Friday, May 31, 2013

The Lara Project: Planning Your Noms

I totally spaced that May has 31 days and not 30 so you almost got a post about measuring updates today. Which I'm honestly kind of glad about because thanks to the stress and emotional roller coaster that this week has been, I imagine those results would have been a little discouraging.

But that's okay.

Sometimes we fall off the healthy wagon and it can happen because of something we do or because of something we have no active control over. Point is to not beat yourself up about it and just get back on track. =)

One of the ways you can stay on track is planning out your meals.

You know, like that thing your folks did when you were a kid so they knew how to feed you all week.

Only this gets a bit more math heavy.

It's time to break out the old Excel sheet (or the spreadsheet on Google Docs).

You're going to want to set aside some decent time for this once a week. It may take more as you first start figuring it out but I tend to set aside an hour for it.

This weekly meal plan will not only help you stay on track and balance what you're eating, it will stop you from picking up those really not great things you pick up when just trolling the aisles.


When planning my week, the first thing I consider is if I have any social engagements going on and what kind of food may be involved.

For instance, when I was first making this on Friday I was going out for fondue. Now ignoring that this presented an interesting dietary challenge (I brought lots of lactaid and was fine, surprisingly), it also set my bar for that day.

If I'm supposed to be between 1,200 - 1,500 calories per day, and my serving portion was looking at about 292 calories, then I had to plan the rest of my meals accordingly. I kept my sugar low (swapped out fruits for veggies) and focused on making sure I got plenty of protein and stayed within my boundaries outlined in my plan.

After I have worked around any pre-planned stuff, I think about what I have in my fridge. To be honest, the more fresh things I eat, the more this ends up being "Basically nothing". But if say I've had some chicken in my freezer for a bit, I will try to incorporate that in to my meal planning to make things easier on myself. (Eg. Cook the chicken, then use it in a wrap for a lunch, or a salad or a pasta etc)

Then I think about what I'm really craving or what I'd like to try that week and plug those in where I can.

Once you see the bare bones of what you'll be nomming that week, you can fill in the holes a bit better. Say you have something very grain heavy in the morning (which really should be rather than lunch or dinner) then you can lean out the heavy stuff with meats, fruits and veggies as the day goes on.

If you're also tracking your workout, this can inform your meals as well. Say you have a really intense cardio workout scheduled for Mondays. You're going to want to make sure your breakfast has the protein you need to stay upright. (This can even just be a fruit smoothie with whey protein).

I've found a good way to help me plan my meals is by going through sparkpeople.com. The meal plan is free and you can substitute items or create your own (They weren't very gluten/lactose intolerant friendly, so I ended up mostly crafting my own).

Stay healthy and be good to you. <3

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Happy Thought Thursday!

- Sarah TheLove4Ha​ppiness.com (Inspirational Blog)

"I don't have a word for when I see her. Happy just falls short of the feeling." - Anonymous


"Happiness is koala snuggles to keep warm."
-Josh

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Friend Is Missing

The idea of this weekend was to relax and not worry if I blogged or not--because too often I don't allow myself time to just breathe but now that we're back, I confess I don't know what to say.

This weekend was...

A friend of mine is missing and when I talk about this weekend I don't how how to not allow that to overshadow everything else. So if you live in the area--if you can: Please help.

http://roosterteeth.com/members/journal/entry.php?id=3029620

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Lara Project: Spartan Training

So about a month or two into when I first really started dedicating myself to this project, I, along with two of my very close friends, decided to get a little crazy. Not 'I'm princess stabbity, stab-stab, kill-kill' kinda crazy but definitely taking a dive into this 'get healthy, be a badass' kick.

We signed up for the Pacific Northwest's Spartan Race.

"Spartan Sprints are muddy 3+ MILES / 15+ OBSTACLES course races. The challenging sprint races are a great way to get off your couch and start living. Beginners to hardcore warriors, and marathon runners alike come out to test themselves on the insane obstacles! This 5k race is comprised of mud runs, obstacles, trail racing, physical challenges and mental challenges all in a 3+ race. 99.9% of all people who try this event will finish, and 100% will have their thirst for mud fully satisfied!"

Now our goal is to pace ourselves, mind you, stay together as a team (Team Crimson, of course because how am I NOT gonna make a Halo reference here?) and get through it safely.

