Why You Should Have a Writer’s Notebook

Hello, everybody!

I’m back from “vacation”! Don’t know if you can call it that. It was more of like a break from school and work… but not people. I need a break from people. 😛 I also lost two (my only two!) pocket knives at the airport. 😥 I got through just fine when we were passing through the first time! And it wasn’t like I was going to use it on people, geeze! I crochet. I need something to cut the yarn with!

Anyway, concerning the statement above. Why should you have a writer’s notebook? What is a writer’s notebook? What’s so important about it?

I’ll tell you.

What is a writer’s notebook? A writer’s notebook is a little journal in which you jot down all the names, ideas, plot twists, fancy words you like, etc. in.

What’s so important about it? It helps if you’re writing and need some names, but can’t think of any. You just flip to your “names” section, and voila! A ton of names right at your fingertips! Yeah, you could check baby name sites, but seriously, this little book is better. You just had a brilliant idea about some new novel idea? Jot it down quick! Label it as “plot bunny” and come back to it when you’re ready to write!

How do you organize your notebook? I have four tabs. You can get them cheap at Best Buy or Walmart or whatever. I have it labeled “Ideas,” “Names,” “Words,” and “Misc.”

This is what it looks like. Beautiful purple color.

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I held it on its side so you can see the tabs (sorry for the horrible quality! My computer isn’t a Nikon!),

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It has a nice little folder in the back for keeping loose pieces of paper!

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And here’s a sample of the names section. 🙂

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I don’t know what I’d do without my notebook! Every writer should have one, in my humble opinion. You’ve got names, awesome words (with definitions), a place to store ideas (and write down ALL the ideas. You never know when you’ll need one!), and a place to keep random stuff not pertaining to writing.

So yeah. Go out, invest in a nice purple (or other color…) leather notebook and pen you’ll love to write with (mine is a recycled pen!), and start writing things down! 😀

God bless!

Rana

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The 10 Stupidest Things You Can Say To A Depressed Person

This is so true. And the sad thing is, if you’re depressed and try to get help (I don’t know about professionally, but if you ask someone you know), this is pretty much all they say. With the exception of #6, I’ve heard everything on that list.

Also, concerning #7: It’s like saying, “You can’t be happy because there are people happier than you.” What kind of logic is that, hm?

God bless!
Rana

Through Purple Lenses

A friend of mine posted a link to this article on facebook.  Worth a read.  Here’s the link in case you despise my purple background and would prefer a white one (Hater. :P)  I’ve edited the mild language out.

The 10 Stupidest Things You Can Say To A Depressed Person

SEP. 20, 2013

1. “Just go outside more!”

Right, because going outside is the easiest part of any depressed person’s day, and the only thing stopping them from going for a light frolic through the local park is the fact that no one has told them how awesome it was! The thing is, a huge part of depression is not being able to navigate the world in the way you used to, and there is a good chance that they are trying desperately just to make it out to get basic food supplies if they are at a…

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Sweaters, Fireplaces, Scottish Festivals, and Jiffy Pop

‘Ello, people!

Just a quick post to announce that I will be vacationing in New England for the week! I might be able to get in some posts and pix, but no promises. 😉

I always look forward to cooler weather because, where I live, we don’t get snow. Just maybe a few weeks of sweater-worthy weather. Nothing fancy. 😛

See y’all later! 😀

EDIT: Pope Francis is requesting another pray for peace day. I hope you participate! 🙂

God bless!

Rana

 

 

“Ha ha, I thought; and, after some reflection, tee hee.”

This is brilliant. Seriously. I stink when it comes to humor, so hopefully this will help out some others like me. 🙂

God bless!
Rana

{wishful thinking}

tumblr_mgu38e5MLg1s3g657o1_400I was asked if I had any tips for writing humor. Most of you know by now that I can’t not write humor into my stories. If a book or movie or TV show has no humor, I don’t like it. Simple as that.  Therefore, even my darker books like Acceso have a pervading sense of humor. In fact, each novel has a different Kind of humor, and this is very important. You want your books to have your style, but to sound different, to be themselves. Acceso‘s humor is sharp and uncomfortable. This Mortal Coil’s humor tends to be darkly sarcastic, but there’s a lot of it. The Meaning of Always has a joking, playful sense of humor. Paper Crowns…well, the book is half-comedy. Even Monster has funny moments to lighten the mood.

