May 29, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up . Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of this post. We really hope you will take part!

WHAT I'M READING
I started my first ever Miranda Kenneally book, Catching Jordan, and so far I'm really enjoying it. I love the writing and the whole girl QB thing is pretty cool too. At times Jordan's inner monologue reads like the inside of a dude's head, but that actually only lends the story some humour, which is fun.

My Chapter A Day Classic is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I'm finally getting around to finishing it after starting it a year ago and getting sidetracked. There's just something about Dickens' writing that is so witty and fun. It never feels like a chore.


WHAT I'M WRITING

Still the same rewrite, but I've moved past frustration and into denial territory. But this seems to be working for me, so I'm embracing it. I've discovered that ignoring my word count (for now) is key in order to keep moving forward. To help, I've started writing scenes (that need to end up in the story) in a separate word doc so I don't have that ever increasing word count in the main doc staring me in the face. So helpful! I can always make friends with my delete key down the road, right? Right.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

I'm inspired by other writers who experience the same kinds of doubts and frustrations that I do, and yet manage to keep pushing on. Both of the posts below deal with this topic and are well worth the read:

On Insanity... by Katy Upperman
An honest conversation about the insanity that keeps pushing us forward in this goal of publication. The endless revisions, the chance to improve our craft, the neverending questions from family and friends—there's so much to relate to in Katy's post. 

You're (Not) Doing It Wrong by Rebecca Behrens

A thoughtful post about comparing our writing journeys to those of others, which is something we all deal with. Rebecca reminds us that we all have our own pace, our own struggles, and our own set of things that works for us individually. This is exactly what I needed to read right now.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
• Trying to prettify our not-so-pretty back deck with plants and flowers. We get full sun all spring and summer back there, so that kind of limits us in the plant department. But we're having all kinds of fun with it, and our deck, while still not pretty, looks loads better and cheerier. I've been spending a lot of time back there reading and enjoying the sun, which is fantastic!


{From left} A giant teacup and saucer flower pot I found {L♥VE!} that currently has marigolds in it; gorgeous yellow dahlias that are thriving and make me happy every time I look at them; strawberry plants that we're really hoping will yield some yummy berries; vibrant red geraniums {?} that are slowly taking over the deck {which I don't mind because they're so pretty}; and a tomato plant that hubby came home with one day. It already has teeny weeny tomatoes!

• Hubby and I attended his brother's birthday party on the weekend, and it was loads of fun. The theme was thrift store formal which, as I'm sure you can imagine, resulted in hilarity. Some of what showed up in all of its hideous (and not quite formal) glory: A denim one-piece shorts suit with rosettes and bedazzling, a sleeveless flower-printed (like a couch) corduroy jumpsuit topped off with a fanny pack, and a billowy chiffon jumpsuit with shiny gold buttons straight from the disco era.


• Not only am I creeping toward 200 squats a day in my 30-Day Squat Challenge, I've also added lunges to the mix. Yikes! 


• Annnnd, because I'm kind of a twit, I bought Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave twice. (Derp. Ordered one copy, forgot about it while it was en route, then bought another in-store. Can you tell I have a book buying problem?) I don't like returning books, so GIVEAWAY! This isn't a formal giveaway with a Rafflecopter widget or anything. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and I'll toss your names into Random.org and choose a winner that way sometime during the day on Friday. Oh, and as always, this giveaway is open internationally, because you're all kind of special. ☺


SO, WHAT'S UP WITH YOU THIS WEEK?

64 comments:

  1. I love your flowers and the teacup planter! That reminds me, I need to pick up flowers for our yard now that it's past the May long weekend and they probably won't get killed by frost. (although who knows, right?) You're doing awesome in the exercise and writing department! Keep at it and I'm sure the results will be awesome!

