Create Gratitude

So, this was not going to be my next post, but with everything going on, I believe it’s more important than what I was planning.

I am an avid listener to a relatively new podcast called The Upside with Callie and Jeff. They are big on the topic of gratitude and finding the upside in the everyday, and they make a point to be a break from the news that clogs our social media and other outlets. I started listening to Jeff almost 20 years ago when he was a radio DJ in Atlanta, and I cannot recommend them enough.

Anyway, a lot of what I am writing here comes from what I have gotten out of that podcast, hence the quick plug. Gratitude is so important in the world we live in. When everything seems dark and negative, a simple “thank you” can change someone’s day. You can show gratitude in other ways as well- an act of service, being there for someone who was there for you, a smile, whatever. You are not restricted in this area.

Start keeping track of what you are grateful for. My planner has a section at the back of each month that I can write what I am thankful for and why. I have included things like my crock-pot, my husband, my cats, working from home, and milkshakes. It doesn’t have to be something life changing. But keeping up with it will change your view on life.

Right now I am thankful that my position allows me to continue to work remotely during this global crisis. As most of the world is stuck at home, please think about those who still have to show up:

  • Doctors, nurses, other medical professionals
  • Our military
  • Our first responders
  • The customer service reps who are trying to help you reschedule your spring break plans (my heart goes out to my fellow cast members who are dealing with thousands of calls)
  • The grocery store clerks that cannot control what is out of stock
  • The other service workers such as trash collection, mail, deliveries, etc.

If you interact with someone in one of these professions, remember that they are human too. They are not the business that told them to come in. They are working for their paycheck. They are tired. Treat them with kindness.

On the other side of the same coin, check in on the local businesses that may not have the resources to survive the shut down. I know of a few bakeries and restaurants that are still open, but only serving carry out and delivery orders. Show them gratitude, even if you don’t order from them- comment on a post on Facebook or something.

But the best way to show gratitude right now? Do not go out unless you have to. Remember that there are other medical emergencies going on, and the hospitals are not only dealing with this virus. Stay away from beaches and crowds. We are trying to slow the spread for the benefit of our community. By working together, we will be able to go back to Disney World sooner rather than later.

Here is the link to The Upside if anyone is interested: https://www.callieandjeff.com/

Creating Health Goals

So, being an accountant means that I basically sit on my rump 40-50 hours a week (including commute time). Then there is Netflix and other non-active activities to engage in when I’m home. This has led to being at a state of health that I do not like. I have tried combating it with spur of the moment diets, halfhearted home gym work outs, and even a personal trainer. Nothing has really stuck. 2020 is the year I change that.

In October, I started going to OrangeTheory Fitness. I go twice a week as my work schedule allows, and I really enjoy it. OTF is an hour long HIIT group class that utilizes the row machine, treadmill, and weight floor in order to improve muscle and cardio. The coaches are super supportive so far, and I feel like I can modify as needed, depending on what my body tells me. You also earn “splatpoints” which is a great pull on my competitive side and makes me push harder.

On the food side of things, I am working on snacking less and eating more veges and fruits. This is a huge challenge, and it’s where I am the weakest. I am using MyFitnessPal to keep track of calories and macros, but I know I am not doing enough in this area to really get me where I want to be.

Now that the setup is complete, I give you my health goals for 2020:

  • Lose an overall 10-15 pounds
  • Move to a jogger from a power walker
  • Complete my first 5K with a time under 50 minutes (which, I actually have signed up for one at the end of April)- I currently have a 16.5ish minute mile.
  • Complete my first 10K with a time around 1 hour 45 minute (the original plan was only to do the 5K, but I managed to snag spots for the Wine and Dine 10K in EPCOT in November!)
  • Cook with more fresh veggies
  • Less SUPER processed foods for meals (I love my Chef Boyarde ravioli in a pinch, but I will not be unrealistic and say all processed foods. I’m still human)

I have dedicated a page in the back of my planner to keeping track of my progress when it comes to OTF. Every month I update/ choose new parameters for myself. Basically, as my fitness gets better, my speed on the treadmill and weights on the floor increase. I know it’s not always going to be a linear thing- it is very import to listen to what your body tells you. One day I be able to jog a few minutes, the next power walking may be a struggle. The progress is in the long game.

