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Monday, October 28, 2013

30 Week Blog Challenge: Week 9-Pet Peeves

What are my pet peeves?  This week's challenge should have been called Things That Annoy Me.  I'm feeling annoyed as I write this entry, so I am pretty fired up right now.

Take a deep breathe............

Once, my uncle stated "this one (meaning me) never complains."  Well, I may not complain out loud, but I do complain to myself in my head.


  • One of the things that annoy me is a dirty bathroom, especially public restrooms.  Public restrooms are the worse because people leave paper towels and tissue everywhere.  What's even more disgusting is when people do not flush the toilet.         
  • Once during a rest stop en route to visit my grandparents, we stopped at a gas station somewhere in North Carolina.  It was so DISGUSTING, I turned around and walked out.  
  • Another pet peeve of mine is when people walk out of the restroom without washing their hands. Enough said.
  • As a visually impaired person, I have to be extra careful not to trip over things.  I have enough vision to see large objects.  It gets on my nerves when shoes are left in the middle of the hallway, or when objects, big and small are left in the middle of a pathway.  
  • Another pet peeve of mine is when people feel the need to blast their stereos so loud that people can hear it.  People blast their stereos SO LOUD, it rattles windows and you can hear every lyric.
  • It is also annoying when people talk loudly on their phones, especially in buildings.  For instance, when I was college it drove me CRAZY when people would talk on their phone loudly in the hallways while classes were going on.  Seriously people, we don't need to hear the details of your conversation.  Take it outside, the stairwell, or your car.
  • Another pet peeve of mine is when people share WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION on social media sites, particularly Facebook.  I'm not anti-social media, but I wish that people would use caution and common sense.  I have seen where people have posted their phone number and full street address.  Seriously?  People are you asking for trouble?  It also worries me when people feel the need to post all of their movies: "I'm hanging out at the Carolina Ale House," or "I'm at a Luke Bryan concert," or "I'm hanging out with (insert names here) at (insert place)."  I hope and pray that these people don't have stalkers.
  • Books that are too predictable.
  • Obsessive cursing in books, music, TV shows, and movies. I like to call this a case of limited vocabulary.
  • Empty cups in the refrigerator.
  • Empty boxes and containers in cabinets.  For instance, there have been many times when I have reached my hand in a box of Pop Tarts, cookies, etc., expecting something, but I found nothing. If the box is empty, just throw it away, the trash can is only a few steps away.
  • When people talk during a movie.
  • My family still has a landline.  Whenever the answering machine comes on it says: "please leave a message after the tone."  It annoys me when people don't leave an actual message. Instead they will say "hello, may I speak to (insert name here)."  Hello people, no one is answering the phone. If  it was up to me, the landline would be gone. Has technology made us this lazy?
  • Lately, I have developed a new pet peeve. Sometimes when I call people, they don't answer the phone. A few minutes later, they will text. If I wanted to text you, I would have texted from the beginning.
  • Another pet peeve is when people ask me annoying questions like: What do you do everyday? Or Do you watch TV?  I don't have a "real job"  so I am at home everyday.  People think that I am sitting around watching TV and playing on the computer all day.  What they don't know or see is that I am doing housework, searching for a day job, searching for new freelance gigs, managing my blogs, etc.  Most of the time, I don't turn on the TV until 5 or 6 to watch the news.
  • Another pet peeve is when people treat as if I am mentally challenged and clueless about what's going on in the world around me. Maybe this is slightly my fault because I am soft spoken and don't always speak up.  For instance, people think that I can't do anything for myself like dress myself.  I'm just visually impaired. Also people think that I have to be babysat all the time. I'm 30! There have been times when someone says, "where's your mom"? Even on my last temp job.  My mom doesn't need to follow me to work.  
There you have it, my pet peeves and the things that annoy me.






Friday, October 25, 2013

The Friday Roundup

I thought that I would not have much to write about this week until I got on the computer this morning. My morning routine includes checking my mail and checking for updates from my favorite blogs. On Fridays, I always head over to Sarah Dessen's blog.  Each Friday she posts the The Friday Five.  After today, The Friday Five will cease.  WHAT?  I might as well borrow a line from Kevin Hart and say, let me explain.

Today's entry was titled The Final Five and read differently from other entries.  As I began to read through the entry without looking at the title, I had this knowing feeling that this was a goodbye.  Sniffles, no Friday Five, what will I do for entertainment on Fridays? I know that this was a hard decision.

She said that it has become harder to keep up with blogging.  After all, in addition to writing books, she has a family to take care of.  I can totally understand where she is coming from. The biggest difference between Sarah and I is that I am not married and don't have children.  I should have ALL the time in the world. People think that I have loads of free time because I don't have a "real job" or much of a social life. My life is less hectic than my friends and acquaintances.  In reality, I can't spend all my time typing away on the computer. There is something called real life going on outside.  And in real life, household chores like laundry, dishes, etc. need to be done.

