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I Can Feel The Sun Coming…

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There’s something incredibly magical and infectious about knowing the weather is getting nicer. I realize it’s only March, but here in Seattle the sky has opened up and the sun’s peaking through, and I can feel it in my bones.

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Seattle’s a funny place, because when the sun comes out, we know our time is limited. The sun is a finite resource here, and when we have it – we use it to its full potential. As soon as those clouds part, the city goes crazy. We plan vacations. We have picnics. We start jogging again. We sit on our decks. We make lists, we spring clean, we dust off old hobbies and vow to start doing them again.

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This happens to me every year, and I am always thankful for those first, early rays of sun that really get my muscles pumping (both actual muscles and creative muscles). And after a solid three months of adjusting to my new job, I think I just might have started to find some semblance of a life/work balance again, which means I actually might have the capacity to take on these new summer plans I’ve got churning in my mind.

I am a chronic over-achiever. I mean this in every sense of the word – while I love saying yes, yes yes to everything, it often leaves me with not enough time to accomplish everything I set out to do, stress knots in my shoulders, and a to-do list that would make even the most organized cringe.

But at least when the weather is nice, I have that extra something on my side. Energy. Motivation. Positivity. The promise of long car rides with friends, inspiring conventions, seeing people we never get to spend enough time with, camping trips, and best of all – getting stuff done.

I have a lot of things I want to do this year. My convention list has eight events and counting, I’ve got a laundry list of cosplays I want to make, and I’m trying to bite the bullet and finally edit one of my novels. I miss doing Team Hypercube regularly. I would love to take a personal vacation for once. I’m still trying to read 50 books this year, work exercise into my routine, and keep in better touch with the people I care about.

It’s going to be a crazy summer. But somehow, the sun on my face on this chilly March morning is telling me I can do it. And whatever I can’t accomplish – that’s okay too. Because we’re only capable of exactly what we’re meant to do.

What are your plans for the good weather season? Does the hint of sunshine ramp you up? Let me know in the comments, and let’s all try to encourage each other!

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2015 Reading Challenge

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Okay, I wasn’t going to do this reading challenge, but hearing other people talk about things is the biggest catalyst in making me want to do those things. So here I am. Doing the Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge. I’ll be updating this list all year long as I tackle the challenges, so check back if you want to see how I am doing.

Challenges Completed: (13/50)

A book with more than 500 pages: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
A classic romance
A book that became a movie: Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
A book published this year
A book with a number in the title: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
A book written by someone under 30 (Vicious by V. E. Schwab)
A book with nonhuman characters: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
A funny book
A book by a female author: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
A mystery or thriller
A book with a one word title: Hazed by Mark Sable
A book with short stories
A book set in a different country (The Girl on the Train)
A non-fiction book
A popular author’s first book
A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet (Attachments)
A book a friend recommended: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
A Pulitzer Prize winning novel: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A book based on a true story
A book at the bottom of your TBR list
A book your mom loves
A book that scares you
A book more than a 100 years old
A book based entirely on its cover: In Real Life by Corey Doctorow and Jen Wang
A book you were supposed to read in school and didn’t (1984)
A memoir
A book with antonyms in the title (A Great and Terrible Beauty)
A book you can finish in a day
A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to go
A book published the year you were born (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency)
A book with bad reviews
A Trilogy
A book from your childhood: On The Bright Side I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison
A book with a love triangle
A book set in the future
A book set in high school
A book with a color in the title: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
A book that made you cry
A book with magic
A graphic novel: A Wrinkle in Time the Graphic Novel by Madeleine L’Engle/Hope Larson
A book by an author you’ve never read before
A book you own but never read (The Last Book in the Universe)
A book that takes place in your hometown: Off To Be The Wizard by Scott Meyer
A book that was originally written in another language (The Diary of a Girl, Anne Frank)
A book set during Christmas
A book by an author who has your same initials
A play
A banned book
A book based on or turned into a tv show
A book you started but never finished

*Books in parenthesis are just ideas for books I could read to fulfill the challenge

