My photo
Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog, I am glad you are here. For the most part, I use this to comment (and sometimes ramble...) about the many things I love or perhaps am fascinated with this week. This can include quite an assortment of topics, including my propensity for reading novels at all hours of the day, writing, art, and travel, as I do have a serious case of Wanderlust.

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." ~St. Augustine

Friday, September 30, 2011

Y3W: See ya, September!

Oh goodness, what a day week it has been.
At one point, I did not believe I would ever be found under all the files at my desk. Yikes bikes.

And now, I have to force myself not to think about the ones still there that I was not able to finish. I will let them leave my mind. I will not think about them until 8am Monday morning. I WILL ENJOY MY WEEKEND, GOSH DARNIT!!

This led me to a very delicious conclusion that ice cream cake would be a superb, if not nutritionally unsound, decision for dinner. I will probably regret this decision tomorrow....

Also, it is that time of year again to bid farewell to hybrid weather September and fondly embrace glorious October! The leaves on my street are just starting to change, and the air was so delightfully crispy and fresh, I'm beyond ready for Fall! Time to snuggle up with my Nook and some hot apple cider and get reading! I have 30 days before my life is once again consumed with NaNoWriMo! Can't wait!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

~Guilty Pleasure Thursday~

So, I have decided that I am going to start at least one new 'weekly' topic for my blog. I so decree that the fifth (or fourth, if you start your weeks on Monday...) will not be known as Guilty Pleasure Thursday.


At first glance, it appears that this means I have enough G.P.'s to comment on weekly. And I probably do. But I sometimes get very excited about new things I discover from week to week, and I plan on including these sorts of things on my Thursday posts as well.

Okay, so it's not the perfect title, but I will work on making it more appropriate and encompassing of all the things I may discuss. Any ideas?

Okay, so my first Guilty Pleasure. And this one absolutely fits the bill for being such.
Scottish Highland Romance Novels

Many of you know that I am an insatiable reader (my Nook has only added to this, if I may digress...), but I don't usually share that I love this genre. I think I fear the harsh judgement of people who think these books are just trashy. Yes, I have read some general romance that is just that; no real storyline, just an excuse to write some steamy sex scenes (but, some novels people like that, so who am I to judge, I say!). However, I have been lucky in that the ones I have read recently have been excellent in all areas. And honestly, try reading a chapter featuring a strapping kilted man and not be charmed. I double dare you ;)

Perhaps it's obvious if you also know how much I love Scotland, particularly the beautiful Highlands, so maybe now all the pieces are making sense now? For a future follow up post to this, I will share with you some of the recently devoured novels, as well as some of my favorites.


Tell me, what is your Guilty Pleasure this week?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My 7th Day in Scotland (otherwise know as 'Time's Runnin' Out!')

Okay. I get it. I have been delaying these posts more and more. How long ago was it I started to document my trip? At first, I was very inspired and motivated to get crackin', only to realize that the faster I did this, the faster I would have to realize it was all over...


But enough dallying! I had a spectacular time, so let's not dwell on the fact I am back home and celebrate the wonderful memories I have. Okay? Okay.


So, day 7. Ah yes... our 1st full day in Edinburgh. We begin our day with another short driving tour of the city. We see what is still the Stevenson family home! As we drove past, the family came out to check the mail! We exchanged waves and everything was just quite delightful. Also, I love their red door!


I don't know what it is, but I like old cemeteries. Especially if they are in another country. This was an added stop. Our guide Richard felt sad that the Queen was inhabiting Holyrood Palace at the time (our scheduled stop), so we went here instead. It has a beautiful view of the Palace, as well as grave markers that were hundreds of years old - right up my alley!

Next, off the bus to the famous Royal Mile! Not lacking in various establishments to get a pint, shop, or learn more about this Medieval city. We were there right in the midst of tourist season so it was packed, but this only added to the liveliness of the place.

We then walked up, up, up to the Castle Esplanade where we saw the changing of the Royal Guards! More yummy kilted men! They were also preparing for the upcoming Edinburgh Festival, so an entire stadium was also being constructed around us.

