So….

So… You may have noticed I didn’t post yesterday, October 23. (If not no worries)…. But I am finding the every week post schedule is a just a little too hard for me. Until further notice I am going to cut myself some slack and try to post once a month. And I am thinking that the 3rd Thursday of each month will be the goal as of right now.

I may do more than that, I am not sure, I just don’t want to repeat content and also I want to write about topics that I feel that I truly know about and are well researched. Which I’m still young, I am knowledgeable about some stuff but not too much. Also I would like to have my posts more polished/finished for my readers… I have been posting several works without much editing just for the sake of getting them up and that has made for several typos and errors that I normally wouldn’t let slip.

So for my sanity and for the sake of overall quality, I am going to post my next post in the morning of November 21st and following that, every Third Thursday of every month.

(Dec 19, Jan 16, and so on)

Now this may change especially once the holidays have ended, but I do want to focus more on writing my fiction works and though overall since starting this blog I am more consistent with my writing, I have found that I’m dedicating what little free time I have to write (with work and all other goings on) on this blog instead of those writings. So this is also an attempt to balance that situation.

Thank you to all my readers. I hope you have a Happy Halloween and you should see a post in November! (Remember 2018 October I started this blog so there are a lot of fun Halloween posts from last year if you want something to read in the mean time! )

Some past posts…

The Magic of Halloween

Halloween Magic: Movies (Part 1 of 3)

Halloween Magic: Movies (part 2 of 3)

Halloween Magic: Movies (Part 3 of 3)Halloween Magic: Movies (BONUS)

Halloween Magic: The Cool House & Trick or Treats

 

Remember in the meantime, YOU GOT THIS!

-Heather

 

 

 

 

 

Hallowed Reads

black boo box
Photo by Jillian Morkan on Pexels.com

So last year (October 2018)  I did a 3 part post listing movies to get you in the spooky mood for Halloween. (You can check that out here:  PART 1,   PART 2  PART 3) But what about spooky books to get you in the spirit?  I know I  like something to get me into the Halloween mood but I’m not up for straight up gore and evil… instead maybe some mystery, some humor, a bit of romance, and/or of course some horror just nothing too over the top… well here are some books to get into the Halloween mood…

Note these are all grownup books. If anyone wants me to do a kids list for fun I can, but my audience is primarily childfree adults. I still  enjoy kids books, because there are some great Halloween choices out there.

Okay so this is a little long but not nearly as long as those movie-lists…

Up first is the Romance. These are titles either set in Fall or around Halloween that the primary aspect of the book is romance, very little creepy just Halloween feels.

The Romancy Halloween Feels:

The Cottage on Pumpkin and Vine by Kate Angell, Jennifer Dawson, and Sharla Lovelace

(three novellas in one book)

My Goodreads review—- Finally, a romance novel revolving around a cute town that loves Halloween! Plus three different stories! (some of the writing was cliché… does every woman bite/nibble her lip when nervous? I really don’t know any woman who does this but two of three of our female protagonists did.) Clichés or not, this was a lot of fun, and it was great to read a novel that appreciates that whimsy and magic of Halloween that is overlooked for dark torturous horror, which isn’t my thing. (I love Halloween; I don’t love the gore/torture that becomes almost sickeningly pornographic in nature, gross.) So thankful this book exists hope more will appear! Some the characters romances/sexy scenes felt a little forced but it was worth it to have Halloween romance and magic!!!

The Bakeshop on Pumpkin and Vine by Kate Angell…

A follow up to the cottage one, just recently came out, currently reading it but  so far so good, I believe you do not have to read the cottage one to read this one. Same town but stand-alones.

All I Want for Halloween by Marie Harte

My Goodreads review—- Okay this was a fun romp. Chemistry was a little iffy. The talk of babies a lot was a major turn off for me. HOWEVER, Enjoyed the Halloween references and appreciated that there was more than just a single barely mentioned costume party. High marks for really being set in and involved with the Halloween season. If it wasn’t so baby-crazy I might have bought this book and had it as part of my annual Halloween reads.

Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell

This is a graphic novel and very quick read about two 18 year olds trying the make the most out of their Halloween night that is spent working at a Fall Farm with treats, hayrides, and pumpkin patches.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Okay so this one is more magical realism than spooky or Halloweeny but worth a mention. A great book.

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

This one is YA but it’s strange, it’s about two teenagers who have given up, so ghosts have taken over their bodies… sometimes sweet–sometimes eerie, I still don’t know how I feel about this one, but it’s worth a mention and definitely gives me Halloween vibes.

[Rebecca could potentially go on this list but I put it on the other list instead to me its more suspense than romance]

Now the following Romance authors are not set in Halloween, but they are paranormal so maybe you’d enjoy:

  • Lynsay Sands’ Arguneau Vampire series (first title: A Quick Bite) [Vampire]
  • Kimberly Raye’s Dead End Dating (first tile: dead end dating) [Vampire]
  • Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series (first title: Halfway to the Grave) [Vampire]
  • R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series( first title: Dark Lover) [Seven Deadly Sins]
  • MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead series (first title: Undead and Unwed) [Vampire]
  • Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series (first title: Definitely Dead) [vampire & other paranormal creatures such as fairies, werewolves]
  • Jennifer Rardin’s Jaz Parks series (first title Once Bitten, Twice Shy) [vampire]

Some titles are more action than romance or more romanced than action.