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Book I’ve Read 2015

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I wanted a place to document which books I read this year, in what order, and what I rated them. Because I like when things are organized into lists, and because apparently Goodreads alone isn’t enough. So here it is! My 2015 Reading List:

January:

1. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (4.5)
2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (4.5)
3. Hazed by Mark Sable (1.5)
4. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (4)

February:

5. Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (4)
6. Cinder by Melissa Meyer (3.5)
7. On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison (4.5)
8. A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson (4)
9. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (2.5)
10. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (5)
11. In Real Life by Corey Doctorow and Jen Wang (4.5)

March:
12. Off To Be The Wizard by Scott Meyer (5)
13. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (4)
14.
15.
16.

*feel free to bookmark this page and check back over the course of the year to see what I’m reading.

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I Got a Job at Microsoft

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Hello, lovely blog readers!

As you can see by the title of this blog post… I’ve got some rather big news to share. Life alteringly big news, in fact — and something I’ve kept quiet for the last two months.

I got a job at Microsoft.

This is some intense news, so here is a picture of some kittens at a birthday party.

This is pretty intense news, so here is a picture of some kittens at a birthday party.

To be honest it feels a little cliched, having grown up in Seattle. If you were raised here, you know what I’m talking about. If your parents didn’t work at Microsoft they worked at Boeing. While I’d mulled over the idea of getting some sort of day job over the last year or so, I always imagined some hip new media company. Not… Microsoft. Not the most obvious place to work in the Northwest.

But here I am. And to be honest, it is a pretty hip job. I was hired as a Community Manager, which means my responsibilities include a whole spectrum of various types of community engagement for a laundry list of games owned by Microsoft Studios.

But Kristina!? you’re probably asking. Why did you take this job? I thought you were a professional YouTuber! I thought you made oodles of money talking to your camera!

First of all, I am flattered if you think that. Alas, while I enjoyed my freelance time immensely, it was really starting to weigh on me. If anyone ever tells you that turning your hobby into your job is the ~American Dream~, then you should just tell them to talk to the hand. Because (let me drop a wisdom bomb on you for a second here) if there’s one thing I have learned in my twenty-seven years of life, it’s this: we have hobbies for a very specific reason. We have hobbies because we are creative animals, and we enjoy making things, doing things, being part of things. Sometimes we even enjoy making things just for the sake of creation, but when you add financial pressure to that, you can literally feel your enjoyment start to deflate.

I didn’t want to hide sponsorships in my videos anymore. I didn’t want to make videos for other companies’ channels anymore. I didn’t want to wake up every day knowing I had to film videos, or had to write blog posts, or I might not pay rent. And I also didn’t appreciate the ever-present self awareness of “what am I actually doing with my life” looming overhead.

I am acutely aware, however, of how special a thing I’ve created online. And how lucky I am that so many of you care enough about what I’m doing to have stuck around this long. For a long time, considering getting a different job felt like giving up. Throwing in the towel. It felt like I was admitting I hadn’t “made it”.

But then I start re-evaluating my goals. Made what, exactly? I starting thinking about what I was actually doing, and what I wanted to be doing. I love making videos. I love blogging. I love my Patrons, and my book club, and I love the amazing community of intelligent, caring people who engage with the things that I do.

Why would any of that need to change, just because I wanted to get a day job?

It was at that moment that I realized it wouldn’t change. I could still make videos. I could still read books. I could still blog, and tweet, and interact with people online exactly like I always have. This moment of clarity changed everything and I began applying for jobs. The Microsoft opportunity came at exactly the right time and while I’ve been extremely stressed out as I struggle to adjust to a vastly different lifestyle… not much has actually changed, at least online.

In fact, that only thing that’s been really tough has been not telling you guys about what I’m doing, which is precisely why I am writing this blog post. So… I work at Microsoft now, 40 hours a week. This probably explains why I might have seemed a little distant lately. It was tough to figure out what to talk about without spilling the beans, but I wanted to give myself time to adjust on my own before I told the whole Internet.

Oh, it’s also been tough to keep up with my email. I did not realize how much email I got until I wasn’t able to check it regularly. How cow. But that’s another issue entirely.

