Dear How-To Penguin… (#4)


Dear Bookish Waddler:


Step away from the pages, close out of goodreads, stop scrolling through bookstagram!  As of this moment, you WILL do as I say, because….

Oh, who am I kidding?!  I’ll never take over the world.  I’m not intimidating or scary or even TALL.  I’m just a tiny floof of panda with dreams too big to hold.

Tell me, TELL ME, Penguin–how do I make this thing happen!?  HOW do I take over as ruler and grand vizier of everything?

Please, send help!


I’m So Nervous, I’m Binge-Eating Bamboo

Dearest Power-Hungry,

That was SO stinkin’ adorable, I’m not sure how to even handle myself right now!  I can only imagine littly floofy you wielding your bamboo stick like a scepter, chest puffed up and head held high!

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Seriously, don’t ever shave your fur–the scariest critters are the ones no one suspects, so you’ve already got that working for you.

As for the rest, here’s what I recommend……


Even the cute and cuddly can be dark, evil villains deep down inside!  Just take Pinky and the Brain, for instance–they’re teensy lab rats, but they hold onto their dreams and refuse to give in.

What you need is a mantra–something that will inspire and motivate you in rough moments.  If you believe you’re all-powerful, it’s only a matter of time before you ARE all-powerful.

I’ll be the first to bow at your feet….but I don’t recommend making your mantra out of Fuzzy Wuzzy.  That goes back to the whole “never shave your fur” advice I gave you not long ago.

Don’t do it!


Because ruling the world is hard work, and even the most evil of evil villains need to sleep sometime!  Appointing a sidekick saves you both a headache and your sanity (unless you WANT?  to be insane, in which case, scratch this out entirely)  Plus, it’s nice to have someone to lean on when certain plots fall through loopholes ooooor certain superheroes screw things up.

Not to toot my own horn, but… I’m currently available.  I’m booksmart, I’m reliable, and I’m willing to do whatever’s needed to make your dreams reality.  All I need it your guarantee I’ll have all the tuna I could ever want.

Plus, we’d look fantabulous all up in our black and white.  Think about it.

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Paper just isn’t intimidating.  At ALL.  I get it, you’re new to this, but trust me–letters are the worst way to go.

If you really want to make a statement (and hold the world at attention), you need to go BIG.  And I don’t mean big in a, “my momma’s gonna be SO proud of me!” type way.  I mean GARGANTUAN.  MASSIVE.  “My momma’s so proud of me, she’s TERRIFIED and sort of wants to call the police!”

It’s a good thing I’ve got your back–you’re all set to take over TV and internet broadcasting tomorrow afternoon.

Which reminds me, you might want to throw a speech together.  I don’t need you looking a fool in front of everyone after all the work I’ve gone to for you!


THIS is probably the most important piece of advice I could ever give you.  If you don’t talk like, hold yourself like, or look like the most evil of evil villains in the world….no one, and I mean NO ONE, is going to take you seriously.  They’ll turn off the TV, pick up their children, and go about their lives.  And nothing will have changed.


How do you do this?  Well, that’s up to you.  You could chisel your teeth into fangs, sharpen your claws into razors, and paint yourself red with blood.  You could keep yourself tidy but dress to the nines in steampunk and lace.  You could walk around in only your fur, and carry the dead on a pike.

Figure out the message you want to send, and then stick with it!

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And that, my poofy friend, is how you put your plan into motion!  Of course, you’ll have to figure out the specifics–how you’re going to punish the rebels, what you expect the world to do under your reign, any and every escape clause you can think of because you and I BOTH know them foxes be clever and will likely attempt to murder you for the throne.

Personally, I’m hoping to see a dystopian come of this–those are always the most entertaining reads!

But you better work quickly, if you’re serious.  Your cue for the camera comes in less than a day!  I hope you’re ready to get those paws dirty.

Your (hopeful) partner–


***P.S. You can all blame Annelise for this post.***



Dear How-To Penguin… (#3)


Dear Princess Penguin–

I have been feeling so bored with my usual playlist!  Don’t get me wrong–I love the songs on my iPod, but I’m thinking it’s time to change things up.  Find a new siren to be serenaded by, if you will.

So let me ask you:  how do you discover new tunes to jam to?  Do you keep your own personal scale-tailed friend in your closet?!  Are there tiny angels hiding in your cupboards?

Tell me your secrets, or feel the wrath of my disco-studded glare!


