Baby, it's cold outside!

Crazy and utterly insane temperatures here in Central Florida this winter. It has dipped into the 20s during the nights and early mornings the last few days. The days have been in the 30s to 50s tops. While I enjoy the cooler weather, the 20s and 30s are definitely not the temps I like at all. Now, if it was in the 50s and 60s, that would be another story…of course, unless that darn wind chill was making it feel like it was even colder.

To keep warm during these cold days, I have been going with lots of layers and hot tea. I already have been loving a good cup of tea and now more than ever do I appreciate how great it is to have a hot cup to warm you up in the morning.

January 4th – Date

One-Minute Writer Daily Prompt:
Write about a day of the year that is important to you personally (not a holiday or birthday.)

Here is the utter truth of the matter, I love Fridays now more than ever. Now that I only work on every fifth Saturday, Fridays are my favorite days since I know the weekend is right there waiting. There is nothing like that feeling you get when it’s time to punch out for the last time that week and have the next two days free of the workplace, it is a feeling of excitement.

I realize that I sort of took this prompt in a bit of a difference direction. To single out one day of the year less for holidays/birthdays that is important to me right now is almost impossible. As, a day for me other than holidays does not exist. Yes, I’m sure if I really racked my brain I’d come up with something, but nothing came to mind for me when I saw this prompt. Seeing as how the prompt response is supposed to be written within 60 seconds, that’s what I came up with. 🙂

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This blog post is in response to The One-Minute Writer daily prompt.

On the Road

I wanted to start with Breakfast of Champions, but couldn’t find it in stock at the bookstore Saturday and unfortunately, the local library doesn’t seem to have this book at any of it’s branches. So, I decided to start my first book read of 2010 with Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Oddly enough, I have never read any of the author’s work. I have heard great things, just never took the time to check out any of his books.

Reading update

So, I have not been doing well in reading my Sherlock Holmes book…don’t get me wrong, it’s a great book, I just have been very mentally scattered and busy with the holidays. No more excuses though, the holiday insanity is over (even though we are going to be very slammed at work for the next 6 weeks) and I need to settle down and read daily. Decided that while I want to get through Sherlock Holmes, I am going to try reading another book first that is not filled with short stories and is rather one complete novel. Which one am I going to start with from my list? I am allowing myself the day to decide upon that. There are some great novelists on my list and while I am out today, the bookstore will beckon me. More on the decision later…. 🙂

Etsy shop now open!

I have been wanting to open an etsy shop to sell some of my photography prints for a few months. Today marked the day that I officially came through on that. As of this afternoon, I have 9 photo prints for sale in my shop. Please stop by and check it out! I will try to vary the prints available throughout the next few weeks, as I am always out shooting new things.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/shutterbugshannon

December 31st – Resolution

Resolution you wish you’d stuck with. (You know, there’s always next year…)

Right off the bat, I don’t believe in resolutions anymore. The concept of making a resolution for yourself simply because it’s a New Year sounds novel, but really is futile. Most resolutions are broken within a couple of weeks of the person making them, as they were made merely because the person felt as though they had to come up with a resolution(s) simply due to the fact that it was a new year.

What I do believe in is goals or aspirations for a year, or month or what have you. A goal to accomplish something within a certain time span is a good way to go. For 2010, I have been working on coming up with a list of goals I want to complete during the year (this will be posted later on my blog).

As far as something I hoped to accomplish in 2009 that I did not, I would have to say that my goal for the year was to be back out on my own again. This partially got derailed due to my decision to move back up to Western North Carolina in 2010. Originally, when I had to come back to Florida in December 2008, I had thought that I would be moving into an apartment somewhere in Orlando, and this goal was still in my mind until about summer. By September, I knew that I wanted to instead get things together and head back up to Asheville when it was feasible. Thankfully, I spoke with my parents and they agreed that this was a good goal to shoot for. So, all in all, it is working out in the end that this particular accomplishment or goal did not get done.

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This blog post is in response to Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge

Best of 2009 Challenge: Catch-up 2

Finally, I’m posting the remainder of the days I needed to catch up on. Here are December 7th through 12th from the blog challenge prompts….



Blog find of the year. That gem of a blog you can’t believe you didn’t know about until this year.

In 2009, I discovered a number of great blogs, so I can’t really single out one particular one over the others. There are two though that I visit very regularly these days and really enjoy. Those are, Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen and Procrastinating Writer.

Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen is a recipe blog for vegans (and those who love veg food). Lots of low-fat and lower calorie recipes are posted each week by author/cook Susan. A great resource for those wanting to eat well, but watch the calories (I still count calories to this day).

Procrastinating Writers is a blog for writers, especially those who tend to veer off track and allow their mind to wander into other things instead of that blank paper sitting in front of them (or blank screen as the case may be). Great motivating and inspirational info posted all the time here, I especially enjoyed the site during NaNoWriMo, which is when I discovered it.

Moment of peace. An hour or a day or a week of solitude. What was the quality of your breath? The state of your mind? How did you get there?

Ah yes, I look forward to this each and every week. My moment of solitude takes place on Sundays. This is the one day of the week where I can sleep in, with no worries of having to be any place at a particular designated time or worrying about that pesky alarm clock buzzing me awake. Sundays are my day of rest both mentally and physically.

