March 26, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop to help connect writers on this writing journey. With that aim in mind, if you'd like to join us, we encourage you to visit a few other WUW blogs each week, get to know some of the other writers taking part, and spread some writerly love! Don't forget to leave the link to your post in the widget at the end of this post.

For those of you who are new to WUW, here are the headings we are using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING
WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Welcome, and thank you for joining us!



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WHAT I'M READING
I read Rosamund Hodge's CRUEL BEAUTY this week. As a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling, I wouldn't say it was my favourite.* There was a good deal of Greek mythology woven into the story, perhaps due to the "Cupid and Psyche" myth from which many of these stories supposedly spring. I could also spot hints of "Bluebeard" and "Rumpelstiltskin" tossed in there as well. I loved the romance and the gorgeous prose, but I was sometimes confused by the world building and certain plot points, particularly the ending. If you're looking for a dark twist on the "Beauty and the Beast" tale that is heavy on the Greek mythology, then you should really check it out! 

Next up:  THE GIVER by Lois Lowry, which I'm sort of embarrassed to admit I haven't yet read.

WHAT I'M WRITING
This was another reasonably productive week for me on the writing front. I can feel myself starting to fall back into a routine, which is fantastic. Erin and I did our Skype/Google Hangouts writing session twice this week, and during that time I managed to revise three chapters. One of these chapters was a total pain in the neck (tons of changes needed to be made), so I'm happy to have that all fixed. We're trying to make these writing sessions a regular thing, and I'm over the moon about it. The accountability works wonders for me.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
I stumbled across some great articles by authors this week, but my favourite was a guest post by Sarah Ockler on Stacked: Challenging the Expectation of YA Characters as "Role Models" For Girls. I felt like she did a great job of providing a balanced opinion on this topic, and it left me thinking about the subject long after I finished reading it. Definitely food for thought if you're trying to write authentic YA female characters, but also for those times when you sit down to write reviews of the YA books you read. You should check it out!

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
Erin and I did our Roswell Challenge** again this week. I think I'm to the point now where I don't despise the notion of hopping on the treadmill for that brief chunk of time. (Well, once the hubs properly calibrated the thing so it would stop speeding up to near-lethal levels for no good reason.) I think this challenge should be more aptly named Operation See Ya Saddlebags or Buh Bye Bubble Butt. 

I decided I wanted a pair (or twenty) of boot cuffs. (Yes, we still have snow here. In fact, it's snowing like crazy as I'm typing this.) So I found some crochet patterns online and whipped up a pair yesterday. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Someone at band pointed out that they're essentially 'boot dickeys' and now I feel like Howard Wolowitz with his dickey collection. Whatever. I like them.



The hubs and I did a theatre double feature on Saturday. First up was DIVERGENT, which we both enjoyed. (I didn't love INSURGENT and ALLEGIANT, so I wasn't sure I wanted to see this one in the theatre, despite loving the book on which it was based.) I thought they did a great job adapting it for the big screen, and I'm hoping maybe I'll actually like the sequels in movie form. Next up was 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, which I really kinda wish I'd skipped. All but one female character in the movie was featured in scenes of sexual assault, which I find highly disturbing. Badly done, Frank Miller. Between that and the excessive gore...well, that's a discussion for another day.

Not to make light of things, but the one real takeaway from this movie was further proof that Laura Linney screwed up royally in LOVE ACTUALLY when she chose not to jump Rodrigo Santoro (aka King Xerxes) when presented with the opportunity. I mean, look at him!


Looking good, Karl. Looking good.
(This movie had more six packs than a liquor store.)

SO, ON THAT AB-TASTIC NOTE, WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU, FRIENDS?


* I much preferred OF BEAST AND BEAUTY by Stacey Jay and EAST by Edith Patou (which is actually based on "East of the Sun, West of the Moon", but if you know your Aarne-Thompson classification system, they all fall under Type 425A.)

** Treadmill + Roswell = Almost Fun. Almost.

51 comments:

  1. Okay, so this is what I'm thinking: We do our Roswell Challenge, I fit into skinny jeans, I buy snazzy new boots, and you can whip up some of those awesome cuffs for my birthday, hmm? They're so cute! Or I suppose I could brush up on my crocheting skills and make some myself. Either way, I want a pair.

    Liam and I need to hurry up and finish THE BOOK THIEF (which is taking us forever), so we can read THE GIVER before it comes out this summer. I've read it, but that was a while ago, so a refresher is in order. The movie trailer looks really good, although I've heard some complaints about it, which I won't discuss with you until you've finished the book, of course.