And will likely have a massage scheduled for the next day because our muscles will most likely hate us.

Knowing that I'm in this, that there is no going back, honestly helps push me to do my workouts every day. Even if it's something small, it's important that you do something to get off your butt and move.

Morning routine this week has consisted of running 4 miles with 10 burpees and 20 crunches between each mile. It's been intense so if you give it a try, make sure you got the right stuff in your body to give you that energy. Drink plenty of water! I know that's old news, but I swear people never remember to do it. I certainly don't, even when I'm just sitting at my desk at work.

I have no doubt this race is going to challenge me in a way I don't often experience and I will likely need a few days of relaxation and rest after. August is fast approaching and I'm both excited and terrified.

Is this Madness? No, my friend. This is SPARTA!

...oh come on, you saw that reference coming. I had to do it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Happy Thought Thursday!


"I get to wake up next to my best friend every morning. I don't think there's a happier thought than that." - Jenn



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Putting the "EE!" back in GEEK!


There is a strange phenomenon happening--and it really isn't particularly new, and I won't be the first or last person to mention it but I think I finally found words to talk about it.

We don't really let ourselves just love something anymore. I mean, not really.

I'd like to blame hipsters and for once it's not because I just like blaming hipsters. There is this mentality in the hipster community (and I realize this is a sweeping generalization) where you must be better and smarter than everything. It's ridiculously pretentious and it's all about being clever--or more importantly THINKING that you're being clever all the time at the expense of your surroundings.

Now I will be the last person to claim to ever be the smartest person in the room but this is the most idiotic trend I have ever seen be picked up.

Who are you people? No, really, WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?

You know what GEEK is? Geek is about passion. It's spending months on a costume you wear for a day. It's camping out with your friends outside of a Target when it's practically freezing outside just so you can get the latest console. It's Arrested Development premiere parties and feeling your heart race all day because you know that NIGHT a new Game of Thrones will be airing.

But for some reason, I see nothing but cynicism and failed attempts at stand-up comedian like pot-shots fill my twitter and facebook feed.

For some reason, we feel like we can't get excited anymore. You aren't cool unless you're mocking something.

So I'm going to tell you something very plainly: Those people are douche-bags. No, not even that, because douche-bags actually have a purpose. Those people are toe jam and belly button lint. They don't do anything, they just gather together and exist.

When someone mentions they're excited about the new Star Wars, resist this weirdly trained response about lens flares. When a comic is made into a movie, give it a chance before you start ripping on how the comic was way better. When toys or games are made to help introduce the fandom to different groups, don't tear it down immediately.

It's okay to love things--I encourage you to with reckless abandon. Go love the hell out of something. Bounce up and down, make squealy noises of joy, do a dance!

Seriously. Go. Give yourself that permission.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Girl of Gaming Past

Remember when Donkey Kong Country was still new? That's right, I'm taking us back to 1994. Super Nintendo, the introduction of Diddy Kong and a tag-team, gaming experience regardless if you were solo or co-op. 

I absolutely loved this game. My brother and I were obsessed with it. 

This was by no means my first gaming experience but it was my first look into gaming as a career. I remember they released "Donkey Kong Country Exposed", a making of video which they used to promote the game. It talked about game testing, level creation, character design--and my brother and I were hooked.

We spent endless hours talking way past bed time about growing up to be testers and then game designers... It was, as most childhood dreaming is, over glorified and fantastical and on some levels completely unrealistic. 

But now that I'm a professional in the gaming industry--now that I've been here for about 3 years, I look back at those two dumb kids and really wish I could tell them what's coming. 

They'd never believe me, mind you but that's not really the point.

We're just a few hours away from the anticipated #XboxReveal and I can feel goosebumps on my skin. It's like Christmas Eve all over again. Anticipation, inability to sleep...

I hope I never lose that feeling. I hope I'm always, in some way, that wide-eyed little girl dreaming up impossible things with her brother late at night. 

Days like today I feel like he's still here. Talking about things we'll create. Excited for what comes next.

Monday, May 20, 2013

"Just To Be Different"

I'm a sucker for customization for game characters. Depending on the options available, I will spend hours just tweaking facial features, hair style and fashion.

