1. Catching up! (Wordbound, Week #20)

    May 22, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    Okay. I’ll be honest. I started the year with stars in my eyes, and I did (I believe) 9 consecutive weeks of my own writing project, #wordbound. Like, I completed the challenges and posted them on this blog. Then I got sick, and then I got busy, and while I definitely kept posting the new challenges each week on Twitter and Instagram, I fell out of the habit of actually completing the challenges myself.

    Here’s the pattern I saw: When I was doing the challenges each week, participation was high. When I wasn’t doing the challenges, participation dropped off. The last few weeks only a couple people have actually been doing it, and that made me sad — so I decided that was exactly the kick in the pants I needed. I love this project. I love seeing everyone sending in their writing. So I’m back. And I’m going to set a good example.

    I love this project. I love seeing everyone sending in their writing. So I’m back. And I’m going to try to set a good example!


    Wordbound Week #20: Subtly mention something strange on a mantle.

    “Cheryl! Can you come down here?”

    I roll over and look at the clock, and the boxy letters read six am. On my birthday.

    I roll back over and stuff a pillow over my face. A girl only turns sixteen once you know. I am owed the right to ignore the trying calls of parental units. I should get to spend this birthday morning in the way I choose. Which is not being awake. Or embarrassed, or surprised, or anything like that.

    I hate being surprised. I hate attention. And I hate that people loooove to do that kind of stuff to you on your birthday.

    I’ve almost convinced my brain to reenter the warm and comfortable dream I’d been having, about kissing Tommy Feldson on a beach, when I hear a stampede of footsteps assault my room.

    “Wake up wake up wake up, birthday girl!”

    Mom is jiggling my shoulders and Dad is tickling my feet, while Emma (the little brat) has climbed clean over me and is jumping up and down and head-banging, with her long stringy hair whipping me in the face.

    “This is the literal worst birthday wake up a person could receive,” I mumble, trying to burrow down deeper in the blankets, but in a flash, they’ve been removed from the bed entirely. Dad is holding the whole bunch in his arms, grinning like a maniac.

    “We have a surprise,” he says, unable to contain himself.

    Of course they do. Of course.

    “Come on come on come on,” Emma says, grabbing my arm and tugging me, her little baby hands cold on my skin.

    Mom moves to help me out of bed too, and I push them all away. “Okay, yeesh. I’m coming.”

    My feet are bare and my nightgown hangs around my knees, but I follow the whole batch of loons out the door, down the stairs, and into the living room. The curtains are shut tight, but the lights are bright and I notice Dad’s left his cell phone on the mantle again. It’s propped up strangely too, like he was trying to take a selfie and then forgot all about it. I chuckle a little to myself, imagining Dad trying to take a selfie.

    Everything in the living room looks completely normal – except, of course, for the three layer cake.

    “You woke me up for cake?” I ask, trying not to sound ungrateful. But in terms of birthday surprises, it’s pretty basic.

    “Sure did,” Dad confirms, and the three of them huddle in the doorway, watching me.

    It’s got light pink frosting, framed with a bit of a teal blue border done with a wobbly hand. It’s definitely homemade. It leans a little to the left. I imagine it could look pretty delicious if it wasn’t six in the morning. But right now it just looks like something I’m not as excited about as I am about sleeping.

    “Cake!” Emma screams in her little sister way, like a battle cry. She has way too much energy for this time of day.

    “You should cut yourself a slice,” Dad says conspiratorily, handing over a plate and a knife he unearths from… I have no idea where.

    “Shouldn’t we start with like… oatmeal? Or eggs? Like a normal family?”

    “Cake,” Dad says, thrusting the utensils into my hands. “For the birthday girl.”

    I’m extremely skeptical, but my family all looks like they took crazy pills, so I do what they want. It’s usually better that way. I’m starting to worry some kind of clown is going to jump out of this strange looking dessert, but it’s six in the morning and my family is all strangely obsessed with a cake much too small for surprise clowns, so what choice do I have? I set the plate on the coffee table next to the cake stand.

    I’m not really sure where to start, so I give my parents one last side eye and sink the knife right through the middle. It glides through easily, straight to the bottom.

    Huh. Maybe it really is just a normal cake.

    Mom and Dad are literally holding their breaths. It’s like they’ve never seen cake before. I don’t get the joke. It’s just a cake.

    “Keep going…” Mom says, and I have to admit this is starting to get a little weird. I wonder for a moment if I’m still dreaming, and will myself to wake up. I close my eyes for a second. The real test is if Tommy Feldson shows up, ready for some kissing. That’s how I usually know it’s a dream.

    “Cheryl!” Dad says, and my eyes snap open. Okay. Not a dream. And still no clowns, no shower of balloons, no kids from school jumping out of the closet yelling “SURPRISE!”

    We might actually be in the clear. It could be a sixteenth birthday miracle.

