1. Welcome to 2017!

    December 22, 2016 ♥ Posted in: Journal by admin

    Societally, 2016 will be known as one of the very worst years of the modern age – but for me, I actually had a lot of really great highlights. It’s confusing, knowing the year was so terrible on a grand level, but still wanting to celebrate my own successes.

    I’m all about the camaraderie of hating things together, and I know we have our work cut out for us for the next four years… but right now, I just want to take a deep breath and admit 2016 kind of rocked in a lot of ways, too. I saw online someone saying “don’t wish your life away”. So even though there are still 2 days left in this facepalm of a year, I want to take these final two days to be proud for having survived it, rather than rushing it to be over.

    Kristina Horner 2016 Pink Hair

    In 2016, I:

    • Was hired as a Full-Time Employee at Microsoft in May, which is a career path I wasn’t expecting or even necessarily trying to take, but one that’s helped me grow in so many ways I’ve truly lost count.
    • Graduated from my UW certificate program in YA Fiction Writing! This has given me so much more confidence and direction as a writer.
    • Wrote my 11th NaNoWriMo novel in a castle in France, where I met incredible people and learned a great deal about myself along the way.
    • Got engaged to Joe! He proposed in front of Hogwarts castle, with a ring he made himself, and I’m reminded every day how lucky I am to have found such a sweet boy who cares so much for me.
    • Dyed my hair pink! After 28 years of feeling timid, I just decided to take the plunge. I’m a pink girl to the core, and now everyone knows it.
    • Played a reunion concert with my band The Parselmouths! This is something I truly never thought would happen again, but somehow the planets aligned and we did it. And it felt good.
    • Started cooking dinner more regularly thanks to Blue Apron! I’ve learned an insane amount about cooking since we began this endeavor, and the dedicated time with Joe doesn’t hurt, either. Plus it’s all pretty healthy food, which was a previous goal of mine.
    • Ran my first 5k! Microsoft put on a charity 5k, and a bunch of my teammates and I signed up! I only actually ran about half of it, but I was proud of myself nonetheless.
    • Created NINE new cosplays, including Future Twilight, Piranha Plant Girl, Lolita and Pajamas Princess Bubblegum, Taffyta Muttonfudge, Wendy from Lumberjanes, Gunner Peach, Renaissance Tinkerbell and Misty from Pokémon. This was maybe too many, in hindsight, but I had a great time doing it.
    • Read _ books. I’ll fill this number in at the proper end of the year. I’m currently at 41, but there are two days left in this year. Who knows what might happen.

    Last year I set some New Year’s resolutions for myself, so I thought it would be fun to revisit these and see if they worked out, how much I grew, and what to change for next year.

    • Make at least one more cosplay than the previous year! (Last year I made 5, so this year I definitely hit this goal and more. In fact, because of how busy I’ve made myself, I actually want to think about this next year. Cosplay is fun, but it really has the power to eat up my life, so I want to limit what I attempt to do so I can balance with my other goals.)
    • Finished editing my novel by the end of the year! (This did not happen, but I am okay with that. I decided instead of editing to do a total rewrite, and right now I am 2/3 done with that draft. I imagine I will have another solid draft of this done by spring of 2017, so that’s reasonable.)
    • Read at least 52 books – one per week! (I’m racing the clock on this one, but I did make the executive decision to bump this goal down to 50. I still might not hit it, but I will get close. I really enjoyed the books I read this year, so I am satisfied here.)
    • Invest in professional photo shoots for my cosplays! (I did this… twice, this year. I wasn’t overwhelmingly blown away by either set of photos, so I might just go back to casual photoshoots with my friends. I really want cosplay to just be a fun little hobby, so I think I am altogether backpedaling on my previous goals of taking it more seriously.)
    • Hit year #2 at Microsoft! (Check! My anniversary is Dec 19th, so I’m officially at 2 years!)
    • Find a method of exercising and eating healthy that works for me! (I got halfway there this year! Joe and I have been cooking dinner together regularly, I eat significantly less fast food than ever before, and I don’t crave as much junk food as I used to. This is a slow process, but I am proud of my progress. Exercise, on the other hand… well, that can be 2017’s problem.)

    Here are my new resolutions for 2017:

    • Actually finish your book to an extent where you feel okay sending it to beta readers and then, potentially, agents.
    • For the love of god, start writing a completely different book. (After you finish this one, Kristina. After.)
    • Plan an awesome wedding you’ll always look back on fondly, but also don’t let it make you crazy.
    • Cosplay, or not, but only because you want to.
    • Read at least 40 books. Be mindful of the books you choose to read. Consider #diversebooks and #ownvoices. (My reading goal number goes down every year because I am trying to be kinder to myself.)
    • Continue to de-clutter and minimize possessions/wardrobe. Invest in nicer things, but less of them.
    • Exercise. Please. Even just a little bit.

