Wordy Wednesday: Afternoon with You

I WON NANOWRIMO 2014!

After taking Monday off, yesterday I shoved through the last 2.5K to hit 50,000 words and won at 8:58 PM. Which means I somehow finished three days ahead of schedule, despite all my setbacks.

The Awful Novel still isn’t anywhere close to finished, so I’ve got a lot more writing to do. But that can wait until after finals. (Or at least after the twelve page term paper due Tuesday.)

This makes seven years in a row of winning National Novel Writing Month. I can’t believe I’ve been competing for so long, but I also can’t imagine my November without it.

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a song I wrote back in May.

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[G, C, Am, D]
VERSE1
We have a little time
With the sunshine
It’s cold outside
But warm in here

Blue skies with puffy clouds
Playing our music too loud
Legs stretched out
On the couch

CHORUS
Let’s make
A movie of today
It won’t make a good film,
But we’ll have a lot to say

There won’t be conflict
To get the rave reviews
But I would trade a thousand Oscars
For this afternoon with you

VERSE2
We go for an adventure
Around the backyard pond
Climb a tree and don’t come down
’til the shadows are long

We pick some clovers
Make wishes on dandelions
Dance to the sound of the breeze and
Laugh until we’re crying

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE [Am, G, C, D]
Tomorrow you’ll be on
A train away
But we’ll have the videos
Of this May day

ENDING [G, C, Am, D]
I’m so glad
We made a movie of today
It’s a beautiful film
It has just enough to say

It has no conflict,
But we don’t need the rave reviews
I would trade a million Oscars
For another afternoon with you

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Thanks for reading, and good luck if you’re still trudging through the trenches! You can do it!

Goal for today: 0.

Overall goal: 47,000.

Current word count: 50,127.

~Julia

NaNo Day 25: Interview with Aisha Al-Amin

Last day of classes before Thanksgiving! I’m so excited to go home and see my friends and family. And I’m going to Chicago in a couple days to celebrate with some relatives out there, so I’m obviously excited for that too. Now it’s just a matter of getting through these last few hours and assignments so I’ll have enough time to relax over break before I need to kick it into high gear on final projects.

Like last year, throughout November I’m sharing interviews with other writers competing in NaNoWriMo in order to give a broader perspective of the event. (Also to just let you meet these fantastic humans, because I adore them.) In addition, all of this year’s interviewees are Ch1Con team members!

Today’s interview is with Aisha Al-Amin, one of Ch1Con’s new Creative Consultants. She’s hilarious and brilliant and she seems to be the only team member Google+ actually likes during our monthly Ch1Con Chats (so obviously Google agrees that she’s awesome). Take it away, Aisha.

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Q: In one sentence, what is your novel about? 

A: In the year 2050 for the first time in history humans discover another world with intelligent life.

Q: What is your favorite part of Nanowrimo?

A: I would have to say the sense of accomplishment you feel at the end of the month, even if you haven’t won, it’s still amazing.

Q: Do you have any specific writing rituals you follow? 

A: Yes, yes I do! I have to have a cup of my Grandma’s hot chocolate with creamer, and a sweater that goes to my fingers.

Q: What’s your secret to juggling life and Nano at the same time? 

A: I always make sure to write extra when I have the time, because I know some days I just won’t have the energy -so the days that I do have the energy I make sure to put in extra work.

Q: Any advice for the troops?

A: I would say don’t be discouraged because someone else has written more than you! It’s all about you this month and challenging yourself.

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Thanks for letting me interview you, Aisha!

Want to learn more about Aisha? You can find her at the following links.

https://twitter.com/miss_hijabi

http://hijabionhilltop.tumblr.com/

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/aishamonet

Goal for today: 1,000.

Overall goal: 47,000.

Current word count: 47,537.

~Julia

NaNo Day 24: Movies I’m Excited to See

No NaNoing so far today, and I probably won’t work tonight, because I have a couple projects due tomorrow. But if all goes well, I’m hoping to write that last 2.5K tomorrow. (In which case I get to spend all of Thanksgiving break working on a term paper instead. Yayyy.)