    Looking forward to our next Skype session on Thursday! :)

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    1. I was just saying to Todd yesterday that if I can convince you to come over the skinny jeans dark side, I would make you a pair of boot cuffs to where in whatever boots you get to go with them. So yeah, already thought of that. ;-) They were pretty easy to crochet. I more or less taught myself to crochet yesterday and the evening before. I used to know how to do it a bit, but totally forgot.

      I will probably end up reading THE GIVER today in its entirety. It's really short and easy to read. I saw the trailer for it and thought it looked good, but a lot of people are kind of questioning the trailer for whatever reason. I guess I'll find out once I'm done the book. It's definitely making me want to change a few things in my WiP that still have that dystopian feel lingering.

      I'm very much looking forward to our Skype session tomorrow. It takes a lot of stress off of me to write on all the other days of the week knowing that I'm going to plow through a bunch of writing on one day. I mean, I'd like to write more than just one day (almost did the other day), but sometimes that's tough. So I'll see you tomorrow then! :-)

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  2. Yay! on the Roswell :) And that picture of Karl is well amazing :)

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    1. I will always love Roswell, so it's a good treadmill TV show.
      As much as 300 was not my favourite movie, it's hard not to sort of enjoy/admire Rodrigo Santoro's abs and such. ;-)

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  3. Glad you got your three chapters done, it's great that you're making your writing sessions a regular thing.

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    1. These writing sessions are really helping me get back into some kind of writing routine. We're doing another one tomorrow and I'm pretty excited about that!

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  4. Those cuffs are adorable! Also, I've never read THE GIVER either. Definitely a must read for me too.

    And so glad to see you're revising! Have a great week, Jaime!

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    1. Thanks, Alison! I sort of wish I'd made them back in the fall so I could have enjoyed them all through the winter, but since it's been snowing since yesterday I think I'll get some good wear out of them this season still. O_o

      I just started reading THE GIVER this morning and it's a really quick and simple read. I really should have gotten to it sooner. As for revising, I have more planned for tomorrow and I can't wait to dig in. Hope you have a great week, too!

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  5. Hi, Jaime. I love the book The Giver! I just saw the movie trailer. It looks weird. I'm really concerned they didn't do the excellent book justice. I hope you enjoy the book!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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    1. I really don't know why I didn't get to it sooner. It's such a quick, simple read and since I have read a lot of dystopian, it feels like something I should have read in that mix. I guess there's no time like the present, right? I'll have to watch the trailer again once I'm done reading the book just to see what everyone's concern is about.

      Have a great week, Laura!

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  6. I want to commission you to make me a pair of boot cuffs. I love yours so much! I hope you're enjoying THE GIVER. It's one of my all time favorite books. I read it as a kid (my first dystopian!), and then used it with my fifth graders back in my teaching days. (I actually fought for the name Asher when I was pregnant, before we found out the gender of the baby!) I recently watched the new movie trailer and I'm a little... concerned. I'm really hoping the film does the book justice. Hope your revisions continue to go well, and have a wonderful week!

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    1. They really don't take long to make, so commission away! :-) I wish I'd made them in the fall so I could have worn them all winter, but since we're still getting snow, it's not like I won't get use out of them still.

      I just started THE GIVER this morning, and it's such a quick read! I'm enjoying it already. It's interesting to see just how many YA dystopian novels very clearly were influenced by this one. I think this one would have been fun to teach. (And I love the name Asher, btw.) Other people have been expressing concern about the trailer too. I'll have to watch it again once I'm done the book. Hope you have a great week, Katy!

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  7. I'm a little embarrassed to admit I've never read The Giver, either. It's been on my "to read" list forever! Thanks for the warning on 300: Rise of an Empire. And I can't believe that's the guy from Love Actually?! Yowza! Have a great week, Jaime.

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    1. It's funny because THE GIVER is such a tiny book. Easy to read in an afternoon, really. And yet I still haven't managed to squeeze it in before now. Since I'm pretty certain it influenced a lot of the YA dystopian on our shelves now, it feels like a book I really should read, you know?

      Definitely the same guy from Love Actually only bald, wearing far less clothing, and probably more buff than he was then. Yowza is right. ;-) Have a wonderful week, Kitty!

