Friday, October 28, 2016

DIY Couple's Costume – Bob and Linda Belcher

Like pretty much every other family in America, we love celebrating Halloween. We’re not the family that basically turns their house into the entire Halloween section at Target (although we lived across from them in Georgia), and my husband and I don’t go out drinking all night while trying to make sure our nipple pasties don't sweat off. Instead we put up fake spider webs and a few dollar store decorations, then have mixed feelings about a much-needed thunderstorm in Tucson. (Come on nature, we just put up those spider webs.) We also happen to rock the DIY couple’s costume scene.

You know, the scene that shows up at the elementary school’s fall festival in full costume.

Last year I rocked it solo in my Pikachu onesie while my husband sported a lively ensemble of camo and then some more camo on his deployment. I wanted to make sure we both got to enjoy fun Halloween costumes this year, but you know how financial disasters tend to strike all at once? And then keep striking? Our budget was looking pretty grim as we headed into October.


There wasn’t a lot of wiggle room, but we budgeted $30 and picked one of the best character couples to dress up as: Bob and Linda Belcher.


Not familiar with Bob’sBurgers? Then jump onto Netflix right now and start catching up. Bob and Linda are the owners of Bob’s Burgers, a fictional burger restaurant that they run with the help of their 3 kids.

Ironically, neither of our own two kids were willing to help us out by doing a family costume, and refused to dress up as any of the Belcher kids.


Making the Costumes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

First we compiled what we already had. I decided to wear my navy-blue sweatpants, my husband pulled out his jeans and a white undershirt, and we both just wore the shoes we already own. Remember, we’re not trying to win any costume contests here!

Next, we hit up Amazon. Because everything wonderful that can be delivered for free within two days lives on Amazon. Ultimately we found a Linda-style apron for a little over $8.50, an apron with a pen-pocket like Bob’s for around $5, and a long-sleeve red shirt for just under $13. We spent a little more on the shirt because it’s something I can wear in the future. You know, when we get our two days of winter in the desert.

The grand total? $26.53, squeaking in under budget!



Going all out for costumes can be a lot of fun, and there are even times and places when doing so is expected, but Halloween is just about having fun. Perfect costumes? Fuck that, I want to put gas in my van and have some money leftover to snag a bottle of wine. A DIY couple's costume can be great without costing half of a paycheck.

Do you still dress up for Halloween? And what's your favorite costume you've ever worn? Drop a comment and let me know!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Big Changes (and 3 Reasons Why I Started My Own Business)


This blog has mostly reflected the writing aspect of Growing Up and Becoming a Famous Author, but future posts are going to focus a lot more on the first part. Posts about more than just writing (but that are usually still book or writing-related somehow) are going to start popping up, and I hope that you’re as excited as I am about the evolution of this blog.

It’s not just the blog that is changing. Behind the writing scenes I’ve been telecommuting for several years, and while it was a job that I enjoyed and learned many valuable skills from, it was time for me to step away. My working days are far from over though, and I even still get to work from home. Or Starbucks. Wherever there’s coffee and wi-fi, really.

I’m so excited to share that I’m now in business for myself, doing business as CoffeeMarks Copy. My main focus is helping other small business owners and entrepreneurs create the best possible content for their websites. You can find my website here, and if you want to be supportive and help a girl out, there’s also Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook, where I’ll be posting helpful small business information.

So why the change? I really did enjoy my job, it was a lot of fun creating content and SEO blogs, but there wasn’t much forward movement. I also primarily worked with legal clients while I actually wanted to be helping entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses. So, to recap:

1. There was a lack of room to grow at my last position

2. I wanted to work with a certain community of customers

And we can’t forget:

3. I have a passion for the work I do

Life is a great, big jumble of interests and wants and passions. Yes, I’m truly passionate about fiction writing and continue to pursue publication, but I’m also passionate about website content. It’s not weird, OK.

Copywriting is similar to fiction writing in that I’m not only trying to find readers, but I’m also trying to illicit certain emotions from those readers.

You won’t see much about CoffeeMarks on this blog for a while, but it might crop up in the future on a new post. Until then, you can follow on social media or click that handy button I’ve added at the top of the page.

Friday, October 21, 2016

4 Things I did to Become a Morning Person

Ever look at someone who gets up at the butt crack of dawn to start being productive and think, “Man, fuck that person”? That used to be me. Now? Now people look at me and think, “Man, fuck that person.”

Don’t get me wrong, I still adore sleeping in when possible, but that’s more of a rarity these days.