This morning I got my stitches out, and while my dermatologist says the nerves in my arm won’t grow back for another six months to two years, I’m really glad we went through with the semi-emergency surgery, because the weird mole did turn out to be moderately dysplastic. (Read: pre-cancerous.) Which obviously isn’t a big deal (I end up with one basically every time I get a sunburn)–but, like, it COULD have been if we’d left it in. So take that as a warning, please. Get your skin checked every once in a while.

After that, my dad drove me back to school, and I’ve been floating between classes and group projects and trying not to get blown away by the fifty MPH gusts of wind ever since. And now I just got back from a screening for one of my film classes, which reminded me: There are a lot of movies coming out at the end of this year and during 2015 that look REALLY, REALLY GOOD. And I’m super excited for a lot of them.

So: Movies I’m Excited to See. November 2014 Edition.

This of course isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are the ones that came to mind that have trailers out.

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Birdman

Release Date: November 14, 2014 (Out Now)

What It’s About: An actor, once famous for portraying an iconic superhero, tries to reclaim some of his lost fame by acting in a Broadway show.

Why I’m Excited: Besides the plot itself (which sounds awesome), I’m excited to see this because they shot it so that nearly the entire film looks like one, super long take. Like whoa.

The Theory of Everything

Release Date: November 26, 2014

What It’s About: It’s the love story of Stephen Hawking and his first wife.

Why I’m Excited: Stephen Hawking fascinates me and this just looks really beautifully done. And I’ve heard great things about Eddie Redmayne in this.

Into the Woods

Release Date: December 25, 2014

What It’s About: All your favorite fairytales interwoven into a complex, twisted, dark, mess of wonderful.

Why I’m Excited: Into the Woods is far from my favorite musical, but it’s still a really cool story, the majority of the cast should be awesome, and it has some great music. (Also some music that will be stuck in your head forever and always, if the fact I sometimes still find myself singing it after playing Little Red in a production of Into the Woods Jr. my junior year of high school is any indication.)

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Release Date: December 19, 2014

What It’s About: The magic in the tablet that makes everything in the Museum of Natural History come to life at night is running out, so the museum gang journey to London to figure out how to save themselves.

Why I’m Excited: This movie was not at all necessary to make, but it looks hilarious and, ugh, Robin Williams. (Disclaimer: I got free passes to an advance screening, so I’m possibly biased.)

Annie

Release Date: December 19, 2014

What It’s About: It’s Annie, updated to modern day circumstances with modern day sounds.

Why I’m Excited: I’m a tiny bit nervous for updating the music and storyline of such a classic, but this looks WAY too adorable for that to keep me from being excited for it.

Pitch Perfect 2

Release Date: May 15, 2015

What It’s About: The college a cappella competition goes international.

Why I’m Excited: Do I even need to say?

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Release Date: May 1, 2015

What It’s About: I’m honestly not even sure, except that it involves the Avengers and a creepy robot dude singing about puppets. (According to imdb: “When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to The Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans…”)

Why I’m Excited: I love the Marvel universe and this looks like it will be sort of like Avengers meets Winter Soldier. Which I am really, really okay with.

Tomorrowland

Release Date: May 22, 2015

What It’s About: George Clooney and Random Teenage Girl share memories of a mysterious place called Tomorrowland and try to figure out what it is. (So basically what everyone’s going to be doing until the movie comes out.)

Why I’m Excited: It’s based on part of Disney World and the editing in this trailer is beautiful.

Inside Out

Release Date: June 19, 2015

What It’s About: It’s the story of a little girl whose family moves and all the emotional upheaval caused by that–from the perspective of the emotions.

Why I’m Excited: Pixar. The cast. Also it vaguely reminds me Osmosis Jones, which was a highly underrated film (or at least seemed like one when I was six).

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So those are some of the movies I’m excited to see over the course of the next half a year or so. What movies are you excited for? Any really awesome ones I missed?

Goal for today: 1,000.

Overall goal: 46,000.

Current word count: 47,537.

~Julia

NaNo Day 23: Friendsgiving, Etc.

