Friday, June 28, 2013

Fruity Oaty Breakfast + The Weekend

Breakfast is this weird meal we can either over or under do. You need breakfast. You do. Or at least something in the morning.

But breakfast food is so nomtastic that it's really easy to go overboard--and it doesn't help that it all tends to be super fat and carb heavy.

Still tasty though.

Of course you're probably not having a giant stack of pancakes/waffles/french toast, eggs, five slices of bacon and hashbrowns every morning... Maybe you are. I don't know. Maybe you have that kind of time. Or personal chefs.

On a normal day, I can't do a big breakfast. They make me tired. But I want to make sure I get what I need to help me stay energized that day. So I thought I'd share one of my favorite but quick breakfast noms:

Healthy Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal

What you'll need:

Plain Rolled Oats (I use Redmill, Gluten Free)
Vanilla Protein Power (Muscle Milk is lactose free)
Fresh Strawberries.
Milk of your choice (Unsweetened Vanilla Almond is my preferred choice--extra protein)

So you'll want to follow the instructions on your oats to make oatmeal. I think 1/2 oatmeal to 1 cup of water is pretty standard. You can make it on the stove but in the morning, I'm in a hurry so I use the microwave. To keep it from overflowing, put it on half power and about double the time (5 minutes usually works for me)

Once your oatmeal is cooked, mix in a serving of your protein power (I tend to use the full two scoops but that will depend on the size of your scoop as well).

Add milk as needed to keep it from getting TOO dry.

Chop up fresh strawberries and mix in.

Congrats, you just had a fairly balanced breakfast. Tasty, sweet but no artificial sugars, nom nom nom.

As it is summer and you may want to avoid hot food, you can also do a variation with some plain nonfat greek yogurt, mix in the protein powder, then the strawberries, then the dry oats.


This weekend I'll be heading back to Spokane to visit my family. It's been a hard past couple of weeks that have dug up some things I haven't really dealt with regarding my brother's death and I'm honestly really looking forward to seeing all of them. Going to show my father how to play Halo, maybe see if Spokane is showing Much Ado because--my parents both love Shakespeare (yesss). Probably talk long into the night with my sister about whatever geekery either of us is obsessing over as of late. It'll be good.

I think I'd also like to visit his grave while I'm out there. See the new headstone in person. I realize that sounds morbid, but... you'll understand when you see it. It's... it's very him.

I think the morbid notion about being excited to see a tombstone would also have been very him on some level.

I don't know. It will be a good mental health weekend. I may even try to share it with you by making a tiny 3-5 minute compilation video of the events. We'll see. =D

Quick update on things before I go:

Wit and Whimsy finished Round 1 of the Geek and Sundry Vlog submissions in 3rd place at an awesome 4,149 votes. That. Is. Crazy. I will keep you guys updated about Round 2. If you visit my FB page, there is actually a public invite all about it, you can check that out here.

Next week's vlog has been pre-recorded so that will be all ready for you on Wednesday. We're going to be talking about some super exciting things happening in Science right now.

In the throws of recording Arena Mode by Blake Northcott, so be on the lookout for my crazy vocals that will be coming to you soon to tell the tale of this superhuman brouhaha.

Have a great weekend, everyone, I'll yak at ya Monday!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Happy Thought Thursday

I'm currently sat on a mattress strewn on the water damaged floor of my old studio apartment. "Studio" being jargon for "one room flat". "Old" because this week I moved out. I had lived alone and this place had become a prison to me. My depression had taken everything internal that I despised about my life and figuratively plastered it all over the walls. 2 break ins and a flood hadn't been enough to drive me to find another place. It had been my shelter. My cave. Neither of those things were meant to comfort me, just keep me from going over the edge. When my friend suggested I move in with him (share the rent!) I agreed with some reticence . I was terrified of letting him see the condition I had let myself live in for the last 3 years. Yesterday, he saw. All my fears, everything I had compartmentalised to keep it away from the happy go lucky person I was when with my friends came pouring out as if through some gaping whole in my chest, straight from my heart. I'd never felt more vulnerable.

He looked around. "Don't worry about it." He said. "Think of this as a fresh start."

After years of thinking my friends would abandon me if they knew just how deep my depression went, I finally felt free. Now I realise what I've read over and over is true.

Depression lies.

"You're a bad person. No one cares about you. That's why you're alone. Even on Christmas Day."

You are not a bad person. You do have people that care about you. You don't have to be alone. Who you are from day to day is enough to warrant a place at the dinner table. Even on Christmas Day. So please, take care of yourself.

I'm thankful for my friends. One day soon I will open up to them fully. But first, I have the remnants of an old life to throw away as I finally clear this place out. Tonight is the last night I will sleep in these walls. I think it'll be the best nights sleep I've ever had.



-Nick
---


"Happiness is a daddy/daughter day at the local park."

-Josh
---


"Happiness is someone who just wants to love you."

-Kiri

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chapter 3: Words, Words, Words, Words!

Yep, that's right, we're stealing from Shakespeare himself for this week's chapter title.


This vlog touches on words we use/misuse, the evolution of language and my very own lexicon. Me and Shakespeare, making shit up.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Closest to a Political Campaign I'll Ever Get

So by now you know that since Thursday I've been calling out for your votes to be chosen as one of the 10 new vloggers to be added to Geek and Sundry's Vlog channel.

And if you didn't know... hey, surprise! I'm calling for votes to be one of the new 10 vloggers on Geek and Sundry's Vlog Channel!

Right now we're in the "Community Feedback" part of the... contest? Audition? Eh, contest. What this means is that ONCE A DAY the community can vote (on multiple devices) for their favorite vlog(s).

