Vaginal Fantasy Book Club

I spoke last week about how Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy Book Club is the inspiration for the one I started with my friends. I wanted to talk more about Day’s book club this week.

Here’s a quick synopsis from the Vaginal Fantasy wiki page:

Started in January of 2012, The Vaginal Fantasy Book Club focuses on romantic fiction, usually with science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, or supernatural elements. The club centers around the monthly Google+ Hangout book discussion, the Goodreads group forums, and generous amounts of alcohol. In August of 2012, the Hangout moved from Felicia Day’s YouTube channel to its current home on Geek & Sundry.

Felicia Day coined the term “vaginal fantasy” when she first got a Kindle and could purchase “smutty” books without embarrassment. The name of the group was meant to be a tounge-in-cheek nod to the romance genre. By including the word “vaginal” in the name it was meant to demonstrate that the club would be unapologetically about female-centric novels in genres (sci-fi, fantasy, etc.) whose authors and central characters have been, until recently, overwhelmingly male.

Vaginal Fantasy strives to be intersectional and trans* inclusive, and as such wants to acknowledge that not all women have vaginas/not all who have vaginas are women. Everyone is welcome to participate. Please note, however, that due to the nature of the subject matter and sometimes graphic content, this book club is for mature audiences only.

I’ve been a subscriber to the Geek & Sundry YouTube channel for a long time now. Mr. LL and I love to watch Co-Optitude together, I used to watch The Guild (which is how I discovered Geek & Sundry), we of course LOVE Tabletop (I mean, have you seen my posts over at Part Time Monster?). I had seen the Vaginal Fantasy uploads, but they are over an hour long and I didn’t think Mr. LL would be into them (he gets a kick at listening to them as I watch and he plays Diablo 3). So, one day when Mr. LL wasn’t home and I had some time to kill, I watched one. I was hooked.

Up until this month, I’ve never read the current book. Mostly because I’ve been just watching old posts, so I didn’t even know what the current book was at any given time. However, this month, I decided to officially “join” the club. VFBC has two picks a month, a main pick and an alt pick. I only read the main pick.

They alternate between hosts to determine the books for each month. July’s books were picked by Bonnie Burton. The main pick, the one I read, was Greywalker by Kat Richardson.

I technically listened to this book. I got the audio book so I could listen to it at work and in the car, and not have it cut into my reading time for this month’s BB&B pick. I caught myself staying in my car for an extra 5-10 minutes just to keep listening. I couldn’t wait to get my headphones in at work and find out what happened next. I LOVED this book. You can check it out on GoodReads for a full description and reviews, but if you like mystery/detective stories that feature ghosts, witches, vampires (and I suspect a werewolf) then you should definitely pick up this book. VFBC is for romance genre books, and I didn’t find a whole lot of romance in this book. However, it is the first in a series so I suspect sexy times may happen in later books.

Also, I had an a bit of fan-girl moment on Twitter. I was talking about how much I loved the book and thanking Bonnie Burton for picking it and this happened:

Twitter

How cool is that?! I was so pumped about this interaction; and from what I’ve seen on the videos, all the lovely ladies in the VFBC are really good about interacting with the fans and folks who comment on the forums and ask questions during the Google+ Hangouts. So, in other words, they are awesome people.

I’ll be sharing their monthly picks as well as BB&B’s. I’ll also link to their videos when they post. I hope you enjoy them and will read along with me!

The way you carry it

LenaHorne

How do you deal with life? Having just gone through some tough times, well, still going through them, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Thinking back to how I personally handle life, good times and bad.

When life is presents me with “good” things, I am elated. Everything else seems small. I celebrate it, with food & drink mostly. Get a promotion? Let’s go out to dinner to celebrate! Landed a great freelance gig? Ice cream! Meet Mr. Right (or Mr. LL in my case ;) )? Drinks with friends! You get the picture. There are small events that make life seem wonderful too, and I make mental note to cherish those moments. Like last night, Mr. LL and I were walking his mother’s dog, Pierre, and we were having a good time and laughing while we talked to each other. It may seem small, but with all the issues going on in our lives lately, any moment when we can be relaxed and  just happy is a blessing. I made note of it as walked back home and said a silent prayer that it would last forever.

