Can You Vague That Up For Me?

Bronwyn Green's Random Thoughts

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Brain Dump

So, it’s brain dump time–we blog about everything rattling around in our heads. So, if you read further, please don’t expect a lot of coherence or cohesion. In addition to fighting with ADD, I’m also too tired and depressed and stressed out to try to do much beyond dump. So…here’s the unloading.

I’m tired, depressed, and angry. Lately, it seems the only news is bad news, and it’s not just bad, it’s catastrophically bad. It gets harder and harder to see hope beyond the latest horrific shitshow members of our “government” are pulling.

My house is a wreck a mess–too messy for the houseguest I’ll have Sunday, but trying to get everything organized seems almost insurmountable at this point. I know she’s coming to see me, not judge my house, but as I look around, I’m still freaking out about it.

Honestly, I’m stressed and sad about literally everything from school  issues to job issues to this country’s rapid slide into fascism. And if I actually take the time to write out all the thoughts I’m having about these things, I’ll probably end up in a fetal position in the bathtub.

So, I’m going to move on to other random thoughts in my head.

I really need to get rid of the rest of the wedding dress that was the base for the new wedding dress I made.  It’s ginormous box is taking up too damn much space in my house and my brain.

My feet are ugly and my toes need to be painted desperately.

I have two audio preps that I need to finish this week for a client.

I really want to finish the chapter of my book that I’m writing.

I wrote over 10K while on vacation and still managed to do family stuff.

I’m sick and tired of being the one who has to decide what stays and goes in the big house purge.

I really want some popsicles, but we’re out.

In five more sleeps, I’ll be driving to the U.P. to pick up Jess.

I still need to write my blog about this year’s writer’s retreat.

Jess Jarman, Jenny Trout and I are going to be at the Rust City Book Con during the first weekend of August, and I still need to do ALL THE THINGS for that.

Jen and I are going to go see Billy Joel in Chicago in a few weeks.

I have awesome people in my life who make me realize how lucky I am to have so many people who love me.

I need to remember to bring fabric and scissors when I babysit my niece Saturday so I can use their table to cut out tops after I put her to bed. It’s the perfect height. and I don’t have to fight with cats there.

Cutting out fabric with cats is a nightmare.

I still want popsicles.

Sometimes, I feel like I hate everything, and that makes me feel like a terrible person.

I’m tired of constantly feeling like I’m trying to swim upstream and getting nowhere.

I’d like to go to bed right now, but I have too much to do.

I bet that Gwen, Kellie and Jess have heads full of better thoughts. You should go read theirs.

Looking for for great kids books about LGBT+ families?

Unless you’re super new here, you know that I love me some great picture books. Despite the fact that my kids are in their early twenties, my children’s book collection continues to grow. I get some to read to my nieces and nephews, and some are just for me.

Because books.

The It’s Fundamental – Children’s Book Blog is a fantastic resource for all things picture books. Run by a former educator (though, trust me, she’s still educating) named Crystal, this blog features fantastic booklists (carefully and thoughtfully curated by topic) as well as book reviews.

Some of her booklists include: Shark Week, World Changing Women, Trains, Juneteenth, Ramadan, Women in Science, Books for Kids Who are Afraid to Swim, Civil Rights, Star Wars–and this is just a small sampling of the topics. Seriously, this blog has it all!

But, I’m not blogging today to talk about Sharks or Star Wars (and now, I have Queen stuck in my head) but to share It’s Fundamental‘s amazing LGBT+ Families booklist.

When I was a kid, books featured families that were comprised of a mother, father and kids. Or the parents were dead and the kids were orphans. There was no inbetween. I remember wondering why there were never divorced parents like mine in books. We all know that representation is incredibly important, and as a child, when you never see your reality represented in stories, it leaves you with a feeling of disconnectedness. The sense of being “other”.

That’s why I’m so happy to see books like Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino and I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary.

Please take a few minutes and check out this fantastic list Crystal has put together. And if you’re on social media, enjoy books, like to give books as gifts, like hanging out at the library and/or representation and inclusion, be sure to follow It’s Fundamental‘s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest pages. Oh, and duh…the blog.

You won’t be sorry!

An app mysteriously appears on your phone and does something amazing. What does it do?