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  8. I only read The Giver for the first time last year. In fact, I'd never heard of it until I started looking at Top Ten Tuesday lists *hangs head in shame*. I'm with Laura, the trailer for the film looked really weird. Nice to hear Divergent is a good one, although we still have a week to go until the UK release. Have a great week and I hope the weather improves soon - I know my Canadian cousins are really fed up with it!

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    1. I've always kind of known about THE GIVER, especially since it has influenced a lot of today's YA dystopian, but for whatever reason, I never picked it up. It's been sitting on my shelf for years. It's a nice quick read, though, so I'll probably finish it today. I'll have to watch the trailer again once I'm done to see what everyone is concerned about.

      I think all of Canada is good and fed up with the snow lol. Though, it's far, far worse on the East coast than it is here. Have a great week, Sophia!

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  9. Wow! Those boot cuffs are gorgeous - uh, can you show me how to make those ? (I really should learn to knit. . .or crochet.) Glad you're going to continue your writing sessions; they sound terrific. And Yay to revisions, especially if it was a tough chapter. Maybe you should celebrate with a Buh Bye Bubble Butt session (love those names!)

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    1. Thanks, Tonja! They were really easy to make, which kind of surprised me. I more or less taught myself to crochet over the past day or so based on really good diagrams/instructions. I used to know how to do some basic crocheting, but then totally forgot how to do it. I'm more of a knitter. Erin and I have another writing session planned for tomorrow and I can't wait! I feel like it's really keeping me on track with my revisions. And I have another "Buh Bye Bubble Butt" session planned for today. ;-)

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  10. You are not alone in your The Giver shame. I too feel it. I have it, but have never picked it up. I NEED to soon, sooner rather than later really. So glad to hear your revising is going well, better than well since you are energized to do it. YAY! Happy Flail. Yes, Divergent was pretty good, entertaining at least. The actors, even Theo James who didn't look like Four but is very handsome, was great. Your boot dickeys are adorable, I love them!

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    1. I really don't know why I haven't read it sooner. It's been on my shelf for years now and it's teeny tiny. I'll probably read it all today. Plus, I feel like a lot of today's YA dystopian has been influenced by this little book. I'm really seeing it as I'm reading it. Erin and I have another writing session planned for tomorrow, so I fully expect to make more progress on this revision. It's just nice to feel excited about it all again, you know? As for Divergent, I agree that Theo James isn't how I pictured Four, but I certainly enjoy looking at him. ;-) Have a great week, Rebekah!

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  11. It looks like you aren't the only person who hasn't read The Giver (I haven't either!). I added Cruel Beauty to my list as it looks intriguing. I can't wait to see Divergent - we don't get it in the UK until April. Glad to hear they did a good job! :)

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    1. From the sounds of it, lots of people haven't! I've had it on my shelf for years now, so it's about time I read the thing. It's such a short little book, so it shouldn't take more than afternoon to get through it. Lots of people are loving CRUEL BEAUTY, so definitely give it a try. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't my favourite retelling. That's odd that you don't get Divergent until April in the UK. When the hubs and I were in Scotland, we got to see Avengers Assemble about a week before it came to North America, and it had already been out for a few weeks by that point in the UK. That has happened with other movies too, so I kind of thought that was the norm. Well, hopefully April comes quickly then!

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  12. I've got CRUEL BEAUTY on my list to read and EAST on my shelf. I've read another retelling, BEASTLY by Alex Flinn, which was enjoyable enough but there was nothing wow about it.

    Boot cuffs = awesome.

    Don't feel bad about THE GIVER, I just finally read it a few months ago.

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    1. I have BEASTLY as well (but haven't read it), and I've seen the movie version. I really enjoyed EAST, though. A lot of people are loving CRUEL BEAUTY, so I'm probably just a weirdo. I liked but didn't love it. I just started reading THE GIVER this morning, and I will probably end up reading it all today because it's so short. I can definitely see all the ways this little book has influenced much of today's YA dystopian. As for the boot cuffs, I'm kind of loving how quickly they whip up and just how much cuter they make boots look. I suppose the silver lining to all the snow we're still getting is that I get to wear my new boot cuffs!

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  13. "More six packs than a liquor store": spraying-coffee-onto-my-keyboard funny!
    Congrats on the successful writing sessions!

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    1. Haha! Seriously, I have to wonder just how many of these dudes were photoshopped beyond all recognition. It would just be too unkind to the rest of the males species if all these guys were that buff for real. ;-)

      Erin and I have another writing session planned for tomorrow, and I can't wait to get more revising done!