    In 2017, I want to help others and this planet as much as possible. I want to live a more sustainable life. I want to help raise others’ voices when I can. I want to focus less on possessions and more on experiences. I want to write more, love more, worry less. I welcome 2017 with open arms.

    What are your resolutions?

    Leave a comment!
  2. The Incident at Notre Dame de Peyragude

    October 29, 2016 ♥ Posted in: Journal, Travel by Kristina Horner

    Today we decided the weather was much too beautiful to stay inside all day, even if we’re being productive – so we climbed into our van and ambled out to a small nearby town called Penne d’Agenais. I’m continuously amazed at how movie-set-like these little medieval towns feel, which I realize is an incredibly American thing for me to say. However, these tiny cobbled streets with old crumbling houses set up on the hills are like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The dichotomy between old and much, much older is stark, and I often have no idea what’s crumbling and abandoned and what’s actually a shop or someone’s home.

    This town was awesome, and we decided to just keep following the roads up. There was a small, steep stone staircase we passed, and it looked very residential. One of my castle-companions, a digital nomad named Nicole, told me that “we’re tourists… we can go wherever we want!”

    I’m glad I followed her, because the stairs took us to another steep road, which took us to the most amazing scenic lookout of the sprawling landscapes around us. There was also this gigantic crucifix at the highest point, which was both amazing and creepy.

    img_6026

    At this point I truly adopted the mantra “explore everything”, so we kept on walking. I’m realizing more and more that you find the coolest stuff when you don’t actually know what you’re looking for. Further along the path, this time going down on the other side, we came upon a literal cave. Like a dark, scary, echo-y cave, set into the rock directly below the crucifix. Most of it was barren and empty, but around the side there was a prayer area, with this angel hanging around out front. She was like “Yo, I guard this cave. Come on in, you’re cool.”

    img_6028

    Inside there was a bunch of candles, a small bed and a laminated story entirely in French. Even the best French speakers in our group could only make out that it was something about a small boy who was hungry and ran away, and Mary helped him find flour to make bread. Anyway, the point is, the caves of the wall were very porous, and hundreds of people had left little prayers in the crevices. We all took a moment to write something to leave inside the wall.

    As we headed out, I told myself to be thankful I’m not sleeping in a cave next time the castle feels cold at night.

    img_6032

    Next we found this amazing cathedral. It is called, as my blog post suggests, “Notre Dame de Peyragude.” It was way higher up on the hill than anyone would ever decide to build a communal building in the United States, but it was beautiful and very obviously a popular, regularly visited church. Like, people have to seriously trek up a hill to get here. That’s some hard core religious dedication.

    The Catholic in me loves a good cathedral. The Catholic in me also had to google “jesus on a cross” to remember the word for “crucifix” earlier because I’ve only gone to church on Christmas and some Easters since about high school, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is, this church was gorgeous, I feel like my dad and grandma would be proud whenever I visit one on a trip, and I know I enough about Catholic churches to not embarrass myself in one – even if I can’t speak the native language.

    Or so I thought.

    img_6031

    Look at how pretty it is! There wasn’t mass in session so I was able to just wander around, look at the stained glass, make the sign of the cross with their holy water, etc. I also noted that even when you’re on the opposite side of the planet, all Catholic churches smell exactly the same. It was the first really familiar scent I’ve experienced since I arrived.

    There were prayer candles along the side of the church, so I decided to really make my elder relatives proud and get down with my Catholic self. Your prayers get to heaven faster, or something, when you send them with a prayer candle. I wanted to wish good health for both of my grandmas, so I put my 1 euro in the offering box, grabbed a little votive candle, and headed back to the shrine area where the others were already burning brightly.

    I didn’t see any sort of lighting device, which comes standard in a lot of churches. I don’t carry a lighter or anything of the sort so I had a moment of cluelessness. But then I had a stroke of brilliance – light the candle with another candle! Of course!

    I tipped my candle slightly over to the one beside it. It was going well for a second, and then the entire candle fell out of its holder, completely smothering the neighboring candle.

    I was mortified. I didn’t know what to do. I JUST PUT OUT SOMEONE ELSE’S CANDLE. AM I GOING TO HELL FOR THIS? I RUINED SOMEONE ELSE’S PRAYER. I did the only thing I could think of, I picked up the wrecked candle, managed to light it on yet another candle, and then very, very carefully lit mine far, far away from the one I’d nearly ruined.

    img_6030

    Pictured here is my candle, feigning innocence, right beside its arch-nemesis.