Today I was an extra in a friend’s student film, wrote 1.2K in NaNo, started work on another writing project, then helped host a Friendsgiving in my apartment. (So much delicious Thanksgiving food and amazing people and we sang along to Frozen.) Then my parents picked me up to take me home-home because I’M GETTING MY STITCHES OUT TOMORROW, and I got to talk with them for a while and cuddle my puppy. Also there was a nap at some point in there.

So, today was all over the place in the best way possible. And now I am very, very sleepy despite my nap, so I’m going to call it a night. (Sorry about that. I was going to do a bookshelf tour today, but, ya know, not exactly near my bookshelves to take pictures now.)

Hope you had a great Sunday. :) Thanksgiving’s so close! (I can never get enough pumpkin pie.)

Goal for today: 2,000.

Overall goal: 45,000.

Current word count: 47,537.

~Julia

NaNo Day 22: Flow

I was going to do a room tour today, but my room is a mess and I’m exhausted, so it’s going to have to wait until post-November, likely. (I just finally partially unpacked yesterday after being home last weekend, if that gives any indication of the state of things.)

Due to said exhaustion, I’m not going to ramble on too much today. But what I will say is that today I had brunch with friends, and chiseled away a little at my never ending mountain of homework, and hosted a couple Ch1Con online events, and, oh yeah, WROTE 10,210 WORDS AND GOT AHEAD OF MY SCHEDULE.

It’s the most I’ve done in a single day this NaNoWriMo and I don’t even know how it happened. It’s not like I was working extra hard or anything. But I did finally reach that sweet spot in the novel when my love interest is actually around a lot and, like, bantering with my protagonist and making her fall in love with him, and I love that part.

The fact that it didn’t come until nearly forty thousand words into the novel proves that if I choose to revise this thing once it’s finished, I’m going to have a LOT of cutting and restructuring to do. But right now I don’t care. I’m just excited to watch their relationship come together.

Anyway, I’m going to go read or Netflix until I fall asleep (which probably will be soon).

It’s days like today that remind me why writing is a thing. When it just starts to flow, and it’s so easy, and maybe the writing isn’t amazing, or even good, but it’s there.

Less than 4K left in NaNoWriMo 2014. Let’s give these last nine days our all.

Goal for today: 2,000.

Overall goal: 43,000.

Current word count: 46,333.

~Julia

NaNo Day 21: Mockingjay – Part 1 Reaction

Spoiler-free part of my review:

So, I saw Mockingjay – Part 1 last night and it exceeded my expectations by far.

Of course, my expectations were low. I loooved Catching Fire–it would have taken a freaking incredible movie to top that–and after early reviews talked about how Mockingjay – Part 1 felt more like a prologue to Part 2 than an independent entry to the Hunger Games franchise, I went in expecting a pretty bad movie.

Mockingjay – Part 1 is not bad. At all.

It’s not a masterpiece by any means, of course. Part 1 has a lot of weaknesses. But I also really, really enjoyed it.

Movie (and book, if you are the one human being alive who still has not read the book nor at least been spoiled for it) spoilers below. (Additional Warning: This is about to be a very jumbled up mess of my jumbled up thoughts.)

We open a little earlier in the movie than in the book, in order to get some of the back story of what has happened since Catching Fire, which is a nice way of immediately grounding us in the world and situations at hand. Other significant changes I noticed include the addition of Effie as a key player (replacing Katniss’s prep team, along with inheriting some of Finnick and Plutarch’s lines), added scenes from Snow and Gale’s perspectives, added scenes from the district rebels’ perspectives, Katniss’s role within key conflicts became more active (especially in what became the climax for Part 1, when Gale and the others rescue the Victors) (thank God), and the disappearance of THE BEST SCENE IN THE BOOK (aka when Boggs makes the wonderful comment about seeing Finnick in his underwear).

While I loved having Effie back (Elizabeth Banks is incredible), some of her inclusion feels a little forced and I’m annoyed they cut the scene when Katniss finds her prep team basically being tortured in the bowels of Thirteen. It’s supposed to be the first time we realize quite how awful Thirteen can be, which is something we need to have in mind in Part 2. But hopefully they’ll have something to make up for that at the beginning of Part 2.