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    1. As soon as I saw the teacup planter I had to buy it. I mean, seriously? Too perfect. We've been getting pummelled with rain this past week and it's doing a number on some of our plants, the red one especially. Rain is good, but I want more sunshine so I can enjoy our deck. As for writing and exercising, I'm doing something, so that's good. It's better than not doing it and then feeling guilty about it, right? :-)

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  2. Wow, I agree with Erin, those flowers and the teacup planter are gorgeous! I really want to do something with our balconies...And I think you just inspired me to get going with it very soon!Oh and I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on CATCHING JORDAN once you finished it, I really enjoyed that book :-)
    And YAY for your progress. As I told you before, I think you're doing great! And I am very impressed by you <3
    (and thanks for an international giveaway :-))

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    1. Since we don't have our own yard, potted plants and flowers are pretty much the way to go. They're pretty easy too, so that's good. And they really brighten up the deck. As for CATCHING JORDAN, I think I'm a Miranda Kenneally fan now. I'm really enjoying this one. My revisions are coming along (a little better than they were before), but it will be SO nice to finish them. I'm itching to get working on other projects. :-)

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  3. I really enjoyed CATCHING JORDAN - and only just read all 3 in the series, last month! I loved the idea of a female QB on the H.S. football team and completely agree that Jordan was often times such a dude. :) However, I didn't care too much for the other two books in the series, but only because they turn a little too religious for my taste - I'm interested to see what you think!

    And I'm sorry your rewrite has been so brutal. You can't let word count get you down, and I think you're process of writing separate chapters in different Word docs is a GREAT idea! You'll get it all figured out in the end, so try not to worry about the numbers right now.

    Your backyard is looking so pretty, too - I love the teacup flower pot! And I can't believe you added lunges to your 30 day challenge. I just stuck my tongue out at you, could you feel it?

    No worries on adding me to your giveaway for THE 5TH WAVE - I picked it up this weekend, too! :)

    Happy Wednesday, Jaime!

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    1. CATCHING JORDAN is totally fun, and I'm curious about the other two in the series. I like Miranda Kenneally's writing style, so that's a definite plus for me. The rewrite is frustrating at times, mostly because of that dreaded word count, but as soon as I was able to let go of my stress over it, I started making some real progress. Paring it down is going to be...fun, but I don't think it's impossible. I have a confession to make: I didn't do my lunges yesterday. :/ I ended up going out for a drink with my pipe and drum band and never got around to doing them. Today will be different! Happy Wednesday to you too, Erin! :-)

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  4. Hah! I've double-bought books on a number of occasions. (I find the biggest trap is paperback vs. hardcover--my brain just doesn't register it as the same book if the cover is different! I've slowed my buying way down for this very reason; if I know I'm going to a bookstore, I go through my collection and give myself a few options for what to buy. However, I KNOW I have already ordered The Fifth Wave--and I will be double-buying, because I ordered a signed copy (which I would like to keep nice) and I'll be putting it on the Kindle so I can get Mike to read it, too--it sounds like one we'll both enjoy, and it's a much harder sell to get him to actually carry around a book.

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    1. My dad has a tendency to double (sometimes triple) buy DVDs. It's kind of a long-standing family joke. Look who's a chip off the old block... O_o Ah well. At least it means I get to share it with someone else, right? We'll have to swap thoughts on THE 5TH WAVE once we're done reading it. :-)

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  5. Yes, Dickens is amazing. I haven't read Great Expectations since High School - I need to give it another go, too.

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    1. The only other Dickens books I've read are A CHRISTMAS CAROL and DAVID COPPERFIELD, but I thoroughly enjoyed them both. He just has such a unique way of writing, and I love the wit and the wacky character names. :-)

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    2. Copperfield was one of my favorites of his, too. A Tale of Two Cities is a must, as is Bleak House. But which one isn't?

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  6. Excellent posts, and exactly what I needed to hear, too. Your back yard looks like it's really coming together. So fun! I'm just so glad that things are growing again! I was over winter. I started the squat challenge, inspired by you and Katie. I'm at the very beginning, though. YAY for giving away the 5th Wave... it's on my list but I haven't gotten it yet. Cheers!

