Bye October, Hello November

I’ve seriously failed as a blogger lately. I wrote three blog this month and never even bothered to post them (or never found the time, because I was actually quite busy this month). If I’m honest, I think I might kill this blog in 2014 (that is if I can get my website complete by then). This place has just lost its luster for me.

In case you’re curious, here’s what I’ve been up to in October…

I spent 7 days baking this month. Not 7 all at once, but scattered about. When you think about it, though, that’s a whole week lost to baking. Whoa. But it was all for good reasons, even if it wasn’t for my own enjoyment, I’m pretty sure all the people on the receiving end of my treats were happy about it. Here are some pictures of a few of those goodies.


I didn’t read nearly as much as I’d hoped, and nothing nearly as creepy as I wanted for Halloween either, but I did read three really great books and one awesome comic! (Titles link to my GoodReads reviews.)

October Books Read

Vicious by Victoria Schwab
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (library copy)
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Afterlife with Archie Vol. 1

Speaking of books, I also got some in the mail. One a long awaited kickstarter purchase and two I had no business buying, but couldn’t resist the sale prices.

October Books In My Mailbox

Let it Snow (Three Holiday Romances)
Necromancing the Stone (Necromancer, Book 2) by Lish McBride
Shadows of Asphodel by Karen Kincy

Somehow, despite being busier than normal, I wrote 4150 words in October (yay for working my way back to those 5K days!) and 1K of those words were for a Christmas short story I’m SUPER stoked about. I really, really want to finish this one in time. I feel like it’s going to become my favorite short story to date.

I worked out (sometimes up to 3 times a day) 20 days of October. This is the most consistent workout regimen I’ve done in a long, long time and I actually don’t hate it. But I do hate how slow the process is. Despite being at this now for over 7 weeks and eating super clean, I’ve only lost 2.2lbs. and no inches. I was so frustrated in fact that I went to my doctor about it. She said I’m definitely doing all the right things and that it just might take a little longer for my body to adjust to the change (which isn’t what anyone wants to hear), but she also switched up my thyroid medicine and the time of day in which I take it and I swear it’s already making a difference two weeks in (in fact, I didn’t even lose those 2.2lbs until AFTER the switch). Having a thyroid condition is known to make weight loss even more difficult than it already is and I know this, but I need at least SOME progress so I hope that this switch lets me finally start seeing some results for all this hard work.

Some great new music came out this month and I played the crap out of it, along with a bunch of old stuff like Twiztid and ICP because this always happens when Halloween nears. Songs/albums you should check out for sure include:

Dance Gavin Dance - "Doom & Gloom"

Arcade Fire - "Normal Person"

The Head and the Heart - "Gone"

Plush Soundtrack/Emily Browning – “Close Enough to Kill”
(click the image to listen on my Tumblr because there isn't a track available on youtube)

This past week I’ve been particularly busy first by helping out at Trunk-Or-Treat at church [PICS] and then by throwing my ‘Sister from another mother’ a baby shower with my real sister while she was in town [PICS]. And on Halloween, my sister gifted me another nephew!

Abel - Halloween 2013
Click HERE to see more!

Abel was born at 8.3 lbs., 19.5” and I’m already so, so in-love with him. After doing a small photoshoot with him in the hospital, I spent the rest of my Halloween with his big brother trick-or-treating. It was one hell of a way to say goodbye to October.

Unsurprising, fall is already turning out to be delightful though I do wish it’d slow down a bit so I could enjoy it more. How was your October?


Oh yeah, I have a blog….

It’s been over a month now since I’ve wandered over to LJ. Oops. My apologies for completely failing to blog last month (and keep up with all of your blogs – I’ll do my best to catch up soon). It’s not that I didn’t want to blog, in fact I had several ideas for blog posts, I just never acted on them. Really, it feels like September 1st happened and then suddenly it was September 30th just like that. I didn’t realize how quickly time was getting away from me until it was gone.

So since I’ve failed to do all my usual postings, I’m just going to do a quick summary of September all in one post. I promise to make it as short as possible.

In September I….

