ready to rise from the ashes

Another crazy, busy year is hours away from ending (or has already ended, depending on where you are on the globe). In some ways, it feels like the past year has flown by, but in others, when I think back to some of the big decisions I made this year (like not returning to my full time position at Harlequin, or moving our family not only to a new house, but a new community), it feels as though they happened in another lifetime.

But the point of this post is not to reminisce, it's to look ahead--and there's so much great stuff to look forward to in 2016! I'm excited to announce this blog/website is on the move! In the coming weeks, I'll be migrating everything over to a brand new, sleeker, redesigned site, which will mark the beginning of a new era in what I want this space to be. As Baby H gets older, and I find myself in a position to give my writing career more of myself than ever before, I'm ready to jump back into this blog with some new features and some old favourites (admit it--you know you've missed my Friday5 posts). I have an idea for an interactive writing feature that I'm really hoping some of you will help me out with, whether you consider yourself a writer or not. We're all storytellers by nature and I'd love to see that side of anyone who's willing to go on a little adventure with me. I want this site to take on more of a community vibe if possible, but I need your help to do that. Yes, you in the back wearing the gorgeous ugly Christmas sweater! More details to come on that--and a few other features I have in mind. I can't wait to launch the new site and dive in!

As for my current WIP, which I kickstarted in November during NaNoWriMo, I'm also really looking forward to diving back into it after an extended break for the holidays. Hopefully I'll be in a position to share some bits and pieces of that with you as well. It's straight-up YA contemporary romance, and it's pretty swoon-worthy if I do say so myself ;)

I don't want this post to ramble on, so I'll keep it at that for now, but I wanted to write and say hi!, happy near year!, and let you know about the exciting things I have brewing for 2016. More details to come very soon!

Wishing each and every one of you all a peaceful, healthy, and truly joyful new year!

plans, both master and fledgling

Photo credit:

I don't really believe in New Year's resolutions--at least not in the traditional, eat whatever you want in December cause the diet starts in January sense. I think they set us up to fail more often than not. And who needs to start the year off feeling like they've failed before the snow even melts? Part of the problem with sudden, all-in resolutions is that most people can't make real changes in their lives simply because some (kinda arbitrary) date rolls around. We don't switch on like that.

With that in mind, I do understand the appeal in using the new year to set goals. I just think it's wise to keep some perspective. If you use the new year to organize the goals you've already been thinking about and working toward, you'll be more likely to accomplish something.

I have some baby weight to lose, but realistically, I'm not going to join a gym. First off, I hate gyms. But even if I didn't, I don't have time for them in my life. So what then? Am I going to get up and go for a run every morning? In an ideal world, I would. But no, it's freezing cold winter. And I have a nursing baby at home. It's not realistic. So then what about eating healthier? That's something I can do. But it would be ridiculous to pledge to eat only healthy food from here on out. Diets like that always fail. I know that. And I enjoy unhealthy foods too much to do that. So instead, I'm taking small steps to work toward eating healthier on a regular basis. Less takeout, more home-cooked meals. I love cooking and now that Baby H is sleeping more, I have a lot more capacity to manage it. So as far as that goes, I resolve to take the baby steps I need to take to start eating more healthy, home-cooked meals on a regular basis. I know for me, the key to doing that is actually quite simple--I need to make a meal plan for every week, one that allows for occasional takeout meals and treats, but primarily focusses on eating healthy, home-cooked meals and ensuring I have the ingredients on hand to do so. It isn't a huge change. It doesn't require a ton of effort like going to the gym or forcing myself to count calories would. But it's enough of a change that over time, it'll start to make a difference. And that's good enough for me.

I've talked about the usefulness of getting organized while writing before and I can't help but make the comparison now. Life changes, like writing books, aren't sprints. They take time. We need to prep our brains for them, ease into them. Sometimes we're super keen (daily word count surpassed!) and sometimes we're lagging (feeling uninspired and Netflixy, which yes, I've decided is an adjective), but the key is to keep going at a pace we can manage. That's not to say you shouldn't push yourself from time to time. Realistically, I may only finish writing one book in 2015, but that doesn't mean I won't try to write two, maybe even three. I just won't set that as a hard, punish myself if I don't achieve it goal. It's an ambition, not a resolution.

So what other plans do I have for 2015? Well, aside from meal planning and writing (cause, of course there will be writing!), I am going to keep going on a goal I started a few years back (with the birth of Baby E), slowly cleansing our home of chemical products and unnecessary clutter. I recently discovered an awesome organic grocery store nearby and I plan to start buying more produce and other products from there (knowing I'll still rely on my old grocery store for a lot of things), and while I've removed almost all chemical cleaners/detergents/etc from our home, I still have some work to do with regards to switching to better personal care products, make-up, etc.

So yeah, those are my goals for the year--well, those and keeping my family healthy and happy. But that's just business as usual :)

What are your goals for 2015? Do you like to make hard and fast resolutions or do you prefer to use this time of year for more achievable planning?

If you're like me and want to make some changes to the products you use in your home, I highly recommend you check out the products you're currently using via the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep searchable database. I've been using it to chose better products for a few months now and it's really making a difference.

Happy New Year!!

two zero one four

Happy New Year! Okay, yeah, we're kinda at that point in the month where you're not really supposed to be saying that anymore, but hey, I want your new year to be happy so I'm saying it!

