i love to read (smut)…shhh…

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OK, I’ll be the first to admit..reading really isn’t my bag.  I have a really short attention span, I get sleepy fast, and I can typically think of 20 other things I’d rather do before picking up a book even enters my brain.  It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but it is what it is.

Unless it’s smut.  Or in other words, for those unfamiliar with the term…porn written in words.  Trashy, filthy, forbidden, jaw-dropping, graphic, readable sex.  When it comes to smut, you have my undivided attention.  You can even bury a plot in there, be it good or bad…and I’m all yours.  I won’t get into what genre/fetish/scenarios are my thing, but let’s suffice it to say, it would make my mother blush.

I was given a tablet for Christmas one year; I wanted it mostly for games and such.  One day I put the Kindle app on there, downloaded a few free books, and as the saying goes…that was all she wrote.

Now I’m to the point where I love reading, I go from one book to the next, I’ve even read a few series.  Smut series, of course.  But series, none the less.  I come home from work, settle in bed with a glass of wine, and read until I doze off.  I used to feel guilty about my little naughty pleasure until one day I realized…reading is reading.  It may not be the type of books I can discuss with my coworkers around the office Keureg, but it’s still reading.  And as we all know, reading in itself has plenty of benefits.  Here are a few that I like to keep in mind as I’m reading about his quivering member or her hot burning flesh:

  1. You get lost in a story. Removing yourself from the daily crappity crap of the office, your crazy supervisor, bills, chores, and general adulting, is always a good thing.
  2. You can improve your vocabulary. Yes, you can learn all types of euphemisms for genitalia, but any good author will still throw a new word or a rarely used phrase into their story.  You take it to work, PG it up, use it to tell your coworker how you feel about the TPS report, and you look like a wordsmithing genius.
  3. It’s a good way to wind down at night. We all know that it’s hard to get enough sleep these days.  Most people are lucky to get 5 hours a night.  If I settle in bed an hour before I need to fall asleep, my eyes naturally get drowsy from reading, even if it’s a perfectly stimulating book.  So reading winds up being a bedtime story that helps me doze off.
  4. You may actually learn something. Be it a new position, the effect of a certain rhythm, or how your pheromones turn on your mate when you least expect it, even smut can be a learning tool.  But sex aside, there’s typically some other random factoid in every book that makes me able to say that I learned something new.
  5. You may get motivated. Start that journal, set up that blog, or write that book you’ve always wanted to write.  There are so many ways to use your creative juices.  Seeing how different authors use theirs to write stories may put you in the mood to use yours as well.
  6. You may broaden your horizons. Not just your sexual horizons, but while you’re scrolling through the library (be it a physical one or a virtual one), you may stumble across other topics of interest.  The latest smut novel I read took place in Europe, and mentioned so many cool places that I have added to my potential travel list…or at least my “google while I’m bored at work” list.  Whether I make it to those places or not, I still wound up learning a few random tidbits about Ireland and Germany that piqued my curiosity.
  7. You may forget that you don’t have a partner. OK, this is a stretch.  But smut makes you realize…you’re perfectly capable of turning your own self on.  When you’re in the midst of a dry spell, which I know a lot about, smut gives you a way to release some tension on your own.
  8. You may find yourself less reliant on social media. Let’s face it.  Social media has taken on a life of its own.  Now-days people occupy themselves by scrolling endlessly through tweets and posts and chats.  And research has proven that sometimes that’s not a good thing.  Instead of turning to social media during those moments of boredom, opening a book is a more positive way of entertaining yourself.
  9. You will have a good conversation starter. I’ve been on too many dates to count.  But one thing that always seems to get conversations going is when a person lists reading as one of their hobbies.  It naturally segues into “Oh really?  What do you like to read?”  Now…from here, you can choose how you want to answer, but reading can definitely spark conversation with that person you’re meeting for drinks for the first time, a stranger at a dinner party, or that person at a job interview.  Again…smut may not be appropriate to discuss or to mention, but you can say “romance” and leave it at that.
  10. It’s easy on the purse strings. The great thing about reading is that there are so many great books that are free or close to free.  Whether you go to a library, your neighborhood thrift store, or the free section of the Kindle library app, reading is a great way to entertain yourself without breaking the bank.  You don’t have to limit yourself because of cost, you don’t even have to leave the house to get books.  So if you’re watching your budget, reading is definitely one of the more cost-conscious ways to get your kicks.