So is it really any wonder that I've also a weakness for customizing my own appearance?

Not that I've done much tweaking to my facial features--just tweezing. Divorcing my eyebrows is a task that requires vigilance and a check up with my lovely esthetician about every 3 weeks.

Eyebrows are bastards like that.

And eyebrow tweezing is really the absolute most mundane of body customization/modification there is. And before you try to argue with me that that isn't modification, let me stop you.

You are altering the way your body naturally presents itself.

It may be what you call "good grooming", but it's still a modification. It's an altered state.

You may be thinking, "But Kiri, if that's true than just getting a hair cut could be considered body modification".

You're right. It can.

What's my point? We all modify our bodies in some way or another. It could be you shave your arm pits/legs, or get your bangs cut every month to make sure they're always just hovering above your eyes but never in them--the point is most if not all of us participate in this practice. I really need you to understand how normal and every day it is.

WE. ALL. DO. IT.

Some people are just a bit more dramatic about theirs.

Me? I dye my hair. A lot. Ever since junior high when I was feeling ignored and lost and out of control with the circumstances of my life and I found a box of blonde hair dye in my mother's bathroom cupboard.

It turned orange, mind you, but Vitamin C (the Singer) was still popular so it ended up looking edgey and intentional.

I did it when my parents were out of town and I was staying with my mother's best friend. This woman was a second mother to me growing up (I've been ridiculously blessed to have so many strong women like this in my life) and I remember she was worried my parents would never let me stay with her again after they saw me. But more than that, I remember her looking me dead in the eye and saying, "Don't tell your mother I said this, but it looks fantastic."

And she was right. And for a few glorious days, I was the girl in my small backwater junior high with orange hair. And I was forever altered. I have always admired tattoos--I think they're absolutely beautiful but I was always wary of that kind of permanence.

This was something that could change with my mood if I was feeling so changeable that week. And that's where I've felt most comfortable.

And the reason I'm telling you this is because I need you to understand that me dying my hair bubblegum pink is no different than if you're a blonde who dyes her hair ginger. Yours may be passable as 'natural' but we're both doing the same thing. So you feel most yourself when your hair is platinum blonde rather than the mousy brown you were born with? I think I was made to bathe in technicolor.

We're the same.

Yes, there will always be people who do things purely for attention, but they live every lifestyle and sport every trend--don't limit that unpleasant trait to people with body modifications.

And I'm telling you this so when you see someone with bright orange hair or tattoo sleeves or seven piercings in each ear, you don't find yourself saying, "They just do that to be different."

No.

They do that to be themselves.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Lara Project: Badass' log, supplemental

Keeping to a healthy diet and routine is hard, let's just be honest about that.

Here is the moment where some holier-than-thou folks look at me like they have no idea what I'm talking about.

Look, I'm a child of the 80's and 90's. My parents did the best they could to raise us, but high fructose corn syrup was in everything snack related and that stuff is made to be addictive and back then not a lot of thought was given to what we ate as long as we looked healthy and weren't coughing up blood.

So weaning myself off that stuff? This was not an easy task--hell, I'm pretty sure I still haven't done it entirely--or that I ever will. So I'm doing what I can to just keep certain items out of my house completely. It's a lot easier to say 'no' at the grocery store than when it's already in your cupboard.

Still, even then, it's hard to stick to things.

So, I structured it in a way that would be easier for me to digest and keep to. I made it a game.

I play a lot of Xbox and while part of me does kind of dislike the achievement system--not the system in general, just how often it's used to rack up points for the sake of points rather than playing a game you love (I'm looking at you, grown men who played the Hannah Montana game =P)--I can't ignore that it works. You have a list of tasks set out and if you fulfill them, you get a prize.

Taking this one step further, I'm going to bring up the Trophy Guide in Borderlands and how it tracks your progress so you know how close you are to that reward (I'm not good at keeping a mental head count). Now I love borderlands, truly, I do. But I have to admit I'd likely be a lot less inclined to do every little trophy if it didn't have that little counter there to let me know where I am in my goal.

This idea can apply to your diet/exercise beautifully.


My friend +Ana Visneski and I joined forces in our goal to be even more fabulous than we currently are and designed an excel sheet via Google documents (so we can share it, see each other's progress etc) that tracks our day to day.

