Another Spoonful on the Social Media Plate

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and though, “You know what? I’m not busy enough. I need more things to juggle and stress me out on a regular basis.”

What’s that? You haven’t? Hmm…maybe I’m the one who’s a bit off here…

Okay, I’m making it sound dreadful, but here’s the basic long and short of it. I once had a Twitter account and an Instagram account, both simply under my full name. I used them moderately enough, and when I really got into YouTube I posted my channel-related stuff on those accounts as well. Eventually, however, my husband Jason and I re-designed and re-branded the channel, which lead to the creation of new Twitter and Instagram accounts to match everything up with the same brand name: Tracey’s Basement. When I talk about keeping up with the social media in my weekly review posts, these are the accounts I’m talking about.

However, after recent discussions with friends about how to better promote myself as an author – and my books, of course – I decided to open back up those accounts and actually use them again.

Because, yeah. I totally need more balls to juggle! I’m not totally off my rocker at all! 😀

The Twitter account, @traceylynntobin, was never really closed, and is actually where my posts have been linking to when I use the “Sharing” option through WordPress, but I haven’t actually logged into it and purposefully tweeted anything for years. I don’t figure it’s worth the time and effort to clean that one out and start from scratch, as it DOES still have hundreds of tweets of my blog posts on it, so I’m just leaving it as it is, with updated profile info, and moving forward from there.

The Instagram account, @traceylynntobinauthor, has been completely cleared out, new profile information added, and even follows changed to better suit the purpose of the account. It will be primarily a Bookstagram style of account, wherein I’ll also share random stuff about my own books and the writing process in general.

To reflect these new/old accounts, I’ve also updated the links on the social buttons to the right of your screen, so click those if you’d like to check everything out. And please do, because I’d love to feel like there’s a point to me putting in this extra effort. ^_~

  • This update post brought to you by a woman who prefers a trough to a plate, and still manages to overflow it. o.o
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Dumbbells & Stretching & Zombies, Oh My!

For the sake of transparency, I’ll be honest: I’ve had a lot of trouble in the past trying to stick to any kind of a diet and/or exercise plan because my motivation waxes and wanes like the frikkin’ tides. That said, I’ve recently been reinvigorated to try to actually take care of myself, get in shape, and lose those extra 30 or so pounds I’ve had on since the little one was born, and nothing is quite so motivating as having a bunch of people knowing what you’re doing so they can be disappointed in you if you fail. 😛

So here’s what’s been up.

First off, I’ve already mentioned this a couple of times, and if you follow my Twitter feed you’ll have seen the reports I’ve shared so far, but I’ve been partaking of the Zombies, Run! app. In the past I’d tried the 5k Training app by the same team, thinking that it made sense to learn how to run properly before diving into the main app, which challenges you to run “missions” for your post-apocalyptic township. I enjoyed the 5k training, and given the time required to complete the entire program, I’m sure it would absolutely help a user complete a 5k run. For myself, however, I’d always get 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through the program, stop for a while for whatever reason, and then have to start over from scratch because I’d lose my stride. After doing this half a dozen times, to the point that I’d heard the first half of the training files so many times I could probably recite them from memory, I decided it was time to move on. I picked up the main Zombies, Run! app, which is less about training and more about just getting out there and listening to the story unfold as you walk and/or run. The app doesn’t actually require you to run – you can go entirely at your own pace – but it has the option to enable zombie “chases”. With these enabled, you’ll occasionally get a warning telling you that zombies are in the area, and you have to speed up (from whatever speed you’ve been presently going at) in order to evade them. It’s excellent motivation to change up your level every now and then. Even more motivating is the fact that failing the zombie chases will cause you to lose your supplies. What supplies, you may ask? Well, in addition to the story you’re listening to on your runs, you’ll occasionally be told that you’ve picked up things like bottles of water, batteries, packs of underwear (no, seriously), and so on. These supplies can later be used to build up your little virtual township, so of course you don’t want to lose them!

Thus far I’ve done the first seven missions of the Season 1 storyline, as well as a few extra “supply runs”, and I’m having a blast. I’ve definitely been doing much more walking than running, but I’m getting faster, and I’m enjoying myself, which is great. I genuinely want to go out for my runs because they’re fun, and that’s kind of a big deal for me.

zombies
Look at that happy, exhausted fool right there. lol

But unfortunately, weight can not be lost with cardio alone, and even if it could, cardio doesn’t do the additional stuff such as toning muscles. So I wanted to add in something else, something that involves strength-training. And that’s how I started the P90 program, as of yesterday morning. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s one of the Beachbody.com programs from Tony Horton, and it’s a 90-day play involving workout videos and a diet plan. In the past, when we were getting ready for our wedding, Jason and I did the P90X program, which is an “extreme” version of P90 with more specialized videos which are twice as long. We did great on the program and looked amazing for our wedding, but it wasn’t sustainable from a time standpoint. The shortest videos in P90X are an hour long, and are quite exhausting, so they can take a lot out of a day. They’re also designed more for someone who is already in half-decent shape, as they can be quite, well…extreme. I seriously considered trying the program again, just because I know it worked wonders for me in the past, but I know it would end up being very demotivating, as I’m not in nearly as good shape now as I was then. Not to mention, I don’t feel like I have that time requirement, especially not if I’m going to be doing zombie runs as well.