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Any time a politician betrays the ideals of our nation, (points if you heard that in Daveed Diggs’ voice) the app updates with one of those annoying little red numbers. In order to make the number go away, you have to open the app and hit the eject button. This jettisons the greedy, self-serving, treasonous assholes deep into into space where they’ll get exactly what they deserve.

Let’s see what kind of apps the other bloggers discovered on their phones. Deelylah and Kris (and Jess, too!)

Happy accomplishments to me! And to you, too! (Giveaway)

This post is a bit late. My actual ten year publishing anniversary was on March 30th, and I’d planned to do a giveaway to celebrate. However, my mother-in-law died the day before, and understandably, I just didn’t feel like celebrating anything. I was just trying to make it through the visitation and funeral and hold it together for my husband. And though we miss her, we’re comforted by the fact that she was ready and she’s no longer in pain.

While my MIL wasn’t a romance fan–she prefered “spy thrillers”–she was very proud of me. And my husband pointed out recently that she’d be pissed if she knew I was blowing off my anniversary, so here I am…with a celebratory giveaway.

On March 30th, 2007, Ellora’s Cave (before it became the utter train wreck it was to become) published my first novel. And now, ten years and twenty-eight days later, I’ve had 32 published novels and novellas, 72 flash fiction stories, and 988 blog posts (not including guest posts).

I know I’m not as prolific as some, but I am pleased with what I’ve managed to accomplish in the last 10 years. I think that women are sort of societally programed to downplay their accomplishments. (See? I did it right there in the opening of this paragraph. Damnit, Bron! But you know what? I’m leaving it, because it proves my point.)

We’re conditioned not to be too proud of things we’ve done lest people think we’re bragging or too full of ourselves. But fuck that! Women’s accomplishments are just as valid as men’s. No offence to any men who might be reading this, but this whole downplaying of accomplishments definitely skews toward women.

So, to celebrate ten exciting and tumultuous years in this business, I’m going to give away my four print ARCs from the Bound series  that I write with my girl Jessica Jarman, as well as some swag, to the grand prize winner. I’ll also be giving away a few other print books and more swag to other winners. All you need to do to enter is comment on this post and tell me about your accomplishments that you’re most proud of–no matter how big or how small. Let’s celebrate each other!

Please either leave your email address with your comment or email me at bronwyn@bronwyngreen.com with a copy of your comment so I can reach you if you win. Everyone has an equal opportunity to win, and winners will be chosen old school (my kids picking entries from a hat) because rafflecopter hates my blog. Contest closes at 10 PM EST on May 1st.

So, c’mon! Tell me what you’re proud of!

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Monthly Goals Check-In: April 2017

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Man… this has been a month. A long, weird, disquieting month.

Sadly, my mother-in-law died recently, so much of this month has been dealing with grief, and frustration, and anger at a certain family member on that side who needs to be throat punched. But that’s life.

Weirdly, I managed to accomplish quite a few things. This was my list.

Finish the client edits I have scheduled. (Yep. Scheduled 3. Edited 6.)

Complete all April blog posts. (Yep.)

Finish up work on 2 of the (now) 5 websites I’m working on. (Finished one, progress on two and waiting for client response on both.)

Knit 3.5 pussyhats (Yepper.)

Progress on new book and Mist & Stone. (Progress on new book. Zilch on Mist and Stone rewrite.)

Continue with the Organized Home Challenge (Yes and also no. We’re still cleaning and purging but not in order of the list.)

Finish sorting stuff for donation. (Still sorting. Still donating.)

Sew more journal covers and open Etsy site. (Nope.)

I also completed a bunch of things that weren’t on the list.

I proofed, reformatted, and reuploaded 6 of my books.

I did a podcast with Focus on Fantasy Romance about editing.

I updated my blog links.

I cleaned up my blog tags and categories.

I also read 6 books from my TBR pile.

All things considered, I did pretty well this month.

Okay, so…my goals for May are:

Revise and re-release at least one of my stories that I have the rights back on.

Progress on RP.

Progress on TFAD

Complete 7 client edits.

Complete all May blog posts.

Progress on 4 client websites.

Complete the 7 sewing projects I owe people.