Now, since obviously I can’t tell you how to have a sense of humor…

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Autumn

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

Albert Camus

I don’t know who that guy is, but I agree with him.

Autumn is a beautiful season where the weather is not too hot, not too cold, and allows you to pull out those comfy, fuzzy sweaters you’ve been missing all year as well as that pair of cute boots you’ve stored away since it became too hot to wear them comfortably.

Because Autumn is a gorgeous time of year, Mom’s decided it’s time to decorate the house!

I took pictures. Because taking pictures are fun.

Without further ado, here they are, my lovely readers!

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This is the mess we started out with.

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And then we did the coffee table. Did I mention we had a pet bunny? Yeah, it’s sort of like a pet rock…

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This is part of the living room.

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Can you tell my mom is a candle person?

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I’m not really sure what this is… but it’s pretty, isn’t it?

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Not only are we candle people, but we’re also HEALTHY candle people! Notice the bottle of vitamins on the unused marble cutting board we got as a Christmas gift one year. Oh yeah! We’re also tea people. Well, I am anyway. 😛 My favs are vanilla, vanilla chai, and pumpkin spice! We also have some herb tea stuff but it’s nothing you can buy at the store. 😉

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A gorgeous shot of of a window! 😛

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The table is all ready for fall!

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Ah, don’t do you just love fake plants? No watering, no tilling of the soil… they just… look nice.

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This is something my dad made (he’s very talented, as you can see). Yes, we were listening to Proof of Your Love by For KING and COUNTRY. Yes, we have Roku. And yes, we love books. And candles.

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The grandfather clock. (Wow, I thought “the Godfather clock” and was like, “Wait! That can’t be right.” You just read that in an Yzma voice, didn’t you?)

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Next, I headed outside to get some nature shots. ^_^

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Roses are beautiful. Even dying ones. There’s just something about them… They age with dignity, I guess.

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And it’s not like they’re jealous of the young roses either…

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I love the lighting in this picture… and the raindrops on the petals…

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Daisies are beautiful too!

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We’ve got quite a few oak trees around our place!

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This is a side shot of the house. Our lanai has glass windows all around. Isn’t that just dreamy?!

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Le driveway.

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Ma petite chat. (Sorry! Don’t know what’s up with the French!)

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Poinsettias are pretty flowers!

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I don’t know what these are, but they were purple and pretty, so I shot them (with a camera, of course!).

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Oh, look! Another purple thing! Except I know what this is! It’s a flower! Not sure what kind though. 😛

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And here’s a yellow one!

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This is a bird thing that I didn’t know was here until I started taking pictures of the flowers!

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The barn is on the left there behind the house. But this is mainly a shot of overgrown foliage that’s blocking the walkway around the oak tree in front of our kitchen window. 😛

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Gorgeous shot of a barbed wire fence, don’t you think? 😉

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Another shot of the driveway. I know, I know. We have a gorgeous driveway. *cries tears brought by the overwhelming sense of beauty*

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Some bushes.

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The other side of the driveway. It’s like a U-turn one.

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Alrighty! I hope you all enjoyed that because it took me forever to upload the pictures and stuff. 😛

God bless!

Rana

Ingrid and Characterization

In this post, I’ll share with you a WIP (not by me) and some more on characterization. If you stick around, I’ll have a character form you can use to create more in-depth charries! 🙂

Okay, so here’s a quick bit on a WIP project that captured me (I have a weakness for beautiful music and good stories, okay?) and that I’d like to share with you, as well as encourage you to pitch in and help these guys out. They’ve put a ton of effort into their novel and would like to share their talents with the world.

They’ve even created their own artwork and soundtrack! Tell me that’s not the coolest thing ever.

The music is GORGEOUS, the artwork is FABULOUS, and, from what the synopsis says, it’s bound to be an amazing story!

Click here for more detail on Ingrid: Timeless Tale.

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cd

Now for characterization!

I know I reblogged Mirriam’s post on creating in depth characters the other day, but now I’d like to elaborate on that for just a bit. 🙂

Again, I’m not an expert. I don’t claim to be. I’m just trying to convey the lessons I’ve learned throughout the past couple of years and hoping it’ll help someone out.

When I first started writing, I was a bit frustrated with the characters. I wanted them to be like the ones in good books. You know? Where they jump off the page and come to life in your head. Where they’re so amazing and real that you want to want to dive into their world and go on adventures with them.