There's much to catch up on so this is going to be kind of a crazy mix of topics, but I wanted to get up to speed with the blog to get back into some good blogging habits :)

There are a lot of things I'm looking forward to in 2014 and as far as books and pop culture go, I will be doing a separate post sometime soon listing my top things to be excited about in 2014, but on a personal level, one of the biggest is that my family will be growing in July with the addition of another baby Studer. Yeah, anything else that's going on this year kinda can't compare to that news, but that's why it gets a mention here and everything else will get a separate post. I know it's no excuse, but this pregnancy has definitely contributed to my lack of posting. I've been pretty tired between work and chasing a toddler around, plus I've had a cold that materialized sometime in mid-December and still doesn't seem to want to leave completely. I blame the frigid weather. And the lowered immune system. It's kind of a perfect storm of badness. But I am trying to focus on the good things on the horizon. Like spring coming...eventually. Have winters always been this long? Or this cold? I miss the sun.

I've also been feeling like I'm in a huge holding pattern. Yes, I'm technically in a literal holding pattern as I wait for my internal tenant to be big enough to vacate the premises, but things on the submission front have been unsettlingly quiet. I think the entire publishing industry is going through a fairly slow phase right now where the rapid fire deals of the past are fewer and farther between than ever. But I remain optimistic and while I'm waiting for word on the books that are in the can, I'm settling into the first draft of my next book, a YA contemporary mystery. It's my first experience writing a contemporary novel so it's been a really interesting and educational experience so far. I hope to have something of that to share on the blog here soon. And maybe a bit more of the books I've finished, to give you guys a better taste of what they're all about too.

So that's almost all for now, except for one topic I want to touch on... my little PLLer heart is kinda broken right now, guys. With the new season of Pretty Little Liars already under way, I'm going to be doing a recap soon, but for now, I want to quickly address the fact that Hot Caleb is off in Ravenswood and the dreaded Haleb break-up has happened. I knew this was coming. But it still super sucks. I'll share my thoughts on Ravenswood in my recap too, but the topline is that this is like Angel and Buffy all over again. Except this time, I don't see the potential for the spin-off to get better. More on that soon.

I hope your January is off to a good start! I am hoping to incorporate a little more variety into this blog in 2014. Have you made any resolutions (unofficial or otherwise) for the new year? I'd love to hear about them in the comments.

Until next time, bloggies!

goodbye 2012, hello 2013

I'm back from my blog vacation! It was nice to unhook myself from the computer for a few days and just enjoy everything the holiday season brings. We even have a decent amount of snow here (and the time between December 20-31 is the ONLY time I really enjoy snow. I like to think that if it's going to be cold, it might as well be snowy, but come January, it gets old pretty fast, and I just find myself yearning for Spring.)

2012 has been a life-changing year for me. I suppose that could easily be said about any year, but 2012 brought a lot of good things into my life. And it brought me much closer to realizing my dreams. I've had two primary goals since I was quite young: to be a mom and to be a published author.

I never questioned the being a mom part. I always told myself that I'd adopt if I had to, even if I was alone in it. I just knew that when I was ready to be a mother, I'd find a way to make it happen. Thankfully, I'm not alone (major props to the single moms out there) and in 2012, I've been relishing in my dream of being a mom. Okay, technically my daughter was born at the very end of 2011, but I didn't really get to know her until 2012. She spent most of 2011 sleeping. 2012 brought us her first smile, first words, first everything. She went from being a sleeping bundle in our arms to a little girl who discovers more and more about the world around her every day. She has, by far, been my greatest joy of 2012. And her arrival made my dream of being a mom a reality.

But she was far from the only good part of 2012. I finished writing my second young adult novel and as I was revising it, I found myself falling in love with it. When you can fall in love with your own writing, you know you have something special on your hands. And it turned out I did. Unnatural helped me to find my fantastic agent and brought my aspirations of being published to the next level. I'm closer to achieving that lifelong dream than I've ever been before and that's absolutely thrilling. Finding an agent was a 2012 goal of mine. Finding a good home for my book is definitely a goal for 2013.

Being on maternity leave has afforded me the opportunity to spend more time with family, spend more time writing, and spend more time enjoying the things in life that sometimes get lost in the shuffle. As I look back, I recognize that it's truly been an amazing year.

So if 2012 was so great, how will 2013 ever compete? I guess we'll see. That's the fun and mystery of a new year and a clean slate. Who knows what good things it might bring. As 2013 arrives, I'll be heading back to my day job, which will bring its own set of challenges. But change is what keeps us moving forward, and goals can't be achieved without momentum. January 1st isn't really any different than December 31st. It's just an arbitrary marker in time, but it's a great excuse to get excited about possibility, to be hopeful, and to embrace opportunities as they arrive. 
You know Father Time is cool--dude wears a cape! And check out those fresh kicks!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, my dear Bloggies. And I hope your 2013 is peaceful and full of joy. Thank you for stopping by Chez There's a Blog in my Soup over the past year. I hope you'll stick with me as I bring you more highlights in The Friday5, more writing advice in The Writer's Arsenal and more updates as the new year unfolds. I'm very hopeful that 2013 will bring many surprises that I'll be excited to share with you.

Happy New Year!