Hint. Hint.

http://www.geekandsundry.com/vlogger/kiri-callaghan

Our numbers will be narrowed down severely (so many awesome submissions) to 30, and then finally to 10.

Okay, now that you're caught up and you've voted today, I can get to what has been REALLY AWESOME about this whole process.

Sometimes, with the internet as your audience, you can feel you're playing to a vacuum. The people who started from scratch, who didn't have a contest to sort of nudge them a bit more in the spotlight, those people amaze the crap out of me. 

I hadn't been making videos long--or at least not consistently for long and it was hard not to get discouraged--and then with my writing here and book sales--it's really easy to start thinking you're a talentless hack and no one wants to see, hear or read anything from you.

I'm not looking for sympathy or reassurance here, I just need to paint a picture for you of creator's crisis (what I like to call the break down of self-doubt all artists have) and that on average you go through it at LEAST every 3 months. I think that may double when your audience is the internet.

And then I entered this contest... and received the most amazing and overflowing support and not just from friends--from people I'd never met before!

And people started really getting into it and before I knew it I had people campaigning for me without so much as asking--even going so far as to making me campaign posters!

I vaguely felt like Josh Lyman when Donna Moss elected herself to be his assistant. Only way less grumpy. Still bewildered, but way less grumpy. Not grumpy at all. Ecstatic, touched, giddy.

So not much like Josh Lyman at all but I've been watching a lot of West Wing this week, so he was on my mind. Such a good show, you guys. Amazing writing and the issues they're fighting for are still relevant today--this is not about West Wing. 

Ahem.

My point is, regardless how this contest ends, I want you to know how grateful I am for all of you. For reminding me that even while the whole internet may not be listening to me, those who are care so much.

You guys are amazing. I'm even more excited to have you as my audience and be able to bring information and entertainment to you. So while yes, every vote does count, it counts because you have MADE it count. You? You are mighty.

You might say you're dragon born. I sang you a song about it... because my yeti mic wanted to play. It's not much, but I hope you'll enjoy.

Update: We hit 3,000 and I released another song. The Steward of Gondor from Return of the King. If we hit 4,000, what would you like to hear?

Monday, June 24, 2013

A very weird weekend

Weird isn't the right word.

Near the end of May I spoke about a friend who went missing and linked an article about information of where he'd been last seen, that he'd emptied his phone, deleted his social media and his gamertag...

I knew what that meant. My brother did nearly the exact same thing.

So when I heard they'd found his body on Friday evening, I can't say I was shocked but it did...

You want to be wrong about those things. No matter how unlikely it seems, you always want to be wrong.

It stirred up things I still haven't dealt with regarding my brother's death and a few new things as well and rather than dealing with it head on, I decided to just... not.

I know, that must sound like the healthiest thing, but sometimes you need to postpone dealing with something.

So I buried myself in everything else. I filmed two episodes of Wit & Whimsy for this week and next--I obsessed over work and campaigning my submission for Geek and Sundry because focusing on that seemed a lot better than dealing with the rest of what was going on in my head.

Of course I will have to deal with it.

And it's stupidly lucky I'd planned a trip to visit my parents this coming weekend because I can't imagine a better place to just let myself feel whatever I'm feeling there.

I'm not sure if that kind of control is normal... but I've always had to compartmentalize, so it's been normal for me.

How do you deal with tragedy?

Friday, June 21, 2013

"We Dare you To Eat Just One."

Okay, before I get started, it's a brand new day, have you voted yet? (Promise these reminders will be gone in 6 days)

http://www.geekandsundry.com/vlogger/kiri-callaghan


You have? Awesome, now we can move on to more important things


Today we're going to cut a slice of serious pie--no, not even, we're going to have an entire serious pie and I don't mean that to be glib, this is one of the more touchy subjects I may talk about. 

Today we're going to talk about binge eating. 

Binge eating is often chalked up to being a joke--something comedians and sitcoms poke fun at as this light-hearted thing that people (usually women) indulge in from time to time during times of emotional duress. I'm not saying that there aren't perfectly silly or even harmless bouts of binging--but it's a little unnerving how while we're okay with joking about it... but very rarely can have a serious conversation about it.

"My inner fat kid".

But the truth is, it's not a joke. It's an eating-disorder. And it's an eating-disorder that I have been aware of and struggled with off and on since I was a teenager. 

You see, something will happen, something seemingly small and innocuous and it sets you on edge and then something pushes you off that edge and then you tumble down and down into a self-perpetuating spiral of anxiety or depression. As teenagers we're especially vulnerable to this--we're at odds with ourselves, our bodies are changing, our desires are changing. We don't know how to find stability, we just feel lost and...

There's a reason they call it "comfort food".

And that's how it starts.

You eat because it's something to do.
You eat because it makes you feel better.
You eat until your stomach hurts and even after you stop you want to keep eating.

And eventually you realize that you've been eating when you weren't hungry. That you're putting on weight. And you feel anxious again. You don't just stop liking what you see in the mirror, you start to hate it. And you get depressed.

And then you eat again. Because it's the only time you feel good about yourself because your brain has started associating the endorphins released by fat and sugar as actual happiness. 

And this cycle continues or it morphs into bulimia to 'over correct' the damage.

The Lara Project is about health and mental health is part of that. If this is something you're struggling with know you don't have to do it in silence. You have people who love you who are there to help you. People who may not understand why you really don't want that second piece of cake even if you keep looking at it like you do.

Especially in America, we live in a country of over-indulgence. Slogans that promote excess, or play off of what may be nothing to someone else but is a weakness to you.

"We dare you to eat just one."

I realize this may sound odd to someone who has never really thought much about this spectrum of eating disorders, but I'm trying to provide insight. Take that for what it's worth.

