Personal, Update

New Short Story FREE – St. Isabelle’s Downfall

I have exciting news! One of my favorite short stories is now available to read FREE on Fiction on the Web. I wrote “St. Isabelle’s Downfall” as an undergrad, and it took a really long time to find it a home. It’s a psychological horror story about a character I was developing at the time for a novel that I finished but was never happy with. I know I’ve grown so much as a writer since this story (this was pre-MFA!) but I just have always liked the concept and couldn’t give up on it.

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Photo by Yoss Cinematic on Pexels.com

Going back through the short stories I’ve workshopped over the years has really reminded me that I prefer shorter mediums. I just don’t think I have the attention span needed to be a good novelist, and I honestly prefer the brevity and experimentation that are allowed in short stories and flash fiction. Hopefully, I’ll have more stories to share soon!

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany Renee Harmon

Personal, Update

Making Progress…Slowly but Surely

It’s already June! It’s crazy to think about how quickly this year is flying by, but it’s been a great one so far.

Regarding writing, I’ve had three acceptances so far this year: two short stories and one poem. The more I try to write longer works, the more it seems apparent that writing shorter things just comes more naturally. So, I think that’s what I’m going to focus on for a while.

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Photo by Kaique Rocha on Pexels.com

Anyway, I just wanted to check in and share a bit:

Here’s one of the short stories from this year – “Appendix A

And here’s a poem that won’t be in print until February but is available online already – “The Vanishing Act

And stay tuned for July 8th when my short story “St. Isabelle’s Downfall” comes out in that issue of Fiction on the Web. It’s one of my favorites of all the stories I’ve written, and it’s taken literally 7 years to find it a home!

Thanks for reading!

-Tiffany

Personal

May 2019 Favorites

I can’t believe how fast this year is flying! It’s nearly the end of May! Well, here are some of the things I’ve been loving this month:

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Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

Rain! 

This month has been super rainy here in Cincinnati, OH, but I actually kind of love it. I really like how relaxing and cozy a spring storm can be. It makes me want to curl up on the couch with a cozy mystery and a cup of tea. Also, the smell right after rain is one of my favorite natural scents. I want a candle that actually smells like this.

 

Recumbent Bikes!

I’ve been dieting and exercising a lot in may – actually I’m down about 10 pounds this month! While I’m not going to lie and pretend I suddenly enjoy broccoli, I have discovered that I love the little recumbent bike setup that I have in my apartment. It’s a great way to burn calories while also watching a movie!

 

Southern Charm!

Southern Charm is my new favorite reality tv show on Bravo. It’s not actually new – just new to me. It follows a bunch of socialites of various ages who live in Charleston, South Carolina. It is FILLED with drama! My two favorite people on the show are Patricia (a very fancy, matriarchal figure who is hilariously direct!) and Cameran (a super down-to-earth person who isn’t afraid to point out the absurdities of her friends).

 

Fit-and-Flare Dresses!

I bought my Easter dress online on Amazon and got a fit-and-flare dress from Oxiuly. It’s super flattering, even on my curvy shape. I loved it so much that I bought 5 more in different colors and patterns. They’re so comfortable too and even have pockets! Afterwards, I even saw this Buzzfeed article which shows that my experience with this dress is apparently nearly universal.

 

Well, those are the highlights for this month! Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

 

Book Review

Book Review: Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien

I love a good cozy mystery series, and Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop series is quickly soaring to the top of my list of favorites. I was recently able to read Murder Lo Mein, the third installment in this series.

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In this book, the protagonist Lana Lee continues to work in her family shop while also stumbling across a murder intertwined with a local noodle competition. While the general plot is a familiar one for a cozy mystery, what sets this one apart is its humor. These books are just so funny, and I love that the protagonist is in her 20s and is Chinese-American, which is a refreshing change for the genre.

Sure, the mystery plays out like most cozies do, but the heart of the story is really the continuing dynamic between Lana Lee and her family. Her relationship with her parents is complicated and believable. I also love the progression of her relationship with Detective Adam Trudeau. Overall, this has been a great mystery series that I highly recommend to people who love cozy mysteries! Just know that you’ll also develop a huge craving for noodles while you read this one!

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

Book Review

Book Review: Beginner Chunky Knitting Patterns

While I love knitting and helping run Warm Up Ohio, the local chapter of Warm Up America, I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to follow most patterns. I gravitate towards simple knitting projects because I love the meditative repetition. Also, I like to to multitask and knit while I’m watching TV, which really only works for basic patterns that require minimal counting. Because of this, I was super excited to read Beginner Chunky Knitting Patterns: 14 easy to knit patterns for women, babies, and the home.