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  14. Those boot cuffs are so cute! I wish my knitting skills were more advanced than flat & straight (ie, scarves).

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    1. Thanks! They're actually crocheted, which a lot of people find way easier than knitting. That's also probably why they whipped us as quickly as they did. I'm more of a knitter, so it took me a little bit to figure out the pattern and technique, but I would say they're pretty easy. You could totally knit a pair of boot cuffs with just the stitches you use for a scarf. :-)

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  15. I really like the sound of CRUEL BEAUTY, and especially if there's some Greek mythology in there--I love all kinds of mythology. OF BEAST AND BEAUTY sounds super interesting, though, so I might have to put that on the list first! I love retellings and the fact that they're pretty popular right now is excellent :)

    I've heard so many different things about the Divergent movie that I'm not sure whether to watch it or not--I *loved* the book, but the other two less so, so I don't want the story I loved ruined! I might wait until it comes on DVD and check it out then--so I can have the option of turning it off if I don't like it, haha.

    I can't believe it's still snowing there! We didn't get any snow this year…I think you must have been landed with it instead! Just make sure not to steal out sunshine when summer finally arrives, okay? ;)

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    1. I love retellings too, especially when they're done well. Like when the author brings something to the table that makes it feel unique from the original, but still keeps those familiar things we love about the original intact. I hope they stay popular!

      You're one of the only other people I've encountered who was less than thrilled with Books 2 and 3 in the DIVERGENT trilogy. I think for me, I missed Dauntless HQ in the other books, and just the feel of the first book as well. I did like the movie, though, so that's good. Hey, the cost of a movie ticket is substantial, so if you're unsure definitely wait until it's out on DVD. (And use that movie money for a book you're dying to read!)

      It seriously will not stop snowing. So gross. Silver lining: I'll get some use out of my boot cuffs. ;-) I promise we won't steal your sunshine. I think you guys get far less sunshine than we do in the UK, so I would never be that mean. Have a wonderful week, Rebecca!

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  16. I hope you enjoy The Giver, it's one of my very favorite books!

    I've heard the same things about 300 that you said. I think I'll be skipping that.

    Boot cuffs are so cute!

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    1. I'm already enjoying THE GIVER, which is good. I don't know why it has taken me so long to read it. You can definitely see the ways in which current YA dystopian has been influenced by this book. I also like that it's a quick read, but still manages adequate world building. I should be taking notes on that very thing!

      Yeah, I would definitely skip 300. There were good things about it, but when the opening scene is a bare-breasted woman being dragged away to be (we can presume) raped, those good things really start to fade pretty fast. Not something I want to see.

      The boot cuffs were super easy and quick to make. I think I've found a new hobby lol. Have a great week, Faith!

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  17. I love how your boot cuffs came out! You're making me want to break out my knitting needles and knit something. I haven't done it since I challenged myself to learn how and knit a couple of things last year. :)

    That's great that your skype writing sessions with Erin are helping with your productivity. Accountability works wonders for me too. Happy writing this week!

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    1. Thanks, Ghenet! I think maybe I jinxed things by making them because now we have TONS more snow lol. Ah well. The silver lining is that I get to wear them for longer now. You should definitely knit something fun! These boot cuffs were crocheted, not something I've really done before, but they whipped up pretty quickly. That's the benefit to crocheting over knitting, I guess.

      Erin and I have another Skype writing session planned for tomorrow and I can't wait! It really does relieve some stress knowing that if I don't get to write much in a week, at least I have those days that I write with Erin. It helps me feel productive, so that's good. Have a wonderful week, Ghenet!

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  18. Yay for you getting into a groove. Accountability is so key. So envious of your synergy with sis. That rocks. Love the boot cuffs! Never heard of such a thing, but I immediately need some. :)

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    1. Accountability really is key. You're so right about that. Right now it's helping me with both writing and squeezing in some exercise, so I can definitely see the benefit of it. I'm very thankful for my sister for this and lots of other reasons.

      The boot cuffs were kind of a spur of the moment thing. I used to see them all the time on Pinterest, and yesterday I just decided I wanted to crochet a pair. Never mind that I hadn't crocheted in years and totally didn't remember how to do it! Thankfully, it's pretty easy to learn (with good diagrams) and the boot cuffs whip up really fast. And eve better (not), we got dumped on with more snow, so now I get to actually wear them for longer lol!