And if this is something you struggle with yourself, know you're not alone, because I know sometimes that makes all the difference. 

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-help-support

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Happy Kiri Thought

Today's Happy Thought Project is something entirely different than we've done before. Today is me sharing a happy thought--or rather a wish and a hope--with you.

And in order to do this, I have to be super duper vulnerable and open up and confess things so... here we go!

If you follow the devious activities of Geek & Sundry then you know they've started a new VLOG channel. If you don't follow their projects or know what they are, let me give you a quick rundown.


  • Geek & Sundry is a Youtube channel that was started by Felicia Day (The Guild, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Buffy) and features various kinds of geeky passions and subjects. It's pretty dandy.
Now, why is it important they've started a VLOG channel? And why am I putting VLOG in all caps? ...emphasis really... Ahem. ANYWAY. The reason this is important is they are now searching for 10, yes 10  vloggers to add to their channel. 

And I submitted my first episode of Wit & Whimsy to them.

Sooo... how can you help me move on to the next round from here? By VOTING.

http://geekandsundry.com/vlogger/kiri-callaghan


You can vote EVERY DAY, so I will be sending out reminders.

Why does this qualify as part of the Happy Thought Project? Because Vlogging is something I love and Wit & Whimsy really is my happy thought. The thought that all of those talented, diverse, geeky people get to come together and talk and learn and just be awesome. 

And this would be a way to really launch Wit & Whimsy to a wider audience and give me both community and professional feedback to help improve it. 

Don't forget, I'm always taking questions and suggestions for future chapters. See you guys tomorrow and think Happy Thoughts!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy Father's Day, I made you Waffle Toast!




So, much like science, we test to improve our formula. Thus, I give you....

Improved Ingredients for the Waffle:

  • 2 TBS Veggie or Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Soy, Rice, Almond or 2% Moo Juice (Cow's Milk)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 + 1/2 GF Pancake Mix
  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg (if you have it)
Directions

  1. Combine Pancake Mix, egg, milk and oil. Stir! Or Whisk. Or Blend! Until it has no lumps.
  2. Add a TSP of vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg!
  3. Pour proper amount of mixture into your waffle iron and cook!
Now allow your waffle to cool a bit--if you aren't a Timelord and can't skip ahead, just pop it in the freezer for a minute.


French Toast:

Ingredients:
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup Soy, Rice, Almond milk or 2% Moo Juice (cow's milk)

Preheat Oven to 350 F

Mix ingredients in a dish you can easily dip your waffle into. You will want to make sure it isn't too deep.

Dip waffle into egg mixture, then plop it onto a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Once the waffle is done, pull it out and CAREFULLY transfer it to a greased or non-stick frying pan. (Burner should be set to medium-low heat).

You may need to press down to fully toast it.

It will look a nice warm toasty brown.

Remove from heat, place on plate, cover in tasty toppings and consume. Nom!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You Take The High Road, I'll Take the Low Road

And I'll get to Scotland afore ye... bitch.

Okay, so MAYBE that's not how that goes. And while interpretation of this song has been debated over the years, I'm fairly certain it had nothing to do with revenge or grudges.

But hey, that's what we're going to talk about today!

So cut yourself a slice of serious pie, we're going to briefly talk about the metaphorical high and low roads we encounter and which to take.

There exist in this world a very particular brand of people--they come in all genders, shapes, sizes and colors so for the purposes of clarity, let's call these people 'douchebags'.

Now the average douchebag has a myriad of reasons how he/she came to be and it's a case by case transformation so I can't really explain them as a whole to you, but I can say that no one is born one. It's a taught and practiced behavior.

Douchebags are often blatant in their identity, they stand proud and uncaring, but every now and then you will find one who has ninjaed their way into your life. This could be through work, your circle of friends--many of you, I'm certain, have even dated a douchebag and for that you have my sympathy.

And the truly irritating thing about douchebags is that they will go out of their way to try to get a rise out of you... and you can't let them.

"Taking the high road" is the only way to avoid getting caught up in a grudge match that only began because they wanted it to. But you know that.

So I'm going to talk about the part that a lot of people don't like to.

TAKING THE HIGH ROAD SUCKS.

It really does, can we be honest about that? I'm not saying I've ever regretted it but the feeling of pay off is a lot more delayed and far less satisfying.

But, and I have to stress this, you absolutely have to do it.

I've had to deal with some particularly frustrating professional douchebags over the years and especially in a work setting, taking the high road is important. And you'll find in the end that they really do end up looking like the foolish one in the end, but I'm not going to lie and say this is an easy thing to do.

My brain is filled to the brim with exit strategies. I'm sure some psychiatrist would delve into my childhood and pull out various instances that trained me into this bizarre survival mode, but screw that guy, he isn't here and I'm not paying him.

I'm talking Batman vs The Justice League level exit strategies. From the moment I meet someone, my brain starts to calculate on how exactly one would defeat them should they ever turn on me.

Now you know why sometimes I go by the name of "Karma".

But that disturbingly calculating function is completely thwarted by this irritating little thing--for discussion purposes we'll call it my "Moral Compass"--that insists none of these plans ever be acted on. And my  Moral Compass is right. They shouldn't.

I know I'm not alone in all of this.

So really this blog post is to empathize. I get it. I understand how frustrating it is to watch a bully walk away completely oblivious that with just a few words you could completely destroy them.

Because you know it's not right. Because you know in the long run it isn't worth the effort. Because you know both the kindest and the cruelest thing you can do to a douchebag... is ignore them.

...unless, of course, you're a former assassin and someone killed your loved ones and tried to kill you too... then forget what I said.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day and What I Did This Weekend

It was Father's Day this past Sunday and while I couldn't be home this weekend, I did get a chance to give my dad a call and talk about why he's seven shades of awesome and that I'm glad he and mom hooked up, got married and decided to keep having kids after both my older siblings so that I could exist.