If you’re like me, and reading isn’t your thing, I encourage you to try it just once.  Or maybe twice.  Honestly it took me starting (and not finishing) a few books to realize what kept my interest.  You don’t have to read long books, New York Times Best Sellers, or Oprah’s faves.  Try short stories, try quirky murder mysteries, try reading about that random topic that always interested you but you never took the time to look into it.  For me, I got lured in by books that dealt with communes and cults.  Don’t ask.  If that doesn’t do it, try something else.  And well…there’s always smut…so you can try that too.  Don’t feel bad if you read four pages and move on to scrolling through Pinterest.  Keep trying.  Eventually something will keep your interest.  And if not…oh well…you tried, right?

i created a printable for non-adobe users

calendar-pic-editedlike a lot of people, i love a good printable.  i love the creative feeling that comes with finding something stylish, that with a little effort to edit and print, i can make my own.

unfortunately, a lot of the printables that i love require the use of an adobe product, which i do not have, in order to tailor and edit to suit my needs.  i have a basic laptop with regular software…the microsoft office suite, chrome and snipping tool.  that’s pretty much it. i’m not in the graphic design business, and i don’t have the money to swing for an adobe suite.  plus i’m cheap…or…ahem…frugal.  lol.

but with the basic tools that i do have, i have managed to create some pretty awesome things:  wedding invitations, save-the-dates, baby shower invitations, business cards, table numbers, and other random paper creations to accompany my various events.

most recently, i made what i consider to be an adorable calendar for my besties, which i gave to them as christmas gifts.  while i fumbled through measuring and sizing and creating and such, the end product was something that I thought was super cute and that i was proud to give as a gift.  i figured my calendar creation may make the perfect template for someone else to tailor to their needs and gift to their loved one, or keep for their own use.

so, here’s my first attempt at a printable for other non-adobe users out there.

ok, so…first thing’s first.  i’m using a free wordpress site, so i’m not able to host my template here for you to download straight from my blog.  so this is an additional step, but please contact me via email to receive the template.  my email address is doiliesandsoul@gmail.com.

required:

optional:

  • a pdf making application (typically standard in the office suite), if you plan to take to staples or kinkos for printing
  • round corner punch
  • mini clipboard or easel
  • ribbon
  • small scrap of decorative paper

instructions:

  1. select pics. select 12 pictures to use.  it may be easier to adjust the pictures if their original orientation is horizontal, but don’t let that stop you from selecting the pics you desire.  it may also help to have a few extra favorites on standby, just in case you find it difficult to size or edit your pics down to size.
  1. edit pics. use a photo editor to make your pics lighter, bring out colors, adjust saturation, highlight features, crop out bad backgrounds, etc.  i use aviary (aviary.com).  but there are so many free editors out there, you should use whichever you prefer.
  1. resize pics. crop and/or resize your pictures as close to 3.92 tall x 5.06 wide as possible.  don’t be afraid to crop in ways you didn’t expect.  below is an example.  the picture on the left is where i started.  the picture on the right is the one i used for the calendar.  i took off the extra room at the top, part of my head including my eye, and i cut off part of my cute scarf that i love.  don’t be afraid…trust me, it’ll be cute even if you have to do a little slicing. pic-edit-example
  1. open template. download and open the “2017 calendar” powerpoint template.
  1. edit text. edit the title page as appropriate.  these are just text boxes.  put your cursor inside the text box and edit as you’d like.  you can even change the font and color if you desire.edit-text-example
  1. insert pics. to input pictures, select “insert”, “picture”, and then select the picture you want to use.  click “insert”.insert-pic-example
  1. fit pics. Size/crop your picture so that it overlaps the blue placeholder behind it.resize-pic-example

hint:  resize by dragging in the corners at a diagonal to maintain the proportions of the picture.  line the picture over the blue box, then use the “crop” feature in your picture tools menu to further adjust the size.  the good thing in powepoint is you can uncrop if you overcrop.  also, use the guides that they provide to help you snap your picture to the right size and location. make sure you’re resizing and aligning properly.

another hint:  if your picture doesn’t fit EXACTLY over the blue box, feel free to delete the box so that it doesn’t stick out.  just center your picture over top of the calendar.  it’ll look great, i promise!

