Notes from my latest adventures in climbing, design, health, & writing.
May 19 2013
When I shared my first photo collage last June, I had a few requests for tips on how to create collages and add text to photos. Since I use Photoshop - which is expensive and far more powerful than what the average person needs - I wanted to find an easy-to-use and affordable option to recommend to non-designers. After some searching, I found my current favorite, PicMonkey, a free photo editing tool that offers some unique (and fun!) ways to customize photos.
In case you'd like to use it, I've created a quick tutorial video to help you get started. Warning: I say um ... a lot (sorry). :)
Let me know if you try it out. I'd love to see what you create with PicMonkey!
As an aside, if you have any web or design-related questions, send me an email! I'd love to help if I can. :)
This is a What's Up Wednesday blog post. If you have no idea what that is and would like to learn more, check out last week's What's Up Wednesday post.
What I'm reading
I finished DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, which was amazing. Beyond amazing. The writing was beautiful and the story unexpected. I'm really excited to jump into the second of the series.
Now I'm reading a women's fiction novel, REINVENTING CLAIRE. I met the author, Darian Wilk, through my old blog, Inky Fresh Press and have been meaning to read it for ages. So far I'm enjoying it.
What I'm writing
I've been working on my women's fiction project this week, and am up to a little over 15,000 words. The tricky beginning - where the characters are still new and amoeba-like and the plot feels like pudding - is ending and it feel so good to be hitting the writing groove with this story. I'm having great fun with it and have already been surprised by a couple of twists and turns I didn't plan for - exciting! I love it when that happens.
What inspires me right now
This morning one of my sisters shared a blog post that moved and inspired me so much, I just had to post it here. It's called "This Trendy "Strong is the New Skinny" Thing (and what it could mean for the next generation of girls)". It's honest, funny, sad, and very powerful. (If you read the blog post, be forewarned that there is a bit of profanity. The author has a link at the top of the post to a more mild version.)
Dear Society: Please assist me in convincing young girls that “strong is the new skinny".
Encourage them to eat. Don’t let them diet. Discourage the idolization of anorexic and bulimic celebrities. Make them exercise instead. Teach them that “exercise” means running, jumping, sweating, grunting, working hard, and kicking ass- it doesn’t mean flapping their arms around in some trendy, overpriced Trogalaties course, or running on the elliptical until they pass out. Help them realize their own strength. All of these things will help girls realize their full potential, both physically and mentally. It will help girls become self-confident, capable, and literally and figuratively strong. A girl who is encouraged to be strong instead of skinny will have higher self-esteem, respect, ambitions, and worth. She will never be a victim. She will be healthy. She will be a leader. She will be confident. She will be kick-ass.
This Trendy “Strong is the New Skinny” Thing (and what it could mean for the next generation of girls)
If you haven't read it: Please go read it and then come back so we can talk about it. :)
If you have read it: Amazing, right? Did you cry? I did. Just a little. Also, Trogalaties. I'm pretty sure I took that class. ;)
What else I've been up to
It's been a busy week. Beyond the usual (hiking, cooking, reading, writing, etc. etc.), I've been doing some spring cleaning on my website. I shared my mood board for my site earlier this week, which is something I'll use to shape any changes.
I attempted to update my "about" page. Which means that I updated the image on my about page (pretty, no?), but was stumped for what to write. Do you have any advice? Any info about me you'd love to see there? I'm open to suggestions!
I also created a Facebook page for bridgidgallgher.com - which was equal parts terrifying and exciting. If you have a Facebook page, let me know! I'd love to connect with you.
Since I can't not post lots of photos, here's a little collage of photos from the week:
Collage details: 1. The cacti are blooming! The desert in spring is so, so beautiful. 2. Spring in Moab means loads of local fresh veggies, like this greentacular spinach. Yum! 3. We installed drip irrigation this weekend. Here's hoping it makes my plants happy! (Please ignore the giant piles of dirt. Unless you want dirt and live in Moab. In which case, call me!) 4. I made a version of this grain-free granola this week. It is SO good. Pictured here on top of warm quinoa, chopped apple, and almond milk. YUUUM. 5. My new yoga mat arrived in the mail! I was overdue for a new mat and have been using my yoga towel ... which is no fun. I spend more time slipping and sliding than stretching. Super excited about the new mat! 6. We reigned victorious over the bear post that has been in our yard since we moved in. I was worried the thing was concreted into the ground. Speaking of ... anyone need a slightly creepy bear post?