Begin deconstructing and reconstructing wedding dress.

Read some more.

Be sure to see how the other bloggers did. Jess, Deelylah, Torrance, and Gwen.

I Wish I’d Learned This Earlier Than I Did

Lessons-Learned

Welcome to another episode of Therapy with Bron. But hey, I figure if I struggle with this shit, some of you might, too.

I try really hard not to live my life consumed by regret. There are too many other things I’d rather be consumed by–laughter, love, a good story, kitty and kid cuddles, nature, music, etc. But even though I try not to dwell, I do have some regrets about things that I wish I’d learned earlier in life.

Like…

1.) How to say no. 🎼🎶🎵 Lord, show me how to say no to this. I don’t know how to say no to this.🎶🎵 (What? You thought I’d pass up opportunity for a Hamilton reference? Foolish mortal.) This is one of those things I’ve never been terribly good at. I’m not saying that I go along with everything that’s ever suggested to me, but I’m often overly concerned that me saying no to someone will hurt their feelings. In the past, I’ve found myself agreeing to projects or taking on obligations that I didn’t really want to do. Weirdly, these boundary issues have never really extended into my relationships with my husband or my kids or my daycare kids. I don’t even know what that says about me.

2.) Asking for what I need doesn’t make me selfish or weak. I’m not sure why this is such a damn struggle.  I mean, it’s really common sense, right? If you need help or you need a hug or whatever, just ask. I think that societally we’re all under the misconception that need = selfishness/weakness – both of which are heavily frowned upon by western society. While I’m clearly not a professional psychologist or a sociologist, it seems like most women skew toward selfishness (particularly older generations) though, with younger generations, I feel like they’re pretty equal. And the majority of men seem to lean toward weakness. Of course, neither of these things are true and most of us are more than willing to cut others slack we won’t cut ourselves, and that’s not healthy.

3.) Self-care is necessary and doesn’t make you selfish (there’s that word again) or lazy. Self-care is any activity that you choose that helps you relax in order to maintain your emotional and physical health and helps you feel able to continue to function. Currently, Parks and Rec and all manner of crafting are self-care go-tos. I think I must have internalized a lot of weird opinions about selfishness and laziness, and TBH, I’m not even sure where they came from. Catholic school seems the most likely place, because it wasn’t from my mom who was my primary parent/caregiver. I mean, she’d encourage “mental health” days from school when we needed them, and trust me, very few school age kids in the 80s had any kind of grasp of mental health.

4.) Being proud of yourself isn’t bragging. I think a lot of us, women especially, have a lot of anxiety tied up with any kind of pride in themselves and their work. For whatever reason, it seems more acceptable to verbalize pride in your children as long as you’re not that person and that’s all you ever talk about or the person who takes ownership of their children’s accomplishments as though they’re responsible.

But back to being proud of yourself for a sec. For a lot  of women, (focusing on women here, because there’s a definite gender difference with this issue) there’s a special kind of anxiety that comes along feeling any kind of pride in yourself or your work. And actually verbalizing that pride? Hahahahahahahahaha. No. Even if we’ve worked our asses off, and are genuinely pleased with something we’ve done, we won’t say anything positive about it. We might even speak negatively about it or say nothing at all.

5.) Saying thank you when someone compliments you doesn’t mean you’re bragging. I know I’ve mentioned this phenomenon on the blog before, but dude…still a struggle. And I know I’m not alone. When someone compliments us or our work more likely to say, “Thank you, but…” That “but” is always followed by a variation of the following: “I got lucky.” Or, “I had a lot of help.” Or, “People are just being nice.” Or, “They like me.” Or “They just felt bad for me.” These are things I hear my colleagues say on the regular. These are things I’ve said on the regular. Granted, I’m much more cognizant of this issue now, and I try really hard to just say “thank you, I really appreciate that” without trying to downplay it. But it’s soooooooooo hard.

I know there are people out there who put this behavior down to false modesty or fishing for more compliments, but this is an anxiety-inducing issue for a lot of people.

