Not Goodbye, Just See You Later

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Dear friends,

I know I’ve been miserable at posting in December, even after swearing to a posting schedule. I’ve just been busy at work, down with a cold, preoccupied with Christmas decorations and gifts and baking and cheer—you know how all the excuses go. And since failing to meet my NaNoWriMo deadline (or even come close, yet again), I’ve been feeling kind of lackluster about writing, blogging and otherwise.

So, after some deep thought, I’ve decided to take a semi-hiatus from this blog. I want to pen a novel, and to do that, I think I need to eliminate all other writing distractions. That goal will be one of only two resolutions for 2018, my 30th year. But it feels like a “big year,” the right time to hunker down and finally get this idea that’s in my head out onto the page. It might take a couple of months; it might take the entire year.

And my second resolution is also going to eat up a lot of time: running the New York City marathon in November 2018. It’s going to require a lot of training, much of which will be long runs to build up stamina and mental hardiness. I’ll also have to keep up with strength training and speed runs and do a few races to motivate myself. Eating and living healthily goes hand-in-hand with that, of course.

I’d like to still post every once in a while, to keep you in the loop on my progress/life, and to check in with all the dear friends I’ve made on this platform since I first started blogging. This isn’t full closure; it isn’t a goodbye. It’s more a see you later, see you soon—basically a “see you whenever I can spare a few minutes here or there to scratch out a quick update, recipe, or restaurant/book review.” I’ll also try to keep my Facebook page updated with short bursts, since that’s a bit easier than writing a full post.

In the meantime, thank you for your love, support, and willingness to read whatever I’ve written. Have a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of new years!!

xx
Chris

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Restart & Refresh

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I just finished taking a short, unannounced hiatus from blogging. I felt overwhelmed trying to figure out what to write about each week, plus it’s kind of crunch time at work right now as we finish up the January issue of O. Next week will be even busier, but this morning I realized that if I didn’t start writing again soon, I might never return. It’s so easy to let this passion project get swept aside to focus on things that need to be done—but sometimes it’s just as important and soul-affirming to focus on the things I want to do.

During my time away, I realized I need a better posting schedule to keep myself more accountable, rather than just blogging when I feel inspired. It’s the same tactic I’m taking with personal writing projects: I’ve decided to do National Novel Writing Month again this year and have set a word count goal for each week (today’s day 3: I’ve got 1,794 words so far and am going to need to do some catching up over the weekend). So, with that in mind, I’m going to try to post as follows: Mondays will be for miscellaneous thoughts, whatever random things are on my mind to kick off the week or a recap of what I’ve been up to over the weekend. Wednesdays will be for posts about books, writing, reading, philosophical musings. Fridays (starting next week) will be all about food: recipes, restaurant reviews, gardening progress, etc. And I’ll try to intersperse those with holiday blurbs, follow recommendations, and anything else that pops up that seems worthy of blogging about.

Of course, I might not end up sticking to that schedule, but I’ll at least try it out to see if it leads to more frequent posts, or even just more ideas. When one thing isn’t working, it always helps to experiment with something else. Hope you’ll all still follow along on this journey!

 

10 Literary Questions Tag

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I originally saw this post on Zeezee with Books, and since she’s so graciously tagged anyone interested in participating, I’ve decided to answer the ten questions as well. Without further ado, here we go!

1. What’s the most beautiful cover on your shelf?

I love so many of them, especially given that I picked up many of these books because I was first attracted to their cover. Right now the one that satisfies me most is Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen: the glow of the lanterns, the hint of darkness and mystery in the shadows and the stream. It helps that I really enjoyed the novel (I gave it five stars on Goodreads), though I generally like books by this author.

 

2. If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would it be?

Jo March from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. I always admired her no-nonsense attitude and her writerly dedication, and I’ve long thought we’d be best friends if I met her in the real world. We have similar goals, and strikingly similar moral values, and I’d be interested to meet the character that Alcott most modeled on herself.

3. If you could interview an author, whom would you choose?

Tim O’Brien. I did interview him once, several years ago, for amNewYork newspaper, and one of the things he said has always stuck with me: Read like a writer. Find the passages and characters that move you, and then think about why. I wish I’d had smarter questions for him at the time, and I’d love the chance to ask them now.

4. Which book would you not read again?

More than I’d care to admit. One recent one I really couldn’t stand was The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. And in general I stay away from biographies (unless it’s about Hemingway, of course. In that case I’ve read at least three of them).

5. Can you name a confusing story?

IQ84 by Haruki Murakami. I admire his writing and generally enjoy his books, but this one took a lot of effort to keep track of the story and figure out what was happening.

6. Your favorite fictional couple?

Definitely Crystal and the character of Death in Tanya Huff’s Wizard of the Grove series. It’s so unique but also feels so natural, and I’ve always loved the idea of Death as a character with human emotions. Plus, this is one of my favorite books, and since childhood I’ve probably read it at least five times.