    The candle to the left of the one I am pointing to is the one I almost killed, and the day-saving candle is the one on the top right. Mine is whistling guiltily and trying to blend in while suffering from imposter syndrome. I stayed a moment and said an extra prayer for the havoc I’d caused, then high-tailed it out of there.

    So, Grandma, I’m very sorry. I promise I will never terrorize another Catholic church again. I said that prayer for you, so God knows you’re involved in this disaster. I hope he forgives us.

    Leave a comment!
  3. #NaNoCastle Exploration pt. 1

    October 27, 2016 ♥ Posted in: Journal, Travel by Kristina Horner

    img_5908

    Today I went exploring outside the castle with another one of the guests, a girl name Yamile. The weather was beautiful, so we set off early in the day without any sort of plan or goal in mind. We just decided to wander and see what we found, and the grounds here are huge, so it’s really easy to wander aimlessly for ages.

    This little kitty decided to join us, and literally trotted alongside us for over an hour as we clambered over the hillside, ducked under trees and found all sorts of cool old stuff. A few times we were afraid we’d lost her, but she always found her way back to us. To be fair, she lives here, so she probably knows this area like the back of her… paw?

    img_5913

    We’re going to be spending three weeks together, so we decided to give our cat friend a name. We named her Claire. Claire loves us, and always tries to eat our food or sneak into the castle when we aren’t looking. She’s not supposed to go into the castle. This is hugely distressing to Claire.

    img_5916

    Here is Claire warning us, “don’t bother looking inside this seriously ominous and creepy little shack. There’s nothing exciting in there.” We didn’t listen to Claire, as we made it our mission to look inside everything, no matter how creepy.

    She was right though. We only found spider webs and some sort of pressure gauge or water heater or something. I actually have no idea what it was, aside from probably ‘covered in spiders’.

    This whole place is old and sort of decrepit and spooky. I really don’t know how many airbnb-ers they get here, especially since a lot of the amenities on the grounds appear worn out and dusty and like no one has used any of it in awhile. It’s totally got that old “abandoned” vibe, like you should film a horror movie here, or take artsy pictures for a viral Buzzfeed list [10 Haunted Places You Can Actually Rent!].

    I’m sort of glad Claire accompanied us on our exploration, because if a cute happy kitty can live here then so can I.

    img_5939

    This is an old tennis court that I doubt anyone has used in awhile. There was a sign above the opening in the fencing that said “Le Tennis”.

    img_5930

    This is a boarded up old log cabin we found about a 20 minute walk from the castle. If I’ve learned anything from scary movies, it’s that if something is boarded up – it should probably stay that way. However, I desparately want to know what’s inside. Next time, log cabin. Next time.

    There was also a big row of beehives, like legit ones used to collect honey. I wanted ot take a picture, but I was too afraid to get close. Maybe I’ll brave it on a future exploration.

    img_5941

    Here’s an awesome side-view of the castle. I wish we could fly some sort of NaNoWriMo flag from those points on top. Why didn’t we think of this?! I was so unprepared for castle life.

    img_5943

    When we got back, two of Claire’s kittens were waiting to welcome us at the front steps. We really need to name the kittens. “Mom, why were you gone so long?” they mewed at us. “Because,” Claire said, slightly exasperated but still lovingly, “I’m a single mother and I haven’t gone out with the girls in weeks, that’s why.”

    The kittens just chased a bug, already having forgotten they asked a question.

    img_5950

    Now I am inside, working on this blog post by the fire, and the cat family is taking the “no cats in the house” rule quite poorly. “But please,” Claire is mewling, her soft paws tapping the wood of the door. “After everything we shared today?”

    I’m sorry, Claire. I don’t make the rules here.

     

    Stay tuned for more castle exploration, as well as NaNoWriMo updates as soon as we hit November. I’m having an amazing time on this castle adventure and I love sharing it with all of you! Follow my instagram for more pictures like the ones you see above. 

     

    Leave a comment!
  4. The Best Weekend Ever

    October 26, 2016 ♥ Posted in: Journal, Travel, Writing by Kristina Horner

    Three incredible things have happened to me over the last couple of days:

    1. I was reunited with my band The Parselmouths at LeakyCon.
    2. I got engaged to Joe Homes, my best friend and boyfriend of 4 1/2 years.
    3. I flew to France to live in a castle.

    If that makes it sound in any way that my life is unbelievable or the plot of a romcom… well… maybe that will help you understand how I’m feeling right about now.

    Last week, there were only a couple things on my mind. Among those were “make sure you’re packed for LeakyCon”, “make sure you’re packed for France”, “make sure you remember the words to your songs” and “make sure you’ve tied up everything you can before 3 weeks away from work.” I was so immersed in being ready that I didn’t really prepare myself for what everything would feel like. So now, as I sit in the sitting room of a castle by the fire we made with our hands, I will go into detail about the 3 days I will never forget.

