Novice Journal

A little this – a little that!

Excuse the Mess, My Brain Exploded

Photo Credit:

WOW!! I went to go check my stats this afternoon and was SHOCKED to see I’d hit over 1,000 followers!! WHOA NELLY!! My first year and a half has been quite the roller coaster, and I thank each and every one of you who’ve stuck around for the ride. I’ve taken this blog in so many directions, it’s ridiculous!!  Novice Journal has gone from a poetry blog, to a photo blog, to a music blog, and a bit of everything else in between. I definitely wouldn’t still be blogging without all your support! THANK YOU ALL!!

As a treat, let’s take a break from my voice and play a game! You know you want to 😉

Thanks for taking this, and have a great rest of the day!!



Is It Safe to Leave the Week Yet?

Photo Credit:

Yay the weekend has come! Ever had a week where Monday came and you were already wishing it were Friday? Oh, who am I kidding? That’s almost everyone I know. If that’s not you, you lead an incredible life and I envy you for it! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t carry this wishing-the-week-away card around in my back pocket every day of the year. Simply put, some weeks are better than others. When exams clutter up your week and your grades hold you at gunpoint, well, it wouldn’t hurt to hit the fastforward button to life.

Photo Credit:

(Funny thing about that photo is there is no fast-forward button!!)

So, as you trudge, sprint, dance, fly, work, relax, blog, or simply make your way in to the weekend, I do hope you enjoy it!

Love, Hugs and Ladybugs!


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I’ve Been Waiting All Year for This! (2012 in Review)

….And by all year, I mean all year. After accidentally deleting the report from last year, I couldn’t wait to get this year’s copy. I love reading through the report and getting inspired by all the facts/maps and whatnot. As I promised, I took a bunch of pictures and am working to make them into Photo Op posts. Happy New Year to all of you, and I can’t wait to see how this report looks next year!! 🙂

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 18,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.


Likes N’ Dislikes

I have once again found myself unable to access any photos… 😦

No flash photography

No photos today 😦 (Photo credit: Leo Reynolds)

While browsing the web to get a few important things done, I came across a web page where people had posted their likes and dislikes. There didn’t seem to be a specific reason for it, but it was a fun idea. And so now, I’ll do it here too. Feel free to join in! It’ll only take a few seconds – I promise 🙂


The word onomatopoeia and onomatopoetic                                            Macro shot photos

Overwhelming snow                                                                               Knee-high boots

Rottweilers                                                                                             Falling asleep outside under the sun

When people answer the question, “How are you?”                                    Rain

Batman                                                                                                  People who acknowledge that you just waved at them

Peanut Butter Cookies                                                                             Good lyrics put to an awesome backtrack

Apple sauce                                                                                            Games with 101 things to think about (yay complex!)


Nails on a chalkboard ugghh!                                                                       Being late!

Watching people eat really strange “used-to-be-living” foods                        Superman

Polka music (it’s an acquired taste)                                                             Walking around the house with my shoes on

Thick socks                                                                                             Mushrooms

Soggy pancakes                                                                                       Soap Operas (another acquired taste)

Nail Biting                                                                                              Snowless Christmases

Again, I’d love to hear you guy’s likes and dislikes! I’m praying my pics will be back up tomorrow!


Trivial Fridays!

Pic taken at the zoo

If there’s one thing my family can’t get enough of, it’s trivia. We love random facts that may never serve a purpose in life (outside of making you temporarily look smarter than your peers of course.) Bring on the fun facts! And so, in honor of my awesome family, I’ve put together this cacophony of a post in hopes that you -dear reader- might enjoy some trivia too.

The following facts were brought to you by the Bathroom Reader Series (the place my family gets most of our trivia from.)

– “The word listen contains all the same letters as the word silent.”

– “There are over 60,000 acres of shopping malls in the U.S.”

-“Fax machines have been around longer than telephones.”

-“Octopuses are deaf.”

-“Alabama’s state quarter spells out Helen Keller’s name in braille.”

-“Snails can sleep for three years without eating.”

-“Thomas Edison had 5,000 pet birds.”

-“There are no rhymes in the English language for orange, silver, or purple.”

-“It takes 8 hours to mow the White House lawn.”

-“One blue whale weighs about the same as 40 rhinos.”

