Notes from my latest adventures in climbing, design, health, & writing.
Last weekend, Brian and I headed up to Rifle Mountain Park in Colorado. It's a few hours from Moab, and it's far cooler (the high today was 106 in Moab), which makes it a great climbing destination in the summer. Plus, Rifle has some of the best sport climbing in the U.S. and, although it's known for super hard climbs, there are quite a few moderate climbs (which is good for me).
I hope you had a great weekend!
If you're a writer and would like to join a group of friendly and fun writers who share weekly updates about things writing-related, then check out my first and second What's Up Wednesday posts for details.
Speaking of this update thing being weekly ... I missed last week's update. In my defense, I have a lot going on at the moment, including a secret design/writing project that has me super, super excited. As it's under wraps for now, I'll just say that I can't wait to share what I'm working on with you. (Terrible, I know.) So if you've noticed that I've been quiet - that's my excuse. Amazingness is coming, and I'll start returning emails and commenting on blog posts soooon. Promise.
What I'm reading
On my last visit to my parents' house, I picked through their pile of up-for-grabs books. The stack included crime thrillers, historical fiction, a selection of books by small-time southern authors, most of the PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS series, and a self-published book my dad picked up on a recent trip to Key West.
Is it any wonder that I love visiting my parents?
All this to say - thanks to their varied appetite for books and boundless generosity, I just started reading THE LIGHTENING THIEF, and I have the rest of the series waiting for me when I finish it. :)
What I'm writing
I'm still working on my women's fiction WIP. Although making time to write has been challenging for the past couple of weeks, I have made progress and I'm up to a little over 20,000 words. (I'm aiming for 50-60K, depending on where this first draft takes me.) I would like to finish by mid-June, so I have some work to do in the next few weeks.
I've also been thinking about what I'll move on to next.
After a chat with this lady, I started thinking about a completed YA manuscript I began revising, but then ... stopped. I loved the idea for the story, but after I finished it and went back through for the first round of revisions, I felt bored by it. Worse - I'd spent so much time with the story, that I didn't feel the surprise or newness that often fuels my writing. Instead, it felt stale and predictable, which certainly didn't motivate me to go back and fix all of the (many, many) problems with the story.
The unfinished story has been nagging me, and lately I've been chewing over the idea of resurrecting it. It's daunting, but I'm tempted.
What inspires me right now
During the past few weeks, my siblings have been up to all sorts of amazing things. One of my sisters was awarded a leadership grant by a prestigous foundation in her city. Another got into a Master's program. Yet another landed an interview AND a call back for a new job.
And this all happened in the same week.
And then there's the sister who just survived a month (plus!) with walking pneumonia while working full-time and raising her two adorable handfuls - I mean, daughters. Plus the sibling who started back to school this year (on top of a full-time job and parenting two kids) and yet still manages to make music recommendations.
Could my siblings be any more amazing? It would be hard not to feel inspired and awed by the awesomeness in my family.
What else I've been up to
Last week, Brian and I went to the Boulder area for a quick visit to the amazing, wonderful Dr. Steve (who I talk more about here). In between appointments, we checked out a local brewpub, went for lots of walks, stayed at a cute Airbnb place, and enjoyed the sunshine (see below). It was a great - if whirlwind - visit.
I also found out that one of my best, best friends from high school safely delivered her first baby. She and her husband (also a good friend from my high school years) are going to be amazing parents, and I cannot wait to meet the newest addition to their family.
This week we've been doing the usual - running, cooking, hiking, bouldering (see below) - plus recovering from the previous week. We just welcomed some houseguests last night, including one of the cutest dogs in the world, so I'll be adventuring with friends in the desert for the next day or two.
That's it for me. I hope you're having a great week!
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!