And This is Real Talk

Mehhhhhh. That’s how I feel about writing this post right now.

However, I know that once this post is over and out of my head, we can return to our regularly scheduled Shananigans, so I’m just gonna DO IT.

I’ve been quiet on here lately because the past two weeks have been rough.Sucked out loud, really. Also, I think there is fine line between “personal blog” and “inappropriate online diary open to public consumption” and I KNOW which side of that line I want to be on.

But I also think being real and honest is important to connection, so I don’t want to just brush off the Hard Things like they don’t happen and have an online persona that implies my off-line life is a happy, carefree frolic in a Disney forest of books and cookies and wine glasses.

(I made sure that last weekend, my Dance It Out Weekend, was definitely all of those things.*)

*I didn’t get to put actual wine in the wine glasses because I gave up wine for Lent and I can’t have any wine until Sunday. I KNOW when Lent is over, but the first day of Lent was National Wine Day and long story short, my 40 days are up Sunday. I don’t want to hear it. I. Know.

Anyway, what with taxes and paychecks and life and snakes and goals and taxes and broken cars and the little annoyances that feel like HUGE annoyances when the day already blows and stress and oh my word taxes… the end of March was a welcome thing. (Seriously, Taxes, why are you the worst? Pretty sure Husband and I actually cried rage tears.)

The thing that really did me in for a few days, though, was not getting a job I really wanted.

It took me a while after graduating college to figure out my degree did nothing to help me get a job and then even longer to figure out I could turn hobbies and passions into vocations and then even longer than that to figure out what that might mean for a broke newlywed with a useless college degree in a strange city

Finally, finally, this year the puzzle pieces in my head started falling together and my Type A Brain started formulating a plan wherein my Free Spirit Nomad Brain could have a job and make money at a job I truly enjoyed. The whole “It’s not work if you love it” kind of thing, you know? I finally figured what I wanted so I could start working towards the Goal.

Type A Shannon LOVES putting A Plan into Action.

Our one-car family turned into a two-car family, which meant my job search was so much easier and could have a wider range. My Soul Friend wanted to move to Texas and pursue this goal with me and she was coming here for spring break to scout the town. This JOB opened up and it was the exact start Type A Shannon thought we needed to start the networking. It was all just amazing and falling into place the way Right Things often do and I was thrilled because my life doesn’t really work that way, the effortless way, but SOMETIMES it does and I was soooooo hopeful that this was one of those times.

It wasn’t. I did not get the job. So after the stress and the taxes and the job, I took a few days to be melancholy and listen to angry music and bake furious cookies. (No, I did not bake furiously. The cookies were furious on my behalf. Very thoughtful of them, really.)

The thing is, I’m not very good at staying angry and melancholy. Don’t get me wrong, I am fabulous at being melancholy. I have too many minor key/thumping bass playlists to be anything other than great at that. But I’m not good at staying that way. Once I take my space and (more than likely) cry out the rage tears, I’m spent and done and ready for the next step.

Which isn’t always what I want. After a good cry or a few hours of letting music squeeze my heart, I feel so much better, but I want to throw things all over again because I WASN’T DONE BEING ANGRY, DAMMIT.

I think I can blame my need for efficiency because days upon days of throwing things is just a waste of time, but mostly I think it is just because I’m willing to face and to feel the problem. And once you face something, name it, and embrace it, the issue is already pretty much dealt with. (Shannon’s Number One Rule.)

SO.This week, it was back to the drawing board and more job applications and new plans. Unless any of you know someone who is willing to pay me to read books and photo edit from this moment on?

Personal Book-Shopper and Photoshop Guru Who Works From Home = My Life Goals.

It IS spring, though, and some really beautiful things happened this week, too. Remember, Shannon wants Gratitude.

I’m leaving you with pretty pictures of a random hidden garden Husband and I found at the farmer’s market and my all-time favourite recipe, Fruit Pizza. I never know if this is a well-known, too obvious thing, or if it is a family thing or if it is a southern thing or a really weird oddity. I’ve encountered all reactions to my fruit pizza, so maybe it is all of the above.