This tracker currently includes our breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Knowing we have to fill this out, honestly helps push away that temptation a little.

It also tracks our exercise, what we may feel bad about (not exercising  eating something we shouldn't have), what we feel awesome about (Feeling more awake, needing to buy new pants, etc) and our overall feeling that day.

Why this is important: Especially if you're buddying up, admitting what you feel bad about will let your buddy know you need encouragement. Also it has a bit of catharsis about it. Being able to track what you're proud about each day encourages your sense of accomplishment and good mental health--which is also why being able to say how you felt about the day as a whole is important. Maybe that day was really emotional for you. Maybe you had an awesome day and that made it easier to eat better or you needed to bend the rules a bit to celebrate.

Not easy to fit life into a form.

Other pages of this document include measuring so we can track our progress, a page of cool things we find (good recipes, info about exercises/classes, etc).

Remember how I said achievements?

Well what would all this tracking and questing be for if there wasn't some kind of reward system? It's important you build that reward system. It's also important you don't build this reward system around food.

I don't think being healthy should ever be about depriving yourself. Moderation is key.

So this reward system will consist of things like: For every month of consistent entries (or X amount of entries in a row, or X total), we will do something awesome like: get a massage, have a spa day, go shopping somewhere we normally wouldn't treat ourselves to etc.

This system may not be for you but it's certainly helped me out.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Reviving The Happy Thought Project

Think Happy Thoughts by MadRoscoe
The day to day can be unbearable. I can't assume what your life is like, but even I have had my darker days. Sometimes we all need a little help remembering why we get up in the morning.

This is for you, Joel. Let's bring a little sunshine back.

What is "The Happy Thought" Project?

The ‘Happy Thought’ Project is an on-going collaborative work focused on the little things that make life worthwhile and make us smile. The goal is to create a collection of artwork (photography, drawings, writing) that bring hope and comfort.

These will be shared every Thursday.

If no content has been sent, I'll write something up on my own. Thursdays are going to be about sending positive thoughts into the world.

When enough content has been gathered, I would like to bind them into a book and donate whatever proceeds are obtained to the Crisis Clinic.


What Kind Of Things Can I Submit?
I accept drawings, photography, quotes, poems and short stories.

Drawings and Photos should be accompanied by a small amount of text (whether to explain or add to the picture) and should be something you personally own the rights to.

Poems should not be previously published.

Short stories should be no longer than half a page in a word document and should not be previously published. I use ‘short story’ loosely. This should be a personal story etc.

Quotes may be famous quotes but please credit them appropriately.

Some editing may be done to make sure spelling/punctuation is correct but for the most part I will try to keep all writing in tact as it is sent to me.

How Do I Submit Work?
For the time being, please send all Happy Thoughts to happythoughts@kiricallaghan.com


Can I Submit More Than One Thought?


Yes!


Is This Anonymous or Credited?


I would like to leave that up to you.

If you would like to be credited for your thought, I will use only FIRST NAMES.


Please indicate in your email submission if you would like to have your name mentioned. If there is no indication either way, I will assume you wish to remain anonymous.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Success And Other Disasters



A dear friend of mine (who shall go unnamed) has been extremely successful over the past year in her artistic endeavors but has been encountering this bizarre lack of support from some of her friends and family.

She was understandably frustrated because some of these people she's known since she was very young, they'd been with her through some of the toughest times and yet they'd been rather skeptical of her work. Yet, I who have known her for only a few years, have been a cheerleader every step of the way.

That sounds like I'm tooting my own horn, doesn't it? Eh, screw it. I'm okay with bragging about that. I'm an awesome cheerleader when it comes to my friends and their accomplishments.

I didn't get a chance to have this discussion with her at the time but wanted to share my thoughts/experiences about this seemingly bizarre phenomenon.

You've heard of "fair-weathered friends", right? Those people who only stick around you when things are good?

Well they have a just as evil cousin: "rainy-day friends".

...wow, that doesn't sound evil at all. That sounds like a show on PBS or something.

Crap.

Whatever, I'm going with it. So to talk about these "Rainy-Day friends", I'm going to have to use another cliché and that's "Misery loves company." These are the people who only want to be around you when something is wrong.