Also thanked him for being a huge influence on my curiosity, my hunger for learning and instilling me with a totally wicked* sense of humor. But we'll talk more about my father, the awesome on Wednesday. ;D

*Every time I say "Totally Wicked", I need you to imagine this kid: http://youtu.be/TiWg7L0NJYU?t=5s

So! Writer's retreat.

This happened. And it happened at the Judith Ann Inn:

Now the Judith Ann is admittedly meant to be like "Aw, super romantic" but for me I was like, "Hey, giant tub for bubble bath, fire place, kitchen to cook in, huge bed, no interruptions--GREAT PLACE TO WRITE AND RELAX."

Especially since I realized, shortly after arriving, that the wifi was rather... well non-existent.

I didn't get as much editing done as I'd wished BUT, I am more than halfway done and I got to try this totally new thing.

It's called relaxing.

Sounds weird, right? But it wasn't, it was totally awesome! I mean, at first, of course, I was scared and worried but after I just jumped right in, it came completely naturally. I watched a movie, I curled up with some fruit and a bubble bath (btw, I watched the movie WHILE IN the bubble bath), I found a bottle of my favorite wine by pure and random happenstance.

The bed was super comfy, the bathtub was perfect for concocting my bath of bubble awesome (THOUGH DO NOT TURN ON JETS IF YOU USE BUBBLES).

The kitchen had most basic cooking amenities--including a grill and coffee maker. I recommend you bring your own coffee though.

Remember Ocean Shores is kinda remote and very small town. The nearest Safeway was 20 miles away and they gave me some weird looks when I ordered my "eggs, any style" as "egg whites only" but I did have a lot of fun! Even if I did stick out like a sore thumb. Colored hair and bright color was not really the norm but they certainly didn't shun me, thank goodness.

The wifi part was frustrating so I would likely not make it a regular "writing retreat" location but hey, gives me more reason to try new places and pass that info on to you!

I think these kinds of breaks are pretty necessary when it comes to the writing process and I'm not even joking. While I can't kickstart my creativity without the hubbub of life and the city, once I have a goal to focus on, it's good to get away from everyone and thing so you can just hunker down and, pardon the phrase, "git 'er done!"

Also relaxing.

Seriously, taking an hour bubblebath while watching The Hobbit was seriously responsible for me being able to hop into work-mode mindset.

Give yourself days to reset and recuperate.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Vlog Launch and The Dreaded Nutrition Menu

First of all... Look what's out!


Second... it's Friday! And Friday means the Lara Project!

So this weekend I'm headed off to Ocean Shores for a writing retreat (finish up my Alys edits) and some serious R&R.

I will likely brag about my lodgings on Monday as I splurged on where I'm staying. =D But I promise between the bragfest I will give a full review should you ever decide to go yourself!

Now to the Lara Project part of this announcement. Vacations are dangerous when it comes to keeping to a balanced diet. I mean, honestly, half of the places I want to "go see" really are places I want to "go eat at". 

Taste is one of the most awesometastic senses ever. I confess, it's a fierce competitor for my favorite.

The place I'm staying has a full kitchen and I plan on cooking while I'm there but for the most part when you're on vacation you tend to go out to eat. And that's where things can get tricky.
We joke and say, "It doesn't count, I'm on vacation" and while I don't think you should spend your entire vacation counting calories, it's good to be mindful. Because sadly... it does count. And I'm not saying one meal or one day is going to to throw off everything but it DOES make it a lot harder to stay on track and say 'no' next time.

Let me be clear, I am in no way suggesting you eat nothing but salads on vacation because dear god that sounds HORRIBLE.

But you will want to take a look at the nutrition menu whenever it's available. The reason I say this is because something could seem healthy but have a ton of junk slathered in it that hikes it up to a point where it's not even manageable. 

For instance, and I'm not saying you go there because they're a chain and you should eat at unique places when you're in a new location, but Claim Jumper's or Cheese Cake factory have entrees that can range from 1,000 - 1,700+ calories!

Most people stick to a 2,000 calorie diet, but that number can change depending on your age, weight, height and amount of activity. My allotted range is 1,200 - 1,500 max a day.

Now, don't get me wrong, some of those dishes are delicious (though probably filled with things that will make my intestines cry) but I cannot figure out for the life of me how they manage to contain an entire day's worth of fuel in one meal. Kinda... makes me a little ill thinking about it. 

As horrifying as that nutrition menu can be, it's there to help you! 

This post is really just about moderation. Keep yourself balanced and rounded out. =D

That's all the blather I have to spout, really. It's Friday, you don't wanna read my rambles, go enjoy your weekend!

See ya Monday. =D


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Freedom To Fail

So this Happy Thought Thursday is a little different than normal. I want to talk about something positive that people may not always construe as a good thing.

Yesterday I made the overly ambitious statement that I was going to refilm and edit my first vlog all in one night (after my 10 hour work day) and I did not accomplish that.

I could whine about how I got tired or how I had a hard time getting on track last night or that I've been really stressed with the five million things on my plate--but those are excuses and I'd rather not employ those.

What I really want to stress to you is I set out to do something and I failed.

And after I have taken responsibility for that fact I need to stress to you that it's okay that I failed and that I'm fine. Nothing has crushed me, the world didn't end, I just didn't accomplish what I set out to do.

And I'm sorry because that means I broke my word.

Now you're probably laughing and thinking "How is this a happy thought?" or "Why are you making such a big deal out of this?"

And the answer is really that as a society we don't allow ourselves room to fail very often.

And that's sad because that's truly where you learn the most and grow.