Making Katniss more involved in conflicts throughout the film was a much appreciated change from the book, in which people do things around her a lot while she sits there and cries. While that was probably a more realistic portrayal of her grief and PTSD, it’s important to remember that we aren’t talking about reality, here. We’re talking about a book/movie. And to keep the reader/viewer invested and on decent terms with your narrator, you kind of need the narrator to be involved in what’s going on. (Note: I love the Mockingjay book. I know I’m in the minority for saying that, and I don’t disagree that it has numerous shortcomings, but I still really enjoy it.)

Both Finnick and Annie seem like they’re a little, well, less broken here than in the book. Possibly all the characters do. But I like that. It feels like a more natural transition from where they were at the end of Catching Fire than the dramatic, sudden shift the books present. (Also, I reread up until the halfway point before seeing the movie, because that seemed like the most obvious point to split at–and yay, I was right–but then I made the mistake of finishing Mockingjay this morning and OMG I AM NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE SOME OF THESE DEATHS IN PART 2.)

(Also also, I hope they give more time to Finnick in the movie than the book, because Katniss doesn’t even register him as someone she knew well in the book when he dies, and THAT IS NOT OKAY. FINNICK IS YO’ FRIEND, MISS EVERDEEN. GIVE HIS SACRIFICING HIMSELF FOR YOU AT LEAST A MOMENT OF ATTENTION, PLEASE.)

Speaking of the translation from book to film: I really, really like where they chose to split the movies. It leaves enough plot for the second half to be more than just be an extended montage of the final battle while also giving Part 1 enough plot to work as a complete movie. While I agree that it does feel like it’s the prologue to the second half to an extent, the filmmakers have fit enough dramatic structure to make Part 1 work on its own.

The script’s decent. I love how many lines they took pretty much verbatim from the book, because wow, Suzanne Collins had some good stuff in this one.

The biggest things I took fault with were the inclusion of the random rebel fight scenes and the music.

The first because despite being beautifully shot and acted, they often felt random and we had no one specific to root for in them; they felt like these out-of-nowhere scenes spliced amongst the actual plot and characters. These scenes had SO MUCH POTENTIAL and they’ve proven they can do these sorts of inclusions well, like in The Hunger Games when we cut to District 11 after Rue’s death, but they were poorly handled.

The second because, like in Catching Fire, I felt like they reused too much music, to the point that a lot of it felt out of place and clunky and took me out of the scenes. (Also, because of the way they moved suddenly between silence and pathos-inducing sweeping score pieces, the music felt wayyy too manipulative to me.)

Those are ultimately minor things, though, and I’m yet to hear a single other person complain about any of the music in this franchise, so I think that’s just me.

Jennifer Lawrence is amazing, once again, as our Mockingjay. Holy crap. Can we cast her in every movie ever for the rest of time?

Josh Hutcherson does well with what they give him and I’m excited to see more hijacked Peeta in the next movie. I LOVED the way they did the scene when he attacks Katniss and him thrashing against the hospital bed with her watching at the end is haunting.

Liam Hemsworth has finally come into his own in this franchise. Maybe it’s because he finally had some real scenes to play with, probably it’s because he finally learned how to do an American accent, but wow. For the first time ever, I actually like Gale as a character. And I can’t wait to watch his relationship with Katniss fall apart.

Overall, the cast is great. I loved the new members and the returning actors all once again did great. They’re definitely the strongest point of the film.

Great use of special effects. District 12 was appropriately disturbing and really showed how the filmmakers are no longer scared of scaring off the audience, like in the shaky cam-obsessed scenes around the Cornucopia in the first film. The action sequences here are awesome and definitely show how much bigger in scale the conclusion to The Hunger Games is in comparison with the first couple. (Also how much more money they have. Lol at the first movie.)

WHAT HAPPENED TO JOHANNA? She’s in the movie for approximately five seconds, which makes zero sense after they used her in so much of the advertising. (Also, I wish some of the ads had been included in some way in the final film, because this movie had a brilliant marketing campaign.)