That's it for this week. What have you been up to?
As I mentioned last week, I'm reading Laini Taylor's DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. It's beautifully written and the story is captivating - mostly due to a cast of unique characters dealing with age-old problems in an interesting way (my favorite). I'd heard lots of gushing about how wonderful this book was, so I expected to be wowed.
Hope? Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.'
Laini Taylor, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE
What I didn't expect was to need a dictionary.
From the beginning of the book, I came across words I didn't know, the kind of words that would make SAT test makers absolutely giddy with happiness. Although I could guess what the words meant from the context, I enjoyed looking them up and adding to my vocabulary.
In case you, like me, get a kick out of learning new words, I thought I share my favorites:
Fricative - A consonant, such as f or s in English, produced by the forcing of breath through a constricted passage. Also called spirant.
Strychnine - An extremely poisonous white crystalline alkaloid, C21H22O2N2, derived from nux vomica and related plants, used as a poison for rodents and other pests and topically in medicine as a stimulant for the central nervous system.
Locus - A center or source, as of activities or power.
Atavism - The reappearance of a characteristic in an organism after several generations of absence, usually caused by the chance recombination of genes.
Eidolon - A phantom; an apparition.
Caracal - A wildcat ( Felis caracal syn. Lynx caracal ) of Africa and southern Asia having short fawn-colored fur and long tufted ears.
Definitions via The Free Dictionary.
You're welcome. :)
Side note: With the coming retirement of Google Reader (saaaad!), I've been investigating alternative ways to subscribe to blogs. Currently, I am checking out Bloglovin, and have added my blog to the site. In case you already use Bloglovin to follow blogs, you can now follow my blog with Bloglovin. I'm still in the research stage, and I'll let you know what I think after I use it for a week or two. With that in mind, if you've tried or currently use Bloglovin, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Side note numero dos: I've created a Facebook page for bridgidgallagher.com. If you use Facebook and want to get updates about my writing and design projects, then head on over and "like" my page. Thank you!
May 10 2013
To help inspire me for some changes I'll be making to bridgidgallagher.com, I created a mood board. As long as I'm sharing what's going on for me in the writing world, I thought I'd share a little look into my design world as well.
I used photoshop to create this mood board, but you could just as easily use Pinterest to create your own.
1. WUTHERING HEIGHTS book cover. 2. Violet plant pod. 3. Peaceful living area. 4. Green couch and white walls - I love the pops of color. 5. Hand in hand soaps. 6. Minimalist tea packaging.
A couple of YA writers, Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk put together a blog hop called What's Up Wednesday. Once a week, you share what you've been reading and writing, what you're up to, and what's inspiring you. I've been wanting to share more writing-ish updates, and I'm hoping this will provide the inspiration. If you'd like to join in, visit Jaime's blog for details.
What I'm reading
Although I have DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE waiting for me on my nightstand, I've been tearing through Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series this month. I found this series after working my way through Kristan Higgins' books - which I love. Kristan's books are hilarious women's fiction novels that usually involve a flawed but witty heroine, a cute dog, a small town, and a nosy but loving family. Her books are laugh-out-loud funny and inspired me to try my hand at writing women's fiction again. Speaking of ...
What I'm writing
I have a fantasy YA project on the back burner; I've worked on the outline for the story, but something isn't quite right so I'm gathering inspiration and doing some serious stewing. :) In the meantime, I've been working on a women's fiction project. It's a departure from the YA writing I've been doing for the past few years, but I'm having fun with it. I have a personal goal of finishing the first draft by mid-June. Wish me luck!
What inspires me right now
This song. On repeat.
What else I've been up to
The temperatures are rising here in Moab and we've been exploring new trails, running, and climbing. I've also been working more yoga sessions into my routine and am just starting a boot camp with my favorite online health and fitness group (join us!). Most of my outside time this week has actually been spent in the yard, getting our garden started and weeding. I can't wait to start harvesting veggies!
From left to right, top to bottom: 1. Drinking lots of green smoothies. Of course! 2. I'm doing lots of gardening-related tasks at the moment. 3. Barefoot trail running. I'm working my mileage back up (slowly) after the winter. 4. A surprise copy of Vegetarian Times came in the mail. No complaints. 5. Trying my hand at watercolors after my in-home lesson with the lovely Devon. 6. Watching my seedlings grow. 7. Crack climbing in Day Canyon. 8. Playing with the AfterLight app's new letter frames. 9. More planting!
That's it! Thanks for reading. :)