Mentally, I allow myself to relax at that time and let all the worries of the previous days and of those upcoming to drift away, as though they were aboard a canoe in calm waters. Ideally, my surroundings during this time are calm and positive. Of course, for now, this means that my real “me time” or “moment of peace” takes place out of the home. Maybe in 2010, this will change once I am back in my own place.

Physically, I work out my body. This means I go out for long walk/runs allowing myself to not only get in some cardio exercise, but to breath in the outdoors. There is nothing like being outside on a beautiful sunny day, just taking it all in. I love how it makes me feel, relaxed.

Challenge. Something that really made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?

My challenge of 2009 was to be back in a place that I never planned to be back to, and survive. As silly as that sounds, that was sort of the big challenge for me. Of course, entering the year 2009 as an unemployed individual, was a challenge in and of itself. I had never not been employed, at least not since I was in high school. That situation, along with having to move back home with my parents was my challenge. I was grateful that they were and are there for me when I need them, but moving back home after being out on your own is not the same. Things are quite different when you come back and are your own person. Nothing seems or is quite the same at home. While I never felt unwelcome, I have gone through my share of unhappy and uncomfortable moments being back this year. I went from optimistic job seeker and thinking all would be great soon, to depressed and not caring about anything…then, back to happy again. A mental and emotional ride of an adventure (if you can call it that J ).

In the end though, I feel as though it has been a learning experience for me. I have learned a lot, and while I love my family to pieces, I cannot wait to be back living on my own in 2010 back in my favorite place, Asheville.

Album of the year. What’s rocking your world?

Pearl Jam’s new album, Backspacer is probably my favorite of the year. It is the only full album I paid for a download of on iTunes in 2009. Other artists I have enjoyed, but not their entire album. It’s a great album full of music you can listen to in the car while you drive, or is great for adding to your workout mix. I have added a number of the album’s songs to my walk/run mixes.

The best place. A coffee shop? A pub? A retreat center? A cubicle? A nook?

People have these? Ha, seriously, I don’t really have one best or favorite place. If the location is serene and allows me to sit and write, I am usually happy and content with it. That might be a coffee shop, or a bookstore for me. Also, I enjoy places that I can photograph and feel my creativity pumping. These days, I am more into the outdoors than ever before in my life, so outdoor locations are great.

The only place I have found myself returning to as of late is Celebration. This is a quaint little community near Walt Disney World. It has beautiful scenery and oddly enough, reminds me somewhat of North Carolina in a way. I like how I can go there to merely wander around, check out the Sunday farmer’s market or take a long stroll on their hiking path. Celebration is a relaxing place to spend a few hours or day in just “vegging out.”

New food. You’re now in love with Lebanese food and you didn’t even know what it was in January of this year.

Indian food. Finally bought some and tried it late this year and I am in love. Well, I’m in love with matter tofu at least. I only wish I would have allowed myself to be more open and have tried this culture’s food sooner. I really have been missing out on some good food. Becoming vegan has really helped me open myself to try new things which is nice because I am beginning to have new favorite meals to add to my weekly “menu” for lunches and dinners.

December 30th – Ad

What advertisement made you think this year?

We cannot escape advertisements. Literally, they are everywhere. On television, billboards along the highway, even on other products we have purchased. Ads are all over. Sometimes, the over abundance of ads is overwhelming to the senses.

The ad that has stuck with me though is PETA’s Thanksgiving ad. This is the ad that a lot of stations refused to air. It features a family at Thanksgiving dinner with the young girl saying grace. Her grace includes thanking the poor animal that died to feed her family their turkey dinner. That commercial has stood with me since I first saw it online on Thanksgiving and will most likely remain with me for awhile to come. While I had already been a vegetarian (almost vegan) at that point, that commercial can’t help you visualize everything horrible about the food industry.

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This blog post is in response to Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge

December 29 – Laugh

What was your biggest belly laugh of the year?

Laughter is the best medicine as they say, and I do agree that is so. 2009 was a tough year in many ways, but sometimes a good laugh or smile moment can wipe away some of that bad taste that develops. Or, at the least, make it fade away for a short time.

What was my biggest laugh? Major props to Gwen for this blog prompt topic, as my brain really had to think about this one for awhile. After some thought, I would say my biggest belly laugh moment was watching Four Christmas’ with my parents back in November. Not that the movie was overly great, but it did allow me and my parents to relax and enjoy some laughs. 2009 has been a tough year, so a good laugh is definitely needed whenever possible. I’m sure I had at least a couple other good laughing moments, but that is the one that stands out right now in my mind.

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This blog post is in response to Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge

December 28th – Stationery

When you touch the paper, your heart melts. The ink flows from the pen. What was your stationery find of the year?

Ah, stationary, notepads, notebooks, paper, how I adore thee. You are my love, my obsession…no really, this is true. I cannot walk into a store and not look at what notebooks, journals and such that they carry. Some girls have a shoe obsession, instead I have a paper and pen obsession, I am a writer after all.

Did I have a favorite find in 2009 paper-wise? Honestly, I cannot say I did. I still love gel pens when I am hand writing something and not able to simply type into my laptop. And, any good notebook/notepad that is college ruled works well for me. Also, I love legal pads. I must have at least a dozen empty or partially written in notepads all over my room and car. My theory is, you can never have too many writing instruments and writing paper to scribble upon. I mean, when the power goes out and you are sitting there in the dark only illuminated by flashlight or candlelight, you can still write with that pen and paper. Never fails. 🙂

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This blog is in response to Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge