my battle for better health

My Battle For Better Health: Retreat

9/28/2015 Laura Watkins 0 Comments


I was invited to be the keynote speaker at a Utah Valley Writers retreat and spent four wonderful days at this log "cabin" in the mountains of Utah. If you're not interested in all my health stuff, this is the part where you can skip down to the pictures. ;)

There were two major health related things from this trip. First, I was hoping to be over the cold my kids had given me before I left, but as it was, it turned into a sinus infection while I was out of town. A cold wouldn't normally be a big deal, I've put up with bugs since my oldest first went to kindergarten.

Besides the usual pain and yucky cold stuff, I kept having asthma attacks. You see those stairs in the picture? They're really not too bad, just one flight. But walking up them just once sent me into a full asthma attack. I've never EVER had so much trouble breathing like that. I felt like an old lady, except most old ladies would have outrun me. I was sooooo glad I'd brought my inhaler with me!

I couldn't figure out why I was having so much trouble...sure, a few flights of stairs leaves me a bit breathless lately, but just one??? I knew I was out of shape, but this was ridiculous. I'd mostly chalked it up to being sick. When I got back home, I finally remembered that we'd been at around 6500 ft. No wonder I was having trouble breathing, that's a good 2000 ft higher than here in Provo.

It was a scary wake up call for me.  While I was at the retreat, I couldn't even get up and walk from one room to the other without my heart racing. I was constantly exhausted, and my brain was super foggy. It made writing a speaking a lot more interesting.

Now that I'm home, and on antibiotics for this dumb infection, I'm focusing a lot more on aerobic activity. I never want to hurt and feel so helpless like that again. After taking Sunday off, I walked some stairs today. I was happy to see that it took three flights (up and down) x2 to get me winded, and even then it wasn't as bad as in the mountains. So now I'm back to walking stairs every day (which is a bit painful with my knees still healing), but I am determined!

The second health thing was mental health. I haven't had a real vacation in about 15 years. No, that's not an exaggeration. We get to go visit family sometimes, but I'm talking about just going somewhere to relax, especially away from the kids (I love them, but every mom needs a break sometimes). Mentally, this trip did so much for me. It was absolutely AMAZING! Not only did I have a quiet place to relax and write, I got to socialize with a group of insanely talented writers and fellow geeks. I'll admit that I did make things a bit harder than they needed to be because I stayed up till around 3 am most nights, but I just didn't want to miss a thing! I didn't want it to end.

I came home feeling so refreshed and much happier! Even though I'm still sick, I'm not as grumpy, and life feels so much more hopeful. :)
If you're a writer, check out what events are available in your area. Retreats like this are usually way less expensive than you'd expect. I couldn't believe how inexpensive this one was. Whenever they have another, I'll be one of the first ones to sign up!

Learn more about Utah Valley Writers and their parent organization The United Authors Association. I love these guys!

This is half of my gorgeous room


The other half of my room :) (not including the full bathroom with a jetted tub!)


There were so many places to sit and write!




This porch that overlooked the stream had a beautiful view of the mountains. I miss writing there with the sound water!

I LOVED writing down by the stream too!


My goals

I want to have energy to spend time and actually do activities with my family.
I want to be able to be physically active. I’m not saying I plan on running marathons, but being able to exercise and do basic housecleaning on a daily basis would be nice.
I want my mind to feel less foggy all the time so I can do my job well and enjoy being in the profession I love.
I want to be healthy and be at a healthy weight.
I want my life back! I will look for the best in my life and realize what I truly have, always striving to make it better.
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    Marvel v DC Movies

    9/10/2015 Laura Watkins 0 Comments



    “I feel like Batman and Superman are transcendent of superhero movies in a way, because they’re Batman and Superman. They’re not just, like, the flavor of the week Ant-Man—not to be mean, but whatever it is. What is the next Blank-Man?” said Zack Snyder, director of Man of Steel, Watchman, and 300, in a recent interview.

    This quote really had me laughing. You know, any Batman or Superman movie really should outdo any of the “flavor of the week” movies that Marvel has put out, but a Batman AND Superman movie really should.

    So, why has Marvel built a superhero movie powerhouse while DC’s films have been hit or, more often, miss? The exec over at DC have probably been pulling their hair out trying to get why Marvel can make a Honey I Shrunk the Kids-ant-riding superhero movie that kick’s Man of Steel’s sorry butt into the Phantom Zone (where it should stay).

    The answer is stupidly simple.