When you gain any kind of success, even in small droves, you're going to find the people in your group of friends who are miserable with their lives. These are the people who have given up on changing the circumstances they're in and have decided to essentially lash out at anyone who seems to be "rising out of the muck" as it were.

You may be thinking, "Come on, Kiri, really? You're essentially saying 'they're just jealous'."

Well, yeah, basically.

Let me try again.

Most of the people currently living this lifestyle don't actually know they're miserable. They're the women who make you feel like you're nothing if you're not married, they're the dudes with the giant car that has no practical purpose, they're the people who obsess over one detail in their life because it's what distracts them from everything else.

These people have somehow convinced themselves that they're ordinary and that they can never do anything to rise above that word. And because they believe this so entirely, they self-sabotage and before you know it, they are ordinary. Because they are dead certain they can be nothing else. And they're content with that because everyone they know is also ordinary.

Until they meet you.

This sounds like I'm about to go into some sappy love story but stick with me because I promise you, I'm not.

You have drive. You have ambition. They were once like you, but now they know how the world really works and they're just biding their time, humoring you now and then, until you become just as jaded and ordinary.

But you don't.

You don't give up, you're tenacious or lucky (or both) and you start making headway. You start getting noticed. You pull yourself just one rung up that ladder and their content little bubble of pedestrian life is popped.

And it's your fault.

And suddenly your success isn't about your success, it's about their failures.

So they attack you. They tear down your work, they try to sabotage your self esteem, they do anything they can to pull you off that ladder.

Because if you actually get where you want to--if you reach that extraordinary dream, you will prove to them their life was a choice.

These people aren't your friends. They will do nothing but be a toxic influence unless they start making some changes of their own. They don't deserve your grief or time, you need to cut them out.

But unfortunately, that's not always easy. It's going to still hurt when you realize who falls under this category. And for that, I can't tell you enough how much I feel for you.

Keep your chin up. We've got a long way to climb. We'll high-five at the top. <3

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Update and Videos!

So!

As some of you may know, I am starting a brand spankin' new job today. I'll be joining the amazing folks at 343 Industries as their Community Coordinator.

Little terrifying but I could not be more excited.

That being said, this will still continue to be my personal blog and any opinions expressed here are my own etc. Don't come looking here (or my twitter) for Halo spoilers etc. I'm not that cool.

My last day with Xbox Support was on Sunday so I took yesterday to sort of reset and relax. Hence why no blog post. Got some well-needed cleaning and organizing done which I'm excited about. My mini-recording booth that I'm setting up is ALMOST done but not quite because I have to get some stuff for the walls and figure out set up.

Anyway, remember how I said I was going to do a vlog every month?

I actually did one for April, but due to craziness, the folks editing it didn't get it finished until recently, so I'd like to share that with you today.

They had... some fun with my hair. =P

A second video has also been added to my library called "The Other Lizzie B". If you're a fan of "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries" you will hopefully get a kick out of this one. We had way too much fun making it.

That about wraps it up for me today, I will see you guys on the other side.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sisters, Sisters

So my friend Bethany and I went to high school in Spokane, Washington... and this may have actually happened:


Coloring by the awesometastic +M Rawlings

Saturday, May 11, 2013

In Regards To Cornish and Theater School

So I've had a few people ask me about my experience with going to school for theater and even specifically my time at Cornish College of the Arts and if the financial blow was ultimately worth my time there.

The TLDR Version, I suppose would be: 

Am I under a mountain of crushing debt? Absolutely.

Would I trade that for the four years I spent at Cornish? Not a chance.

But there's more to it so if you'd like to keep reading, I'll explain myself.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Lara Project: In These Shoes?


"In these shoes? I doubt you'd survive."

So shoes may not be something you really consider when you're focusing on health but it's ridiculous what the quality of footwear can do for your exercise regimine. 

Obviously it will matter what you're doing (running, biking, etc) but even more that you're going to want to make sure you're accommodating your foot type as much as possible. Me? I'm a freaking hobbit. My feet are large for my height, they're flat and my ankles occasionally like to try to give me the slip. So I make sure my running shoes properly support that. Flat shoes are a no-no here when it comes to the inside of your shoe. Don't go running in your converse! You need arch and ankle support. 

There are places like Runner's World who offer an online shoe adviser but if you ask around you can find someone local to you who can help fit you to the right shoe. 