The propos kind of definitely made me laugh when they probably weren’t supposed to. I think it was the inclusion of Rue’s four note whistle. I’m just so used to it being used that way in the trailers for these films themselves that it seemed off to use within them. And now I’m not sure if we, as spectators, are supposed to be the Capitol or District 13.

Maybe this entire time we’ve been seeing the Hunger Games world from the perspective of the people in Thirteen–who in many ways resemble the Capitol citizens–and this has been the filmmakers’ big reveal. Or at the least, that’s who we are now.

Because no longer are we the complacent Capitol citizens who get amusement out of teenagers killing each other in the Arena; we’re rebels fighting alongside Katniss as she tries to figure out where she stands in a changing world.

Mockingjay – Part 1 is far from perfect, but it’s also far from bad. And I am both excited and terrified to see where they go from here.

Fire is catching, indeed.

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NaNo Update:

I’m supposed to write 7K today to catch up, but instead I finished rereading Mockingjay and caught up on things and did homework and talked to friends and now I’m about to spend my evening at a play. Oops?

Goal for today: 5,000 + Wednesday’s leftover 2,000 + Monday’s 2,000 + Sunday’s 1,000

Overall goal: 43,000.

Current word count: 36,123

~Julia

NaNo Day 20: Being a Teenager [TCWT Blog Chain]

So, today I’m participating in the Teens Can Write, Too! November blog chain.

Prompt: Use pictures and individual words to show what, to you, is the essence of being a teenager.” 

Because I’m defining what being a teen is like specifically to me, I’m using all my own pictures. So bear with me if/when I edit out some things for the sake of privacy.

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Theatre

Performing

We Are Awesome

Fandom

Community

Katniss Costume

Narnia and EnglandJK Rowling Autograph

Hogwarts

Exploring

Finding My Rhythm

OneRepublic Concert

Sammy

Prom

Writing

Blogging

Blogging at BookCon

Write It

Traveling

Learning

New Buffalo

Crown Fountain at Night

Snowdonia

Moving Forward

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If you want to check out some of the other posts from the blog chain this month, here’s the schedule. They’re all brilliant.

5th – http://vergeofexisting.wordpress.com/

6th – http://irisbloomsblog.wordpress.com/

7th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/

8th – http://freeasagirlwithwings.wordpress.com/

9th – http://clockworkdesires.wordpress.com/

10th – http://www.pamelanicolewrites.com/

11th – http://randommorbidinsanity.blogspot.com/

12th – http://www.kirabudge.weebly.com/my-blog

13th – http://semilegacy.blogspot.com/

14th – http://oliviarivers.wordpress.com/

15th – http://miriamjoywrites.com/

16th – http://unikkelyfe.wordpress.com/

17th – http://maralaurey.wordpress.com/

18th – http://quirkyteenwriter.wordpress.com/

19th – http://butterfliesoftheimagination.wordpress.com/

20th – http://www.juliathewritergirl.com/

21st – http://whileishouldbedoingprecal.weebly.com/

22nd – http://paperdaydreams.com/

23rd – http://theedfiles.blogspot.com/

24th – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)

I’m seeing Mockingjay Part 1 at 11:00 PM, so SIX AND A HALF HOURS!!! (I’ve heard such mixed reviews, but you can’t make me not excited for a Hunger Games movie.)

No writing planned for today because of classes and movie!

Goal for today: 0 + Wednesday’s leftover 2,000 + Monday’s 2,000 + Sunday’s 1,000

Overall goal: 38,000.

Current word count: 36,123

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Getting Unstuck Techniques

It’s been blizzarding all day, which means I guess it’s officially winter and officially Julia Never Wants to Leave the Apartment Ever Again time. (I mean, it’s gorgeous out. And snow is fun to play in. However, walking to class through the slush and black ice? Not my favorite.) Also I baked cookies this afternoon (then ate nine) and had my first of at least four Thanksgiving dinners (including pumpkin pie), so obviously I’m making good life choices right now.