  1. save file. save save save!  save as you go, but also save once you’ve gotten all of your pictures in place and sized just right.
  1. save file as a pdf. if you plan to take this document somewhere for printing, it makes it easier to have a pdf version of it on a jump drive.
  1. print it and cut it. use the paper of your choice and print your calendar.

hint:  i printed my calendar one page at a time.  i used a thick cardstock which tends to jam if you don’t take your time.  i hand-fed each page to avoid the stress of jams and wasted paper.  it takes a bit of time but i didn’t have any paper casualties.  woop woop!

another hint: use the guides on the page to cut your calendar.  i used a paper cutter and really really took my time.  cutting is not my strong suit and i didn’t want to mess up.

joila!  that’s your printable.  what you do with it from here is up to you.  what i did was used my corner punch to make rounded corners.  i created a banner using pretty  cardstock that i had at home, and wrapped around the calendar for decoration, then tied it with some pretty pink tulle.  one gift, i clipped the calendar to a mini clipboard (purchased at staples for about $2), and used some tulle to tie it all together. for the other, i put on a glitter easel purchased from target’s dollar section. packing and presentation is the really fun part.  use this as another way to make it personal.  have fun with it!

i stopped capturing moments

pink-camera-2i have been known as the unofficial photographer amongst family and friends for years.  no matter what the event, no matter what my part was in the event, people always knew at the end of the day, that i’d have pictures to share.  pictures that nobody expected, pictures that captured candid expressions, pictures of people that would otherwise go unphotographed…great pictures. i could be the guest of a guest, and still take just as many pics as if it were my own niece’s wedding. people would always see me running around events, holding up my camera, grouping people together so that the person of honor would have the perfect picture of their daughter, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and puppy.  i enjoyed being that person.  i enjoyed being able to show what i’d done the following monday when people were still basking in the afterglow of a great event.

then i kinda noticed a few things.

1) i was never in any pics.  it was almost like i was never there.  maybe someone would catch a horrible glimpse of my backside or me with a face full of food in the background of someone else’s pic, but i’d never come out with a picture that i’d want to show people of myself at the event.  i love taking pics, but i am also quite a ham, and i love a good pic of myself.  sometimes i think i felt like maybe if people saw me taking pics, they’d also take pics…and maybe i’d actually be in one or two of them.  typically, this never happened.  total wishful thinking.

2) i didn’t get to really enjoy the event.  this is really the case at concerts or when i go to see a live band.  i would want a video of everything so that i could post on instagram or share with friends later.  i would be so caught up in trying to capture footage, that i wouldn’t fully enjoy the performance.  i would anxiously wait for the band to sing my favorite song, but afterwards i wouldn’t really remember my feelings or emotions or the experience at all, because i was so busy observing the performance through the lens of a camera, thinking ahead to what cute caption i would include on my instagram post.

3) i always had prep work to do before i went anywhere.  i always had a laundry list of things before leaving the house:  is the camera charged (i’m one of the few people in this world that uses an actual digital camera to take pictures)?  do i have the cord in case i have a moment to charge it a little more?  is the memory card in the camera?  does it have space? which purse am i going to carry that can fit the camera?  does that purse go with my outfit? etc.. etc.  it was kind of a drag.

4) i would be pressured immediately after the event to upload and share my pics.  ok.  so…first of all, nobody would even take pics. secondly, they’d complain when i asked them to smile for the camera.  and now that it’s all over, you’re going to press me to upload and send the pics???  what??  and heaven forbid, i actually wait a couple of days to send them…oh the humanity!