My characters weren’t like that. They were flat and boring.

And it drove me nuts.

So, how do you create characters that are real, people will like, and are fun to work with?

Well, first off: it takes practice. Just like you’re not going to be the best writer when you first start to write (unless you’re the exception – there always is one, you know), your charries won’t work out perfectly first time off the bat. So, if you’re just starting to write, I wouldn’t worry too much.

Second, you should know everything (okay, not everything. But a lot!) you can about your character. And here’s something that can help with that! It definitely helped me out when I was writing my first novel. Characterization forms. Fill it out! You’ll learn a TON about your babies (every writer calls them their babies, right?)! I’ll include one at the bottom of this post and then some links to a few more. 🙂

Finally, just give it time. As you write, you’ll learn more about your charries, and the novel itself. If things don’t work out first time around, just plow through. It’ll get better. 😉

Okay, so I know I’m not genius, but there’s my $0.02.

Something else that might help is analyzing other characters from t.v. shows, films, books, etc. We’ll check out a few below.

1) Merlin

 My family enjoys watching BBC’s twist on the classic tales of King Arthur! When I was about 10 years old, I’d get King Arthur books HUNDREDS of pages long! They were maybe three inches thick. I loved Sir Kay. ^_^ I wonder why they didn’t have him in BBC’s edition…

Oh well! Moving on!

Merlin is about, oh, I’d say maybe 20ish? He’s brilliant, and he’s got magic. What’s wrong with that? Well, magic is outlawed by Uther (who should be dead, but we won’t go into the traditional Arthurian legends) and Merlin is Arthur’s servant. If anyone found out that Merlin had magic and turned him in, he’d be burned to death.

He’s witty, but pretends to be stupid for Arthur’s sake (because, ya know, he’s got a destiny to protect Arthur. He can’t do that if he’s dead) and pretends to be just a humble servant, when, in reality, he’s genius, saves Arthur’s life countless times (without the prince knowing it, of course), and is probably the most powerful person in the kingdom.

So, let’s step back a bit and ask ourselves some questions.

1) What personality traits define Merlin?

2) Does he have any strange quirks?

3) What does he like to do in his free time?

4) Does he enjoy serving Arthur and pretending to be an idiot?

5) What does he suffer as a result of having magic, but having to stay undercover in the heart of Camelot?

6) What does he look like?

These are the sorts of questions we should be asking ourselves as we develop our characters. Let’s take a look at two more characters. Can you guess which ones they’ll be? *wink wink, nudge nudge*

2) John Watson

Yeah. I go off on Sherlock so much that I think Watson needs a turn in the spotlight. 😉

 John Watson was a soldier. He was also a doctor. By just knowing these two facts, we already know a TON about this guy. He’s got to be tough, brave, great at thinking on the spot, and his brain most likely thinks strategically.

Watson is Sherlock’s assistant and friend. He’s prone to getting very frustrated at times due to Sherlock’s sociopathic personality, but he stays with him.

What can we tell about this? Why would he put up with heads in the fridge, eyeballs in the microwave, and who knows what else lying around the house?

He’s faithful.

Knowing he’s a doctor tells us that he’s very smart, knows how to handle tough situations without freaking out, and that he can handle blood.

Knowing he’s a soldier tells us that he can kill people and he can handle himself pretty darn well if it came to a fight.

Okay, but what else? He’s haunted by memories of war. He’s gone through a lot, experience a lot, and had his own adventure. Now, he’s back to living life as a normal person and nothing’s happening. He misses the excitement, the adrenaline coursing through his veins, and the sense that he was doing something worthwhile and heroic as opposed to just eating, sleeping, and doing nothing all day long.

Now for some questions:

1) What’s he look like?

2) What’s his personality like?

3) How does his mind work (e.g. strategically and thinking on his feet or ‘how would this make so-and-so feel if I did this?’)

4) What happens to him as a result of missing his exciting life?

And finally, we’ll analyze a superhero. Batman. Yeah… I have a Batman t-shirt. :3

3) Batman

 I chose Batman (a.k.a. Bruce Wayne) because he’s a bit different from Merlin and Watson. He leads a double life. So there’s more layers, so to speak, to pull away.