I used to drag myself out of bed with just enough time to get dressed, grab a cup of coffee, and shove the kids out of the house. That was back when I was still in school, but even when I didn’t have class in the mornings I would struggle with my productivity levels. The end of my days were packed with a sudden onslaught of everything I’d ignored that day.

This didn’t just start after kids, either. Back at 19, I lived a mere 5 minutes from the University of Memphis campus. I signed up for an 8 a.m. class, and then proceeded to show up only twice. It’s OK, I ended up dropping out anyway. (Stay in school, kids.)

Soon after finishing my degree, I was still working from home, and it made financial sense to take my kids out of daycare and the after-school program. My age-old trick of just sliding by in the evenings wasn’t cutting it anymore, and I knew what I had to do – wake up before my already early-rising kids. Which sounded just about as pleasant as receiving a hair cut from a T-Rex. It took some time, but here are the 4 steps I made to make it happen.

My mornings look less like this and more like a hungover zombie.

1. Went to bed early
Look, this one isn’t groundbreaking, I get it. But I used to routinely stay awake until midnight or one in the morning, which generally contributed to my inability to do little else than hit the snooze button for half an hour. So did I just hit the hay with lights out at 9:30 and conk the eff out? Nope.

In order to make going to bed early actually work, I put off reading time until I went to bed. That way I had something to actually look forward to and could easily roll over and go to sleep as soon as I felt ready.

2. Made plans for the morning
The first morning that I rose before the sun and managed to make it downstairs was disorienting. I was up early, but what was I supposed to be doing? Maybe I would eat breakfast first, or get a bit of writing done, maybe take care of a few work assignments. Ultimately, I didn’t get anything done. I sat on the couch watching The Mindy Project while downing cups of coffee. Relaxing, but the complete opposite of productive.

My mornings have routine now. First I get up, wash my face, then enjoy a cup of coffee while I make my daily to-do list. It may not seem like much, but it’s the definitive starting point to my day.

3. Moved my phone
Look I am like queen of the snooze button. I don’t care what time it is or where I have to be, if it is within reach I will slap that little son of a bitch like there’s no tomorrow. Give or take 30 minutes of telling my phone to shut up, and my morning is off to a late start and I have to make my to-do list while my kids are awake and begging to play video games.

My phone now stays plugged up on my dresser, on the other side of the room from my bed. This forces me to actually get out of bed and stumble over there without my glasses to turn it off. By then I can’t fight the “I’ve gotta pee” feeling anymore, so screw it up I’m up.

4. Changed my outlook
This was probably the most difficult step in all of this. It took a tremendous amount of effort to change how I perceived my nighttime habits, which mostly consisted of re-watching TV shows and browsing through social media. Which, FYI, I’m in Mountain Time Zone (Arizona, no daylight savings FTW), so pretty much everyone east of me was already in bed and no longer posting.

These nightly habits were neither worthwhile nor were they healthy. Sure, taking a lazy night every now and then is great, but every night? Not so much. I had to make a conscious decision to look at early mornings as an opportunity to address the issues I was having, and to reconsider just how much I valued my nightly habits.

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Changing an aspect of yourself isn’t easy, and before you decide to change part of who you are, it’s probably a good idea to ask yourself why you’re making this change.

Have you ever made a conscious effort to change a bad habit? How did you do it?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

What I'm Reading (and Why I'm Putting Some Books Down)

Ever read a book that leaves you so completely enamored that you read nothing else but that author’s work for about a month straight?

That was me this past August and September. A friend lent me her copy of It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover, and suddenly I was checking out every available Hoover title at my library and putting the others on hold. There are still a few more of her books I want to read, but you know how it is. Budgets and books don’t always mix, so shout at to my library.

This post wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t also talk about what I’m not reading.

For me, life is too short for bad books. Maybe “bad” is the wrong sentiment here, but the truth wouldn’t fit into a convenient motto. The truth is that some books just aren’t my taste or don’t hold my interest very well. I used to push through these books like I was a child being told I’d get dessert if I would just eat my freaking vegetables. But you know what you get for finishing a book you don’t like?

Nothing. No one cares, and now you’ve wasted your time. So repeat it with me:



I give books until about page 60 to turn things around. If they don’t? I take it back to the library and bring home another stack.

Right now I’m reading The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen. I’ve enjoyed her novels over the past several years, but I didn’t even realize she had a new book out until I spotted it with a 20% off sticker on its cover at Target. So far, so good (I’m past the 60-page mark, if you’re curious). Each character and her respective family is going through its own crisis, when from the outside they might even seem like the perfect neighbors.


So what are you reading right now? Did it come from the library, the store, a friend, or your own shelves?