 

The spooky stuff… up next are the books that are chilling and mysterious, sometimes mysteries, sometimes horror, sometimes just strange stories. However I decided to include titles that more tickle the spine then curdle the blood. A bit of a ghost story, an eerie presence, a vanquished foe, and a recovering horror victim…. And much more.

 

The Spooky Stuff

These may still have romance but are more eerie than romancy:

Final Girls by Riley Sager

My goodreads review: Truly can say that I didn’t expect that ending. It was good, and it wasn’t too over the top with the horror/gore, which I appreciated. I felt immersed and it was a quick read. It was a mystery who-done-it approach to the horror genre.

October Dreams A Celebration of Halloween by Richard Chizmar (ed.)

This is a short story collection of spooky tales set around/on Halloween. Some of them are deeply disturbing while others give a good little chill. Many famous namse including Dean Koontz, Poppy Z. Brite, Christopher Golden, and Ray Bradbury… just to name a few!

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

A lot of people love(d) the book, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” and though I didn’t out and out hate it… I was disappointed because of how much I loved this title. Though they are of the same genre they are definitely two different “beasts” and I would recommend this, before that.

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

This is an odd one, I would have highly recommended it if not for some writing quirks and inconsistencies but despite that the characters, setting, dialogue, and overall plot were greatly enjoyable to me. Especially the references to Scooby-Doo and other teenage sleuth cartoons. This is by no means a spoof. This a work inspired by those cartoons and how messed up those characters would actually be if they came across true horrors. Overall verdict: A lot of fun. (Note I have attempted to read other titles by him but haven’t gotten into them.)

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Old school gothic romance. Good stuff. She has other pretty creepy titles (The Birds, My Cousin Rachel)  but this is more haunting to me. It is definitely a romance however I feel like that is secondary to the house. For it feels like a character itself.

House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Okay I don’t remember much about this, other than at the time that I read it, it felt mysterious and gothic and I think maybe you’ll like… perhaps I should read this again.

 

On My to-read list of spooky

(either I haven’t read but it’s on my list to or I am reading currently… either way I have a good feeling about these):

  • Witches of New York -McKay
  • Discovery of Witches-Harkness
  • The Night Circus- Morgenstern
  • The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel -Palombo

 

And some well-known go-tos would be…

  • Edgar Allan Poe (The Raven, Fall of the House of Usher, Tell Tale Heart, Cask of Amontillado, Murders in the Rue Morgue, Pit and the Pendulum, )
  • H. P. Lovecraft (The Dunwhich Horror, The Lurking Fear, The Shadow Out of Time, The Call of Cthulhu, Rats in the Walls, Dagon)
  • Stephen King (It, Carrie, The Shining, Misery, Pet Sematary, Salem’s Lot, Night Shift, Cycle of the Werewolf)
  • Dean Koontz (The Watchers, The Strangers, Whispers, Night Chills, Demon Seed, The Mask, Phantoms)
  • Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Halloween Tree, October Country, The Scythe)
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Anne Rice (Interview with a Vampire, Lestat, Witching Hour)
  • Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  • Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

 

Bonus: Horror Humor:

  • How to Survive a Horror movie by Seth Grahame-Smith
  • The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks
  • How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike by Chuck Sambuchino
  • How to Tell if Your Boyfriend is the Antichrist (And if so, Should you Break Up With Him) by Patricia Carlin

 

Note: The “Survive a Horror Movie” and the “Boyfriend is the Antichrist” are hilarious all year long and are some of my favorite all time reads but I included them here because they are definitely weird creepy to get you in the Halloween mood.

Other OR Honorable Mentions: (These are horror/spooky but just don’t feel Halloween to me)

  • Nancy A Collins’ Midnight Blue Collection
  • Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
  • The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon (Also, The Stake )
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (series)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik

 

 

 

[Obviously this list is not exhaustive]

So those are only the ones I can recommend (Yes there is so much more out there, but these are the ones in my wheel house that I enjoyed so you may too) And honestly I feel like I am forgetting some… I have been searching through my Goodreads muttering to myself that I know I read more horror than this! (Granted there was a lot of horror I’ve read that I wouldn’t recommend.)

 

Enjoy!

YOU GOT THIS!

-Heather

 

SIMPLE LIST SO YOU CAN JUST COPY AND PASTE FROM THIS POINT TO MAKE PRINTING EASIER….