However you feel about it, it was a staple in our household growing up and I’m almost positive I could exist on fruit pizza and queso alone. I really, really shouldn’t. But I COULD. Fruit pizza always cheers me up, so if you’re wanting a fun spring snack or if you love fruit as much as I do, try this. So good.

YOU NEED: 

fruit pizza 1

  • A batch of sugar cookie dough.
  • A few cups of your favourite fresh fruit: peeled, cored, cut, rinsed, whatever it needs
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar or half a jar of marshmallow cream
  • Pay no attention to the cantaloupe. The store had a sale, so Coco and I ate cantaloupe for a week. Unless you want it on the pizza. Then whatever, dude. Stare all you want.

WHAT TO DO:

fruit pizza 2

  • Roll/flatten/place the cookie dough onto a sheet pan or pizza pan, until it’s a between a quarter-inch or a half-inch thick. It seems thick, but you’re going to put “sauce” AND fruit on it, so you want the crust to hold up.
  • Whatever dough you use, bake the dough according to the recipe instructions until the entire giant cookie is golden brown. This is not a time for soft, chewy cookies.
  • When the cookie is done, it needs to cool completely, or the cream cheese will melt.

fruit pizza 3

  • While the cookie is baking, mix together your cream cheese and sugar or fluff until it is thoroughly combined.
  • Lick the spoon. I won’t tell.
  • Cut the fruit. Or peel it. Or hull it. I rinse my fruit and kind of…pat it dry. You don’t want to put watery fruit on the pizza later, trust.

fruit pizza 4

  • Once the cookie is cool, gather all the supplies and get started assembling
  • Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the top.

photo 1 copy 2

  • Now, place the pieces of fruit all over the pizza in whatever geometric or wild or reckless pattern you’d like.
  • Sometimes I spell things. Sometimes I make shapes. Sometimes I shove it all in my mouth without shame. You know, whatever you like.

Once everything is on the pizza, you can either serve it immediately or let all the ingredients settle together for a couple hours. You need to store it in the refrigerator if you don’t serve it right away. It does well overnight, but after a few days in the fridge, it starts to fall apart. If you need help eating yours, call me. What?

photo 2 copy 2

I made this pizza with what I had on hand, but I didn’t have blackberries and I just can’t have fruit pizza without blackberries, so Husband brought me some later.

IMG_2678
AH! Much better.

photo 5

Final product. I wish my kitchen counters were better for photographing food, but oh well.

There are so many different way to do this. I’ve started playing around with my recipe in the past few years and every time I make this pizza, I do something different. The only fruit I use EVERY time is strawberries because they are the best, but really, you can use ANY fruit.

I would stay away from apples and bananas, though. They tend to brown so quickly and the bananas leak banana flavor onto it all and then it’s really just Banana Pizza and… gross. If banana and apples are YOUR ABSOLUTE JAM, try making the pizza and putting the fruit on each fresh piece as you serve it.

Even though my family tries to eat food without any of America’s delightful preservatives, I often use store-bought dough for this because I have yet to find a sugar cookie recipe that doesn’t end up dry and gross when baked in pizza form. If you have one such recipe, share it, please! Don’t be selfish. I’m trying to be HEALTHY here, obviously.

(NOTE: Thought I had while editing this post- I’m trying the lemon crinkle cookie as a crust next time. Oh MY that sounds good.)

Ree Drummond makes hers with marshmallow cream instead of sugar, but when I tried that, the cream cheese layer was soupy and it did not end well, even though I loved the flavour. So now, I double the cream cheese, use 1/3 cup of sugar and half a jar of marshmallow cream (if i don’t make my own) and save the extra cream cheese mixture for fruit dip* later on.

Some people put vanilla in their cream cheese mixture. I’ve tried it and don’t love it because it masks the cream cheese flavour, instead of deepening it, but you could try it!

Sometimes, instead of making a whole pizza, I make a batch of large cookies and then turn them into individual fruit pizzas. If you’re serving a crowd, that makes divvying up this snack SO SIMPLE.