6.) Imposter Syndrome is a thing that exists. A few years ago, I learned about this little thing called Imposter Syndrome. It, again, predominantly affects more women than men, but men definitely experience it, too–particularly men in academia. The simplified description is basically that you feel like you’re a fraud, you have no business being in your field, and certainly no business calling yourself an expert, and someday, everyone will find out that you have no clue what you’re doing and you faked your way through your entire career. This constant feeling that the other shoe is going to drop is most common when starting a new project, nearing completion on a project, and/or achieving any kind of success with a project. And the more successes you have, the worse this feeling gets. The end result is usually metric fuck-ton of anxiety and it makes sufferers hesitant to call any kind of attention to their work.  It’s fucking bullshit.

7.) That one Maya Angelou quote is 3012% accurate. The quote I’m talking about is: “When people show you who they are, believe them.” I have a tendency to take people at their word. I’m rarely suspicious of anyone’s motives, and if they say something that sounds reasonable, I believe them. Some might (and probably have) called me naïve or gullible. You know what? I’m not even going to argue that. I could have saved myself years of heartache, grief, anxiety, and second-guessing myself if I’d a.) come across this quote sooner and b.) paid attention to it. I think we’ve all had people in our lives who purportedly had our best interests at heart, cared for us, and only wanted to help or see us succeed. Yet, so often, their actions were at odds with what they said. And if questioned, they’d always have a reasonable explanation for whatever troublesome thing they did. If you’re particularly naïve or gullible, that bullshit can turn into some next level gaslighting.

8.) Listen to your gut. No, I mean it. Really listen. If something or someone feels off, even the tiniest bit, pay attention to that feeling. I’m not suggesting that every twinge you get about a person means they’re an axe murderer. But you know how you sometimes meet people and they seem super great, (and some of them totally are, btw–those usually aren’t the ones you get twinges about) but you get this weird little feeling in the back of your mind or the pit of your stomach? Or even if everyone else really likes a person, but some indefinable thing about them rubs you the wrong way? Listen to those things. I’m not saying you need to run away and shun them, but maybe that’s a cue to slow down and observe this person a bit more before including them in your inner circle. Those little twinges are rarely wrong.

Okay, that’s it for Bron’s Life Lessons, today. Be sure to check out what Jess, Deelylah, Kris, and Gwen wish they’d learned earlier.

 

What would the title of my memoir be, and why?

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Please Note: If Kris Norris ever abandons me, this is how shitty my future book covers will look. *makes plans to bribe Norris with Tim Horton’s tea*

I feel like the “why” of this title can best be summed up by potential chapter headings comprised of things I’ve said in text messages.

1.) If I don’t answer for a bit, it’s because I’m driving home from the motherfucking store.

2.) I’d run away and join the circus, but I have no marketable circus skills. And also clowns.

3.) Yes…I ignored that little voice in the back of my head that said that person was batshit crazy. Again.

4.) Math is hard, yo.

5.) I cannot possibly people today.

6.) I’m sorry my cat hates you.

7.) Look, I just need some cheese.

8.) Is it wrong that I’m proud of my four-year-old niece for using “What the fuck” properly in a sentence?

9.) I don’t recall becoming a bigamist, but at the same, time, my brain has been nothing but cracks, lately. So…maybe?

10.) The hold music is static-y soft jazz. I am in hell.

11.) Excellent. I feel like the more people we have spreading the accelerant, the quicker it’ll be over.

12.) Filed under bad ideas: Don’t look at fabric you made your kids’ clothes out of. Especially not while you’re ovulating.

13.) I’m gonna need bail money. There’s a neighbor kid out there somewhere blowing a goddam gym whistle.

14.) But in Clue, aren’t you just supposed to murder people with the candlestick? Or are we lighting candles to celebrate afterward?

15.) I feel like we won’t be able to have our podcast if I’m in jail, though.

16.) I have zero of popsicles. And also zero of patience.

17.) Never look a gift moodswing in the mouth.

18.) I am a font of random information.

19.) Fuck that. I’m putting on my ruffle-butt undies and my ruffled bonnet. And we’re gonna go Pollyanna the fuck out of everything.

20.) ADD Powers ACTIVATE! Form of Squirrel!

That’s it for me this week, be sure to check out the other bloggers’ memoir titles. Jess, Jessica, Deelylah, Gwen, and Kellie.

Pssst! Wanna Win a Kindle Fire HD 8?

