Week In Review 2/2/18

!CL

My lovely friend Claire has the coolest concept: combining a color palette, a moodboard, & a playlist. So I’m currently jamming to February Feeling. Check it out, even if just for the gorgeous graphics. But also the music is great as well: Some I knew, some where new. Such an awesome idea and can’t wait to see the next one!

!CLU

Anyone else feel like January lasted for seven years? Woof. I hope all of 2018 doesn’t feel this way. I have a lot of fun things on the horizon so I’m hoping this year gets a much needed adrenaline shot soon. But, all Eeyore-ing aside:

I submitted my query and first five pages for the WDU workshop, and now I wait!! I won’t lie, even though the critique deadline is February 17th, I’ve been obsessively refreshing my email since I got the confirmation of receipt on Monday. There will be no chill until I have been thoroughly critiqued. Lay that sweet, sweet constructive criticism on me.

Also, I’ve been a fan of The Lord of the Rings since middle school, but I’ve had a real need to rewatch the movies for about a month now. I own the DVDs, but when I found out there was an extended version??? You know I got ’em. It was so fun to see all the scenes that had been cut out. Some I understood why, i.e. some of the speeches were more impactful once shortened IMO, but some of the scenes really fleshed out the minor characters and it was great to see more of them. If you haven’t checked them out before, you definitely should. A great way to spent 3+ hours on a lazy weekend haha.

!CD

This week I had the pleasure of trying Attems Pinot Grigio “Romato”, which means “coppery”. We all know Pinot Grigio/Gris as a white wine, however, it is a purple grape. And before technology is what it is today, in ye olden times, Pinot Grigio was a pink (or “coppery”) wine. So this is a throwback to the old style, and the extra skin contact gives the wine a floral and fruity bouquet, with extra weight and fullness on the palette. Go getcha some and #drinkpink.

Cheers,
Erin Connor

Week In Review 1/26/18

!CW

aka Currently Bleeding Out Of My Eyes From Editing My Query Letter So Much. (insert forced smile here) This week was my WDU Query Letter Workshop with the lovely agents from New Leaf Literary. But because I must Hermione everything I do (and yes, Hermione is now a verb), I already had a year’s worth of query research under my belt and a few rough drafts of my query that I obsessed over for four days leading up to the actual workshop. And then proceeded to stare at my query and nitpick every. single. word. for the past three days. Thankfully, my query is due tomorrow and then it’s done! I can’t touch it anymore until I get my feedback. All this to say: it’s a lot easier to write a 94,000 word novel than it is to write a 250 word query. Also, DB got about 9,000 words longer during my edits. Ha!

!CL

I’ve been on a real throwback kick lately, jamming out to 90’s and 00’s hits, from DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat” to Real McCoy’s “Another Night, Another Dream” to Vengaboys’ “Boom Boom Boom Boom, I Want You In My Room”. I don’t know where this binge came from but they’re just so upbeat and happy. They have really carried me through this strange week of stressful writing and helped me keep my head above water.

!CLU

I wish I had something cool to update you guys on but my whole week has literally been staring at my query letter and the first five pages of DB. I’ve been spending a lot of time on QueryShark reading other queries and their critiques and trying to absorb and learn as much as I can. Anyone else in the query trenches? Any tips, tricks, useful resources?

OH! I almost forgot: The #bifflesquad #NashVegas2k18 trip is officially HAPPENING! My four best friends from high school are still my four best friends, but we all shot off to different parts of the country after graduating. Getting all of us together is difficult, and has only happened twice since high school. We managed a Friendsgiving two years ago, and of course made it to Lizz’s wedding in 2016. But we couldn’t wait until my Fall 2019 wedding to get the gang back together, thus: Nashville. The flights and the AirB&B are booked, and I. Cannot. WAIT. Moving away from home is cool and all, but also incredibly lonely sometimes and I miss cuddle puddles on the couch with my biffs. Never underestimate the importance of female friendships. That bond is invaluable.  Alright, I’m done being sappy.

