Brain Dump: Boho Barbie’s Dream Bathroom Edition

Okay, so I don’t know how exciting this is going to be for anyone, but my bathroom is on my mind. Constantly. There is so much drama in there right now, I’m having a hard time focusing on anything else.

Let me explain.

We live in a pretty old house. It was built in 1927, and it’s very much a product of its time. This is it from the back. I have no idea why there are no pics from the front. But I’m not going outside now. It’s cold.

Also, Jenny Trout refers to it as a “witch’s cottage”. Whatever, Trout.

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So, as you can see, it’s a 91-year old house. And like most 91-year olds, things tend to start falling apart. Like my toilet that’s leaking into the basement. And my bathroom sink that’s also leaking into my basement.

*sigh*

The short version of this frustrating story is that both the toilet and sink are irreparable and need to be replaced.

Our bathroom is super teeny-tiny. I mean really small.

 

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When we moved in, it was painted neon apricot and screaming white with textured plastic, avocado green, sliding shower doors. They were hideous. We tore those out and decided that cream and forest green was a good idea to counteract the neon apricot and screaming white. Mistakes were made. 

The slightly longer version is that I am a bargain hunting goddess–which is impressive since I loathe shopping.

But, we got a recommendation on a good toilet. It was $80 bucks–but then we saw it had a $30 rebate. Score!

We went to one of those places that salvages usable pieces and parts from old houses and found a porcelain sink that’s likely from the 30s and is in mint condition for $12!  <–that is not a typo!

However, it’s a basin sink. This means what little counter  space we had is gone. so, my husband is going to build a new base for the sink to sit in. And I’m going to go to the University of YouTube and learn how to tile and grout a new countertop and backsplash with these glass tiles that I found for $24.

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And, of course, we’ll need to paint. So, the cream is for the walls, and the siesta dreams (4th one down) is for the cupboards and wainscoting. $50 (plus there’s a percentage off rebate, but math…)

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These are my lovely $20 glass reproduction knobs. Screen Shot 2018-01-21 at 3.35.02 PM.png

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And my $25 shower curtain.

Project total? $195

EDIT: I just found these gorgeous antique tiger’s eye glass door knobs on Etsy for $14.95. But I had a giftcard from my mom, so…free!

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And here’s the best part of all. Hiding under the hideous, fugly linoleum are these gorgeous turn of the century porcelain hex tiles! Clearly, we have a lot of glue and backing to scrape off, but it’ll be worth it!

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I’m now referring to this project as Boho Barbie’s Dream Bathroom. 

I’ll post pics when we’re done!

To see the finished bathroom, please come to my new blog.

Now, go check out what the other bloggers are dumping.

Jess  *  Kris  *  Siobhan  *  Kellie  *  Jessica  *  Deelylah  *  Torrance

Promptly Penned: I Swear to God, I’ll drop this cake!

PromptlyPenned

Prompt: “Take a step closer to me and I swear to God, I’ll drop this cake! I’ll do it! Don’t test me!”

From the corner of her eye, Laura watched her older sister, Katy, slowly navigate the perimeter of the room, mingling with the twenty or so guests who’d chosen to spend their Saturday here, in hell. Though, none of those people had heard her sister bitch about the centerpieces. Apparently, reusing the ones from their sister’s wedding last year made Katy feel like no one really cared about her impending marriage. Nor had they heard her complain that only a quarter of her guest list had bothered to RSVP.

Laura was still baffled that this many people had decided to attend yet another bridal shower for Katy. Of course, Laura was just as baffled that she’d agreed to host another bridal shower for her. But after their youngest sister had bailed, Laura didn’t really feel like she had a choice. Well, not one that wouldn’t warp their family dynamic even more than it already was.

She carried the oversized punch bowl back into the room and set it on the table, barely avoiding Katy’s sister-in-law-to-be, Tina,–or was it Gina?–as she wove drunkenly into her path. Laura envied the woman’s foresight to drink heavily prior to this exercise in self-torture. But, at least the meal and present opening were over–the only thing left on the agenda was cake.