When life throws me the “bad”, I handle things…differently. Sometimes. Minor bad things get the food treatment. Since I associate food with celebrating “good” things, I think I use it as a way to comfort myself when little things go wrong. Car troubles, bad day at work, the general “blues” that happen–yeah, I’m going to be eating something delicious and comforting.

When life throws “the worst” at me, well that is another story. I can shut down. Literally. When I was young, and I suffered from depression and one of my go to things to do when I was feeling the end of the world around me was to hide in my closet. I still do that, I’m embarrassed to say. I just feel like if I can hide from the madness that is going on around or to me, maybe I can breathe for a moment. Most of the time, it doesn’t get to that point, but shutting down is a huge reflex I have towards “the worst”. I go numb. I can’t function on a most basic level. It can last for a few minutes to a few days.

I try to grow stronger with each instance of adversity life gives me. I strive to learn from not only the events I have no control over, but also any mistakes I made in handling them. But it’s hard. I know I make the same mistakes again and again. It gets even harder when you feel like you have to not only bear your load, but the loads of others.

Lately, I’ve just been trying to live each day on its own terms. If it is a good day, it feels like a great day. If it is a “meh” day, I teeter, waiting to see if it will be bad but living like it’s good. When it is a bad day, I try to not shut down and deal with the issues and problems I am dealt.

Age and experience has lead me down the path of calm observation when life throws the bad at me. I have my bouts of withdrawal, but we all need a moment to process what is going on. To react, absorb and comprehend what just happened and if there is anything in our power to fix it. Sometimes there isn’t and you just have to then figure out what you need to accept it.

But you can’t let it weigh you down. We all have to deal with the “bad” in life, though I’m sure it varies in degree. You can’t let the “bad” destroy any chance you have for the “good”. Letting the weight of adversity, anger, fear and self-doubt bare down you will only prevent you from looking up and seeing the “good” on the horizon.

Blog Award Catch-Up: Liebster Award and Versatile Blogger Award

Diana, over at Part Time Monster, played blog award catch-up this past week. That reminded me that I wanted to gather all my awards and put them on a page, a trophy  room if you will. When I was searching through my archives, I found this post that I started and never finished! How embarrassing! So, I’m finishing it up now.

BTW, I’m going to allow my ping-backs to work as my notifications. Also, if you are nominated and aren’t someone who does the blog award pass along thing, that’s totally cool with me. I enjoy your blog and want to share it with others. ALSO, a lot of these nominations were in this post when I first created it. If you were nominated for the Liebster and have now surpassed the 200th follower mark, sorry for the confusion and kudos to you!


Gene’O over at The Writing Catalog nominated me for the Liebster Award (::cough:: back in January ::cough::) and I’m just now getting around to accepting it. Thank you very much, Gene’O!

Diana at Part-Time Monster nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award (…in February) and thank you very much as well!

Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:

  • Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them.
  • Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them

NOMINEES FOR THE LIEBSTER AWARD: 

Goal of Losing

The Pink Mustache

Comparative Geeks

 


And here are the rules for the Versatile Blogger Award:

  • Display the award on your Blog.
  • Announce your win with a post and thank the Blogger who nominated you.
  • Present 15 deserving Bloggers with the award.
  • Link your nominees in the post and let them know of their nomination with a comment.
  • Post seven things about yourself.

NOMINEES FOR THE VERSATILE BLOGGER:

Rad Fat Vegan

Loikamania

The Things We Didn’t Buy

We Geek Girls

Urban Squeaks


NOMINEES FOR BOTH AWARDS:

Megan Does NOLA

Lady Geek Girl & friends

Lauren in Libraryland

Sarah Shotts Storytelling (blog)

Oh, Those Prestwiches

allison leighann

True Classics


Gene’O’s 10 questions. He asked what work of art/artist/character in each of the following categories do you recommend as worthy of attention today? (Doesn’t have to be your absolute favorite.)

  1. Novel or Long Poem, your choice: currently reading The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
  2. Non-Fiction Book: Bossypants by Tina Fey
  3. Author or Actor, your choice: Neil Gaiman
  4. Live-Action Film or Play, your choice: Go see a live performance of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing
  5. Animated Film or T.V. series, your choice: Adventure Time
  6. Visual Art: The paintings of Frida Kahlo
  7. Musical Genre: Bounce
  8. Band or Singer: David Bowie
  9. Superhero: She Hulk
  10. Currently-running television series: Game of Throwns

Here are my 10 Questions for the Liebster Award nominees:

  • What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
  • What book are you currently reading?
  • If you could have only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • What is your favorite table top game?
  • How do you feel about sloths?
  • Do you or a loved one have a food allergy?
  • What is your favorite font?
  • Recommend a comic book/novel.
  • Recommend a cartoon/TV show.
  • Do you have any pets?

Now, here are 7 facts about me for the Versatile Blogger award:

  1.  I zone out when a TV is on. If I’m watching a video of any kind, you will probably get frustrated if you try to have a conversation with me (just ask Mr. LL).
  2. I am a picky eater, but I’m getting better. I think.
  3. I am in denial about needing to get my wisdom teeth removed.
  4. I will have a room dedicated to gaming some day.r
  5. I’ve always wanted to have secret passages in my home. Thanks, A Secret Garden.
  6. Sleeping is my favorite hobby.
  7. I’m still nowhere near done with my loom scarf. :(

Follow Friday: Scathingly Brilliant

My new weekly post, Follow Friday, in which I share a blog that I personally subscribe to and I want to recommend to you!

This week, I am recommending Scathingly Brilliant! You may recall me mentioning this blog in an earlier post (I’m a winner). It is written by the lovely and talented Kate Gabrielle. She is an illustrator, online shop owner, and self-proclaimed crazy cat lady. She has the cutest outfits I’ve ever seen and I adore her blogs.

Kate Gabrielle via scathingly brilliant

Her blog is very heavy on the fashion/what I’m wearing type of posts. She was named ModCloth’s Blogger of the Moment in 2013. I love it when she shows us her room and all of its pink magical-ness. However, don’t think that she only posts OOTD posts; she has some really great pieces on her blog and I think you should give them and her a look!

I’ve gathered some of my favorite posts, and they are (I feel) representative of the great variety her blog has to offer.

A New Hope via scathingly brillaint (click the photo to go to the post)

How To Be A Happy Blogger via scathingly brillaint (click the photo to go to the post)

If You LIke It Then You Should Have Put A Coat of Paint On It via scathingly brillaint (click the photo to go to the post)

DIY Cat Toe Shoes via scathingly brillaint (click the photo to go to the post)

My Top 5 Storage Solutions for Small Spaces via scathingly brillaint (click the photo to go to the post)


Come back next week and I’ll have another blog for you to discover!

Too soon?

Here in New Orleans, we take costuming very seriously. So, no, to answer my own question, it is NOT too soon to start thinking about, planning and working on my Halloween costume(s).

My first idea is to do Baba Yaga.

I got this image and idea from Take Back Halloween. I love fairy tales and I love witches, and this one just feels right. Who is Baba Yaga? Well, from Take Back Halloween:

Baba Yaga is the legendary witch of Slavic folklore, especially Russian fairy tales. She lives on the edge of the forest in a hut that stands and moves on chicken legs. Baba Yaga herself fills the hut from end to end, stretched out on her stove with her nose growing into the ceiling. She travels through the air in a mortar, pushing herself along with a pestle and sweeping away her tracks with a broom. She also likes to eat people.

Overall I really like their take on the costume and their suggestions for putting it together.  However, I feel like I would add some kinda reference to the mortar and pestle. Also, I would lose the skulls around the shoulders. Instead, I might add something a bit more body part/organ to it. I don’t know.

I feel like this one wouldn’t be a huge hassle to pull off, I could get most of the items needed from my own closet or the thrift store. This would be my “work” costume, and I don’t know how many people would get it, thus hurting my chances in the costume contest. Also, I wonder if I can buy JUST chicken feet?

The Future of Meal Planning

I’ve talked before about my struggles with meal planning. Now, aside from making my own templates, I have also looked into the world of digital meal planning. Here are a couple of resources that I’ve found and tried.

The first online meal planner I ever used was courtesy of SparkPeople. SparkPeople is an online healthy-lifestyle community, focusing on helping people lose weight and develop healthy habits that are maintainable. While you can use their tools as just a work-out tracker and food diary, (like MyFitnessPal, which I love), they also have the option of letting them develop editable plans for you. You can use it for the exercise, but since I’m talking about meal planning, I’m focusing on that option.

Their meal planner lets you use their recipes and recommendations and will give you a grocery list for however many days you need. You can also go in and substitute items as you like. Say you don’t particularly care for mushrooms, so you click on the offending food and SparkPeople provides you with list of options to substitute that will still fill the nutritional benefit that mushrooms was going to do in that day’s meal plan. I used this set-up to help me get started with my weight loss back college. It really allowed me to relinquish some of the responsibility of trying to come up with the right things to eat, and it taught me what I should be eating (and how much) so that I could graduate to the point of making my own food choices.

However, over time, I found the constant need to input substitutions and limitations to recipes (their sister-site, SparkRecipes, has a TON of wonderful, healthy recipes, but the meal planner doesn’t access them) made the overall meal planner a bit clunky. Also, once Mr. LL joined my life, I found it even more frustrating that I couldn’t get the grocery list to give the quantities for TWO people. I know it’s not that much of a struggle to just multiply by two, but it’s the little things.

This is the icon for Meal Board

The next virtual meal planner I used was an app called Meal Board. It is $3.99 in the iTunes App Store. Boy oh boy. This app. Well, let’s get started.

First of all, this is clunky as hell to use on a mobile device. It is on my iPad, and it is just rough trying to type in recipes. However, you can use their website to enter your recipes, which I highly recommend and also how in the hell you are supposed to know about it is beyond me. I only discovered this by emailing and complaining to the developer. I had one recipe I was trying to enter, and EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. the app would crash on me. I emailed wanting a refund, but they just said to try using the website to enter the recipes while they worked on the problem (but they did say that if I really just wanted a refund, they would do that–I bought the app so it would help me though, so I was willing to give it another try).

I don’t know if they ever fixed the app. I kinda gave up on using it, but writing this post has inspired me to give it another whirl. I’ll just have to sit down and enter my 5 basic recipes on their website, then cloud sync it with my app.

In other words, it may actually be a while before I use it again.

The last meal planning tool I’m going to talk about is actually a blog. Once A Month Meals (or OAMM) is a wonderful blog (that I actually linked to in my last post about meal planning). Each month, the contributors put together a plethora of menus for its readers. Now, the premise of this blog is for people who like to do the whole cook a month’s worth of meals in one day and freeze them kinda lifestyle. It is something I long to do and I am envious of anyone with the freezer space/counter space to do so.

I feel they do a great job in covering the gambit of different diets and restrictions in their menus. Currently, you can pick from these menus: Traditional, Whole Foods (not the store), Diet, Baby food, Paleo, Gluten/Dairy Free and Vegetarian. They also post a mini menu every week, I believe, for those who don’t do the once a month thing.

Now, you might be asking, how is this anymore helpful than the other food and/or mommy blogs that post their own meal plans? Well, OAMM’s menus post with recipes at the start of each month, and that isn’t very different; but they also have a paid membership option that will allow you to download grocery lists AND adjust servings needed (take that SparkPeople!).

I, personally, haven’t purchased a membership for a couple of reasons. The first being that I am unable to do the Once-A-Month lifestyle. My apartment just doesn’t allow for it. Secondly, I am a picky eater and some months, the majority of their recipes do not appeal to me. I’m not as picky as I once was, but it rears its ugly head more often than I care to admit.

I also found this interesting article over at LifeHacker, about the “Five Best Meal Planning Apps” by Alan Henry. I think the Ziplist app looks like a winner.

Let me know what meal planning apps or tools you use.

[All of these opinions are my own, and I am in no way affiliated with any of these sites or products.]