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    1. I hear you on the so over winter thing. We've been getting a lot of rain lately, but there's been enough sunshine and really warm days that I keep forgetting it's only May. Love it! Good for you for starting the squat challenge. I promise you it gets WAY easier. I break it up (and so does Katy) into reps, so that makes it far more manageable. I just can't even imagine doing 250 squats in one day without breaking them up. That would just be silly. ;-)

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  7. Catching Jordan is sitting on my kindle for quite a while now. I feel guilty for not having picked it up yet.
    Your flowers look pretty! I'm not much of a garden person. I barely water my yard lol
    Yay for exercising!
    I heard great things about Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave. I hope you like it!

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    1. CATCHING JORDAN is a super easy and enjoyable read, which is exactly what I was looking for. Sometimes sci-fi and fantasy (which I've been reading a lot of) can bog you down with all of the details and world-building, but contemporary isn't like that most of the time. I think you'll enjoy this one. We don't have a backyard, so we just have potted flowers and plants, which is SO much easier to handle than an actual garden. Gardens kind of scare me, actually. I haven't started THE 5TH WAVE, but I've also heard so many good things about it. Can't wait to get started! :-)

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  8. That giant teacup looks perfect for me--and I don't mean as a flower pot. Throw a couple of teabags in there, fill with hot water, add a splash of milk... mmm! :)

    THE 5TH WAVE is on my TBR--I too have heard good things about this book.

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    1. I'm trying to picture you sitting down with a ginormous spot of tea in that equally ginormous teacup and it's pretty hilarious. Especially since there's a hole in the bottom of the teacup that allows for drainage onto the saucer so the plant doesn't get waterlogged. That could make quite the mess! You know, unless you like milky tea all over your lap. ;-)

      I'm happy to hear that there are at least a few of you who haven't yet purchased a copy of THE 5TH WAVE. Your odds are pretty good considering so many already have it!

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  9. Thrift store formal is a hilarious idea!

    It sounds like you're making excellent progress on your rewrite. Switching to a new doc can be really freeing, right?

    And I love Dickens--you've reminded me that I keep meaning to read one of his books that I haven't before. Although I love Great Expectations, and I wouldn't mind rereading it.

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    1. The thrift store formal party was totally hilarious. I wish my outfit had been more fun. I kind of played it safe because I had no idea just how wacky people were going to get with it. The answer: way wacky. At least I know for next time. And I say next time because this is a somewhat regular occurrence. The switching to a new doc thing is the only thing that kept me from losing my marbles over this rewrite. I was so bummed out over that rapidly increasing word count that it actually stalled out my writing. Even though I'm dumping these scenes into the main doc after I write them, it's just easier not to stress while I'm actually writing it. Freeing indeed! I'm thoroughly enjoying reading Dickens right now. Someone else pointed out that reading it a chapter a day is kind of like embracing the original serial format of Dickens' works. So true and so cool! (And also unintentional.) :-)

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  10. Anything with bedazzling on it is a-ok with me!

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    1. I know, right? This thing was both sweet and hideous all at the same time. ;-)

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  11. I really think that ignoring the word count is one of the BEST things to do--especially in revisions, when you're pretty much bleeding words (or is that just me?) Hopefully this time next week will be another high point for you :)

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    1. You are so right about ignoring the word count. I was allowing myself to get stressed out by how big this thing was getting, and I actually stalled out for a bit, which is so not good. Bleeding words is a good way of describing this process. Too true. :-)

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  12. My grandma has done that with Christmas presents; buy the same book for the same grandchild...twice. Opening presents is always an adventure! :)
    And you're absolutely right about Dickens and his ability to keep things interesting. Great Expectations is my favorite of his works, I think. That's neat that you're reading a chapter a day...sort of like the original serial publishing.
    There's something so renewing about starting a new word doc--that's such a good idea to overcome that dreaded word count! I hope you can keep going on that rewrite!

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    1. You know, I hadn't thought about the chapter a day thing being like the original serial publishing, but you're totally right! That just makes me enjoy this so much more. :-) This is only my third Dickens work, but it definitely won't be my last.

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  13. I enjoyed CATCHING JORDAN. So good! Good luck with your revisions. If ignoring your word count helps you make progress, that's great. Once you have all the new scenes in place, I'm sure it'll be a lot easier to see the book as a whole and decide what to cut.