!CD

Currently, as I write: Not drinking. But I’m about to be. Forcing myself to take a night off of query obsessing and going to one of my favorite restaurants that also happens to be an account both myself and the fiancé call on for work. They just put my favorite stout on tap, so we’re headed out to “thank them for their business”, aka drink all their beer. What stout you ask: New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk. It’s a bourbon barrel aged stout that’s super rich and dark, full of vanilla and dark chocolate notes. Dragon’s Milk and Ten Fidy (which I talked about in this post) are easily my two go-to stouts. Happy Friday, y’all!
Cheers,
Erin Connor

Erin Eats: Veggie Burgers

!erin-eats

Welcome to a new segment of the ole blog: Erin Eats! I might not use my culinary degree for much nowadays, but I can still cook my tail off. I’m the world’s worst at following recipes, and even worse at writing my own recipes down. So I’m going to attempt to start logging some of my favorite creations here. Now, a disclaimer: I don’t measure anything. Ever. So you won’t find any teaspoons or tablespoons or ounces here. Strap on your apron, pour yourself a drink, and have yourself a kitchen adventure. Cooking is an art, not a science. (That’s baking. Don’t ask me how to bake.) So to kick off this segment, I’m going to reference one recipe I created by accident, and have recreated multiple times on purpose: sweet potato & black bean burgers. (The accident was my ground turkey was spoiled so I had to get crafty.)

Not my photo, not my recipe, but it’s pretty right? In addition to measurements, I don’t really do food photography. But it’s a nice reference. So let’s dive in to what I lovingly refer to as my recipes. But as Jack Sparrow would say, the rules are really more like guidelines. So have fun with it.

Here’s what you need:
2 large garnet sweet potatoes (Garnet has more flavor imo, but regular works just fine.)
1 can black beans
1 cup oatmeal
2 tbsp(ish) garlic salt
1 tbsp(ish) black pepper
1 tsp(ish) cumin
1 tsp(ish) paprika

Optional but recommended accouterments:
roasted garlic hummus (or whatever flavor you prefer)
avocado
baby spring greens (toss in evoo, s&p for extra flair)

First, dice your sweet potatoes. I like them a rather small dice, about 1/4″ cubes. Size matters. They don’t have to be perfect but as close in size as you can get without spending hours dicing. Roast them in the oven at 350 for half an hour or until lightly browned. I don’t oil my potatoes but you can if that pleases you. (I cook on aluminum foil for easy removal and one less pan to clean.)

Put oatmeal and spices in a blender and pulse it until it forms a fine powder.

In a bowl, dump your can of beans, bean water and all. Don’t drain the beans, you need the moisture to hold everything together. Lightly mash the beans so you have some bean paste and some whole beans. Or just mash it all. Whatever suits you. Mix in your oatmeal-spice-powder. Fold in your sweet potatoes once they’re nice and crispy.

You can eat right away or store for later, usually makes 4-5 patties, depending on how big your potatoes were and how big you make your patties. The patties hold together better once chilled, so since this is fairly easy to make, I usually prep this meal while making another dinner so I have the night off later in the week. Because I’m worth it.

To cook: coat your pan with olive oil/butter/coconut oil, whatever you prefer, and cook over a medium heat. I mash my patties super thin–it’s okay if they crack or don’t hold together 100%, we’re not winning any points for presentation–that way I get lots of crunch and texture. Once crispy on both sides: you’re done! I don’t eat mine with a bun as this is attempting to be a healthy dish, so I like my patty served on top of a bed of salad greens, smeared with hummus and topped with avocado.

Happy eatings,
Erin Connor

Week In Review 1/12/18

!CLU

This is totally random but I’ve been burning a lot of candles lately. I’ve always owned them from people who gave them to me as gifts, but I was never very good at actually using them. In the past month or so, I’ve burned through three giant candles while editing DB, and I’m in the market for more. Any recommendations on cool small businesses on Etsy (or anything similar)? I’m down for Harry Potter or fandom themed candles. As a disclaimer: I really prefer clean smells or woodsy smells as opposed to overly floral scents. But as I type, I’m really liking the idea of fandom-themed candles, so throw those rec’s my way please!