I’m Falling Out of Love with Fall Out Boy

Dear Despairing Disco–

How did you ever figure out my secret?!  Yes, I’ll be honest–this last January I went seeking out new songs.  I traveled far and wide in search of unusual beats, unique artists, emotive and evocative notes.  I returned to my home town world-weary and downtrodden, having only stumbled upon more of the same old, same old.

In my darkest moment, I settled atop a nearby canal.  I meant to organize my thoughts and calm my hurting heart, but minutes after sitting, the silence of the night was broken!  Nearby, someone was singing–a haunting melody the likes of which I’d never heard!

Of course, I had to bring her home with me.  Her name is Treble, and you’re right–she lives in my closet.  It’s just too bright out in the world for her.  She’s not as big as you’d expect, though–and her tail doesn’t have scales.  I’d tell you more about what she looks like, but she could kill me with a single note–I think it’s best I don’t risk it.

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Okay, all right, I jest.  Mostly.

Here are the ACTUAL ways I discover new music–hopefully they help you, too!

Find a Friend to Share Music With

Facebook messenger makes this super easy if you’re sending youtube linkies–just copy/paste the URL and it’ll instantly become a video for your buddy to watch ASAP!

Of course, this is only recommended if you know your friend shares similar tastes as you.  It would be rather silly to send country songs to someone who ONLY listens to hiphop; sure, they might appreciate the song, but it’s likely they won’t listen to it at all because DON’T WANNA!

Pay Attention to Youtube Recommendations!

What I mean is… if you visit youtube regularly and have an account there (I have one through my gmail account, and it’s awesome sauce) scroll down and check out the vids youtube thinks you ought to check out next!

I usually find AT LEAST one music video waiting for me to click on.  Therefore, I always make sure to check the list out when I visit youtube–and this leads to at least an hour of binge-listening each day!

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Put Spotify to the Test!

And by this, I mean USE those playlists!  There are SO MANY options for you on Spotify, I don’t know why you wouldn’t already be using these to your advantage.

There’s one that I, personally, ADORE and use consistently.  It’s called Discover Weekly.  Basically, the Spotify Sirens keep track of any new artists or songs that I “love” throughout the week…and then compile a playlist of similar music/artists for me!

I get a new song list from them every Monday, and the Spotify Serenaders go another week with their job.  Win-win!  Plus, it’s one of the highlights of my week–I always look forward to seeing what new things my Music Santa has gifted me!

Pay Attention to your Facebook Feed

Because I don’t know about YOUR friends, but there’s always at least one person sharing music on my feed.  Sometimes, it’s music I already knew about.  Sometimes, it’s music I don’t really care TO know about.  And sometimes, it’s the quickest, easiest way to discover new tunes EVAR.

Of course, there ARE other ways out there–I mean, you could go to twitter and ask for recommendations.  You could set up your goodreads friends’ request and ask those applying to share their favorite song with you.  You could….put an antenna on your head and call yourself Mister JimSlam.  THESE ways, listed here?  are just the ones that I seem to use the most–because routines, man!  I just can’t break out of them when they’re working for me!

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Here’s hoping these tips lead you to your own song siren–or at least help in your search for the new and spunky uptown funk!

Happy listening!



Dear How-To Penguin… (#2)


Dear How-To Penguin,

I just don’t know what to do–my anxiety dragon is riding me so hard!  All I want is to crawl beneath my blankets and hide from the world…but work, and obligations, and general penguin-ing!

How do you manage?!  Please, guide me!


Cowering and Confused

Dear Contain the Chaos:

I SO hear you!  Right now, I recommend taking a breath.  Another.  One more, for good measure.

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The first thing I have to say is:  everyone’s anxiety dragon comes equipped with different scales and different talons.  Not every tail is barbed; not every dragon has teeth.  What works for ME will not necessarily work for you, and that’s okay!  It just means you need to keep searching for your right answer.

That said, let me introduce you to my guest.  His name is Cymbil.  He loves lurking on dark rafters and beneath piles of old, dusty memories.  Usually, Cymbil doesn’t bother me–he prefers being left alone.

But there are days Cymbil throws a tantrum.

Maybe a bird has found its way into his favorite perching place.  Maybe a song or a word triggered him.  Maybe he woke up on the wrong side of the hearth and is feeling overwhelmed.  Whatever the cause, he suddenly goes on the rampage…and my brain is the war zone.

Usually, this ends in massive sensory overload–every noise, every sense, every emotion is heightened.  I become the dragon raging through my veins:  grumpy, caustic, and easy to set off.

So how do I get my dragon–and myself–back under control?  Let me list out the ways that work best for ME…

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1.) I step away.