Wednesdays are a kind of easy day for me, so I’ve actually had some time to write, and I GOT IN ANOTHER 4K ON NANOWRIMO. I’m now at just over 36,000 words, which still puts me 2K behind where I wanted to be at this point in the month, but I’m doing a virtual write-a-thon thing Friday night, so hopefully I’ll catch up. (Although, also, I need to work on a term paper this weekend and I’m going home towards the end to get some of my plethora of stitches out, so who knows how much time I’ll actually have. But fingers crossed.)

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a writing process post. Thanks to CP, Ch1Con team member, and all around amazing human Ariel for the idea! (You can read an interview I did with Ariel here.)

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We’ve all been there. You’re busily writing away, all happy go lucky and enjoying your story, then BOOM: You’re stuck.

I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I do believe in getting stuck. Sometimes you’re mentally drained, or you’re not quite sure where the story wants to go from there, or something else equally as frustrating. But just as easy as it is to get stuck, it’s even easier to get unstuck.

1. Take a shower. I can’t tell you how many problems I’ve worked out by taking a long, hot shower. When you’re just standing there, letting your mind drift and with so few distractions, your brain has a way of working things out without you even needing to focus on what’s wrong. Then you’ll be in the middle of making a Mohawk with your shampoo suds and you’ll be like, “WHOA. WAIT. STOP. EPIPHANY.”

2. Go for a walk or run. This is another really great way of clearing your head. I did a lot of work figuring out problems while revising this semester while walking on the treadmill in my apartment building’s gym. Mind numbing activities are just so good for working things out. (The biggest thing is that you need to not focus on what you’re trying to work out. It’s your subconscious that will come up with the answers.)

3. Work on another part of the story. Sometimes when I have an issue, I’ll move forward to another part in the story and write there until I have an idea of how to get between the part I’m stuck at and the new part. If you’re trying to build a bridge but you have no idea what the other side you’re building to will look like, how are you supposed to know how to build the bridge, right?

4. Read a book or watch a movie. If you’ve reached that point when you’re quite simply too burned out to continue, take a break. Focus on a story that’s already done. Let yourself relax and remind yourself why you love stories in the first place.

5. Change your environment. It can be as simple as putting on some music or moving to a different room. Sometimes you just need a change, any change, to get back into the flow of things.

6. Sleep. When all else fails: put the stuckness out mind and come back in the morning. The problem’s not going anywhere, so take your time fixing it. Don’t worry. You’ve got this.

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Thanks for reading!

Goal for today: 2,000 + Monday’s leftover 2,000 + Sunday’s 1,000

Overall goal: 38,000.

Current word count: 36,123

~Julia

NaNo Day 18: Fall Layers with ModCloth

It’s well-known that I’m obsessed with Modcloth. Apparently so well-known, in fact, that one of the lovely ModStylists emailed me last week to see if I’d be interested in sharing my fall layering style using pieces from the awesomely quirky and adorable fashion site.

Um. Duh?

So, below is the outfit I came up with using pieces from ModCloth’s fall collection.

Fall Layers with ModCloth

My fall style is all about warmth and coziness, so I began my look with–you guessed it–layers. A tank top beneath a flowy blouse beneath a chunky cardigan.

I chose to go with warm colors that reminded me of falling leaves and bonfires, so the tank top is a deep red and the cardigan is goldenrod yellow. I offset these against the off-white of the flowy top, which has cutouts throughout it to show off the red tank top beneath. I’d wear it with the cardigan unbuttoned so as to avoid the contrast in necklines. (Notice how the red tank top and and off-white blouse, on the other hand, have coordinating necklines.) Wearing the cardigan unbuttoned also adds to the casualness of the look.

Of course, an outfit isn’t complete with just some cozy layers, so I paired these with dark wash skinny jeans that draw attention to their warm colors, a pair of brown lace-up ankle boots (still running with the fall colors), an army green wool jacket (playing into the utility jacket trend while adding warmth) (I don’t know about you, but the windshield here was -6 this morning), a multicolor infinity scarf that echoes and accentuates the colors already in the outfit, and, finally, an adorable grey cable knit beanie.