To everyone in their own health and fitness journey: may we all suffer together and support each other. This is a team sport, y’all.

The Word of the Year is Create

I am a big fan of having a word of the year. And after having more “serious” words the last few years, I decided to do something more fun. My 2020 word is “create.”

I am not sure if you can read all of the headers, but the pictures above say “In 2020 I will Create…”

  • Stories
  • A Healthy Lifestyle
  • Ears
  • Better Relationships
  • A Loving Home
  • Memories
  • Stable Financials
  • Gratitude

I have four blank columns left, but all of these correspond to some goal I have for myself this year. I want to work on what makes me better as a person, which means I need to create the habits and hobbies that will get me there. I have also noticed that I have stopped spending time doing the things that make me relaxed an happy, which is why you see stories and ears at the front of the list.

And by ears, I mean Mickey. I have started making my own, because even with my cast member discount, those things are expensive. Plus, it’s fun to design and make. It’s putting my sewing machine to good use. I’m not making them to sell, though. I am no where as talented as some of the people I see on Etsy.

I will post about each of these areas- either separately or a couple at a time. There is a lot that will go into each one, but some are hard to describe/ explain correctly. Plus, some just seem to go together so well that it would make sense to talk about them at the same time. I encourage you all to have your own word of the year. I find them to be good motivators.

The Complete List of Books of 2019

I am so sorry it has taken this long to reveal the full list. I read 42 books last year, and my Goodreads goal was 40. Yay me! Here they are in order that I read them:

  1. Red Queen by Victoria Avegard
  2. Empire of Storms by SarahJ Maas
  3. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
  4. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas
  5. Catwoman by Sarah J Maas
  6. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  8. The Fork, The Witch, and The Worm by Christopher Paolini
  9. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
  10. Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  11. Phasma by Delilah S Dawson
  12. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas
  13. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
  14. Rebel Born by Amy A Bartol
  15. Before the Broken Star by Emily R King
  16. Eldest by Christopher Paolini
  17. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
  18. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
  19. The Wrath of Darth Maul by Ryder Windham
  20. Into the Hourglass by Emily R King
  21. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  22. Fledgling by Nicole Conway
  23. Avian by Nicole Conway
  24. Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  25. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett
  26. No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty
  27. Wicked by Gregory Maguire and Douglas Smith
  28. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
  29. Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire
  30. Finale by Stephanie Garber
  31. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  32. The Thorn Princess by Bekah Harris
  33. Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul
  34. Loki by Mackenzi Lee and Stephanie Hans
  35. Heir of Iron Hearts by Bekah Harris
  36. Game of Shadows by Bekah Harris
  37. Reign of Darkness by Bekah Harris
  38. Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
  39. On Writing by Stephen King
  40. The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster
  41. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  42. Everafter Song by Emily R. King

I would say that Song of Achilles and Spin the Dawn remain my top recommendations. Both had amazing storytelling, and I am still thinking about them almost a year later.

On Writing and No Plot? No Problem! were books I chose to help me with my author related goals. If you want to learn more about becoming a writer, especially if you plan on doing National Novel Writing Month, you should put these on your must read list. I have a couple more that I plan on reading this year as well. Do note that On Writing is about 50% autobiography of Stephen King. It’s a really interesting read.

Bekah Harris was a Kindle Unlimited find. I devoured her series on there. It’s a fun, quick young adult story dealing with fairies. I am mad at her for doing something to one of my favorite characters that I believe was not necessary, but that’s spoilers so… yeah. If you want something good and quick for a beach trip or school holiday, check her out.

Feel free to ask me about any of the books on my list. I promise to give honest reviews. I cannot wait to tell you all about what i am reading in 2020. My goal is 50 books, and I am currently at 17. I’ll do a post when I hit 25.

Productions of Starkid Productions, Ranked

In honor of Black Friday being uploaded to YouTube, I give you my ranking of Starkid musicals. Please note that these are subject to change at any time due to unexplained shifts in time, portkeys, and/or enslaving hive minds.