(Also useful if your household people don’t like fruit pizza and you don’t want to be forced to eat a whole pizza before it goes bad. I’ve absolutely, positively, never, EVER done that in my life. Ever. But one can’t be too careful.)

Fruit + cream cheese + sugar cookies. That’s the outline you need. Go from there and explore and delight in spring and flowers and fruit and pretty things and send me fun pictures of all the fruit designs.

Flowers

Flowers

 

More flowers

More flowers

I LOVED these

I LOVED these

 

Dangerous Beauty

Dangerous Beauty

That last flower is the one that Husband basically dubbed “Shannon As A Flower” so… you know. There’s that.

Happy Spring, April, Easter, End of Tax Season, and Gratitude, y’all.

Cheers! -S.

*By “dip for later” I definitely do not mean “take a giant spoonful directly from container as a midnight snack.” Definitely don’t try that at home. Tonight.

And A Study of Opposites

Sometimes, this whole “blogging thing” and “sharing personal stuff” business feels crazy insane to me and other times it feels like the most natural thing in the world. And that mixture of feelings doesn’t stop there. It’s hard and I like it and I’m still hoping that one day, the person who needs these words gets them and that it helps their heart relax.

Because this is about reaching out and connecting finding other like-minded people, even if none of us have a right mind between us.

I’ve been teased and made fun of my whole life about how unique I am and Oh Shannon, you are Just Too Much and one-of-a-kind and what a troublemaker I can be and WATCH OUT WORLD, SHANNON IS HERE. And that’s mostly true. Babies aren’t my thing yet because the world is definitely NOT ready for a Shan AND a Shan 2.0, but really, I know I’m not the most special snowflake to ever have snowflaked before.

(I feel like I should check Urban Dictionary before I use snowflake as verb because yikes. Don’t do it, just in case. Don’t ruin the moment.)

So I’m going to babble on about this Opposite Phenomenon and hope that someone out there needs it and needs to be understood and known and to hear that they aren’t a lonely snowflake, either.

I am hard person to define and explain, and thats putting it lightly. In arguments or debates or deep heart talks, I always end up saying the same thing: there are two Shannons in here and they both agree and disagree. With everything. And the best way I could think of to put that into words is this: A Study of Opposites.

(Super hoping some doctor doesn’t read this and tell me these are all the exact symptoms of multiple personality disorder. I’M JUST THE ONE SHANNON. I just take in too many details about everything and I am too observant for simplicity. (Not you, Pops. You shush.))

ANYWAY. Opposites.

What this means is that I generally like/prefer/feel both sides of any spectrum, equally. This does not mean I’m indecisive. Or that I love compromises or 50/50 splits. No. I am 100% positive that I like/want/need both choices. I want Opposite Things with 100% equal intensity.

That’s the easiest way I can think of to explain it, with choices or preferences, but this phenomenon isn’t limited to just opinions or wants. Pop culture, music, mottos, cars, traditions, technology. ANYTHING. There are a few things in my life that are firmly Just One Way (feminism, drummers, kindness, manners, London, LBGT equal rights, queso, and grammar, among other things) but pretty much everything else is subject to Opposites.

With music, I can be a giant snob OR dance around gleefully to Nelly in my kitchen. I was raised in the church and formally trained in choirs/band from fifth or sixth grade until the day I graduated from college. I know music. I know lyrics. So one Shan is snobby about talent and chords and harmony and pitches and I Knew This Band Before They Were Known. The other Shan recognizes a good beat and how ANY music can get inside your blood and your heart and make you move. Even if that beat is Fergie and the dancing is at a stoplight with your sister.

Music leads me to mention actual dancing. One Shan taught ballroom dancing for a bit in college, took some form of ballet and jazz when she was young, choreographed some cheer dances for her sister’s squad, and can move fairly purposefully to a good beat. The Other Shan has no center of gravity, trips frequently over air, always has at least one injury from clumsiness, and can’t follow a line dance with any type of seriousness.* (How I continued to excel in yoga is beyond me.)