She carefully arranged the color coordinated napkins and plates Katy had insisted on and darted into the kitchen to get the cake. The sooner she got this cut and served, the sooner she could get the hell away from her sister before she said something she really regretted.

Lifting the cake from the counter, she turned and nearly ran into Katy who stood there holding a napkin. “What is this?” she asked, waving the offending paper product in front of Laura’s face.

“Normally, I’d say it was a napkin, but I’m guessing it’s about to become an objet d butthurt.”  She tried to step around her sister, only to have Katy move in front of her.

“I thought I told you my colors were cashmere and apricot. This is peach.”

Laura counted to ten before opening her mouth. It didn’t help. “Cashmere isn’t a color. And those are  the apricot napkins. You can check the trash for the label.”

Katy sniffed. “Well, it was mislabeled, then.”

“It’s not a big deal.”

“Maybe not to you! But this is all part of my special day!”

“Oh, my fuck. Are you serious with this? They’re just napkins. You are forty-three years old. This is your fourth special day. You need to get a goddamn grip.”

Shh!”

“What? Your new inlaws don’t know that Greg–”

“Craig,” she corrected.

“–is about to become husband number four?”

“Shut. Up.”

“Just get out of my way, and we’ll get this over with–you know, before the napkins ruin everything.”

Katy lunged toward her.

“Take a step closer to me and I swear to God, I’ll drop this cake! I’ll do it! Don’t test me!”

Katy never did listen.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories!

Jess  *  Siobhan  *  Jessica  *  Deelylah  *  Kris

Wordless Wednesday

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This week’s project.
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Gift from my daughter.
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Another gift from my daughter.
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Morrighan and Willow – two little loafs.
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Pretty berries out by the garage.
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Oh look. More snow.
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More berries and snow.
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My daughter wanted quiche for supper, so she got a crash course in pie crust, and sharp white cheddar, gruyere, bacon, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot quiche.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts and see what they’re up to.

Jess  *  Kris  *  Siobhan  *  Gwen  *  Jessica  *  Torrance

What I Gained–or Lost–by Taking a Risk

This bird is my Patronus.

So, I’m not really big on risk-taking, really. I like to be comfy. I like warm sweaters and toasty slippers. I like cwtching up under blankets and reading books. I like tea and toast. I like rainy autumn days.

I guess I’m basically a hobbit. I think that explains everything, because I also like second breakfast. And elevensies.

But anyway, like I said, I’m not into risks. Which isn’t to say I haven’t done stupid things that were also risky. But typically, I only realize the risks after I escape certain death. (Crossing the Mackinac Bridge about 45 minutes before the poor driver of the Yugo was blown over the side in her car, hiking on the rock formation that makes up Devil’s Wash Tub on a high wind/heavy wave day, driving through a stretch of road that Lake Superior was in the process of washing out at the time. All risks–all stupid as fuck because I am so, so bad at math.)

But, I guess I’ve also taken some intentional risks, though they’ve mostly been the emotional kind. Like this whole writing gig. No, not all of my books are written from personal experiences–I’m not out banging ghosts or lesser known Celtic deities, or killing vampires, or dealing with bad tempered Scottish authors who look like Aidan Turner. Though, I’d totally sign up for that one. But I think there are always elements of every writer in the stories they tell. I think that someone who knows me decently could easily pick out the bits and pieces of me that end up in any given character.

A lot of writers have a cool public persona. I hate to disappoint anyone, but I’m not one of them. What you see is what you get. Mostly, because I don’t have the time or energy to cultivate anything else. You either like me or you don’t. And that’s absolutely fine. I don’t imagine that I’m everyone’s cup of tea, and I’m okay with that. After all, not everyone is my cup of tea, either. But it is a bit of a risk to put myself, my feelings, my opinions, my whatever, out here like this on the regular.