  1. Twisted
    1. The title song features the best villain cameos
    2. No one remembers Achmed
    3. SO MANY FEELINGS
  2. A Very Potter Musical
    1. It’s totally awesome
    2. Draco Malfoy everything
    3. Zefron
  3. Holy Musical B@tman
    1. I want to be somebody’s buddy
    2. Sweet Tooth is the greatest
    3. The puns are everywhere
  4. The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals
    1. 5 o’clock can’t come soon enough!
    2. I cannot relate to the main character, but that’s okay
    3. Between evil baristas and disturbing songs, there’s a little something for everyone
  5. A Very Potter Sequel
    1. Mamma Umbridge!
    2. What’s your favorite color vine besides green???
    3. Time travel?
  6. The Trail to Oregon
    1. It’s literally a musical based on the Oregon Trail game
    2. Jack Bauer (they got different names from the audience every show and made it work. You guys, it’s amazing)
    3. Alternate endings!
  7. Black Friday
    1. Dylan is back with the voice of an angel
    2. What if Tickle Me Elmo was a demonic toy?
    3. The vocals, omg.
  8. Starship
    1. The puppetry work is out of this world
    2. Epic romance
    3. I want to be a Starship Ranger…
  9. Firebringer
    1. Duck is lord
    2. Female power
    3. Everyone is beautiful and amazing
  10. A Very Potter Senior Year
    1. Darren Criss is back!
    2. Also Evanna Lynch
    3. We’re the wizard cops!
  11. Ani: A Parody
    1. Star Wars prequel
    2. He’s trying his best
    3. Now this is pod racing

Note: Me and My Dick is not on this list as I have not seen it. Yes, I am a bad Starkid fan.

Are our lists the same? Do you even know who Starkid Productions is? If not, then you need to go to YouTube immediately and educate yourself. Darren Criss would not be where he is today without them. The Langs are some of the most talented writers to have ever write, and Jeff Blim is… Well, he’s Jeff Blim. You’ll know what i mean when you watch him in action. there are SO MANY talented beautiful human beings involved. Lauren Lopez, Joey Ritcher, Jaime Lyn Beatty, Corey Dorris, Robert Manion, Joe Walker… The list is almost endless (but it does, eventually, end as there are only so many productions).

Please, go check them out. Love them. Stalk them on YouTube and on their website. Once you do, then you, too, will be totally awesome.

Goals for 2020

So we are six weeks into 2020, but I am still trying to figure out what my main goals for the year are. I am trying to have at least one for what I believe to be the important parts of my life. As soon as I share them, you guys can help hold me accountable. But, here are the couple I have so far:

My reading goal for the year is 50 books. That’s a little less than a book a week, and I think I can pull it off. Heck, I have 12 done already which will be good if I get into a reading slump later in the year.

Health goals are going to be non-scale based. I think that is part of the reason why I have such a hard time with it- numbers get into my head. I want to complete a 5k by the end of the year and move from power walking to jogging on the treads at my Orange Theory class. I just started jogging on the all outs without inclines, and man, that makes me super winded. Cardio is not my thing, y’all.

I want to finish writing my NaNoWriMo 2019 novel before NaNoWriMo 2020 starts. My plot decided to not follow my outline so I have been stuck with how to get things going again.

Make the most out of my annual passes. I am paying for Universal and SeaWorld, and I don’t want that money to be wasted. I don’t see it happening because I just love theme parks and roller coasters, but my life isn’t 24/7 Disney (it basically is, but we keep getting blocked out thanks to Star Wars).

Career wise I don’t have any specific goals yet. Last year was huge for my job, so I feel like this year will be honing my knowledge on skills I need for industry accounting. The change from public was a welcome one, but a lot of my every day smarts are not used here as they were tax related. It’s a different brain and I am enjoying it very much.

I plan on keeping you updated on these goals and more as they come up. I also plan on bragging about all the fun theme park stuff I get up to, so if you have any questions about Orlando theme parks, let me know and I will do my best to answer!

Better Late Than Never!

Good bye 2019! This past year was definitely my renaissance (which happened to be my word of the year. I chose well). So much happened!

