Credit Where it is Due

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Good morning, y’all! I had to share this after re-reading it a few times. Do yourself a favor, if you’re reading this…..and read this:

How I lost 30 pounds through yoga & never saw them again, with embarrassing “before” picture.

I wanted to take a minute to gush about this post. I am so jealous that I didn’t write it first, that I didn’t spend a year in India and that haven’t had the opportunity to practice yoga six days a week (daily for an hour and a half! impressive!) HOWEVER. I am so happy I read this journal daily. Sometimes the stuff they post is cheesy, but this is a real article, a true gem.

It’s time to give proper credit where it is due. I recently posted a picture on Instagram (Beth, you are going to have to give me a step by step tutorial apparently), that I was proud to share as I have finally reached the 20-pounds-down mark.

Yep, I’ve lost 20lbs since January. I’ve been asked several times over the course of the last 6 months or so how I’ve done it. Obviously I’ve been focusing on exercising more and eating better (I didn’t say good, I said better.) I go for green or grilled options usually, but pizza, sweets and coffee just won’t leave me alone.I do try to say no when I can, or opt for something a little healthier, but for the most part, the biggest change was my attitude towards my self and my body.

I started practicing yoga (or thinking about it) when I was in high school. I’ll never forget going to Don Fields in Alexandria for my first yoga class with Dr. Savannah Pace Culpepper (who is a total babe and Mrs. Louisiana!) I felt so awkward and weird being in there. This could have been because I was 16 in a class that was way more advanced than I was. It was so cold in the room and there were mirrors everywhere (which I’m not too fond of in any studio honestly) and the first time someone farted on accident I thought I was going to lose it. Yoga was still allusive and crunchy to me, so I just wanted to try it out, see what it was all about. I sucked at it, of course….but it made me feel good.

I’ve moved all over the state for my entire college career (which is still going, shamelessly.) So over the years, I’ve experienced all different kinds of workouts, trying different forms of yoga and other aerobics classes along the way. (Zumba is my only other favorite really because hey, who doesn’t love to shake their ass to burn calories?) I couldn’t get over (and still can’t, even now after so long) the feeling that I had when I left an hour or more of yoga, of any style. (it really isn’t about the style it’s about actually doing it)

As of late, I’ve practiced at home in either the bedroom or the sun room,  more than anywhere else. I do it at various times of the day depending on when I’m home, when I’m working on my novel, etc.I feel like I get in a good three to four days a week, depending, and most of the time that’s only half an hour because it’s all I’ve got. It really is hard to balance life, work, personal life and fitness, so I do it when I can. I think any practice is better than no practice at all. I invested in a really great mat (the mat from lululemon. I feel like their stuff is way overpriced but it’s quality…) which has kind of changed everything. It’s big; I feel like it’s my own personal room when I’m on it, standing strong and tall. It’s the vessel that helps take my mind out of this world and into another one (much like my writing chair.)

I’ve also been really in to Bikram yoga (hot yoga) and it totally kicks your ass. I told someone the other day though, that it’s like being in church (minus all the sweat.) It’s this incredible religious experience for me. It is literally the perfect thing if you’re up for a challenge or need a soul cleanse. These classes are a bit more expensive than other yoga styles (or so I’ve noticed) but they are totally worth the splurge.

Long story short, my body changed when my mind started to change. I opened my mind to possibilities I never thought were within my reach, and here I am 20 lbs. lighter, in the best shape I’ve ever been in life, eating better than I have (except for last night that pizza was soooooo good) and oh by the way, did I mention following my passion and being SO HAPPY?

Read the article. Do some yoga.

Tuesday challenge accepted.

 

Apologies for the grammatical mistakes. I haven’t had coffee yet.

 

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi

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“I hit the bottom and escape.”

I love Radiohead. Classically one of my favorite go to bands. This song, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, is on their record In Rainbows, one of my favorite albums ever. I mention this in The Anchor. I’m sure over time this blog will be filled with random rambling about music that’s involved in the book. I’m more of a, “moments,” person than a dialogue person, so every moment is either tied to a song or mentions one. I would LOVE for this book to have its own soundtrack. Does that happen? Do people do that? Or is that only after adaptation to a screenplay, when the movie is made? I’m not sure, but I think life should have a soundtrack and so should my book. (I’ll make a list once I’m through writing it! Maybe I’ll post it…)

Music is my biggest influence in life. I’ve been in love with it for so long that it almost defines everything I do. Every moment has a song and every song has a purpose. The songs in the book are carefully selected; every lyric of every line in every song mentioned in the story has been considered. There is a very specific message I’m trying to send with these songs….it’s not something I can put into words, though I’m trying. (hence, the book?) This is a concept that main character struggles with in the story. Walter is constantly overwhelmed with emotion, which is interesting to watch (and write.)