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This book was written by Gina Michele, whose website has long been one of my favorite resources for craft ideas! This e-book is also a great resource. I love the variety of patterns here. Plus, they really are all for beginners. They’re easy to follow and knit up quickly since they use chunkier yarn and bigger needles. This is a fantastic book for those who are still learning to follow knitting patterns. I highly recommend both this book and Gina’s website! I’ve so enjoyed following her life journey with her blog (and it’s even inspired me to give a few vegan recipes a try!)

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

 

Personal

Best of the Sephora Sale!

Today, I’m going to post something different! While I mostly use this blog for reviews and writing updates, I also want to start sharing some more personal, lifestyle things. At one point, I had lots of blogs for lots of different topics, but I’d rather just have this one be a more complete portrait of me and my various interests, so expect some more posts like this in the future too! Recently, Sephora held their semi-annual sale, and I wanted to share some of the BEST purchases I made during the sale!

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Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask – This is an amazing face mask for acne, especially the pesky hormonal kind. My skin always looks clearer the day after I use this mask.

FRESH Lotus Youth Preserve Moisturizer – I adore this product because it really hydrates my skin without breaking me out or making me look kind of oily. I swear it even makes my pores look smaller.

Pretty Vulgar Bury them With a Smile Lipstick in shade If Kisses Could Kill – I’ve spent so much time looking for a dark wine-colored lipstick that doesn’t have brown undertones and which doesn’t look like I’m celebrating Halloween too early. This one is perfect!

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation – This is an amazing medium-coverage foundation that blends so well. It evens out my skin and covers all minor flaws without being too obvious. I love that it also keeps me from looking oily and stays all day!

Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment – This is my new go-to tinted moisturizer. It moisturizes well, reduces redness, and provides a nice light coverage. I adore this for minimal makeup days!

Did you get anything in the sale or do you have a product you want to share? Feel free to let me know in the comment section!

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

 

Movie Review

Movie Review: The Mermaid – Lake of the Dead

I love discovering weird, unique horror movies. Too often while I’m watching a movie, I feel overwhelmed by the familiarity – let’s be honest, most zombie and exorcism movies play out the same way every time. So, I get really excited when I stumble across something different. Last night, I took a chance and watched a lesser known Russian film The Mermaid – Lake of the Dead, and it far exceeded my expectations!

The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead Poster

Here’s the IMDB Description: “An evil Mermaid falls in love with Marina’s fianc√© Roman and aims to keep him away from Marina in her Kingdom of Death under water. The Mermaid is a young woman who drowned a few centuries ago. Marina only has one week to overcome her fear of the dark water, to remain human in the deathly fight with the monsters and not to become one herself.”

Honestly, I think that the description does this film a disservice. It’s extremely basic, while the film itself is rife with complexities. Rather than the mermaids I’ve been used to (thanks to Disney, of course), this type of mermaid is actually based on the Russian folklore about the rusalka. Also, the film focuses a lot on Roman’s family, which is very much linked to the Mermaid. His sister is a very dynamic, complicated character (actually, far more complex than his fiance Marina).

I was expecting something extra cheesy, but this was actually quite artsy in terms of cinematography. The repeating images of water (in all types of situation, with all different camera angles) were masterfully done. Originally shot in Russian, this was dubbed in English. I would almost always rather read subtitles, but I was actually pleasantly surprised at how organic the dub felt for this particular film. It wasn’t at all distracting.

In terms of the plot and writing, there were a few clarity issues, but they weren’t glaring. Mostly, if you’re familiar with the rusalka folklore or if you really pay attention to the black and white illustrated prologue which quickly explains the folklore, it should be easy to fill in some of the gaps. While mostly predictable, I still enjoyed the uniqueness of the story and the beauty of the cinematography.

In terms of the scare-factor, this was not the kind of horror movie that’s going to keep you up at night or make you afraid to swim in a lake (though, for the record, I’m already afraid of swimming in lakes – who knows what kind of bacteria is lurking!) However, there are some effective jump scares and creepy imagery for sure. I definitely recommend this film to horror-lovers with a soft spot for dark fairytales!

If you’ve seen this one, I’d love to hear your thoughts too! Feel free to share them in the comment section.

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany