summer 2017.

As the second half of August descends upon us, I can only sit here in a bit of disbelief. Seems like it was JUST June, and Aidan had just arrived, and we were ready for a fun, busy summer. The problem with fun, busy summers is that they speed by.

We kicked off the season with a trip to the Once Upon a Time Convention here in Chicago. Aidan is not into the show, so he hung out in the hotel room and played video games. I attended a billion panels and Q&As, autograph sessions, concerts, and photo ops, and even got to chat with some of the actors in the bar. Michael Coleman is a sweetheart to the max. In fact, most of the actors were amazingly gracious and open and friendly. A few of them seemed exhausted. I sprung for the GOLD package, which wasn’t cheap, but was worth it. I got 9 autographs, had an assigned seat in the auditorium, got free admission to the concert and karaoke, and got to attend special panels. I also sprung for a few photo ops. Those were cool, but I managed to look stupid in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE. *sigh* Anyway. Very amazing experience but also EXHAUSTING. I don’t think I’ll be able to do that again, but we’ll see. I’m glad I did it.

Once Upon a Time Photos

At the end of June, the ALA conference came to Chicago. Rena and I hit up the exhibition hall and got to meet/see a lot of great authors, load up on free ARCs, and network. It was tiring but worth it! And right after ALA finished, Aidan and I went to see Aladdin, which SUCH A GOOD SHOW!! We went to Stage Door and got to take pictures with most of the main actors.

Here are some of the ALA pictures:

ALA Annual 2017

July, Aidan and I headed off to the beautiful and peaceful mountains in Salt Lake City, UT. A writing retreat for me, and just relaxing for Aidan. We were there with Rena, Traci, Nia, and Anna and it was a really great week. I hammered out a lot of my revisions, got to be in a nature, and got to zip line!! It was a great trip, I did not want to come back to the hustle and bustle of Chicago.

Utah 2017

The next day, Aidan’s best friend Benito came to town to spend the week with him, and that was great. Benito’s pretty cool, and we did things like go to Navy Pier, go on a Shoreline architecture tour, and eat dinner at Sakura. Then Rena and I trekked out to Naperville to write and to attend the Angie Thomas/Becky Abertalli event!

Summer 2017 Collage

We had a week of regular life. I turned in my revisions to my agent on July 30, and spent the rest of the day packing for Disney World! We stayed in the Polynesian, my HOLY GRAIL resort, and had a wonderful time!

MK_MSBRCART_20170731_404057053973

One last week of summer, and then Aidan headed back to Ohio on August 12. He started high school on the 14th and seems to be doing well so far. I spent Sunday at the Four Seasons getting pampered, then spent the rest of the day shopping on Michigan Ave. It was a perfect Ronni Day.

In the midst of all this was working, dealing with a sick Fi, raising a rambunctious Charlotte, writing, and freelance. Trying and failing not to overdo things—I’m still technically recovering from surgery and I did feel the sting somedays. I really need to chill out.

Now, I am gearing up for a very busy fall. Travel, freelance, work, writing. September is going to be amazing, October is going to be busy, and then it’ll be time to plan for the holidays. 2017 is flying by and it’s bittersweet. But life’s good, and I’m so excited about what’s to come!

More soon….

breather.

Airport selfie while wearing my fave hat and #colourpop ultra matte lip

You guys. YOU GUYS. I survived! I’m up for air. I made it.

This latest contract had me working many hours, reading hundreds of pages a day. And this was in addition to the DayJob™, sneaking in writing revisions, events, visits from family and friends, meet-ups, appointments, and errands.

I am POOPED.

I’m exhausted and sick; coming down with my first cold in maybe a year or so?

But also proud. Because I did that, they are very happy with my work, and my relationship with is client is awesome. I survived the madness and I am so excited. (I am also hopped up on cough medicine with codeine in it at the moment so if this entry seems a bit goofy, that’s why.)

So far, this month (and part of September as well—because that’s when all this stuff started), I:

01. Attended a #ChiYA meet-up. It’s a group of Chicago authors of YA, and we’re going to do all sorts of cool things. *sings* Just you wait….
02. Finished this massive contract—maybe thousands of pages. Sent the invoice yesterday, so now I wait. And then save/pay off credit card/Christmas shop/buy something special for me.
03. Started *two* new contracts! One with a new company called Envision—they seem really nice. I’m excited about the work I’ll be doing for them. And another project for Berlitz. This one’s scope is WAY less intense.
04. Had many important doctor’s appointments (including my very first mammogram!).
05. Been keeping up with my medicine and my therapy, including the homework assignments she assigns. I really like my therapist.
06. Attended Anderson’s YA Literature Conference and YA Fan Frenzy. Got to hang with lovely author friends and make new author friends, and came away feeling loved and inspired and exhausted.
07. Stayed on the fancy floor in the hotel during the conference. They brought us cookies every night. I could get used to this—it’s part of the reason I work so hard.
08. Got the CUTEST Kate Spade Minnie Mouse bag.
09. Voted.
10. Got to see Rena *twice*. She’s my bestie, I should be seeing her more often. We’re both so swamped with work. Thank God for Google Hangouts. We talk almost every day on there.
11. Hosted my friend Sun, who I’ve known online forEVER. It was so fun hanging with her, relaxing with her, and having her in my home. She brought a nice energy.
12. Spent time with Aidan, who was here from 10/12–10/17. Never enough time, but it was fun. We ate junk food, watched raunchy stand up comedy, and laughed a lot.
13. Shopped, donated, supported people I care about, and some strangers I barely know.
14. Attended the Sia concert. Loved her show very much. Lots of dancing and artsy stuff. Very enjoyable!
15. Started Christmas shopping! 😮🎄

Now I’m back to revisions. Goal is to have them done Halloween! I want to start a new project for #NaNoWriMo, so I have to have my current one in a very good place before then. I’m very excited for the possibilities for both. :) I want to be really bold with this new project. Unapologetic, but still sweet. So eager to get started. We’ll see if I still feel the same once I’ve started, though.

But this weekend, aside from some tinkering with the novel, I SLEEP ALL THE SLEEPS. READ ALL THE BOOKS. And maybe call my mommy if my throat settles down.

Next week, I have to fix my car, get it tested, and then register it for another year. Just bought one of those portable battery chargers–hope that gets her running again. I’d love to have the freedom to drive so I can get a massage from Jan and also Christmas shop!

So, up next for the next 4–6 weeks:

01. Whatever deliverables for the two new contracts.
02. Plan Christmas shopping.
03. Get car squared away.
04. More doctor’s appointments.
05. #NaNoWriMo
06. Schedule and partake in a spa day.
07. Keep taking meds properly and going to therapy.
08. Prep for Thanksgiving! OMG.
09. More Christmas shopping.
10. Read read read. So behind on reading, my TBR pile is obscene.

I’m sure there is more, but I’m ready to relax now.

RELAX.

Wow. It feels very strange not having a big deadline looming over me. My next freelance deliverable isn’t due until EOD Monday, and it’s not a huge thing. Which means an entire weekend free. I’d forgotten what that felt like.

But I’m sure it’ll come back to me. Easily. 😂

Just Me. Feeling Kinda Pretty. :)

finding joy.

Let’s face it. It’s been a rough weekend and start of the week. What with the earthquake and avalanche on Everest, the uprisings in Baltimore…so much life lost. There is a lot to make my heart heavy.

And yet, life goes on all over the world. That means good things along with the bad things. Is it okay for me to find joy when times are so troubled?

Blossoms!!! #spring #Chicago #tree ????????

Here are the things making me happy right now:

Meeting author friends who are positive and amazing.

Tuesday, I got to see Susane Colasanti again. The last time I saw her was in 2010. She’s one of my favorite authors because she is so positive. She dreams big, chases those dreams, and achieves them. She’s beautiful on the inside as well as outside, and her brightness is contagious. I am so LUCKY to know her.

So grateful I got to see @susanecolasanti, author of @citylovetrilogy. The last time I saw her was five years ago. She's such an inspiration to me. ???????? I know so many amazing people. My cup runneth over. #author #booksigning #inspirat

This was us in 2010:

Susane Colasanti and Me

mantrabands

I got another @mantraband today! ???? #mantraband #jewelry #believe #love

I wear these bracelets called mantrabands. They’re so pretty and such an easy reminder to keep certain words, thoughts, and feelings going through my head. My friend Reshma put the idea in my head a few weeks ago when she was in town for the weekend. (I miss her so much.) She wears them. I saw them a few days later at The Dailey Method and grabbed one, fell in love and ordered another one online that night!

My Mickey Mouse beanie

I really like this hat. #disneyside #mickeymouse #selfie #latergram

Boy do I love this beanie. I picked it up from Hot Topic one day on a whim and have been attached to it every since.

It’s Spring!

Blossoms!!! #spring #Chicago #tree ????????

Trees are blooming all over Chicago! I need to go out and take pictures. They’re so pretty and my favorite tree down the street is pink and bright and beautiful so I HAVE to get photos of that. Soon, the lilacs will be out.

Temps are holding steady in the mid to upper 50s during the day, and that feels a lot nicer when it’s sunny out than when it’s rainy out. We haven’t had a crazy amount of rain, though, and I’m OK with that. I’ll be excited when the temps are in the lower to mid 70s and holding, but that won’t be for a while. But hey, I will take this over freezing, snow, and ice.

Finding joy in the little things every day helps when the big bad things threaten to overwhelm me. There is so much in our world that’s broken and sometimes I just wish I had the resources, time, and energy to fix it all. But I can’t, and I have to be okay with that. I just have to do what I can and hope it’s good enough.

this week.

Seven years ago today I moved to this city which I both love and hate. #Chicago

This past Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, marked my seven year anniversary of living in Chicago. Adam, my friend Andy, and I packed trucks and my car, and the three of us, plus little Lucy, took the six hour trek to the Windy City. I was excited and looking forward to a new life with Adam. I didn’t anticipate the depression and anxiety that would overcome me once I settled in. It was quite the adjustment and I still often feel out of sorts. But there are some things that are so cool about living here:

1. Being able to do the majority of my working from home.
2. Finding a yoga community that I love.
3. All the authors I get to meet.
4. All the cool people I’ve met.
5. Being able to work on TV and movie sets.

It was an OK week. There was freelance work, meetings, yoga, A Different World on Netflix, Insurgent 3D (#hotmess), and movie theater food! See, I don’t go to the movies often, so if I am hungry when I go, I like to splurge on concessions. I had a hot dog, nachos, and Reese’s Pieces, which I am still working on actually. Makes it more special. I missed the Insurgent swag, but after seeing the movie, I’m kind of OK with that. It was OK, but I enjoyed in like how I enjoyed Twilight. Meaning I laughed for two hours at stuff that wasn’t meant to be funny, etc. etc. Good times. Daniel Dae Kim + Theo James on a big ass screen in 3D though was almost too much for me to handle. I’m pretty much over that silly crush I had on Theo, but I’ll never stop thinking he’s gorgeous, even with his stupid beard.

Waiting for #Insurgent3D. Rocking these Real3D glasses like a boss. ???? ????????

A photo posted by Ronni (@lilrongal) on


this was me waiting on the movie.

I’ve already surpassed my goal of seeing three movies in a theater this year! I saw Mockingjay Part 1 in January, The Duff in February, and Cinderella and Insurgent this month. I may go see Home at some point (a movie with a cute black girl with naturally curly hair as the lead? yes please!), and then there’s nothing that interests me really until November, when Mockingjay Part 2 comes out. I’m just not into the Avengers stuff like everyone else is. I love the movie scores, though, so there is that. I used to be into the Batman movies, but now that they’re rebooting AGAIN, man, I’m just tired!

I’m already halfway through my 2015 Reading Challenge goal, so I probably need to make it higher. Right now I am reading BURNING KINGDOMS by Lauren DeStefano, who has a really great Twitter feed.

I totally was expecting Saturday to be exhausting and overwhelming and it totally wasn’t. Maybe because I got an OK night’s sleep, and I drank a Blue Edition Red Bull. But I had to get up at 7:15am, which is just cruel for a Saturday (unless I’m at Disney World) to head to The Dailey Method for kid room duty.

I am supposed to report to duty at 8am to give moms time to arrive, and I like to use that time to you know, suck down the Red Bull and eat a Luna Bar. This morning when I arrived, the cutest baby was already there, sitting in a bouncy chair and drinking a bottle. I was a bit taken back and surprised someone just plopped the baby there. And he was happy as can be, kicking his little feet and sucking down the formula. Turns out he was the son of one of the teachers there, and turns out that he was probably my favorite of the day.

I spent four hours in the kid room today and it was truly enjoyable. All the kids were good and they listened well, and even though there were diapers, so many poopy diapers, and they made huge messes, it was still fun. And Cole, my buddy who’d been plopped earlier that day, was just the perfect baby size. Squishy but solid, adorable little face. It was too much! I didn’t want his mommy to take him home!

After that, I came home, had lunch, then headed over to Meksha for a workshop with Seane Corn. It was the third time I got to do a workshop with her and it was incredible. Seane is the real deal. She’s so frank and so out there with everything. And I love it. She’s a great speaker, and the practice today was perfect. Just the right amount of challenge and restoration.

The amazing #seanecorn and dorky me. #mokshayogachicago #flowandglow @mokshayogachicago
me and seane corn. i look like i am trying to eat her.

Seane Corn and Me
when i first met her five years ago

I ran into some friends there who I hadn’t seen in a while, some in years. That was soooo nice! I am kind of a loner, but getting love and light from people is so so so good.

So happy to see this cutie!!! @cassyoga ???????????? #flowandglow @mokshayogachicago #mokshayogachicago
me and cassandra. i met her at my VERY FIRST yoga class at moksha nearly five years ago!

I’m easing back into my yoga practice and it feels really good. It’s also brings up a lot of crap again, and that whole feeling of not knowing where I fit keeps coming back. All the worlds I am in are so different. They overlap in some ways but not at all in some others. I go to Moksha and everyone is eating healthy, raw, organic this or that. I go on set and people have no problems scarfing down the Cheetos. I go days where I feel guilty as hell for eating meat, and other days where I’m like “Screw it, I want a corn dog and I’m going to have one and enjoy it dammit.” And frankly, I LIKE steak and I like corn dogs, and I like bacon. I hate feeling guilty about the things I eat. Talk about being privileged, being able to have those sorts of feelings about food, right? I can’t remember a time that eating was something I could do without a lot of issues coming along with it. It gets confusing and scary and it’s often easier to avoid eating altogether until I can’t stand it and have to get something in my stomach.

Plus, eating healthy is HARD when Doritos and Reese’s Pieces taste SO GOOD. But I need more veggies in my life so I must work on getting more. Especially spinach. Green beans. Mmm spinach and green beans. I seriously go weeks without eating vegetables. That’s NOT GOOD at all.

And ugh, I already have new split ends. I might need to accept the fact that super long hair won’t ever be a reality for me unless I buy it and have it installed. :(

Maybe eating more spinach will help my hair grow. The biotin is working magic on my nails, which don’t even need it, but my hair. Please grow and stop splitting and breaking hair! Argh.

I got up at 7:15am. It is now 4:30am and I haven’t been to sleep yet. Either that Red Bull is potent as hell, or I’m just…still wired from the yoga workshop.

I should wrap this up now. I’m just babbling. OK then. Till next time….

summertime.

Summer

Summer summer summertime….
Time to kick back and unwind….

So far for me, this has not been the time to kick back and unwind!

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks. Friends visiting from out of town, stints at VSA, us going out of town, events… I wonder if my summer is shaping up to be a busy one? I feel like, now that it’s warmer out, everyone wants to do ALL THE THINGS.

More Friends
me with jen · me with kelly
me with mia · me with kristie

I want to show off my cute new outfit. Well, it was new a couple of weeks ago anyway.

Cute Outfit
sunglasses: Juicy Couture · headphones: Bose
crochet top, necklace, headband: Buckle · cami: Forever 21
jacket: Kohl’s · shorts: American Eagle · boots: Steve Madden

It’s been a few weeks and the temps seem like they’ve stabilized… somewhat. There are still some 50F nights in the near future, which I don’t like but I’ll take them over single digits and teens any day. Especially if I don’t have to go out in them. In fact, I managed to burn myself pretty good over the weekend. I don’t think I’ve been this sunburned since I was in college! I woke up Saturday morning looking like Rudolph. Thank GOD for my Shisiedo BB cream. It would have helped if I’d used it BEFORE I went out Friday, seeing as it has SPF in it, but I didn’t anticipate being out so long.

But before then, I had a week of socializing. My friend Kristie, who I’ve known forever on the internet, came to Chicago to celebrate her 30th birthday. Luckily, I was free to hang out, so we had sushi and got to spend some time together. I knew she was pretty but I was not prepared when I saw her in person. Girlfriend is stunning. And sweet as can be. I really enjoyed hanging out with her.

Me & Kristie

I had to work a couple of days that week, then Angelo was in town for Memorial Day weekend. We hung out Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (and can you believe I didn’t get one photo of us? I guess I was too busy living in the moment). My friend Hillary came over Saturday night as well. I ate myself sushi-stupid that weekend. Regrets? NOPE.

Tuesday, Adam and I headed to Columbus, Ohio because my baby was having a promotion ceremony! He’s done with elementary school and will be starting middle school in the fall. My friend Jen told me to just shut the hell up right now because there was no way, right?

But it’s for real! Aidan’s truly growing up.

Promotion Ceremony

The ceremony was nice. School gyms are not air-conditioned so it was warm in there, even for me. I felt bad for all the normal people with regulated body temperatures. It was awesome seeing Aidan, hearing the kids’ speeches, and seeing my friend Kelly, who I hadn’t seen since 2008.

The next day, we dropped Aidan off at school (I was confused too, but they still had two days left!) and drove up to Cleveland to visit my mom! We ate delicious dinner at Corky & Lenny’s, and I got to see Janae and Terri and Geneva. Thursday, we had Bob Evans and then drove back to Chicago. I was exhausted, but managed to get some decent sleep. Friday, I got up and headed to Milwaukee Ave. to see my friends Reshma, Genevieve, and Amy. I hadn’t seen them since November and it was nice to catch up.

Yoga

Saturday, Jen and I headed to Grant Park to experience Wanderlust in the City, a free yoga festival. Another day out in the hot sun, but this time I was smart enough to use SPF. (OK, some friends on twitter advised me to use it because apparently sunburn on top of sunburn is NOT GOOD.)

I did two yoga classes, drank a TON of water, and Jen and I posed for a lovely photo.

Yoga in the City!! #wanderlust #wlchicago @wanderlust ??#yoga
l- jen, r- me

Then we came back to my place and went out for… take a wild guess. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with ooo-shee. Then we went out to delicious Brown Cow and had ice cream. It was as yummy as I remembered.

Hell yeah. @yumbrowncow #yummy

THEN I found a planner group on Facebook. And more planner groups. I don’t know if you remember me lamenting the loss of my Life Planner a couple of months ago. I bought a Bloom planner but it wasn’t the same. There’s something about the Life Planner that just works for me. So I ended up ordering a new one on the very last day they had the 2014 ones in stock. Then I waited on pins and needles for it to arrive. I felt so relieved when it was finally here. Now I felt right again.

Apparently, there are people who decorate the crap out of their planners. See, I use some stickers and draw a few pictures and use lots of pens. But these people go all out. It’s fun to see them. The best part is that there are people out there who are planner/pen crazy like I am and it’s fun to chat with them. I don’t feel so alone/weird now! :)

planner
my week

I spent a lot of time hibernating in the winter. I’ve made up for it the past two weeks, and Aidan’s arriving on Saturday! I plan to do a lot more activities with him, instead of us sitting at our computers all day. I’d like to go to the Planetarium, Legoland Discovery Center, the beach, the zoo, and more. I’m determined to make loads of memories this summer.

OK, that’s all for now. Till next time….

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