Friday Favorites – 05112018

The list of stuff I’ve been digging on lately. 🙂

1) X-Men

I’ve mentioned before my affinity for digital comics. Well, I’ve been reading a lot of X-Men books lately, at Steve’s suggestion. They’re one of his favorite titles.

I’d read a few X-Men books in the past, but lately I’ve been on more of a kick. Which is good, I guess, since we’ve got plenty of issues for me to choose from (the suggested reading order he wrote up for me me is quite lengthy. Ha.)

 

God Loves, Man Kills was the basis for the film X-Men 2, and Days of Future Past was the inspiration for the movie of the same title. I liked both movies, but I thought both books were even better!

Cyclops

My favorite X-Man, Cyclops

 

2)  This guest post on Becoming Minimalist, about gratitude:

This pretty much speaks for itself, so I’ll just leave the link here:

I liked this quote:

“Think of something in your life that you tend to take for granted. It can be as simple as running water or groceries in your fridge, or that you get to listen to music you enjoy or read books that inspire you. Now consider, for a moment, what your life would be like if you didn’t have it?

Especially at times when I find myself caught up in thinking about how something is not quite right—flight is delayed, garage door is broken—I remind myself to pause and think: Imagine life without this. It doesn’t mean I don’t ever want anything or wish for something to be better, but this simple exercise fills me with deep gratitude for the many amazing things that do fill my life, and it offers a helpful way to prioritize where I spend my emotional energy.”

 

3) Amazon giveaways

Last month, I hosted a couple of giveaways on Amazon. It was so much fun I knew I wanted to do it again, so for my birthday, I gave away a bunch of books. There were winners for everything but one copy of The Princess Diaries, so I’m re-listing it again :). Check it out here:

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Princess Diaries (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/2a9c6dd164ae8cd6 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of May 18, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules. (Claimed! :))

I’m also giving away a copy of The Lunar Chronicles coloring book, because I think it’s cool and I sort of wish I had one. Ha.

Lunar Chron coloring book

(I’ll post the giveaway link when Amazon sends it to me). (Edit: This giveaway was over so soon, I didn’t have time to post the link! Congrats to the winner :))

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that anything I write is particularly similar to any of the stuff I’ve given away. These are just books I really like, by authors I think are talented. They can be counted as influences of mine, I suppose, and definitely as recommendations! 🙂

These giveaways have been a lot of fun for me, and I think I’ll probably continue to host a few throughout the rest of the year.

4) My birthday

I turned 41 last month!

It was great. 🙂

Steve and I usually like to celebrate one another’s birthdays all month long, so…we did a lot of stuff. We attended several screenings of some of my fave horror and sci-fi movies  (The Brood, Videodrome, Nightbreed) at The Alamo Drafthouse, and he also took me to see Jonathan Davis perform when he came through here on his solo tour! So fun. I’m excited for JD’s new album! Only a couple more weeks to go.

Jonathan Davis

JD and his band. Photo by Steve

On my actual birthday, we went out for breakfast doughnuts and then to see The Avengers: Infinity War, which of course was awesome.

 

Then we went out for my fave meal, pizza and beer for dinner (Because I am classy like that. Ha). I had a great time. Steve sent me these gorgeous multi-colored roses.

 

 

5) Chips and Cheese Chili Casserole

Okay, this is probably one of the easiest recipes ever, but it is so, SO GOOD. I always joke that I could probably eat a whole pan in one sitting. I like it so much, this is what I chose to make myself for my birthday meal (a few days before my actual birthday…like I said, we tend to stretch out the celebrations to an inordinate degree around here :)).

chili chips and cheese casserole ingredients

I think this casserole would be great for a pot-luck, particularly if you made it a day ahead because it tastes even better after it’s been sitting in the fridge all night.

chili chips casserole completed

Probably not the healthiest thing you could ever eat, but also not the worst for you. The recipe says it’s gluten-free and with all those beans, it’s got to be high in fiber, right? So there’s that!

chili chips casserole leftovers_1

This is pretty much all that is ever left over.

FWIW, the recipe says there are all sorts of different ways you can make this casserole, and I’m sure that is true, but…the first time I made it, I used (1) 15 oz. can of black beans, (1) 8 oz. can of tomato sauce and (1) 14.5 oz. can of Amy’s brand Medium Chili, and this combo was so tasty, I have never bothered to change it. I think ONE time I tried it with a different kind of vegetarian chili and I just didn’t like it as much, so…these are the ingredients I normally stick with. I also like to use Kraft Triple Cheddar “Creamy Melt with a touch of Philadelphia cream cheese” in this, because it adds more tartness and pairs well with the sour cream (I think). Try it and see!

5) Craft beer

I’m not sure how Steve and I initially got into drinking craft beer, but it’s become sort of a hobby for us. We’ve been lucky enough to visit a ton of breweries around the state, as well as a few in other places.