!CD

With the weather being all over the place lately, I’ve been fighting to not get sick. For the past two years, my friends have been telling me to try “fire cider”, which is basically an old school cure-all. The recipes vary from person to person, but you can find them all over google. I didn’t have time for it to ferment a month in the fridge, so I just boiled fresh ginger, turmeric, jalapeño, garlic, onion and lemon together and then added the apple cider vinegar and honey. I really do think it’s saving my ass from a cold. I will say I recommend buying fresh of everything possible, versus powdered turmeric/ginger. (How Ina Garten of me.) Just do a small shot of it when you’re feeling under the weather and repeat as needed. It’s truly a lifesaver and if you’re like me and hate taking lots of meds, it’s great to have on hand.

!CW

I’m done typing up all 27 of my edited DB chapters!! (cue hip hop horn) So I am officially back in the writing stage! All I have left is to rewrite the last two chapters and I am done with round three of edits. I can’t express how much I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I have my query class coming up at the end of the month which I should be getting invaluable feedback from, and then maybe (gasp) I can start working on DB2 again! Oh, happy day!

Cheers,
Erin

Week In Review 01/04/18

!CRAs I posted previously, to celebrate the end of the year and having a long weekend with no responsibilities, I bought The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I absolutely devoured them. Only took me four days to read all three books. I’m a huge fan of Bardugo’s writing and grey characterizations, but I’ll admit I was hesitant to pick them up. I’d heard mixed reviews about this series, particularly that it was “slow”. I must respectfully disagree. Granted, I read incredibly fast, but I never found myself bored.
My only critique would be that all three books begin and end with a “Before”/”After” prologue/epilogue that are told in Third Person Omniscient, and I found the switch to first person surprising when I delved into the first chapter, but I quickly got over it. I’ve noticed Bardugo tends to favor prologues told not from the main character’s point of view. And I’m not sure how I feel about it, to be honest.
The main character, Alina, is beautifully written and incredibly real. I hate the trope of fantasy characters that discover magical powers and immediately flourish, even though other characters spent lifetimes honing their abilities. This doesn’t happen in this book. So if that’s a pet peeve you share with me, you’re safe in this series.
This is probably one of the only series that I’ve ever read where I heard more fanfare about the villain than the main character. And boy oh boy was I excited to meet The Darkling. He absolutely lived up to the hype. He’s one of the best, most fleshed out villains I’ve ever read. So to everyone slighting this series because their ship didn’t sail: did we even read the same books? If you like fantasy and strong female protagonists, this is a Deathly Hallows-esque quest set in a world based upon 1800s Russia with well thought out political and magical systems. Please read it so we can discuss!!

!CLThis is a fun one this week. My fiancé played me this remix of Pure Imagination from Charlie & The Chocolate factory, which led me to remixes of Dancing in the Moonlight and Mr. Sandman. Put it on autoplay and allow yourself some time to discover some fun remixes and reimagining of old classics.

!CWI’m done with my handwritten edits of Death Becoming! Now, just to type them all up. More importantly, I signed up for Writer’s Digest University Query Workshop. It’s being hosted by two agents from New Leaf Literary, which is basically my numero uno. The course includes an online tutorial on query do’s and dont’s. Then, you get two two-hour sessions to chat with your assigned agent mentor and ask questions about your query. Last, you submit your query and first five paged to your assigned agent. Three weeks later, they reply with critiques on your query! I’m super nervous but also very excited to tackle this step in my publishing journey. If anyone else has signed up, let me know! I’d love to have a buddy during the process.

!CLUHappy New Year everyone! I rang in the new year with a very low key evening full of Mario Kart and Uno, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Weather has been in the single digits or the negatives the past few days, so we’ve been holed up inside, buried beneath multiple blankets wearing multiple pairs of socks and drinking lots of hot tea.