    It’s not the actors. I mean, look at who they got to play Superman. You can’t go wrong with Henry Cavill, yet that movie was still awful!

    Was it the special effects or film quality? No, the movies have been pretty visually appealing.

    It’s all in the writing. DC’s movies focus on esthetics, not content. They’ve filled their movies with special effects and drama instead of characterization and plot structure. The shock and awe factors only get a movie so far, as we saw with the Star Wars Prequels. DC keeps making George Lucas’s mistakes.

    Stories don’t have to be overly complicated to be intricate. Marvel’s movies like Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, etc. have pretty simple storylines, but they are packed with good characters, humor, action (ok, sometimes they have gone a bit overboard with the action, but they’ve compensated in other ways), fun, and just the plain old superhero feel that made us read comics in the first place. DC’s movies have been very dark and dramatic just for that shock and awe factor instead of making the audience genuinely feel something for the characters or story.

    A good writer can make even the most boring subject interesting. Marvel’s “flavor of the week” reflects that. I mean, if you can make me, a diehard DC fan, love a minor Marvel character’s movie but hate the last Superman flick, there’s something desperately wrong.

    To DC and Zack Snyder: Don’t be George Lucas. Get past the epicness of the subject matter, and get back to the heart of what made us fall in love with your heroes.

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      perler beads,

      Timelapse Video: Princess Anna in Perler Beads

      9/04/2015 Laura Watkins 0 Comments




      I love making these! Here's me putting together Princess Anna from my Disney inspired Princess Collection.

      I'll be making a series of these videos, so check back soon. 
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        Reviews

        Ant-Man Movie Spoiler Free Review and Parental Guide

        9/02/2015 Laura Watkins 0 Comments


        We were kid free today (school just started, and my hubby didn't have class today), so we got to go see Ant-Man!

        Ant-Man Movie Review
        (Parental Guide Below)
        Being an Ant-Man fan (ok, Wasp fan ;) I was really skeptical going into this because they changed so many big things (like Scott as Ant-Man and Hank as a mentor, and Wasp wasn't really in the movie). That being said, I tried to keep an open mind and just try to enjoy the show.... 
        To date, this is one of the better Marvel movies I've seen. They've recreated the feel that made the first few Avengers related films so good. 
        What I Loved

        There was a perfect mix of action, humor, and plot. The movie never felt too drawn out (like Avengers 2), and the story line was actually interesting. I never got bored. Most of the time, I was either watching intently or laughing my head off.
        I enjoyed how they tried to weave things from the comic into the movie while keeping a fresh, new feel to it. It's understandable that they wanted to distance themselves from Henry Pym's controversial character from the comics. Yet, even that they gave an important nod to. The more technical aspects of Ant-Man's abilities were well done and fun to watch. 

         I really liked that the movie is more family friendly than some other superhero films (see the parental guide below).
        I was kind of fun how they tried to tie this into the Avengers universe (some fun references and a funny guest appearance), but....

        What I Didn't Love
        it did fall short. Most of what they did tie in didn't seem to fit, especially at the beginning of the movie. 
        I'm wondering if the same special effect intern that messed up the opening scene of Avengers 2 worked on parts of this film... Overall, the special effects and cinematography were pretty good, but there were some really bad spots (believe me, you'll know them when you see them). 
        They got the wrong actress to play Henry Pym's daughter. Yuck. I've liked her in other roles, but this one was not for her, especially considering her character's future in Marvel movies. 

        I hated how they added in the swearing just to get a PG-13 rating (that rating is considered desirable because it's statistically higher profit). It's awkward, and brings parts of the movie down. 



        Parental Guide

        Amazingly clean for a PG-13 movie! 
        No sexual content
        Violence: Very light violence, some martial arts (with a few bloody lips and some scrapes), action style non-graphic violence—less than other Avengers movies. There are a few parts where the shrinking technology kills, but the effects look more like the subject was transformed into a small pile cartoonish pink jellyfish-like goo.  

        Language: Very little, but they use the "s" word at least 4-6 times in odd places. It's very annoying. 

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          perler beads

          Geeky Cake Toppers

          9/02/2015 Laura Watkins 0 Comments


          Minecraft Creeper, sword, pickaxe cake topper or cupcake toppers
          I've had a lot of requests for Perler bead cake toppers lately, especially for weddings or birthdays. Here are a few of of my favorites. :)

          True Romance inspired Clarence and Alabama wedding cake toppers

          Deadpool bride and Omega Red

          Firefly inspired Simon and Kaylee

          Bride and groom
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