Most often, my anxiety dragon strikes when I’m at work.  As most of you know, I currently work in retail as a cashier.  A grumpy, fire-breathing me is NOT conducive to awesome customer service (in most cases–there is at least one customer who, I think, might appreciate seeing fire come out my nose)… so I step away, if I can.

This means I busy myself with other, more monotonous tasks.  I clean counters.  I dust shelves.  I check product dates.  I stock the pop cooler.  I sweep and mop.  I get down on the floor and clean the baseboards.  Basically, I distract myself from how sharp my dragon’s barbs are or how shiny his scales…and calm my mind with the mundane instead.

2.) I cool off.

And by cool off, I mean rock out.  At work, I sing along to every song that plays on my iPod–or at least every song I need to until my dragon loosens his grasp on my feelers.  At home, I put on Spotify.

Depending on how tightly my dragon is clinging, my needs change.  Sometimes, the angstiest, most depressing music I have words miracles.  Other times, chillstep mixes on youtube work just as well.

Basically, I let the beat of the music overtake the beat of my anxiety.

3.) I escape.

No, no, no–I don’t mean I run away from the problem!

Sometimes, though, the anxiety dragon stretches his wings too far and digs his talons too deep.  Sometimes, shaking him isn’t as easy as distraction and pounding beats.

Days like these, I just can’t shake him by myself…which is where books and netflix, for me, come into play!

Usually, I can force myself to push the dragon out by focusing on a book.  If I JUST.  CAN’T.  FOCUS, I choose a movie or a tv show to lose myself in and tune out to.  If I’m still struggling to pull myself back from the ledge–and this doesn’t happen often, especially these days–I grab my pencils and color.

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Also–food helps!  Because sometimes Cymbil comes out just to remind me I need to feed him to keep him happy.  Who’da thunk?!

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And that, Contain the Chaos, is how I beat down my anxiety dragon.  Again–these techniques won’t work for everybody!  Some dragons are, after all, much scarier than mine.

I hope you find the tool that works for you.

Until next time, keep breathing!



How THIS Penguin Budgets for Happiness


Okay, penguins–quit your waddling and gather ’round the Community Igloo.  Today, I want to talk to you about money.

“BUT BETH!” your eager beaks are bound to interrupt.  “We’re penguins!  How can we talk money when we don’t even have POCKETS?!

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To which I have two things to say.  First:  it’s 2016!  You can put pockets on literally EVERYTHING.  You could sew fabric flaps to your palms, call them pockets, and carry your collection of mate-catching pebbles around in them…and nobody would ever think twice.  And second:  I don’t JUST want to talk money.  I want to talk budgeting.

This post was inspired by

7 Ways to Budget for Happiness



Their mission:

Data-driven insights, real-world experience, expert advice, access to your peers.

“We believe these are some of the essential elements in building a solid foundation for your life, whether that’s your money, career, or relationships. With Earnest news and content, our aim is to provide you with the right information so you can create exactly the life you want.”

***please note: all comments and opinions featured in this blog post are from the heart and mind of your friendly neighborhood Princess Penguin.  Yes, that means ME!***

Budgeting for Happiness

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In my neck of the internet, this basically boils down to one big question:  How the HECKLES do I pay all the bills and eat and keep myself alive?!?!?!  Because, you know, staying alive is the first and most important factor in continuing to budget for my happiness.

Recently, I fell into a fair amount of trouble with money.  The problem:  hospital bills from YEARS ago…and rabid debt collectors.  For about a week, my life was filled with panic attacks, crying, and my overactive imaginative trying very hard to convince itself I was bound to end up destitute.

Now, I’m a very lucky penguin–I was able to ask for, and receive, help from my family.  In fact, I was given SO much help, I don’t have to panic about footing the debt bills again until March of 2017.  Thank you, Grandma Penguin, for loving me so much!

So what’s the point of this story?  Well, it helps lead me into my focus story.

How *I* Budget

(please keep in mind, this does not and/or will not work for EVERYBODY.  this is just how I, personally, go about keeping my finances straight)

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Every week, I step into my brain office, tidy the desk, and dance the two-step with my bank account.  The order goes something like this:

1–Peek at my bank account/balance (I bank online, which makes this super easy)

2–Subtract from my balance what money is left for DEBT RELIEF BILLS OF DOOM.  What’s left is *my* personal money.

3–Do I have any bills coming up?  Are there any bills that haven’t been taken out yet, but will very soon be?  Subtract any and all from my total.