!CDNo booze recommendations from me this week. I don’t know about you but I need a break after all the holiday festivities. And with all this cold weather, I’ve been drinking Rare Tea Cellar‘s jasmine tea like my life depends on it. I absolutely love jasmine tea, and I discovered Rare Tea Cellar through my local grocery store and I haven’t been able to get enough of it lately. If you can’t find it in stores, you can order online through their website.
As a side note, one of my most favorite things in the world of tea is Bingley’s Teas, a series of teas inspired by Jane Austen characters. My mother and I have drunk quite a few of them, and they’re all delicious. I highly recommend. If you’re not in the market for tea, but you’re a fan of Austen, read through the descriptions for each tea and why they’re associated with each character. They did an awesome job and it’s highly entertaining.

Cheers,
Erin Connor

 

Currently Reading

After devouring Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone in one day yesterday, I’m now onto Siege and Storm! I fell in love with Bardugo’s writing in her Six of Crows duology earlier this year and have been itching to get my hands on her first series. I was worried about reading backwards and that her first series wouldn’t have as much finesse, but I’m absolutely enamored. Bardugo creates such well rounded characters, and I love the main character Alina. Her blunt manner of speaking is so refreshing in a heroine, and I love the ordinary-ness and effortlessness in her humor. Cannot wait to dive further into this second book.

12/29/17 Week In Review

I know, I know, it’s late, but Friday isn’t over yet!!

!CD[CD] ColomeAs someone whose Fun Meter gets pegged easily, the holidays are exhausting for me both mentally and physically. I’m not going to talk about the wide array of things I drank Saturday night when we had ten friends and four dogs over at our house. I want to talk about my drink of choice for Christmas: Colome Estate Malbec. This wine was just recently named Wine Spectator‘s #18 wine for the Top 100 Wines of 2018, which is pretty cool. But the important thing to know about Colome is that it comes from Salta, not Mendoza- where about 80% of Argentina’s wine comes from. Salta is roughly two hours north of Mendoza, and the Colome estate is the highest elevation winery in the world, at 6,000-10,000ft, which is wild. For comparison, mountain appellations in Napa are about 2,500 feet. High elevation makes the grapes struggle more, which develops deeper flavor. All that to say, Colome Malbecs are darn delicious and not ridiculously expensive! (Unless you buy Altura Maxima, the 10,000ft vineyard bottling that is a treat to the taste buds but a wee bit more pricey.) But don’t just take my word for it, here’s what Wine Spectator has to say about the Estate Malbec:

Refined and rich-tasting, with effusive minerality to the red berry and cherry flavors, lathered with plenty of creamy accents. Pepper and cigar box notes show on the long and complex finish.

!CL

Okay, so this is probably one of the dorkiest things I will ever admit on the internet but one of my favorite things about the holidays is the Yule Log Channel on tv with the crackling fireplace. It’s so nostalgic for me. As a kid, even though it didn’t really ever get truly cold in Georgia, we always had a “Christmas Fire” that was started the first day of Christmas break and we didn’t allow it to go out until after Christmas. Since I don’t have a fireplace in my current home, the Yule Log just sounds like Christmas to me, more than any holiday jingles.

!CLU

I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for 2017 to be over. As someone who works in sales, while everyone else is excited about holiday parties, I’m nineteen different kinds of stressed trying to hit end of year numbers and asking for favors from everyone I know so that I can hit bonus for the year. This year, I’m happy to say I’m DONE with all of that as of today, and save for one last minute wine delivery tomorrow, I am worry free for the next two days! I’m going to celebrate by not leaving the house and talking to no one and going no where. I need to detox after all the socializing last weekend. I’m the Scrooge of New Year’s Eve. I never want to go out or do anything, I’m content to just stay in, have a drink or three, and marathon some movies. What do you guys have planned for New Year’s Eve/Day? Do you have any traditions?

2018 #Goals

2018

I’m a big believer in goals. And as a Slytherin, I’m one of the most determined people I know and will stop at nothing to achieve them.