*This may be due to line dancing, and not actual skill. I’m a Texan and I’ll wear boots, but I shan’t Scoot or Boogie. (I will and I HAVE.)

I love jewelry and accessories and killer heels and matching my eyeliner and nail polish to my outfit, but I also have a pair of sweats I stole from Husband and squishy Reef flip-flops that I would wear all day er’ryday, to all the places. ALL THE PLACES.

I want both zero children and allllllll the children because hello, sleeping in is amazing and margaritas are my JAM but also I could NAME OTHER HUMANS and seriously with their cute faces, I can’t even, I need one now, please and thank you.

I love designs that are black and white and sleek and modern and simple, but I also love shabby chic interiors and cozy spaces with squishy cushions and rainbows and too many pictures on the wall.

I think kids should be raised to be independent at very young ages, and I also think I would lock my kid inside my house and never let them out of my sight or walk home from school alone because the world is getting HELLA SCARIER with each passing day.

I think that chivalry (in ALL people/genders) is a thing that should keep happening and keep being important, but I think that nothing in the world that is broken can ever be fixed if we keep teaching men that women are the weaker sex.

I think technology is amazing and wonderful and awe-inspiring and it should be used all the time but I also think we should unplug everything and go have a picnic outside.

I love cuddling and spooning in bed and resting my head on Husband’s shoulder because I fit there just perfectly and I also think that one of these nights, I will smash our bed to pieces if he even breathes on me again because I do NOT ENJOY BODY CONTACT STOP IT.

I think books should be long and detailed, with complex themes and characterization and full of Serious Literature for Deep Thinking. But it is also really amazing to sit down with a fun and fluffy book, just because it makes you smile.

There are more examples, of course. But that’s pretty much the gist of it.

As you can imagine, I’m a bit much to live with. Send all your sweetest vibes to Husband. He going to need them if he crosses to my side of the bed tonight. Again.

Cheers!

-S.

And These Are My Thoughts On Books

I am getting this post in juuuust under the wire for my goal of at least one post a week. Which reminds me, do y’all know who invented goals? No pressure, I just wanna talk to her for a minute.

WHO needs a post that often?? Oh, yes. Someone who wants a blog with actual content, that’s who.

This post idea has been percolating in my head for a LONG TIME. However, I just didn’t recognize it for what it was and decided to ignore it. Have I mentioned that I’m stubborn? Even to myself? It’s a whole thing.

I’ve been knocked to the ground this week by a New Glasses Migraine, which is totally my fault because I bragged about them a lot. A LOT. So, now I’m stuck in a place where I can’t wear my old glasses, I don’t want my new glasses near my face just yet, and the thought of putting in contacts to, you know, SEE things gives me the No!Shivers.

I’m super lucky that migraines don’t cause me nausea or vomiting, like they do my mother and sister. Mine just don’t let my eyes work. I can’t look at things or it hurts. Everywhere. All the time. My dishwasher is currently clean and hanging wide-open because I glanced at the silverware tray and had to go lie down. For a few days.

But now I see where all the Thoughts were trying to lead me, so I ate a samoa or six, had a dance party in the kitchen, laughed at Belafonte and Abdul (I will not apologize for that. Or this. But maybe this?), did some research, and now it is TIME.

SO. It occurred to me sometime late in 2014 that I had been living my life WRONG.

But SHANNON. You are awesome! I know, right?? I am. Thank you! However, I spend most of my life loving one thing VERY FIERCELY and yet somehow, in 2015, a whole quarterish of a century into my life, I have no one to talk to about one of my Fiercest Loves.

Books, y’all. I love books so much, I think it’s a little dangerous.

I spent my childhood immersed in every fictional world I could get my hands on. And I do mean IMMERSED. I didn’t have all the normal punishments as a small child- my parents would sometimes have to limit my access to books or take them away as until the lesson was learned. Stubborn, remember? Who cares if I’m grounded if I can be grounded in A Little House on the Praire? I sure didn’t! It’s hard to reason with a kid who really WANTS to go to their room. (And read about what they’ve done.) I don’t remember the specifics, but I’m positive more than one of my teachers had to send home notes that were something like “Could we maybe find a way to stop Shannon from reading in class? Reading is great, but maybe not so much during the math lesson?”