    I love all of your plants and flowers! I can't wait until we have our own deck and backyard to grow things. :)

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    1. I really don't know what has taken me so long to get to CATCHING JORDAN. I'm really enjoying Miranda Kenneally's writing style, and this book is just so fun. I'll definitely be reading more of her stuff. I think you're right about seeing my whole story as a whole and being able to see what needs to go. It's so obvious now, but before I figured that out it was a huge source of stress.

      We only have a deck (no backyard), so I wanted to do whatever possible to make it look brighter and cheerier. It's a great place to sit and read a book now. :-)

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  14. Okay, I obviously need to host a Thrift Store Formal. That sounds like so much fun! I enjoyed CATCHING JORDAN, but I liked STEALING PARKER better. I've heard that THINGS I CAN'T FORGET is her best yet... Looking forward to checking it out. Oh, and I love your giant tea cup flower pot -- so cute! Also, I love that you're doing a giveaway, but I'll declare myself exempt since I already have a copy of THE 5TH WAVE. Whoever lucks out and scores your extra is in a for an awesome read!

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    1. I highly recommend the Thrift Store Formal. It's way too funny! That being said, I'd pull out all the stops next time because I played it too safe this time around. I'm excited to hear that you liked STEALING PARKER better because it means that I have it to look forward to! I really like Miranda Kenneally's writing style, so it thrills me to no end that there are more to look forward to. Also, happy to hear you loved THE 5TH WAVE so much. That just makes me that much more excited to get reading it. :-)

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  15. I TOTALLY get the "moved past the frustration into denial territory." Jaime, that sentence made my day! Seriously so spot on. I love hearing about your progress and how you're doing. Because I relate to it SO MUCH! But holy... you're busy. Between writing, flowers, and exercising, I don't know how you have time to read! But The 5th Wave looks amazzzzing! :D

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    1. I think denial is the only way to get through this kind of rewrite. :P I just have to keep reminding myself that there will always be time to make cuts later on. Ghenet pointed out that once you see your story as a whole, it will be so much easier to see what needs to go. I think she's totally right about that! I actually have myself on a schedule (I've become besties with my day timer) just to make sure that I tackle everything that needs to get done in a day. So far it's working out pretty well, though I'm not without my slacker days. ;-) I haven't yet read THE 5TH WAVE, so I'll probably be enjoying it along with whoever wins my extra copy. Can't wait!

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  16. So glad to hear the writing is going better for you, and thank you for the links to those inspirational posts! I've read, Katy's which is excellent. :) I also really ADORE your giant teacup pot; so cute! My sister tried to grow strawberries a few years ago. The seeds sprouted and everything, but that was about it. They never got to full-on plants before they died. :( Clearly, we are not doing it right!

    That party sounds like it was a lot of fun and hilarious! What outfit did you put together?

    And yay for The 5th Wave! Such an entertaining book!

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    1. What a difference a week can make, right? Last week I was whining about my revision not going well, but this week I'm making progress. Just have to remind myself that those high points will definitely come around again. But the best thing of all is knowing that I have so many writer friends who go through the same things. Solidarity! The strawberries were already plants when we bought them, so we didn't have to deal with seeds and coaxing them to grow. I'm not sure I'm patient enough for that. ;-) My thrift store outfit wasn't nearly fun enough for this party. I had no idea just how out there people were going to get, so I just went with this flare(ish) knee length black dress with cherries all over it. It was way too normal for this party. If I could rewind time, I'd embrace the wackiness. :-)

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  17. I love your plants! My sister and I tried growing a ton of stuff last year, but they did not survive the Texas heat. It was traumatizing, so we haven't done any this year. I especially love your huge tea cup! I saw some in Seattle a few years back and have fallen in love with them.

    Thanks for the links for the uplifting posts. I haven't read them yet, but will soon and I'm sure they will be beneficial to me, and many others.

    I'd love your extra copy of 5th Wave! I'll do a dance to the Random Luck gods to increase my chances. That is so funny you got an extra and awesome that you're willing to give it away rather than return it. :) Reason number 213 why I love the writing community.