Recently we went to Family Business Brewing Company in Dripping Springs, which is co-owned by Jensen and Danneel Ackles. The name is a nod to “Supernatural” – “Saving people, hunting things…the family business.” 😀

 

Their IPA, Cosmic Cowboy, was so good! I’m not into this craft beer stuff enough to know all the ins and outs about every different style, but I do know what I like and I am definitely an IPA fan. The hoppier and more bitter, the better IMO.

The day after the Family Business tour, we did a 5K at the Rentsch Brewery in Georgetown, and their beers were really good, too. (This is the Double Dry-Hopped IPA, which was pretty amazing). The race was fun — nice weather for it!

rentsch beer

Pic by Steve

 

6) Concerts with my husband

There was a time in my twenties when I remember being really burned out on going to concerts. I’m not sure why, but they just didn’t hold much appeal for me anymore. Then Steve and I started going to more and more live shows again, and now I love them.

John 5

Last month we went to see John 5…and I took this blurry photo of him.

We’ve been lucky enough to see tons of bands perform over the years. This past week we saw Mastodon. They’re hugely talented and put on a fantastic show. This was especially cool because we’d made plans to see them twice before and both of those shows had ended up being canceled. They said they hadn’t played here in two years! So, yeah…it was great to finally catch them again.

Mastodon

Much better pic of Mastodon by Steve

Okay, I think that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!

XOXO,

Elizabeth

 

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10212017 (General updates–plus a new book announcement!)

Since it’s been so long since I last updated, this is going to be a kind of long, rambl-y post…with lots of pictures :). I’ll do my best to keep it organized in some fashion, though.

Where to start?

The summer went by so fast!

Back in July Steve and I saw Matthew Sweet live. This was a dream come true for me and I sort of blubbered all through the show.

I know, how embarrassing :X.

I hadn’t expected to get that emotional but sheesh…so many of his songs just mean so much to me! Hearing them played live made me think about the past, and what a lonely and depressed teenager I was back then. It’s not an understatement to say music was one of the things that got me through those rough years, and some of Matthew Sweet’s albums in particular, helped me so much. So, yeah. That show was an a-m-a-z-i-n-g experience for me. I just wish the audience had been livelier. They just sat there–while I wanted to go nuts, lol :).

Matthew Sweet marquee

I also got to see Guns N Roses live again in September, in San Antonio. They put on a really great show, of course, and it was doubly wonderful because Steve and I were able to catch up with some old friends before the concert, too! Later in the month we saw The Descendents, one of Steve’s favorite bands, which was also a lot of fun.

In August, we continued with our 6pack 5K Beer Challenge and completed the course at the Southern Star Brewing Company in Conroe. This race benefited Toys for Tots. It was super fun, as all of these races have been. The breakfast tacos afterward were dee-licious, too!

Toward the end of August, Hurricane Harvey hit and everything went haywire. Or at least, that is what it sort of felt like down here in Houston! I’m thankful (very, very thankful) our home did not flood. We were without power for a couple of days, but that was it.

scrabble board

We played Scrabble by candlelight :).

It was heartbreaking to see so much damage all around us, though.

We have made some donations to relief charities and Steve and I will be raising money for the Houston Food Bank when we run the Aramco Houston Half Marathon for the tenth time this year. This is an organization that we have donated to and volunteered with many times in the past, and I think they are great. Here are some stats about their recovery efforts, from an email they sent me. (And if you’d like to read more about them and their ongoing work, please click here to go to their website!)

Houston is my home, it has a big piece of my heart, and I hope we can do at least a little something to help out around here.

karbach happy hour for hunger

A Rodeo Clown IPA from Karbach Brewing Co.’s “Happy Hour for Hunger” back in September — another fun event, and for a good cause!

At the same time, I know we are far from the only area to be devastated in one way or another, lately :(. There have been hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and that terrible shooting in Las Vegas, just to name a few.

I know bad things happen all the time but it really feels as though 2017 has been an especially tough year for a lot of people.

I’m not one to blog very much, either here or on social media, in general and honestly, lately it has been even harder for me to get motivated to do so. In the face of so much tragedy, what do you even say? Particularly when you are someone who spends a lot of her time writing (ostensibly) funny stuff. You can begin to question what you do, whether it is important at all, or a worthwhile contribution to the world. I think about this a lot anyway, but lately it has really been on my mind.

BUT…a couple weeks ago, Steve and I saw horror-comedy director Adam Green speak before a screening of Victor Crowley and he talked about this very topic. He said (and I’m totally paraphrasing here) that, in a way, it’s more important than ever to share a laugh together after something bad happens, because it reminds us that life isn’t all one thing.

There’s good and there’s bad, and getting our minds off the bad, even if it’s only for a short while, can be really helpful sometimes.