  • Threw my sister a Baby Sprinkle for my 2nd nephew Abel (who’s scheduled to arrive on Halloween!). It was extremely overwhelming in the food prep department (12 hours the day before, 9 hours the day of), but overall a beautiful event. You can see pictures HERE.

  • Got THESE awesome books in the mail. YAY for the return of pre-orders!

  • Read 4 books. I really had hoped to read more, but since one of these 4 books was the size of 3 books there just wasn’t time for anymore.

September Reads

Boys that Bite (Blood Coven, Book 1) by Mari Mancusi
Fathomless (Fairytale Retellings, Book 3) by Jackson Pearce
The Dream Thieves (Raven Cycle, Book 2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Styxx (Dark-Hunter, Book 23) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

  • Wrote 770 words. This is shameful, I know. I’m trying a new tactic this month to get back in my 5K game. Fingers crossed it helps.

  • Listened to a lot of random indie tracks. My favorite Music Friday tracks can be heard HERE, HERE, and HERE.

  • Started training for the Color Run. Mom and I get up at 5am to run before work. It felt insane at first, but I rather like it now – even with my forever aching muscles.

  • Went to the Milburn Orchards with Gideon like last year. If you’d like, you can see pictures HERE.

  • Saw the end of two of my favorite TV shows, Dexter and Breaking Bad. I wrote a reflective piece about show endings HERE.

So that’s basically it. Maybe you didn’t really miss much by my lack of blogging. How was your September?


August: In Review

Really, I don't know how it's already September. If it weren't for my favorite season of the year beginning in September (which will included cooler weather), I'd be complaining about how fast August went by. But I'm so looking forward to fall approaching, I can't be mad.

August was a pretty dismal. I was depressed a lot, for a variety of reasons that included the hot weather, and I failed at accomplishing much of anything. But it is what it is...

Reading wise, I only finished three books. Two really amazing reads and one just so-so. I've had such a bad string of so-so books this year. I guess it had to happen sometime, but I have to admit it kills my desire to read. Anyway, books read:

August Books

Glimmerglass (Fariewalker, Book 1) by Jenna Black
The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, Book 1) by Maggie Stiefvater
Unravel Me (Shatter Me, Book 2) by Taraeh Mafi

*Titles are clickable and take you to my review on GoodReads*

As far as writing is concerned, it was super hard this month. I had a good start to the month and then wrote nothing else worth keeping again until yesterday. I faced a huge bought of writer's doubt for a few weeks, in which I hated everything I've written and considered deleting it all completely. In the end I decided that my problem is really with the prologue and first two chapters (I think they could be merged together and reduced to just one opening chapter) and now I'm resisting the urge to start rewriting and just finish the darn draft first. Anyway, my final word count for August was only 2,190 words. I'm really praying the upcoming cooler weather helps bring back those 5K+ months I had going for me last winter.

Anyway, that's all I've got to report. Hope you had a more fulfilling August than me.

Music Love

Music Friday: August

I didn't listen to a lot in August. Or, rather, when I did listen to music, not much of it was new. So this month, I only have three things to share:

Hands Like Houses

I'm pretty sure I discovered this band because of Amazon, and it's a rare thing for them to suggest music I'll actually love. Luckily, I'd just happened to download their latest two albums right before my computer committed suicide at the start of the month so I spent the next two weeks waiting for it to work again listening to nothing but Hands Like Houses. Of the 22 tracks on those two albums, there were only 2 I didn't care for, which in my book is highly impressive. I'm posting my favorite track from their first album, but you should also check out my favorite track on their latest album: "Fountainhead"

Rock of Ages Rock Worship Hits

I stumbled onto this gem of an album in a search for a version of "Revelation Song" that was pleasing to my ear. Because we go to the early service at church, there's a live band and we sing contemporary songs (not those old fashioned hymnals). And this isn't the first song I've sought out after church, but this is the best set of church songs I've found to date. It's a compilation album, but the artist who contributed are unfortunately not listed. I would definitely check out more of their work if I knew their names. Anyway, if you'd like to hear some chick rock included on it too, check out "Indescribable"

O' Brother

It's not news to you that I really like this band, or it shouldn't be. I posted them several times last year and featured them in my yearly review of best bands for 2012. Anyway, their latest album dropped this month and it completely lived up to my expectations. If you've somehow managed to miss all of the other opportunities I've given you to check out this band, it's time you start questioning your life choices and rectify your mistakes by hitting play below. Such a great band.

