31 Things To Do Instead Of Trick-Or-Treating {APADO #30}

(Today is the next-to-last day of APADO – the blog series where I try to write a post for every single day of October. My wittle challenge is almost over *snif*)

(I was planning to post this tomorrow but I might be planning a giant APADO recap/vote/thoughts on the challenge tomorrow so we’re going for today. Besides, it’ll give you some time to think about this post.)

(Of course I’m posting this so late that it’ll probably be tomorrow before you see it. Hmmmm….)

(featured image is an edited version of one of my photos)

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(Disclaimer: If you celebrate Halloween, that’s okay for you and I’m not trying to preach at you. I’m just sharing my opinion. Please don’t get triggered.)

I haven’t ever celebrated Halloween. Aside from its roots in druids and demons, it’s a self-centered holiday, and I have no brain energy to waste on it.

Reasons I Don’t Celebrate Halloween

There’s so much darkness and evil in the world, I don’t think we need to add any more. And before you go and say that Halloween is just a fun little holiday, the Wikipedia article backs me up:

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Society has turned it into a fun little holiday, but the roots of it are something I can’t get over.

But on another level, the thing that bothers me about Halloween is that it’s a very self-centered holiday. Kids are trained from a young age to stress out over costumes and then go show it off and ask people for treats. That’s something that I don’t find very wholesome.

To show you what I mean, let’s do some math.

People spend $9.1 billion on Halloween candy, decorations, and costumes a year, according to this source.

Just around $1.9 billion would buy every homeless person in America three meals a day for a year, plus a sleeping bag and a Bible for each of them. And the remaining $7.2 billion could buy 120 private islands in the Bahamas for $600 million each.

That’s.

A lot.

Of money.

Just to please some kids and candy companies for one night of the year.

I feel like Halloween is a sorry excuse for a holiday. It makes absolutely no impact. Even aside from the pagan ideas that are at its core, it breeds selfishness and discontent.

So what’s a non-trick-or-treater to do?

As I was going about my day today, seeing people buying last-minute bags of candy or pieces of costumes, I started to wonder if there was anything I could do on Halloween. I mean, I usually sit inside with the lights off and watch the most obnoxiously happy movie I can think of, but…is there anything more constructive I can do?

I got my mom in on the idea, and we ended up brainstorming 31 different ways to spend Halloween that are more positive and meaningful. They had to be:

  • relatively cheap
  • not associated with giving out candy or dressing up
  • helpful to the community in some way
  • and fun!

So whether you’re like me and you don’t celebrate Halloween, or you’re just looking for something to do instead of trick-or-treating, here are…

31 Things To Do Instead Of Trick-Or-Treating

Earn $31, $3.10, or 31 cents and give it to your favorite charity.

If your grass is still growing, find 31 weeds in your neighbor’s yard and pull them up.

Copy out 31 verses of Scripture. If you wanna be Pintrestable, you could even write out Proverbs 31.

Do 31 “random acts of kindness”.

Buy the #31 shade of nail polish and commit to painting your nails that color. Electric green? Teal glitter? Go for it.

Everyone loves to find a happy note. Write 31 random notes and hide them in 31 random places. Who knows whose day you might brighten?

Spend 31 minutes exercising. Let’s face it, from here until January, the food just keeps getting more delicious…and more irresistable.

Reverse trick-or-treating! Go to the dollar store and find 31 comfort items to hand out a nursing home. 

Do you know any kids who aren’t trick-or-treating tonight, for whatever reason? It’s no fun to be left out. Find 31 stickers and give them to those kids – and make sure you a) tell them how proud you are of them for standing by what they believe or b) console them about their allergies/illness/grounding.

Find 31 nice-looking leaves and make someone a Thanksgiving card by taping the leaves to a piece of cardstock. Don’t forget to decorate the envelope!

Get a trick-or-treat bucket, but instead of filling it with candy, pick up 31 pieces of trash around your park or neighborhood.