-“Pilgrims ate popcorn at the first Thanksgiving dinner.”

-“Sheep snore.”

-“It takes an estimated 2,893 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed the facts, and that you all have an awesome weekend! See you on Monday!


My Good Friend, Mr. Write

Hey everyone! I hope you’re having a great September so far! I’m still working on many posts for my IOMH contributions. I hope you all enjoy them 🙂

For today’s post, I’m going to write – something I haven’t done for my blog in what feels a millennia. But through my Contact Me page, a few bloggers requested that I go back to doing some writing. This post is for you guys. My post was inspired by WordPress’ recent Daily Post writing prompt, entitled, The Sound of Blogging. While I would have linked this post up to their page last week and joined in to see who’d be Freshly Pressed, I don’t think I’ve entirely done what they asked. Their prompt kinda manifested into something slightly different than expected. And so I present to you my latest written creation:

The Feel of Writing

I know I’m invested in writing something when words shoot straight from my mind to my fingertips. The same feeling hits me right after I dive to catch a Frisbee – and actually catch it. It’s that panting sound, and the feeling of dirt stained jeans, mixed with the sweet feeling of victory that brings me joy. The only downside is that no one I was trying to impress is nearby to adore my triumph.

I know I’m devoted to writing something when my keyboard becomes a palette. Every letter I type splashes across the canvas and my blood turns rainbow. It’s the same color I turn when squinting through a viewfinder, knowing full well I’m starring at the perfect photo. All I have to do is press a button, and the portrait is mine forever. And for a moment, I see eye to eye with Vincent van Gogh. We totally get each other, but he’s no longer here.

I know I’m zealous about writing something when my brain is so full of words that I sound things out as I type. My fingers stomp upon every key, triggering concerned glances from everyone present. It’s the same feeling I get directly after singing my heart out. The sound made from silence; When every emotion known to man swells up inside of me and awe overtakes me. It’s that pure appreciation that always leaves me feeling whole. The problem is, I can’t sing all the time. Unfortunately, the public has turned down life being a musical – plus, I can’t make up relevant songs on the fly.

But writing, well, writing never disappoints. Writing is my home away from home. A place where I can live life as I please, and there are no consequences. The feel of writing is like none other.

Writing is a journey. Your pencil is your traveling stick, your heart is your compass. Journey on, and you’ll discover a world worth writing home about.” – Mrs. Thyme (a character from a book I wrote a few years back…if only I could find that book!)

Painting by Vincent van Gogh (I got the picture from Wikipedia)


Would You Rather? (again?)

Hey all!

I’m glad you’ve all been enjoying the pics, as they’ve been coming in like CRAZY. As long as you keep liking them, I will keep posting them.

Quick week sum up – it’s been a wonderful week! When I started this blog, I gave myself the crazy goal of reaching 800 followers in June. Thanks to all of you, it’s happened! (This is the part where if I was really tech savvy, confetti would pour down from the top of the screen.) Again, thank you! It’s a pretty epic achievement that I couldn’t have done alone…(unless I made 800 different gravatars and just followed myself – which is just creepy.)

Song of the week: Big Time, by Peter Gabriel. (The song is stuck in my head at the moment.)

Today, we take a break from the pics, and play a game! Yes, I know, it’s been forever and a day since we’ve last played one. So this one’s going to be easy. You don’t have to come up with something oober creative, just click the button that calls out you – no there’s no sound installed in the buttons, sheesh. And once I get around to it, I’ll post up my answers too. Have fun playing! 🙂

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Snack Time (part 1)

Happy Friday everyone! Can you believe the weather out there? Every time I walk outside, I can’t help but smile. Light sweaters and capri weather is on it’s way!

Welcome to my first installment of Snack Time! In these posts, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes with you. While I promised to post the Mexican Lasagna Recipe, I’m still working on how to word it. Maybe I’ll get it down on paper (intelligibly) very soon! For now, it’s time for a yummy snack I like to call, Wonka Corn.

Wonka Corn:

I have to admit, I’m very partial to the plain ol’ salt & butter deal, but sometimes it gets a little boring. About a year or so ago, my family did a mini cook-off competition with a popcorn theme, and I decided to go desserty. I’m glad I did. This was super tasty!

First off, if you’re not sure how to make pop corn, Aarti explains it beautifully here. BUT instead of adding Indian spices, add the following ingredients.