I had been anticipating a new States album this month, as they said there'd be on the Kickstarter I backed, but they want it to be perfect and apparently it just isn't yet. I'm not mad, but I do hope it's released in September at the latest.

What are you guys listening to these days? Anything I might need to hear?

Pregnancy Photoshoots are FUN!

I actually did this shoot a few weeks ago now, but with my computer being dead for two of those weeks I wasn't able to edit this pictures until last week. I didn't do very extensive edits, because I personally like their natural colors (I shoot best in natural light), but some of them did get switched to black and white for effect. The expectant parents were overly happy with the results, which does wonders for settling down my neurosis. Anyway, here are some of my favorites! (Clicking the images will take you to the full size image on Flickr.)

Lauren & Greg Pregnancy Photoshoot

Lauren & Greg Pregnancy Photoshoot Lauren & Greg Pregnancy Photoshoot

Lauren & Greg Pregnancy Photoshoot

Lauren & Greg Pregnancy Photoshoot Lauren & Greg Pregnancy Photoshoot

I had my sister make their soon-to-be son a crocheted monkey hat. I hope they let me do a photoshoot with him in it when he arrives. :)

A Lesson in Shame

I haven't received a book pre-order since the end of June and that was just one book, so it feels a lot more like it's been since May really. For someone who buys books regularly, I'm exercising great restraint to stay away from book splurges. But the desire grows by the day and so to keep myself from giving into the urge, I decided to pull out all of the books I currently own, still in my to-be-read pile, to remind myself that in actuality, I have no need for more, I have plenty still waiting for my attention.

Partly, the problem is that I don't have one place to house all of my books. I have a bookshelf that's overstuffed and a curio cabinet that stores a bunch, and then I've got stacks of books hidden on end tables, underneath coffee tables, lined up in tidy piles in places I would otherwise showcase a knickknack and so this makes it hard sometimes to really grasp the library I truly have. I know that according to my GoodReads, I have read 185 books in the past few years, most of which I actually own. I have started to donate the few that do no have a re-read value to me, but for the most part I can guarantee at least 150 already read books in my collection. And because my book buying has gotten so out of hand in the past few years, and because I often get an abundance of books for birthdays and Christmas, it feels impossible to gauge exactly how many other books still exist in these hidden places waiting to be read.

And this is what I found when I dug them out.....

TBR Hardbacks
(Click to enlarge)


TBR Paperbacks
If you count the books within the books (like those B&N Leather-bound Collections) this totals to 97 books. Ninety-Seven. And this doesn't even include all the non-fiction I own. The guilt is too heavy to even imagine factoring in those, too.

Oh, the shame I'm feeling right now over my desire for things I don't need.


July: In Review

I’m blogging to you from my tablet and it is not easy. I was supposed to have a new PC by now - well, not completely new. My monitor’s still the same and my hard drives are still the same, but everything else – that will all be new. None of this is by choice. Last weekend, my beloved computer decided to commit suicide. It’s been slowly becoming problematic anyway, so it will be nice having a new computer, but man is my pocket sad about the unexpected expense. Especially since I spent a great deal of time this month planning and preparing for the Baby Sprinkle I’m throwing my sister in the beginning of September (money and I aren’t friends right now, clearly). What’s worse is that the new computer arrived this week, already defective. There is some sort of complete revolt going on against me where technology is concerned (seriously, my computer’s not the only malfunctioning product around me this week – I’m going nuts).

Anyway, July! Talk about passing fast. I don’t think I’ve ever been as busy in July as I was this year and to tell you the truth it was kind of annoying. And it definitely hurt my productivity elsewhere.

I only managed to read two books this month: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick and Definitely Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 6) by Charlaine Harris. I didn’t really have time for reading and when I did have time I tried to write. There’s no sense in photographing them together since that’s such a measly number, but one of them is worth talking about.