  • Got my CPA license
  • Got the job offer from Disney
  • Left public accounting
  • Moved to Orlando
  • Bought a house
  • Went on an Alaskan cruise
  • Surpassed my reading goal
  • Basically made playing in theme parks my new hobby
  • Started going to OrangeTheory Fitness
  • Survived our first travelling Christmas with very few casualties (only 5 presents left in Orlando. I had a 10 minute freak out about it but what are you going to do when you are 8 hours away?)

I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings. I am not going to go into all of my current goals and projects in this post as this is just a “Oh crap, I haven’t updated in months” thing, but I promise to post my 2019 reading list the hope for the future soon.

I will get better about posting on a schedule, I promise!

Happy NaNo!

Go start yours!

National Novel Writing Month is here! 20 days. 50,000 words. Roughly 1,667 words a day. Time to ration the discount Halloween candy to get through the challenge.

My project this year is Golden Soul. I am also using the software Schrivener for the first time. So far I really like it. Go start your project by going to NaNoWriMo.org and announcing your novel! Then add me as a buddy: DestinyDalma.

Well, I have writing to get to. Good luck to all the novelists out there!

NaNoWriMo 2019 Planning Update

I finally have a title! Golden Soul

One of my main characters’ name means empty light and I think that is the coolest.

While filling out a character sheet on Scrivener:

That’s right. The devil’s occupation is…. DEVILLING.
I cracked myself up with this one.

Right now the story is going to be set in Victorian era with a steampunk feel, but I may make it set in the future just so my MC has to have a music off in Hell with Elton John (I love Elton. It’s just a thing in my story that all musicians and script writers are in hell. ESPECIALLY the anyone who creates a musical. My devil is super into theatre.)

Just over a week before NaNoWriMo starts! If you are also taking the challenge, add me as a buddy: Destinydalma.

Books of 2019 (So Far)

Hello everyone! My Goodreads goal for 2019 is 40 books. I am a little behind schedule- moving states and new jobs can do that I guess- but here are the books I have read so far. They are listed in the order that I read them- not by how much I like them.

  1. Red Queen by Victoria Avegard
  2. Empire of Storms by SarahJ Maas
  3. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
  4. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas
  5. Catwoman by Sarah J Maas
  6. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  8. The Fork, The Witch, and The Worm by Christopher Paolini
  9. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
  10. Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  11. Phasma by Delilah S Dawson
  12. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas
  13. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
  14. Rebel Born by Amy A Bartol
  15. Before the Broken Star by Emily R King
  16. Eldest by Christopher Paolini
  17. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
  18. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
  19. The Wrath of Darth Maul by Ryder Windham
  20. Into the Hourglass by Emily R King
  21. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  22. Fledgling by Nicole Conway
  23. Avian by Nicole Conway
  24. Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Song of Achilles is by far my favorite book of the ones listed. The story was amazing, and it was a great retelling of the Trojan War. Granted, I am obsessed with all things mythology and ancient Greek, but I believe that anyone not obsessed would still enjoy the story.

Christopher Paolini’s newest book made me wish he would release more about the aftermath of the Inheritance saga. I definitely want more of Angela’s antics, and a little more into her history would be much appreciated as well. I also want to see more of how Murtagh is dealing with his new freedoms and the consequences of his role in the war. I just want more. Mr. Paolini, please.

My other top recommendations would be Spin the Dawn and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. They are two completely different books- one being a “help” book- but they will probably make my top 5 come the end of the year.

Spin the Dawn is a young adult novel, but it does not follow all of the typical tropes you may think of. There is no dystopia, no “chosen one,” but a girl trying to help her family. The book was described online as a Mulan-esque tale, and that is completely true. Elizabeth Lim does a fantastic job at telling a story, and I cannot wait to read the sequel!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is all about choosing what you actually care about. There are things that are worth using your energy on- you just have to take the time to reflect to decide what they are. Mark Manson utilizes the perfect amount of humor and metaphors to get the message across. It is definitely worth the read, especially for my fellow millennials.

I have about 5 books that I am currently reading/ have in my to be read pile and another few books on hold on Libby. I’m excited to see what stories I get to experience next!