Reacting to Old Videos #FemTubeRewind

Here's a very embarrassing video of me reacting to my old videos for the second anniversary of #FemTube for #FemTubeRewind Honestly, I think I enjoy making fun of myself before others can make fun of the humiliation is on my own terms.
Click here for my Videos about YouTube playlist.

First Atraielees Video
First TheCreatingCat Video
First MagicCatJenny Video
First Ever Vlog

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

All the books I've read so far this year!!! Help, I'm behind in my goal...
Click here for more book videos.

The Mid-Year Freakout Tag Questions

  1. Best Book You've Read So Far in 2017? 
  2. Best Sequel You've Read So Far in 2017? 
  3. New Release You Haven't Read Yet, But Want To?
  4. Most Anticipated Release For Second Half of 2017?
  5. Biggest Disappointment?
  6. Biggest Surprise?
  7. Favorite New Author?
  8. Newest Fictional Crush?
  9. Newest Favourite Character?
  10. Book That Made You Cry?
  11. Book That Made You Happy?
  12. Favourite Book To Movie Adaptation You Saw This Year?
  13. Favorite Review You've Written This Year?
  14. Most Beautiful Book You Bought So Far This Year?
  15. What Books Do You Need To Read By The End of The Year?

July Goals | Results

At the start of July, I compiled some goals for the month. Let's see how I did!
(Note, I am currently in California on my summer vacation, so goal creation for August will have to wait till we're already in the thick of it...and probably most will consist of finishing up July goals, tbh.)

  • Write 10,000 words of my novel for Camp NaNoWriMo  DONE! Now to get ready for November...
  • Read 'The Handmaid's Tale' I'm going to borrow the book from my sister-in-law as soon as I see her next.
  • Wedding Photos I've got them on Flickr now, but I want to write about them here, so expect that to come in batches. 
  • Summer CA Road Trip and a wedding ♥︎
  • Start at least 2 of the 12 collabs I'm working on YouTube is interesting...I love it and hate it. So many of my collabs had to be we'll see where they go.
  • Try some watch-a-longs on with my Twitch crew (and plan the Cats one for Aug.) DONE-ish...I tried it out privately. Will schedule a Labyrinth screening and a Cats screening as soon as I'm home.
  • VidCon pictures and vlog  DONE! (here)
  • Start working on the wig I was commissioned to do (and stream it via Twitch)  DONE! I got the sideburns done and will start on the back of the wig next.

Thank you for reading! (Honestly, this is a way to hold myself accountable. Your encouragement is greatly appreciated.)

Internet Etiquette, Lifestyle Blogging, and Mental Health

Last Monday (July 10th) was my husband Jim's birthday. We spent the day before grilling food, sipping drinks, playing music, and chatting with loads of new friends. Then, on his birthday, Jim and I went to our local city council meeting. Jim got up, during the questions and comments segment, and expressed his concern about the way the city government tracks and reports city wide greenhouse gas emissions. It was exactly how he wanted to spend his birthday.

I look a bit like I'm confused about his birthday activity in this photo, but in all honesty, I'm feeling guilty for not sending him an online love letter the way I've done for many years. It felt very right and important to be where we were, though.
I didn't send him Facebook or Instagram love notes on his birthday either. (To be honest, I'm very inconsistent with wishing anyone happy birthday online, anyways.) He doesn't need the expression of my love in the form of social media. He's thankful of course, but the etiquette of the internet is not something he particularly cares about.

It's gotten me thinking a lot about lifestyle blogging and internet etiquette though. The way I saw it was if the internet is your hobby then you're free to come and go as you please and you don't really owe anyone anything there, apart from your main communication and upkeep of friendships. (If I don't wish you happy birthday online, it's not a personal attack.) That's how I see it anyway. I may log out, take social media breaks, and not feel the pressure to "keep up" with it all, all the time.

What does that mean for this blog though? If you're here you're either a friend or family member looking to keep up with my life or someone who I may not know but enjoys what I write. (Either way, I'm grateful you're here.) This blog has always been a hobby that has maybe paid for a coffee or two in total over the years.

Once I started working for myself, however,  I started to evaluate my hobbies in terms of what could contribute to my income. I experimented with more "branded" blogging ideas and then I stopped blogging completely. A blog of mostly personal updates and "lifestyle" posts was a hobby I couldn't afford anymore. My mental health was suffering and I'm only now really starting to understand all of that.

After I we moved to Maryland, I thought I'd be able to jump back into this blog easily. Instead, I stopped, which also resulted in never posting our wedding photos, honeymoon photos, the photos from many of my trips to Europe, and many other things. I've said before how much I want to change that and catch up but it never happened. I got in my head, thinking no one cared and maybe no one really does to the degree I do. But as a part of dealing with my mental health, I'm going to finally get started. One of the few ways to naturally boost serotonin is remembering happy events. So get ready for my happy memories and please forgive that they are not in real time.