5) i would get bossed around.  once people realized i had a camera and that i was taking pictures at the event, they’d then say “take a picture of jane and sarah.  they are both wearing a purple shirt and it’s adorable!” ummm…where is your camera, betsy??  and then i’d wind up with an attitude.

so one day, i simply stopped taking pics.  i allow myself to be present at events.  i let myself enjoy the people around me.   i sing and dance to songs instead of recording the performance to enjoy at a later point.  i let myself realize that it’s ok to not have minute by minute footage of every moment of my life.  yes, i still take a picture of me and my grandmother at christmas. yes, i record the family singing to my niece on her birthday.  yes, i take a video of my nephew dancing when the sponge bob theme song comes on.  i may even record the band singing my favorite verse of my favorite song.  but that’s it.  if i go somewhere and don’t have a camera, then i’ll just have to make sure i extra enjoy the moment so that i can reminisce about it later in my head.  i’ve let myself be perfectly ok with not capturing moments.  i realized finally that life is meant to be lived, not photographed.

i early voted

i think it goes without saying that every election is pretty darn important.  it is every citizen’s chance to speak up and be counted about how they want their community, district, state, and country to be led.  it’s not only a right, it’s a privilege.

voted

i think it also goes without saying, that this particular election, is quite a doozie.  A. DOOZIE.!!!  i’m not sure this country has ever seen anything quite like it.

without getting political…because i just really don’t do that…i did opt to do early voting this year.  and let me tell you…it was a great decision!  i did not stand in line at all.  walked in, voted, and walked out…in about 15 minutes.  i think this is going to be my way to go from now on.   i highly recommend it!

to find out about early voting in your area, go to www.vote.org/early-voting-calendar/.

i purged a little more: paper edition

imagelet me start off with a little confession. your girl is a paper addict.  i looooove paper!!! note pads, thank you cards, stationary, cute trinketty do-dads, pads with magnets, pads with dates , journals, diaries (yes there is a difference!), to-do lists, shopping lists…things with cats, things with hearts, college ruled, wide ruled, no rules at all…i had a flat out addiction to purchasing, preserving, and acquiring any and all stationary products that i stumbled across in my life. in my mind, it made more sense to have a blank thank you card already on hand and ready to fire off in a moment’s notice than it did to, you  know….purchase one when the proper occasion arose for one.

and because you never knew what occasion would pop up at any moment, requiring an on-hand stationary item, then naturally i had to have something for every freaking possible stationary-using scenario.

and then i purchased a cabinet for the purpose of housing all of my must-have paper  products.  and then i spent the day organizing my cabinet and my must-have paper products…  and four  years later…i have MAAAAAYBE used one or two blank note cards, and a few sheets of stationary, likely only because it was there,  and not because i actually needed it.

and so now i have cabinets that won’t  close, full of stationary  that i dont use, in a house overrun with crap i don’t need.

which leads me to today’s post. i went through that cabinet ruthlessly. while i didn’t  get rid of everything, every fifth thing i set my eyes on went straight  into the thrift store bag.

SAYANARA!!!!!

i have learned a few things from watching catfish

imageit has been over a year since i cut back on my cable bill by changing companies and downgrading value packages to the extremely basic channels.  i pretty much have local channels and like…pbs. so i am heavily reliant on Netflix,  Hulu  and YouTube to get me through. and it isn’t hard to imagine that after a year of these limitations, i feel like i have come to the end of the streaming road.  so i have been delving into shows  that aren’t really my thing.  and that brought me to catfish the TV show.

you may be familiar with the show which was born from the documentary, which i am pretty sure i also only watched due to lack of viewing options.  not because it was a bad documentary…quite the contrary…it was awesome, emotional, and oddly very relatable. catfish the documentary followed the online courtship of a guy and the girl he passionately fell in love with from the other side of a computer monitor. the relationship lasted a long time despite the two never meeting in person or skyping. and eventually the time came when the guy, nev, could stand it no longer. with his brother, some friends, and a few video cameras, nev boards a plane, rents a car, and shows up on his beloved’s doorstep. the moment of truth is painful. the love of nev’s 18 (ish) year old life turns out to be a plain, overweight 40(ish) housewife named angela. he got played. big time. and it was rough to watch.