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    1. I should get a whole bunch of teacup planters in different sizes. It could be like a Mad Hatter's tea party on my back deck! You may not have to do a dance to the Random Luck gods. From the sounds of it, a number of people here already have copies of the book, so your odds just went way up! :-) The main reason I never return books is because I feel like it's one of those things that salespeople won't believe you when you say you haven't read it but just need to return it. Plus, it's a great way to support authors, right? By no returning it and sharing it with someone else, I've helped spread the love for books! :-)

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  18. I really enjoyed CATCHING JORDAN, but I like her other two so much more. I hope you get to read them too! And I am so jealous of your pretty things and your outdoor reading. I need the summer to hurry up and get here so I can do more of that too. :)

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    1. I'm so happy to hear that the other two books are even better. And even better that they're already out, so I don't have to wait! It's grey and yucky today (a few days in a row now, actually), but I can't wait to get outside and read again when the sun returns. I hope your final days of school speed by so you can get out there and enjoy the summer. :-)

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  19. I haven't read CATCHING JORDAN but after all these comments, I think I need to! And I'm very impressed you are reading a chapter a day of a classic novel. I love that idea!

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    1. I'm not sure what has taken me so long to get around to reading Miranda Kenneally's books. I'm just happy that the other two in this series are already out so I don't have to wait for them. I guess that's the bonus of being late to the party, right?

      As for the classics, I've always enjoyed them, but I find that I don't tend to migrate toward them as much as I'd like. Tackling them a chapter at a time has worked so well for me and it allows me to still enjoy my first love: YA. :-)

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  20. Oh I love GREAT EXPECTATIONS! You've inspired me to do a chapter a day of a classic myself. I've actually never read THE GREAT GATSBY so that might have to be my next classic! I love the pictures of your flowers, and that pot is just so, so cute!

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    1. So many people have declared their love for GREAT EXPECTATIONS and I can see why. It's such a good book! I'm so happy that you're doing the chapter a day thing too. It's really been working well for me. I actually just read THE GREAT GATSBY for the first time some months back and was pleasantly surprised by it. :-)

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  21. I love Dickens too! I really surprised myself when I flew through Great Expectations in a couple of days ^_^

    I WANT YOUR TEACUP POT! GIMMIE!

    I find it really helpful to have extra scenes or potentially deleted scenes in separate documents in case I want to rework them for the main story or need them for characterisation or world building later on :) Hang in there with that rewrite!

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    1. Yes! That's exactly what I'm doing with the scenes I've pulled out of the main story. I've actually reworked some of them and slotted them in elsewhere, so that's a bonus.

      I would gladly send you a teacup flower pot if I could. I think of all the people I know you are the one that this flower pot most suits with your love of tea and all. :-)

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  22. Love the pictures! Also, I totally know what you mean about the word count, since mine is always far too long. At least there's something kind of satisfying later on about whittling down. And I always write scenes in new documents, too! It's easier to organize.

    Thanks for hosting again! And now I'm off to check out the other blogs and the two posts you linked. :) Happy Wednesday!

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    1. You're so right about the satisfaction of whittling down a beast of a story. I know I enjoyed that the first time around. I don't know why I didn't think of writing scenes separate from the main document before. It's been so, so helpful. :-)

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  23. I love all of the pictures! It makes me want to go add some color to my porch. I haven't thought of reading the classics a chapter a day and I have been wanting to squeeze more of them into my reading time. I will have to try it.

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    1. The flower thing is only something we've started doing the past couple of years. I think it makes such a big difference to our back deck and it's just so fun to watch it all grow and thrive. :-)

      The chapter a day thing works so well for me. Depending on the book, I can usually finish a classic a month at this pace, which is awesome! You should totally give it a whirl.

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  24. This reminds me that I really need to do something about my back porch. It looks so empty without some flowers! :)

    Wow, it seems like everyone has read The 5th Wave! It's a great book, though. It sounds like I need to read Catching Jordan as well.

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    1. It's amazing what even a single pot of flowers can do for a deck or porch. Definitely cheers me up to see some colour out there. :-)

      I noticed that too about all the people who have read THE 5TH WAVE. I still have to read one of my copies, but now I'm even more excited about it!