I once put dish soap in the dishwasher because I figured it wouldn't make a difference. After suds filled our kitchen not only did I have a cleanly prank to add to my bag o' tricks but now had a better understanding of the chemical differences between kinds of soaps.

Maybe that's not super interesting to you but I find that oddly fascinating.

The point is, it's okay to mess up. It really is. And once you know that, once you accept that, there is a bizarre kind of relief and freedom.

There's this great exchange in Macbeth that goes:

"If we should fail--"
"We fail."

That's it. You don't succeed. But you actually did something rather than watching your life go by.

Now to be fair they were talking about regicide so maybe they SHOULD have just let their life roll by or something but... what are ya gonna do?

Do something, set high goals, if you fail, accept that and roll with the consequences. I'm not saying approach it with apathy, throw yourself fully into something but learn from the mistake rather than belittling yourself for not succeeding.

Ask why it didn't succeed.

Me? I set a very tight deadline for myself. A deadline I might have been able to make if I didn't work the next day or if I'd have started earlier. But I didn't. And I reached a mental capacity where while I was awake, my brain started to lose the sharper thoughts. So I cut my losses and went to bed so I could be conscious the next morning at work and so I didn't compromise the quality of my product based on time constraint.

The next time you take on something big, give yourself the freedom to fail. It sounds ridiculous but that in the end is going to make you a lot happier in the long run.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Intro Vlog?

Okay, so as I mentioned last week, every Wednesday will be Wit & Whimsy Vlogs and those, much like everything else I do, will cover a range of topics because like most people, my passions extend beyond more than just one topic.

You will notice, however, that this video is not here.

Let me explain.

So last night was a series of accidents which included the cat tipping over some of my lighting equipment (the cat is FINE!) and me editing into the wee hours of the night...

And then after cutting everything together and uploading it privately, so I could double-check... I realized I'd left huge chunks out in my sleepy stupor.

Ha.

Ha.

Ha.

I'm an idiot.

So I'm going to finish piecing it together after work and the video should be up late tonight. I'll include it as part of the Happy Thought Project tomorrow as well just in case you miss when I send it out the first time.

Thanks for your patience, want to make sure I give you guys a quality product.

Bear with my sleep-deprived stress brain. It's E3. It's been a crazy week thus far.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Desire For Representation Is Not Entitlement

Dear Internet,

I realize if you're reading this, you likely follow this blog and the chances are that if you follow this blog, you're not the person who should be reading this.

I think that's the problem with whenever you want to bring attention to a social issue. The people listening to you are probably the people who already agree with you so they don't need to have the discussion you're trying to have because they already know the points you're making.

It's frustrating.

But we write these anyway and send them out into the void because we HOPE that it will reach someone who maybe hadn't thought of it before. We do it because one conversion to our cause is still worth it.

You're probably wondering what I'm talking about, aren't you?

Well, I'm going to start with this:

(Click the Tweet to See the Responses it Got)

While I'm sure some female protagonists will be showcased in later games--even at later times of the Expo itself, Anita Sarkeesian was making a mere observation. Yes, it was laced with a underlying frustration, but can you really blame her? 

There is this constant insistence that women aren't a large enough demographic in video game players for them to catered to and I don't understand it. Do you not see us? I mean, we're there. Every convention, every game release, camping out in the freezing cold for the next console--and we aren't there just because our partner dragged us.

But I'm not really here to talk about that issue--that's a whole other can of worms for another day. I want to address the backlash that tweet received.

Because here's the thing.

Even if you don't agree women deserve representation in video games, why is attacking one of the standard reactions? 

This is not a "fight or flight" scenario. Nothing about gaming is being threatened or insulted. She pointed out that there was no female protagonists being advertised for the next generation of gaming at that time.

That.
Is.
It.
I cannot for the life of me wrap my brain around the knee-jerk violent hate reaction. What part of that comment "justified" calling her a cunt

Even if for some reason you don't see that there's a lack of female representation--or even that there are issues with what female representation there is in the industry--why does bringing it up elicit such violent and hateful reactions? 

I wish I could just throw my shoes at them and shout, "Take a walk in these!"

...it's a stupid joke, but you get the idea.

Video Games are enjoyed by all genders, gender identities, sexualities, races and ages--asking for equal representation for your demographic isn't someone being entitled. It's something we all want. 

It means we're part of the story--the movement--the reality--life. Regardless if you're a woman, or a gay man, or transgendered, or Asian or seventy-five-- representation is important. As human beings, we want to be valued by the things we're passionate about. 


Jedi Moves and the Triforce of Nommage

I have another guest post over at Ricochet biscuit!

Waffle S'more


If you want to find out about the delicious waffle s'more...

Then you'll want to check out my post over at her website. =D

But while you're here, I'd like to tell you about another tasty treat and the epicness that ensued while I was acquiring it!


I was wandering around Kirkland the other day--like I do--and I stumbled upon Hoffman's Fine Cakes and Pasteries.

We all know I have a weakness for pastries.

Or if you didn't know, now you do.

Anyway, I'd been good that week so I figured I would stop in for a little treat if they had anything tasty enough.

I confess, while I do love lemon bars, half the reason I purchased this is it looked like a freaking part of the Triforce.

Triforce of Nommage Lemon Bar

My geekery satisfied, I decided I would partake of one. And then shortly after, while carrying my prize up a flight of concrete stairs, I fell, the triforce went flying upward, my hand bit into the cement and the other shot out and caught the bag before it smashed against the pavement.

It was totally jedi.

NOBODY SAW IT.

This is a seemingly less talked about fact of life. When you smash your face into the ground, your entire class/office and biggest crush will all witness it. When you manage to save yourself and belongings in a move befitting a ninja, not even the trees will take note.