    Parselmouths Reunion Show at LeakyCon: Let me just get this out of the way first – I never imagined I would ever perform with the Parselmouths ever again. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t really plan to go to a LeakyCon again either, unless it was in a city close to me. Times change, you know? Good things come to an end, and I was full up with enough amazing memories to last a lifetime.

    But when Brittany (sorry, Elle) and I got together for drinks back in the spring and had a great time, and I realized LeakyCon 2016 would be right in her backyard… the gears started turning. The people at LeakyCon were totally down for a reunion show, and then suddenly… it was happening.

    It was super stressful. Like, really, really stressful. Practicing from different states, getting new shirts made, re-learning all the songs, and doing this amidst also planning a 3 week trip abroad – I literally thought I had been crazy to agree to something like this. And for what. A 30-minute set?

    img_5706

    But I cannot explain how it felt to be on stage again. I’d forgotten the chemistry we have when we perform. How well people know the lyrics to our songs. How much energy courses through you at a place like LeakyCon, onstage. It was incredible, and I was so filled with love and excitement, and it was a part of my life I really never thought I’d get back. I had accepted that some amazing things will only live in the past and was truly okay with that, but this felt… it just felt so real, and so right, and I’m so happy it went as well as it did.

    img_5764

    Which leads me to…

    Joe Proposed at Wizarding World!: So here’s the thing. I was ALREADY on a high when I woke up on Saturday. Our concert had been amazing, and I was so excited to take Joe to the Harry Potter theme park, because he hadn’t been there yet. We spent the morning poking around in shops, had breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron, then rode the Forbidden Journey ride… and as soon as we got out of the ride, Joe started insisting we all needed to take a group picture. It was a little weird honestly, because Joe never cares about pictures. Like at all. I have to force him to take pictures with me all the time. But he wanted a picture, so there you go.

    After the group shot, he said “can someone take one of just the two of us, now?” Which again – weird – but I assumed Joe must be feeling the wizard love this weekend as well, so we smiled brightly with our wands to the sky. I actually hadn’t even looked at this picture yet to be honest; I had kind forgotten about it. It’s really quite nice!

    img_5725

    Then after a moment, I saw him reaching into his pocket out of the corner of my eye. It all happened so fast, guys, but I knew IMMEDIATELY what he was doing and I started freaking out. We were at HOGWARTS. And so many of our friends were there watching, and no one had a clue. AND THEN HE GOT DOWN ON ONE KNEE.

    img_5763

    I was crying and laughing and waiting for him to actually ask me a question to say “YES!” to (we were both nervous, clearly) but it was amazing and magical and my friends were very audibly excited. A lady who was working The Forbidden Journey came and gave us a front-of-line pass. People cheered. I was so shaky and excited and nervous our friends did the only thing they knew how to do – they walked us straight back to the Hogshead and bought us drinks. I can’t think of a better thing to right after getting engaged than drinking spiked butterbeer.

    The rest of the day was pure magic. Joe and I just kept smiling at each other, and he extended his trip so he could stay for the ball. We danced and celebrated and soaked up more of the positive LeakyCon vibes and overall, it was a really solid weekend. I’m just so happy. It was so wonderful.

    But wait! Kristina. Wasn’t there a third thing on your list? Something about living in a mutha-effing castle?

    Oh yes!

    I am now living in a castle: After LeakyCon, I flew home for less than 24 hours. I used this time to unpack, repack, vote, and snuggle with Joe. It was super, super weird to leave him after BECOMING ENGAGED TO EACH OTHER, but he is wonderful and wanted nothing more than for me to go have this adventure. I miss him, but that’s the awesome part about deciding to spend the rest of your life with someone: he’ll be waiting when I get home!

    So, Monday afternoon, I got on a 7 hour flight to Iceland, where I transferred to a 3.5 hour flight to Paris. Then I took a 1 hour bus to Montparnasse station where I got on a 4 hour train to Agen. There Derek, the guy who set this whole #NaNoCastle thing up, picked me up in our big eight-seater van, and we drove the 1 hour to Chateau de Cadrès, where I will be spending the next 3 weeks writing a book. Whew! I am exhausted and I slept for 12 hours after this immense journey, but I made it!

    img_5863

    Honestly though – way to put living in a castle into perspective, Joe. I really thought this would be the most surreal thing that happened to me this week, but nope! Getting engaged still wins I think.

    A lot of people keep asking me how this whole castle thing came about. The short version is, a group of people wanted to do NaNoWriMo in a castle, so we made it happen. It’s really that simple. But the slightly elongated version of the story is that Derek had a dream to gather a bunch of writerly types and rent a castle for a month to work on stuff together in a really incredible setting. He actually hosted a contest almost a year ago for one of the spots (which I won), which is why I am here.