My Goals for Living My Best Life in 2018:

  1. Be Kind. This is an Always Goal, but I don’t think kindness can ever be overrated. Kindness to others, and  kindness to yourself. You get back what you put out into the world. I’m highly critical, and while it’s important to be critical of the world around you, it’s important not to let that hinder your enjoyment of it. I’m watching the way I speak about things, what details I focus on. I want to remember the good in the world, in my world, and that doesn’t mean ignoring the bad or brushing it under the rug. Acknowledge it, but don’t let it steal your joy or your kindness. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, 2017 was a dumpster fire. And so much of it could be fixed, be healed if only we showed more kindness and understanding to those around us.
  2. Oregon. As I mentioned in my 2017 recap, our lease is up next fall, and we’re ready to go. There are so many goals tied into this one. We’re looking to buy our first house and stop throwing our money away renting. We want to spend more time outdoors and nature is so accessible in Oregon. We want to save money and getting out of Illinois will help with that. I’ve lived in three states since graduating high school, and I’m reading to find the one that feels like home, feels like forever, and I think Oregon is a big step in the right direction for us.
  3. Begin the publishing journey. This one puts butterflies in my stomach, makes me want to run around the house in euphoria and puke all at once. I’ve always loved writing, but it wasn’t until after I completed a major in culinary arts that I realized I need to write. I need to share my stories with the world. And I want to give it my all, which is why I’ve spent so much time editing DB, researching agents, and antagonizing over queries. This was a 2017 goal of mine, but one made out of ignorance. I wasn’t ready in 2017. It’s hard for me to prolong pursuing a goal, but I know I’ll be more prepared in 2018. Not only to actually achieve this goal, but to deliver at a calibre I can look back upon in the future and be proud of, rather than the rushed product I had in 2017.
  4. Travel. Even with moving across the country on the docket, I need to travel. As Alisa calls it, I’ve got the “go bug”. Lucas & I are making our yearly visit to Minnesota to see his brother and best friend who live there, and I’m going to meet up with Brenna! My best friend Karrie is coming into town for One Chicago in March, the #bifflesquad has a Nashville trip in the works, and I’m going to Spain and Portugal via work in April. And if that’s not enough, I’m seriously hoping I can squeeze in time to scuba in Key Largo with the parents. I’ve only missed a year of diving once so far in my life, and not to be dramatic, but I might shrivel up without my yearly dose.
    Travel is one of the few things in life I allow myself to splurge on. It’s so important to remember that the world is so much bigger than your town, your state, your country. It’s easy to forget that. We get so immeshed in our daily lives that we forget to open our eyes and really see. That’s what travel is to me. It’s not about flashy vacations, it’s about staying in touch with the world around me, remembering my own insignificance. The world is big and it is beautiful and for my small time on it, I want to see and experience as much of it as I can, in the way that those who live there experience it.
  5. Read more. My GoodReads “to read” list is getting out of control. I’ve been so wrapped up with DB edits that I didn’t do as much reading as I would’ve liked in 2017, so I’m hoping to change that in 2018 and knock a few books off my list.

 

Do you have any goals for 2018? Anything you’re looking forward to?

Week in Review 12/22/17

Currently Listening:
This week I discovered the band Transviolet, and have been jamming to Night Vision, Bruises, and The Hamptons. Night Vision gives me all the Death Becoming vibes and is a great song to write to.

when the night gets heavy / lay your heaven on me / sparks illuminate us / i’ll find you in the dark // when the sky is falling / i’ll be your atlas holding / the world on my shoulders / i’ll find you in the dark

Currently Drinking:
To be honest, this weekly segment makes me feel like an alcoholic. But in my defense, I do this for a living, okay?! This week I got into the Christmas spirit with some help from Ayala Brut Majeur, which I lovingly refer to as Bollinger’s baby sister. 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier, Ayala is considered the “sleeping beauty of champagne”. It’s minerally and chalky with honey and biscuit notes, and one of my favorite bubbles to sip. Go getcha some.