My Life Next Door was surprisingly good. I’d bought it on a whim, just because I was on a book buying binge and I thought it’d be a fluffy summer read. Like the main character, I was immediately drawn to the large, loving family next door. The story is also set near the water, where boat people come and go. As a kid, being out on the boat and visiting various marinas was the only thing I liked about summer. This aspect spawned a lot of good memories for me. The love story is perfectly sweet. But in addition to this is a political campaign staring the MC’s mom. And appalling, unexpected twists go down. And long story short, I found myself sobbing ugly, snotty tears for a good 40 pages towards the end as the author ripped me from this perfectly lovely summer story and stuck me in hell with the MC. There aren’t too many books that move me to this level of emotion, especially when I don’t see it coming. Really, this was one hell of a read and I’m eager to see what else Huntley Fitzpatrick has up her sleeve.

As for writing this month, well as you might remember I was participating in a private session of Grapemo over on FB. There are about 19 of us there, though not everyone is actually active. Still, the interaction on FB was far superior to the normal Grapemo and I’m positive it helped drive me to work harder. While I didn’t write as much as I’d hoped, I did write (which is better than the nothing I reported last month) and I shared a snippet from Dreamsters twice a week all month long. It’s the most I’ve shared of my book ever. And the members ate it up. It shocked me how receptive they were to the story, but was more encouraging than I could have thought it’d be. There are plans to leave the board open into August and I’m grateful for it. The accountability is extra important in the summer for me, when it’s so much easier to just forget about my book altogether until fall arrives. I doubt I’ll pump out some huge number next month, but I am confident I’ll write something and that’s fine with me.

Total July Word Count: 3,812

So, nothing all that exciting to report for July. I’d say the coolest thing that happened in July was that I dyed my hair peacock colors. I’m rather in-love with it.



How was your July? Anything fun to report?
Music Love

Music Friday: July

It just occurred to me that this past Friday was in fact the last Friday of the month and I completely forgot about my Music Friday post. I've been really bad at blogging this month. Sorry about that. Anyway, I know it's not on the right day, but the music is worth being listened to on any day of the week so better late than never, right?

There was a lot to be excited about this month where music's concerned. I got singles and new releases from bands I already knew I loved and also discovered some new artists to fangirl about.

O'Brother - "Context"

You guys already know how much I love O'Brother, I posted about them plenty in 2012. But they announced a new album coming out in August and with it this single. If it's a signal of what's to come, I am positive this album will be as good, if not better than their previous one. It has all the feels of fall for me and makes it almost seem close despite the oppressive heat. I can't wait for 8/20!

78Violet - "Hothouse"

I've been an Aly & AJ fan for years. And it has been years since they released something new. If I'm honest, I wasn't sure they ever would because it'd just been so long. But there's a new album coming soon and this month they released the first single. While the girls voices have obviously matured, they're still maintaining that pop-alternative sound I fell in-love with on Into the Rush. I'm so, so excited for more.

*This video is quite beautiful, but there's a very long monologue in the beginning. Fast forward to 3:30 to hear the song itself.

Bring Me The Horizon - "The House of Wolves"

I could have sworn I'd checked out this band before and didn't like them, but when Mindy White of States posted "Can You Feel My Heart" as a song on her summer playlist, I was intrigued to check out more. I don't know if it's just this latest album, but I'm really digging it.

Karnivool - "We Are"

Even if this song wasn't great (but I assure you, it is), this video is a perfect example of what I love about proper music videos. I have a great respect for bands who still put a lot of effort into these mini movies. I know that video's don't really have a great platform to present themselves anymore, with channels like MTV never actually playing music anymore, but I miss the old days when we used to live for the music video. When I saw this one, I was captivated and even more amazed when I reached it's end and hadn't seen it coming. I'm waiting for the album this song comes from to release in August with great expectations.

Other songs worth checking out:

Kings of Leon - "Supersoaker"
letlive. - "The Priest and Used Cars"

Dance Gavin Dance - "The Robot with Human Hair Pt. IV"
Vampire Weekend - "Everlasting Arms"

What were you listening to in July? Anything I need to hear? Feel free to share!