    Over the past year I’ve gotten to help with castle selection, brainstorm ways to use the time productively, and outlined what I hope will be my best novel yet. There are already two other people here with me in addition to Derek and his wife, and I’m already having a blast. In fact, I am writing this blog post by the fire in our sitting room wearing my new slippers, and it’s amazing. We have a few day trips planned, but we’re setting goals we have to accomplish before we can go on the trips. It’s a great system.

    The castle portion of my adventure is really just beginning. I’ll be taking many more pictures, and I’ll try to keep you all very updated on what’s going on out here in the French countryside. Spoilers: it’ll mostly be writing. But I’m sure I’ll have some stories by the time I leave.

    Stay in touch! Follow my adventures on Instagram and also here on this blog. I really don’t know when I’ll ever do anything like this ever again, so it will be well-documented.

    Leave a comment!
  5. What I’m Up To: Summer Update!

    July 16, 2016 ♥ Posted in: Journal by Kristina Horner

    Hello friends!

    I figured there’s enough exciting stuff going on to warrant a little life update, yeah? Here’s a neatly organized list of everything going on with me lately that is noteworthy:

    BOOKTUBEATHON

    It’s Booktubeathon time, starting on Monday the 18th! This means every second of my spare time will be spent on reading, which will be quite difficult this year with Pokèmon Go taking over my life and it being the equivalent of “finals week” at work. But I’m not going to let that stop me! Here are the books I am planning to read, and you should follow me on Twitter and Instagram if you want to keep up with my progress (and slow decent into madness, most likely)!

    POKÈMON GO

    This game is everything. I’m one of those people who actually kept playing Pokèmon between the first game and now, and it’s been incredible to see the world caring again about something I’ve stayed consistently a fan of for almost 2 decades. And while I’ve loved Pokèmon Red, Fire Red, Black, X, Omega Ruby, etc – getting to play it in a totally new way, in just about the closest way it could emulate real life, makes me wish I could go back and tell 11 year old Kristina with her first Gameboy Color “don’t worry that the other girls at school are already starting to date boys… POKEMON WILL START MATTER TO YOU THIS MANY YEARS LATER. AND THEN YOU’LL GET TO EVOLVE YOUR EVVEE INTO A FLAREON IN REAL LIFE, AND IT WILL BE JUST AS MAJESTIC AS YOUR TINY HEART IMAGINES IT COULD BE.”

    Here’s my Trainer (I’m level 12 now, this picture is a few days old):

    POKEMON KRISTINA

    I’m not really sure what my Pokèmon Go life goals are, but right now I am working on making all 3 Evvee evolutions my main fighters, walking twice as many steps as I normally do in any given day, and trying to keep a lock on the gyms around my house.

    And also maybe make the outfit my trainer wears in real life… hey, speaking of:

    COSPLAY

    My friends and I are gearing up for PAX where I will be making anywhere from 1 to 3 cosplays depending on how much time I have. I also got a beaaauuutiful new dress form, so I’m hoping this inspires many more progress photos than I’ve remembered to take in days past.

    I’ll have more to say on this in the future, but for now, here’s a picture of Eia and Jenn and I picking up fabric a few days ago for the group cosplay we’re definitely doing at PAX:

    13613230_10206228921473604_1375839587716350512_o

    WORK

    Work keeps me busy! I don’t think I mentioned this here before, but around May, Microsoft actually hired me as a full time employee (previously I was a contractor) which meant a lot of great new added benefits to working there! It also meant lots more responsibility, which has been fun and challenging and exciting – but also, you know, exhausting. It’s always weird figuring out where the balance is on what I can and should say about work, for a number of reasons.

    By nature of working on HoloLens, I’m not actually allowed to talk about some of the stuff I work on, so there’s that. Also, it’s so vastly different from what I normally project as my online ‘persona’ that it feels so.. I don’t know, it just feels like another life. I think coming home to my books and my cosplay and my writing keeps me sane through this new life of the 9 to 5 that I’ve taken on, so I really love keeping it mostly separate. But of course I’ll share some awesome things when I can, and when it’s relevant!

     

    That’s about it for me, for now! I’m wrapping this blog post up because Joe and I made quiches for breakfast and he just took them out of the oven… the smell is wafting into my room and I can’t stay away any longer. I hope you are all doing fabulously, and hopefully, if I have time, I will do a BookTubeAThon recap at the end of the week.

    Leave a comment!
  6. Welcome to 2016!