what nev did that others may not have taken the time or effort to do, was learn about angela and her life and really understand what led her to live this fake life for as long as she did. and at the end of everything, nev and angela remained close friends. it was a really poignant and emotional story that many people who have delved into the seedy world of online dating can probably relate to. chatting with someone who looks nothing like their pictures has happened to me more times than i can count. but i never cared to get to the bottom of why the person did it.

so now i have found myself watching catfish the tv show, and hear me when i say..it is something. lol. the basic premise of every show starts with one person that has been chatting with another person for a period of time, and for whatever reason, person a has tried to meet person b, but person b has been unwilling to do so. there are a few variations and plot twists but it is essentially two people that have not met in person for one reason or another. and while it seems like it should be pretty cut and dry (they’re a liar, they are married, they are a man living in nigeria trying to run a scam, etc) there is always a really crazy yet relatable backstory that makes you less furious and more compassionate.

and once the big reveal happens and actions are explained, you still hang on for the next scene where you find out, a month later, whether love transcended the reveal…or what kind of relationship, if any, resulted. i gotta tell you, this show has given me an odd faith in true love overcoming all things.

while i am still at the beginning of my binge watching of season 1 (there are five seasons on hulu), here is what i have learned thus far:

1.) love is hard
2.) people have crippling insecurities (mommy/daddy/family issues, weight, financial status, looks, fear of abandonment, a general unflattering past, etc.)
3.) even pretty people have insecurities
4.)  most people lie because they are afraid of being judged
5.) lying leads to extreme moments of awkwardness
6.) people internet date because they feel it is easier to open up to a stranger
7.) while rejection sucks, being rejected by someone you have never met is much easier than in-person rejection
8.) people create fake interner lives because there is something about themselves that they assume others will not like or accept
9.) some people create fake internet lives because it helps them escape their personal reality
10.) some people are just truly devious and maniacal
11.) some people create lives to get attention they wouldn’t otherwise get, not because they are fakers or pathological  liars
12.) even pretty people want real, true, open, honest love
13.) people are extremely forgiving  even when they have been absolutely humiliated
14.) stepping back and taking a breath can totally transform your mindset
15.) sometimes true love doesnt come in the package or location that you want it to

i purged again

i have my purging ups and downs.  i have my moments when i’m gung ho, and my moments when i’m completely over it. but i have completed another round of purging, resulting in two trips to the thrift store…and i guess that is worth some kind of acknowledgement, right?

woop woop!!

here are a few items that i purged this time.

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i loved this dress from forever 21(by way of ross). it was a flattering fit, and the pattern and colors are fabulous. the problem was that i didn’t do my due diligence when examining the dress prior to purchase; the dress had some  faded spots and the material was splotchy/beaded up in some areas. apparently all i saw was a good deal on a hot dress.  i kept it for years because i kept thinking that maybe the imperfections weren’t that bad or maybe i could fix them or maybe they wouldn’t be visible if i wore  the dress in a dimly lit  lounge. but every time i tried to wear it,  i saw it for what it really was,  which was a once hot dress that turned out to be a hot mess. 

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i really liked this shirt…and then i really didn’t. i can’t explain it.

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this is a pile of about 16 bras. i’m not quite sure what the etiquette is for donating undergarments so i will leave that up to the store and the buyers to decide.

image

i thought these boots would be adorable with a skirt  or dress with a jean jacket. turns out…i really can’t pull that style off. oh well…lol.