I write for two blogs, this one and my book review blog: YA Books Etc.  Last year, I had the bright idea to start a a third blog, Hidden Fashionista.  I had it all set up on Wordpress, but sadly it never launched.  In reality, I can only handle two blogs.  I have two book reviews I need to write and post to the book review blog, but I haven't got around to it.

At one point, I was MIA from this blog because of what was happening in real life and business was booming at Knoji.  I use to have the Flashback Fridays but after a few entries, I ran out of ideas.  The two most popular entries were The Carltion Dance and Spandau Ballet's True.  Then I had the Places to Shop series which sadly ended. First I thought it was going to move to the new non existant blog, and I was so busy with writing product reviews, I forgot about it.

I started reading Sarah Dessen's blog back in 2006.  I enjoyed keeping up with the latest happenings in her life like when new books were coming out or when she had her daughter Sasha Clementine.  Her blog inspired me to start my own blog. She use to post three times a week and then it went down to once a week. During the early years of following her blog, I use to stop at my college library or computer lab to read the blog. At one point, I use to read it on my phone. (This is before the surge in Smartphones). You are probably thinking seriously? I have been a faithful reader for seven years. So it is going to be hard to not see new entries every Friday. She said that she will post occasionally.  I suppose she could hire someone to write posts for her, but it wouldn't be the same

This makes me sad but I understand. It gets to a point where you have to take a hard look at your life and decide what's important and not so important.  I remember a few years ago, I use to play games on Facebook when I was bored, but I stopped when I started getting writing gigs.

Also another tug-a-war is the constant connection to the technology world.  I have been in an on again off again relationship with Facebook. I have a  Twitter account that I am barely active on, a LinkedIn account that I forget about, and Google+.  I use social media for personal and mainly for business use. (Although, my freelance writing business is not always taken seriously).

With that said, I have to wonder if technology has made us lazy in our communication. Are we forgetting how to communicate with each other?  I miss the days of writing and receiving letters and talking on the phone. Now, it seems like all people want to do is text and chit chat on social media. Don't get me wrong, texting and social media are great.  However, thoughts can get misunderstood through these form of communications.

I embrace other forms of communication through technology because I get tired of talking to voicemail on people's phone.  My parents disagree with solely communicating through texting and social media. They text when it is necessary and have zero interest in social media.  They might ask, "have you talked to (insert name here)" and I typically respond, "well, I or (inset person) texted.  Texting is not talking, and I have to agree it is not the same.  I hate constantly calling someone and they don't return my calls.  I feel like I am chasing them down. So that is why I have embraced other forms of communications.

When I was younger, I use to constantly call people until my number was blocked by a person from my past. Also, a few years ago, I had someone who finally told me, "I prefer emails and texts......I'm sure you understand."  From that moment on, I decided that I was not going to embarrass myself for a third time.  Now, when I meet people and exchange contact info, I ask them if they prefer email, text, or phone calls. And I respect their wishes.

Wow, I wasn't expecting to talk about communication. I think that this song sums it up.  Has communication let us down?

This song has been in heavy rotation on my iPod and has already hit the Top 25 Most Played list.



In other news, I signed up for eCopywriters.com and Words of Worth. They offer upfront pay. So hopefully I can get back to work soon. I just have to write some samples for them.

Also, I finished Susane Colasanti's ALL I NEED. I read mixed reviews about it and I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out.  I was so intrigued by the story, I finished it in a week. I read about 50 pages a night, so I forgot about TV.  I'm not obsessed with TV and there aren't many good shows on anymore.

I am starting to give up on New Girl. It annoys me that Winston doesn't have a real storyline. He just exists or pushed to the background. Winston, how long are you going to put up with that? NBC's Parenthood and Scandal have an interesting storyline.  Here's the problem.  They come on the same night and at the same time.  I have been alternating from week to week.  I'm not sure what to say about the Mindy Project these days.

Sometimes, I would rather cut the TV off and just read.  I often wonder if I could do without cable.  I mean you can watch your favorite shows online anyway. I think that it was a fortune cookie that said, "you don't know what you can do without unless you try".  I don't put a lot of stock into fortune cookies, but it makes a valid point.

This entry is super long.  Thank you for baring with me.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Monday, October 21, 2013

30 Week Blog Challenge: Week 8- Cravings

Cravings?  I crave sweets including a lot junk food.  It's sad I know and I should be eating healthier choices.