Despite the fairly impractical outfits we've seen Lara in over the years, they have oddly kept fairly sensible footwear. Even in Tomb Raider: Legends when in the evening gown, she kicked off the heels and climbed barefoot.

Just remember you only have two legs to stand on and those legs are always supported by your feet--so if you take care of them when you work out, they'll take care of you. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Alys, Prologue and Chapter 1



Jennalee Evavold, the amazing artist behind StoryReeler Art, did an awesome sketch of Hadir that can be seen here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why is this here?

Pulling from the writer's handbook for today's blog. Not the official Writer's Handbook, mind you, because frankly there isn't one, but my handbook which will hopefully still be of use to you.

Last night I went and saw an independent film with a friend of mine and while the movie did have some merit, it was about 40 minutes too long and thought just a wee too highly of itself.

So those of you who are new to the writing game or are just looking for a little pseudo-sagely wisdom from a blue-haired freak (or green or turquoise, depending on how the light hits it), I offer you this: Cut out the guff.

If you have a scene that doesn't move the story forward (tells us nothing about a character, reveals no plot points, does zilch to build tension etc etc etc) then it has no business being in your book/script/screenplay/whatever.

There is a terrible musical called "The Pajama Game" that was written expressly to showcase Doris Day's singing voice and the plot was thrown together as an after thought. Within this musical there is an entire scene here the two main characters run into each other in the hall and gush over how much they love the other. Let me be perfectly clear, these two are already together, they've already sang that they're in love with each other, this scene purely exists so they can gush over it again.

Apart from being one of the most annoying songs I have ever had to sit through in a theater, it was an absolutely useless scene that only served as a means for us to piss away the precious time we have on this planet.

DO NOT HAVE THIS SCENE IN YOUR STORIES.

Occasional fluff can be enjoyable, it's true, so I suppose I cannot ward you away from it completely, but I would urge you to approach your work with the kind of critical eye that mentor figures in every art-focused movie seem to possess. Demand answers from your work, make every scene prove to you that it has a RIGHT to be there.

Boredom is a terrible thing, my friends, it really is.

Last night the writer/director/editor (Being all 3 of these is a problem all its own but we can talk about that tomorrow) asked the audience who hated his movie. Because statistically, at least one person had to hate it.

I didn't raise my hand.

You know why? I didn't care enough to hate it. I got bored after 20 minutes in. I watched extremely well produced gore and artfully scuzzed up set (seriously their set was beautifully disgusting, I wanted to attack it all with bleach--it was magnificent!) but I didn't care. There was too much unnecessary crap floating around. It could have been a very intriguing short film, instead it was about an hour and a half (at least it felt like it) that didn't know what it was saying but that it wanted to say SOMETHING really badly. But whatever it might have said or suggested just got lost in all the guff padded around it to draw it out in length.

That director was right. Statistically, someone will hate your work. But at least they have an opinion on it. They care enough to hate it. Don't let them get bored.

Monday, May 6, 2013

My Bizarre "Loyalty" to Starbucks

I live in Seattle.

I am SURROUNDED by coffee snobs.

Most of my friends are coffee snobs.

...I'm even a little bit of a coffee snob.

So why, you may be asking yourself, do I still continue to give my patronage to Starbucks?

The answer really boils down to something very simple: I know what I'm getting. See, back in the day (and by that I mean not so far back in the summer of 2008 when I needed a job between my junior and senior year of college) I worked at Starbucks. Now let me stop you--this is not me getting sentimental for a company that used to pay me tuppence a day in exchange for being treated as subhuman by the majority of customers who filed in per day.

...Side note, don't piss off people who prepare anything you're going to consume. Just. Saying.

Anyway, my point is during that time I was shown how to create every hand-crafted drink. Don't get me wrong, their drip coffee is terrible and really shouldn't be trusted anywhere near your taste buds.

However their lattes/mochas etc have some potential. Because once you know the basic formula of something, you can mess with it.

For instance, I know that Starbucks (for some unknown reason) makes their chai with half-water/half milk. ...I don't get it either. However, if you order it without water and extra foam, the result is a sweet cinnamon caffeinated drink of joy and wonder.

...I may have a chai obsession, what of it?