Halloween Romance:

  • The Cottage on Pumpkin and Vine by Kate Angell, Jennifer Dawson, and Sharla Lovelace
  • The Bakeshop on Pumpkin and Vine by Kate Angell…et al
  • All I Want for Halloween by Marie Harte
  • Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell
  • Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
  • A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

Some Paranormal romance, not set in Halloween but may still work for you:  

  • Lynsay Sands’ Arguneau Vampire series (first title: A Quick Bite) [Vampire]
  • Kimberly Raye’s Dead End Dating (first tile: dead end dating) [Vampire]
  • Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series (first title: Halfway to the Grave) [Vampire]
  • R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series( first title: Dark Lover) [Seven Deadly Sins]
  • MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead series (first title: Undead and Unwed) [Vampire]
  • Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series (first title: Definitely Dead) [vamp & other]
  • Jennifer Rardin’s Jaz Parks series (first title Once Bitten, Twice Shy) [vampire]

The Spooky Stuff

  • Final Girls by Riley Sager
  • October Dreams A Celebration of Halloween by Richard Chizmar (ed.)
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  • Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (technically gothic romance)
  • House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthrone

On My to-read list of spooky

  • Witches of New York -McKay
  • Discovery of Witches-Harkness
  • The Night Circus- Morgenstern
  • The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel -Palombo

And some well-known go-tos would be… (Truncated a bit so to print nicely)

  • Edgar Allan Poe (FallHouseUsher, TellTaleHeart, CaskAmontillado, MurderRueMorgue, PitPen)
  • H.P. Lovecraft (DunwhichHorror, LurkingFear, ShadowOutTime, CallCthulhu, RatsWalls, Dagon)
  • Stephen King (It, Carrie, Shining, Misery, Pet Sematary, Salem’s Lot, Night Shift, Cycle Werewolf)
  • Dean Koontz (Watchers, Strangers, Whispers, Night Chills, Demon Seed, Mask, Phantoms)
  • Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes, Halloween Tree, October Country, Scythe)
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Anne Rice (Interview with a Vampire, Lestat, Witching Hour)
  • Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  • Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Wonky Horror Humor:

  • How to Survive a Horror movie by Seth Grahame-Smith
  • The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks
  • How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike by Chuck Sambuchino
  • How to tell if Your boyfriend is the Antichrist by Patricia Carlin

Honorable Mentions: (These are horror/spooky but just don’t feel Halloween to me)

  • Nancy A Collins’ Midnight Blue Collection
  • Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
  • The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon (Also, The Stake )
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik

 

 

 

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!….

Here are some resource links of lists for more:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/104072.Halloween_Romance

https://listverse.com/2008/07/28/top-10-creepiest-tales-of-edgar-allan-poe/

https://hobbylark.com/fandoms/the-top-10-lovecraft-stories

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/the-read-down/want-read-lovecraft-heres-start

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/788.Best_Halloween_Books

https://www.readbrightly.com/8-thrilling-chilling-books-halloween/

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/18296.Romance_with_Masquerades_Costume_Balls

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/77878.All_Hallow_s_Eve_Romance_

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/79123.Fall_Halloween_New_England_Fiction

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/26581.best_halloween_erotica

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/44890.Halloween_Treats_

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/26362.Adult_Halloween_Romantical_Sexy_Times_Fiction_No_Erotica_

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/128511.Romances_for_Halloween

https://www.readitforward.com/essay/article/best-halloween-books/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/10-creepy-novels-get-halloween-spirit/

https://www.bookbub.com/blog/halloween-books-for-adults

https://www.bustle.com/p/11-funny-horror-books-for-readers-who-love-creepy-novels-but-hate-being-scared-11885925

https://modernmrsdarcy.com/seriously-spooky-books-halloween/

https://reedsy.com/discovery/blog/best-dean-koontz-books

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/every-single-stephen-king-book-ranked/

https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2018/08/the-best-horror-novels-of-all-time.html
https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/classic-horror

https://www.bustle.com/p/5-classic-horror-novels-you-can-finish-in-a-single-sitting-9841258

https://www.bustle.com/p/21-lesser-known-horror-novels-you-should-discover-this-year-18755359

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/64491-the-10-best-ghost-stories.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Spoonful of Sugar…

berry close up cooking delicious
Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

So recently I was in Disney World, my husband saved up to take our belated honeymoon.  And whilst there, I got the pleasure of “meeting” Mary Poppins. And clever as always I walked up to her and said, “You know I’ve been trying that snapping the fingers thing for years now it just isn’t working.” To which she simply reminded me that the trick is not in the snapping but making it feel like a snap by making all activities fun. (Which she is right… and deep down I knew this… I mean, the original Mary Poppins film that I was referencing pretty much says this in the first line of the song in that particular scene. The song begins with,  “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun, then snap, the job’s a game.”)

Now I cannot speak for the new movie, but Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews one) is so right… and all these years despite my first sentence being “Put Mary Poppins on TV” I consciously ignored this fact, but subconsciously I knew that the movie wasn’t about fantastical magic, but that magic feeling that I posted about in October 2018 of this very blog. The magic of turning the drudgery of life into fun, and childlike whimsy… Instead letting my conscious anxiety of all that must be done, I overlooked this fact and spent too much time recalling only the ease and fantastical nature of the film.

When I talked to Mary Poppins, she woke me up from slumber… that what I had been missing was in fact that magic feeling, that I so freely applied in so many other areas of my life, just not this particular area (organizing my home/cleaning/cooking/work tasks etc.) Mary Poppins is all about that every day magic. It’s instilling laughter and saving Mr. Banks from the everyday hum-drum of his life. The antagonist of that film is not the bank, not the kids, not even the father, it is having a “that magic feeling”- free existence!