Lately I have been craving chocolate. However, there wasn't any chocolate in the house. Plus I have been cutting back on buying candy because I need to make healthier choices.  A few months ago, I went on a cleanse diet and I had to give up everything in order to lose 13 pounds.  If I eat junk food in full force I will pack the pounds back on. I found some chocolate protein bars in the pantry. I decided to try one and they are good.  I thought that protein bars would taste like chalk or really dry.

It's funny how books make me crave food.  For instance, when I read ALONG FOR THE RIDE by Sarah Dessen, I craved onion rings and Rice Krispies Treats.  I remember being eager to go to Burger King to get onion rings and they were good.

Also when I read TAKE ME THERE by Susane Colasanti, I craved cupcakes.  Right now I could go for a cupcake loaded with icing.



I also like smoothies and have been wanting one for a long time. I usually get them from McDonald's. I'm not a big fan of McDonald's food, but I love their smoothies and coffee. To me it is cheaper than going to Starbucks.  My brother refuses to go to McDonald's now because of an experiment he heard about.


This time of year I crave coffee. I love flavored coffee. I can't find drink coffee without creamer or milk.  I also like the mocha flavored coffee and frappe from McDonald's.  When I was in high school, I would only drink cappuccino or hot chocolate. But now I drink coffee. One of my former classmates was surprised when I told him that I drink coffee now. When I was in college, I had to stop at the cafeteria to pick up a cappuccino or coffee to get going in the morning, especially when it was cold.

However, I do crave healthy foods like yogurt and a nice fruit salad.  My aunt makes a fruit salad to serve with breakfast.  It was wonderful. When I visited her one weekend, by the second day, I would just eat turkey bacon and fruit salad.

One of my biggest cravings is potato chips.  I can eat them all day if I could. Just the other week, I had to put them away in the cabinet to stop eating them.  I have discovered a healthier substitute for chips-veggie chips, and they are AWESOME.

Another thing I have to stay away from are sodas. If I have access to them, I will drink them.  I also crave egg  rolls or spring rolls from time to time.`


Friday, October 18, 2013

The Friday Round Up


  1. There is one thing that I enjoy and that is shopping for books.  Last week, I received a payment for a batch of articles I wrote.  Money has been tight lately so I haven't been able to go shopping for books.  So far this year, I have purchased four books.  And that's pretty good.  So after putting the money where it needs to go, I headed over to Bn.com.  I finally purchased ALL I NEED by Susane Colasanti and ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins.  I decided to pay the extra $5 for expedited delivery.  I have been waiting since Friday and it finally arrived Wednesday afternoon.  The thing about shopping online is waiting for the package.  I  tracked the package all day Wednesday.  I saw the UPS truck coming up the hill.  However, there was no doorbell ringing and nothing on the porch.  I turned the computer back on the to track the package again. It said that it was delivered. I thought, great, I am going to have to call customer service.  Then I scrolled further down the screen.  It said that it was delivered at the garage.  The garage, seriously?  To calm myself down, I decided to go for a walk.  I walked around to the garage, and behind a flower pot, there was my package.  If it wasn't for online tracking, I would probably never found it.  
  2. Speaking of books, my Goodreads to read list keeps growing. I have also created genre lists such as historical fiction, African American, and biographies. Hey, I have seen other Goodreads members do this. I have to pull myself away from this site because it can take up your time.  It reminds me of 2009 when Facebook was new and shiny for me and exciting. I use to play games like Cafe World and Mall World, reading updates, and checking out friends' page.  I remember seeing friends of friends' profiles and asking myself, what's your story?  But now the excitement has cooled off, and now days I just peek in to see what's happening on social media and log out.  
  3. Although I am glad that I allowed myself a small splurge, I sometimes get that I'm spending like a teenager feeling.  After ordering the books, I headed over to iTunes to buy new tunes for the iPod.  I only get to buy music every blue moon. I haven't purchased a CD since 2008.  YIKES!
  4. On a more serious note, I am sure that everybody heard about the cyber bullying case in Florida.  It breaks my heart to hear that a 12 year old girl's life was cut short because of the thoughtlessness and cruelty of others.  The most disturbing thing about all of this is that one of the girls said that didn't care about Sedwick killing herself in a Facebook post.  These girls should be punished.  I have to ask that classic question: Where were the parents?  I am going to step on my soap box and say this to parents around the world: If you allow social media in the home, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE monitor your son or daughter's online activities.  I feel like Sedwick's death could have been prevented. Yeah I know, easy for me to say.  And some may say, well that's why you shouldn't be on Facebook. To me that's a blanket statement. Actually, cyber bullying can take place on other social media sites like Twitter, through texting, blogging, emails, etc.  So you can't put all the blame on Facebook.  People blame technology for a lot of stuff.  This is my long standing stance on social media and technology as a whole: It can be a useful tool and a dangerous tool, it's how you choose to use it.  I also think that sometimes some adults including  some children are not mature enough to handle social media and technology.
  5. In line with #4, it is National Buylling Prevention Month.  Young Adult author Susane Colasanti wrote a novel called KEEP HOLDING ON which takes a serious look into the realities of bullying. The novel is about a girl named Noelle who is relentlessly bullied at school. You would think going home would be a safe haven for her, but it isn't.  Noelle is horribly neglected by her mother.  Reading this book broke my heart and some scenes were hard to read.  However, it opened my eyes to a broader spectrum of this issue. I like to read stories with a powerful and positive message and books that educate and open our minds to the world around us.  I want to be able to write a book as powerful one day. It's up to me to make that happen.  If you or someone you know is being bullied, there is hope. It may not look like it, but there is hope. You can visit the Keep Holding On page on Susane Colasanti's site. Here you will find plenty of resources, websites, and numbers where you can reach out for help.  If you see something that isn't right, do not be afraid to speak up.  It's hard I know, but the worse thing you can do is to sit back and do nothing.  
  6. As I was checking my email this morning, I noticed an email from Smashwords. I received a review notification from a reader.  I was nervous about reading it.  What do readers really think of my writing?  The reviewer just wrote "nice" for Big Brother, Little Sister: A Short Story.  It is nice to know that someone read it. I had to offer the story for free for a limited time just to get someone to read it.  I know that I won't become an overnight success story.  It took years for me to know who all of my favorite authors were.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The 30 Second Commute: Pros and Cons