But here’s the the thing, even though sometimes I feel awkward and exposed and self-conscious, the benefits outweigh the risks. Depending on the prompt and what I’m motivated to write about on any given day, some posts end up working as an online journal. Some posts end up being therapy where I learn new things about myself/life/etc. And some posts end up forging connections and friendships, and those are things that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

If I hadn’t taken the risk to pursue publication and put myself out here, awkward weirdness and all,  I never would have met so many of my fantabulous friends. Absolutely amazing people that I only get to see once or twice a year. Some even less than that. Some that I haven’t met IRL yet,  and some I may never meet physically. But these are all people who are very dear to me, and I’m grateful for all of you.

Being oneself as unapologetically as possible isn’t always comfortable, but the risks are more than worth it when the result is the friendship and camaraderie of some of the best people I’ve ever encountered. In addition to a career that I love, I got a tribe that I love just as much, if not more. No, more. Writing wouldn’t be half as much fun without you. So, I’ll probably continue to do stupid shit and realize later it was risky, but I’ll also keep on taking this particular risk. The gains are too great not to.

Be sure to check out Jessica and Paige’s risky behavior, too.

The Most Rebellious Thing I Did While Growing Up

I feel as though this blog post is going to be an overwhelming disappointment. Of the five of us kids, I was really the least rebellious.

For instance, I  wasn’t the sibling who relandscaped a neighbor’s lawn with my car and relocated their patio furniture (also with my car) into their inground pool. That wasn’t me. That was my brother who’s two years younger than me.

I also wasn’t the sibling who ended up on Cops (and virtually every news station in the U.S.) because we got pulled over and my girlfriend stole the cop’s car and ran multiple barricades and had to have the tires shot out. That was my brother who’s thirteen years younger than me.

Nor was I the sibling who staged a fake hit and run accident that alarmed the old lady down the road who then called the cops. That was my brother who’s fifteen years younger than me.

Lastly, I wasn’t the sibling who cut off a huge chunk of below-the-ass length hair from the top of my soon to be sister-in-law’s head. That was my sister who’s eighteen years younger than me.

Most of my rebellious transgressions were the civil disobedience kind. And interestingly enough, most of my rebellious acts featured the same person…

  • Protesting and pushing the limits of the flagrantly sexist dress code at the Catholic high school I attended. (I spent a bit of time in detention for that.)
  • Protesting the preferential treatment the football players received at said Catholic high school by staging a walkout of my religion class with my forever friend, Alex Kourvo.  (More detention.)

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    These weren’t our detention outfits. This was just us being cute af.
  • Starting a literary magazine, with Alex and some other friends, and getting shut the fuck down by the administration. Yes, that happened. We put together a chapbook type collection of original fiction and poetry. We all contributed, someone’s dad bought us paper for printing and cardstock for the cover, and we distributed it to students at the school. And we all got in trouble. We were called into the office and reamed out. There was nothing offensive. Nothing problematic. But there were six or seven kids who dared to be creative, and that was a transgression that wouldn’t be tolerated.

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    Recently found a copy of contraband literary journal.
  • A final bit of rebellion was the garage band I was a member of–again, with my girl, Alex and several of our other friends. Our name? Rebell and the Ions. (If you put it together, it spells, Rebellion – get it?)
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    For some reason, the grouper fish was our mascot.

    You may have noticed a bit of a theme here. We’re still amazing forever friends, we’re both still writing, and we’re both still rebelling.

    Also? Neither one of us has been on Cops.

Be sure to check out Jess, Jessica, and Deelylah’s post and see what kind of shit they got up to.

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Where I Live

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It’s another edition of Wordless Wednesday, and as usual, mine will probably have words.

There are some things that piss me right off about Michigan, but the landscape isn’t one of them. No matter the season, it’s almost always freaking gorgeous. Here are what some of my favorite spots look like in summer.

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Northern shore of Lake Michigan. We had so much fun swimming in the waves.
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Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan
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Lake Superior in Eagle Harbor, Michigan
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Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan
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Lake Superior in Munising, Michigan
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Lake Superior at Whitefish Point, Michigan
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Sunset on South Manistique Lake in Curtis, Michigan
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Floatie parking on South Manistique Lake in Curtis, Michigan

As you may have guessed, I really like being by (and in) the water. I try to spend as much time by the water as possible in the summer–as long as I have my SPF Vampire handy, that is.