4–Do I need insulin/diabetic supplies/other medications/to see the doctor/etc and so forth and so on?  Subtract these amounts from my total.

5–Do I need food?  Go shopping.  Subtract this from my total.

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I’ve set it up so a certain amount comes out of each paycheck for specific bills–YAY for automatic payment schedules!  The remaining costs–for food, medical supplies, laundry change, etc–are split between the two pay periods a month.

Usually, this means I have between $100 and $300 to spare.

So…how do I budget for happiness?!

Let’s take a look…

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Pay the Bills

I start by making sure all my bills are paid!  Why?  Well, happiness in my world depends upon:

–running lights (so I can read, and blog, and stalk all of you weirdos on social media…)
–hot showers (I mean… tuna fish reeks, so I try to wash myself and save the planet)
–staying warm (totally goes against penguin-ing here, but so what?!)
–being able to afford my life-saving medications (the grave is NOT a penguin’s friend)
–barring the wolves from my door (because I like to be the hunter, not the hunted)

All of which is MUCH more easily managed when the bills are paid, and paid on time.

If you have loans from college, Earnest could be a good option to refinance those loans because they allow you to skip or change the amount you can pay on a monthly basis to fit your budget.

Feed my Belly

Because HELLO?!  A hungry penguin is NOT a happy penguin.  Have you SEEN me when I’m hungry?  It’s not a pretty sight.  Food is good, folks!  And good food is even better!

Keep Emergency Funds

I’ve learned you should always expect the unexpected.  Having a  little money set aside helps keep me from panicking when the unexpected eventually happens…and it ALWAYS, eventually, happens.

And finally…

Splurge a Little

Obviously, I don’t allow myself to go out every paycheck to BUY ALL TEH THINGS!  That would be silly, and does not a happily budgeted wallet make!

But sometimes, it’s okay to take stock of your savings and buy yourself something nice–even if “something nice” means one large caviar with seasalt Starbucks, or that tub of expensive tuna fish ice cream you’ve been eyeballing in the store.

“Splurging” doesn’t have to mean “going all out,” after all!

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And there you have it–budgeting for happiness, the penguin way!  Of course, there’s nothing a little sunshine, a good book, and a soft pillow can’t change…but that’s a different happiness budget entirely!

Did you find this post helpful?  Have something you’d like to share or ask? How do YOU budget for happiness?  Feel free to leave your thoughts below, and go check out


for more budgeting and financing tips!

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Princess Penguin, OUT.

New Sig


How To: Freak the FRACKLE Out Over Scary Video Games

HowTo Freak


“Beth!  You JUST posted a how to yesterday, are you sick?!  Is the world ending?!  Have you run out of tuna fish?!”

To which I respond:  “Well, not really.  I certainly hope not, I have more penguin-ing to do!  YESYESYES IT’S A DEFINITE PROBLEM!  Also I can’t find my hoard of pebbles; how do they always disappear overnight?!”

The truth is, this penguin decided to start a horror of a video game last night…in the dark…with headphones on instead of listening to it through the tv speakers…

Let’s just say, I’m both TERRIFIED and ABSOLUTELY ADDICTED all at once.

What is the game, you ask?

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This one.  THIS.  THIS GAME!  Oh my penguins, penguins, this game will knock the floof out of your little penguin chests without even really trying.  And it’s AWESOME.

 But it got me thinking–I talked, yesterday, of how to flail like a penguin.  But what about the other emotions?!  I mean, even penguins get scared sometimes.  Feel pain.  Are sad.  So, let’s focus on one of those, yes?  I give you:

How to Freak the FRACKLE Out Over Scary Video Games

(we’re not even going to TALK about the fact that Bau was sitting next to me laughing his butt off the whole time, because ROOD.  ROOD, DUDE.  Rood!  I should make him go tuna fish hunting for this hungry penguin as punishment…)

So.  I started the game, and at first, it was all like:

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And then…creaky noises, weird notes, flickering lights, which led to…

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But see…that was only the PROLOGUE!  I didn’t even know.  I had no idea.  Once chapter one started, it became more like all of this:

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Uhm.  So…I stopped just after Chapter Two started.  I intend, at some point today probably, to keep on trucking, but…

Needless to say, this game?  Total awesome.  BUT OH MY PENGUINS, HORRIFYING!

What have you guys been playing lately?  Have any game recommendations you think I should consider?!  Let me know in the comments!

Until next time, happy book-ing!  And remember–it’s okay to freak the frackle out like a human now and then.  Even penguins need to scream sometimes.

New Sig