Once inside, we walked to the very top of the Castle, Richard giving us a tip-top explanation of what to see and do with our free time inside. It was so gorgeous, and much different from the 'usual' castles I am used to visiting. This whole area was made up of several differing buildings in a whole, and one can absolutely see history tell it's story. There were rows of what were once shops, armories, chapels and other religious establishments, and even a small terraced graveyard for military pets! It was definitely not hard to imagine what life may have been like to walk around that very place hundreds of years ago.

By the several cannons in the half-moon armory, we were able to capture breath-taking views of the city! Here was the Scott Monument from a distance, just as stunning if you ask me! It was here that I also realized it is very simple to use the 'panorama' feature on a digital camera quite incorrectly. It seems as if it would be a piece of cake (and in all honesty, most likely is...) but not for me. After two pictures that looked like something out of Inception, I finally figured it out. Good thing, too, because the views were just too pretty.

Alright, here we go. Once our tour was over, we hitched a ride with Richard back to the hotel to freshen up a bit before we hit round two. It was unusually hot that day with abundant sunshine, so I had a lovely triangle of sunburn in the middle of my chest. Nice.



We had two missions to accomplish at this point.

1) We wanted to find where we would be meeting our day tour the next morning, and get a general sense of how long it took to get there so we would have time in the morning for our leisurely stroll from New to Old Town.

2) Find The World's End. For you Outlander fans out there, you may remember this being mentioned in Voyager; it was the pub that Jamie frequented in Edinburgh with Mr. Willoughby! After reading about it, it was immediately put on my 'to-visit-whilst-in-Edinburgh' list.

We were able to accomplish both of these fairly quickly, actually. The meeting place for the day tour was right smack dab where it said it would be, and The World's End was maybe the equivalent of 2 blocks away? As we walked in, it was just as Diana Gabaldon had described! Benches along the wall (where this Lady decided to sit! I pretended for a minute that I was in the book.... it was glorious :), a bar to one side, and long tables on the other. It was perfect. Our two waiters and hostess were so nice as well, and the food was delicious. Fish & Chips and Haggis, Neeps & Tatties (below), pretty perfect if you ask me. We were also convinced into trying the Sticky Toffee Pudding as well (our waiter said if we didn't like it, which he knew we would anyway, he would sit and eat it for us). Well, that was not necessary because it was amazing!


With full stomachs and a pint or two down the hatch, we made our way back to New Town. I was a little stumbly at this point... I started my first pint before dinner (see: empty stomach), and it was all down hill (literally, we had walked up the entire way here) from there. Luckily, we made it back with no incidents and crossed the Waverley Bridge one last time for the day.

Time to snuggle in our fine Scottish beds one more time and await our next adventure!





The One-Minute Writer: Today's Writing Prompt: Messy

The One-Minute Writer: Today's Writing Prompt: Messy

For some reason, I always have to have a drawer that is messy. Call it a 'junk' drawer, a miscellaneous draw, whatever, I have one. It keeps the odds and ends that otherwise don't really have a place, so I keep them all together where they can keep themselves company in an otherwise misfit world they would live in.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

NaNoWriMo!

If you didn't know, November is also known as Na(tional)No(vel)Wri(iting)Mo(nth), where writers are challenged with composing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days! What a challenge, and there is never a shortage of caffeine induced all nighters, word wars at local write-ins, and the intense final week to get it all in.

I realize we have over a month to go, but I am so excited! Last year was my first time participating, and I was one of the many winners! I also was able to have a proof printed of my novel. It is still in my crazy editing phase, but who knows, maybe it will be on a shelf one day :)

I have about three ideas floating around my brain at the moment for the novel I will be composing this year, and I think I will just do a game day decision come the 1st to discover which one I will be proceeding with. I don't want to think too much about them specifically because part of the process, for me at least, is seeing how the constraints of 30 days help to develop and construct the story itself.

Anywho, it is a beautiful fall day and I am going to go enjoy it. If you are so inclined and want to be a part of this amazing experience, check out http://www.nanowrimo.org/ to find out more about the event (and they have a few other events throughout the year, too!) sign up, and get ready!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Should'a Been a Cowboy...

