February 22, 2016

Banshee hiatus. Wherein she devours souls and wails and stuff. #returning7march

Hi, friends.

Sooo, I'm going on hiatus. I know, I'll miss you too.

*licks your tears*

Now that I've taken you on an emotional GIF roller coaster . . .

Here's a prezzie for you.

Just like Harry, I'll be back.

Returning on 7 March.

Doing all the things and stuff, so you don't have to . . . karen

February 19, 2016

Coffee + Words x Parenting = My Week #FridayFeed #amwriting

Friday Feed . . . Doing things and stuff.

Call me Karen. (writing words)

Lots of staring at the screen and twiddling my thumbs this week. BUT, words were written. Progress is happening. And, if I can keep going at my current pace, my middle grade novel should be finished--erm, first draft anyway--by the end of March. WOOT. 

I'm at that point in the novel where I start to feel like it's crap. I'm crap. Everything is crap. You know? Ever feel like that? 

I'm pushin' past it though. Cos, this story needs to be told. Plus, I can so clearly see the climax (black moment) for my heroine. It actually makes me get a lump in my throat and go all teary-eyed when I think about it. 

*cues all the emotions*

Luke, I am your mother. (kiddo corner)

Lukey has learned to climb on and off the couch BY HIMSELF. Omigosh, he's growing up so fast. It's cray.

He can also reach the power button on the front of the TV. If he learns how to operate the tablet, he'll be casting Netflix...it'll be Puffin Rock ALL the time. He loves that show, btw. There are sooo many, many kid shows that just suck. Or are annoying. Or both.

Puffin Rock is different. The Hubs and I are actually excited for season two to release in May. LOL 

Pix for your viewing pleasure . . . 

Just keep swimming. (all the randomness) 

Sooo, it snowed all day on Monday, and then, Tuesday happened and it was springtime. Coastal Virginia weather is INSANE in the brain. 

Totally binged on Betas. It's an Amazon Prime show. Kinda like HBO's Silcon Valley, but a little less gritty. Both shows are pretty cool. Just waiting for Silcon Valley to gimme a new season.

The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul are back. HOLLA. Are you watching? 

Saw Deadpool for Valentine's. LOVED it. Even the opening credits were awesome. To be honest, I don't normally read them, but I read all of these. My fave was: The Writers...the real superheroes. Hahaha. So true. So true.

NOTE: Just like your favorite TV shows, I too am taking a hiatus. Don't worry, I'll be back on 7 March. 

BONUS: My local RWA chapter is having our annual conference on 5 March in Williamsburg, VA. So if you can make it, come on out. More info here.


Enjoy my Friday Feed? Here's more to delight you.


More cheese, please . . . karen

February 16, 2016

The many uses of Jojoba. Get your oil on! #TryItTuesday #AmazonPrime

Try It Tuesday . . . Wherein I review things and stuff.

It does all the things!

When I first bought jojoba oil, I mainly thought I'd use it as a carrier oil* for essential oils. But, holy crow, it has so many uses (for hair, skin, nails). Duude.

Yeah, I don't know much about essential oils. Other than, quality oils come in dark bottles. So when I bought this one, I was like, coolio.

*also known as base oil or vegetable oil, is used to dilute essential oils and absolutes before they are applied to the skin in massage and aromatherapy

Today's product: Jojoba Oil

Where to find: Oil shops? Is that a thing? I bought mine on Amazon.

Average cost: $7.00 to $50.00

Lasts: I use it every day (twice a day all over my face and once a day for eye make-up remover), and I've had my 4oz bottle for two months--and I haven't ran out yet.

Karen's rating:

Jojoba oil has been awesome, because first of all it replaced my eye make-up remover, my facial moisturizer, and my aftershave (for legs/underarms/whoha). So, instead of having three things taking up space on my bathroom counter-top, I now have one. Booyah.

Secondly, the schzit works. It's helped smooth out and calm my rosacea. It has made my eyelashes less brittle (so they don't fall out all the time) and they've gotten thicker cos they're healthier.

Thirdly, I mixed it with a little rose hip oil, and it has practically made the fine-lines/wrinkles around my eyes and mouth invisible.

I'm just pumped that I gave this stuff a shot. Really wasn't expecting much, but I've kinda fallen in love with it. Plus, it's organic and chemical free. Which is pretty awesome in itself.


More uses and skin benefits for your reading pleasure.

Heard of this? Used it? What say you?


Wanna see more red balloons go by? Thought so. Check out my previous reviews*
*Reviews are my own opinions, I am not paid to promote any items.

Freezing Herbs
Disposable Bibs
Toddler proofing cupboards
Snoozies (slippers)
Nongshim Shin Noodles
Nivea Lotion


Oily is the new black . . . karen

February 15, 2016

Writers write. It's what we do. Sometimes it's hard. And that's okay. #MondayMotivation #writingprompts

Monday Motivation . . . Writerly things and stuff.