My badassery feeling slightly under appreciated due to a lack of audience, I broke out the finest cutlery available and tried to take a picture so you could know exactly what I was talking about. The lighting was fluorescent and terrible.

Somewhere on the internet, food bloggers are rocking themselves back and forth in tears.

Whatever.

So I tried to attack this with a fork and that apparently wasn't the best idea because the lemon icing wasn't happy with me trying that and hindered me from cutting through the crust.

So since it was so well contained, I decided to nom it by picking it up like a pizza. This made the process far easier but I must confess while I do like the aesthetic of the icing border, it broke up the consistency of the bar--it was smooth and almost buttery in texture which wasn't quite harmonious with the tart lemon filling. I confess, I ended up scraping the icing off and just eating the rest bare.

It. Was. Delicious.

But then again, it's hard to go wrong with a lemon bar.

Even though the icing wasn't to my taste, it was an interesting alternative to the traditional powdered sugar dusting and I recommend giving it a try if just for the unintentional geeky novelty.

Perhaps we'll have to devise our own Triforce Lemon Bars? Sounds like a Vlog to me...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Cafe Crawl and Writey Things

Phew, what a weekend!

So the sad day in Whoville fact is I did not make it to Vlogger Fair. I was literally crouched over EDI (mah sexy new tiny laptop of win) all weekend in various coffee shops.

How was it, you beautiful people? I confess, I wasn't really even on twitter during that time. Tell me everything!

I went off the grid for a very simple reason: I had a deadline.

Oh... Deadlines.

Unlike Douglas Adams, I don't have the luxury (yet) of listening to them whoosh past me.

So I started what I will affectionately refer to as "The Cafe Crawl" (get it, get it? Kinda like a pub crawl but... oh shut up, I'm tired.) because I find my best work-mode writer focus when I'm listening to the murmur of life and clink of coffee cups.

I began in one local coffee shop early in the morning, armed with my caffeine of choice and some breakfast nommage and worked until my stomach said, "Uh, hey, I exist" hours later.

Then I picked up, got lunch and plunked down in a different coffee shop until the last one closed and I needed to sleep.

Rinse.

Repeat

The walk from coffee shop to coffee shop got my legs moving and gave a well needed break from staring at my laptop. Also, the change of scenery was a fun and interesting way to re-hone my focus/feed off a different energy.

THE ONE PROBLEM WITH THIS (well, I'm sure there are many, but the one I really ran into)... is occasionally you will get one person whose voice cannot and will not blend. They're too loud or too obscene or nasaly (The quality of sound that resonates from the nasal area tends to cut through general noise easier. This is why certain metropolises have a common accent that adopts this quality, eg. New York/Chicago etc). Whatever it is about this person's voice, they cut through that beautiful murmur and dig into your brain, breaking your concentration because you aren't sure how to filter it out properly.

I ran into two of these. One girl, bless her heart, who was determined to tell two strangers her life story on Saturday and a hippie reading group who... I honestly don't know what the were reading from on Sunday. The only thing to do is A, keep a pair of headphones handy, B, move somewhere else (either inside the coffee shop or to another) or C, Take a break to listen and write a story about that individual based on what information you receive. ...C is a great writing exercise. Just saying.

  • My favorite spin on this is to sit near the bar of a Starbucks (or any other fast-paced, people moving in and out coffee shop), and write down as much as I can from the conversation happening between the people waiting for their drinks. Then when they leave, I try to finish the scene.

Now, admittedly, this sort of 'writer lock down' is not something I recommend as daily practice but sometimes it's needed. By the end of my two-day non-stop blur, my eyes were a little achey, and I'm pretty sure I made some grand strides to developing carpal tunnel.

What would I do differently in the future? Well, I'd find a mad man with a box for one...

But more realistically I'd take a break to get up, stretch and stand in the sunlight once every hour and a half or something.

I did feel like a badass though. 70, 000+ words gone over with a fine-tooth comb in 48hrs? Bam.

Horchata Icecream (vegan) from BlueBird

Side note: Working in a cupcake and coffee cafe (I huddled into Cupcake Royale on Capitol Hill), while the smell is AMAZING, it's a wee distracting. It was like what I imagine writing in the Candy Kingdom from Adventure time would feel like.

The important thing to remember with these insane stints are to keep your needs in mind. If your eyes hurt, take a break. Seriously. If you need to stretch, take a break.

Also keep in mind that when your mind starts to go at night, caffeine will keep you awake but your mental clarity may not fully return. Sometimes it's better to call it a night and rise early to continue the good fight.

And of course, set up goals and reward yourself. Like I did with this sprinkle covered dose of horchata icecream from Bluebird Microcreamery and Brewery. Ermagerd, sprinkles.

A fun and (surprisingly) helpful tool that I will employ when I can't make it to a noisy cafe is use the wonders of rainycafe.com. It's an interesting experiment with how ambient noise affects that part of your brain.

You may need to work in absolute silence or to the less than dulcet tunes of Metallica to get your vibe going, I don't know. But here's one method.

Feel free to try it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

TLP Measurements and the weekend!

Measurements Update!

June:
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

Okay, so I'm actually a little glad that there isn't any visable progress from last month yet. That sounds odd but it honestly will help me make my point about what I wanted to talk about today.

I'm in the final 10lbs of my goal. (I think it's actually 13lbs but I'm not going to push for that if it's not physically possible. Additionally, as I've said previously, weight is hard to measure by since it fluctuates throughout the day and the week). That last 10 is always the hardest, or so they tell me anyway. Stress, a week of 'vacation eating', it can all be what sets you back and discourages you.

I want to be honest and upfront about that so when you encounter it, you know it's normal and that you don't have to give up.

This is a long slog we've decided to endure.