So P90 it is! The precursor program’s videos are a little more reasonable at approximately half an hour each, and are designed more for someone who is trying to get in shape in the first place. That’s not to say that they’re easy! The cardio + abs vid this morning nearly killed me. But they’re definitely much more reasonable for someone who has a long way to go. The program is basically two videos – Sculpt for toning, and Sweat for cardio, which is always followed with the short abs vid – which you do three times a week each, and then take a day off to rest. After the first 45 days (or a little longer if you feel you can’t handle anything harder just yet), you move to the two upgraded videos, which are the same concepts, just pumped up to a higher level. After 90 days, if you’ve been following the program correctly, you should have lost weight and toned up nicely. Of course, the weight loss part depends on how you’ve been eating, which is why there’s a diet plan involved. As I did with P90X back in the day, I’ll be mostly ignoring the diet plan. It’s a great plan, and there’s some good info in there that I’ll definitely be taking to heart, but it’s a difficult kind of thing to follow when you’re also trying to feed your family. I prefer to just continue to count calories with the Spark People website and keep on with my little life changes, like drinking all the water.

So, together, I’m hoping that these two programs will start to make some real changes. I’ve been wanting to lose weight for ages – not necessarily because I want to look better, but because I want to feel better, but I’ve been having a lot of difficulty. Between a somewhat toned-down version of a program I’ve had success with in the past, and a program that turns cardio into a fun game, hopefully I’ll be able to keep up my motivation, keep moving forward, and finally start seeing some results, which is the thing that really keeps me going.

And because accountability is a big deal that definitely puts that extra motivational push into a person, I thought I’d share my starting stats. You don’t get the photos I took, because those are horrid (lol), but you get my numbers. As of Day 1 (yesterday), my weight was at 161 lbs (I know, I know, that doesn’t sound that bad, but I’m only 5 foot tall, so it’s worse than you might think), and according to my bodily measurements in conjunction with that weight, the calculations tell me that my body fat ratio is currently close to 39%. Anything between 21 and 33 is considered healthy for my size, so I’m aiming for that 33. One last number: I’m currently boasting a pace of about 11 minutes per kilometer (nearly a 7-min mile) when going on my zombie runs. I’m hoping that by the end of the P90 program I’ll have shaved that done by a couple of minutes.

So that’s that! As of the writing of this post I’m two days in and feeling a combination of excellence and exhaustion, so wish me luck, send me good thoughts if you’d like, and feel free to torment me horribly if I begin to falter. 😛 If you’re using any of the programs I’m using, also feel free to add me as a friend if you wish! I’m on SparkPeople.com as TRACEYFROMTB, and on the Zombies, Run! app I can be found by using the email address for the YouTube channel, which is traceysbasement(AT)outlook(DOT)com. Hope to see you there!

Previews World: Collector’s Corner Interview!

We’ve hit the big time! Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but Jason and I were recently interviewed by Previews World for their “Collector’s Corner” article, and I must say that it feels pretty awesome! They asked us about the favorites in our collection, when and why we began collecting toys, what inspired our YouTube channel, and more, and it feels pretty amazing to go to their website and see our answers and photos sprayed out across the front page! We definitely feel honored, and here’s hoping that the exposure helps drive some new viewers to our YouTube channel. ^_^

Check the article out by clicking the image below!

toy chest interview

It’s My Birthday Book Sale!

So here’s the story, lovely people: in a few days I’m going to be turning 34! I think… I’ve hit that time in my life when it starts to become way more difficult than you might think to remember how old you are. Don’t judge me. I’m an old lady now.

Anyway, for my birthday wish this year, all I really want is for people to be reading my books! So, in order to facilitate the convincing of people to read said books, I’ve decided to put on a sale! For the remainder of April, both of my novels are going to be only $0.99 US on Kindle! You can find them on Amazon.com by clicking on the image below, or you can search “Tracey Tobin” on your country’s Amazon site and they should be the first options to pop up in the results.

traceybooks

Make my day (and yours!) by picking up two novels for less than the price of a large coffee. You know you want to! *kissy face* ^_~

Stories to Steal

I’ve been toying with this idea for a while, and I thought I would bounce it off some people, because it’s something that would require a bit of time and organization, but I also think it could be really interesting…

So we all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to writing. One of my strengths (at least, I like to think so) is being able to visualize a particular scene as if it’s happening in my head, just like it’s my own memory, which can make emotional scenes much easier to write. One of my weaknesses, however, is that oftentimes these scenes are things that pop into my brain out of nowhere, and then fail to go anywhere else. I’ll get ideas from dreams, other books, movies, video games, whatever, and I’ll have this great scene playing out in my head, and I’ll often write it down in one form or another…but I haven’t actually got a story. Just a scene, sitting there all on its lonesome, with no book to snuggle around it.

Every so often I will, in fact, return to one of these scenes and think of something to do with it, but more often than not it ends up languishing in my “Random Stuff” Scrivener file, likely to sit there until the end of time because I just have no real use for it.

So then I had this idea for a book…

I got the idea from the NaNoWriMo forums, in which every year there’s a thread where writers drop random ideas with the expressed purpose that other writers who are struggling with their stories can wander in and steal them. What then, I thought, if I wrote an entire book of these “stories to steal”, using all the little homeless scenes I’ve compiled over the years?

A book of ideas of things to write isn’t a new idea – I have a few of them on my shelf upstairs right now – but this wouldn’t be a book simply of ideas. It would be a book of actual written scenes, with character names and all. The writer who reads the book could steal the scene verbatim if they wanted, or change it as they desire, and build their own story around it in the way that I wasn’t able to.

So the question is, what do you think? Is it an idea worth pursuing? The main issues in my path are that I’d have to flesh out my cache of scenes, as I’m not sure I have enough of them to fill an entire book, and also I’d have to work out how to format the book, as it obviously wouldn’t work with just paragraph after paragraph on the pages like a standard novel. But I’d be willing to put in the time and effort to combat those issues if I thought it was a genuinely good idea that people might be willing to purchase.

So let me know! Is it a good idea, and why or why not? Do you have any suggestions that could make it a better idea? Ideas for how I could approach the formatting issue? Please let me know!