What a night!

Due to a text from a bff, and a few plans changed/postponed..... I was able to see Toby Keith tonight with said bff!

It was just glorious. We got to see Eric Church open for him; also a wonderful artist. I just love country music. There are so many stories to tell with so much heart. Even if it is the same story, hearing it from another artist's eyes can be amazing and the sound can be completely different. I urge all the haters out there to give it a chance, you may just like it (take a listen to Trace Adkins's Songs About Me and you'll understand...).

For me, that goes for ALL music genres as well. I see music as a fluid entity. Yes, we have a variety of sounds and themes to pick from, but the beauty of something that is an art is that unchained idea. It does not have to be xyz, it does not have to fit in a box. I see this in county all the time. There are 'crossroads' between artists from all across the spectrum and the result is indescribable. Overall, I am not saying you have to love it, but just don't write it off just because it's almost a punch line now to describe music tastes in the way of "anything but _____ (country, for example..). Art is not made to be hated at all. We all have things we gravitate to and that's fine, but what is the point in putting down something else. Use your energy for good, everyone :)

So, back to the concert. Toby, if I may be so bold and call him that, was just great. He played a nice array of songs, and I even was able to sing my most favorite song he does right along with him. I love that at concerts, don't you? I can believe how amazing that must feel as an artist to hear the crowd of thousands sing your art back to you. Chill bumps abound! He also did a spectacular tribute and salute to all of those serving our country, that is always appreciated. There were several in the audience that he pulled up on stage too, just great.

I think the initial 'post-concert' high/adrenaline is wearing off. I am shivering something fierce. Time to get snuggly.

Goodnight xoxo

Monday, September 12, 2011

Scotland, take 6 (and I need to buy a thesaurus...)

I think I avoid doing each next installment of my trip because it makes it that much more real that it did in fact and, and I am back home. Also, I apologize beforehand regarding the repetition of certain adjectives. I am working on this, so be a dear and bear with me on this as I grow as a writer ;-)

Here goes, day 6!

Glamis Castle, Saint Andrews, and day 1 of Edinburgh are on the plate today.

We started this day by taking a sort of internal maze to breakfast. Apparently all of the dining rooms are connected by hallways and small doors, so it was fun. I was able to acquire the smallest ever bottle of ketchup this morning as well! It was so adorable I could not bring myself to open it; I just gazed adoringly at it from across the table. Hehe.

Now, off to Glamis Castle.
Located in Angus, Scotland (which itself is noted as the birthplace of Scotland, fin fact!) it is the home of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Since the 14th century, it has been the family home of the Lyon family, and I found out the Queen Mother spent her childhood here! We were able to see many of their rooms, preserved very well in the way they used them; everything was beautiful!
When we arrived, the gates weren't quite open yet so we had a wee walk around the grounds. It was a gorgeous day and this offered some nice pictures of the outer grounds. The castle itself was just wonderful.
However, the real star of the morning for me were the gardens.
Breathtaking. So many beautiful flowers, plants, and trees that are meticulously maintained. Just wonderful.

Now, on to the Home of Golf, Saint Andrews. A lovely little town. I am not a fan of golf per se, but I have many family members who were very envious of this leg of our trip. It was very nice to see the Old Course, stone bridge, and the many, many people enjoying an afternoon on the links.
We walked over to the shore as well, and the Scottish sea breeze and sunshine on my face was just amazing.
After lunch and shopping a bit, we took some time to sit, relax, and enjoy the afternoon.
OH! Speaking of lunch, we had the best paninis ever. Ever, really. Haggis & Bacon and Ham & Brie. YumO!

Ladies and Gents, back on the coach. Time for Edinburgh!
I was very excited to get to this part of the trip, as I had heard so many great things about this city by a friend I met whilst on my internship. Quite a bit of history in the Old Town, new posh shops and such in New Town, and a whole bunch more in between.
Look at these daises that were here to welcome us to their fine city!