(BRIEF SEMI-ANGSTY SIDE NOTE ABOUT THE NEW MARY POPPINS….. Honestly, despite the fantastic acting job done by Emily Blunt, and the gorgeous costuming and set design… this is why the new film greatly disappointed me. That movie missed the point, the antagonist should have been that the kids were taking care of their father and not being allowed to grieve, that Michael Banks now was just as lost as his father Mr. Banks… not that they were losing the house or some other evil trickery. Now I do not know how close this is to the actual book(s), but it took a far leap away from the message of the original film, which they had a great opportunity to help children find “real” magic again after tragic loss. Instead, it was just a little too fantastical, and the songs were somehow wordier than “Supercalifragilisticexpilaidocious”. Which to me says something, and it’s not good.  But I can see the merit in the film, especially the actors and atmosphere but for me, a longtime fan of 1964 classic, it missed the mark. )

So even though it seems impossible sometimes, we can all take little steps to make a game out of troubling or tiresome tasks. This is not the only time Disney has plugged this message through their films. The dwarfs in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” sang about whistling while they work and Cinderella allowed herself to sing and dream her troubles away while she worked.  (Just to name a few.)  Honestly, a lot of Disney message seems to be about manifesting a better life via positive attitude and not complaining about what life has given you, just doing your best to enjoy it and improve it.

 

This is by no means the only Disney magic message, and sure it’s a company with a goal of making money, but you got admit, if you jam out to some awesome tunes or make a game out of your work, then it surely makes things more fun and A LOT easier to accomplish.

So I leave you with the lyrics of a cheery possibly familiar tune, sung so beautifully by Julie Andrews, and composed by the Sherman brothers for the film Mary Poppins, “A Spoonful of Sugar”.  Do yourself a favor, and really give them a look over, because once I did, I began applying that attitude towards my tasks, and it’s helped even in the tiniest bit….

Note: I put the song in paragraph form excluding the repeating chorus of “a spoonful of sugar” because I want you to be able to really absorb the words not just sing along. (I know I know it’s hard!) Any place that has  “[…]” I have left out either the entire or part of the chorus.

 

In every job that must be done there is an element of fun; you find the fun and SNAP, the job’s a game!

And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake. A lark! A spree! It’s very clear to see, that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down […] in the most delightful way.

A robin feathering his nest has very little time to rest while gathering his bits of twine and twig; though quite intent in his pursuit he has a merry tune to toot. He knows a song will move the job along. […]

The honey bee that fetch the nectar from the flowers to the comb never tire of ever buzzing to and fro because they take a little nip from every flower that they sip. And hence , they find, their task is not a grind. […]

(Disney 1964)

So remember to add a spoonful of sugar… be it actual sugar, a game of sorts, or even a merry tune to break up the dreary monotony of the day or any bothersome task.

YOU GOT THIS!

-Heather

 

 

 

Resources:

Robert B. & Richard M. Sherman. (1964). A Spoonful of Sugar. [Performed by Julie Andrews] On Mary Poppins Soundtrack. California: Disney Productions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Spoonful_of_Sugar

 

Walk the walk

woman wearing black and white striped maxi skirt holding brown bag
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

 

Walking is one of those great exercises that no matter the level of health someone is at, ALMOST everyone can do it… You really can’t say that about much. We are all different people with different needs and abilities. And it can be worthwhile to your health whether you are just adding a few extra steps here and there or you start a full blown walking regimen. Also for most it’s pretty cheap, minus maybe the cost of shoes/workout clothes (if you don’t already have something that works) then it’s free if you do it outside. If you cannot do it outside there are marching/step-exercises that you can do at home (which minus the cost of maybe a DVD and/or a step-master is also free). Or if you really have no space to do that but just enough room for a treadmill then well minus the cost of the treadmill. There are even a lot of places that you can walk around instead of buying equipment, so if it’s bad weather that you are worried about you may still be able to walk. What I am trying to say is that unless you really want to, this is an exercise that you can do without joining a gym or signing up for some program…

There are four reasons that I can think of why it’s great that you can do this without having to join a specific group or buying a gym memberships

  1.  The Moolah $$$: memberships can be expensive
  2. Bad Form: through my research I have seen many physicians/professionals state that is unnatural for your gate/posture/body to walk on treadmills and it is always better to walk on real terrain, so the machines you are paying the big bucks to use to help your health may be negatively affecting it. (Although most doctors agree that exercise on a machine is better than no exercise at all)
  3. The Social Aspect: If you feel as though you need to look a certain way at the gym or if you have anxiety about socializing you may avoid going to the gym
  4. Extra steps are more steps in your way: If there is an extra step you need to take –such as drive to the gym, dress a certain way for the gym, check in with staff, meet up with someone– well you may not take that extra step because you’re tired, or the weather is bad etc.) I don’t know about you but if I have to put any extra effort such as meet someone at the gym and drive to that gym at a certain time… well I then I will make the excuse not to exercise at all.