7. Two favorite villains?

I love the Gavin/Dazen characters in Brent Weeks’s Lightbringer series because you’re never sure which one’s the villain and which one’s the hero. Does that count as two? Because I can’t think of another right now.

8. A character you would kill or remove from a book entirely?

Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby because I’ve always wanted Daisy and Jay to end up together. But I realize that would pretty much make the whole story a moot point, and anyway, Daisy would probably still end up choosing some other rich bloke over Gatsby, so what’s the point really?

9. If you could live in a fictional world, where would you choose?

Krynn, the robust world in Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman’s Dragonlance series (but before the fifth age of mortals comes around). It’s the first fantasy universe I really immersed myself in, and I still like to go back there from time to time to say hello to old friends and learn from these two masters of the genre.

10. What are the biggest and smallest books on your shelf?

I’m sure I’m missing some, but Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee must be one of the smallest. And as for longest, it’s probably the Hungarian-English dictionary I lugged back from Budapest with me.

BONUS QUESTIONS
(I’ve added these myself, and hope those I’ve tagged will answer them as well)

*Which book could you read a hundred times and not get tired of?

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I’m perpetually amazed at how well the whodunit is constructed.

*If you could only recommend one book from all your shelves to a friend, which would it be?

A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Throughout the years (starting in high school, when I found a way to use it as an example in nearly every AP English Lit & Language essay I wrote), it’s meant so many different things to me, and I’d hope someone else could find meaning in it too.

Who do you tag?

Anyone is welcome to participate in the tag, but I especially tag A Bibliophile’s Obsession, The Tattooed Book Geek, Critquing Chemist, and my friend Bill at Harmony Books & Film.

 

My 29th Birthday… Sort Of

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It was my sort-of birthday this weekend: Technically I was born on February 29, the extra day in a leap year, but since there isn’t one this year, I guess I can celebrate whenever I want! Everyone was so good to me. Todd’s parents bought me the rainbow cookie cake I’m posing with in the slideshow above, and my parents got me some cute cupcake balloons and took the family out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. And everyone gave me wonderful cards and gifts! I’m so thankful to have such awesome people in my life.

I know I haven’t updated this blog in a few weeks; it’s been tough to juggle work, household chores, errands, and hangouts. And when I do have some time, I’m not too sure what to write about. But now that I’m (almost, sort of) 29, I’ll try to be more responsible and do better haha. I also hope to really make progress on my New Year’s resolutions between now and my next birthday, as well as train for the 2018 New York City marathon. But I also hope to find more time for the people who make my life as meaningful as it is: all of my family and friends, and my fellow bloggers and online amigos who push me to do better, be better, and live better.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what your favorite blog posts have been, and what you’d like to see more of going forward so that I can brainstorm some ideas. And, as always, thank you so much for your continued readership and support!!! xo

Blogger Secret Santa

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This year I had the chance to participate in a really awesome blogger Secret Santa exchange, hosted by the women behind Classy Cathleen and Living the Gray Life. I couldn’t wait for my Secret Santa gift to arrive, and when it did, I was so happy with what I received from Kristine, a college student who posts great advice and tidbits about her life at My Little Box of Tricks. Thank you, Kristine!!

I opened the box to see this really pretty and sweet card (the tissue paper was much neater; this was after I tried to re-create it, following my tearing open the box and rummaging through it):

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She got me sour candy! Yum! So excited I had to take a picture with it even though it was morning and I looked like a sleepy mess 🙂

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Along with the candy, I received some cookie cutters (perfect!) and a really gorgeous journal with pages that shine on the sides:

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I even used the cookie cutters today when baking my grandma’s Hungarian honey cookies!

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I definitely want to do the blogger Secret Santa again next year, and maybe some of you can join, too. And now…onto Christmas gifts!

A Reminder to Give Thanks

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It’s been just over one week since Thanksgiving, and I’ve spent the week trying to truly hold on to the gratitude I felt on that day. It’s always so easy on a holiday, with no work and the prospect of delicious meals and family time, to feel thankful for the things and people in our lives. It’s a lot harder after the fact, when we’re too full and back to the daily grind. I want to be appreciative more often, if I can. We only get one life in which to show people they matter to us, and I want to use mine. I hope you’ll join me in this quest: to be thankful every day in December leading up to Christmas and the New Year. I’m going to start trying to post to my twitter account each day with the hashtag #ThankfulDecember to remind myself that no matter how cold it is outside or how hectic it is at work, there’s always something to be grateful for. I’d love it if you could post, too, and we can help inspire each other!

 

 

Forming New Relationships through Blogging (and Facebook)

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I’m so thankful to everyone who has followed or liked a post on this blog so far. In an effort to connect with more readers and create even more meaningful relationships, I’ve decided to try something new and create a Pineapple Sage Facebook page, where I can share additional photos, news clips, or some shorter updates that don’t quite warrant the status of a full blog post.

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