CampNaNoWriMo, BookTubeAThon, and Literary Soap

It's that time of the season! In this video, I chat about how CampNaNoWriMo and BookTubeAThon, are in the same month. I also show off the literary themed soap from The MacBath that I bought at VidCon. It's a no fancy lighting, no fancy lens, no makeup, no script sort of super casual vlog. I honestly need to do these types of videos more, they are so stressed free and make me remember the 'carefree YouTube days of my pre-industry existence.' (That sounded so cheesy.) If you are interested in when I (almost) completed BookTubeAThon, click here. Or if you'd rather watched the start of the time I mega-FAILED BookTubeAThon, click here.

Thank you for watching!

VidCon 2017

After a two year break, I made it back to VidCon! It was a full weekend of making new friends, reconnecting with old friends, making business contacts, laughing, learning, getting inspired, getting discouraged, walking with a cane, singing along, buying merch to support small businesses and worthy causes, and also...some video making...*cough* Oh just watch it and see what I mean.
Okay, so...looking at my footage from VidCon this year I realized that I was going to make the same video that I make every year. So I thought, why fight it? 'Anatomy of a VidCon Vlog' is a video analysis of my VidCon vlog style, and everything wrong with it. For comparison, here's VidCon 2014.

And now, on to the selfies!!!

July Goals | Halfway Through 2017

It's been a while since I actually wrote out my goals. So instead of occasionally looking at my year goals and deciding that I have all year, (the year is now half over!) I'm going to break things down monthly. So lets start with the halfway progress and move to additions for July.

Life Stuff

  •  Read (at least) 25 books.
I'm very behind, but listening to a few audio books to catch up. 
  • Shop more consciously.
    It's going well! I bought a 'Made in the USA' dress from my friend Laura's shop, Tin Lizzy.  So far that's been it but I have plans to go thrift shopping if I find I need some new summer shorts. 
    • Waste less.
        Using a lot of low packaging and reusable products...I might have to make a favorites video soon...
        • Start my journey to a capsule wardrobe.
            Hehhh, not great. I finally donated all the dresses I was trying to sell...but I got 2 new t-shirts at VidCon and that new dress. My wardrobe is not a capsule...but I do wear all my t-shirts!
            • Don't put my life on hold due to fears.
            Doing a bit better at this (it's mental health related) but it's a slow journey...

            Internet Stuff
            • Write about my 2015.
            I NEED TO DO THIS STILL!
            • Write about my 2016.
            I NEED TO DO THIS STILL!
              • (Finally) post wedding photos.
              I NEED TO DO THIS STILL!
                • *Secret* project
                Finally, something I can say I've done! It's livestreaming on Twitch and it's really fun!! 
                • Sort out my digital life. 
                NOPE. Not sure if this will ever be done tbh...

                JULY GOALS

                • Write 10,000 words of my novel for Camp NaNoWriMo
                • Read 'The Handmaid's Tale'
                • Wedding Photos
                • Summer CA Road Trip and a wedding ♥︎
                • Start at least 2 of the 12 collabs I'm working on
                • Try some watch-a-longs on with my Twitch crew (and plan the Cats one for Aug.)
                • VidCon pictures and vlog
                • Start working on the wig I was commissioned to do (and stream it via Twitch)
                The idea is to work a bit on each of these things all week. I might take to Twitter to celebrate or lament about the progress. Here's to a busy (but hopefully successful) month!

                Cats is Closing on Broadway | Fan Reaction

                One fan's reaction to the news that Cats is closing on Broadway. (Spoiler Alert: I'm sad about it.) It's my favorite show and I'm not even a little bit ashamed of that. I go in depth about why that is, in this video.

                2 Year Anniversary

                Last month was our second wedding anniversary! (and just about two years of living in Maryland) We took a walk in the trails behind SERC; Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. (where Jim works.) I've decided that every year, on or just after May 24th, we'll take some family photos. Near trees. 'Cause we got married near trees. It's gonna be a thing!
                2 Year Wedding Anniversary 2 Year Wedding AnniversaryTwo years ago I got to celebrate my love with my forever guy in a beautiful park surrounded by friends and family. I really can't believe it's been two years since that day. 2 Year Wedding Anniversary 2 Year Wedding Anniversary
                A bit about the "photo shoot": These photos were actually taken with my phone. My original plan had us using a nicer camera but once we got there I noticed the SD card was missing. So, I ended up propping up my phone on the portrait plate of my tripod and using the timer function. The quality is not ideal, but still, think the shots came out nice.2 Year Wedding Anniversary 2 Year Wedding Anniversary
                I tried not to get too cheesy with the poses. I mean, we only really have three. "Classic," "Looking at Each Other," and "Kissing." If we had a photographer I'm sure there would be so many more ideas. There were some really cute ones from our engagement shoot and the wedding (obviously) which I know I've yet to share here. (Getting to that this year!) ♥︎ Happy wedding anniversary Jim. I'm so thankful for you every day, I love you so much!