Of COURSE you want to win! And here’s your chance…or chances since you can enter several times!

What are you entering to win, exactly? A Kindle Fire HD 8 PLUS 13 ebooks!

The Bound Series

London Bound by Jessica Jarman
Drawn That Way by Bronwyn Green
The Professor’s Student by Bronwyn Green
Nothing Serious by Jessica Jarman
Out of Sync by Bronwyn Green
In Bounds by Bronwyn Green
Safeword Protected by Jessica Jarman

Albion’s Circle series by Jessica Jarman

The Deepest Cut
In My Veins
Edge of Darkness

Rising Blood by Bronwyn Green
Finding You by Bronwyn Green
Tempted to Death by Jessica Jarman

So, enter early, enter often! The more you enter, the better your chances of winning!

Good luck… Ádh mór oraibh!

Bron & Jess

Click link below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top 10 Ways to Hook Me as a Reader

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It’s time for another Top 10 List!

Okay, so like most people, the best way to hook me as a reader is by writing a good book. And when I say a good book, I  mean the premise and the actual writing, too–some books are strictly a one or the other kind of thing. I want the whole package. Because I’m demanding. And picky. And a limited amount of time available to read. That’s why I usually read the first few pages to see if the author’s voice and I are going to get along.

I’m not sure these are actually in any kind of order, cover art aside, they’re all pretty crucial.

10.) Okay, so I’m going to start out here by being utterly shallow. I love a good cover. I’m not saying it’s crucial, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t play into whether or not I was attracted enough to a book to pick it up.  I mean, there are books I’ve loved whose covers I hate, and I secretly think to myself that it deserved a better cover.

9.) I want to see as little telling as possible. Show me what’s happening in the story, don’t tell me. What does her anger look like? How does it affect her and the other people in the scene. Do her fists clench? Does her scalp pickle? Does her face get sweaty? Does her eye twitch? What are her her specific thoughts?  I don’t want to read, She was so angry she was ready to scream. I want to read, Rage-fueled lava flooded her veins, and her hand tightened into a fist. If that horrible orange man got any closer to her, she’d punch straight through his saggy, fleshy throat. 

8.) I need me some character growth. I don’t want to read about static characters–I want evolution. I don’t want to read the story of a person falling in love and being  the same person they were when the story started. Everyone we interact with, every experience we have, changes us it some way. It makes us look at things differently. Even if it’s something as mundane as standing behind a hipster at a coffee shop. Fucking hipsters. But damn, that really is a cute plaid. Maybe I don’t hate plaid as much as I thought. The same is true for characters. No, they might not discover a latent appreciation for plaid, but if they fall in love, they’re going to change in other ways. Well, I suppose they could fall in love with a hipster and plaid.

7.) I need the story to be believable. I don’t care if the book is about a race of land-dwelling purple squids who time travel through portals in stairwells of municipal buildings. Does the plot of  a story about land-dwelling, time traveling squids make enough sense with enough familiarity that I’m willing to suspend disbelief in the laws of reality, possibly physics, and known biology of aquatic animals? If yes, good for you, writer. You’ve got yourself another sale.

6.) I need you to make me care about these people–or land-dwelling, time traveling squids. Can I identify with these people? With these squids? With their struggles? Are the squids holding up some kind of mirror to me that I see at least some portion of myself or someone I love amongst their tentacles and ink? Or something relatable in the life of this washed up actor or soldier suffering from PTSD?

5.) I also need you to not bore me. So, let’s talk conflict–is it helping to drive the plot? I’m talking both internal and external, here, but I’ll be honest, I’m far more moved by internal conflict. We all experience it–it’s a regular state of being for many of us. So, what do the characters what that they can’t have? What’s thwarting them? What’s keeping them apart? What’s at stake? Are the stakes high enough. That doesn’t mean that the stakes in every book need to be at the level of world-ending nuclear annihilation. However, whatever the conflict is in your character’s life needs to feel like it is. So that boy who desperately wants the lead in the school musical so his mother will finally be proud of him, being cast as an ensemble member is going to crush him. That conflict can be just as interesting, if not more so, than the fear of world-ending nuclear annihilation.