[CLU] christmas

#TBT to Basil and Paprika’s first Christmas in 2015 💕

Current Life Update:
Things are ramping up for Christmas! This week I finally broke out my Christmas decorations. We didn’t do a tree this year. Instead, we decorated our seven foot tall rubber plant. I pulled out a few sentimental ornaments and scattered them around the house, and I’m definitely getting into the Christmas spirit. I spent three hours on Sunday writing Christmas cards while drinking tea and listening to the Yule Log on tv. (Yeah, I’m that person. No shame in my Christmas game.) I’ve also had Christmas cards and packages arriving in the mail for the past two weeks, which is super exciting. As per usual, I have disguised all of Lucas’s gifts in mysteriously sized and shaped boxes to keep him from guessing. My mother taught me the art of Christmas deception from an early age. She used to write my name on all my brother’s gifts and vice versa to keep us guessing.
PS: If you’ve sent me a gift or letter, I’m saving them all for Christmas day.

Do you have any favorite holiday traditions? What are you most looking forward to as 2017 comes to a close?

Cheers,
Erin

2017 In Review

2017 was a hot mess, I think we can all agree. But when I look back on it, I don’t want to think about all the ways 2017 was a dumpster fire. I want to look back on all the great things that happened. So here’s my highlights:

The Top 10 of 2017:

  1. After 4 years of annoying the crap out of each other, Lucas and I are engaged! I almost ruined my own proposal by being overzealous about how many miles we could hike in one day, and almost gave up before getting to the top of Lost Lake Butte, which overlooks the beautiful Mt. Hood. Thankfully, we persevered and it was absolutely worth it. (Pro Tip: don’t do two hikes in one day involving steep inclines and declines totaling over six miles the day after touring wineries.)
  2. Tying into #1, we went to Oregon this year! We’ve been wanting to go for the past two years, and with our lease being up for renewal next fall, we knew we had to go and scope it out before considering moving there. And we absolutely fell in love. We only had five days there, but we spent them wisely. We spent an afternoon in the city, where I was in heaven at Powell’s Books. We spent a day in wine country at Domaine Serene and Bethel Heights, where the winemaker, Ben Casteel, gave us a vineyard tour and way too many barrel samples and we loved every minute of it. We spent a day hiking Multnomah Falls and Lost Lake Butte (see #1), with a pitstop in Hood River at Pfriem Brewery (hello, kumquat saison). For our last day we recovered from all our adventuring at Cannon Beach. And it goes unsaid but we ate and drank our faces off while we were there. This Southern girl was in heaven with all the barbecue and chicken & biscuits offered everywhere. Oregon stole our hearts and we cannot contain our excitement to soon call it home.
  3. I’m fortunate to work for one of the best wine distributors in Illinois, and every three years they do a company trip out to California. We visited over 20 wineries in Napa & Sonoma in five days, and it was absolutely a trip of a lifetime. Verticals of Cabernet at Chateau Montelena, single vineyard soil comparisons at Diamond Creek, blending competitions at Hess, meeting Steve Kistler and his daughters at Occidental and drinking the Pinot Noirs named after his daughters and having his daughters pour it for you?? Having your mind blown by Jason Jardine from Hanzell and drinking mags of 1996 Chardonnay, meeting Randy Dunn and previewing the 2014 vintage before its release, the views at Chappellet?? This is something I would have never been able to experience as an average consumer, and I’ll never forget the hospitality shown to us by so many wineries.
  4. Any year I get to escape the dreary midwest weather and melt in the Florida heat for a week is a good year. This year, we dragged two of Lucas’s friends down to Key Largo, my home away from home. I’ve been going there my entire life, my parents investing in a timeshare there when they first got married. It’s one of the only vacations I go on where I actually feel relaxed after coming back. It’s like a second home, and I need the annual visit to keep my mermaid gills wet. The weather wasn’t the best this year for scuba diving, but we still managed to make six great dives. We ate tons of food, ate even more ice cream from Mr. C’s, and I’m already itching to go back.
  5. Have you noticed a trend yet? All my most important items involve travel, my parents instilling wanderlust into my brother and I from a young age. And this year, I got to take Lucas back to where it all started, my hometown: Albany, Georgia. It’s small, and the tour of the town takes less than fifteen minutes, but nonetheless, it holds a special place in my heart. The coordinates tattooed on my right forearm will lead you right to my parent’s house, which my father designed and built right before I was born. (The vision of my incredibly pregnant mother overseeing construction and bossing around all the workers while my father was traveling for work is one of my favorites.) It’s the only home I’ve ever lived in, and I was glad to get to share it with Lucas. We went kayaking on the Flint River–Lucas getting an up-close-and-personal experience with it by falling in–attended my father’s dive shop social, ate at my favorite Mexican restaurant which I haven’t had in four years, and got to see my grandfather, grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins who I haven’t seen since graduating college.
  6. I attended my first live hockey game this year! Being a Georgia native, hockey isn’t a big deal down south. But ever since moving north, I’ve been dying to go. And I’ve been spoiled silly by getting to go twice this year–for free. Once, with friends of Lucas’s who had two extra tickets with killer seats. Second, with Lucas’s cousin who is friends with the Blackhawks’ CEO and got us catered box seats after someone else cancelled last minute. Talk about luck. I’ll likely never attend a game in such style ever again but it was nice to see how the other half lives for a night.
  7. I got to see my best friend Alisa twice. She went on an epic cross-country road trip and stopped through Chicago twice, and I got to be a bum on the couch with my best friend and drink coffee and drink wine and margaritas and be obnoxious with her TWICE, you guys. That’s a big deal. Outside of that, we continued our tradition of (somewhat) weekly FaceTime DrinkTime dates, which is really just a weekly catchup on everything happening in our lives and sending each other stupid memes and laughing our asses off. And she listens to me ramble about writing. Good times.
  8. On that note, 2017 was a great year for friendships. I became friends with Kristine, who I’ve followed on tumblr for years now, and she introduced me her friends: Solange, Brenna, and Claire, and it’s been so great to have more fandom friends. I’m no stranger to internet friendships. In fact, I highly recommend them. I met Karrie via LiveJournal and we hit a milestone of eleven years of friendship this year! Sadly, we procrastinated too long and didn’t get to have an epic long weekend together this year, but we’ve already got trips on the books for next year. The #bifflesquad is still going strong, and the group chat is as strong as ever, if not stronger due to all of us getting on SnapChat this year, thus allowing us to rant verbally whilst using cute filters, which is much more effective and entertaining than texting angrily. So bless up for that.
  9. I also got to see my mom twice this year! In addition to seeing her when I went home (#5), she was kind enough to fly all the way up to Chicago to house sit for Lucas & I while we were in Oregon. With a large dog and two cats, it’s hard for us to find pet sitters and boarding is expensive, so she did us a major favor. But I also think she just wanted some good ole peace and quiet for a week. She spoiled Freya silly with morning walks and afternoon trips to the dog park, and put the cats on a much-needed diet, ha! But mostly, I was just happy to see her before and after our trip, which was especially sweet since I got to see her in person just days after getting engaged.
  10. And lastly, because I can’t go a whole post without talking about it: Death Becoming. This book has a piece of my soul in it. I finished writing it in early 2017, and immediately started writing the sequel because I was so excited. But I quickly realized I wasn’t done with DB, and went back and began editing. I’ve never undertaken such serious edits for one of my projects before, and I think that’s what makes DB so special to me. I knew I was onto something from the first dream I had about it that set me on the path to writing this story, but even with all the frustrations and writer’s block and countless edits and subplot tweaking, I’m still in love with it. This world is so real to me and the characters never cease to surprise me. But I also cannot wait to be done with it and begin my publishing journey. 2017 may have been a roller coaster, but it will always go down as a huge year for me as a writer. And for that, I’m so grateful.

Thank you to everyone who helped me make it through 2017, and to everyone who brought love and light into it. I’m incredibly lucky in this life, not in material possessions, but in the true wealth: the quality of the people who surround me and create priceless experiences and moments that cannot be bought. Thank you for being you, because you help make me a better me.

Also thanks for reading my blog.

UP NEXT: My goals for 2018.