Bruce’s parents die and leave him orphaned. His father was a good man and taught his son to be a good man as well. Bruce sets off to learn how to fight evil and restore peace and justice. What he learns, though, is that people can kill people, but they can’t destroy and ideal. I thought that was such a neat concept!

Fox and Alfred aid Bruce in creating that ideal, that image which cannot be destroyed: the Batman.

Okay. So, Bruce is a billionaire. He’s a good man. He seeks to fight corruption and restore good to Gotham. He puts himself at risk to achieve his goal. What does this tell us? He believes that justice is worth dying for. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t put himself in danger to restore those ideals to the his city.

So here’s what questions we can ask about Batman/Bruce:

1) What does he value so highly that he would be willing to die for it?

2) How does he cope with leading a double life?

3) Does one life have an effect on the other? How so?

4) How does Bruce combat evil?

5) Why would he choose to fight himself as opposed to letting someone else fight in his place?

Does this sort of make sense? If not, let me know in the comments and I’ll do another post. 🙂

And now, for the characterization form!! *drumroll*

Disclaimer: I did not create this myself. I found it here

And even though some of these questions may be silly, it helps you to understand your charries more. 🙂 The secret is to know them inside and out. (And even then they’ll still surprise you. 😉 ) Writing isn’t easy. Just remember that. 😉

Character Name:

 

Age:

 

Appearance:

 

  1. What do you know about this character that s/he doesn’t know yet?
  2. What is this character’s greatest flaw?
  3. What do you know about this character that s/he would never admit?
  4. What is this character’s greatest asset?
  5. If this character could choose a different identity, who would s/he be?
  6. What music does this character sing to when no one else is around?
  7. In what or whom does this character have the greatest faith?
  8. What is this character’s favorite movie?
  9. Does this character have a favorite article of clothing? Favorite shoes?
  10. Does this character have a vice? Name it.
  11. Name this character’s favorite person (living or dead).
  12. What is this character’s secret wish?
  13. What is this character’s proudest achievement?
  14. Describe this character’s most embarrassing moment.
  15. What is this character’s deepest regret?
  16. What is this character’s greatest fear?
  17. Describe this character’s most devastating moment.
  18. What is this character’s greatest achievement?
  19. What is this character’s greatest hope?
  20. Does this character have an obsession? Name it.
  21. What is this character’s greatest disappointment?
  22. What is this character’s worst nightmare?
  23. Whom does this character most wish to please? Why?
  24. Describe this character’s mother.
  25. Describe this character’s father.
  26. If s/he had to choose, which whom would this character prefer to live?
  27. Where does this character fall in birth order? What effect does this have?
  28. Describe this character’s siblings or other close relatives.
  29. Describe this character’s bedroom. Include three cherished items.
  30. What is this character’s birth date?
  31. If this character had to live in seclusion for six months, what six items would s/he bring?
  32. What makes this character angry?
  33. What calms this character?
  34. Describe a recurring dream or nightmare this character might have.
  35. List the choices (not circumstances) that led this character to his or her predicament.
  36. List the circumstances over which this character has no control.
  37. What wakes this character in the middle of the night?
  38. How would a stranger describe this character?
  39. What does this character resolve to do differently every morning?
  40. Who depends on this character? Why?
  41. If this character knew s/he had exactly one month to live, what would s/he do?
  42. How would a dear friend or relative describe this character?
  43. What is this character’s most noticeable physical attribute?
  44. What is this character hiding from him/herself?
  45. Write one additional thing about your character.

God bless!

Rana

The breath of life

Yeah, yeah. I know I’m reblogging a TON! But I promise to come up with my own soon! 😉

Here are my (probably unwanted) thoughts on this post: I think character development comes with time. Don’t freak if the charries come out flat at first. It’s okay. It’ll get better. 😉 Try some character development (CD) forms and fill those out so you can figure some stuff out. Also, try looking for their faces (yes, I’m giving you an excuse to go on Pinterest :P). I’ll have a CD chart tomorrow. 😀

God bless!
Rana

{wishful thinking}

138556126006025712_zcf6FiFK_cSo a few people have asked me recently how they can make their characters ‘come alive.’ They say their characters are flat and two-dimensional, that they can’t seem to make them do what they’re supposed to.

Well, there’s your problem. You can’t make your characters do what you want them to. I think too often writers look at their characters the way a tyrant or a despot looks at those under his rule, whether they mean to or not. They think a character is completely theirs, an automaton that does whatever they tell it to.

