Wednesday Randomness: A Few of My Favorite Things: Beauty Products

This is going to be a fairly short post this week. Why? Because I have very few beauty products that are favorites. I have really, really sensitive skin – that has gotten even more sensitive in the past, oh, two years or so. I have yet to find a facial cleanser that does not make me feel like my face is on fire and in danger of falling off my skull – even the so called “for sensitve skin” products. Same goes for moisturizers. Which really sucks because my skin is dry too – I can play pictionary on it with my fingernail. It’s just sad.

BUT there are some things I have found that work for me, though, and have a permanent place in my life.

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Coconut oil – Seriously, I love the stuff. So many uses and I definitely use it because it doesn’t make me hurt or make my skin break out. I use it as a eye makeup remover, hair treatment (sometimes with other things but it’s fabulous on its own), on dry, cracked skin in the winter, as lip balm in a pinch. And there are other uses, too, but those are hte big ones.
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Aloe Vera Gel– Not the kind with any alcohol or coloring or all the things you can’t pronounce. The best is straight from the plant but if you use a good amount, hit Amazon and find some. It’s worth it.  Aside from the wonderful healing properties of aloe vera, there’s a lot you can do with this stuff. Seriously, Google it. The big thing I use it for is “aloe packing”. Since my skin is so sensitive and try this has been a life saver (and you would never use the icky green gel that is full of chemicals and alcohol for this!) and I just started doing it. Basically, you put the gel on your face, and you wait for your skin to soak it all in, then you put on an other layer. You do this until your skin just won’t absorb anymore. It’s lovely and soothing.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 9.50.39 PMSay Yes to Coconut Lip Balm – This is the lip balm I carry with me everywhere. I love it. And my lips thank me for it.                                      Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 9.49.50 PMSlow It Body Wash and Lotion – I discovered this whilst getting the hair ripped from my legs. A truely joyous experience. I don’t use this on my face, mind, but I love it for everything else. The first ingredient listed? Aloe. LOVE. It keeps my dry-ass skin hydrated and feeling smooth. And it really does seem to slow hair growth down. So win. These are products sold through European Wax Centers, and I’m not sure you can order online or anything. I just get mine when I endure the torture in the summers. (But I buy enough and still use even when I’m not waxing. It works and I’m not straying from it).

And that is it from me. I don’t really have any fave makeup – mostly because I suck at makeup so I rarely wear it.


Dont’ forget to check out the other gals’ posts. I know I will be…hoping to find some new favorites!
Brownwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jenny Trout | Jessica De La Rosa
Kellie St. JamesKris NorrisPaige Prince

 

Wednesday Randomness: Write What You Know?

Happy Wednesday! Today’s topic is whether we agree or disagree with the old adage “Write what you know” and why.

I didn’t realize how tough a question this was until I settled in to write this post. I actually don’t have a definitive answer to this.

As a writer, I write plenty I don’t know – I don’t know what it is to be a vampire or a faery or a witch or a reincarnated king, and I’ve written every single one of those. Aside from the fantasty aspect, I don’t know what it is to be a man, yet I write from my heroes’ POVs in every book.

But (you knew that was coming, right? The big “but”), when it comes to writing, say the fantasy stuff, I do know it, because I make it up. It’s my creation, my worlds. I write notes (lots and lots of notes), I make sure everything is consistent and don’t change willy nilly. The rules of those worlds are concrete and remain so through the book and/or series.

As for writing from a male POV… Well, conversations in this house do get interesting. I’ve been known to ask the hubs and any other male foolish enough to hang around how they would react to a situation, etc. Not saying I write how a typical man would react, think or feel, but again, I build the character and him consistent thoughout.

See how it’s complicated? Yes, write what you know, but if you don’t know it…

1) Research the crap out of it – a profession, a specific event, a locale, a time period, etc.

2) Make it up, create something, but make sure it’s consistent.

And here comes another BUT… When it comes to making it up? That works when it comes to fantasy and paranormal. Even when it comes to building an individual character, but I’ll be flat out honest here, there are things I won’t write because I don’t feel I have the perspective or knowledge, even with research, to do it well. There are some things, I believe, that without firsthand experience, I can’t write effectively. And I’m okay with that. I’ve enough to work with, and plenty of fantasy/paranormal stuff to keep me busy. LOL

So yes, write what you know. Research. And feel free to make stuff up, but FFS, be consistent. There, that’s my answer. LOL

And that’s all I’ve got this week. It’s been a rough one, a tad stressful so far. So this is me tonight….

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Okay, that MAY have been averted by channeling Olivia Pope (from Scandal)

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Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa
Kellie St. JamesKris Norris | Paige Prince

Until next week!
Hugs,
~J

Wednesday Randomness: I Spend Too Much Time…

I have many things I spend way too much time doing – I can procrastinate with the best of them, believe you me. But I don’t think my list of things I waste my time on is going to be much different than anyone else’s.

Reading – A constant my whole life. Best form of escaping, then, and it’s no different, now. Whether it’s a good novel, and interesting non-fiction read or a filthy fanfic, reading is a big part of my life. You won’t hear me say often that anyone can spend TOO much time reading, but for me… Yeah, sometimes, I’m reading when I should be doing something else – like finishing a book. *hangs head in shame*

TV/Movies – More TV than movies, really, but I’ve been known to marathon some good films. But I definitely watch too many TV shows. I very rarely watch episodes when they air on TV. No, I wait until later when I can watch and watch and watch…

netflix-marathonYeah, Merlin, Dr. Who, Broadchurch, The Fall, The Walking Dead, Arrow, The Flash, Friends, Psych, Supernatural…. Honestly, the list goes on and on. I have to be super strict with myself not to start watching a show when I should be working, because, despite my best intentions…

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Social Media – Twitter and Facebook? I look at the clock and realize waaay more time has passed than I thought. And anyone who knows me knows I spend more time on Tumblr than I ever should. it speaks to me. In so many ways. But mostly in this way

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or this way…

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I could keep going but… Well, you see what I mean about spending too much time? I’m trying to finish a book! I’m on a tight deadline and pretties (aka the life ruiners) keep distracting me! 🙂

And that’s where I’ll end it. Those are my top three time sucks – reading, watching TV/movies, and social media…


Go and see what the other ladies spend too much time doing!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones  |
Kellie St. James Kris Norris | Paige Prince

Until next week!
Hugs,
~J

Wednesday Randomness: 5 Words or Less – My Blog, My Fiction, My Creative Process

5wordsorless

My Blog – Challenging, fun, growing

My Fiction – Sexy, fun, entertaining, I hope.

My Creative Process – Maddening, Exciting, Always Evolving


Check out how the other ladies described these things!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa
Kayleigh Jones | Kellie St. James Kris Norris

Until next week!

Hugs,
~J

Wednesday Randomness: A Thank You Note

bannerfans_15386690Despite the enormous distraction you are in my life, you are truly my happy place. What I turn to when I need some time away. I’ve so much to thank you for…

You make me laugh and make me think. You show me that I’m not alone in my thoughts, beliefs, and not even in my (apparently) strangely specific fetishes. 😉

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tumblr_mjpm7n2kHr1r7lfr2o1_250
tumblr_mmyzhn4OgC1qma7m9o5_r1_250And you don’t judge that Colin Morgan seems to embody all of these.

You are so much more than a distraction, though. You are an infinite source of inspiration when I’m writing and trying to picture a character – an expression or way of moving.

hannibalstrokeswilltumblr_nbxfubKvrD1tjjvnuo2_500tumblr_m7ntc77NCn1rshbdvRM lip bitetumblr_ml1991SvYE1s71i6qo1_500

You never bring up the fact I look up more pretty men than anything else. You just get me.

And do I even need to bring up the enormous amounts of filthy fanfic you bring to me?

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Yeah, I didn’t think so…

So, thank you, Tumblr. For brightening my days and being so awesome.

Loves & Smooches
Jess


Wonder what the others are saying thanks to…
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa
Kellie St. James Kris Norris | Paige Prince

 

Wednesday Randomness: How Writing Affects My Life & Vice Versa

Well, I’m hoping this posts… I have been having blog issues lately – my blog has been down more than it’s been up. People are on it. People who actually know what they are doing (Meaning, not me) and hopefully will figure out what the issue is. *fingers crossed*

Anyhoo, the topic for this week is How Writing Affects My Life & Vice Versa. Fun, yeah? LOL

Being a writer…that’s not something I can turn off. I’m constantly thinking about the book I’m currently working on (Or another one. *snort*). So, sometimes, I…zone out. I admit it. The hubs is talking about something or one of the kids and tra-la-la, my mind wanders to a scene or something. I apologize a lot for not listening, and it’s not intentional. They’re all pretty used to it right now.

My family also get to hear my plot stuff out. My oldest son worked as a counselor at a camp over the weekend in the winter. It was an hour or so away, and I think I plotted out the enitre first Albion’s Circle book while driving him out there. Poor kid had to hear so much. BUT he’s pretty awesome and helped me figure shit out. So yay!

Writing affects my life in a somewhat negative way is when I’m on deadline, I pull late nights and am very crabby – especially in pre-caffeinated state. I don’t like being tired, and sometimes that seems like that’s all I am. LOL

merlin frustrated

Okay, now – how my life affects writing… Well the biggest way? It means I don’t get to write as often as I’d like. My husband and I have four children. Over the past 18 years, that has affected my writing. A LOT. It’s easier now that the kids are older; my youngest is 12. But still, school functions, concerts, programs, etc still hit the schedule and make fitting writing time more difficult.

That being said, I do childcare and most days of the work week, I three young kids here. You can imagine how writing what I write is difficult to do. So I focus on the children and the *other* day job. Yeah, another one. Why you ask? Well, the kids like to eat and the college years are upon us. o.O So I do what I can to help bring in some income. Not so different than most families out there, yeah? So after chasing kids, working, doing family stuff…some nights, it’s all I can do to stay awake, let alone get words in. But I’m working on a balance there, and some day, I may just find it.

And that’s where I’m going to wrap this.


Head on over and see how everyone else tackled this week’s topic.
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease Jessica De La Rosa
Kellie St. James | Kris Norris Paige Prince

Until next week
Hugs
~J

Wednesday Randomness: Wordless Wednesday – My Past

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(Okay, I’m horrible at the wordless… I don’t really have pics from my childhood so I’m going with posting pics of things that come to mind when I think of my childhood… Some of them should embarrassment but I feel no shame. NO SHAME.)

imgres new_kids320 now-and-later pop_rocks Scoubidou_6_strands

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That’s it from me – time to get back to work. I’m certain the other ladies will have much more entertaining posts this week. Make sure to go check them out.

Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La RosaKayleigh Jones
 Kellie St. James | Kris Norris | Paige Prince

March Song Writing Prompt – “The Hammer’s Coming Down”

songprompt3This week’s weeks song is “The Hammer’s Coming Down” by Nickelback. Kris and Paige are so happy about this. 😛

I’d planned on writing more about Aric and Michael, but this song really didn’t lend itself to their story. As I listened to it, I kept thinking of Merlin and Anna from my Albion’s Circle series. Probably because I’m back writing them. I don’t know how well I kept to the song itself, but this was inspired by it… So, I went with it – though I’m sure I’ll be back with my boys soon. 🙂 They’re still talking to me.

So, here is a glimpse into Merlin and Anna’s past – the eve before battle, the very first time they faced Mordred, back in the days of Camelot.

If you want to take a listen before you read… Click Here


The quiet surrounded me as Camelot’s great army slept. I’d been unable to do the same. I’d tried—mostly for Merlin’s sake as he’d fussed at me the night before. And for Arthur and Galahad and the others who kept casting worried glances my way as we’d sat around the campfire. So, I’d retreated into our tent with Merlin and curled up beside him on the fur-covered pallet. Being in his arms had helped—it always helped—but it hadn’t brought me rest.

Frustrated and unable to stop the doubt and fear vibrating inside me, I reluctantly slid from Merlin’s embrace, not wanting to interrupt his sleep. And, even if I lay still as a stone, eventually he would sense my unease. Particularly since controlling my power was becoming more difficult by the minute. The air in the tent teemed with it, and I tried to rein it in as I quickly dressed. With one last look at the man who slept surprisingly peacefully, I slipped outside.

A few men sat around fires throughout the camp—either on watch or, like me, unable to sleep. I paid them no mind and made my way into the trees. I didn’t go far—just far enough to be away from the bustle when everyone began to wake but close enough I’d hear if there was trouble.

I stood in a small glade and stared into the darkness, struggling against tears that welled up, that nearly choked me. Swallowing the lump in my throat, I closed my eyes and reached out mentally, letting my magic touch on all the wards and protection spells we’d woven around the encampment. All intact and strong. I sensed each of the men—Magical and non-Magical—on watch around the perimeter. Everything was as it should be, and yet, an uneasy feeling curling around me, squeezing me to the point I couldn’t breath

Morning would soon be upon us, and battle would begin. And I, Camelot’s strongest Seer, saw nothing.

I had tried everything in my power to see what was coming, to glimpse any hint of what the battle would bring. Even going so far as ingesting a complex combination of herbs said to induce visions. That had only succeeded in making me unable to control my magic at all, and had spent an hour vomiting in my chambers as my belongings either shattered or floated around me. The only redeeming thing about that entire experience was no one had been around to witness it.

“Annwyl.”

I sighed as Merlin’s arms came around me, pulling my back against his front. I covered his hands with mine and let my head rest against his shoulder.

“What’s the matter?” he asked, pressing his lips to my temple.

“I can’t see,” I said softly. “I’ve never been so blind to what is ahead.”

“All will be well,” he assured. “This is hardly the first time Camelot has been at war.”

But it was the first time they’d ever faced such a Magical threat led by someone who once claimed friendship and swore loyalty to Arthur and Camelot, someone who’d betrayed them in every way possible.

“I wish you wouldn’t go onto the battlefield,” I whispered, selfishly. I couldn’t shake the feeling something bad was going to happen to him. And being unable able to see…only strengthened that fear. But, while I knew he could provide protection from afar, he never would. It wasn’t who he was.

“My place is by Arthur’s side.”

“Funny, I thought it was by mine,” I snapped, jerking out of his arms and stepping away.

“Annwyl…”

I pressed the heels of my hands to my eyes, hunching over as I tried to calm down. I felt the comforting touch of Merlin’s magic, twining around me, gliding over my skin.

“Annwyl, please.” Desperation filled his voice, and straightening, I turned around. “I love you, more than anything, you know this.”

“Just as I know you love your king, and you will do everything in your power to protect him.” I closed the distance between us and reached up to cradle his face in my trembling hands. “Forgive me. I’m tired, and not being able to see makes me… I’m uneasy. But I know you need to be with him.”

His hands settled on my hips, fingertips pressing hard. “And I’ll come back to you. Always.”

“I know.” I brushed a thumb over his lips, enjoying the resulting shudder and swell of power.

“Mordred will not win,” he said firmly. “We’ve ensured that by creating the Circle. You ensured it by finding the spell to do so. We’ll stop him, Annwyl. And, after…”

“Yes?” I moved closer, biting back a moan when his hard length pressed against my stomach. “What happens after?”

“After,” he drawled, “we return to Camelot and ignore our friends and our duties for days while I keep you in my tower and show you again and again how much I love you.”

“Bold promises,” I teased.

“I always keep my promises, love.” He dropped a quick kiss on my lips. “Actually, why wait?”

I huffed out a laugh as he let go of my hips and grabbed my hand so he could pull me behind him as he walked.

“Merlin,” I said, trying to keep my voice hushed.

He said nothing as he led me back to camp then into our tent. Once inside, he muttered and the candles inside the space flamed to life. His bright blue gaze seared as he turned toward me.

“We’ve hours yet before the sun rises,” he said slowly. “If you can’t sleep, let’s not waste them.”

I let him tug me back over to the pallet and followed readily as he stretched out on the furs. I shoved aside the fears and uncertainty that still filled my head, anxious to lose myself in him. In the way we came together, the way he made me feel.