A new week has begun, and the muse seems to be hiding...
Never fear. Lure her out into the open with a visual. She's a curious one and wants to see more.

There's something so beautifully creepy about this door. Just looking at its worn wooden planks with chipped and fading paint screams story idea. A picture is worth more than a thousand words when it sparks an idea or helps steer a story in an exciting new direction.

Looking at a photograph like this makes me ask questions, which is what we want when the muse seems to be playing hide and seek.

Who lives there? Are they supernatural? What kind of power do they have? Do they use it for good or evil

Maybe the house is abandoned. Why? Did someone, or something, chase the owners away? 

Or is someone hiding out there? Who are they running from?

Will the flowers wilt when dark magic approaches? 

What do you see when you look at this door? 

Questions are a writer's best friend, because the answers give us the words we need to fill all the pages.


Click below to find a treasure trove of writing prompts. A dialogue quote I found was really cool: You're one insult away from starting a war.


Click me


Want more motivation? Who doesn't? Check out my other Monday posts.

5 Tips to Find Motivation
Figurative Language
Star Wars on Writing
Pantser or Plotter
Lie vs. Lay
Word Count Goal


Somedays words are water, other days, molasses . . . karen

February 12, 2016

Turtle power! Fueled by pizza, coffee, and toddler kisses. #FridayFeed #amwriting #parenting

Friday Feed . . . Doing things and stuff.

Call me Karen. (writing words)

Words. Wrote 'em. This week has been about my characters being all: I know you have this plotted and whatnot, but we've gotten together and decided to ditch your plan.

To that I say: Coolio. Love when my characters assert their own opinions. The plot itself hasn't changed but certain threads have. YAY twists.

Since this is my first middle grade (MG) novel, I've done quite a bit of research on how it's different from young adult (YA). I also learned that average word count (WC) for a MG is between 20k and 55k words. The sweet spot being about 35k words.

However, for fantasy MG the WC can go as high as 75k. For perspective: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was about 77k words.

Some rules are meant to be broken. Amirite?

Luke, I am your mother. (kiddo corner)

Lukey got his FIRST haircut. So, we attempted to cut it at home. Yeah, well, that went over like a lead balloon. Kinda terrifying holding a pair of sharp scissors next to a spazzing toddler's eyeballs. EEK. Got the bangs/fringes cut, crookedly I might add, and then Hubs and I were all: professional appointment required. The place we went to was really neat (Pigtails and Crewcuts). Very kid-friendly and not as crazy expensive as I thought it'd be. There's a bunch of locations, so take a look if you are in need of this type of establishment. 

Other than that, been a normal, busy week.

Oooh, for Valentine's Day, Hubs and I are going to see Deadpool (sans toddler, of course). WOOT.

Pix for your viewing pleasure . . .

Just keep swimming. (all the randomness)

Took a stroll through Wholefoods on Thursday. Cool store. Well lit, clean aisles, pretty decor, soothing musing, kinda pricey. Like, would make me double my 75$ per week grocery budget to shop there on a regular. So, yeah. Back to purgatory, erm, Walmart...

National Pizza Day (9 February) was this week. Did you have your pie?? You know I did.

BONUS: My local RWA chapter is having our annual conference on 5 March in Williamsburg, VA. So if you can make it, come on out. More info here.

Enjoy my Friday Feed? Here's more to delight you.


Selling my firstborn to pay the Wholefoods bill . . . karen

February 9, 2016

How to freeze herbs...and get away with it. #TryItTuesday #allthethings

Try It Tuesday . . . Wherein I review things and stuff.

You can freeze that?

I know, right? Do you buy a GIANT bunch of cilantro, parsley, etc and only need to use PART of it? And then, do you throw away the rest and feel like you've just wasted herbs AND money?

Duude. I just asked all the questions. 

The answer for me is YES. I get so annoyed when I only need a little bit of herbage and have to buy a ton. Plus, it seems to go bad so quickly. Which makes me go, GRRR.

But, fear not, I've found the answer.

I was skeptical at first. Now, I'm all about this freezing herbs thing.

Today's product: Ice Trays* (You remember those, right?)
*more like, what's inside the ice trays rather than the ice trays themselves

Where to find: Pretty much anywhere... I actually bought my ice trays* at Walmart. (Not Amazon, can you believe it?) *herbs sold separately

Average cost: $0.99 to $3.99 (at Walmart)

Lasts: Probably forever?

Karen's rating: 

I've frozen cilantro and parsley (in separate ice trays) and have had great results with both.