As long as you’re okay with hauling around 31 bottles of water, find 31 thirsty people at your trunk or treat or gathering and give them a bottle of water.

Donate 31 cans of food to a soup kitchen or food drop.

Lots of people are buying tons of clothes for their costumes, but how about giving some away? Go through your closet and find 31 items of clothes or shoes and donate them.

Buy 31 tire valve stem covers (don’t worry, they’re cheap) and go on a hunt for 31 tires that are missing their little cap.

Pranksters in your neighborhood? Find 31 of their eggy messes and clean them up.

Go to the mall or the grocery store and seek out 31 items that are misplaced or have fallen on the floor. Pick them up and put them back where they belong.

Find and clip 31 different coupons. (Some grocery stores have them hanging up at the front.) Then, go find the 31 items on sale and tape the coupon to the item. If someone didn’t know it was on sale, they’ll get a chance to save some money.

While you’re at the store, see if you can find 31 loose carts and deposit them back in the cart corrals.

Spend 31 minutes playing with your pet.

Spend 31 minutes with your little siblings or relatives.

Wash or dry 31 dishes for your mom, if it’s not already your chore. I guess you could also do 31 loads of laundry, but that’s kind of ambitious.

Come up with 31 useful coupons for you to fufill and tape them to the refrigerator, to be used by whoever wants them.

Make 31 paper stars and start a vase for a loved one!

Give away 31 of your old toys or stuffed animals.

Bookworm? Here’s a really scary challenge for you. Round up 31 books you’re done with and donate them to your library. Bonus points for putting 31 random notes in them!

Hand out 31 tractates, if your church does that.

It’s not quite Thanksgiving yet, but how about writing down 31 things you’re thankful for?

Strain your eyes and your fingers and make 31 friendship bracelets for your friends.

Make a list of 31 important people in your life and write a letter to each of them.

Spend 31 minutes in prayer. It won’t be wasted time.

The bottom of it all?

Whatever you choose to do this Halloween, I hope you’re happy and safe. If you choose to do anything from this list, though, I’d love to know what you did!

Who knows? You might end up making a new tradition, or at least having more fun than that lame Halloween party you were inevidably invited to.

Maybe, just maybe, we can start a new movement. Spending this night of self-centeredness helping others.

I like to think it’s possible.

tl;dr: If you’re bored tomorrow night, have a go at one of these weird, helpful ideas.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

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Making A Drawing (Step By Step) {APADO #11}

(i think i’m still damaged from yesterday)

(what’s this? it’s apado, my weird little blog series brainchild. so far it’s succeeded in making me post once a day for the entire month of october. which has been…less than two weeks. i’ve still got a long way to go.)

(disclaimer: i’m not a professional artist. or tutor. or anything. well, i’m a professional weirdo…but just be warned.)

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Making a drawing takes a lot of work.

As in, the drawing featured in this post took me at least an hour. For just this little drawing that literally takes up less space than an ice cream cake.

Honestly, I don’t know how I have the patience to sit down and draw, seeing as I usually have the attention span of a sugar-spiked monkey with ADHD. But there’s something unnerving about leaving a drawing unfinished. And there’s something fulfilling about actually finishing it.

It’s a long haul from the idea stage, but good things come to those who keep working and pouring blood, sweat, and tears down their pencils. Because who wants to just sit around waiting for good things to happen?

Let’s go through a sort-of step by step guide of the process.

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I’m not going to be a Sponsored Blogger With Sponsored Supplies™ and say that you have to have a certain brand of anything to draw. That’s ridiculous. Good art supplies are nice, but they’re not everything. Use what you have and let your determination carry you the rest of the way.

(However, most of my pencils are Prismacolor and I can’t recommend them enough.)

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Did someone say...lamp?

Moth memes aside, good lighting is definitely important. Even if it smells weird. Like mine. But to me, it was worth inhaling melty light bulb to be able to see what I was doing.

(This lamp is seriously whack though.)