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who can’t use a pair of basic black pumas??? apparently i can’t.

these items,  along with four big bags full of stuff and a few home fixtures, were include in my latest thrift store donation. now it’s time to start the process over again…

i can always change the station

radio

i can’t control what the radio station plays, but i can always change the station.

or even better, i can turn the radio off all together.

in this crazy world, when everyone wants their ten minutes of fame, when outrageous behavior gets more attention than being good to one another, when confrontation gets highlighted on the evening news but no one celebrates peace and love, we are often inundated day and night with messages we truly don’t want to hear.

i find that the more i hear about negative things, sad stories, and unfortunate societal clashes, the more upset i feel and the more i internalize disappointment with the world.

the same is true on a different scale when i find myself dealing with people in my personal life that  complain, have negative feedback, or otherwise drain my very soul.  talking to them…or listening to them, rather…exhausts me.

there is something hard about removing someone that constantly drains me from my daily life.  if you’re like me, you feel guilty, you feel awkward, you don’t want to hurt their feelings.  you’d rather let yourself continue to be tortured than create a weird situation with friends, family members, or coworkers.

the problem with that is that sometimes, when you really don’t expect it to happen, you are just pushed over the edge and your reaction to one small thing is more extreme than what it would be had you addressed the situation before you reached your boiling point.

today i finally said to myself, if it is between someone feeling awkward and me being miserable, then someone is just going to have to feel awkward.  i turned the radio off.  i don’t want to hear the noise and static anymore.  i can’t hear the daily complaints.  i can’t be drained by the negativity any longer.  for my own peace of mind, i removed myself from a situation instead of allowing it to continue to annoy me.

 

i purged today

in my effort to keep purging on an ongoing basis, here are a couple of things added to the pile today.

blazer 3

cute blazer, but it doesn’t stretch so it was very constricting and kinda uncomfortable, so i never wore it.

joggers

cute joggers but…they were too tight to be comfortable lounge wear, and they were too see-through to wear out of the house…so i never wore them.

shirt

cute tunic (thought super wrinkled) but…it was too short to be a dress and too long to be a top, it had no shape so it wasn’t flattering, and when i belted it, it just looked like a long-shirt-short-dress-no-shape-having blah.  so…i never wore it.

i have three goals for april

goals listi am not overwhelming myself with goals.  because i full well know that i likely won’t get them done.  i started to come up with five goals to accomplish for april, but made myself keep my list even shorter and sweeter.  i kept them SMART as some like to say… (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound).

the goals aren’t lofty, they aren’t over the top, but they are things i have been wanting to accomplish.  they are part of a bigger process, and if these small goals aren’t met, then my larger goals won’t be met either.  baby steps, baby steps…

i think starting with the big picture as my goal overwhelms me, and puts me in a place where i can’t figure out how to start or what to do.  i freeze instead of making progress of any sort.  when my goal is “i need to paint”…month after month passes because i think to myself “i don’t have time to paint today” or “i’m not in the mood to paint this month.”  but truth of the matter is…even if i WAS in the mood to paint, i wouldn’t even have the paint or the brushes that i’d need to do the painting.  same with the goal of replacing my kitchen sink.  i don’t just need to replace my kitchen sink…i need to find someone that can replace my kitchen sink, i need to buy the kitchen sink, i need to make sure i have the faucets and pipe accouterments that go along with replacing a kitchen sink.  so i need to find time to accomplish each step in my large task, not just overwhelm myself with the big picture of needing the sink replaced.

projects like the ones i mentioned, and the overwhelming feeling that comes along with getting the projects accomplished, are what keeps me from doing the big things i want to do…like rent my place out and relocate.  so month after month, year after year passes, and i still say “i want to relocate”, but the same pile of crap is in my closet, and the same trim needs to be repainted, and i will be no closer to relocating or renting my place out than i was 12 months ago.  which in turn makes me feel frustrated and stuck and like a complete slacker.

so, after i determined that it is way more helpful to break down large goals into small steps, i decided what i wanted to get done and what was reasonable to expect of myself during the month of april.

with that said, my april goal list is as follows:

  1. continue monitoring food, water, and blood pressure using my fitness pal
  2. take one load of crap to the thrift store
  3. buy the items i need for my home improvement projects (white paint, new kitchen sink, epoxy and muriatic acid for the bath tub).

short, attainable, and smart.  let’s see if i can have these completed by the end of april…