Be sure to check out the other blogger’s posts to see what summer is like where they live.

Jess * Gwen * Kris * Paige * Jessica

Favorite Writing Advice

#writelifeapril

Advice is a lot like music. Or styles of underwear. Use what works for you, and leave the rest behind.

Obviously, I can’t tell you what’ll work for you, I can only share what’s worked for me, but look around. You might find something you like. Try it on. See how it fits. If you like it, it’s yours.

So, these are my favorite bits of writing advice.

Emotional Meat Grinder – The first book I ever finished had zero conflict, and my very wise forever-friend, Alex Kourvo told me that it doesn’t matter how much I love my characters, I still have to grab them by the back of the head and shove them face-first into an emotional meat grinder and make their lives hell. Then, when it’s really bad, I need to make it worse.

Write What You Love – There are some people who advocate writing whatever’s popular in hopes of riding genre coattails to fame and fortune. Here’s the thing about that. If it’s not a genre or subgenre you truly enjoy, it’ll show. I saw it often in when I edited for small presses, and I still see it now with my editing business.  If you’re writing something in hopes of a paycheck instead of writing it because you love whatever it is, it’ll never be as good or satisfying for you or the reader than if you’d written something you were passionate about.

Who Has the Most to Lose? – Someone in a long ago and far away critique group had some brilliant advice about POV (point of view) that’s stuck with me to this day. When you’re writing a story with multiple narrative POVs, you’ll have to decide whose POV each scene should be in. Ask yourself who has the most to lose. Who has the most to lose physically? Who has the most to lose emotionally? (Especially emotionally.) Nine times out of ten, the character with the most at stake (in the moment) is the POV you’re going to want to write that scene from.

If You Want to be a Writer, You Need to Make Writing a Priority. – (Full disclosure: I can’t remember who said this to me–in reality, lots of people–but I have to remind myself of it on the regular. Sometimes daily. Sometimes all day long.) This isn’t to say that life–the busyness that comes from living and interacting with other people, a day job, and the world at large–can just be ignored. But if you’re finding it hard making time to write, you may have to take a long hard look at how you’re spending your time and decide where you can cut back to make room for more writing time. Also, make use of whatever tiny pockets of time you have.

Please note, I’m not including depression or other illnesses in the list of busyness. Those are a whole n’other ballgame. But as someone with multiple mental and physical health bullshit going on, I’m reminding you to be gentle with yourself. Constantly beating yourself up isn’t going to suddenly make you more productive. Trust me…I know intimately of which I speak. Be gentle with yourself. Accept help when it’s offered. Ask for help when you need it.

Trust the Story. – Background to this. It’s a paraphrased Neil Gaiman quote. More backstory. Jess Jarman, Kris Norris and I have had a three way text chat going on for almost four years, now. It’s incredibly rare that a day passes that we don’t text each other. I came across this Gaiman quote: “Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.” and shared it with them because I loved it so much.

While we were all working on newer to us genres and sort of stepping into the literary unknown (for us anyway) of self-publishing, we were having a lot of of doubt. Certainly, self-doubt, but also story doubt. We’re all mostly pantsers as opposed to plotters, and we’d often find ourselves second-guessing where the characters and the plots were heading because it wasn’t where we’d thought they’d be going. When that happened (and still, today, when it happens) we always tell each other, “Trust the story.”

Thus far, trusting the story and going with my gut has worked beautifully, and it’s brought me to places I hadn’t had any intention of going, but the books are better for it. I’m sure that one day, it might backfire and I’ll end up with a mass of revisions, but so far, this works for me, and I’m going to keep doing it.

Do you have any writing advice you swear by? What is it? Be sure to go check out the other bloggers’ favorite writing advice. Jess, Gwen, Jessica, and Deelylah.