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Giving yourself a reading challenge with some rules around it is not an easy
thing to do. For some people that's an extremely difficult challenge as they
don't read as often or they are just slow readers.

I do believe myself to be one of those slow readers. Maybe I feel that way
because I'm following all these bloggers online and they read a book in a day,
and I'm being too hard on myself because I put a book down to go play a video
game. Maybe there's more going on in their lives than I realize. But reading a
book in a few days is really hard for me when I have a job that actually
requires more from me than a typical 9-5 would.

It requires me to care, it requires me to put my clients needs before my own
unless there's an outstanding circumstance in which I cannot drop what I'm doing
and help them - most of the time they seem to want to try and get a hold of me
while I'm driving in which case I'll respond to them once I'm at home where it's
safe to do so. So, I think that I forget that most people don't have a demanding
job like I do and they actually have more average free time than I do to squeeze
in a few pages of a book without it seriously hindering their lives.

Feeling inadequate with my reading ability aside, I did challenge myself with a
list of books I wanted to cross of my list. So far I've been able to do get rid
of two books so far.

A Thousand Pieces of You (I have like 60pgs left and mean to finish it tonight)
and The Scorch Trials. I even carried it a bit further and finished out the Maze
Runner series in full complete with the prequel and the missing files shorts.
Let's just say I needed answers and I still did not get them (Damn you, James
Dashner and your ability to write what feels like a movie but drives me nuts as

I'm probably being to critical of myself and this challenge seeing as it's only
the end of February and I've made decent progress into my # of books read goal.
I just wish I was more excited about picking up where my old characters left
off. I don't think that it's a lack of investment in the series. I did call out
a great many series in my last post which I wholeheartedly mean to continue
with... I think, I think there's something else going on.

I think I'm a mood reader. I think I like to pick books based on the whim of the
moment. This could lead to some adventures that take me to unknown places and
not necessarily bring me back to something familiar. This can definitely lead to
good things, but it can also mean that I get bored with what I currently have in
front of me, and makes it really difficult for me to choose what to read next.

I might also be a bit thrifty too. I am a bargain hound and will watch out for
ebook deals whenever I get the chance. It's a great way to start a new series
you've been on the fence about as you may not have to feel bad about investing
the $10 it might cost to start. But that also leaves me feeling guilty about all
the book deals I've been able to participate in and then going off and getting
the $10 sequel when I have a pile of perfectly other good books that I should
burn through as well... ugh! It's all very frustrating.

I have a friend who keeps asking me when I'll get around to reading Rosemary And
(mostly I think she's looking for my opinion of the book before she reads it
as she's one of the people which received one of my extra free copies). I will
get to it and I definitely want to read it, but for some reasons (which I'm
trying to explain here), that book just has not made it to my top priority spot
just yet. In terms of my reading challenge I have all year... a whole other
10mos to read it. Give me some time while I work my other reading nees out of my

But I did want to make note that I am making progress on this challenge, albeit
I'm finding it a bit more difficult to have interest in than I thought I would.

I'm also thinking that I want to start writing reviews for books, but I'll keep
them to maybe Goodreads, Amazon and B&N. I know that I don't have the energy to
run a blog with blog tours and giveaways (what the hell would I giveaway when I
prefer ebooks?) - but I'd be able to share in my fandoms and let others see my
opinions on books as well. Besides, the authors took the time to write these
works, the best thing we could do to help them is to write a review for them.

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And this is the part where I stumble upon myself trying to make resolutions I know I won't stick to. It's still a little ridiculous, but I don't think that I'm setting myself up for failure this time around.

The only one that needs to happen (as it's do or be unhealthy) is lose weight. Like a ton of weight. I need to spend all energy on this one. I'm not talking like 10lbs, or 20lbs. I'm talking a total body transformation. It won't be easy and it won't be fast, but it needs to happen. For various reasons that my doctor has yelled at me about and just for my own happiness.

I spent a lot of time reading this year. One of the goals I have for myself this year just as overall reading goal is to read more manga. Santa Claus was fantastic and brought me the Sailor Moon boxsets as well as all 4 CardCaptor Sakura Omnibus volumes. I've also started Vampire Knight and Food Wars!. I want to broaden my manga horizons.

Books I WILL read this year (in no particular order):

  • A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

  • The Elite by Kiera Cass

  • Fairest by Marissa Meyer

  • Crushed by Eliza Crewe

  • The Peripheral by William Gibson

  • City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

  • Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

  • The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

  • Rosemary And Rue by Seanan McGuire

I started so many new series in 2014 that I'm determined to not just let them hang. While there are still so many good books to explore, I really want to continue where I left off in a lot of the series that I've started. That's a good goal, right? I don't want this year to be bound by numbers (which appears to be a common sentiment this year), but instead driven by content.