On top of knowing how to alter a drink to make it palatable to my tastes, I know without fail what I'm getting and that I can likely get it anywhere I go.

Let's be honest, we've all been to that hotel that offers some kind of sludge that vaguely resembles the villain from Fern Gully as a wake-up beverage. And while some people are very content with this kind of chemical warfare as a part of their breakfast, I'm really not a fan. But almost without fail, I can depend that within at least 10 miles of my location, I will find that mermaid of possibly questionable morals spreading her tails (ouch?) cheerfully to greet me to the land of caffeine.

So when I suggest Starbucks, don't turn your nose up at me, fellow addict. Sometimes I don't wanna scour the city for that perfectly roasted bean. Sometimes I just want something dependable, quick and easy.

...that sounded dirty.

Whatever, I don't care, I'm tired and need a chai.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

We Are Not A MUSEd

I often wonder if this is a common difference between writers and artists. Coloring again by the awesome +M Rawlings



Saturday, May 4, 2013

May The Fourth Find Peace In You

I'm a fickle creature, at best. Usually this is something we laugh at but today I find myself absolutely frustrated.

There are few things in life that I know without certain that I want. I know I want to spend the rest of my life writing. I know I want friends and loved ones close by.

But other than that I feel like everything is trial and error. I act on something that feels absolutely certain and then immediately I regret or question it. Yes, I was feeling that strongly at that moment but maybe I don't have the right to feel that way--maybe that feeling will vanish after I've done it because I just needed to express that feeling in order for it to get out of my system.

And maybe that's how life is but it doesn't seem very fair to anyone affected by it.

I know, I know. Life isn't fair.


Friday, May 3, 2013

The Lara Project: Measuring Month 1

Okay, here we go, first Friday of the month of May. Measuring Time. Try, like with weighing in, to do it at the start of the day. I admittedly am mostly toning so it may be a while before we see any noticeable progress but here we go.

This week I've just adjusted my eating habits. Working on cutting out artificial sugars and definitely being better about "well, a little gluten/dairy won't hurt, right" moments.

Been taking a lot of my recipes from the fantastic Taralynn McNitt's tumblr

Favorite Recipe of the Week: 
Pumpkin Pancakes

Favorite Exercise Activity of the Week:
Doing Yoga while playing Halo 4: Spartan Ops... not joking. 

May:
Bust: 35 in
Underbust: 30 in
Upper Arm: 11 in
Forearm: 9 in
Waist: 26 in
Hips: 36 in
Thigh: 22 in
Calf: 15 in

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bro, Don't Be That Guy

Since the beginning of the internet, there has been a sacred rule, passed down through the generations from those who were there at the creation, to the n00bs who would come after: Don't Feed The Troll.

It's what they want, they're desperate for attention and really they're just gonna keep bugging you, completely oblivious, regardless at your prowess with verbal jousting.

Admittedly, that's where I personally have trouble. I'm an actor and a writer--throwing me a troll, especially a particularly dim-witted troll with a large ego, is like dangling a piece of yarn over a kitten. OMG OMG THIS IS GONNA BE AMAZING.

Because they make it so easy. Because whip lashing them with their own pathetic little insults would take barely the space of a moment and less than half a functioning brain cell, but we have to remember that even if you're the Shakespeare of insults (Who was still Shakespeare, btw) they're going to resort to a defense tactic first invented by six-year-olds, "I know you are, but what am I?"

It's a ridiculously stupid tactic, it's not actually that effective as you actually end up looking even more moronic than when you first started arguing... but a troll's inability to accept that they might possibly look stupid or may not be winning completely prevents your words from penetrating their brain. It's for these reasons we have been advised to not feed the trolls, just ignore them, keep on moving, nothing here to see, eventually they'll get bored and go away.

But I'd like to start encouraging a new rule. Well, it's not very new, iterations of it have existed for years--Wheaton's law being a shining example--but I'd like to at least toss my own endorsement behind the idea of maybe you should just not be a troll. I mean, yes, trolls should not be fed, but shouldn't we also be encouraging people to not be trolls? I'm gonna call it the "Bro, don't be that guy" clause.

...I realize no one will actually call it that, but I figured I'd throw it out there just in case.