Last year, I purchased a copy of The 30 SECOND COMMUTE: A NON FICTION COMEDDY ABOUT WRITING AND WORKING FROM HOME by Stephanie Dickison last year. I decided to read the book again.



I have never heard of Stephanie Dickison until I started reading The Writer magazine about three years ago. She had a column by the same title.  I found it informative and funny at times. I decided to check out the book. This book is different from the few writing/how to/non fiction I have read. Frankly, I think that sometimes these books are boring.

I can blame this is on my reading tastes. I am not ashamed to say that I read way too much fiction and prefer it over non fiction. However, I feel like I should be reading more intellectual books.  Stephanie Dickison's book is different because she walks you through her life as a writer instead of: if you want to do (insert goal here), you should be doing, this, this, and this.  Last night I was reading a chapter where she talks about the pros and cons of working from home.  She made her personal lists of pros and cons.  Well, I felt inspired to write my own version.

Pros and Cons of Working From Home

Pros

  • You don't have to sit in traffic.
  • No annoying work mates
  • No dress code
  • No one will look at your lunch strangely. (Once, on a temp job, I would take a frozen BBQ sandwich. One of my co-workers looked at me and the sandwich and said, "What is that?")
  • Set your own schedule
  • Save money on gas
  • Complete silence
  • You can take as many breaks as you want.
Cons
  • Occasional sick of being in the house
  • Trying to explain to people "what do you do everyday?" (I don't like that question).
  • If you still have a land line, the constant ringing of the phone, and when people can't leave a coherent message on the answering machine.  Instead of leaving a message, they will say: "Hello" or "May I speak to (insert name here)."  Has texting and social media made us too lazy to leave a voicemail?  (I better quit while I'm ahead. This is another topic for another blog post somewhere).
These are just a few of my pros and cons of working from home.  If you work from home, or thinking about it, what would be your pro/con list for working from home?

Monday, October 14, 2013

30 Week Blog Challenge: Week 7- Meaning Behind My Blog Name

What is the meaning behind my blog name?  I started this blog a year ago in order to get back into blogging and sharpen my writing skills.

In 2009, I started a book review blog, but I abandoned it after a few months.  When I saw my friend's blog, I decided to give blogging another try.

I named this blog My So Called Writing Life because I am at a place where being a writer is still a work in progress.  I am taken seriously by some and not taken seriously by others.

My writing journey started when I was a little girl.  I use to draw pictures and write stories with them and called them books. I have gone through lots of paper, crayons, and pencils.  I also developed a love for reading.  I looked forward to creative writing assignments in school.  They were fun because I could make up stuff.

In the 8th grade, I won an award for an essay I wrote for English.  I have always been told that I am a good writer and should pursue it.

Up until the tenth or eleventh grade, I wanted to be a travel agent.  Then I decided that maybe I should consider majoring in journalism in college.  I started researching colleges and careers.  I also went out for the yearbook staff, newspaper staff, and even video journalism staff.  (About once a month, the staff would put on a news show).  Unfortunately I was consistently turned down.  However, I did have the opportunity to take a journalism class. It was quite interesting.