So the fact that walking is a helpful exercise and so easily accessible to so many it may be a good option for you.

Maybe you are someone like me that can find any excuse not to exercise, or maybe you have certain factors that makes exercise hard… well here’s how to make walking seem a little less like exercise and make it happen even when it seems unlikely to.

Trick yourself with an app/game/challenge:

There are many apps that track your walking progress some are simple keep track of steps some map routes some go with stories some challenge and compare to friends. You can even do this without an app or program and challenge yourself block by block. The following are websites or apps that might help if this is appealing to you with a little description of each. Some are silly fun, some are serious challenges, and some just inspire the geekiest of us.

  • Pokemon Go (app): Interactive Pokemon app, in order to complete challenges and hatch/find Pokemon there is a lot of walking.
  • Wizards Unite (app): Interactive Harry Potter app, in order to complete challenges, and open Portkeys/find elements you have to walk.
  • Walk the Distance (app): Maps out the distance of things like the “Appalachian Trail” as well as other well known locations.
  • Zombies Run (app): Listen to a story and avoid pretend zombies from attacking you by walking/running certain routes.
  • The Walk (app): Similar to Zombies Run, this is an interactive story where your survival (and the continuation of the story) depends on the length of time/miles that you walk/run.
  • Walk to Mordor (app): Ever wanted to feel like you are part of the Fellowship in Lord of the Rings, or question how long that walk must have really been? Well you can do it yourself with this app.

(Like the idea of these but none of them are really your thing? Well then do some digging, I know there are more out there, these are just the ones I know of!)

More visual? Try these:

  • Map My walk (app)
  • Walkscore.com (https://www.walkscore.com/) This is more to check out the walkability of our neighborhood and how easily accessible it is to walk to certain locations in your area.

Motivated more by helping others? :

  • Charity Miles (app)
  • Virtual Strides (www.virtualstrides.com) This is a website you sign up for a race that you do on any day of your choosing anywhere just before the deadline to help out specific charities. (There are other sites like this out there but this was the one that I knew off the top of my head.)
  • Active.com (https://www.active.com/) you can use this website to look for local charity walks in your community

Motivate with music:

Maybe you just need a simple beat, maybe you want to feel like a badass in a movie walking away from explosions, maybe you are someone who is motivated to walk out your thoughts by being contemplative and listening to mellow music. You can listen to the radio, make a playlist for yourself or even listen to a playlist made by someone else that fits your motivating theme/mood. If the thought of trying to create a playlist or even find a playlist is one of those “extra steps” that will keep you from starting but you still want a  good playlist then below are some playlists created by others on Spotify that you might want to check out.

For the badass:

  • Walking away from explosions by jermyn84
  • Walk like a Badass by siebsquip
  • Walk like you own the Place by Spotify

For the introspective:

  • A Walk Alone by Spotify
  • Sunday Stroll by Spotify

For some bounce in your step:

  • Walking Playlist by SimonNg
  • Power Walking by Bodil Johansson

(Or find a Podcast you’ve been meaning to listen to or an audio book, maybe listen  and learn a language as you walk.)

Can’t do it alone?:

If you are someone who just can’t bare to be walking alone then here are some possible ideas…

  • Meet up with a friend (you can walk the neighborhood, walk a trail/boardwalk, walk the mall, or gasp yes you could go to the gym)
  • Buy an exercise DVD such as Leslie Sansone’s (yes you are still technically alone but having someone talking you through your process can sometimes help)
  • Walk someone’s dog (if you have a dog you should already be doing this those little floofers need their exercise! ha, but maybe you can help out a friend who is very busy or has stuff going on, or become a dog walker on the side and earn some extra cash)
  • Walk with someone via an app
  • Chat on the phone (just try not to be too loud and obnoxious walking down a neighborhood street)
  • Do walks for charity or join a gym.

So see there are lots of ways to walk and get motivated to walk /trick yourself into walking.

If you have issues with your gate/uneven walking you may want to go to a specialty running store and have them do some measurements for proper shoes or see a physical therapist/doctor.

 

 

YOU GOT THIS!

-Heather

 

 

Resources (these are all included in the body of the post but for easy copy & paste/print here they are listed again without all the verbiage)

For Apps search in your App or Google Play stores:

  • Pokemon Go
  • Wizards Unite
  • Walk the Distance
  • Zombies Run
  • The Walk
  • Walk to Mordor
  • Map My walk
  • Charity Miles
  • Spotify (for the music playlists, free or minimal cost if going ad-free)

Websites:

Spotify Playlists:

  • Walking away from explosions by jermyn84
  • Walk like a Badass by siebsquip
  • Walk like you own the Place by Spotify
  • A Walk Alone by Spotify
  • Sunday Stroll by Spotify
  • Walking Playlist by SimonNg
  • Power Walking by Bodil Johansson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Museums Rock

art design gallery group
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Honestly the only thing that doesn’t rock about Museums is the fact that I always tend forget how to spell this word, for some reason I’m always incorrectly spelling it (Muesums) … anyway that’s my own personal albatross, onto the post!