I think that makes sense. I know it’s true for me. A few years ago I had some health problems and was having to go to the doctor a lot, while they tried to determine what was wrong with me (it ended up being nothing too bad, thankfully). I was reading Meg Cabot’s Abandon series at the time and I remember being so grateful for the distraction. Her funny, happy books almost always put me in a good mood! I would love it if anything I wrote or did was ever able to lift someone’s spirits in a similar manner, even temporarily. That’s part of why I do what I do, to entertain and encourage, and it’s extremely humbling and fulfilling for me when someone does seem to get something worthwhile out of my work :).

So, um, I guess I’ll keep doing it. Particularly since I can’t seem to stop, anyway.

All of which leads me to…book news!

The Goodreads giveaway for The Real You ended on September 10th. There were almost 1500 entries all told, which is awesome! All of the books have long been packaged up and sent out, I just hadn’t gotten around to writing about it yet (big surprise). Thanks to everyone who entered! I had such a blast with this, I may just have to do another one again sometime soon ;).

And last but not least…I’ve written another thing.

a_very_merry_carreen_halloween_cover_v3

Adorable cover by Steve, once again :).

This is a short novella, about 33,000 words (130 pages) in length, and I hope to have it out soon. Very soon.

As in very, very soon.

You know, seeing as how it is set at Halloween and all..! 🙂

This story (which I’m so far referring to as a “Bonus Holiday Special”) takes place about 2+ years after the end of The Real You. It features Rourke, Dallas, and a bunch of other characters from The Real You, as well as Fear and Laundry and Fear and Laundry 2. I have no idea if anyone will be interested in reading this (and, really, that is true of everything I’ve ever written in my life), but I wrote it anyway because:

  • A) I like Rourke and Dallas, they wouldn’t leave my mind, and I wanted to write a little more about them.
  • B) I enjoy writing about holidays, and since Halloween is my favorite, I wanted to write a story set then.
  • C) And yeah, I wanted to put the characters in funny costumes and send them off to a haunted house :D. Why not, I ask you?

I hope at least some of y’all will check it out and get a kick out of it. I’ll post the release date as soon as I know what it is. (Edit: As of October 28th, 2017, A Very Merry Carreen Halloween is now available in the Amazon Kindle store :)).

‘Til then…thank you for reading this and take care, y’all!

With love and gratitude,

XOXO,

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Lots of travel, running, beer-drinking, and rock.

Just a quick update on what I’ve been doing with myself these past few months…:)

I’ve been fairly busy. Steve and I moved cities back in March and we’ve also been on several small trips, so it feels as though I’ve been “in transit” quite a lot this year.

In April we took a pretty big trip to Orlando, FL, to participate in the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge at Disney World. This was a 10K on Saturday followed by a half marathon on Sunday. We also did the 5K on Friday because…you know, that wasn’t enough running for us, apparently :). It was an, uh, interesting experience; one I’m not in a big hurry to have again, frankly! But I’m glad we went. We did have fun.

We flew to FL but drove back to TX afterward. Along the way, we stopped in New Orleans, LA because neither of us had ever been there before. That was interesting and fun, too. We had iced coffee and beignets at Café du Monde (not the super-popular one, but a different location in the city):

cafe du monde coffee and beignets

D-licious…although they kinda skimp on the powdered sugar, don’t they?! 😉

…and on our way out of the city, we made a detour to Oak Alley Plantation, where we took a guided tour of the house and self-guided tour of an exhibit about slavery. Part of the movie Interview with the Vampire was filmed here. The house and grounds were quite gorgeous!

We got back home just in time for my birthday. Steve took me to see PJ Harvey in concert and then the following weekend we went to Dallas for the Texas Frightmare Weekend horror convention, where we met E.G. Daily, Michael Berryman (got those two to sign our The Devil’s Rejects poster) and Dario Argento!(!!)

Steve and I are also doing this Texas 6-pack 5K beer challenge thing this year, where you participate in a bunch of races at different independent craft breweries around the state. Each race benefits a different local charity. We’ve completed five so far, in San Marcos, Goliad, San Antonio, Seven Points, and Katy. These events have all been super fun, even if coming back from Seven Points (about an hour outside Dallas), we got stuck in major traffic for hours :(! Boo!!

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This “Sittin’ Sidehaze” from No Label Brewing Co. has been one of my favorites we’ve tried so far. I had two! :O

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Although I was excited to finally try the “Brew of H,” too — being a UH alum and all :).

Earlier this month we saw At the Drive-In, Metallica, and Iron Maiden in concert (not all at the same time, though, ha). They were all awesome performances and I’m really grateful I got to see them. Metallica and Maiden both have super impressive visual effects and stage shows! If you get the chance to check them out, I highly recommend it!

I think that’s all the fun stuff for now. Aside from that, I have been doing the usual:  being a hermit, doing housework, reading and writing most of the day :). Luckily, these are my favorite ways to spend the time. I’ll post an update on some of the books I’ve finished reading soon. It feels as though there a ton of them. What have you guys been up to?! I hope you’re well. xoxo,

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