I have aspirations to travel through as many adventures as I can. Each one seems so inviting, but it's also not about casting a net as far as it will go and seeing all the different things it will bring back, but about what you catch as a whole. I'm determined to carry through this year. I want to stay on top of The Lunar Chronicles, I want to finish the Maze Runner series so I can talk about it with my husband.

How did I come up with this list? It was really hard. I picked a few series that have intrigued me, and I picked a few books that I really am just dying to read. Nothing really made a cut over another. I didn't sit here and weigh the value of having one book over another. I'll read them all in time. I just picked what I picked.

Will I hold myself against not reading a particular book? No. There's always the next book. I want to continue the Wheel of Time (huge time commitment), and the Shatter Me series, and so many more. But they'll be there when I'm ready for them. Unless they start turning into movies, then I may have to pick up the pace a bit. Simply because I will not have movie spoilers when I have the canon in front of me waiting to unfurl itself before me.

I also want to see about getting more active in the book blogging sphere. I'm not convinced I read enough books in a year to have my own blog (or have enough time to be impactful), but I want to comment and participate in discussions around the books that I love and those that I've come to love. Maybe it's my way of reaching out and trying to make new friends based on what we have in common, but I really feel that I need to make a connection with someone, anyone that also enjoys what they're reading. This also includes my husband. He's really into the Warcraft books which aren't really my thing, but he did give the Maze Runner a go and he made it all the way through the series before me. So I'm now being pushed (in a positive way) to finish it myself because he wants to talk about it with me and connect with me on that level. That really excites me and makes me happy.

So, are these resolutions? Probably not. Do I think they make overall good goals? Definitely.

I hope everyone else is having a good start to their 2015 and wish you all happiness with what may come!

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So recently my husband and I were at Best Buy and we saw in one of their "ooh shiny new release" carousels they had some anime. Being that Best Buy doesn't usually carry more than DBZ and Bleach we were curious and started looking at the fancy box art. One such item we picked up was this anime called Karneval.

"Let's just get it" he said.

"But we don't know anything about it. We don't know if it's any good. Do we really want to own it?" I replied.

We ended up taking a chance by getting it and let me tell you it wasn't a disappointment. I was a bit skeptical because my first impression was that off the first review read on Amazon - "the first episode was really scary and it freaked me out". Hmm... That doesn't really sound like something I want to invest my time in.

The Walking Dead doesn't freak me out but I find it stressful so if this guy was freaked out from one anime episode I wasn't sure what I was in for. I was greately suprised by what we found. The colors are amazing. The story (so far from the episodes we've seen) is amazing. I'm absolutely in love with the art. The detail that went into the character's eye coloring is fantastic, and the animation quality isn't lacking either.

I won't go into anything spoilerific but it's definitely worth checking out - either just taking a chance when you're out and about or whether you're able to stream the media I highly recommend adding this anime to your arsenal or crossing it off a checklist for shiny things seen.

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This morning was the international premiere of the Sailor Moon reboot called Sailor Moon Crystal in celebration of the franchise's 20yr anniversary. The animation style has been updated, the seiyuu have been updated (however Mitsuishi Kotono remains playing Usagi - this represents a sense of familiarity and normalcy for me) and the setting has been brought to a modern era.

I was extremely excited when it was first announced that this was happening. I think a lot of the excitement stemmed from nostalgia over the original series. I had so many good memories with it. Sailor Jupiter (or Lita at the time since I had only watched the dubbed version as a kid) was and continues to be my favorite followed closely by Sailor Pluto. The idea of seeing them return to the media screen, that they'd have new life and that it'd be closer to the manga (which I've not read all the way through) excited me. To see the story the way that the creator meant to tell it - that excited me.

The images started leaking and it was new. It was fantastic and new and the 20th anniversary tribute album brought great covers with names like Tommy Heavenly6 (Papermoon - Soul Eater). But in the months leading up to today's premiere, I started getting really nervous. What if the animation style didn't work out? What if Usagi was still portrayed as the absolute ditz of the original anime? What if Makoto isn't all that I want her to be? How will they portray Mamoru/Tuxedo Kamen?

The questions swirled in my head and I vowed not to get too excited, nor to get too indifferent. Nostalgia is best at being that - a memory. It's time for change, and I am just grateful that they even decided it deserved another chance.