    January 1, 2016 ♥ Posted in: Journal by Kristina Horner

    It’s been awhile since I updated this blog, and the very first day of 2016 felt like a good time to fix that. It’s a new year. A whole new year. I have no idea where the time is going but for once, that thought isn’t freaking me out. I’m actually… pretty excited.

    Kristina Horner as a cat on new year's eve.

    This was me on New Year’s Eve, minutes before midnight, pondering if life would be better or worse in 2016 as a cat.

    2015 was a pretty amazing year for me. It had its ups and downs of course, but I feel like I accomplished so many things, made huge life decisions that have set me on a path I am proud of, and will bring me to an even more amazing 2016.

    Last year I:

    • Hit 1 year working at Microsoft, in which time I not only moved to the main campus permanently, I got hired onto a new team where my very specific skills are being utilized in a way I’m really excited about.
    • Started the UW certificate program for YA Novel Writing, which encompasses night classes I love every minute of and really has inspired me to work on editing my novel.
    • Made the concrete decision to edit my 2014 novel to a point where I feel confident submitting it to agents in hopes of publishing.
    • Completed my 10th NaNoWriMo in a row, a goal I’ve been working on for the entire decade comprising my adult life.
    • Celebrated 3.5 years with Joe, the most incredible human being I know and a big reason I am so happy and self-confident these days.
    • Chopped all my hair off and dyed it green! I feel more like myself than I have in a long time, and I can’t see myself growing it out for awhile.
    • Bought a brand new car! This was my first big adult purchase, my first loan beyond student loans, and I’m totally in love with Chip, my root beer colored Mini Cooper.
    • Went to BEA entirely be myself (but as a result got to spend nearly a whole week with the wonderful SuperSpaceChick) and had the most amazing time being submersed in the book industry.
    • Completed FIVE cosplays over the course of the year, including Rapunzel, Blake from RWBY, Wendy from Gravity Falls, Joy from Inside Out and KiKi from the Little Twin Stars.
    • Didn’t have my vocal nodes impact my life in any way that kept me from doing things nearly the entire year. I’m keeping it under control, finally!
    • Read 78 books, something that means more to me than I can even fully explain – but other book lovers get it. Books really filled my soul this year. I’m so happy.

    My twenties haven’t always been easy. I know that even at the hardest of times I’m still an extremely fortunate person: with amazing friends, a loving family, a house to live in right in a beautiful part of Seattle, a job, good health – these are things I try not to take for granted even a single day of my life. But my view of my own self worth, my personal happiness, my ability to work on the things that matter to me, the removal of toxic people from my life — these are the things that really came into focus for me in 2015. This has been my brightest year yet, and I can’t wait for things to just keep getting better.

    In 2016 I plan to:

    • Make at least one more cosplay than the previous year!
    • Finished editing my novel by the end of the year!
    • Read at least 52 books (one per week!)
    • Invest in professional photo shoots for my cosplays
    • Hit year #2 at Microsoft!
    • Find a method of exercising and eating healthy that works for me!

    2015 was all about working on my mind and spirit. This year I want to be about my body, as well. I’m hoping to make exercise and healthy food a part of my life in a way I’ve never managed to do before. I hope to take more time to relax, to learn more about health in general, and to look and feel great in my cosplays.

    As always, it means so much to me that there are people out there who appreciate what I do, whether that’s watching my videos, commenting on my cosplay photos, reading my blog or just chatting with me on Twitter. I feel so lucky that people care about what I’m doing. I love that I continue to have YouTube as an outlet to keep people updated on my life, and here’s to 2016 involving many, many more projects and memories.

    Leave a comment!
  7. Life Update: July 2015

    July 4, 2015 ♥ Posted in: Journal by Kristina Horner

    Despite having a full time job right now, I’ve spent much of the last month out of town. First I spent 1 week in NYC for BEA (a personal trip) and then another week in LA for E3 (work). And of course, a natural side effect of this is watching everything I’m doing online just sort of dissolve around my feet while I’m traveling. I used to be so good at it, guys. I used to be so good at filming everything, blogging on the go, tweeting my adventures nonstop – but now that I’m a little older (I think it has to do with being older? maybe not), I really appreciate that personal time and it’s so nice to just… detach a little bit.

    But now, I am making an active effort to jumpstart everything back up for summer. It’s interesting though – when I’m busy, when I’m really aware of how much time I have to accomplish my personal hobbies and goals… two things happen.

    1. I usually tend to get MORE done. There’s no time to lie around trying to figure out what to do. When you have 1 hour in the morning before work and something like five hours when you get home (not including nights when you have plans), that time gets used to its absolute best ability.

    2. When there isn’t enough time to do everything, it really becomes clear which of those things are the most important and which can be put on the back burner. This is another thing I am trying to keep track of.