The Color Run

Back in May The Color Run came to Baltimore, but I’d found out about it only weeks before the event and was physically unprepared for such a feat. Seeing everyone’s pictures after the fact made me really regret not taking part in it, though. It just looks so, so fun. So I told myself I’d make no excuses if it were to come back to Baltimore again and sure enough it’s coming back in November!

I sort of thought I’d have to run it alone since I don’t really have ‘in real life’ friends and I was worried about whether I was brave enough for that sort of thing and if it’d even be any fun if I went alone, but once I started talking about it to my family members all sorts of people wanted in. So now I’ve got a team that includes my brother-in-law, my mother, my aunt, my cousin and her boyfriend. Picking a team name was our next hurdle and even though my favorite choice was outvoted (Dye Dynasty – like the show Duck Dynasty, but also synonyms for Color Family) we settled on another I came up with - Band of Color (like the music group Band of Horses, but also a synonym for rainbow).

Since it’s not until the end of November, I’ve got plenty of time to get ready this time and I can even wait until this oppressive heat starts to fade away before subjecting myself to C25K to train for the run. I used to love to run and I’m really looking forward to using this as a reason to get back into it. And if some weight falls away from me while I’m at it, then that’s just one more reason to stick with it after The Color Run has passed.

I’m super excited.

Have any of you done The Color Run before?

Long weekends are supposed to be relaxing...

But this four day holiday weekend wasn't relaxing at all. If it's possible, I'm more tired now than I was when it started. However, exhausting doesn't completely mean bad in this case.

Thursday, the 4th of July, I got up early and baked a super delicious Apple-Berry pie (strawberries, blueberries, and four different kinds of apples) and it wasn't just yummy, it was actually pretty and patriotic, too. See:

4th of July Pie_Cropped

Unfortunately while peeling the apples, I shaved off a portion of my pointer finger/nail bed so that's been pretty painful to deal with all weekend. Still, the pie was gone in a matter of minutes, it was so well received so it made it feel pretty worth it.

We ate said pie at my aunt Kim's house, where we also consumed customary cookout foods, swam, and watched fireworks. If they weren't already dressed in patriotic garb, I made everyone pose with a flag to capture the holiday. You can see the whole photo set by clicking the picture of Gideon and I below.

Sarah & Gideon 4th of July

Friday I was supposed to clean (my house is in desperate need of this) and perhaps write since I'm participating in Grapemo and I'm not exactly off to a good start, but I was so tired from the day before that I got swept away in a book I had no expectations for and found myself hours later sobbing like an idiot over.

Saturday morning I had that photoshoot I mentioned with a friend of my sister's and even though it was 90+ degrees out, I the shoot was a success (or at least better than that last shoot I did with a non-family/friend). The family even said they're interested in having me do Christmas pictures in the fall for them, too! I took a lot of pictures, but I figured I'd share just a few of the best ones here. (Click the pictures to enlarge them.)

Coleman4354 [50%] Coleman4569 [50%]

Coleman4748 [50%] July Photoshoot

When I got home from the shoot, I baked another pie for another family get together, this time at my mom's. This pie was very different from the first pie, super rich and nothing healthy about it at all. It was my rendition of Dangerously Delicious's Baltimore Bomb Pie aka Berger Cookie Pie. It was sinfully delicious.

IMG_4790 [50%]

No matter how tired I was today, I had to clean and get ready to return to work tomorrow, but life had other plans and shortly after church I received a hysterical phone call from my sister to rush to her house and watch Gideon because my brother-in-law had been attacked by a swarm of bees. He went into Anaphylactic shock, his blood pressure dropped to nearly nothing and he was rushed to the hospital via ambulance. Thank God they were able to revive him, but he has to remain in the hospital under observation for the next 24 hours. It could have ended a lot worse, had Rachel not been home it's very likely he wouldn't have made it at all.  

All-in-all it wasn't a bad weekend even if it didn't end on that happy of a note, but it was long and tiresome. I'd say I'm looking forward to a regular weekend next weekend, but there are more parties my presence is required and so I'm sure I'll be feeling pretty tired come next Sunday, too.

Did you do anything special for the holiday weekend?