4.) Chemistry – it’s not just for high school teachers and meth labs. This goes back a bit to showing vs. telling, but I need to see the chemistry between characters. This goes for all characters, but it’s especially true of romance. I need to see how they affect each other. It’s not enough to know that each of the pair finds the other the hottest person in the history of ever. Finding each other attractive doesn’t equal chemistry. Characters who sex with one another also doesn’t equal chemistry. Show the reader specifically what makes the characters personalities spark when they’re together. When that’s absent, secondary characters commenting on the chemistry between the main couple doesn’t make it true, it just makes it author intrusion.

3.) Please don’t give me a story where the plot just happens to the characters. Those kinds of stories seem to grab the protagonist like a riptide and drag them farther and farther from shore and instead of acting on the plot–making choices that change the course of the story, the character is constantly stuck in reaction mode, trying to deal with whatever the plot is throwing at her, but not making any moves of her own to affect the storyline. Even if the character make some stupidass choices, and ultimately makes things worse for themselves, at least they’re victims of a runaway plot.

2.) I’m a sucker for emotional angst. I want to feeeeeeeeeeeel all the feels, and yeah, I usually want to cry about them, too. That’s not to say that I’m looking for melodrama, but I am here for the intense emotion and also the catharsis that comes from experiencing those emotions through the eyes of well-written characters.

1.) I can forgive a lot of writing sins in exchange for awesome dialogue. (Looking at you, Buffy and Firefly.) I love language. I love listening to the way people talk to each other–how we communicate. I’m focusing on English speakers here, because it’s the only language I speak fluently, but we’re all using the same 26 letters. We’re all (mostly) using the same collection of words. We’re all saying many of the same things to one another, but phrasing is everything. Some authors have such a way with dialogue that it not only sounds completely natural, it’s so delightful (and sometimes awful) to the ear that the reader has a visceral response to it. Some people write such great dialogue, you almost want to read it aloud. Well-written dialogue is at its best when it works to reveal the individual characters and their personalities. I read a book recently, and I found myself getting frustrated because while there were all these great lines, all  of the characters were saying them–even when what was being said was completely out of line for those particular character’s personality. That great dialogue lost all its impact.

What are the ways authors hook you as a reader? Share!

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ Top 10 posts! Deelylah, Jess, Gwen, Kellie, and Kris.

Monthly Goals Check-In: January 2017

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I’ll be honest, I’ve been working my ass off, but I don’t feel like I’m really getting anywhere.

I’d planned to have short story finished, a book revised and expanded, and be at least a quarter of the way into a new novella. However, that’s not quite how things worked. An ugly case of anxiety and depression have pretty well immobilized me.

However, I have kicked ass at gutting my house and  getting rid of stuff. I still need to wash out the fridge, and take stock of the freezer, but then I’ll be done with the kitchen. I’m doing this 52 Week Organized Home Challenge. So far, so good. And in some areas, I’m working ahead – like my bedroom.

This is this month’s to-do list from my bullet journal. Things that are half-filled in are started, arrows mean they’re migrating to next month, and filled in means they’re done. Yeah…still hoping to start that yoga program by next Tuesday…

(Apologies for my hideous handwriting.)

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But, I’ve been doing a lot of editing and some writing. Jess and I will have a new newsletter out next week, too. So if you want two new free short stories, sign up for the newsletter – they’re exclusive to newsletter subscribers only.

I’ve also been doing a lot of knitting. I made pussyhats for the Women’s March, and I’m still going. I think I’m on hat number nine. And a bunch made it to the marches in DC, Atlanta and Lansing.

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Another thing I’ve accomplished this month is building a website for The Michigan Highlanders, the Highland Games organization my brother Martin belongs to. And if you want to follow them on Instagram and Tumblr, I’m sure they’d love that. (I would also love that. I’ve worked very hard on this – lol!) In case you’re wondering, my brother is the one who’s ripped the sleeves out of his shirts.

Okay, my goals for February are:

Continue with whatever’s next on the Organized Home Challenge

Finish revising and expanding Mist and Stone.

Progress on DN & EP 

Finish 5 more pussyhats

Progress on the other two websites I’m putting together. 

Oh yeah, and start that damn yoga program.

Be sure you check out the other bloggers check-ins! Jess, Deelylah, and Paige.

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