I really like the new Usagi. I love that her original seiyuu is still being that same 14yr old voice. I like how the show has a darker tone, but they still kept some of the humor to her behavior there. The animation style is growing on me. It's fluid. Tuxedo Kamen - I love his new voice actor. I love how Mamoru first interacts with Usagi. I love the pace that they are presenting in the storyline.

I know the show is only slated right now for 26 episodes and if it does well it could possibly go on for more - but that makes me excited that I'll get to see Makoto earlier. I'm taking my husband through the remastered version of the original on Hulu at the moment and you don't see Makoto or Minako until the last half of the long season. I still have my reservations about how the other Inner Senshi will be portrayed, but I'll know soon enough. They've already eluded to meeting Ami in the next episode which is super exciting and only gets my hopes up for what will be coming to us in the future.

Releasing an episode every two weeks is not enough for me, but I will be patient and vigilante. I'm now genuinely excited to see what happens. I'm embracing the change and I think I'm ready to see what happens. It's quite possible that like Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood I'll love this as a separate series - a separate story than the original. I won't be able to really compare them. Maybe I'll even have a new favorite Inner Senshi. Only time will tell.

Until then I'll just keep drinking some coffee as it's way too early for me to do much more on a Saturday (and being jet lagged). I have a feeling that my music selection today will heavily consist of my Sailor Moon Memorial Song Box and Music Box.

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The people of Sidney, NE have left a mark in my heart. They are some of the most kind and nicest people I've ever met. They went out of their way to make myself and my co-worker feel at home, like one of the family. In the business that we're in you don't always get that. It's so heartwarming.

We left on a bittersweet note. We don't know if we'll be traveling back out there to see them. We're not sure if we'll ever see them face to face again. Google Hangouts doesn't count. It's not the right kind of interaction.

I'm so glad to be working with them on this project. I'm so glad they came into my life and that they appreciate my help. I'll do whatever it takes to not let them down. It'd be kicking myself in the ass if I did.

The weather was perfect. We hung out with them every night after work and spent 2 nights in the best bar in Sidney. The trip went really well. We accomplished what we set out to do and now I'm back home again.

Of course that means I'm exhausted as well. Traveling always screws with me. I went to bed around 10pm local and didn't get out of bed officially until 9:30am. It's going to be a few days until I'm back on track.

I finished The Maze Runner while I was gone. It was a decent book. It read fast and action paced like a movie... which I guess is one of the reasons why it will be coming out as a movie later this year. At least I can say that I've read the book before the movie comes out. I'm not certain why that's something I feel I need to accomplish, but I did. We'll see where that series goes.

I've also been on a Batman kick lately. I'm also currently reading a novelization of the comics - particularly the arc that contains Bane. It's one of the most fantastic pieces I've read in a while. It's just a shame that there aren't more Batman or other super hero related novels out there. But I guess that's where comic books have their home. It might just be too much of an investment for some readers.

The rest of this weekend will be spent trying to get things back in order. It won't be long until I head down to GA at the end of the month to watch my brother graduate from the police academy. I think I've got this travel thing down pat by this point. Here's hoping that it's smooth sailing as I won't have to bring my work laptop with me. And here's also hoping that my photography itch picks up as well (time to get new batteries and a camera bag... heh).

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After looking at my journal for a few months I realized I never posted about my travel.

Part of that had to do with the fact that when you're on travel for business there really isn't a lot of extra room to take your personal belongings and I'm a fan of NOT logging into personal things on my work laptop if I can help it. A lot of people do it and it's not like our office is super strict in what they'll relegate but I just don't like it. I know the IT department can see your history and it's scary enough that knowing that any potential link I click on for anything work related could destroy machine, I don't want the embarrassment that something personal could do it as well.

So now we introduce the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard for the iPad! It's currently what I'm using to type this entry and well it's actually my first time using it at all. It's pretty much all that I'd hoped for. I wasn't real impressed with the way that Amazon shipped it out. I ordered 2. One for myself and one for my husband. Even though they were both marked NEW the red one I got for my husband didn't come in a box. It was plastically sealed and it came with its USB cable, but that's it. My black one came in the Logitech box along with its cable, but when you look at the packaging it stated that it was also supposed to come with user documentation and a cleaning cloth. Yeah, that didn't happen.

And it's not like I need the user documentation to tell me how to charge it or how to pair it to my iPad with bluetooth. But I still feel slightly ripped off. It's in now way Logitech's vault but rather the shops who were selling these items through Amazon. Grr. At least the box wasn't completely beat up when I got it. That at least ensured to me that this would end up being alright.