                3 Writing Confessions

                Wordbound is a weekly writing prompt, run by fellow writer, YouTuber, cosplayer, and blogger, Kristina Horner. Every week the exercises are posted to Twitter and Instagram for anyone who wants to take part in the challenge. I'll admit, making writing a priority has not been easy. (Probably due to a combination of my mental health and my multipotentiality.) Last week, however, a blog prompt was posted to Wordbound which I'm hoping is the inspiration I need. So what are my 3 writing confessions, you ask?

                #1. I don't share my fiction. 
                When I was in my teens I wrote much more and I wrote with friends and wrote for class (creative writing was the best time I had in English class!) I didn't post any of it online though. (Not even my Cats fanfiction.) In my 20s and 30s, I blog publically online but I don't really let others read my fiction. I've only shared my first NaNoWriMo novel (with maybe two people) and no one's read the other three. I wonder if that's because I don't think I'm good enough or because I really like what I write and I don't want to hear any of the criticisms. Am I aspiring to something and I want to get better or is writing just for me and the quality of it doesn't matter? I'm not sure I know, and that leads me to the second confession.

                #2. I'm wishy-washy with my goals.
                It's true, I once proclaimed that I wanted to be a published author...when I was a child. I had just read the first book in the vampire series, 'In the Forests of the Night' by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. She wrote that at age 13...and I was 13. I could do this, couldn't I? Was I already too late? I'll just keep writing. If I had just stuck with that goal and not gotten 'distracted' by film and costume design (and many other interests) then I'd be a lot further along than I am. But I didn't stick to that goal, I'm a multipotentialite and sticking to one goal is not something I do very well. Some days I think I'm finally gonna get serious about writing and other days I swear that it's just a hobby. Honestly, I'm really not sure what my goals are when it comes to writing...and I don't like that.

                #3. I hold back so as not to 'use up' my best ideas.
                I know that thinking that the 'well of creativity' I have will eventually dry up, is rubbish. That well is endless. Yet my instinct to save and to hoard my great ideas so I don't waste them is pretty strong. I'm a collector and I don't like 'using up' things. It's a problem. I know a lot of writers and creative people are like this and you just have to keep writing and know that your 'best' ideas are not your 'last' ideas. You will come up with more and better ideas the more you write. I know this. I just need to actually put that knowledge into action...and 'use up' everything I got! (Easier said than done, obviously.)

                So this was the first Wordbound I've publically participated in and I loved it! I'm debating making a big list of all of them and eventually catching up. If you have any advice for how to publically participate since I'm still shy/cautious about sharing the fiction prompts, (maybe I share just a sentence?) let me know! Thank you for reading and thank you to Krisitina for creating Wordbound, you are my unofficial writing mentor....just fyi. ;)

                Are Fidget Toys for BFRB? (Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior)

                Well, welcome to the most personal video I've ever made. I've been too scared to share this bit about myself and even now I'm still scared to hit publish. It was other YouTubers with BFRBs who helped me understand myself, so maybe it'll be okay. Do you have fidget toys for your BFRB? (Do you have a Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior?)

                MEOWexander Hamilton (Cats + Hamilton) - BroadwayCon 2017

                "Pardon me, are you Aaron Purrr sirrr?" MEOWexander Hamilton
                The idea came to me during the bus ride to the first BroadwayCon in 2016. I was scrolling through Twitter on my phone when I found out Cats was coming back to Broadway that summer. It was beyond perfect timing! That year one of my cosplays was the Jellicle kitten, Jemima. I think Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted congratulations of some sort and the hashtag #cats4ham (a play on the hashtag #ham4ham) started to appear. I immediately joked that I should make a Cats/Hamilton crossover cosplay for next year. Welp...jokes on me 'cause I did it!
                MEOWexander Hamilton
                MEOWexander Hamilton
                The costume I chose was Hamilton's opening look since it's brown and off-white. (Good cat colors and I already have my brown and cream arm warmers I made years ago.) Making the costume was a bit experimentation and a lot of patterned sewing. Most of the clothing was from a pattern but I did construct the cravat without a pattern, just looking at photos of Lin-Manuel in the show. I knitted myself some brown and black leg warmers to mimic his boots and a (slightly hidden) tail to match. The wig was the most experimental part, Jellicle cat in the front, Patriot ponytail in the back.
                MEOWexander Hamilton
                I'll be doing another post about the makeup but I do want to mention the glasses. I realize Hamilton does not wear glasses till the second act but I would have needed to wear glasses anyways...hence the in-character prescription glasses. They really came in handy since I wore this costume 4 days in a row. First for only an evening (to see of how that went here) and then for all 3 days of BroadwayCon (Review of day one, two, and three.)
                MEOWexander Hamilton
                MEOWexander Hamilton
                MEOWexander Hamilton
                MEOWexander Hamilton
                The entire week was beyond amazing, I made some new friends and everyone seemed to really get a kick out of my costume! MEOWexander Hamilton was a success!
                MEOWexander Hamilton
                MEOWexander Hamilton