    Alright already!” I move the knife in an angle from the first cut, making myself a reasonable slice of cake. We’ve never had cake for breakfast before. It’s not any kind of Casey family tradition. It’s not natural. I’m still so skeptical, but we’ve made it this far without incident.

    The knife is halfway down the cake when this time, it catches. No. No. They couldn’t just leave it. There’s always gotta be something. Trick candles. People singing to you in a sombrero. Something stupid hidden in the cake.

    I push harder, just wanting to get it over with – and hear a “beep beep!” outside.

    Wait. What?

    I pause, then push the knife down again. “Beep beep!”

    My eyes widen and I pull the knife out, dropping it, forgotten on the table. I don’t even hesitate – I shove my whole hand inside the cake. At first it’s just cold, and a little slimy, but then my fingers lock on something solid. I pull.

    “Oh my god, you didn’t!” I squeal, like I literally scream, and I jump to my feet and head to the window. I shove the curtains aside there’s a little white car I’ve never seen before sitting in the driveway. Then I look down at the frosting covered mess in my hands.

    “Beep beep!” The lights on the car flash in sync with my pressing of the key fob.

    I turn around slowly, where my parents and even Emma (the little monster) are all beaming at me.

    “This is absolutely disgusting,” I say, holding up the cake smeared keys.

    Mom laughs. “A ‘thank you’ would work as well.”

    I run back to them and pull both of my parents into a hug. “Thank you both so, so much.”

    “Still hate surprises?” Dad asks as I pull away, and I narrow my eyes at him. Mom runs to the hallway, then comes back with an old towel. She hands it to me, and I start wiping the excess frosting from my new keys.

    “You got lucky this time, Dad. This surprise I guess I’m okay with.”

    He chuckles, scooping up Emma (the little piggy) who was sneakily inching toward my cake.

    “Can I drive it to school?” I ask, only then really realizing the car is mine. “I can’t wait to tell all my friends.”

    Dad’s suddenly got that look on his face again, like there’s more to the secret. He sets Emma down and swaggers over to the fireplace, casually picking up his phone from the mantle. “Oh… they’re already going to know.”

    I’m confused for a moment – until I see what he’s doing. He innocently taps on the ‘end video’ button.

    “Don’t you dare,” I warn, but he’s already pulling up Facebook. He’s tagging me in the video. He’s typing “LOL we totally got Cheryl”.

    I lunge at him, but he’s too fast for me. He hits ‘submit’ before I can knock the phone out of his hand. We stare at each other for a moment, both unsure what the other one is going to do.

    Then I reach for the cake.

    Dad howls and yelps backward, and I’m cackling. I manage to get cake in his beard, and he tries to retaliate but instead he gets mom, right in the ear. She shrieks and flails, but she’s laughing too hard to actually fight back. Emma (the little slob) seizes the opportunity and runs to the cake where she proceeds to stick her whole face in it to join in on the fun. This makes everyone laugh harder, which makes her do it again. She’s got cake all in her hair. She starts licking it off her fingers.

    “You guys are so weird,” I say, finally caving and licking a bit of cake off my finger. It’s just as delicious as it looks, even for six in the morning. “And this is the best birthday ever.”


    I’m going to pick a week this summer to use as a catch up week for #wordbound – and hopefully make it a week people that will feel inspired to try to do a prompt a day as a way to catch up on any they might have missed. That week there will not be a new prompt – instead, you can pick from any previous ones you haven’t already completed.

    I’m still working out the details. Maybe we’ll do it during Camp NaNo. Stay tuned!

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  2. Look #27: Date night and birthdays

    January 24, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Fashion/Beauty, Food, Geek Events, Journal by Kristina Horner



    Mine and Joe’s birthdays are less than a month apart, so we decided to find a way to celebrate them both (with each other) around the same time, creating two fun-filled days of nonstop celebrating. It started with a surprise bloody mary and brunch early on Tuesday, organized by Joe. I used the outing as an excuse to wear my brand new dress from Forever21 and my favorite Bandmate Bootie in Red from ModCloth. Also pictured is my brand new iPhone case, which I love, from DandyCase on Amazon


    We got to try 3 different bloody marys – this one is called the “Bloody Pirate”. See the sword? And the cannon ball?

    Joe knows me so well – I saved Tuesday night for whatever he had planned, but he told me to leave the morning open instead (because he knew I’d love breakfast food and bloody marys even more). He was right.

    His birthday party was next (which I put together) and it included a homemade game he pretended to roll his eyes at but I think he secretly loved it. I was quite proud of my creation.


    My only regret is that I didn’t take an “after” picture. Not a single person even got close. It was a facial hair travesty, believe me. Overall it was a relatively low-key birthday, but I think everyone had a really great time. Good friends, good food, games, and music – sometimes the best parties are simply the ones where all of your favorite people end up in the same room. I’m so thankful to have the friends I do and I’m glad I have Joe to share these important moments with.


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