I could write for days on how music influences me….but it would literally be the same idea of, “it changed my life and continues to change it,” in about seven million different way. Heart-eyes and all that.

I reached 149 pages last night. According to my calendar, I’m not supposed to be at this point until July 1st, which is insane. I honestly thought I was going to get to 100 pages and feel cleansed and find another project. But here I am, almost eight weeks later, with a whole story at my fingertips. When I sit down every day to work on this, every thought just free-flows. I suppose the story has been in my head long enough that it was really ready to be written, but still. I never dreamed I’d actually be writing a novel at twenty-six.

I have to throw some mega appreciation out in to the universe today….this blog received over 100 views yesterday and is already at 100 today. Yes, those are nothing numbers in comparison to some really stellar blogs, but that’s huge for me. I haven’t blogged since the days of Myspace.  (yeah, I said it. I don’t care how old or uncool it makes me. Anyone remember Xanga? Yeah, there ya go. Just aged another 30 years.) This feels so new to me…..social media is so much bigger than I ever expected it to be.

So thanks. Thanks to everyone that I’ve suckered in to reading this, giving you no other choice but to agree to read it. Thanks to the sweet babes in my book club (we really need to pick a July book, by the way) that shared the link to my blog on their page. If you’ve read any of my book’s progress, you’re a freaking angel and I cannot thank you enough for the feed back.

Y’all…HAVE A GREAT MONDAY!

 

Dropping Anchor

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So, I suppose it’s about time I get serious and bring up this little project I’ve been working on. This is the first time for me to write anything down about my writing experience thus far. (isn’t that weird?)

I’ve been writing this tragic personal memoir for years now. I constantly edit and add things. I delete pages and second guess what I’m going to do with the plot. I have 280 pages written, probably the longest eulogy or poem or whatever known to man. All of the middle parts are there, I just can’t commit to a beginning or an ending, so I never write them. I just sit here, chewing on what is obviously supposed to be a masterpiece (the next great American classic…I’m a wishful thinker.) I  watch the cursor blink and curse it in the process. I know I have other stories I want to tell but so much energy has gone in to this memoir, so many tears. So much blood! (not really) So naturally, I’m trying to push myself to finish the piece. That was over a year ago. I got really discouraged with it since I couldn’t get a grip on what I wanted to do with it. I let that project hang in my head for another year before I pulled it out again and I honestly really didn’t want to write it anymore. I’ve struggled to find inspiration or motivation or anything that resembled desire for these words I’d written.

So, spring break comes around this year and I’d had this new story rolling around in my head since Halloween, and I decided to write it. I have really come to believe that if an idea has planted firm roots in your head, and you cannot let it go, it’s probably time to write it down. This of course went against everything I believe (because I refuse to admit I’m OCD.) “I’ve already started a book! Years! Years, I tell ya!” I shouted this in my head. I paced the floor. I was pissed; I’d spent over two years compiling and editing and agonizing, and now I was going to let it go and for what? WRITING REGULAR FICTION?! Gasp! I really thought it was blasphemy but the story just wouldn’t leave me alone.

I was nervous to begin writing because this was straight-up fiction. These are characters completely from scratch. While certain story lines have been influenced heavily by events and special days in my life, they are extremely romanticized. What is it I say in the forward? “The feelings are real, the story is fiction.”

I’m responsible for every action, thought, flaw, conflict, remedy and so on. It’s all on my shoulders to make it work and that’s something to take in. The memoir was easy in comparison because it was a compilation of my work with explanations. This book, The Anchor, is all on me. I have to make sure this story is told correctly for these characters; they’re important.

Now of course, there are heavy coincidences between my life and this book, direct correlation sometimes. I think every writer (scary! can I call myself that yet?) experiences this on some level as inspiration must stem from somewhere. For the most part though, this book is a dream. Age old life imitating art imitating life situation.

From here on out, I plan to write daily (when possible) to track my progress. I’ve reached 126 pages in the last 7 weeks. I edit every Friday. A friend of mine suggested that I not re-draft a million times and I’m really trying to stick to that. I’m focusing the dialogue,which there isn’t much of because I enjoy thought-based stories more. I’m researching locations and dates and times to make sure every detail is accurate.

