1. Hello, 2018!

    January 1, 2018 ♥ Posted in: Journal by Kristina Horner

    The end of this year really snuck up on me. 2017 was a strange one. It was a terrible year for politics, for shootings, for climate change, for sexual harassment, for generally feeling happy, and for the USA in particular. And while I had some personal wins this past year, it wasn’t actually a particularly standout year for me in terms of accomplishments or life achievements. It was mediocre, in just about every way.

    But in a sense, that feels sort of fitting for the year that put a lid on my twenties. My twenties had some truly incredible moments. But they also had some pretty low lows, and I do feel a bit like that decade of my life had turned into the guest who’s overstayed its welcome. I am more than ready to embrace my thirties. I have learned so much about myself, what I want in life, and who I want to share that life with.

    So for 2018, I welcome more than just a new year filled with hope and possibilities. I welcome the next chapter of my entire life.

    Living my best life on my recent 30th birthday cruise

    Things that happened this year:
    • Attended my first political march/protest and made an effort to follow the news and get involved more than I ever have before.
    • Started a writing prompt project/community called #Wordbound, which has since fizzled, but I’m working on bringing it back in a bigger and better way that should launch in 2018.
    • Have maintained pink hair for the entire year – and learned to go much longer between hair washes! I am comfortably up to 4-5 days, when I used to be a chronic every day washer.
    • Spent a lot of the year planning my wedding, though I have a lot left to do (in 2017 I secured our venue, photographer, videographer, attire, asked a bunch of our best friends to be involved, and much more!)
    • Made 2 large adult purchases with Joe (a new dining room table and a new couch) which felt really good and made me very excited to continue to make life decisions with him.
    • Spent our summer vacations getting to know each others extended families in North Dakota and New York.
    • Did a good amount of traveling on the weekends, including a Disneyland trip with my lady pals, two trips to Vegas (one for Joe’s mom’s birthday and one for our good friend Alexander’s birthday), Boston for NerdCon and San Francisco for the Night of Writing Dangerously.
    • Went to my writing group nearly every week and dedicated a lot more of my time to writing than I ever have before, which included completing my 12th NaNoWriMo and starting a book I am feeling really good about releasing publicly when it’s finished.
    • Read 44 books! I didn’t quite hit my 45 book goal on goodreads (drat) but I feel really good about how much I managed to read this year, especially taking breaks now and then on my commute for podcasts.
    • Played a lot of board games, including finishing Pandemic Legacy Season 1. Also did a lot of escape rooms, and I’m pretty sure we solved every room we attempted in 2017.
    • Continued working at Microsoft, building my career, and saving money. As many of my friends are quitting their day jobs to pursue their own passions and hobbies and online content creation, I’ve found myself clinging to the very kind of life I used to run from. Stability is so, so nice after a decade of hustling on YouTube. I really am enjoying my job.
    • Stopped making YouTube videos, maybe not forever, but at least for now. It’s been sort of a strange year, since I’m not making regular content on any platform really. I made 1 video in the past 6 months, Team Hypercube has been defunct for awhile now, and even my social media has slowed down. I feel personally engaged with my hobbies, but since the bulk of that is writing, most people don’t see it. So I’m quieter these days, but I’m not gone. I want to blog more. I want to take more pictures. But I can’t promise much else.
    • Turned 30 years old on a cruise to Mexico with my favorite friends.


    Kayak tour in La Bufadora, Mexico

    Moments after losing “Trivial Pursuit Twister” on the cruise, a game invented by Joe around 1 in the morning

    1920’s speakeasy-themed escape room in Long Beach after the cruise, where we got 10th place in terms of overall time

    Here are my resolutions from last year… and how I did at them:
    • Actually finish your book to an extent where you feel okay sending it to beta readers and then, potentially, agents.
    This… didn’t happen. Not yet, anyway. It’s okay. I’m still working really hard and it just hasn’t been the right time yet.
    • For the love of god, start writing a completely different book. (After you finish this one, Kristina. After.)
    Oh, 2016 Kristina. You knew me so well. I started a new book, beforeI finished that one. Whoops.
    • Plan an awesome wedding you’ll always look back on fondly, but also don’t let it make you crazy.
    This is still in progress, obviously. It’s weird to think about writing this 1 year ago and still not being married yet. 4 months to go, and still trying to combat the crazy as best I can.
    • Cosplay, or not, but only because you want to.
    I definitely dialed back the cosplay this year. The standout costume for the year was our Amazoness Quartet group for SakuraCon, which was a massive cosplay goal of mine. I also cosplayed as the Pink Knight from Castle Crashers, which was another long-term goal ever since acquiring helmets that would make the costume pretty easy to put together. As far as I can remember I only made two new costumes, and re-wore a couple of older ones. I’m a-ok with this.
    • Read at least 40 books. Be mindful of the books you choose to read.
    I’m not sure why my goodreads goal was 45 and my resolution was 40, but that just means I totally succeeded here on my blog. Woo! I also read a lot of books written by women and a fair amount that were #ownvoices, which I plan to continue doing.
    • Continue to de-clutter and minimize possessions/wardrobe. Invest in nicer things, but less of them.
    This was in the back of my mind all year, and I am slowly but surely updating and paring down my wardrobe. Still need to work a bit on decluttering and refraining from buying things just because they’re cute or nice to look at. It’s a work in progress.
    • Exercise. Please. Even just a little bit.

    I did! I promise, I did! This summer I discovered virtual marathons so I did a lot of running (I have 4 medals to prove it!) and I did another 5k at work, which brings me to a total of 5 races participated in. My fitbit helped me make sure I was moving around enough each day, and I went to the gym a little bit. Baby steps, but I definitely got more exercise this year than in previous years of my adult life. Next year will be even better.

    My resolutions for next year:

    1. FINISH A SOLID DRAFT OF ANY BOOK, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY. I’m not going to put an unrealistic or stressful goal in here about agents or shopping the book around, just finish it. Maybe get a beta reader or two. You can do it, Kristina.
    2. Enjoy the remaining 4 months of wedding planning, and remember to keep it about you and Joe to the very best of your ability. By the time you revisit these goals the you will be married and the wedding will be over and that’s pretty powerful to think about right now, so enjoy it enjoy it enjoy it.
    3. Read at least 30 books. This is a very low and unambitious goal, but I want to enable time for myself to listen to podcasts and watch TV and see movies, which are all things I never have enough time for. A big part of this goal, really, is to see more movies in theaters, keep up with more popular TV shows, and discover new podcasts. All of this will be in balance with your reading goals.
    4. Once the wedding is over, work on at least one of your big backlogged project ideas. Maybe that podcast idea? Maybe the other secret idea?
    5. Finish Pandemic Legacy Season 2 and Charterstone within the year. You are only one game in on each of these, but you deserve more leisure time. Have game nights!
    6. Do many more escape rooms! I won’t put a number here, but do them all!

    Thanks for sticking with me, blog readers. I appreciate it so much that there are many of you who will stick around even if I’m not making stuff constantly. I’ll still share things, of course, but your patience as I try out having an actual real normal human life is everything. Happy new year, internet fam.

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  2. 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.

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