I used to write pretty consistently as well, but aside from a “novel”* I completed in elementary school, a ton of poetry, and one amazing school project,** becoming an author never even crossed my mind. I didn’t want to WRITE novels. I wanted to READ them. All of them. Every single one on the planet.***

*This novel can only be described as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch fanfiction and I don’t have a thing to say for myself. Bless Young Shannon’s little heart.

**Awesome English project: we wrote a children’s book and my teacher had them PRINTED. I was so excited because I read somewhere that authors don’t write the copy on the back of the books, so I had my sister write my copy and blurbs. So official!

***This is not TECHNICALLY the case anymore. I’ve seen that erotic dinosaur fanfiction exists in the world and my soul is now permanently troubled.

My family is a family of readers, but aside from the bigs (Harry Potter) and some sentimental littles (Trixie Belden) we don’t really read in the same circles. I always try to get my people interested in the books I like, too, but it’s gotten more and more halfhearted over the years. I even named myself the Literary Aunt for my niblings this year and got them some of my childhood faves, hopefully cultivating some family book community down the line. Way down the line, it seems. None of my family or people want to read what I read, much less discuss it or flail about it with me later.

And y’all, I absolutely, positively NEED to flail. I’ve spent a lot of time THINKING so many THOUGHTS about all the BOOKS and I have news for you. There are only so many times you can have a conversation with a brick wall about Richard Campbell Gansey III before the nice men come for you, carrying pretty white jackets.

(I tried talking to my dog about books, but she judges my opinions and kitchen dancing soooo we both knew it couldn’t last. I also have a Husband who experiences pop culture completely opposite of me, so we kind of steer clear of those types of conversations because neither of us wants a sharp kitchen utensil in the thigh.)

((He’s Team Bonnie, you guys. And Anti-Caroline. I just can’t. Don’t make me. I beg you.))

Here, then, is my space for all of my book thoughts. I didn’t start this blog to be a book blog, but I didn’t NOT do that either. Parts of this blog are still going to be used for a Very Specific Purpose, but I’m still working up to that and finding my voice and my courage. In fact, I love a good deal more than books and Very Specific Things, so hopefully I keep this going, and my blog will be full of all the Things I Love: painting, editing, Specifics, nail polishes, reading, pictures, pretty wine labels… I’m down with that.

I’ve been researching quite a few book blogs in the past few weeks, looking into the mechanics of reviews and what I like (detailed honesty about flaws) and dislike (SPOILERS.) What’s weird about this is that I really super hate reading reviews. Too risky for spoilers, in my mind. And yet I want to write them. I don’t know, you figure it out. I’m tired and I have a headache and my dishwasher is out to get me, weren’t you listening?

I have seen a few reviewers use the same template and structure for their reviews, which I think is brilliant. Others just write a bit of an essay, talking about the book. Not into that. Unless I’ve read the books. And then I love it. Did I mention I love talking about thoughts on books? I can’t remember…

I’m trying so hard to take all of this research into my brain in a bird’s-eye view kind of way and to not notice the details, because I want to come up with my own original thing. I do think I will adore reviewing my lovely book favourites and new reads on my tiny blog. I will finally have a space to talk some book talk, so maybe I can stop shoving books at strangers and sobbing or threatening to lock my sister in my basement and read The Raven Boys aloud to her UNTIL SHE GETS IT. (That one I might actually keep doing, on principle. As soon as I get a basement.)

While I figure those things out, as well as what book should be the FIRST OFFICIAL REVIEW,  I’ll tell y’all about my 2015 Reading Challenge.

I’ve never thought about the books I read in a year. At all. I just… read. Voraciously. Stopping only to bask (alone) in the glow of a Great Book, and then on and on and on. Repeat Repeat Repeat Forever.