I love this process so much: I write every day for three-five hours, which is intense, but necessary. This is a project I’m beyond serious about and I want things to go as smoothly as possible. I have a calendar with very strict deadlines. I plan my writing schedule around my work schedule (I’m a waitress,) which allows me to work on this book a varying times. Sometimes its all day during the day, and sometimes it’s after 1 a.m. I’m dedicated to this, so it doesn’t feel like work to me. Sometimes it’s a few hours spread out throughout the day, depending on what I have going on.

I exclusively listen to French Jazz music while I write, even though French Jazz has absolutely nothing to do with the book. I indulge in all sorts of refreshments, but my latest indulgence has been this amazing writing chair. (There’s a picture on Instagram. @something_elegant – I promise I will learn how to add photos!) I’ve tried writing from my cozy bed, the kitchen table, the right corner of the couch, the left corner of the couch. I’ve tried writing on the floor in my room and in our room-mate’s room (which is too messy for me to be able to concentrate.)  I am now, thanks to one of my marvelous co-workers, sitting my happy, writing ass in a vintage wicker chair which I will forever cherish and take care of (Liza, if you’re reading this, be sure to tell Grammy I said thanks a million times.)

I’m sure my husband thinks I’m neurotic with all of the weird hours I keep and all of the random questions I ask him. “What do you think he would say? Is this an appropriate thing? Would a guy yell at a citronella plant?” The book is written from a male POV which has been challenging (and enlightening.) I don’t think of myself as overly girly so I thought writing from the male perspective would be easy…WRONG! I spend so much time deciding how Walter (the main character) would say things or how he would handle certain situations. Thinking (or trying to think) like a guy is really interesting.

All in all, I feel like the book is a success already, even if it’s just personal. If that’s all it ever is, I’ll be satisfied just knowing I had the guts to write it down. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Enjoy.

 

Little Gem: if you’re aspiring, I’d give it a read! http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-be-a-writer-that-literary-agents-want

The Hangover

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So. I’m twenty-six, still attempting my best to party like I’m nineteen. EPIC FAIL.

Two of my favorite people in the world were married on Saturday….and shared their special day with friends and family and a party truly fit for a king and queen. BUT GOOD LORD. I ate way too much, I drank like a fish, I walked in heels longer than I have in months and, “dropped it low,” many many more times than I should have. I was invincible, fearless; on a life-high from the aforementioned nuptials. And drinking more whiskey than I knew I could handle. 

I will give myself points for not throwing-up, staying awake til 5am with the possibility of more partying, should the opportunity present itself (thank goodness it did not!) So after this night of invincible drinking the worst thing in the world happened….I woke up 5 and one half hours later with….a hangover. F M L.

It has been quite some time since I’ve opened my eyes to a still blurry world and a pounding headache. Truly, this was torture. I needed cheese fries. I needed silence and Advil. I needed a new body. In my desperation to feel better so I could some-what function in society on Sunday (and Monday, because lets face it, I’m twenty-six and require more than 12hours of sleep and a burrito to cure a hangover,) I took it upon myself to research the best hangover cures. I have faithfully applied my own regime for the last few years: a bottle of water and three Advil tablets immediately after waking up, a small cup of orange juice followed by green tea. I always feel better in no less than an hour. Here’s what I found….curious if there are any other fool-proof hangover remedies. Share if you’ve got a favorite!

I could post 3456789765 of the 77890876 that I found, but this list is my favorite. Putting it in my pocket for later, you should too!

Hangover Cures: Tips from The Creative Community

Firsts.

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Wow. I haven’t legitimately posted a blog, for public web-viewing since Xanga and myspace were popular. I’ve just aged myself a thousand years in my first sentence in my first blog. Off to a great start, obviously.

I enjoy writing so much, but I have been selfish, enjoying only on a personal level for the last few years. I happy to announce (and excited since this is my first grown-up blog post!) that I am also writing a book. I feel a personal blog is necessary so I can track my progress with the book. (and maybe start a following? who knows.) A few of my friends have encouraged me to blog for a while now and I suppose this is me finally getting around to that. I’m not sure what I’m doing…at all. So bear with me as I grow as a writer/blogger. I’m sure I’ll babble too much about complete nonsense at one point or another. I’m sure I’ll write something that is too sappy or offensive or whatever. I apologize if adult language and content offend you. I don’t plan to edit myself here. I want to use this as a place to express myself, for real.

More later. It’s been a lovely blog break, but now I’m off….back to my book.