What you’ll need:

2 tablespoons of ginger pulp – I got mine from a glass jar, but if you’re up to it and want a more pungent flavor, blend it up yourself!

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Half a stick of butter (my advice, don’t eat this every day, rather, every other.)

1/4 cup of orange juice – or if you want to use orange extract, use it sparingly. A little extract goes a long way!

1 tablespoon of honey

Add everything together in a pot with the heat at medium low. Blend everything quickly because if you cook it for too long, your popcorn topping might get super sticky and hard! (Note: These are all loose measurements. Really, it’s up to you how you measure things out. It’s all about taste!)

Once you’re ready, pour your creation on top of your popcorn and let it sit for about five minutes. Grate a small amount of zest (prefferably orange) on top, and then you’re ready to eat! It’s delish!

So, try it, and tell me what you think! What are some of your favorite homemade foods? 🙂




Happy Women’s Day!

Today is International Women’s Day! (Let’s call it IWD.) So happy Women’s Day to all of you women out there! Today’s post celebrates us 🙂

Ray’s Playlist for IWD:

Lies of the Beautiful People (Acoustic) by Sixx A.M.

Betty by Brooke Fraser

Beautiful by Group 1 Crew

More Beautiful You by Jonny Diaz

Video by India Arie

The Definition of Me by Mandisa

woman's day

woman's day (Photo credit: shioshvili) I take no credit!!

Put Your Records On by Corrine Bailey

Ladies by Andy Grammer

Freckles by Natasha Bedingfield

Just Fine by Mary J. Blige

Free by Ginny Owens

Free to Be Me by Francesca Battistelli

Alright! Now that I’ve posted a sizable playlist (and to think, there are many, many more songs out there!) Here are some fun facts.

1.  The first female president (Liberia) was Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

2. Women were given the right to vote in 1920 (19th amendment)

3. The first woman in space was Valentina Tereshkova

4. International Women’s Day started in 1909

5. The first country to grant women the right to vote was New Zealand in 1893

Here is a part of Toby Mac’s, Irene

”   Irene I carried you when you were too weak to walk
I took to you when you gave your heart to God
Faithful and true, that’s what I’ll always be to you
Believe in you, believe in Me and these mountains have to move
You have dreams and aspirations
I knew you before creation
Your foundation’s solid
I will give you a palace, restore your soul
You’ll be up for any challenge
Many storms are on the way better sharpen your faith
Count the cost, take up your cross
And wear it every day
Rest in Me and I will give you strength
Blessed is she, Irene who seeks my face ”

And remember…

“Women are always beautiful.” – Ville Valo

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Happy International Women’s Day! 🙂


Best Things Ray’s Ever Eaten

Well, maybe ever is a huge sweeping statement, but since I’m currently mega hungry as I write this, the statement shall stand. Awesome. I’ll keep things quick and simple today. All you have to do is enjoy this post and riddle me this – what’s the BEST thing you’ve ever eaten? Pretty hard to think of something, huh? I’m a foodie at heart, and several of my friends and family are foodies too, so I couldn’t decide. I decided to make a list of a bunch of my edible faves! Feel free to answer along in the comments!

Best Snack: Fresh raspberries with Orange Vitamin Water. It’s fruity bliss! Plus, there’s literally ZERO prep time, added bonus!

Best Fried Food: Fries with honey mustard. I’ll take a large….to go!

Best Dessert: Raw Kiwi Lime Cheese Cake (I was a skeptic at first, but it’s actually oober good) and/or Chocolate Sin Cake (guilty pleasure!)

Best Finger Food: Nachos. Gotta love em home-made, and fresh out of the oven.

Best Baked Food: Anything my Aunt Sandy makes. She’s a genius in the kitchen! Plus, everything is glutten and dairy free. Yum, yum 🙂

Best Food to Eat Out: Red Curry Thai Fried Rice. It. Is. The. BOMB.

Best Surprisingly Good Meal: “Mexican” Lasagna. Yep, you read that right. I’m considering posting up the recipe. I recently made one “personal size” and I’ll admit to scraping the place for those last good bits.

Best Comfort Food: Lentils. I could eat lentils all day, any day!

This post was inspired by Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate! I hope you all enjoyed it 🙂