Let’s begin by the fact that Museums are a mixture of a show room and library, holding information and art in a visual, three dimensional, and often textile way that we wouldn’t normally have access to. Through visiting museums (and other historical sites that they are often attached to), I have learned local history, had a better grasp on coinciding historical timelines, seen things up close that I would not have otherwise ever gotten to see, felt emotions from art that in front of me spoke more than ever seeing it online or in a book, done unique activities, and quite a few times I got to meet some interesting and passionate people.

In fact, let me tell you about my “Ohio” trip. Back before we weren’t even engaged, my fella (his name is Mike by the way) and I decided to take a trip out to Cincinnati, Ohio to visit one of my good friends. (And also Mike was going to propose but my friend and I had no clue about it!) As I have said in the past we live on the East Coast so we drove approximately 9 hours (actually more with pit-stops) to go visit our friend, then we took a couple of days to drive out even farther west to Cahokia, Illinois (where he proposed!) and then to St. Louis, Missouri. Even though A LOT happened on this trip when asked about it by friends, family, co-workers, Mike and I would often start by saying, “We saw NINE museums, oh and yea and we got engaged!”  We would tell people this because it truly was a highlight of our trip. We are still thrilled by all the unique and cool museums that it tends to be what we mention first and honestly I didn’t even think we were that crazy about museums but we had a blast.

For fun here is a list of all the museums that we visited on the length of our 10 day trip.

In Ohio:

  • Serpent Mound (Peebles)
  • Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati)
  • The Lucky Cat Museum (Cincinnati)
  • American Sign Museum (Cincinnati)
  • The Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum (Hamilton)
  • The Cincinnati Observatory (Cincinnati)

In Illinois:

  • Cahokia Museum

In St. Lois, Missouri: 

  • World Chess Hall of Fame & Chess Museum
  • The City Museum
  • St. Louis Public Library (Not really a museum but had some really amazing displays so honorable mention)

All of the listed above are museums or were attractions/historical sites that had museums with it such as Serpent Mound where it was the outside historical site and then the museum about it inside. If you notice a lot of these were different and wouldn’t be necessarily considered “main stream”. Not to say we wouldn’t have enjoyed them. We have been to places like Ripley’s Believe it Or Not and Madame Tussauds which have multiple locations. We have been to some of the more “quintessential” or expected museums in the US. And we hope to get back these states and others to see the more of the larger and more popular as well as other smaller distinctive locations that we missed.

If you want our advice which I think you might maybe be interested in what is… I mean you’ve made it this far through the post right? …We highly recommend visiting both the local little museums and big city well-known museums. Our advice is to visit the little local museums around you first, especially around the holidays because they often have neat reenactments, fairs, and events. We are rarely disappointed!

Honestly, I hope to never forget the experiences I had on this trip almost entirely at museums, exhibits, and attractions.(And the experiences attached to those museums.)

In brief here are some of my magic moments:

  • On our way to Cahokia we stopped in Casey, Illinois which has some of the world’s record setting largest items. While we were there we saw GIANT versions of :
    • A Pencil
    • A Wind Chime
    • Knitting Needles
    • A Crochet hook
    • Wooden Shoes
    • Baseball bat
    • Yardstick
    • Mail box (we even mailed postcards through it!)
  • Visited & stayed at St. Louis Union Station Hotel Where we:
    • Whispered I love you to one another through the famous 100 year old “Whispering Arch”
    • Watched a projected light show on their beautiful architectural ceiling
  • Looked through one the oldest telescopes in the United States
  • Got a behind the scenes personal tour from one of the museum’s curators
  • Met a local retired long standing judge who now dedicates his days to helping maintain the museum grounds
  • Was literally inches away from art that was thousands of years old
  • Took green screen pictures at the chess museum
  • Saw some of the most interesting chess sets
  • Connected with nature and man made marvels built in nature by:
    • Standing on a platform gazing down at the serpent mound
    • Looking at the St. Louis arch and all the other mounds whilst standing on the Cahokia Monk’s Mound
    • Feeling the breeze at the top of hill made of grass covered waves at the Prymaid sculpture garden

Outside of museums, attractions, and historical sites we had a lot of fun as well: We saw some to the most unique truck stops, drove on strange roads, caught up with a good friend, and got Krispy Kreme Donuts when the hot light was on!  We just happened to go back in time! (We traveled through a time zone which confused the heck out of us, but was really cool.) We also went to a comedy club, ate at an excellent Asian fusion restaurant, and ordered the most delicious room service at the Union Station Hotel… Oh and Mike proposed!  Hehe.

So as you can see, we did so much more than just visit museums but the museums were definitely the highlight. Filling our minds with information and wonder, these institutions provided that “magic feeling”.  

I hope you take the time to check out a museum. Wether it is just adding one to your trip itinerary or taking the time to visit one that you drive past every day… we hope you have a magical experience much like my husband and I have had and continue to have.

You Got This!