    So what does this mean? I’m not really sure yet! I will be blogging and making videos all summer, but I am going to try to cut down to only the content I really want to make. I’ll also be making some costumes, reading, hosting a reading event or two, and maybe doing a live show here and there.

    I’ll also be spending a lot of time outside. I want to spend at least 2-3 days a week at the lake I live by. I want to do less talking about reading and more actual reading (though I’ve already read 43 books this year so this clearly isn’t my biggest issue). I want to spend more time working on my writing. Going on more walks. More runs. I want to clean out my room and downsize my belongings. I want to make some clothes. Go camping. Dye my hair.

    In immediate life news, I bought a new car. This was my first major adult purchase and it’s still a little scary, but I got a great deal on it, and it’s so cute.

    1982349_10204008691809250_820145639933880718_n

    It’s a Mini Cooper Countryman in “brilliant copper”, though the salesman really sold me on it when he called the color “root beer”. Also there’s this hidden mickey on the dash:

    Hidden mickey on the dash of the mini cooper

    I’ll be at VidCon, PAX Prime and Faerieworlds this summer. There might be a few other events that pop up but those are the big ones, and I am so, so excited for all of them.

    It’s interesting – I’m doing entirely too much every day (like usual) but I’ve also been trying to slow down, read, spend time outdoors and relax lately. Nothing like scheduling in that relaxation time, but I’m trying to get better.

    What are you trying to focus on this summer? I’d love to hear about it.

    Want to stay updated on what I am doing? Subscribe to my mailing list!



    Leave a comment!
  8. Bout of Books – Day 4 Update

    May 14, 2015 ♥ Posted in: Books, Geek Events, Journal by Kristina Horner

    Whew! I could not have picked a crazier week to attempt a readathon – I’ve had to squeeze reading into the nooks and crannies of my schedule, but I’ve still managed to find a bit of time each day, which is important to me. I even managed to read on my lunch break twice, which I’m sure made me look anti-social but luckily I could not care less about coming across as the weird book-reading girl. Literally everyone who works at Microsoft is a nerd in some way. I’m in good company.

    I’ve also shifted up my TBR a little bit. I’ve read way too many amazing reviews of An Ember in the Ashes in the past week or so to ignore it any longer, so it’s earned a spot in the stack of books I am trying to finish for this readathon. In fact, it’s almost replaced everything else, since it’s so long.

    unnamed

    My goal is to read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (TGWCFIASOHOM, if you will) first and then to power through An Ember in the Ashes this weekend. If I can do all of that, I will be 100% satisfied with myself. If I can’t, well… that’s okay too.

    I haven’t actually read anything yet today, but I didn’t get home from work until almost 8pm and then I decided to go running because I had pent-up ‘i just sat through a five hour meeting’ energy. I needed to relax a bit by writing this blog post (because working relaxes me, yes, I’m strange) and then I’ll start reading.

    Current progress overall:

    Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: Done! (323 pages)
    The 100 by Kass Morgan: Done! (323 pages – weird, they’re the exact same length)
    Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins: Put on hold.
    The Utterly Unintersting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant: Listened to 2 hours of the audio book
    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland: Just started.

    Why are all of my book titles so long? These are abnormally long.

    Leave a comment!
  9. 5 Magical Items I Would Love To Own

    April 10, 2015 ♥ Posted in: 5 Fandom Friday, Journal, Nerd Topics by Kristina Horner

    I’m 2 for 2 now  on 5 Fandom Friday! I’m on a roll. For those of you who don’t know what 5 Fandom Friday is, you can check it out here.

    The topic this week is: 5 Magical Items I Would Love To Own

    1. Invisibility Cloak (from Harry Potter): I’m actually sort of iffy on this one, to be honest. I KNOW I’d always run the risk of using the invisibility for bad reasons – spying, etc. You know you’d never find out anything you actually wanted to know that way. But I think that risk is worth it, because the real reason I want an invisibility cloak is to like, sneak into concerts or other events that are sold out or are extremely expensive. Though as I am typing this, I realize that picking The Doctor’s psychic papers would probably be a much simpler way of achieving this goal. Okay. I’m switching to psychic papers.

    invisibility-cloak

    2. The Babel Fish (from Hitchhiker’s Guide): I think this one is fairly obvious. Being able to understand any language would be beyond badass. I don’t even think I need to justify this with any more explanation, I just wanna travel and this would make travel so much easier.