My life changed during my junior and senior year. I am a BIG DREAMER and a too optimistic at times. People probably think I live in a fantasy world where everything works out perfectly and everything is just wonderful.  I had this teacher who said, "You don't have what it takes to be a writer."  She often told me that I was being unrealistic about my goals and dreams.  And sadly, that stuck with me and even went home crying.

I decided to go to a local community college instead of a four year school, and major in liberal arts.  When I didn't do well on papers, I would think, maybe she was right.  I took a journalism class and enjoyed it. My instructor was impressed. This refueled my desire to write.

In 2005, I took a correspondence course from the Institute of Children's Literature.  I enjoyed it because I rediscovered the joy of writing. However, I found out that having a good sounding story wasn't enough. I needed to work on structure, showing not telling, and other elements. I also learned that it was important to read.  I needed to read not only for leisure, but to see how stories are arranged and developed.

Before I finished the course, I started sending one of my stories to magazines for publications.  They were rejected. When those reject letters came in the mail, that little voice crept in: "you don't have what it takes." I stopped putting myself out there.  On top of all of that, I entered a poem in a Poetry.com contest. Sadly, I was scammed.  Again, I thought maybe my teacher from high school was right.

After graduating college, I discovered a site called Suite 101 which is an online magazine. I visited that site every day. I read articles and bios from contributors, and I pictured myself there.  I applied to be a contributing writer many times and I was constantly turned down. I discovered I needed samples.  In 2010, I started writing for content mills like Yahoo Voices, Blogcritics, etc. to build my resume and portfolio.  In December 2010, I applied to Suite 101 again, and I was FINALLY hired.  I felt like a real writer and on top of the world.

Then reality struck.  Despite turning out articles, I earned very money for my work because it greatly depended on revenue share.  I sought out other sites.  Many said I was crazy for writing for pennies. I was a beginner and was excited to be published and to see my by line.

I worked for Suite for a year, and I was suddenly let go. One of the editors called my work superficial.  Also, the editors were tired of editing my work or requesting edits from me (typos, spelling, and grammatical errors).  I remember crying in front of my computer. I felt lost and had to find another site to write for.  Again, that voice comes back, "you don't have what it takes."

I found another site that paid me decently for assignments, and things were going well until this summer.  I am at a point in my writing life where taking on projects under $10 is not worth my time.  I am beyond the glitter, bright lights and excitement of seeing my by line.  I have seen other freelancers go beyond content milling and moved on to writing books.

I decided to make a goal for myself. In five years, I want to have a book published even if it doesn't make the NYT bestseller's list or is popular.  I also want to move beyond writing for content mills and take on meaningful and well paying projects.

After high school, I wanted to write a book. I would start a story, but it went nowhere. I worried about how long a chapter was supposed to be.  I took the course from ICL thinking that it would help me get published. Many thought that the school would help me get a book deal.  Actually, they give you the tools you need to help you get that book deal.  It doesn't just land in your lap, you have to work for it.

In 2006, I set out to write a novel.  Sadly, I have abandoned the novel several times.  I guess I had a tight hold on my characters.  Another issue with the novel is that I have a physically challenged character as my protagonist.  She is just an everyday girl trying to work through obstacles like everybody else, and by the way she is visually impaired. That may not translate well for readers.  Usually when physically challenged characters are presented in movies and books, they are seen as heroes or someone to feel sorry for.  I definitely don't want my character to be felt sorry for.

I took this the first chapter of the story to a writer's group three years ago, and they loved it.  They were like this is great, we don't see this in books everybody.  And they were right. As an avid reader, I see what's popular. Honestly, I'm sick of the paranormal, vampires, and similar stuff that's taking up the shelves.  People have different tastes and that's their decision and I highly respect that.

I wrote about eight chapters of the novel and I had to start all over again when my thumb drive stopped working. It is unfinished and shelved.  I have only shared my unfinished novel with a few people. Some thought it was a good idea, some thought it wasn't.  "Nobody wants to hear that."  To me this is a problem. There are a lot of issues happening everyday that some do not care to hear about. Case and point, the interracial family in the Cheerios commercial.  To me this is normal, no big deal. However, on the other hand, here it is 2013, and some people don't want to see it or hear about it.

I wish I could have joined the writer's group. Maybe they would have pushed me to finish it.  In 2011, I signed up for Smashwords, which is an independent ebook publisher.  Recently, I decided to stop listening to self doubt, negative speech from the pass, and write something.  It is time to silence, "you don't have what it takes," and say "Yes I do, watch me."

In September, I published a collection of short stories and a children's short story.  It's going along slowly. Since I am a newbie, I had to offer the ebook for free download for a limited time so that people will take a chance and read it.  I don't want to give away my hard work for free, but sometimes, that's what you have to do.