Quick tip about lamps: if you’re right-handed, put the lamp on your left side so you don’t cast shadows onto your work. And if you’re left-handed, you’re probably used to reversing directions, so do the exact opposite of what I just said. As usual.

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Having sharp pencils makes your work look better. Somehow, I missed this vital piece of information until recently. Go figure. Actually, go sharpen!

But before my pencil touches the paper, I have to narrow my ideas down to one cohesive thought. Which is honestly the hardest part of the process. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s better to do one thing well than fifty things badly.

And write down everything else I wanted to draw. And inevidably forget about all of them. It’s to soothe the anxiety.

For this drawing, I wanted to draw a character of mine that I’d roleplayed with that day and got caught daydreaming about. So with her in my mind’s eye (and everything else shoved out), I moved right into the next phase – sketches. Some artists call them “studies”.

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I use my big sketchpad for this. He’s big enough to encourage me to try new things.

Don’t be afraid to find new angles. Who wants to get stuck drawing the same pose over and over again? Expand your horizons! Excite yourself!

(The more this post goes on, the more I sound like Bob Ross.)

When I’m doing studies, I draw small. Since small drawings always look amazing, it keeps me going in the stage when I’m most likely to quit.

I knew her basic character design and that I wanted her looking up, so I played around with that until I got an idea of what I wanted.

Richard Williams says that sketches are “seductive”. Meaning, they trick you into thinking they have more vivacity than they actually do. Something about line pressure and width, I think. Once stripped down, they don’t look nearly as lively as they did.

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I know what he means. I almost like this little sketch better than what I came out with. Ah well.

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It’s time to start sketching on my good paper! I like to use this sneaky little guy – a non-photo blue pencil. His lines won’t be picked up by scanners, so if I leave a trace of a weird-looking sketch, it won’t be there to haunt me later.

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Artists have to have imagination. Because how else is this supposed to look like a nice-looking lady? Right now it’s a weird lookin’ head. With a little oval mouth.

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Slowly, the details are filling in. I decided to try something new and draw a side braid from the front. Honestly, it was a lot easier than I thought. It’s…kind of like armor plating, if that doesn’t sound too weird.

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After I was finished sketching out my details, I went over everything with a sharp 4B drawing pencil, just to make sure I liked the way it looked. The braid looked much better than I’d expected, and everything else was looking good, so…time for the nerve-wracking part.

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I like my art to have thick lines. Maybe because I’m not so adept at shading yet. But this step always scares me because one slip of the pen and I’ve wasted all my time.

Especially with a brush tip pen like this guy. I love the lines he makes, but he gives me anxiety.

Careful…

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Phew. Not looking too bad. The shoulders are a bit thick, but they’ll look all right once I go back over the rest.

Which will mean more anxiety.

Thanks, Brush Pen.

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Time for the fun, relaxing part – coloring! I love coloring. It doesn’t like me, but I love it.

Coloring is a really informal process of layering on a million colors all at once and working with several pencils at the same time. I can’t really say everything I did with the color, but I…made a gif so you can see the layers stack up?

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Some notes on the color:

  • Colors go from lightest to darkest. So, if you wanted to make green, you would put down yellow before blue. (I’m not really sure why. It’s just…what I’ve been taught.)
  • In past, I’ve used my black pencil to add the few shadows I know how to add. The more I do that, the more I realize it’s wrong. Using darker tones of the same colors often leads to better shadows – especially in skin.
  • I like to tint hair with my mauvey-red pencil. He gives it a really nice glow, no matter what color goes over it.
  • The gold colored pencil is very easy to overuse. Just a light coat of him is enough for most things (I mean, unless you want to deck something out.)

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I like to go back over the lines with my pen after I’m finished with the colored pencil, just to make them stand out a little better.

And to give myself a little more anxiety.

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Add my signature, a little color in the background, and we’re done! For now. Until I get tired of looking at the one thing I missed and go back and obsess over it.

Right now, that thing is the tendril of hair on the left side of her neck.