I started thinking about this because of some hate that popped up on a youtube video randomly. Don't know this guy from Galifrey, have done nothing to offend him but poof, on my video (as youtube trolls are prone) telling me how bad my video is.

Now the first message "This Video sucks dick, actually my gf sucks harder." had me laughing at first, admittedly. I was admittedly jealous that his schedule was so vacuous that he has the time to watch and comment on videos he doesn't even enjoy. Can you imagine the amount of writing I'd get done with that kind of free time? My library would overfloweth.

It was also interesting to me that he managed to insist to the internet that he's getting epic loving from an alleged female companion while simultaneously insulting me, regardless that no one had questioned or even mentioned his prowess with the ladies. Me thinks he I tweeted about it to have a little giggle and left it at that.

I wanted to have a laugh about it without actually encouraging him, but then some benevolent Youtuber decided to hop in and take a shot at it.

And it was a little funny, mainly because I don't think I've spoken with this Youtuber before, and because he voiced at least one variation of the insult we all thought of when we first read that initial comment.

But of course he's a troll, so he's gonna come back with something.

And that's when it stopped being funny and started being really sad. Like, oh dear god, Fox News, shut up, now we're just embarrassed for you kind of sad.

And so I decided to take pity on him. I removed the comment (not before taking a screenshot first, obviously) to give him one get-out-of-this-hole-I'm-digging-free card. I removed his name so no 'fame' would be gained but a lesson could hopefully be learned.

Bro, don't be that guy.

Your insult and comeback skills are clunky at best. You're awkwardly desperate to insist that you not only have a girlfriend, but your genitals are formidable. You look pathetic. Even if by some miracle, both of those facts were true, by pure delivery alone, no one will believe you.

You're the internet equivalent of the Napolean complex, posturing about so much that you're clearly compensating for something and, considering the content of your comments, we all know what.

For now, you get to walk away and pretend you never did it. You're welcome.

Please learn from this. Please realize that you're only hurting yourself.

I certainly wasn't offended. Ignoring the ridiculously inadequate insult, who are you? No, really, who are you? We've never met and I've never heard of you so you have none of my respect and therefore your insults mean nothing.

YOU, however, are adding to your online presence which, judging by your own youtube page, isn't very grand to start with.

I hope you take this gesture to heart and maybe consider things a bit more in the future before running your mouth like a child who never got enough attention growing up.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Activating the Internet Phone Tree

I first met Sabrina in 2011 she joined the staff for GeekGirlCon when I was PR Manager. She was warm, inviting, and had one of the most infectious smiles of anyone I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

What has always impressed me about her is that she's genuine in all that she does. When you talk, she not only listens, she's completely engaged in the conversation. She's compassionate and her dedication to helping out everyone she can in her community is absolutely inspiring.

So when she admitted she was in need of help for once, I decided to activate my "phone tree" per say.

You know 'phone trees'. Your moms probably had them--hell as a kid, I even had one--though it was more like a phone briar patch... it wasn't terrible effective. Before we could use the internet to reach out to our network of friends/colleagues/acquaintances, we phoned up two friends, they then phoned two friends who phoned two friends and so forth. And this is how we spread news.

So... this blog has sort of become my network to pass information. So I wanted to pass this onto you.

This is my friend Sabrina. Sabrina has multiple sclerosis. As many of you know, dealing with any kind of medical problem in this country is hard. It's expensive. And sometimes it's a matter between, "Do I pay my rent or do I buy my medicine?"

So I'm asking, if you can, even if it isn't much because we all are struggling--if you can donate even a tiny bit to help and then pass along the info, it would mean the world.


UPDATE: I've offered my own services to the tiers, (and hope it actually helps) in the form of my writing. 
For every person who donates to my tier, I will give a free digital copy of my upcoming book Alys (Book 1 of the Chronicles of Terra Mirum) and 3 of those folks will be picked to be written into my next book. 

This next book that I'm writing with the beautiful and talented Jessica Watson (code name: Lock & Steel) will launch a new series involving magic, steam punk and murder. So if you'd like a chance to be a victim, a villain, or just that overly helpful citizen (I don't know, I'm just naming stereotypes) hop over to the link provided above and choose my tier. 

Note: Alys isn't listed in the official tier because I just thought to add it, but I will be giving it out, so don't worry.