The hotel we were staying at had a big Masons convention going on, so lots of men in suits (no kilts, sad!) all over the place. This being said, we were given instructions on how to get to the lobby, acquire our room keys, then escape back upstairs to change expediently before dinner. My mother and I were lucky and able to get in, through, and up rather quickly as we chose the stairs option. There was one tiny elevator that the entire group were waiting to use, so we decided to do not that. We were the first ones back out after getting all gussied up, earning the praise of Ian.

Before dinner in Leith, we went on a short twilight tour of the city seeing a few sites we would actually go to the next day; a bit of a preview if you will.
Kyla and I still hadn't been able to have dinner together yet, so we made it a point to have our 'date' this evening at our last group dinner at Prezzo.
It was right on the pier, wonderful views of the sun setting on the docked fishing boats.
What a great end to the tour.

Well, not really. This is not the end. We do have one more guided tour tomorrow morning with Richard, our Edinburgh guide. However, as far as Ian and Eddie go, this was the last hurrah with the whole group.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A broken heart can still love....

And that is precisely what it needs to do.

I wasn't sure if I was going to blog today or not. Ten years gone by or not, the emotions are still as raw as they were when it happened. I remember these details from the day that are unbelievable, some almost laughable because of the context. My 15 year old brain th

ought the big news that my teacher was about to tell us was about Michael Jordan, as he announced his 'un-retirement' the night before. Then to discover what had just happened a mere 700 miles or so away. It broke my heart and horrified me. What a monumental loss for so many people that day.

Today as I watched the memorial services, I cried. My heart broke again for all of the victims, the first responders, and the families and loved ones left behind. I noticed so much love as well. Wishes of love for those lost, for those still in the line of fire (no matter what capacity), and for one another. That reminds us that there is still so much g
ood in the world, and we should love and cherish this.

I send them all of my love and I wish for them peace.

They will never be forgotten.

<3





Friday, September 9, 2011

If possible, start your new job on a Thursday!

Hello!

So, day two of my new job is out of the way, and lookie there, it's the weekend! Thank goodness. I don't know what I am going to do when I have a full week in front of me. Well, I did technically have full weeks this whole summer and before, but in the new position. Which is way different.

I think I am going to like what I do, but it is just a matter of getting there. These past two days have been.....interesting. Definitely been a lesson in breathing and being patient. If things are out of my control, I need to let it go. I think frustration is a good word. I do love my supervisor, though. I think we will get along quite well indeed. So that's a plus.

I kind of just want to drink the past two days away tonight. Or go shopping. Both options being less than helpful in various ways (But Kim, you are being paid more, remember?!) Quiet, you!

Hah, speaking of Dwight, my cube is starting to be filled with KimO-esq decorations (haha, did you see what I did there??) which of course include my Blackhawks stuff, The Office things, Scotland, purple, and soon some artwork. Horray!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Of all days to fall asleep!

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of Craig Ferguson and The Late Late Show. For those of you familiar with either, he does a segment on the show where he reads tweets and emails from viewers and responds in a most amusing way.

I have been tweeting and emailing him things for quite some time, always hoping that he may one day begin with "This one is from Kim in Darien, IL..."

So, last Thursday, I send him a tweet about how much cleavage is too much. A topic that would clearly garner some amusing responses, yes? Yes. So I watch Thursday night and nothing. However, I am used to this, so I am not too upset, as the ones he read were also hilarious.

So, Friday comes and goes and I find my very boring 25 year old self falling asleep around 9:30, totally missing the show. I woke around 4:30 due to the very odd sleep schedule I have and see that I have a text message.... It's from my friend Ana telling me some important news....and I quote.... "CRAIG READ YOUR TWEET!!!!"

What!?! My brain immediately woke up and flailed a little bit, and then I went downstairs to watch this glorious moment unfold on cbs.com. And glorious it was.

I was quite upset at first that I had been a big lameO and slept right through it, and funny enough, the one before mine asked Craig "what happens if I'm sleeping when you read my email?" which was an interesting foreshadowing in and of itself. But it's okay, it is forever saved on my phone thanks to the hi-qual videos they have featured on cbs.com. Horray!

I can't even believe it.