It looks like a curly fry.

tl;dr: This was an art post with some advice but probably not nearly enough.

But honestly, all the advice in the world couldn’t get you there on it’s own. Practice and time are big keys in getting good at anything.

I think I’m going to try to fix the curly fry.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

 

Things Writers Should Know About Horses {APADO #7}

(this is APADO, the ambitious, reckless blog series where I attempt to post once a day for the entire month of october. and really, i’ve only been succeeding by writing at night. for some reason, i am way more motivated at night.)

(and we’re back to information/advice posts. i’m tellin’ ya, life’s a steeplechase.)

(people are probably going to skip this one due to all the text. i tried, y’all.)

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One of the things that I had to get used to when I started working around horses was that things weren’t exactly like I’d seen in the movies. Pretty much every cliche about horses was dangerous, stupid, or just unrealistic.

And once I’d discovered this fact, it seemed that everywhere I looked, I saw an innacuracy. Movies, books, bucket lists…it was almost too much to handle, for a while.

Since then, I’ve come to terms with the fact that not everyone has thirty million horse books or the time to read all of them. More recently, I thought it might be a good idea to go over some basic tips for writing more realistic interactions with horses.

So let’s dive into it!

What, exactly, is a horse?

This seems like a stupid question. It’s not.

A horse isn’t like a motorbike. Yes, you can steer it and change its speed, but a horse is a living, thinking creature. It has a mind of its own, and unless it’s undergone some incredible obedience training, it’s not going to blindly follow your reins and legs. Like people, horses are imperfect and have personalities. So they’re going to be stubborn, lazy, or fearful at times.

What’s a horse capable of?

Since horses aren’t machines, even the strongest, hardiest breeds get tired and grouchy. They can’t be expected to work endlessly. They need frequent breaks, plenty of food, and lots of care to keep in top condition.

Another thing that’s easy to forget about horses is their endurance. Galloping is hardly ever practical. Yes, racehorses can reach incredible speeds, but only because they’re carrying a minimal weight over a short distance. And galloping is dangerous over uneven terrain – a slippery rock or a log in the path could trip a horse and possibly break his leg, which will shut down his travels for months.

Even though it’s not as beautiful, the most efficent gait is the trot. A well-conditioned horse will be able to keep up a trot for much longer than a gallop – not to mention that it’s easier on the rider, too.

What’s a rider capable of?

It’s hard to see this from the ground, but riding is not just sitting on a horse and letting him do his thing. It’s an exhausting sport, especially for a beginner or for someone who hasn’t ridden in a while. The faster you ride, the more quickly you’ll tire out. Riders need just as many breaks as horses, perhaps even more when you count in what people are usually thinking about when they make their horseback escape.

A few other notes:

The reins of a bridle, which are attached to a metal bit in the horse’s mouth, are not a substitute for a lead rope. Tying a horse up by the reins could mean a broken bridle or severe injury in a horse’s mouth if he spooked and tried to pull away from the hitching post.

Jumping on horses is not a good idea. It hurts their backs, makes them cranky, and usually ends with a crowhop or a buck.

Horses don’t have terrific vision. Their depth perception works a lot differently than a human’s. A horse will probably smell something coming before he sees it.

Horses have a lot of blind spots. They can’t see directly above or below them, under their neck, or behind their tails. If someone’s standing in one of these blind spots, there’s a good chance he’s going to get kicked.

And gentle horsepeople are smart horsepeople. No matter how heartless or cold a person is, he’ll take care of his horse because a horse is an investment. Mistreating it will not only hurt the horse, but the person’s pocketbook.

Wrapping up:

Horses are a lot like people. They’re unpredictable, they get tired, and they need proper care. They can’t be expected to gallop everywhere or jump huge jumps, no matter how urgent the situation is. Abusing horses isn’t just harmful to the horse, but also to the owner, because the horse is an investment that should be taken care of.

And please, please, please never tie a horse by just the reins.

tl;dr: Horses aren’t vehicles.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}