    Babel_Fish_diagram

    3. Transformation Brooch (from Sailor Moon): Okay, even if it like, didn’t actually work, you know? Even if the brooch only transformed me into a girl in a Sailor Scout costume, that’s still worth it. I JUST WANNA TRANSFORM, DAMMNIT. I wanna yell “moon prism power make up” and then I want jaws to drop because of the magical lightshow that engulfs my body. And then I want to be wearing a pretty sailor suit.

    tumblr_mxz7rsEraf1ref0uho6_250

    4. Everlasting Gobstopper (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory): It’s the only candy you’d ever need. I just want one! I could create a whole review series “today it tastes like popcorn.” “today it tastes like beef stew.” “oooh oatmeal, that’s new. anyone else got to oatmeal yet?”

    gobstopper-1415392217

    5. The Clow Deck (from Cardcaptor Sakura): This is sort of my catch-all final magical object, because really any power I didn’t get with my previous objects will be in here somewhere. A deck of 52 cards, each containing a different creature with a unique ability.. yes please. Flying, jumping, control of wind, etc. It’s all in there. Just don’t make me have to catch them all first.

    tumblr_n0g225bOnL1s2ypwgo2_500

    This was a surprisingly difficult list to put together, but I had a lot of fun. In a conversation I had with Joe about this after writing it up, he pointed out that I forgot to mention a Time Turner, which I immediately regretted. But! After thinking about it a little more. I decided I didn’t want one. While time travel would be amazing, I would definitely Hermione all over that thing. I know myself, and I would only use it to get more work done, and in the end that would not be a good thing for me.

    What would you pick? What would your magical items be? Let me know in a comment!

     

    Follow my blog with Bloglovin

    Leave a comment!
  10. 5 Fandom Friday: Five Times I Totally Fangirled

    April 3, 2015 ♥ Posted in: Bucket List, Conventions, Geek Events, Journal by Kristina Horner

    Okay. I’ve had 5 Fandom Friday bookmarked for months and months, and even though it’s totally right up my alley — I just haven’t done it yet. So! That ends today! Today, I am delving into this blog link-up thingy! Woo!

    So this week, the topic is “5 Times I Totally Fangirled”. I am a fangirl of many, many things, but there are very few things/people that make me stammer and squee and lose my composure. Usually I can keep it together, but there have been those few moments in my life where cool-as-a-cucumber Kristina might have freaked out a little. Here are the ones I can think of:

    1. Meeting “Topanga” from Boy Meets World aka Danielle Fishel at VidCon. When I got word that Danielle Fishel was just chillin’ at the con, I dropped everything and ran. Seriously. If you weren’t born in the late 80’s ish, it’s probably hard to understand just how important Boy Meets World was to our generation. It was everything. It was life. Fridays meant new episodes of Boy Meets World, and I swear to god Mom if you try to make plans for me that conflict with TGIF I will scream. It was a good time to be alive. Anyway, I started by taking some creeper selfies with Danielle Fishel in the background, but then managed to get this gem, pictured below.

    1098399_10200113914522252_1838900574_n

    2. Meeting “Shirley” from Community aka Yvette at MyDamnChannel. I was asked to be on weird little show for My Damn Channel that involved being interviewed by a mildly inappropriate cat puppet, and lo and behold… so was Yvette Nicole Brown. Nevermind the extremely bizzare parameters of the situation; I got to sit in a green room and make small talk with Shirley from Community. And it was great.

    DSC051333. Meeting “Andrew and Tara” aka Tom Lenk and Amber Benson at LeakyCon. I’m just going to put it out there – after following Tom Lenk on Instagram for a few years, I can astutely deduce that he’s a weird dude. But he’s a weird dude in Buffy as well, where he’s also my favorite character. So meeting him was pretty awesome, and meeting Amber Benson was just a nice bonus.

    10356_4833621730055_368065178_n

    4. Almost but not quite meeting R.L. Stine at New York Comic Con. I have no picture, because it didn’t happen. I’m still hoping to get to shake R.L. Stine’s hand someday, but that day is yet to arrive. I heard he was at New York Comic Con and I LOST MY SHIT. I realized I missed his panel, ran to his signing line, saw it was A MILE LONG and cried my way through the rest of the convention. Someday, Mr. Stine. Someday.

    5. Meeting Ken Jennings at a PAX after party. Most people laugh at me when I tell them meeting Ken Jennings was a highlight of my life, but let’s get real here – this guy is awesome. My dad and I were already avid Jeopardy fans, but we were ALL ABOUT THAT IT when Ken Jennings went on his 74 game streak. I think I watched every single episode during that time. I don’t even know why; I was just fascinated by watching history being made. He’s also hilarious on social media, and a nice dude in person.

    41129_157082700970388_1545435_n

     

    There are so many people I’d love to add to this list, but I guess I have my whole life to do that! Really I just need to meet J K Rowling. I don’t know how, or when, but it needs to happen.

    Woo! If you’re interested in 5 Fandom Fridays, the official home for it is here. I hope you enjoyed this post and I am looking forward to doing more.

    Leave a comment!