But, even as we moved, loved each other, I couldn’t help but feel as if this were the calm before the storm. That, come morning, once the battle began, there was no turning back. Everything was going to change.


Head on over and see what these awesome ladies have been inspired to write after listening to “The Hammer’s Coming Down”…
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones
Kellie St. JamesKris Norris | Paige Prince

 

Wednesday Randomness: Inspiration A-Z

Happy Wednesday!

Before we get to today’s topic, I want to give a shout out and huge welcome to Paige Prince who is joining for the Wednesday Random fun times! Paige, my lovely, lovely Paige, so happy you’re here, darling. MWAH

Now, this week, we’re talking inspiration…and presenting it to you A-Z. My list – some of it is what inspires me writing-wise (most of it probably) but some is just what I find inspiring in life. I feel I should apologize for the complete and utter…well, silliness of it. But…

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And, really, no one who knows me will be surprised by this list.

All Things Arthurian – King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, Merlin, magic, swords, epic battles, good vs. evil… How can I not be inspired? All of the legends I love pushed me to write my own Arthurian-inspired series, Albion’s Circle.

Bradley James –

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Need I say more?

Colin freaking Morgan – Admit it, you knew this one was coming, didn’t you?

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No words…just, Guh.

Dreams – This one is probably weird, but I’m going with it. This definitely falls in the writing inspiration column. I’ve had a few books start out of a dream I’ve had. Not that I dreamt the whole book or anything. It could be just a moment, an event that just triggers something and it all comes from that.

Encouragement – Complete honesty, my friends’ encouragement is crucial for me in writing. Knowing that they will read through something and tell me the truth, no matter what? That’s pretty much the greatest thing ever. And whether I crank out something good or not so good, the encouragement is always, always there – to keep going or to fix that shit! 🙂

Family & Friends – Wasn’t even going to attempt to list people individual for something like this. o.O I’ve been so blessed – with the family I was born into, the  and the friends I’ve had the good fortune to have come into my life. And I’m inspired by them every day.

GIFs – I will admit I love GIFs (this doesn’t surprise anyone, probably). I have huge files of them and many many of them are quite inspiring. If you message with me on the regular, you’ll get GIFs (and reg pics) too thrown at you often. Behold…

Submission

HandAppreciation

This one will make more sense after you read “J”

Husband – And not just in the bow-chica-bow-wow way either. He’s the strongest, kindest, most loyal and dedicated person I know. And he inspires me to be better. And, he’s pretty easy on the eyes, I’ll admit. Rowr. 🙂

Inspiring Things – Cut me some slack… Pretty please?  This is one of the last letters and I can’t brain anymore. So inspiring things inspire me. Let that little truth bomb ruminate for a while…

Jess’ Strangely Specific Fetishes – A phrase coined by the lovely Bron during Merlin Club. I don’t think they’re strange…but I suppose I can see how they would seem as such to others. What are they, you ask? Well, hands, collarbones, forearms, Merlin’s Dragonspeak Voice, King Arthur’s use of the royal “we”… To name a few. ENDLESS inspiration for the writing, let me tell you.

Kids – As infuriating as they can be, they inspire me so much. Most often when they don’t even know I see or hear what they’re doing. They make me believe I’m doing SOMETHING right with my life.

Love – romantic love, platonic love, parental love… C’mon, love is just inspiring. Not much to expand on that.

Merlin – not specifically Colin Morgan’s Merlin (though he certainly is inspiring). The character of Merlin and all it’s incarnations intrigue me. There’s a reason Albion’s Circle centers around Merlin and the woman he falls for.

Nature – Although I would never claim to be an outdoorsy girl, I have a healthy appreciate for nature and it does inspire me. Sitting on the lake, or by the sea, hiking to a little known waterfall in the woods…  Thunderstorms are the best thing ever. Yeah, see? I like me some nature.

OneRepublic – Don’t laugh. Their music is especially speaking to me as I write the Albion’s Circle series. And darn it, I know some people are go to have Nickelback on their lists!

