on the first day of Winter (December 21st). While some people feel depressed and sad around this time of year because it's cold and dead and hard to get around in, I feel the opposite. I don't see it as all the plants dying, I like to see it as a New Start. When it snows: all bets are off. I feel the most happy and content with the world when I'm walking through campus or just down the street all bundled up in a sweater with a hot coffee in my hands and the crisp smell of cold air all around me. And yes, cold air and hot air do have different smells.

For those of you who do not enjoy this time of year quite as much as I do, I compiled a list of all the things that make me happy about it that might help inspire you to give it another try.

Hot drinks
I don't want to know how much money I've given to Starbucks in exchange for Chestnut Praline Lattes since they became available. I normally drink cold or blended drinks even when it's below freezing outside, but this year I took a chance and tried a warm one and I am absolutely obsessed. 
Fuzzy socks
Heaven.
Scented candles
What I said about Starbucks? Maybe double it for Bath and Body Works. 
Snow
If I knew how to insert Emojis into blog posts, I would put the snowflake one and the snowman one here... but I don't so just pretend, okay?
Scarfs, gloves & hats
Winter clothing is the best clothing. It's so cozy and warm and the colors are so glorious. 
Cuddling
It makes the world go 'round

While it might not always be the most fun to walk around in, Winter is and will always be my favorite time of year. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Inspire! | Movies

This is the first post of my new series: Inspire! 
This is a series of (probably) 4 posts in which I will list all of the things that I can regularly trust for inspiration. I'm writing this for two reasons...

1) so that I have a convenient place to look for these things when I feel uninspired
2) to give you ideas on things that might inspire you.

I am a writer. Well, I'm a lot more than a writer, but mostly, I'm a writer. So, these are mostly going to be things that inspire me to write. However, maybe after this, I'll write a post about things that inspire other aspects of my life. 

The first post is going to be about movies... Here we go:

Julie & Julia
Julie & Julia is a movie about a woman who takes on the challenge to cook her way through Julia Child's cookbook: Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year and blog about it. It's a movie about a writer who doesn't think she's an actual writer regardless of how much she writes because no one wants to publish her. Girl, we've all been there.

Stuck in Love
Stuck in Love is a movie about a writer who raises his kids to be writers and both of his kids get things published like he has. There's drama and love and loss and excitement and just life bits. Mostly, it's full of great quotes about writers from the point of view of writers including: "A writer is the sum of his experiences... go get some."

The Holiday
The Holiday isn't about writers... and yes, it's a Christmas movie. But the idea and concept of the movie and the way that it was produced is so inspiring in itself. People switching homes for the holidays and falling in love with people they never thought they'd ever meet. It's fun and quirky and romantic.

Love Actually
Love Actually is along similar lines as The Holiday. A Christmas movie with characters and lives and realness, but exaggerated realness. There is a writer in the movie, however, and his bits are wonderful. Actually, almost all movies where it follows multiple characters that seem to have almost nothing to do with each other until they have everything to do with each other inspire me to write. 

LOL
Not so much anymore, but, when I was in high school, LOL used to inspire me so much. I think just because the main girl (yes, played by Miley Cyrus) writes in her diary about her dramatic life. And in high school I had (or at least liked to think that I had) a dramatic life. I tried watching it again recently and couldn't get through more than 30 minutes without turning it off, so I've definitely out grown this one, but, if you're younger or in a different place in life, I'd give it a go.

Saving Mr. Banks
The music. The filming. The acting. The colors. The story. What's not perfectly inspiring about this movie?!

Sex And The City movies 1 & 2
Carrie Bradshaw has always inspired me to write about life, not just fiction which I often write, but actual life. I journal the most often while I watch these movies. While neither are very highly rated and the second one definitely didn't need to be made, it still makes me happy.

These are the movies that inspire me the most. These are the movies I turn to when Writers Block is holding me back. Hopefully this post inspired you to write or create or maybe just check out a new film. I'm always interested to hear about movies that inspire others so feel free to contribute if you wish! 


Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Term in Review

Fall term 2016 is over... well... almost. I have 3 finals left: two tests and a final version of the play I wrote. This term taught me more about college than any other term I've experienced. This term taught me 1) how to say "no," to things. 2) That it's okay to say "no," to people and their things. 3) There is a whole world outside of college and not everyone is in the same place (obviously, I knew this one, but this term more than others I found myself contemplating this fact). And finally, 4) I'm so ready to be done with college. 

Over the summer, I worked nearly full time, and I could have worked full time if I wanted to but turned it down because I was working on several side projects as well as actually enjoying not having a lot to do. I loved working, I still love working. I originally had thought that I'd be able to continue working so many hours after school on weekdays. However, I had to reduce my hours to 8-10 a week and am now feeling the loss. Work feels so productive where as school just seems like busy work. Of course, I know how good school is for me, and I fully plan on sticking it out, regardless of how this post sounds, but, after now 16 years of schooling, it's just getting old and I'm ready to be working and setting up my life.

This was the first term during which I was only working on one show. However, I was balancing my Theater commitments with being a Co-Chair on the Pocket Playhouse board, which is a huge time commitment in itself. 

There is just never enough time. 

I've always been told: 
Sleep...
Grades...
Social life...
...pick 2...

But there's more to life than that: 
Work
Extracurricular commitments
Relationships/Family
Relaxation

How can anyone be asked to just pick two? Life is all about balance. 

How did I get through this term? Let me tell you...

  • Coffee
    • What a surprise the caffeine addict strikes again! On a whim and slightly inspired by Ingrid Nilsen, I ordered a Chestnut Praline Latte at Starbucks while I was waiting for my boyfriend and our good friend to come meet me at Target and I fell in love. Most days, what got me through was the warm, nutty, goodness. Heaven in a cup. 
  • Writing
    • I wrote my 4th novel this term. A 208 page family drama surrounding a Jewish Family living on the East Coast. It was a great way to get out stress, anxiety and to explore my thoughts and feelings and desires through characters in a safe place, and, a place where backspace exists. 
    • Participating in NaNoWriMo for the 4th time was a mess and might have added a little more stress to my life, but, once I realized that I had finished my novel the stress was all worth it and I have something to physically show for it.
  • Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life
    • This just came out last week. But counting down the days and chatting casually about what I thought would happen in the 4 new episodes gave me something to look forward to. P.S: I loved it. The last four words: AHHHHHHH!
  • My future cat
    • Not a day went by this term that I didn't talk about, or at least think about, going and getting a cat. I gave been told that i qualify for a emotional support animal, but the idea of going though the process, ironically enough, gives me more anxiety. 
  • Diet Coke
    • Don't get me started... caffeine...
  • Bath and Body Works scented candles and hand soaps
    • YUM! The scents are so calming and relive stress. I feel so pampered when I light a candle or even just wash my hands. What an affordable price for such luxury items. 
  • The knowledge that VLOGMAS is coming up
    • I love YouTube and vlogs and December. A month when all my favorite YouTubers make videos every single day? PLEASE?!
That's all for now. Wish me luck on my finals.

P.S: Here are a couple cute pictures!