The long, flowy top half of the outfit combines with the tight jeans and heeled boots to give a lengthening, slimming effect that keeps you from turning into the dreaded cold weather marshmallow, while the jeans, jacket, and beanie are also important as neutral colors, because they draw focus to the layered tank top, blouse, and sweater as statement pieces. (I don’t know about you, but it’s impossible for me to be moody about the cold weather when I’m wearing such happy, warm colors.)

Altogether, my look is all about slouchy, cozy pieces you can throw on in minutes while still looking cute on the way to morning classes. Now all I need is a chai latte and a pile of leaves to jump in.

Check out the individual pieces below! And make sure to head to ModCloth’s site itself to see all their other fabulous offerings here. (Protip: You can find their cardigan collection, specifically, here! It’s one of my favorite things.)

Special thanks to Polyvore, the site I used to put together my style board. Super fun and easy to use!

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NaNo Update: No writing technically planned for today, but I’m probably still going to be playing catch up in NaNoWriMo, because I NEED to stop being obnoxiously behind, with term papers and final projects coming up.

Goal for today: 0 + yesterday’s leftover 2,000 + Sunday’s 2,000 + Saturday’s 3,000 + Friday’s 200.

Overall goal: 35,000.

Current word count: 31,072

~Julia

NaNo Day 17: Interview with Ariel Kalati

Having one of those days when it feels like absolutely nothing will ever go right ever again and I might as well melt in a pool of my own tears and never go outside again.

Which is stupid, I realize. Because I’m currently sitting in a really nice and cozy apartment at a really good university and I had a really good breakfast and two of my really awesome roommates–who I do not in any way deserve–are sitting beside me and just talked me down from the tantrum I was throwing over some news I got and yeah.

I’m so incredibly lucky. And sometimes it’s hard to remember that after getting bad news and more bad news and not knowing how to proceed from this point and ugh. But it’s true.

So I’m trying to hold onto that. And remembering that yesterday was a really good day, and up until recently I’d been having nothing but good days for a long time, and we all have to pay our dues to karma eventually.

Also, it’s snowing and I’ve got good music playing and I read a good book this morning. (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, if you’re curious.) So life is good. Today, even, has overall been good. It’s just about what I focus on.

And, starting now, I’m focusing on the good parts of today.

Speaking of which: Today I am thrilled to share with you an interview!

Like last year, throughout November I’m sharing interviews with other writers competing in NaNoWriMo in order to give a broader perspective of the event. (Also to just let you meet these fantastic humans, because I adore them.) In addition, all of this year’s interviewees are Ch1Con team members!

Today’s interview is with Ariel Kalati, one of my oldest writing friends. We’ve known each other forever, went to BookCon 2014 together, she’s spoken at the previous two Ch1Cons, she has this AMAZING eye for grammar, AND she’s one of Ch1Con’s new Creative Consultants. And she is fabulously snarky and hilarious. And yeah. Take it away, Ariel.

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Q: In one sentence, what is your novel about?

(A rewrite of NaNo 2012 ’cause I’m a rebel) Two teenagers are forced to convince the beast of winter to help them save the human race from evil spirits.

Q: What is your favorite part of NaNoWriMo?

My favorite part is when you didn’t write for a few days and you’re moping about and then it’s like you’re in an inspirational movie montage and you write EIGHT THOUSAND WORDS IN ONE DAY and you’re very proud of yourself.

Q: Do you have any specific writing rituals you follow?

Not really. I like to write between 10 pm and 1 am generally, and some chocolate is always helpful.

Q: What’s your secret to juggling life and NaNo at the same time?

There’s a lot of crying involved and yelling at people that they don’t understand the hardships of NaNoWriMo.

Q: Any advice for the troops?

You don’t necessarily have to write every day. Some days are “ugh writing sucks” days and some days are “so much writing yay!” days. Try to focus more on your weekly word count than your daily word count. And remember, bribing yourself with food and blackmailing yourself with lack of food are unhealthy but efficient ways to get that word count up!

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Thanks for letting me interview you, Ariel! And thanks for reading!

Goal for today: 2,000 + yesterday’s leftover 2,000 + Saturday’s 3,000 + Friday’s 3,500.

Overall goal: 35,000.

Current word count: 27,754.

~Julia