Rant aside -

There's been so much travel in my days and I'm about to go on more. Work is sending me back to wonderful Sidney, NE. I wish it were Australia, but alas I don't think my company is cool enough to send someone from Detroit to Australia. Chances are that if something were to happen in Australia they'd form a local team made of... locals.

So - Sidney, and why would I need a keyboard for my iPad? Well, there's not a whole lot going on in that town. Literally, it's a great place to unwind and get away from all the hustle and bustle of suburbia but other than that it kind of reminds you of a truck stop. The locals are swell and nice, they have Safeway and a Wal-mart and the rumor now is that they just opened a Sonic across from the corporate headquarters I'll be visiting. But in terms of entertainment, restaurants, fun? there aren't a whole lot of options. So instead I'm left to my own devices to entertain myself in the evening. It'll be a whole lot of Netflix and Hulu, and hopefully now with the typing means to do it I'll be able to knock out a lot more journal entries about life and things I've just wanted to discuss with no-one in particular.

So, let's consider this the enablement of my future. A brighter horizon and hopefully a reboot of a restart of things to come!

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Day 1:

Yesterday, my coworker and I flew out to Denver, which as we all know is my happiest place on earth. I was out here two weeks ago on business for a client and the weather was fantastic. He weather is not so great this time. We pretty much traded cold for cold and fog. That's not very appealing but I guess ute that's what happens when you travel during the winter months.

The flight was fine. I managed to finish reading The Soul Consortium on the plane and then almost immediately started reading Ender's Game. I had to stop reading and close my eyes as I hadn't stopped decompressing from the last science fiction book. Brain overload. I'm hoping that since that's a short read I'll get through that quickly.

Once we had the rental car we stopped in Englewood for supplies. Our destination for the week is Sidney, NE - the home of Cabela's headquarters and well, there's really nothing out there. Even the client wasn't sure what they were going to do with us recreationally. So now with this stigma in mind we packed our electronics for the long haul. I actually checked my bag because of the length of the trip and it allows me to carry more items to keep me occupied in my free time.

We the. Made our way down to Colorado Springs where we met up with everyone for Nerd Night. It was great to see everyone. Even Bobby & Shanna dialed in to say hi. We broke our Kristin's new favorite board game called Pandemic. It was actually pretty fun with all of us trying to save the world. I. Might look more into that later. Some of the rules were confusing but what new game doesn't have confusing rules, right?

Today we make our way up to NE. I think the idea is to stop at a Cabela's store and get new winter coats as Dave and I are not prepared for this cold. I it's my 60 degree weather that was here two weeks ago :(

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Well, RGPs never really left but my interest in the has definitely been renewed. My husband has been pressuring me to finish FFXIII, rightfully so - he's trying to do me a favor by not spoiling the next two sequels on me. But, it does mean he's waiting on me to get my act together. Lately, I just haven't had the desire to really play anything more than The Simpsons Tapped Out. With my ridiculous schedule at work since the new year it's been very difficult for me to get into anything of substance or that can't be paused.

It became the perfect escape. Just check on the town a few times each day, visit my friends before bed. It was totally manageable. But the FFXIII-2 came out and that sat on the shelf and now Lightning Returns is out. I feel really bad that I just never finished the original like so many other games that I own. So through a joint effort we've been trying to get me through it. He's been trying to power level me in his spare time and let me get through the story because at this point I don't love the story or the battle system ex ought to spend the time to get 100% complete. I'll leave that to him because that's what he likes.

But it's kind of fun going through this together. We've found another avenue in which we can do something together. Warcraft does not have to be our only outlet and I think we both like it. So with this of course it's like I've regained my lost memories of games past and I suddenly want to play everything. My mind starts racing with titles for all systems.

Tomorrow I fly out to CO for work. It's short notice for most of my friends and they are in the complete opposite direction. It's really only for 3 nights and the project is just kicking off. Not knowing what to expect has lead me to dig out a lot of my Nintendo DS RPGs. I have more than enough to keep me occupied for 3 days (and that's even if I get to play them at all - I'm not traveling alone this time). But to get excited as I sifted through the titles - it's like finding long lost books with stories of old.

I'm still in the middle of Pokemon X and have more than enough to accomplish there, but that doesn't mean I can't make some progress on an old title for a little while.

For Valentine's Day my husband got me Bravely Default which is supposed to be more of a classic JRPG. He's stocking me up on games to keep me occupied while he goes through and completes the other Final Fantasy games. That was probably a smart move considering I'd probably want to finish Tales of Vesperia next and won't be able too since both the Xbox and Playstation are hooked up to the same tv.