My blog explores the ups and downs of the writing life and other interesting events or other things that are happening outside and away from the computer.  I felt inspired when reading my favorite authors' blogs because they don't bore their readers with writing issues, but they talk about pop culture, current events, etc.

One of the things I miss about the writers' community at Suite 101 is the support. Sure, we grumbled about how much we were earning, but more importantly we supported each other.  We supported each other's social media fan pages, checked out books, etc.  We believed in each other when everybody else out there thought that we are crazy for chasing this dream.

My aim is to offer inspiration and a good laugh every once in awhile.  I am also constantly looking for ways to be taken more seriously and continue to build credibility as a writer.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Friday Round Up


  1. I feel like I am trying to come down with a cold.  I hate getting colds because I constantly have to carry tissues around and when I blow my nose, I sound like an elephant.  I have been getting that dryness in my throat all week, so I decided to nip this in the bud and took some Day Quil.  I think it is working so far.  Sleeping in a sweatshirt helps sometimes too. 
  2. I mentioned last week that I did some work for a writing project.  My client (I have to get use to saying that) emailed and said that he was missing an article.  Um, how did that happened.  I sent all four Word documents to him again.  Anyway, he asked me to send an invoice via Pay Pal.  I have never sent an invoice before and was clueless to say the least. So I emailed my "client" and asked how to do this. Should I be embarrassed?  I guess this is what happens when you learn the ropes of the freelance life as you go.
  3. I have been trying to find more writing gigs because I don't know if the above mentioned writing project will be long term, short term, and on an as needed basis.  I decided to give Odesk another try.  I signed up with them two years ago. I applied for a few jobs and was rejected. I recently discovered why I was being rejected.  When you register and apply for jobs on Odesk, you need to pass tests before you get hired for work.  I have taken the Word 2003 and Word 2007 test and passed them. However, I failed the spelling test and the Odesk readiness test.  Seriously? I failed a spelling test?  And people are ALWAYS asking me to spell things. 
  4. My "to read" list keeps growing on Goodreads.  I have the urge to go book shopping. Oh dear.  The other day, I logged into B&N to check my virtual shopping bag and it was empty. I guess you can't hold items in there forever. I am on a tight budget right now, so running out to blow money at a bookstore is out of the question.  I read about this bookstore in Illinois who sells half priced books.  I would love to have a bookstore like that where I live.  I would go nuts in there and will need to invest in bookshelf or eReader or both.
  5. I would like to give a special shout out to my followers.  For the longest time I only had one follower (Celeste from Crazy Beautiful Unique) on this blog.  Then, last week, I noticed that I gained another follower: Ronni from Anywhere Is.  Thank you for your support. Sometimes, I think that no one pays attention to my posts, but then I am reminded of the counter on my blog. I am currently at 3,214 hits and counting.  Also, I have gained more followers on Twitter lately.  I mainly use Twitter for business rather than personal , and I honestly forget that I have a Twitter. (I may get a few eye rolls for that one).  I don't have time to sit on social media and chit chat or play games all day despite scarcity of work.  Again, thank you y'all so much for your support.  Who says social media is a waste of time?  If used in the right way and responsibly, it can be a helpful tool, especially for entrepreneurs out there.

Monday, October 7, 2013

30 Week Blog Challenge- Week 6: Favorite Songs

This week Marie from Mom Gets Real asks us to write about our favorite songs.

I started pre-writing this on Saturday. I saw that it was going to be an extremely long entry, so I decided just to hit the main points.

Next to books, music is my second love.  I can't imagine life without it.  I have always been surrounded by music. When I went to my grandparents' house, my uncles were playing their music.  At home, my dad played his tapes and in the car as well.  I even attempted to play the clarinet in middle school (sixth grade) but I lasted a year.

I got my first tape at seven years old.  It was Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 album.  I got a CD player when I was 13, and owned an iPod at 25.

If someone listened to my iPod, they would be SHOCKED at what they will find. I have a mxture of music. In addition to R&B, there's pop, one country song, some rock, KPOP, and a lot of randomness.  It seems to be this unwritten rule that we are suppose to listen to what's expected of us.  Translation, blacks should listen to R&B, Rap, Hip Hop, and whites listen to country, pop, rock, metal, etc. Etc.  I have come to realize that you shouldn't limit yourself to certain genres just because.  Case and point, when I was nine years old, we went to Texas to visit my relatives.  My uncle and aunt played a Garth Brooks tape in the car.  WHAT Y'ALL LISTEN TO COUNTRY?

Fast forward to high school and my music tastes began to slowly change. This was during the late 1990's-early 2000's when Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, NSync, Backstreet Boys were on the scene. I listened to Britney, Christina, and J-Lo.  We only had ONE R&B station at the time, so I started listening to the "white station" or B93.7, the Top 40 station for more variety.  I began to learn about other music from them and my fellow classmates.

