“Excellent Girl”


At work one of our newest associates at the  bookstore identified me as “excellent girl” to a friend, because half of what I say to people is “excellent,” or “splendid,” or “swell.”

I have to say, of all the things I girl could be called, I’m really glad I’m excellent girl. I tend to be bossy, or sassy, or just plain demanding. The new girl’s comment reminded me I don’t have to be bossy to retain respect.

Let’s all try to be excellent people because having others think of you as excellent feels really good.


Portal and Portal 2

Portal 2 Logo

I’m awful at video games, really and truly awful. My boyfriend however really enjoys them, and would love for me to enjoy them as well. To encourage me, Nick gifted me Portal and Portal 2.

First of all, I beat Portal and it was incredibly enjoyable.

Nick was right that this was a great game to start me off with. I love science fiction (as I talked about here) and this game plays off of some of my deepest fears of robots.

I’m still working on Portal 2, and I’ve enjoyed the way that the story has built off each other. Once I’ve finished the game, I’ll get to dive into the exciting world of co-op gaming.

Sometimes being a little bit nerdy is an excellent way to relax, and I’m looking forward to playing this game and others in the future.

Winter Break Blues

Since the winter of 2009 when I started college, I’ve found breaks to be the worst part of my college experience. They are boring, monotonous, and worst of all lonely. To get by this winter I’ve been working as much as I can and watching a lot of Netflix.

I’ve really enjoyed Merlin, and got through it far too quickly. I also finished Once Upon a Time. All things considered, it’s been a very peaceful break.

My goals remain oriented towards finishing my senior project (40 pages of short stories), and reading a number of science fiction novels to prep for my history thesis. While this should be the most exciting academic part of my college experience it has been really hard to get going the motivation necessary to delve into intellectual pursuits.

Ah, well, a few weeks remain and worst case scenario I get to relax and enjoy watching the snow fall.

Science Fiction


A small part of science fiction collection

My senior thesis is an analysis of Cold War paranoia through the eyes of science fiction.

I cannot adequately explain how excited I am. Science fiction has been one of my biggest loves since I was a child and to be able to academically devote some of my time to one of my biggest passions.

When I’m looking to buy a book, I try to find one of the earliest editions I can. I usually go to Auntie’s, a Spokane bookstore, that has an excellent deal on used books. Most of the ones pictured were under $5. There’s something about 1950’s and 1960’s books, the red faded edges and the simple, dreamlike covers that makes me smile.

Asimov, Bradbury and Clarke are my favorite bed time stories. Part of my senior year will be dedicated to studying them. How wonderful is that?


Zazzle poster from Nick, based off of
I, Robot by Asimov


Favorite Things

Emily at cupcakesandcashmere.com does a splendid wrap up of her week with her Five Things on Fridays. I want to borrow this idea because I think that the concept behind it is beautiful. It’s so much easier to appreciate the week when you look at what made you happy throughout it. With that note, let’s looks at my favorite things.

My house has been curiously empty while my roommates have been out celebrating the holidays with their families. While I’m grateful for the break from classes that December brought and January will continue, I’m excited for everyone to return to campus and bring life and noise back to my life.


[Chai cookies and a peppermint truffle from my little sister]


[A honey pot, Christmas gift from my older sister]


[Blackberry Dessert Wine]


[My robot tea infuser, doing its job]


[Surprise Christmas cookies from my roommate]

DIY Wine Charms

Late on the eve of Christmas Eve, I realized I had forgotten something incredibly important. My Aunt Kat’s was coming to Christmas at my sister’s house, and I hadn’t made her a present.

I had limited resources at my disposal (I’m a college student, after all) but I wanted to make something charming that she would appreciate. She has a favorite winery in Spokane, so I purchased a bottle of her favorite wine and made wine cork charms for glasses. Pictured below are charms I made for my friend, crafting round 2.

They were very easy and all in all didn’t take more than 20 minutes to make.


Tools: Paperclips, 1 wine cork, knife (not pictured), needle nose pliers, embroidery thread, decorating supplies.


Step 1: Cut the wine cork into fourths



Step 2: Straighten your paperclips, I wrapped them around the top of a nail polish bottle to take the kinks out.


Step 3: Thread the paperclips through the cork pieces


Step 4: Round one end so that it holds the cork piece securely


You can’t see it too well, but I pushed the rounded edge into the cork.


Step 5: Tie the embroidery thread around the paperclip


Step 6: Wrap it, I only went about 3/4 of the way up. I used different colors for each charm just to help differentiate between them.

Step 7: Tie the thread into a knot


Step 8: Curl the paper clip and then tie it into a tight knot to prevent people from hurting themselves


Step 10: Decorate as you wish! I used glitter.


End result


Here is a picture of the first round. I decorated these with just a sharpie.

One recommendation: be sure to use a dense cork. For the set I decorated with sharpies I used a dense cork, for the glitter ones I used one that was much weaker, one of the piece fell apart completely.

Why I Love Christmas


Best part of Christmas?

Watching people open their gifts.

I love knowing that something as small as a present can bring a lot of light to a person’s day. With the exception of my nephews (they were sorely disappointed with their sheets and pillow cases that their mom told me they needed) everyone else loved the gifts I purchased.

That joy makes me look forward to upcoming celebrations, birthdays, Valentine’s Day and what have you that will give me a chance to make someone else smile.

New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome to Pens and Pumpkins, this blog is intended as a place to help me organize my life and mind as I approach the end of my college experience.

I don’t normally believe in New Year’s Resolutions, but I think it’d be wise to start. College has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life, and I’d like to save some of the lessons I’ve learned and apply them to life outside of the university experience.

New Year’s Resolutions

  • Be proud of who I am
  • Take better care of myself
  • Write regularly
  • Love the way I look everyday
  • Enjoy life more often

I like to think (hope) I’m well on my way to becoming a person I can always be proud of, but I have moments where I lag. While my goals are exceptionally general, the ways to achieve them are much more specific. Eat better, drink more water, exercise, and take a little bit more time for myself. In theory these should be easy achievements, realistically speaking this will be an excellent challenge.

Here’s to a new year, a new blog, and all of the beautiful opportunities ahead!