It's just rejuvenating. I feel like I've been hibernating for a really long time and have only just now stuck my face in the bright warm sun.

Here's to the return of gaming and living the stories with the characters we meet :)

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Many would like to think that the resolutions created in 2013 are a list of items we'd all like to achieve and get done before the New Year. That's totally left up to one's free time, determination and ambition.

I was extremely ambitious when I first created that list one year ago. EXTREMELY. On the one hand I'm disappointed in myself for not being able to cross off more items from the list, but on the other hand I'm proud of myself for what I have attempted and what I've achieved in the items I have crossed off.

Let's refer back to the resolutions post from 2013 here. It looks like there are 14 items on that list and some of them are pretty lengthy challenges.

The Resolved:

  • Read 12 books in the year - This was actually bumped to 20 books and was completely decimated. I would say that this is the the one item on the list that probably took up most of my time.

  • Explore the world of coffee - mmm, I'm still drinking it and still looking for kcups everywhere I go (especially seasonal ones).

  • Host Christmas - this was an utter success. Prime Rib, Coquito and great family. Couldn't have asked for anything more!

The Unresolved - everything else on the list. I'm a little disappointed sure, but a lot of the items on the list take time to develop - learn to use Photoshop? C'mon let's just put that down that there are always things to be learned with this tool and I'm sure there are items even the pros are still learning. I took part in the photo challenge for a few months but then fell off the bandwagon when I switched jobs. I'll be picking that back up starting today. You really do learn a lot by playing.

Last year we ended up taking care of the house more than we did ourselves. This year we're going to change that. More doctor visits. Getting into healthy habits. Not having a kitchen for 6months, a family emergency and a basement renovation kind of threw all the focus off ourselves for the whole year. I'm not proud of it, but now's the time to change it.

The others are all in progress too. More games other than WoW - I'm working on it. It's not that I'm still completely addicted to it, it's that I've been too busy to play games. I come home from work very late, then have to cook dinner and practically turn it around and go to bed. The only thing that was easy to pick up and set down when needed was my Nook because it didn't require a physical bookmark. Games are a whole other story with pausing and saving. I guess this is where my future will be once we have kids. If I want to play more games I'll just have to make the time for them.

I'm thinking that I won't make a new list for 2014. The list I set last year was created for 2013 but resolutions shouldn't just be completed in the year they were created, they should be habit changers and thought creators. I think I'm just going to embrace this list and see what else I can cross off. I still want to achieve everything here, so why not keep the list handy?

Here's to a continuation of learning and exploration in 2014!

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The end of the year exhaustion is starting to set in. I'm on 6 projects at work, and for one of them I need to work on it in my spare time at home. Let's face it. You can't be allocated to that many things and just not let things fall. Everyone's priority becomes your priority. I'm alright, except for the this creeping overwhelming feeling of things that need to get done before the end of the year.

I haven't gotten to the point where I feel like I'm about to have a panic attack, but conversely for every item I suddenly remember I need to take care of I feel this pang in my chest that gives me a little bit of panic. Almost like guilt and worry, but not anything that's affecting my health.

The basement renovation is almost complete. We're at the point where there should be no more strange people in our house on an almost daily basis. We can stop locking up the cat in one of the bedrooms for fear that they'd accidentally let him outside. Paint is on the walls, the granite is on the counter, carpet is on the floor. Really the only thing that we have to do is put our IKEA furniture together and move back in.

It should be the fun part, but all the exhaustion of getting to this point is catching up with us and making it really hard to get the energy to do this.

I'm still decorating for Christmas. I'm still trying to come up with the Christmas menu for the party (which is next Sunday, btw - no pressure). I once again was not able to go on a Christmas cookie baking spree. I really wanted to send tins of cookies out to my friends again this year. One day I'll be able to do that again. At this point I'll be lucky to have any original cookies for the party that aren't of the slice and bake variety.

This year I was finally able to go to the work Holiday party as well. It was actually a lot of fun. Drinks, good company and THEN we found the photobooth. I know photobooths are all the rage these days, but they really are a good time. You get to be creative and see expressions of people that you don't normally get to see. I also came away with two new jackets from the party (on purpose). They gifted us some really nice ones and then I was able to get one of last year's models with my prize tickets (this year's party was a casino theme).

So the countdown is on. One more week of work for this year. Only a few days until my parents arrive and I still need to find a standing rib roast that will be enough to feed my family yet fit in the rotisserie. I should stop typing and get on that.

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