In December, my friend found this PopSugar Reading Challenge and asked if I’d be interested doing that with her. “Sure,” I thought, “52 books sounds more than doable.” I glanced at the list, it annoyed me for sexist reasons, and I figured I’d pick my own 52 books.

Cool. Done. Totally doable.

*4.35 minutes pass*

Wait, though. Is it? What DID you read last year, Shannon? Was it way more or wayyyy less than 52? Uhhh, Katelyn, hold up…

A couple weeks later, I had a conversation with my dad about books. Well, I say conversation, but it was more like “My Futile Monthly Call To Beg Him To Read The Thief” and then discuss it. 

He mentioned that he was going to slow WAY down on his reading schedule. He reads more than one book at a time, which I think would drive me bonkers, and the amount of books he was reading was becoming a problem. He never really enjoyed the moment while reading or retained the information, because he was already thinking about the next book in his daily queue, all while having a TBR pile that would put a librarian to shame. He wanted to whole-ass ONE book instead of half-assing (fifth-assing?) five books; he wanted to read with a PURPOSE. Then the converastion was just a debate between Ron Swanson and Homer Simpson, but I digress.

I, too, want to read with a purpose and keep track of what I read in a year. One of my resolutions is to branch out in book genres, after all. Plus, I literally have NO CLUE what I can read in a year. Not even kind of. I’ve never counted. And I never remember all the books I’ve read. Only BIG books stick with me. (Those are the books I volley to strangers at Barnes & Noble, sometimes sobbing with Book Emotions. I’m so sorry, Strangers. It will happen again, I’m sure of it.)

So I went back to that stupid PopSugar reading list, dusted off my GoodReads app, and started actually making a Reading Plan. I’ve never done anything like it, so it was weird and odd and fun and a total rabbit-hole of GoodReads recs and Googling the 1988 New York Times Bestseller lists.

2015 Reading Challenge

Are there other lists like this one out there? Probably. But now it’s A Thing and I saw this one first and I’m sticking with (most) of it. I’m taking out four of them, I think, and adding in four of my own: I dislike judging a book solely on its review, my mom AND dad both have favourite books, I won’t choose a book solely based on the gender of the author, I choose not to read horror stories, and if I didn’t finish a book the first time, there was a reason.

I’m not positive what I’m adding to the list yet. So far, Googling the author’s initial book and the year born book have been highly entertaining, so I’m sure I’ll come up with something fun. I’m also keeping the graphic novel on the list, slightly against my better judgement. (I WANT to break into that genre, but I get a bit intimidated by the sheer volume of choices, holy MOLY the multiverse options, and oh-sweet-moses the vernacular that is gibberish to me. Me, the avid reader and intelligent human. With access to Google. And there is still MUCH TO LEARN.)

I’ve already learned a few things about myself during the Purposeful Reading during January and February. I guess “learned” isn’t the right word. “Slowed down enough to pay attention to what I enjoy in novels” is more like it.They aren’t HUGE revelations and I know they are already well-worn book community discussions, but I’m proud of them all the same.

  • I love third person POV the best
  • I love multiple third person POVs even more
  • I enjoy series more than standalone, for depth reasons (Exception? This. Always.)
  • I enjoy series where all characters stay in all books and keep rotating through the POVs MOST OF ALL.
  • I enjoy characters that are not written as boring weaklings just for the express purpose of a Magical and Floaty Character!Reveal later on. Characters can START awesome and then get MORE awesome.
  • I love dramatic irony more than the opposite of dramatic irony because HOW HARD WOULD A DRACO CHAPTER HAVE BEEN FOR PETE’S SAKE I GOT SO TIRED OF HIS SMUG LITTLE FACE AND HARRY’S IDIOCY AND THEREFORE MY IDIOCY SWEET BABY MOTHER OF PEARL IT WAS THE CABINET HARRY THE DAMN CABINET THE WHOLE TI– Sorry. My point stands.