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So just to sort of let you know what to expect from me now, my online presence mostly won’t change. You can still count on 2 new videos a week. The Restricted Section book club is still going strong. I’ve got three cosplays planned for Emerald City Comic Con. And this blog will always be here.

I’m just going to have a bit less free time, and I might complain about traffic a lot more, since my commute is right in the heart of rush hour and includes a toll bridge. But audiobooks are a new obsession of mine, so there’s always a silver lining.

Whew. I don’t know why I am so nervous to be announcing this. I guess it makes sense, because it’s the biggest change that’s happened in my life in a long time. It’s been sort of a tough adjustment, and I miss having all the time in the world to create things for you guys.

But I think this is going to be a very good thing for me.

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Winter Video Round Up!

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Hello, lovely blog readers!

Yet again I have sort of fallen off the face of the planet, but I’m here to make amends by doing another little roundup of my favorite videos I’ve posted in the past month or so. If you missed any of them… go ahead and catch up! I’ll wait here.

So, first of all.. this video I’m about to show you is probably my favorite video I’ve ever made. Half the views it has are probably from ME, rewatching it and laughing hysterically alone in my room. I have no shame about this. It’s that funny.

Joe and I did a slightly different take on the whisper challenge. Rather than asking each other inane questions sent in on twitter, we just said nerdy phrases at each other. It was amazing.

The next video I want to share is my wrap-up from the #xmasbooktubeathon. I love booktubeathon. In fact, I am really coming around to just loving ALL readathons, and I can’t wait to do so many more in 2015. But this was the weekend long readathon I did right before Christmas, complete with a lot of struggles:

This year I am, of course, doing the 50 book challenge, so there will be MANY more readathons to come. And, I can imagine, more book struggles.

As we get closer to the end of the year, I started getting reflective. About books, of course. I realized too late that the trendy thing to do was your top FOURTEEN books of 2014, so I look a n00b only listing five. Whatever!

Then I had to show off all my NEW books, of course. This is a very book heavy blog post, I’m finding. No regrets! Here is my most extreme book haul yet:

I posted many more videos over the last month or so, so scoot on over to my channel to catch ‘em all! Like a Pokémon master. Or you can stay here and leave me a comment telling me what kinds of videos you’d like to see more of in 2015. Whatever you want.

Thanks, as always, for reading my blog! It makes me smile. I like you guys.

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Bout Of Books Readathon / Updates!

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Okay I am a little late on actually making a blog post about this, but better late than never, right?

I am participating in Bout Of Books! It’s a readathon that’s happening right now, as we speak – it started on Jan 5th and it goes all the way until Jan 11th. I thought this was the perfect way to kick off the new year and get a few books under my belt early since I am attempting to read 50 books this year.

Here are the books I set out to read:

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These were/are my goals:

  • Read all three of these books
  • Don’t watch any Netflix

Pretty simple, right? Here’s how I did:

I read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks on Monday and Tuesday, finishing Tuesday night. I also started Ready Player One on Tuesday night, which made me think this readathon was going to be a breeze. However! Wednesday and Thursday were bad reading nights for me… though I still managed to squeeze in a few pages on each of those nights. Not much. About 40 pages total across the two evenings.

Friday I powered about 100 pages through, then I read 150 pages on Saturday and I finished up Ready Player One today (Sunday morning).

That book was amazing, but intense. I ended up needing to take a little break (which turned into going for a 3 mile walk with Joe that included stopping for margaritas) and starting to play a game called Hatoful Boyfriend (which is a dating sim for pigeons and yes, it will be on Team Hypercube). After that I finally cracked open The Night Circus, but after the trip Ready Player One took me on, I just wasn’t totally ready to dive into another book.

So, I’m about 30 pages into The Night Circus, nearly a book short of my goal – but happy. Because I also listened to about eight hours of All The Light We Cannot See over the course of the week, in my car. So really, I’m still leagues ahead on my reading challenge for the year, which is the important part.