-Heather

 

 

 

Resources:

https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/what-can-you-find-in-a-museum  “What can you find in a Museum”

https://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/weirdest-things-do-museums-united-states.html/  “Weirdest Things to Do in Museums in the United States”

http://www.museumsusa.org/

 

 

St. Louis Union Station Hotel:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/whispering-arch-at-union-station

http://alivemag.com/5-hidden-secrets-of-union-station/

https://www.stlouisunionstation.com/

 

Casey Illinois:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/worlds-largest-objects-of-casey-illinois

https://localadventurer.com/worlds-largest-things-casey-illinois/

https://www.bigthingssmalltown.com/

 

St. Louis Museums we went to:

https://www.citymuseum.org/  (The City)

https://worldchesshof.org/  (Chess)

https://www.slpl.org/  (Library)

 

About Cahokia (Illinois) :

https://cahokiamounds.org/

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/aug/17/lost-cities-8-mystery-ahokia-illinois-mississippians-native-americans-vanish

https://www.livescience.com/22737-cahokia.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/daily/march/12/cahokia.htm?noredirect=on

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2011/01/americas-forgotten-city/

https://www.ancient.eu/cahokia/

 

About Pyramid Hill:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/pyramid-hill-sculpture-park

https://www.gettothebc.com/blog/post/find-yourself-pyramid-hill

https://www.pyramidhill.org/

https://www.dayton.com/news/local/why-you-need-visit-one-the-region-most-overlooked-treasures/ei4BAIohk377H9dGq5T00I/

https://cincinnatiusa.com/things-to-do/attractions/pyramid-hill-sculpture-park-and-museum

 

 

About Serpent Mound:

https://www.ohiohistory.org/visit/museum-and-site-locator/serpent-mound

http://arcofappalachia.org/visit/serpent-mound/

https://expo.cleveland.com/life-and-culture/erry-2018/10/71b738640b7079/ohios-serpent-mound-an-archaeo.html

https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/indigenous-americas/a/fort-ancient-culture-great-serpent-mound

https://www.history.com/topics/landmarks/serpent-mound

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g50832-d107554-Reviews-Serpent_Mound-Peebles_Ohio.html

 

Ohio Museums I went to:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/lucky-cat-museum (Lucky Cat)

https://www.contemporaryartscenter.org/ (Contemporary Arts Center)

https://www.americansignmuseum.org/ (American Sign)

https://www.pyramidhill.org/ (Pyramid Hill)

https://www.cincinnatiobservatory.org/home/ (Observatory)

 

[Serpent Mound does not have it’s own official website]

 

 

 

 

One Notebook to Rule Them All

person holding black pen and book near pink ceramic mug
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Or how I keep track of all the stuff I have to remember for work (and how I hope to do so at home eventually)

Okay so let me clarify… I don’t just use one notebook ALL the time. But when it comes to keeping track of everything at work I found using a bullet journal like system to save my sanity. Maybe you would find it helpful too… because believe me it took me several years at my job, missing deadlines, needing to recall budgets in a heartbeat, and so on and just being frantic as to where I put the information.  (If I haven’t mentioned it already that my day job is a librarian… so I have a lot of budgets, schedules, reports, inventory, etc. that I have to keep track of.)

Now first off, what the heck is bullet journaling? You could Google bullet journal spreads and see free printables, articles about what are considered the best quality tools to use (be it pens, stickers, rulers, stamps, notebooks, stencils, and so on), and an array of what looks like artsy journals on crack. (I mean I love the idea of being this creative on the daily but it’s a lot of pressure) Honestly, It’s all a bit overwhelming really but these are just examples of the more extreme and creative version of bullet journaling or “BuJo” as those creative kids are calling it… Bullet journaling was originally an organizational analog system utilizing a simple dot grid notebook to organize everything in your life from your random thoughts to your to-do lists and monthly plans. This system was created by a man named Ryder Carroll and I have a link under resources if you want to learn all about him and why he started this system.

Basically, with Ryder’s system, you would save the first couple of pages of your notebook as an index after that you just start writing on each page in no specific order, maybe you might set up a month or weekly to-do calendar but ultimately if you started writing about poetry on one page you can start the next with the daily to-dos, and then start the next page with bills you have to pay, and then the next with ideas about cooking, or whatever… marking each page and what you have decided to call it in the index such as (to-do Monday the 12, bills, cooking ideas, etc.) .  Essentially this system is primarily bulleted lists… and you would put a dot next to a task, you would X out the dot when completed, turn the dot into an arrow to the right if you need to move this task to the next list or another list,  turn it into an arrow facing left for a scheduled task, turn it into a star for an important task, and a slash through the dot if the item no longer applies. Yea it’s a lot… and people have gotten crazier with it too.

Here are some examples of bullet journal keys: (the first one is closer to the original bullet journal the rest are people’s updates)

 

dot journal keybullet-journal-key-lovebullet-journal-key-doo

 

For work, I only use the dots for to-do lists  and simplified:

 Dot = task

X= means completed

> = move to next month

Strikethrough= no longer applies (meaning I didn’t do it but don’t have to do it anymore)

I will use arrows and highlight and star things when needed but overall that’s my system.