So yesterday a friend showed me an article that I'm actually choosing not to share with you because I feel the tone used is unhelpful and condescending. However, the basic idea was good.

We need to stop using the term 'real women'--this same idea goes for men but different terms tend to be used when talking about it (if people talk about it at all, which is even more concerning considering there should be discussion on it).

What I mean is, unless you are referring to an actual Photoshopped picture, we need to stop implying that a person's weight makes them any less of a person--regardless if we think they have too much or too little. WE ARE ALL REAL PEOPLE.

Yet this article definitely gave the 'skinny victim' vibe if I can be bold enough to use that term. Yes, our society weight shames those who may be in shape (or who may appear thinner than what we feel is healthy) but that is no excuse to get high and mighty and condescending towards people who may be larger than you.

MIDDLE GROUND. We do not need to be on one extreme side of the spectrum or the other. Yes, it does take drive and willpower to get healthy and in shape--that's half of the reason I write these every Friday, but to think that all it takes is to put down the cupcake and move is completely ignorant.

What worries me more than anything is the woman who wrote the article in question was a personal trainer and nutritionist. She should know better. She especially should know that this struggle to be in shape and be healthy is a different one for every individual.

There is no "one way" to get there. Your body chemistry is completely different than mine more than likely. I can't give you a schedule that will guarantee anything. But I can tell you what's worked for me so you can try it for yourself. Remember, mental health is a huge contributor to physical health.

In other news...




The first ever Vlogger Fair is this weekend, so if you're in Seattle and have even a minor interest in Vlogging, this looks to be something you should definitely look into.

I am going to beat the crap out of my edits and see if maybe I can sneak away for an hour or two to see what's up but regrettably, edits must come first.  At the very least maybe I'll catch up with some of you lovelies for lunch. Send me a tweet if you're going: @KiriCallaghan

I hope you guys have a wonderful weekend. Stay happy, stay healthy!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Happy Thought Thursday!

"You have the ability to heal yourself."
- 12 Happy Thoughts for Troubled Times




"Happiness is eating a s'mores and not caring if its all over your face."
-Josh



Dear Joel,

You were good enough. 
Love, 
Kiri

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Vlogs and Schedules and Whims, oh my!

So last week I talked about rebranding and why it's important and how I've tried on a few brands over the years.

Today I wanted to talk about what exactly that will mean. Exciting, right?

Shut-up. Pretend with me.

First and foremost, this means I'm changing my schedule--or rather, I'm making a schedule. This is really for sanity's sake as posting content 7 days a week is a wee taxing and honestly when I get behind there's no way to catch up.

So we're going to be moving on to a M-F format (with exceptions subject to my whim, who knows, I may just feel like writing!).

Let's be honest, you don't want to read my litany of run on sentences on the weekend. You deserve a break! Go get brunch at your favorite breakfast nook--or FIND a breakfast nook. Maybe you've never been to brunch before.

And to be even more honest, I need those weekends so I can venture off and work on all those other things I do when I'm not chatting up you amazing people.

Or talking to myself. My god, what if I'm just talking to myself right now?

Wow, have you ever asked yourself a question and immediately after realized you didn't give a flying duck about it?

Yeah, I said duck. And I meant duck. Ducks fly. You have a problem with that?

I'm getting derailed. Okay, so brunch... No. SCHEDULE. I was was talking about the change of schedule.

While it is (possibly) sad that there will be no regular/guaranteed updates on Saturday/Sunday (and the occasional holiday), I am hoping what I'm going to announce will make up for that.

Remember how I said I was going to retool my vlog? Well that includes how often I vlog. Starting next week, it's my personal goal to get a new vlog out to you (Under the lovely new banner/name) every Wednesday (These will be fully produced videos and will not include the occasional phone/iPad upload). Expect the introductory episode one week from today!

So the roster on Wit & Whimsy is going to look a little bit like this:

Monday: Grab Bag (Venue Reviews, Thoughts, Cool Finds etc)
Tuesday: Grab Bag (Venue Reviews, Thoughts, Cool Finds etc)
Wednesday: Vlog + Article w/ relevant info not covered in the video.
Thursday: The Happy Thought Project.
Friday: The Lara Project + Weekend Plans/Grab Bag (Venue Reviews, Thoughts, Cool Finds)

Don't forget, tomorrow is Happy Thought Thursday! Send all your happy thoughts to happythoughts@kiricallaghan.com.

What makes you happy? Your family or pets? Send us a picture! Do you have a family recipe with a great story behind it? Send us both!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Of Marshmallows and Madness


Lemon Tart with a Lemon Thyme Rice-Crispy Treat crust

For more info on this tasty treat, check out my post on Ricochet Biscuit, home of the incomparable Jessica Tupper!

In other news...

Today I woke up in an absolute funk. The kind where you just know you're going to feel off all day. That vague self-loathing that you can never really pin-point the source. Well... I suppose that's not entirely true. Today I actually knew the source. But it would involve me talking about a long dream heavily steeped in memories about my brother and you don't want to hear about that. And that's not what this post is supposed to be about anyway. This is about you.

Where was I? Oh yes.

Going out usually helps me when I feel like this. Obviously I had work so there was no way I was going to be stuck in the house anyway.... But I've also found that spending just a little extra time on myself in the morning also helps me feel human again.

Not to say I normally run out of the house half groomed (though there have been days), but I've found that if I take a little longer--spend five extra minutes picking out my clothing or do something a little different with my hair or make-up (or wearing make up at all for that matter as it's not an every day thing for me), I feel better about myself.

I'm not sure it has anything to do with the clothes or make up or anything--but just taking time to be a little more mindful of myself is oddly soothing. It calms frayed nerves. Now I'm not sure if this is something that would work for you--obviously if you're not into make-up or have no hair that's of no help to you at all.