A quick Google and Kindle search tell me that 1) There is no name for “the opposite of dramatic irony.” How unfortunate. I say we make one up. And 2) there has been exactly ONE book that is written in first person AND uses The Opposite Irony, but did NOT make me want to set things on fire.

I just tore through the Cinder series by Marissa Meyer, or the Lunar Chronicles. Guess what? It has ALL OF THESE things I’ve always loved, with a twist! I read it to get it off of my list, expecting to toss it aside snarkfully. I did not, and I’m still thinking about all the things I enjoyed in that series and the happiness that I have that teens and all people have access to themes like that, even weeks later. THIS DOES NOT COUNT AS THE FIRST OFFICIAL REVIEW, BTW. But I am glad I’m being more purposeful in my attention to what I’m reading now, because I think in December, I would would have read the first book, smiled slightly, and forgotten about it as I kept going. So very glad I did not do that. I cannot WAIT for the last installment, Winter.

UPDATE 1: I forgot to mention last night that I apparently really enjoy space operas? I think? I had no idea what a space opera was until a few months ago and I’m not entirely sure I know exactly what they are now but… I’m very into it? This blog said it best in a review of one of my favourite series: “I don’t understand anything that it going on, but I am INTO IT, ANYWAY.” (Check that blog out! I’ve only read a few of the reviews, but the music/book pairing thing is such a fun and novel idea! (Pun obviously VERY MUCH INTENDED.))

The fun (and infuriating) space opera I’m talking about is The Starkillers Cycle by Susan Dennard and Sarah J. Maas. Maas writes another GREAT series, Throne of Glass, that I can’t even talk about right now because I love it so much. That is a WHOLE OTHER post. Starkillers is infuriating because it’s fun story, written for fun and for fans, at the two authors’ pace. SO amazing and SO AWFUL waiting for the next chapter. (And I’ve only been following along since November… I can only imagine the angst of the first readers.) But authors who love their fans and actively reach out to them? Very into that, too.

I recently read a blurb about a time travel novel and I LOVE time travel almost more than wine and fairytales and queso, so I’m off to gleefully search that list on GoodReads now. So many options when you’re paying attention!!

Alight, I have to literally force myself to stop writing about books now. IT JUST FEELS SO NICE THOUGH. Cheers!

-S.

UPDATE 2: I thought about it overnight I figured I should just ASK: what do y’all think I should pick for my first review? I want it to be a book I already know I love, so no new reads. I want it to be something that maybe a lot of people haven’t heard of… So maybe not Cinder? But I also want it to be a book that is still fresh in my mind, so I’ll either have to reread it soon or pick one that I’ve read rather recently.And I don’t want to choose Throne of Glass because I’m a huge weirdo and I’ve already planned to reread them all before the next book in September.

All of that narrows it down to these choices (basically all the books I keep mentioning anyway): Cinder, The Raven Boys, The Thief (SO daunting!), Timebound, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and The Winner’s Curse. What do y’all think?

And This Is Us

Hey, all!

I really meant to have something like this in my first post, but like some kind of idiot who was also rushing around doing crazy birthday shenanigans, I thought that publishing that post via the mobile app would be TOTES FINE. It definitely was NOT that.

SO. Formal introduction time. (Remind me to tell you about the time that my sister and I realized that we had never been formally introduced… our minds were BLOWN.)

Husband

Husband

This is Husband. Or M. Or Sweets. Or DUDE SERIOUSLY?! He is darling and kind and wonderful and infuriating and one of the least boring decisions I’ve ever made.

Me

Me

This is me. I have no true nicknames, but also I have just too many nicknames to list. Shan is normally my preferred weapon of choice, as Shannon Elise still makes me think I’ve gotten in some kind of trouble. (Now… I just AM trouble.) If I don’t have my blue streak in my hair, my mind is actively planning the next time I can, I promise you.

SugarButt, absolutely thrilled to be wearing a bow for family pictures.

SugarButt, absolutely thrilled to be wearing a bow for family pictures.

This our dog, Coco Bella. Or SugarButt. Or Coconut. Or Cocomo. Or Bells. Or Dorito Head. Or Oh I KNOW You Did NOT Just Think You Could Get Away With That, Ma’am! There are probably about a hundred more, but I’ll stop. FOR NOW.