A quick How To:
wash herbs
chop them
put the chopped herbs in the ice trays
fill with water (or olive oil, or butter, but I'm cheap, so WATER)
 freeze overnight
pop them out and into labeled freezer bags for later use


More How To and additional info for your reading pleasure.

If you'd rather not go to the trouble (I don't find it to be much trouble though), there are actually pre-made frozen herbs you can purchase. The basil one I may try soon, because I find fresh basil to be a bit over-priced.

Freezing herbs has been super helpful for me. Their taste isn't quite as strong as fresh herbs, but I've solved that problem by just adding two herb-cubes instead of one to whatever I'm cooking.
I've also found if I thaw a cube overnight, I can drain/rinse it and use the herbs just as I would the fresh variety. AKA, garnish or salsa or whatnot.

Heard of this? Done it before? What say you?


Wanna see more red balloons go by? Thought so. Check out my previous reviews*
*Reviews are my own opinions, I am not paid to promote any items.


When life hands you lemons, freeze them . . . karen

February 8, 2016

Motivation. Need some? Five tips for finding motivation to write. #writeon #amwriting

Monday Motivation . . . Writerly things and stuff.

Let's do this.

1) Write naked. Just not at Starbucks. Unless it's in a nudist community. Basically, whatever seems to be working. Do it.

2) Same Time. Same Place. There's something kind of reassuring about routine. Whether it's pajamas and tea in your fave recliner or the corner table at your local coffee shop after ten espresso shots, routine can inspire. It's like a trigger: sit, sip, write. Repeat. Trick your brain into giving your hands the words.

3) Set a daily goal. Doesn't matter what it is. Ten words or ten pages. Anything is better than nothing. Basic physics, right? Words in motion stay in motion. Something like that.

4) Share your goals. Try it on social networks. Tell your friends and followers that you're going to write three thousand words today--that's wayyy more than I usually write, but there are prolific peeps out there. And then update them. I bet it'll make you at least write something, even if you don't reach the goal. Accountability, man. Give it a go. Also, try group support, like 1k1hr on Twitter. Or if you're really brave, write or die can force the words out of you.

5) Give yourself permission to write badly. It's hard. I know. But, it's the first draft. There's always draft ten or twelve to worry about typos, alliteration, and tying up plot threads. Words--even ones that are a hot mess--can be fixed. A blank page can't.


Bonus inspiration.

Want some more motivation? Who doesn't? Check out my other Monday posts.


On the writing island . . . karen

February 5, 2016

Words, toddlers, and zombies. My week in a nutshell. #FridayFeed #amwriting

Friday Feed . . . Doing things and stuff.

Call me Karen. (writing words)

Words. Words are happening, peoples. I'm only a thousand shiny new ones away from the HALFWAY mark on my middle grade work-in-progress. Holy WOW. The words have not been super easy this week, but they've definitely been steady. To make certain I get between 800-1000 words per day, I've been writing at 6:30am before the kiddo wakes up. Again whilst the kiddo naps. And if I haven't met my word count, I write after he goes to bed. 

This manuscript, man. I'm in love.

Luke, I am your mother. (kiddo corner)

Been a fun week--except for a mild case of puking, more on that in a minute. Monday was all the gorgeous and waaaarm. Went to the park, but Lukey wasn't having any of that outdoors crap (crazy boy). So we went to the gym instead--where he gets to play with little kids, unplug the water-fountain, and walk around like a zombie.

Tuesday we had story time at the library, and omigosh, Lukey was all over the place. lol Wednesday we had a playdate in Williamsburg with our good friend Judith and her littlest (Ps. click that link to browse her super cool eBay clothing shop).

Thursday was a rain-in kinda day. Mainly just tried to recover from puking the night before. I dunno what it is, but I swear I pick up some kind of puking disease every other time I go to the gym. Do people not wash their freaking hands??

I digress. Feeling much better. Today we have another playdate. Wherein I don't have to cook. Yay. Saturday the Hubs will be watching Lukey, whilst I eat some brains. Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies, baby! 

Few super cute things the kiddo is doing at 16 months: squealing like a stuck hog during his sleep, signing 'all done' when he's had enough to eat, poking his finger really hard on the table when he wants more food, and knocking on the window to make cars drive by.

Pix for your viewing pleasure . . . 

Just keep swimming. (all the randomness) 

So, a long, long time ago. Back in the year 2011, I watched two episodes of Grimm and was all: no, thanks. Well, five years later--and considering they're still making new episodes--I decided to give it another try. What was wrong with Past Karen?? Present Karen is massively intrigued by this show. Let the binge-fest continue. 

BONUS: My local RWA chapter is having our annual conference on 5 March in Williamsburg, VA. So if you can make it, come on out. More info here.

Enjoy my Friday Feed? Here's more to delight you.


Colors of the rainbow are very good to know . . . karen