This is completely wrong. Tolkien once said that we, as the created, have the right to create ourselves, and he was right. God gave us the ability to create, but so often we mess up. We aren’t supposed to be tyrannical writers, forcing our characters into molds they don’t fit. As the creators of our…

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Victory Through Tragedy

This is so eloqently put, that I have nothing further to add other than God bless America. ❤
Rana

adoptingjames

2013-08-19-Baker_911_1

On this particularly difficult day in America, I’d like for us to take a moment and pray for those who were directly affected by the 9/11 terror attacks twelve years ago.

Pray for their hearts, wounded and salted by this anniversary.

Pray for their courage as they seek a nearly unreachable forgiveness.

Pray for their kids whose questions grow more difficult each day.

Pray for their parents who may have only known the love of one child.

Pray for their hands, that they allow others to reach for them in grace.

Pray for their souls, that they would be open to receiving the love of God in their lives.

Pray for their souls some more, that they would be able to discern the works of Jesus versus the works of man.

Pray for their souls yet some more, that they would hear the voice of God calling out to them…

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introducing national suicide prevention week

Good post on National Suicide Prevention Week. I love you all, k? And I pray for you every day. ❤

You cannot be replaced. ❤

God bless!
Rana

Through Purple Lenses

1185243_10151558651526957_753643152_nToday is World Suicide Prevention Day.  This week is National Suicide Prevention Week.  To honor those who have lost their live or loved ones to suicide, we will be taking a step back from Alex’s letters and instead focus on the issue slapped in our face this week.

What is National Suicide Prevention Week?  Our friends at TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms) can explain.  Two days ago they wrote:
“Today, September 8, marks the start of 2013’s National Suicide Prevention Week. It’s a time for organizations, communities, and individuals to come together in the name of those we’ve lost and those who’ve been affected by the reality of suicide. The vision is that this is a battle we won’t always have to fight. However, recent numbers show that, within the developed world, suicide is the leading cause of death among people ages 15- 49, greater even than cancer…

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What’s for Lunch?

Cold turkey!

Okay, not really. Or maybe. Depending on what your mom (or your) made for lunch. 😛 I had a weird pizza. Mom put tomato sauce and cheese on flat foccacia bread. -_- But I made a HEALTHY PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE! All right. So, I just made the syrup. BUT WILL BE A LATTE! I’ll give you the recipe in a bit. 😉

Anyway, I was sitting around wondering what to post on next. I feel like I’m not great at writing  yet and so I need a few more years before I can actually start to give advice. I don’t pretend  that I know everything. I know a little bit and I’ll gladly share information on what I’ve learned  throughout the years, what I’ve observed, and what I’ve learned by reading others’ writings. I,  by no means, am an expert, nor do I claim to be.

However, I don’t need to be at that level to know that all writers – even expert ones – are also  experts on procrastination.

So, I’ve done a little research to help you out a bit! 🙂

1) Get Cold Turkey is a website where you can download something that will block whatever sites are distracting you. For example, it can block Facebook, Pinterest, and that food blog you’ve been frequenting for five minutes.

2) I don’t know about you, but I tend to tire of something quickly if I take too long to do it. So, just sit down, grab your earphones, and play some music while you write up a lousy first draft. It doesn’t matter how horrible it is, just write.

3) Music. Yeah… I love music. But the thing is, it’s distracting. 😛 So, Mirriam Neal kindly gave me a wonderful list of Korean music (the majority of the lyrics are in Korean, so I don’t need to worry about getting distracted by English lyrics)! 😀 Yeah, my new favorite band is Exo. 😛 Check out Black Pearl, Let Out the Beast, Growl, and Howl. 😛 So grab some music with a language you don’t understand and listen to that instead. xD

4) Set goals and set a timer. They will help keep you to it, hopefully. 😛

5) Readers. Oh my word, if it weren’t for my (few) reader(s), I don’t think I’d be writing at all. Una helps me out so much. ❤

6) Write something you really want people to read. When you have a message to spread, you wanna get it out there.

7) I know it’s easier said than done, but seriously. Just sit down and do it. 😛 I find it’s easier to write at night. If that’s something you’re able/allowed to do, go for it! I’m not. But whatevs. 😛

I really hope that helps.

Is there anything I’m missing? What helps you beat procrastination?

And here’s the Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe I promised you. 😉

God bless!

Rana