I’m excited for this year. I’m excited for all my new books, and how I finally feel like I’ve carved reading back into my life in a big way, and I don’t even feel like I’m “making time” anymore. I just have reading time, even if it means other things are back-burnered or put on hold.

Oh – that reminds me. I also stuck to my goal of not watching any TV this week. It’s been 7 days since I watched anything on my television, on Netflix, etc. I’ve only watched a very small handful of YouTube videos, as well. I’m proud of myself.

But now… I think I am going to reward myself with an episode of Gilmore Girls. Shhh.

 

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GlassesShop.com Haul!

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Hello lovely blog readers! I had the pleasure of working with GlassesShop.com recently, and it was a fantastic collaboration! The let me pick out three new sets of glasses to try out their store and I am happy to report that I really like all three of them!

If you’re interested in checking out this site, you can use the code “KristinaX20″ and you’ll save 20% on your own pair of frames! I am extremely happy with mine, and they’re so cheap!

This first pair is called CouncilBluffs Wayfarer and I got it in blue. I think these are my favorite of the three, but it’s so hard to decide!

The second pair is called NorthPlatte Wayfarer and I chose green for this set. I don’t like these quite as much as the other two, but they’re not bad for a backup pair.

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I am obsessed with this third pair. I kind of threw these in as a spontaneous last minute decision, but they are so much fun! Most of my glasses frames throughout my life have just been black, so having a pair this bright and exciting is just great. I think it compliments my eyes and hair pretty well, too! These are called RedWing Wayfarer, and I got them in, of course, blue.

Let me know if you decide to order any new glasses – it’s easy to put in your actual prescription and personally I like having options for accessorizing! Don’t forget to use my coupon code if you do!

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Review of Landline by Rainbow Rowell

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Landline by Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorite books I have read this year. It’s well-written, funny, poignant, heart warming – but go, watch the video! It’s spoiler free so you can watch it even if you haven’t read the book yet.

This is also a great book for making the jump from YA to Adult fiction, but this one is about a women well into the middle part of her life, but it reads almost like it’s YA. I’m not totally sure why that is (maybe I just really connect with Rainbow Rowell’s writing) but it’s fresh and unique and I really loved it.

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The Whisper Challenge

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This video went live on my channel today and am just so excited to share it with people — it’s a collab video I did with Joe, and somehow it ended up being the funniest video I think I’ve ever made. I seriously keep rewatching it.

I hope more people make videos using this concept because I want to watch them! Hope you love the Whisper Challenge as much as I do!

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December Updates!

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Hello valiant blog readers!

I have been terrible at keeping this thing updated. I know. Every time I get busy this blog is the first thing to go, but it’s also one of my favorite things I do online! I don’t understand it! I’m gonna be better. I promise.

Anyway! Here’s what I have been up to since the last time I wrote a blog post, which was… early November.

The biggest thing for me was – I finished my 9th NaNoWriMo novel! It was a crazy month, with very little time for anything other than writing, but I DID IT. It felt amazing, and here’s my video documentation of the process if you want to know more about what it was like for me:


 

I also recently started up a book club on Goodreads if you haven’t heard about that yet. It’s called The Restricted Section and we’ve already got a great group of people involved! Our first book (for November) was Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore (which I loved) and this month we’re reading My True Love Gave to Me, a compilation of holiday themed short stories written by popular YA authors. I can’t wait to dive into it.

As for this month, I’m currently gearing up for Project 4 Awesome (that’s taking place December 12-13 if you wanna get involved) and then shortly after that is the Christmas BookTubeAThon! I can’t WAIT to find out what the challenges are; I love BookTubeAThon so much. I will likely be making daily videos and shoving everything else on my to-do list way down so I can knock out a bunch more reading before the end of the year.

It’s also going to be my birthday soon… I turn 27 on the 27th, making it my golden birthday! This will also set my well into my “late twenties”, which is something I am still grappling with, emotionally. Where did the time go? I honestly couldn’t tell you. I was too busy wearing footy pajamas and watching My Little Pony to notice how old I’ve gotten.

That’s sort of it, for now! I hope you’re all doing well and I will be back very soon with another blog post. Happy December!

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