Pride & Prejudice – I love Jane Austen, but P&P is my fave. And it also inspires me to write the best damned books I can. Particularly when it comes to characterization because that is one of the first books I read that I connected so greatly with the characters. (Not saying it’s the first book I liked or I didn’t like characters in other books before, but I felt particularly invested in Lizzy and Mr. Darcy.)

Quiet – This one may actually surprise because I always have headphones on or background noise (TV) going when I write. BUT I’ll let you in on a secret – that started as a defense mechanism. An effort to drown out the general chaos that is around me. Then, I got used to some kind of noise while I wrote and it stuck. So yes, I need that when I write, but when I’m thinking through a story, plotting, etc… When trying to come up with somthing…quiet is the trick, my friends. Don’t know if that counts as “inspiration” but hell, what the fuck else am I going to come up with Q????

Readers – Readers saying they liked a book or asking about the next book in a series… Yeah, that inspires, big time.

(Lake) Superior – I grew up where I could bike to Lake Superior. That is my happy place. Some friends and I go there every year for a retreat, and it’s honestly my light at the end of the tunnel when stress gets to me (and by that I mean ALL. THE. TIME.)

Tumblr – It’s my OTHER happy place. And so much more accessible than my dear lake.

United Kingdom – Big part of this is because of my love of history and my family background. Always felt a pull. I finally had the opportunity to travel there this last year. Spent most of my time in London but spent some time driving across Wales and a day in Bath, as well. LOADS of inspiration. Hell, my upcoming book’s title is London Bound so… there you go

(Bon) Voyage – I know that’s sort of cheating, but… V…. Veeeeeeeeee!!!

sorry

Anyhoo, love to travel – or Voyage, if you will – and find inspiration in the history, the architecture, people watching, the surrounding scenery…

Wine – Some of my best ideas and most brilliant moments happen under the influence of good, cheap wine, my friends.

X-rated – I write erotic romance. Hello?

(Da) Yoop, eh? – Since I already had something for U, I couldn’t put Upper Michigan or UP (Upper Peninsula). It’s where I grew up. I adore it up there. And I’ve definitely been inspired to write stories set up there because of my neverending love. Hey, once a Yooper…

Zeal – Seriously, I know the look on your faces right now….

judgingyou

…but hear me out. One, Z is hard, people. Two, I admire zeal. I find it inspirational when I see someone passionate about what they believe. Unless, they’re dicks about it. Then, well, I’m the one with the expression above on my face.

Be sure to click below and see what inspires everyone else!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendonlyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James
Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris Paige Prince

Wednesday Randomness: A Few of My Favorite Things – Websites

myfavoritethings

This month’s edition of Fave Things is websites. I’m keeping this short and sweet. I mean, I could list a ton of websites I love—author sites, friends’ sites, etc—but I’m going to limit myself to the sites I visit with sickening frequency.

Tumblr – Well, this isn’t a shock, is it? Tumblr is a wonderful place, a happy place I go when I need a break from it all. Of course, it’s not all rainbows and sparkles—there’s some serious shit on Tumblr—but that’s what I focus on when I need the breaks.

And it gives me things like this…

colinglassestumblr_m5is4cwufa1r7hjaso1_250GrantGustin8tumblr_nbxfubKvrD1tjjvnuo1_500Eoin8RM lip bite

(I may have just used this post as an excuse to choose pics/gifs of beautiful men.)

Archive of Our Own—A wonderful place where people post wonderful fanfic. Hello, filthy Merthur stories, how I love thee.tumblr_lgo869fydC1qh58r7o1_500

I’m not allowed to go here until I’ve written my own words, though. It’s a rule.

Pinterest—This is where I collect recipes, pretty pictures that inspire me, crafts I would love to do but can’t because, my friends, as much as I desire to be crafty, I’m hopeless at such things. It’s very sad but I can still look at the pretties and dream.

And that is where I’m going to leave it, this week. Top 3 for my fave websites AKA Top 3 Ways Jess Wastes Ridiculous Amounts of Time. 🙂

Head over and see what sites ranked as faves for the other ladies.
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James | Kris Norris