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  25. I love your "book buying" problem!!! Hearing so many good things about this book, and I haven't won a giveaway in FOR EVAH. *puts on drama queen voice*. Love your giant teacup pot! Off to check out those articles...

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    1. Of all the problems to have, I think a book buying one is probably not all that bad. ;-) I've been hearing so many awesome things about this book too. Can't wait to read it!

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  26. Glad to hear that your rewrite is coming along. :) Also, those flowers are GORGEOUS. I wouldn't mind sitting outside to read a book if I had pretty flowers to look at.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. Thanks, Raven! I definitely feel a lot better about how the story is coming now that I've figured out a few things. Reading outside in the sun with flowers has become one of my favourite things to do. I highly recommend it! :-)

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  27. I really need to look into that Squat Challenge, it sounds... not fun, but interesting, I guess? xD

    That giant teacup and saucer looks amazing!

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    1. It's amazing how much easier the squat challenge actually gets after the first couple of days. I break it up into reps, so that helps too. I can't even imagine how tough it would be to do 250 squats in one day without breaking it up. That sounds...awful. :/

      I'm kind of in love with my teacup pot. It's so fun and cute, albeit rather large. That's one big cup of tea! :-)

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  28. Let's try this again... :)

    Your flowers are beautiful! I've only just figured out (kind of) how to keep edible plants alive and haven't tried flowers. But I would love to someday. I love the idea of all of those colors waiting for you... Thanks for sharing the photos!

    And I love GREAT EXPECTATIONS. And I especially love that you find Dickens witty and fun. I'm pretty sure high school students everywhere would groan if they heard that. :)

    This classics challenge you're doing is really cool. I have a long lists of books I feel like I *should* read at some point, but my TBR stack is full of pretty shiny books that usually grab my attention first. A challenge seems like it would be a fun way to hold yourself accountable (and I'm a sucker for ticking things off a list - it's so satisfying).

    Anyhow - love that you're doing it. It makes me want to do something similar! :)

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    1. This is only our second attempt at growing plants on our deck, so I'm happy that they're coming along nicely. We get full sun back there, so we had to choose wisely. So far, so good! Reading in the sun with my flowers has become one of my favourite things to do lately.

      I'm not sure what high school Jaime would have said about Dickens. Hard to say. I remember reading Brontë's JANE EYRE of my own accord when I was a teen, so Dickens might have been up my alley too. So much to love about his stuff! This classics challenge is so manageable and at the pace I'm going, I can get through roughly a book a month depending on the book. I like that I'm finally tackling the classics I've been wanting to read for so long now. :-)

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  29. Ohhh, what did you think about The Fifth Wave?! I think I read the book in one sitting. :)

    Also, yay for Catching Jordan! I really liked CJ but I have to say that I LOVED the two follow-ups Stealing Parker and Things I Can't Forget. They have such authentic voices and heartbreaking subject matters. I'd highly recommend them!

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    1. I still haven't read it yet, but I'm really looking forward to it now! Everyone has been raving about it. It's funny that you liked the two follow-up books to CATCHING JORDAN more. Katy Upperman said the same thing about Book 2. I'm just happy that I don't have to wait to read them since they're both out. :-)

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  30. I'm curious about this 30 day squat challenge. :) Is it on facebook?

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    1. It's something Katy sent me the link for: http://www.aprilathena7.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/30-day-squat-challenge.jpg

      The first couple of days are rough, but after that it gets WAY easier. We all find that breaking it up into reps makes it so much more doable. That will be especially helpful when we hit the 250/day mark. O_O

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  31. Like everyone else, I love that teacup! I tried to help my mom with some of the gardening this year, since I'm currently living at home, but my complete lack of any flower-related knowledge quickly made me a little useless.

    Catching Jordan is on my TBR, and I don't know why I haven't read it yet. And I started The 5th Wave last night. It's so good so far!

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    1. These were all plants that we purchased and then just tossed in flower pots. I'm not sure I have the gardening skills to grow them from seeds. :-)

      Can't wait to get started on THE 5TH WAVE. I've heard so many good things about it!

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  32. Chapter a day classic is such a good idea! I may have to do that.

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