Faulty Stars & Cheek Prosthetics?

Friday, May 30, 2014

If you've noticed, there have been quite a few book-related posts on this little blog of mine lately. For one, I'm a big reader, and secondly, I've read so many great novels that I've wanted to review and recommend them. (In fact, there should be another review coming next week. #bookworm) And even though I love posting *spoiler-free* book reviews (I seriously hate being accidentally spoiled, booo!), I also kind of wanna gush over them sometimes too. 

I mentioned on twitter a few weeks ago that I wanted to start a book club, and when my girl Kay responded, an unofficial book club was born. I don't know the details or how it will work just yet, and I'm not even sure if it will be some legit book club with a Goodreads page and link up and all that. But if anyone is interested, we've decided to read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green for the month of June. More to come about this impromptu book club in the future! (Of course, comment below if you are interested. Mae, I'm glaring at you!)  

Now, onto the weekend links!

I died laughing through most of this segment because Jennifer Lawrence + Jimmy Fallon = hilarious. How is she so attractive and so funny at the same damn time? Life is not fair!!

Another video of J Law because, for real, why not? She could seriously relay the experience of a root canal and I would be entertained. Oh & the myspace post her best friend wrote about going to the Oscars with her.

Mean Tweets are back and Sofia Vergara totally takes the cake for best reaction.

Creating the perfection that is the evil beauty of Maleficent. Holy, cheek prosthetics.

Childhood fairytales ruined. The Little Mermaid... Really? There's gotta be more to life.

Big 10 as Game of Thrones characters. Ohio State? Accurate. And for once in my life, I'm jealous of Indie, but still... "WE ARE!" I mean, Brienne of Tarth is pretty badass.

Cuando Cuando Es by J-King & Maximan. It's a few years old, but popped up on Pandora during a workout last week and had me elliptical-ing faster. The video's really corny (seriously, don't look it up), but you can still back that azz up.

Cuando Cuando Es by J-King & Maximan on Grooveshark

1-mine;2; 3&4

A Girl Who Reads: Cinder

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ever wonder "what if Cinderella was a cyborg?" Yeah, me neither. But after reading the first novel in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles quartet, I'm happy someone did. Meyer takes some of the stories that we know and love, tweaks quite a few things, works in some of the identifying details in interesting ways, and throws it back at us wrapped in a pretty bow (seriously, the covers are gorgeous). Her fairytale retellings give us exactly what we yearn for in a new and exciting way. Most of us, whether we care to admit it or not, are looking for our "happily ever after" and some of us wouldn't mind a "prince charming" either. Everyone loves a Cinderella story. (That's the last cliché, promise.) 

*Note: Skip the next paragraph if you'd like to jump right into the review of Cinder.

In some ways, the Lunar Chronicles quartet borrows four of the heroines from our favorite fairytales and in many other ways, Meyer makes these stories all her own. All of her books take place during the 3rd Era, after World World IV. In her world, cyborgs, humans who have received metal parts to sustain their lives after life-threatening accidents, are viewed as "technological mistakes" and outcasts by most of society; the Moon is populated and those that live on it called Lunars are feared because of their "special abilities" as well as their infamous ruler, Queen Levana; and if that's not enough, there's a plague that's threatening to wipe-out the whole of the Earth's population. Each book focuses on a new heroine. Book One introduces us to Cinder, an orphan who still has an evil stepmother and lives in a dusty closet. But instead of a glass slipper, she has a metal foot with a metal hand to match. Scarlet, after whom Book Two is named, dons a red hoodie given to her by her grandmother who's been missing for two weeks when we're introduced to her. The small farm where she lives with her grandmother and a mysterious street fighter, Wolf, may hold the key to multiple secrets, including where her grandmother has gone and why she left her ID chip behind. Book Three's namesake Cress may not live in a tower, but she's been imprisoned in a satellite for years. And although she has golden hair, long enough to get stuck beneath the wheels of her desk chair, and there's even a sort of prince to save her, Cress is far from helpless. Trapped for years, she's developed expert skill as a hacker and for the adventure she's to embark on, she's gonna need it. Winter, Book Four, won't be released until 2015, but taking the teasers Meyer has released about this Snow White reincarnate as well as the glimpses we get in the other books, Winter's gonna be one hell of a character.         

Title: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publication: 2012

Main Plot: Being partly made of metal parts for as long as she can remember means that Cinder’s grown to be quite good with mechanical things, having to fix her own malfunctions and any other thing that needs fixing in her evil stepmother’s home. In fact, she’s known as the best mechanic in New Beijing. Yet, it’s still surprising when she’s visited by Prince Kaito to fix his royal android, “a matter of national security”, before his annual ball. But what Cinder discovers threatens to be more than a national issue, it’s personal as well.    

Favorite Quotes:
""I don't know. I don't actually remember anything from before the surgery."
His eyebrows rose, his blue eyes sucking in all the light of the room. "The cybernetic operation?"
"No, the sex change."
The doctor's smile faltered.
"I'm joking.""

"It's easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth."

"They were beautiful. The most beautiful things she'd ever owned. But if there was one thing she knew from years as a mechanic, it was that some stains never came out."

My Rating: 4.5 - 5 stars

I hate to say it, considering that I gave the novel a near-perfect rating, but I didn't want to read Cinder at first. I bought it on a whim to round out a Book Outlet purchase but it sat on my shelves for nearly 3 months, untouched. (Note: this seems to happen to all books that become my favorites, maybe I should take a hint or two.) The storyline both scared and intrigued me, the former steering me clear for a few months. I haven't mentioned it but I'm not very fond of aliens. I'm not sure why and it's topic for a different post, but I'm not a fan. So when I heard that there are moon people in this futuristic novel I wasn't jumping to read it. How silly was I. For the record, there are no aliens in this novel. Lunar people, yeah, but for the most part, they blend in with humans, so crisis averted. Also, to not read this novel (or series for that matter) is to miss out on a fantastic story. I closed the back cover of Cinder in less than 36 hours.

Cinder lives in a world that fears and hates her because she was blessed with a life-saving operation making her a cyborg in the process. She wears gloves, cargo pants and boots to cover her cyborg parts, a metal hand and foot, in order to fit into society. But being a cyborg doesn't come without some pretty cool tricks including being able to download data straight to your brain and scrolling the internet with your thoughts. In this novel, Meyer's explores adding these futuristic elements into the classic Cinderella story, and in my opinion, she really succeeds. Although it can read a little bit predictable due to it being a retelling, it's such a fun read that it doesn't matter.

Meyer did an amazing job at leaving in some of the elements we recognize from the fairytale (an evil stepmother, royal ball, pumpkin and a fairy godmother of sorts all make an appearance in the story), but the Chronicles is actually focused on something completely separate from these traditional, expected elements. Basically, many of the characters are inspired but the story is utterly it's own, and I love that. I love that while I read, I recognized certain things but then Meyer's would throw a wrench in there that completely knocked me off guard (hello moon people and fatal plague sweeping across all the lands!). I immediately identified with the characters. Within the first six pages, our main character Cinder meets Prince Kaito and I found myself rooting for them from the first word spoken. They literally had me at "hello." Meyer brilliantly weaves romance into her story of a world on the verge of falling apart. There are moments when everything seems to be going wrong spliced with heart-melting, "that lovin' feeling" moments that make you squeal. Literally. Squeal. Cinder is such a fantastic heroine. She may be treated terribly by her evil stepmother and shunned by others around her, but she's compassionate and strong and feisty and everything you'd want a YA (or any genre's) heroine to be.

I'm putting it out there - I'm envious of Meyer's writing. Off the top of my head, the only other author to produce such jealousy in me is Jane Austen and that's really saying something. I found myself marveling over her word choices, specifically her use of a variety of verbs. Every now and then, I'd read a few pages aloud just because I liked the way it sounded. She blends great descriptions with the quick pace of action and dialogue, without sacrificing one for the other.     

Cinder is a love story and a rebel story, a fairytale with a twist and it's all the better for it. Who wants that perfect love story anyway? Cliché, cliché (2 points to whoever caught that reference).

Have you read Cinder yet? Fangirl in the comments below. Oh, and if you need more convincing, here's a hardcover copy of Cinder for $4.99 - it's looking for a home :)

The Worst Thing You Write...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quickly wanted to post about this week's writing prompt. Just in case anyone wants to join in.
As mentioned in this post, responding to writing prompts has really helped over the past two months. I run into all kinds of snags while writing my novel (it still feels super weird referring to it as "my novel") and need to just write something to keep the creativity flowing. Here's the prompt I'm working on this week:
What does 'a string of laughter' make you think of?

My response will be up tomorrow for Fiction Friday.


The Workout Horse

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I write this from the comfort of my sofa, curled into a ball watching tonight's playoff basketball game. I feel about as beat up as the ball their fighting over bouncing down the court. I wouldn't be surprised if I woke up with a bruise in the morning, courtesy of slipping during 60-second planks. There' a part of me cursing this feeling, but mostly, I'm grateful for it. Today's workout might have kicked my ass, but it's also whipping it into shape. And with summer quickly approaching (today was 75º, sunny and gorgeous), that's a good thing.

I know that anytime someone says they're "getting fit for summer", a fitness guru groans in frustration and loses it's wings. By now, we all know that fitness should be a lifestyle change not a seasonal fad. I'm looking to get fit again for life truly. But, in my opinion, having a goal in mind never hurts. I've been talking about losing weight and toning up for summer since the beginning of the year, but it's much easier said then done. Over the past few months, I've dropped a few pounds, but nothing close to what I need to get rid of. I'd fallen off the metaphorical 'workout horse' and I was losing motivation fast.

I've mentioned the girls from Tone It Up a few times on the blog in connection with the Love Your Body series. I just love watching these ladies, the consistency in which they update their site and the positive outlook they have on everything. So when they announced their Bikini Series, a workout series geared towards getting in shape for summertime, I was game. The series is loaded with booty-kicking routines, delicious meals and snacks, and inspirational sunset challenges. It's one of those routines that had me near death today at the gym. When you've made it through HIIT cardio and a fully body workout, the last thing you want to do is a booty blasting routine that calls for one-legged squats and so many booty bridges you feel like it's going to fall off. As I worked through the final routine, I muttered obscenities at the ground but I felt great. Accomplished. So I can lounge on my sofa with a few Trader Joe's sea salt caramel cookies (I left that bit out earlier didn't I? :)) and hopefully watch LeBron cry over another loss, without any guilt.

If you've been lacking the motivation to get moving or simply can't find a workout routine that works for you, check out Karena and Katrina at Tone It Up. We're halfway through the series, but it's worth checking out anyway. Bikini Series or not, their website is like a fitness goldmine.      

And now it looks like Miami might win tonight's game. Whatever.

1; 2.

Summer Is For Reading

Monday, May 19, 2014

Every one of the 7 books I've read this year has been a YA novel. You could say that I could stand branching out into other genres. It's just so hard to walk away from those pretty covers, damn it! So when I saw this Semi-Charmed Summer Book Challenge by Megan on Mae's blog, I thought "what a great way to get into some new books". Of course, I slipped a YA in there when I could under certain categories (you can take the girl outta the YA but not the YA out.. of... the.. girl??) but I tried to choose "grown up" books as well. Whatever that means. I also found ways to fit in certain books that have been on my TBR list. Here's a preliminary list of the books I plan to read.

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 200 pages long.
-- Attachments or some other novel by Rainbow Rowell
10 points: Read a book that was written before you were born.
-- Emma by Jane Austen
10 points: Finish reading a book you couldn't finish the first time around. (You must have at least 150 pages left in the book to use it for this category.)
-- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
10 points: Read a book from the children's section of the library or bookstore.
-- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
15points: Read a book that is on the The New York Times' Best Sellers List when you begin reading it.
-- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt [#3 on the Fiction Best Sellers List] (775 pages!)
15 points: Read a historical fiction book that does not take place in Europe.
-- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen or Serena by Ron Rash
15 points: Read a book another blogger has already read for the challenge.
-- TBD!
20 points: Read a book with "son(s)," "daughter(s)" or "child(ren)" in the title.
-- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
20 points: Read a book that was/will be adapted to a film in 2014.
-- The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
25 points: Read a book written by a blogger.
-- Cress by Marissa Meyer [She had a book review blog at marissameyer.livejournal.com before she published The Lunar Chronicles and moved over to her official website, so this technically counts]
25 points: Read a biography, autobiography or memoir.
-- Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg or maybe Wild by Cheryl Strayed
30 points: Read a pair of books with antonyms in the title.
-- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Reality Boy by A.S. King

Anyone else participating in this challenge? Have you read any books on my list? What do you think?

Wish I May, Wish I Might

Saturday, May 17, 2014

I probably spend a substantial portion of my time wishing for things. My Amazon Wishlist is 30+ items long, my 'to buy' from Bloomingdales is even longer, and I definitely say "I wish I had [insert random noun]" at least twice a day. All of which leads me to think, why do most of us wish our lives away? But that's a thought (or blog post) for a different day. For today, we're all about the wishes, hopes and dreams. This optimistic, fairy tale mindset can be attributed to my recent obsession interest in fairy tale retellings (re: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer & the CW tv show, Once Upon A Time). Annnddd, we're rolling on past this awkward intro...

My Current Wishlist:
-- Erin Condren life planner : This finally came in the mail yesterday and I've been turning the pages ever since. A measly 24-hours with this little beaut and I'm already wondering how I could have lived without it. #nerdalert
-- Chloé Roses de Chloé perfume : because anything that smells of roses is an insta-like for me.
-- Lush Ro's Argan Body Conditioner : again, because I'm all about the roses.
-- Pride & Prejudice, Mr. Boddington's Peguin Classics : Every time I walk into Anthro I lust over this pretty little book and want to add it to my coffee table display.
-- Essie's Spring/Summer 2014 collection, specifically the shades "Hide & Go Chic" and "Urban Jungle"
-- Fresh peonies
-- ASOS Boyfriend Watch
-- ASOS Live Beautifully Bangle
-- Maleficient lipstick "True Love's Kiss" by MAC : I adore the name and Angelina's makeup in this movie is ah-mazing, so I just have to have this.
-- MK 'Large Hamilton' leather tote : It's been on my list for a while because such a great essential.
-- Jessica Simpson Beaded Print maxi dress & Bebe striped maxi dress : because the arrival of warmer months always calls for a new maxi :)

What are you lusting over currently?

Happy Weekend!

How To: Not Be Engaged & Not Hate It

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I've said it once and I'll say it again - I've never been the type to dream of my wedding day. But despite never being focused on it, it's hard to not get frustrated when everyone is getting engaged. Surely not everyone right? Well, when I log into FaceBook and find out that 3 of my friends have been recently engaged in the past month, I'd say yeah, everyone. I'm not hating on love or commitment or anything like that - I've been in a committed relationship for over 5 years, and one of my bestfriends is engaged and I couldn't be happier for her. But what's a non-engaged girl to do when it seems like everyone around her is being presented with diamond rings and promised forever? Here's a list of 4 ways to keep said girl sane.

1. Remember that you're still young. Despite my recent complaint of being 26 and getting older, I admit that in grand scheme of things I'm still relatively young. Not to take anything away from those who've found their soulmate at a young age (I mean, I met my boyfriend when I was 20!), but the ladies from Sex And The City didn't met their guys until they were in their late-thirties/forties. Carrie & co. made it clear: don't rush the "m" word.

2. Your relationship is your relationship. I've been in a relationship for 5 years and although we've definitely mentioned the idea of 'forever', we haven't set time limits on anything or talked too in depth about marriage. If I allowed the fact that others are engaged after dating for a year or two or three even, I'd be miserable. Not only does every relationship have it's own pace, but every relationship has it's own priorities. At the moment, my boyfriend and I feel like we have a few things to accomplish separately without the pressure of being a spouse, and that being together in the meantime is enough. If I wasted time comparing to other relationships, I'd be questioning a pretty great thing.

3. Enjoy that you can 'have your cake and eat it too.' I'm not sure that was the right euphemism but we're rolling with it. Basically, bask in the fact that you can do whatever you want. That's not to say that relationships don't come with responsibilities or that marriages are stifling. But when you aren't married/a parent, it's different (or so I'm assuming as I'm neither of those yet). You can binge watch chick flicks or  rom-coms without having to flip to ESPN. You can forget to make dinner and munch on potato chips and sip wine without feeling guilty that you're starving your spouse. You can channel surf and blog at the same time without feeling like you're selfishly hogging all of the entertainment (sometimes). Point is, the freedom of not being attached to someone and making decisions without any dependents is quite wonderful - enjoy it!

4. You're not missing out on anything. You simply aren't there yet. Ignore those little pangs that make you feel like the odd one out. This isn't the last train to Paris or anything. Just because you can't jump on the train yet doesn't mean you shouldn't look forward to one coming after it. So while you watch your best friend exchanging vows with her groom on her day, don't envy it and don't feel left out. There's enough happiness for all of us, and one happy girl doesn't drain the pot. Just look forward to your special day with your special person. Because it's coming, and it will be just for you and just in time.

Got anything to add? Leave it in a comment below!


A Girl Who Reads: Anna and The French Kiss

Monday, May 12, 2014

It's been a while since I've done a book review and that would be because it's been a while since I read a book (click here to catch up with past reviews in this series!). After finishing Allegiant, I couldn't get inspired to pick up another novel. Nothing on my bookshelf was grabbing my attention, even though I'd purchased a few books offline recently. Then one day I was in the mood for something cute and lovey-dovey, and so I plucked Anna and The French Kiss off my shelves because what more cute and lovey-dovey than a love story set in Paris? Nothing. Within 24 hours, I'd finished the novel and set it down, liking it a whole lot but not amazed by it. Over the next few weeks I picked up and put down The Great Gatsby (a book I should have read ages ago) around a dozen times, but failed to actually read it. That's when I just gave up and picked up the story of Anna, her boarding school in Paris and her boy in Paris to devour yet again. And in the middle of the second read, I fell in love with it (and maybe even one of its characters :\ ).

Title: Anna and The French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Publication: 2010

Major Characters: Anna, St. Clair, Meredith, Rashmi, Josh

Main Plot: When Anna gets shipped off to The School of America in Paris leaving a best friend and an almost-boyfriend back home in Atlanta, she expects it to be miserable. But when she falls into step with a friendly foursome, one of which is a super attractive boy with an adorable accent, she wonders if maybe she could belong to the City of Light as well.

Favorite Line(s):
"Girl scouts didn't teach me what to do with emotionally unstable drunk boys."

"School of America in Paris" he explains. "SOAP".
Nice. My father sent me here to be cleansed."

"And, suddenly, I want to touch him. Not a push, or a shove, or even a friendly hug. I want to feel the creases in his skin, connect his freckly with invisible lines, brush my fingers across the inside of his wrists."

My Rating: 5
To start off, it's not this classic monster of a book. It's not going to make you stop and think about your decisions or bring your morals into question. It's not going to change your life. It's not a Pride & Prejudice, Of Mice & Men, The Catcher In The Rye. It doesn't bring you to an alternate world that's been forever changed by our rampant consumerism like The Hunger Games or Divergent. Yet, it's still one of my favorites. Because it is such a charming, feel good book.

Stephanie Perkins perfectly encapsulates what it feels like to fall in love. That feeling of not knowing whether you're friends or more than friends, and feeling like your heart might just pop right out of your chest when he gets a little too close. The electricity of a first touch or the moment when flirtatious banter is capped by a look that makes the ground fall from beneath your feet. When I read this book, both times I found myself giddily smiling into its binding and kicking my feet into the air, vicariously living through Anna and her Parisian experiences. There are particular scenes I reread multiple times before continuing because of how endearing they are to read.

Sometimes, when you read a romance-y type of novel, especially one with teenage characters (most of the characters are seniors in high school), you expect to feel "over it" because the romance is so unrealistic and the characters are so naive. This novel didn't feel that way. Aside from the typical teen-angst moment her or there, the problems they faced felt real and the situations they found themselves in weren't so far removed from the drama of adults my age. It ran the gamut from family issues, to loss, to discovering a new place, to being scared to ask "hey, are you into me?", and none of it felt tired or old. And surprisingly, the way Perkins develops relationships and friendships in the novel is great on timing. It isn't rushed. A quote from Pride & Prejudice is actually perfect to illustrate this point: "I was in the middle before I knew it had begun." There aren't "insta-best friends" or "I love you's at first sight". You feel the relationships growing and stretching to fill up the page and in the process, you fall in love as well.

I really enjoyed the simplicity with which the novel was written. As someone who struggles with using too many words in her writing and making things sound too complicated, the straight-forward, conversational writing of the novel was refreshing and easy to read. Plus, the way Stephanie Perkins explains Paris with such beautiful descriptions kind of transports you from your bedroom right into the City Of Love - if only until the final page is read. Or if you're like me, you go right back to the beginning and fall in love all over again.  


I Made A Sofa!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Just kidding. But kinda close.

Is it pathetic that as soon as I accomplish something slightly DIY-y I want to share it with everyone? Like 'hey! you stranger, walking down 14th street. I made this." I just feel like it isn't real if I don't have someone to come and view it in all its glory. That would be why my tweet on Sunday night read: "I fixed my own sofa. Wood, screwdriver, brackets, staples gun and all. Yes, I fx$%!*g did! #feelingmyself." I had to add the hashtag just in case you couldn't imply such from the rest of my tweet. And now, well now I'm going to tell you how I accomplished such a thing so you too can marvel at all its glory (#stillfeelingmyself), except I'm going to give you a bit of backstory on my sad, sad sofa first.

^ Totally not my sofa, but I really like it & felt like we needed a visual here.

I first got my sofa two years ago after having a super itchy fabric couch that was falling apart. I bought it in brown leather because I didn't have the forethought at the time to question "umm, who in 7 hells has a brown leather couch?" However, from the moment it was delivered I loved it because it was a stable sofa and actually looked pretty nice in the space. That is until it didn't because the leather at the base of the sofa began to split like something had nawed on it (did I mention that this was around the same time I was convinced there was a little mouse running around my apartment?). That little split gradually got bigger and eventually turned into a huge dip which then became a gash through which pieces of splintering wood poked through. Calls to the furniture company proved futile as they determined it "was not a default covered under the protection plan." Bullshit. But they refused to fix it. So after living with a broken couch for over a year because they wouldn't fix it, I found a bit of bravery in this cowardly lion heart of mine and decided to tip it over and take a look at the damage. (Remember, my past irrational fear of pretend mouse housemates? Well, I still kind of half-expected to find 4-6 carcasses just chillin' in my uphostery.)

As luck would have it, the damage was much less than I'd expected. Turns out the bowing in my sofa was from the bowed and/or broken beams inside as opposed to a completely wrecked frame or faulty springs. I'm a sucky blogger and took zero pictures of said discovery or its subsequent fixing, so hopefully my power of description is enough to carry this through :\ ...

1) First, I flipped the sofa on its back exposing the bottom and removed the staples holding to leather covering to the wooden frame so I could have a peek inside. Of course, I went about this the hardest way possible pulling them out with pliers only. Quick tip: Push a flat-head screwdriver beneath staples to lift them from the surface before yanking them out with pliers - makes the job much easier on your hands.The cause of the drooping was (1) the broken piece on plywood on the front of my sofa and (2) the bowing of a piece of plywood that ran from the front of my sofa to the back near the drooping section.

2) I love trips to Home Depot so when the whole supply-buying portion of the project came I was ecstatic. I came home with a staple gun and staples (to reattach the leather once I undoubtedly fixed the issue), 2-inch wood screws, and a piece of pine wood cut to 71 x 7.25 x 3/4 by my local hardware store, because Home Depots in Manhattan are lame and don't cut wood. And I did it all my my lonesome, expect not :)

3) Tearing the plywood from the frame was a lot more difficult than expected because the sections that were firmly attached were firmly attached. After strapping on protective goggles and prying it off with a hammer for a solid 10 minutes, the 'bowing section' of the sofa was visible. Using the hammer, I banged the bowing piece into place which I'm sure wasn't the best solution but it worked well enough without having to pull apart the entire frame or buy a whole new sofa.

4) With the wood cut down to size, attaching a new front piece of pine wood should've been simple, except that nothing's that simple when it comes to me and DIYs and my screwdriver died 7 seconds into the project. Using a hand screwdriver (do NOT do this if you have any other option), I put wood screws along the top of the beam, securing it to the piece of plywood on which the cushions were attached, and then 3 wood screws on each side - leading me to step 6.

5) The wood cracked! You read it right. I flipped it over thinking it was all good only to hear it "crrr--aacckk" when sat upon. For real, my heart skipped a beat. Apparently, plywood begins to separate when holes are drilled between the layers. Also, if you don't make sure to screw through to the base and you force warped wood to line up perfectly, something will crack once you add weight to the equation. So I ran off to Home Depot again, which wasn't as fun of a trip this time around, and picked up some wood glue and a few metal brackets because, damn it, I was going to make this work! I let the glue set over night, screwing mending plates to clamp the two piece together while it dried. And the next day, instead of forcing the wood to align, I used L-shaped braces to secure the new wood beam to the plywood sides.

6) Ta-da! It worked. After sitting on it for a few hours, I deemed myself Queen Of All Sagging Sofas and stapled that baby back up, with the closest thing I'll ever have to a gun in my house. And the sofa's been going strong since Sunday ;)

This totally ended up being more of a shenanigans story than a how-to. I'm laughing at the ridiculousness of it all as I bring this to a close. So if this didn't totally teach you how to fix your sofa, hopefully it made you smile. Point is: I (sorta, kinda, not really) made a sofa!      

Frustrations of Writing A Novel [Or Attempting To]

Friday, May 2, 2014

Like the total nerd that I am, I spent a significant amount of time last weekend buried in writing advice posts from some of my favorite authors and brainstorming about the WIP. I swear I really do go out and bask in the New York City awesome-ness more often than it seems! I know that a few of the people that read my blog are writers, but I'm also aware that many are not. So instead of allowing solitary frustrations to trickle into a post here or there thereby taking over said post (that's what twitter is for!), I've collected a few of them into one post, making it totally skippable for those who'd rather not read all this mumbo-jumbo. Although I'd be stoked if you all read it anyway because, you know, that's kind of what I'm here for :)

My characters are laaazzzy. Every time I sit down to write something about Lea, she's downing cups of tea and people-watching from the safety of her porch instead of, I don't know, living life! And then I'm all like "well, let's just throw Sebastian in there!" and he's all like "no, I'd rather chain smoke cigarillos and write angst-ridden songs on my electric guitar in my bedroom." Except he doesn't smoke, no matter how much I try convincing him it would totally fix his image (he's proving a little boring these days). Degenerates, these two. Get your lives together, please, so I can write them.

Being a perfectionist. Ever since I can remember, I been poppin my collar (if you don't know that reference, I'm gonna need you to look up Three 6 Mafia's 'Poppin My Collar', stat). But really, I've always been a perfectionist. I've even responded to the age-old comment "nobody's perfect" with a smart-assy "well, with that attitude, you won't be." Turns out that's a crap attribute to have when you're trying to write an entire novel. Because Rule #1 of writing a book is to plow ahead and never look back. Drafts aren't suppose to be perfect and looking back to fix things just slows down the process.

My world's falling apart. One moment it's all perfect and the next second it wants to go ape-shit. I've created a bipolar town that can't decide if it wants to be naughty or nice. And just when I think it's teetering on the edge of a choice it's all like "sike!". Have I mentioned that where said flip-flopping town falls on the spectrum completely dictates the tone of the novel? Meaning, I can't write a damn thing until it figures it out. And by it, I of course mean me.

Am I forcing it? A story needs movement, but everything I do seems so forced. I need to get from point A to point B but it's not flowing organically. My characters just aren't ready to go there despite my not-so-gentle coaxing with trails of cookie crumbs and promises of ice-cream on arrival. See complaint above, re: my characters are lazy.

Suspending reality. This is the companion to the world frustration above, because in order for this world to exist the reader needs to understand how such a world could in fact exist. Which means that I have to give the reader a reason to suspend the reality known to her and pludge head-first into mine. As of right now, I'm missing some unknown piece that would take me there. Like the causal link between what is and what could be. Because even if it's not 100% possible it has to be believable.

So goes the tune of my current frustrations. I can't even pretend - it makes me feel better to get it all out there (although I'm sure half of you probably think I'm cray cray by now). Any other writers out there having similar issues with a Work In Progress? Comment below so we can wallow in shared misery and, I don't know, maybe figure some -ish out :)

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