What are my favorite songs?  This is tough because there are so many, so I have to pull from my Top 25 Most  played playlist or songs that have been on heavy rotation.

"True"- Spandau Ballet

I have quite a bit of music from the 80's on my iPod. I think the 80's had the best songs EVER.  I discovered this song while watching VH1's 80's one hit wonder countdown.  This song is beautiful and it can take on so many meanings.  They were a one hit wonder here in the U.S. but HUGE in the U.K.  After searching around iTunes and YouTube, I discovered other songs by them that are pretty good.

"Nite and Day"- Al B. Sure!

Younger readers are probably saying WHAT or WHO?  First, this song is about a guy who is so in love.  I grew up during the New Jack Swing era which included Guy, Keith Sweat, and other people.  Al was at the height of popularity between 1988-1992 to my understanding.  So by the time I started getting into his music, his popularity was beginning to fade.  I found Al B. Sure's En Effect Mode album in a box of tapes at my house.  And I enjoyed it until the tape died. But now I have a digital version of the album.  My brother who is ten years younger than makes fun of me for this.  So when I roll my eyes at his music, he just says with a big smile, "It's better than listening to Al B.Sure."

"Dreaming of You"-Selena

I love this song.  I want to dance to this song at my wedding-if there is a wedding.  This is another thing I was introduced to when going to Texas.  In 1994, we went to Fiesta Texas and she was performing there. My parents have a photo but I have no idea where it's at.  My uncle danced with her on stage.  I honestly forgot about Selena until her death in 1995.

"Bohemian Rhapsody"-Queen

This is where the initial shock and randomness comes in. Some way or another, we have all been exposed to Queen songs through movies, TV, etc.  One day, I was riding in the car with friends and this song was playing.  It started out really sad but all of a suddenly, it gains so much energy.  I  like this part of the song because the visual is halarious, but that's my imagination.

"Thunderbolt and lightning,Very, very frightening me.(Galileo) Galileo.(Galileo) Galileo,Galileo FigaroMagnifico 
Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?Bismillah! No, we will not let you go.(Let him go!) Bismillah! We will not let you go.(Let him go!) Bismillah! We will not let you go.(Let me go) Will not let you go.(Let me go) Will not let you go.(Never, never, never let me go) Ah.No, no, no, no, no, no, no.(Oh, mama mia, mama mia) Mama mia, let me go.Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me."
 I wish I understood the real meaning behind this song.

"Brand New Me"-Alicia Keys

Yes, I do listen to current music, depending on who ist is.  To me, Brand New Me is about someone who finally has the courage to stand up for themselves, be their own person, not let people push them around.

"Fantastic Baby"-Big Bang

My friends introduced me to KPop last year.  What's nice about Kpop is that they sing in English and Korean.  I don't know Korean, so I don't know what they are saying until the chorus.  Anyway, this song just makes you want to get up and dance.

If I listed every single song, I will be here all day. Plus I don't want to bore y'all to death.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Friday Round Up


  1. It's October! Where did the year go?  The calendar says it's fall, but it is still around 80 degrees in my part of the country.  However at night shows evidence that it is really fall when the temperature drops.  I am looking forward to sweaters, cooler weather, and our annual Fall For Greenville festival next week.  (Hopefully, I will get to go this year).  I have already  moved my summer clothes to the back of the closet.
  2.  I have written here before about my scarcity of freelance gigs all summer.  I was asked to write four articles for a writing project for $30 per article.  It sounded a whole lot better than the low rates I have been paid over the last three years.  Of all things, I had to write about fashion. To be more specific, I had to write about boot trends for fall.  I'm not a fashionista and I know people who are better suited for the job.  I like handbags, a cute outfit, and a nice pair of cute shoes when I can find them in my size. BUT, I am not obsessed with fashion.  After taking one topic at a time and some research, I wrote the articles, and the editor was pleased.  I don't know if this project is short term or will turn into something long term.  I just hope that it will lead to bigger and better projects.  
  3. I confess that I have become addicted to Goodreads.  I signed up for Goodreads about two years ago when I was trying to win an ARC of a book.  I rarely signed in.  Thanks to last week's 30 Week Blog Challenge asked to talk about your favorite books, Ronni from Anywhere Is, asked for people to add her on Goodreads, and I did.  As soon as I figured out how things worked, I was having a blast. 
  4. I have read 86 books and counting, I am sure that if I can remember all the books I read growing up there would be more.  I have 31 books on my to read list. As I keep adding books to my virtual shelf, I keep thinking WOW.  I have to tell myself to sign out.  For me it is liking going to Books A Million or Barnes N Nobles, I could spend all day in there.    I am going to have to hit a library for some of these books because I can't afford to buy all of them or have the space to store them.  Hopefully I will be able to invest in an e-Reader this year.
  5. This week, I learned a valueable lesson.  I have been a coffee drinker for the last five years or so. I like the way it smells and the way it taste-with creamer of course. I just haven't been able to drink it straight without sugar, creamer, or milk.  But I don't usually use sugar since creamer takes care of the sweet factor.  I especially love flavored coffe. Okay, okay, I am rambling.  Anyway, I had a cup of coffee at 10:00pm the other night.  BIG MISTAKE.  I think that the only time people should drink coffee that time of night should be for third shifters, students, freelancers, and anybody else who needs to pull an all night.  I couldn't go to sleep.  When I finally fail asleep, it was time to get back up again.  Once, I had a frape from McDonald's at night, and it took me forever to fall asleep.  The same thing happened when I had chocolate covered coffee beans at a friend's house.  Lesson here, stay away from caferine at night.
Have a good weekend everyone.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