As for just putting your to do list on the next page or just using the next page available for whatever you need, I did that the first year I utilized this system but found it to be a bit too jumbled. So I do that for new ideas or subjects that pop up for work, but overall I have dedicated pages with information. (Some are even grids I printed off of excel glued into my notebook and filled out later.)

Ryder Carroll also swears by a specific notebook: the Lechtturm 1917 dot grid journal. (These are nice and I get it because the ink doesn’t bleed through) I however swear by Mead College Ruled Compbook. I usually pick up one (or two) in August at Target for less than a buck a book.

Now also there are the people who have whole Instagram accounts and Pinterest boards dedicated to beautiful bullet journal spreads,  colorful with brush writing… yea for this system to work for me, I have to let all that pretty stuff go.

Below are a few photos of my notebook but not much because a lot of pages have account information or other work information that I probably shouldn’t share willy-nilly on the internet.

Every notebook for work I start by writing the year on the cover in marker. [I usually set up my notebook 3-4 months ahead in case I need to put any planning info in it in advance.]

I usually use only the front of the page (and leave the back side blank this is my built in wiggle room in case I need to add more info unexpectedly to a particular item/topic) and I number in the right top hand corner.

I leave the first few pages unnumbered turning them into a cover page/key and index. I usually have two indexes, Index A: by page Index B: by subject/topic  (examples, I broke the page into sections “to-do & meetings ”, “Important Info”, “Programming/Budgets”, “Meetings” and “Summer”.

Pg 1 – 24:  MONTHLY TO-DOS & MEETINGS.

For example:  Pg1: January To-Do  Pg2: January Meeting Notes  Pg3: February To-Do

I will title these pages and fill in things I know such as for January I know December’s monthly statistics are due and so I put that on the list ahead of time. This is primarily where I use the dot, X, arrow system… I will also add the date next to a completed task such as 9/8/19 etc.

Page 25: DUE DATES.

A list of unchanging yearly/monthly important due dates  (Publicity due dates, reports, budget due dates that are the same every year I use this as reference to set up pages 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23 for the month’s to-dos)

Page 26 -?:  INFORMATION I NEED EVERY YEAR…

These are pages that I need to transfer every year, some will be printed out and glued or taped into the book, some will be written but almost all of them are things from the previous notebook that needed to be transferred (as I copy pages from my previous notebook to the current one I will put a X through the page number so I know I transferred that page)

These pages may include any and all of the following (just as some examples… note the titles here aren’t the titles I use, I tend more of a short hand but you probably wouldn’t know what I meant thus the extremely wordy titles) Some of these will only be the title or just a grid with titles and blank spots to be filled in with future information and some will get multiple dedicated pages:

  • Important contact numbers
  • Ordering accounts information
  • Pay date grid (including pay periods, date, expected pay vs. actual pay—minus deductions)
  • Program budget
  • Programs that need to be entered into our event calendar
  • Statistics that have to be entered into bigger grid outside of the monthly statistics report
  • Special craft programs (setup, who’s running it, what supplies are needed, what budget)
  • Staff training (date, length, title of webinar/meeting, date submitted)
  • Vacation time (allotted, taken, submitted)
  • Sick time (allotted, taken, submitted, doctor’s note information)
  • Summer Specific programming (many subdivisions of this)
  • Prospective programming before released budget

Pages Left-over : THINGS THAT COME UP…  There will always be things that “come up” that I will have to add later, I just add them on the next available page. Some examples of things that just “came up” are…

  • Lists of books about particular topics that are in demand that I did not have any titles collected/suggested for previously
  • Books to be added to previously collated topic lists
  • New Invoices that need to be submitted
  • Incident that happened that I need to keep noted in case there is a follow up
  • New policies and procedures that need a dedicated page outside of meeting information
  • How to fill out and submit an updated form

 

Beyond this of course I also have a USB drive with the actual documents such as blank forms I need to submit, completed forms/reports that I have submitted, lists and so on….  (usually the notebook is for things in flux and also for noting when things are submitted or have to be)  and I also have a calendar where I put statistics and all important work dates (program dates, sick/vacation time taken, co-workers bdays, etc.).

And if you noticed in my alternate title of this post I mentioned that I am also working on implementing a version of this system for my home life, to keep track of bills, events, cleaning, blog posts, projects etc. So hopefully once I have figured out how to implement that system I will write another post about that because I am sure it will differ slightly.

 

So it took me a long time at this job to adopt this system which other than an initial setup is easy and allows me to remember all my to-dos et al. Maybe this will help you too!

Either way…

YOU GOT THIS!

-Heather

 

 

Resources:

 

https://bulletjournal.com/  This is the creator of the very basic analog method that started the whole bullet journal trend.

 

The fancier stuff…

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/a25940356/what-is-a-bullet-journal/

https://www.tinyrayofsunshine.com/blog/bullet-journal-guide

https://thepetiteplanner.com/31-bullet-journal-supplies-recommended-by-the-pros/

 

 

Image links:

https://www.gouletpens.com/products/leuchtturm1917-bullet-journal-a5-notebook-black

https://sheenaofthejournal.com/productivity/bullet-journal-key-ideas/