I love my dog more than l like most people, and to me, she is just the BEST THING. Technically, she is a rescue dog. My parents found her hiding underneath one of our cars when she was six-ish months old. My dad and I shared custody of her for a while, but when I moved away to get married, I needed her with me. She is currently curled up next to me, pressing as close to me as she can without leaving her bed, while I figure out how to blog and share and decide what to do with the ocean of words rushing around in my head.

Sasha, Elena, Shan, Coco, and Matthew

Sasha, Elena, Shan, Coco, and Matthew

There are two other dogs in my extended family, Sasha and Elena, that live with my parents. I mention them 1) because I ADORE those punks and 2) because my tiny little chihuahua grew up with the huskies, so she thinks she is actually a huge Husky Guard Dog. Bless her little heart. She tries.

Tiny Family

Tiny Family

And that’s my family, so far!

Husband and I have many dreams and wants and plans for the future of our family (Me- more dogs. ALL THE DOGS! AND PONIES! Him- tiny little baseball players and drummers to run around the house. And also dogs.) but right now, this is more than enough.

One really HARD lesson we have learned in our barely two years of marriage is this: Family Begins Before Kids.

We also learned that we were really and truly terrible at treating our own family like that was the truth. There were many hurt feelings and many disagreements and finally we would just break down from the stress and say something like “WHY are we doing this? What is the ACTUAL REASON?”

The answer was that we were both always making decisions based on former habits without thinking about what OUR family needed.

Now, Husband and I are very firm in choosing our own family and building our own structure and our own rules from the ground up, instead of just mindlessly following habits. We try very hard to remember that even now, without kids or dependents, that we are own family unit, not just an addition to the families we came from.

Adulthood and marriage are Hard Things to do, but once you realize that all of the choices are yours, and yours ALONE, to make and screw up… the freedom is breathtaking. And scary as hell.

Cheers, from this tiny (but real!) family.DSC_0532

-S.

And This Is My Story

HELLO!
I’m Shannon. Or Shan. Or ShanShan.

I decided to start an OFFICIAL blog this year and since then, my mind has just been whirring with possibilities and ideas for posts, especially the FIRST POST. Too many ideas, really.

But the bottom line is this: I’ve had the urge and the want to blog for about five years now, but I always held myself back. What would I say? Would anyone care? Would anyone listen? What would the point even be? What would I blog about? Why in the actual world would people read it?

And then my lovely, beautiful friend and therapist told me the best blogs always come from people who have a good story.

OH BOY, DO I HAVE A STORY.

And yet… I still struggled with the importance of my experiences and words and the wisdom I have gained in my 27 years. (It is not a TON of wisdom, granted. But I have a little.) What does my story matter, REALLY, in the long run?

Recently, I’ve learned this:
My voice is important and I have things to say. I used to think my voice didn’t matter, and my hard-earned wisdom was unimportant. “You can’t change anything with simple words,” I thought.)

I was half right. I can’t physically change anyone. But I can help. I can be there for any recent college graduate or newlywed who is going through what I went through. I can listen. And I can use my voice, my important voice, to speak. And if I can help ONE PERSON, just ONE, with this blog or anything else, all of my past struggles and heartbreak will be worth it.

I’ll talk more about my experiences, and my crazy life in later posts. This IS just the start, after all, and it is full of amazing possibilities.

What will this blog be about? Who knows!? Whatever I want! Great recipes I’ve tried, awesome books that touched my soul, TV shows that make me fall of off my couch, our misadventures in making our family our own special brand of Ridiculous… Anything I want, basically.

So here. Here it is, my blog. I do hope my words make you giggle, or make you mad, or make you think. I hope they make you go read a book I love or send me that perfect minor key song I’ve been searching for my whole damn life.

Happy birthday to ME and Happy Actual Birthday to my Blog. Cheers!
-Shan
(Or Dorito. Or Babydoll. Or Sestra.)