But I think the principle can. We're in such a rush most mornings, we can sometimes toss ourselves off kilter. So maybe at least one morning this week you should try setting aside a little extra time to focus on you. Make yourself breakfast, spend a little more time in the shower to just enjoy the warm water, do something a little different. You'd be surprised what it can do for your mood for the rest of the day.

Today I cured this by making myself homemade vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg oatmeal and crafting a theme for today's look.

I have an amazing pair of Portal Earrings that I bought from Sanshee PAX 2011. This was my base.

From there it was pretty simple. Also pretty girly. You can stop reading if you don't care about clothing and/or makeup, I'll understand.

Chell is running around in a white tank top (which is kind of a fashion staple for ladies especially since our t-shirts are often made of too-thin material) and an orange jump suit. I have an orange hoodie. I also have an very lightweight orange scarf that I brought with me as it's been getting kinda toasty in the afternoon and a hoodie may prove to be too much fabric. Yes, I came that prepared.

Kept the eyes fairly simple with a black liner and did it up a black liner and touched that up with some Stila Liquid Glitter Liner (Bora Bora Blue). And for a little fun, I was able to break out my orange lipstick for once. Yes, that lipstick is orange. I love it. You can get it for yourself at Lime Crime, it's called My Beautiful Rocket.

Since it's too warm for boots (and I don't own white boots) and she was barefoot for a bit, I decided black flip-flops were fitting (they even continue the same blue theme with the trim).

All of this was topped off with Vanilla Cupcake perfume oil  from Little Batch Apothecary. Oddly, was not expecting to have a perfume that goes with the outfit but turns out my current signature scent was tailor made to complete this look.

I'm definitely no Console to Closet, but I confess, that was a ton of fun.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Best French Toast I have Ever Tasted (At Least in Seattle)

French Toast w/Fresh Blackberry Compote
It's time for food porn, ladies and gentleman.

And you have my friend Tyler J. Hill to blame for it.

Or thank.

I suppose that depends if you live in Seattle or if you're reading this and thinking, "Oh come on, I can't eat there, I live in Russia!"

That's right, you beautiful Russians who apparently read this blog, that one was for you. Kiri checks her analytics *Z snap*.

So let's talk about Americana. It's this cute little restaurant on the bustling street of Broadway on Capitol Hill. Though if you've never been to Capitol Hill and you go for breakfast on a Saturday/Sunday morning, you'd never know.

Tyler first introduced me to Americana two weekends ago (we went twice in one weekend), and last weekend, I took my friend M (the badass who does the coloring for my comics) who was in from San Francisco to it.

Now that you have an idea about my addiction... BTW, have I mentioned I'm gluten intolerant and was really tempting the fates for a stomach ache?

Totally worth it.

I'm told they use a delicious artisan sourdough bread that is then soaked in the mixture for 24hrs, pan fried, baked and then pan fried again. The result?

Oh.

My.

Delicious.

They change it up a little every week, whatever the fresh fruit is of the week. Honestly? I recommend you get that fruit on the side at least your first time. Just try that french toast w/ no more than a little syrup. It's real syrup, btw. Not that weird sticky corn syrup.

It's a wee bit o' heaven in your mouth.

If you're ever in the Seattle area, I highly recommend it. If you're also a glutard and don't want to risk intense intestinal pain, they do have Udi's Gluten free bread on hand. I'm not sure how it differs with taste, however. That will be a test for another visit.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Rebranding!

You may be thinking, "Wait, what? Why?"

And that's a fair question. Change can be scary, after all. But trust me, this is all for the better.

Rebranding is kind of like a make-over for all your professional stuff and we all know I'm a bit of a fan of changing my look.

But this is really about more than just changing it up. This is about finding one brand I can fit the crazy awesome technicolor bardiness under. For the sake of consistency. Now, admittedly, my name itself, has become a bit of a brand--but I'm referring to how I'll be labeling blogs, vlogs, tumblr, etc--that kind of thing. For the past year or so I've been trying on some different things, seeing how they fit, how I like them etc.

The Geek Next Door is cute but has been coined by a few small computer repair shops (all seemingly unrelated) and two dudes on Youtube. Huzzah for them, seriously.

I must admit, I'm vaguely sad to leave that behind--mainly because I feel if anyone should be rocking that, it should be a lady--Geek/Girl next door--but that's neither here nor there, is it? That's just silly Kiri whims.

I also dabbled with the name Tread Brightly which while I still love (Tread Brightly and Carry A Large Stick) it didn't quite have what I was looking for.

So we'll be undergoing some dressing up and you may see the internet equivalent of my roots showing as I get everything organized. I wanted to let you know what exactly was going on with all of that. My twitter and FB will be staying the same so if you find a broken link, you can check there (@kiricallaghan) (FB: KiriCallaghanWrites).

Still, I'm looking forward to it. New blog look, new vlog style, all under the same crazy that is Kiri.

So why is rebranding important?

Well, professionally, it's all about how you advertise yourself and I admit this is something I've always struggled with.

Everyone says, "Pick one thing, pick one thing!"

And you know what?

I can't do that. I really can't. And I've tried.

I'm a writer, I'm an actor, I'm a singer, I'm a director and doodler and designer. I'm a geek and fashion enthusiast. I love athletics and bubblebaths. I'm a tomboy trapped inside a girly girl's body (Shush, it makes sense in my head).

And that's okay.

No, it really is.

See, those are all part of me. Talents, personality facets, all of them.

The conclusion I've come to about branding is simply that you can find something that encompasses all of you. You don't have to shave off pieces so you can fit into this pre-made box.

So here we go, world. Get ready for a bit of wit and whimsy.