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  19. Hooray for hitting a groove! It's so great that you have those Skype sessions with your sister--it sounds like fun to write with someone else, and have accountability as well! Always a good motivator :)

    It's funny that you saw Divergent and 300 one after another. I read an article about how the writer went to watch Divergent, only to be treated to the first 30 seconds of 300 by accident (...whoops!) because the theater put on the right movie. Suffice to say, (SPOILERS!) Tris defending herself and demanding consent, not to mention being congratulated for fighting off Four in her fear landscape, was the best message to follow up that first scene of 300. I never planned on watching 300, and I think I'll stick to that plan.

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    1. I'm really grateful for the Skype writing sessions with Erin. It means that I can squeeze writing in at least once a week, which is great. For so long now I haven't been getting around to writing and it was terrible. Plus, it's good fun writing with someone else.

      I read that article you mentioned too. I can't believe they put that movie on by accident and that those kids had to see that opening seen of 300: Rise of an Empire. So terrible! I was so not impressed with the violent and/or sexual scenes in that movie. In the end, I wish I had just avoided going to see it. Hindsight, right?

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  20. That post by Sarah Ockler was wonderful, thanks for sharing the link. She said so many things so well.

    Glad to hear your Google hangouts are motivating you, yeah for getting back in the groove! Happy Wednesday!

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    1. She really did make a lot of great points. I appreciated that she pointed out the pitfalls of both overly traditional and overly feminist views of characters in YA. So true!

      I have another writing session over Skype with Erin tomorrow, so I'm pretty excited about that. It feels good to be writing/revising somewhat regularly again. Have a wonderful week, Alexa!

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  21. One day I would like to do a double feature at the movies. That sounds like a lot of fun. I did get to see Divergent on Monday and I enjoyed it too. I've never read The Giver either. It's one that I never had to read in school. Have a great weekend!

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  22. I definitely need to pick up both Cruel Beauty and Of Beast and Beauty - they both look like interesting adaptations, and I do love a bit of Greek mythology! I've been to Crete a few times and it's just gorgeous; while we were there my parents and I managed to have a look around some of the remains of old temples. It's such a fascinating culture. :)

    Sometimes it's just nice to feel yourself falling into a routine, isn't it? :) Good luck with the rest of your revisions!

    Thank you for leaving a link to that blog post, it's a really interesting read. A friend of mine is currently working on a YA novel, so I'm sure she'll find it useful!

    Ugh, I'm really not a fan of the 300 franchise. I find it difficult to understand why so many men in Hollywood find it possible to be inspired by sexual violence. That's one of the many reasons why I'm a big fan of Bryan Fuller, who is the writer and executive producer for Hannibal and refuses to include rape in the show for that exact reason: he doesn't find it inspiring. It's a great show if you're not too squeamish when it comes to cannibalism! ;)

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  23. I've seen CRUEL BEAUTY around a lot lately, both on blogs and BookTube. I just finished all the Lunar Chronicles books that are out right now and am hungry for more fairytale retellings. I'll definitely look into CRUEL BEAUTY and the other retellings you recommended. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie! <3

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  24. Coveting the boot AND the cuffs! And Frank Miller has a habit of putting women through the worst stuff constantly. It's hard to take. Even the abs don't quite make up for it.

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  25. More six packs than a liquor store! Haha, that's what I'm talkin'bout! Well done on the productivity. Gosh, I need an accountability sister...

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  26. I've never heard of boot cuffs. They probably come in handy with long boots and very cold weather. I'm more interested in the plastic slip-ons with metal spikes for boots and shoes, so it's a little safer to walk by ice.

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  27. So read your post. Saw the abs & now I can't think of anything but abs and chains. Ha, ha ha!

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  28. Love those boot cuffs and I love your boots, too! I am constantly looking for good boots and every time I get a pair I love, something happens to them. Oh well.

    And I hope you're enjoying THE GIVER! Not sure how much justice the movie will do for that book, but I'm excited to see it anyway.

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  29. I love those boot cuffs! I've never seen or heard of them before, and now I really really want some!

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  30. I did not know about Aarne-Thompson; goodbye forever, I will be doing nothing else for the rest of my life. (Seriously...where has this been all my life? I taught a class on fairytales and mythology, for cripes sake!)

    Also, hope you like The Giver...once you read it, perhaps you will understand why the trailer for the film version fills me with rage.

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  31. I love your boot cuff thingies. :) They're super cute and I'm impressed by your skillz.
    I'm glad you're getting back into your routine! That's one of the best things, especially when coming out of a huge slump. Way to go!

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