30 Week Blog Challenge: Week 5-Favorite Quotes

This week Marie from Mom Gets Real asks us to talk about our favorite quotes.  I had to really think about this.  I should be armed with intellectual quotes or some words of wisdom.  The best quotes come from books, movies, TV shows, and loved ones.

"What's done in the dark will come to light."
This is something my mom says sometimes and I have heard this quote from different people including Tyler Perry movies.  This quote means what it means-if you are doing something in secret, it will eventually come out and it won't be pretty.

"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become." - Steve Jobs
I found this quote in Susane Colsanti's novel Take Me There.  We often hear people say "follow your heart."  Some might think that this is corny to say the least. What does this quote mean to me?  It takes courage to follow your dreams despite what people say and think.

"Take a chance honey."  -lady from subway in Comming to America.
This quote comes from 80's classic Comming to America.  There are times when you have to take chances and get out of our comfort zones.  We will miss out on a lot of opportunties if you don't take chances.  Fear is the one obstacle that will hold you back.  (That should be a quote in itself).

Over the years I had to learn some hard lessons.  I have also had to prove myself because I am physically challenged. One of the biggest challenges about being physically challenged is that people sometimes quickly  assume that you can't do something.  In other words, they are skeptical about giving you a task or think it's TOO HARD.  Here is my personal words of wisdom for anybody, not just the physically challenged community.

"If you don't take yourself seriously, how can you expect for others to do so."

When acheiving a goal in life, take it seriously and others will more likely follow suit.  In line with the above quote, I especially appreciate this one:

 "Never, never, never give up." -Winston Churchill

This blog is not for airing my dirty laundry but to offer inspiration.  This quote is special to me because I had to overcome road blocks.  For instance, during my senior year, I was at risk of not getting my diploma.  I had all my credits and passed my classes, BUT I needed to pass a portion of the Exit exam.  Unfortunately, some including teachers had already threw in the towel and given up.  In the meantime, I spent months taking practice tests in to prepare for the big day.  When I finally pased, all the nay saysers were SHOCKED.  The day after I received my results, a teacher aide informed me that those nay sayers didn't expect posstive results.  It's sad I know because we expect teachers to offer encouragement not discouragement.  (That sounds like another quote).  What's the lesson here?  I could had given up, and took the easy way out, but hung in for the long haul and succeeded.  My life could had been very different if I would had given up.


"But if you take a risk, you might just find what you are looking for." -Nicole from Take Me There by Susane Colasanti

If it's accomplishing a goal or finding love,  sometimes you have to take risks.

"You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family." -Family member

My deceased great Uncle Walt use to say this.  You can pick and choose your friends, especially in the world of social media. You can easily add or delete them in a few clicks.  But when it comes to family-you are stuck with them, and can't hit the delete button when you feel like it. Sure, you can stop talking to them but you still share the same DNA.  When your friends are gone, all you have left is your family.

"Trash will get in your eye." -Family Member

This one comes from my great grandfather.  For years, I didn't understand what this meant, but now I have a clear understand.  "Trash"  could be mean something that can get in the way of our vission and because of this we will make unwise choices because the thing or "trash" that's in the way; well that's all we can see.


My great grandfather died when I was 3 or 4 years old, so I didn't get to know him. From the stories my mom tells me, he had a lot of wisdom.  Here's antoher famous line.

"Jealousy is a terrible thing." 

You might be thinking what?  When a person is envious of someone else's talents or possessions, it could lead them to who knows what.  The above two quotes may sound like old southern sayings, but pack alot of wisdom eventhough they take years and experiences to fully understand.

Well, it looks like I had more quotes to share than I thought.  What is your favorite quote?