My [Faire] Lady: Tips and Tricks for Navigating a Renaissance Faire

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

I went to my first Renaissance Faire this year, crossing a pretty important item off my bucket list. To the surprise of absolutely no one, I had the BEST time. So much so that I plan to be back at the Tennessee Renaissance Festival next year.

My elf ears!

Oh, hi!

First turkey leg.

So, having been to a Ren Fest now, I want to share what I learned/some advice for you guys if you plan on attending a renaissance festival in the future.


Or, if your state's festival does not allow full water bottles, bring empty ones that you can store easily (I like this roll-up one from Amazon). Otherwise, water is available for purchase at the festival. If the festival you're attending is in the summer, water is crucial. Staying hydrated is a great idea anyway, but if it's brutally hot and humid, you'll need the hydration if you plan to stay at the festival awhile.

2. Plan ahead.

Buy tickets in advance. Look at your festival's schedule online and pick out the events and shows you want to see. Want to watch a joust? Make sure you get there early for good seats. In general, if you go earlier with pre-purchased tickets and a game plan, you'll be good to go, and you should be able to do and see all the stuff you want.

3. Bring bug spray.

As someone who has a really, REALLY bad phobia of wasps, this would have been helpful had I remembered to bring some. Same goes for mosquitos or other pests; if this is a concern for your festival location, please put some on prior heading to the festival.

4. Costumes are encouraged, but you can go as minimal as you want.

To my surprise, there weren't as many costumed attendees. Nor were there as many flower crowns as I expected (I only saw three, including my own). I'd recommend a flower crown or a piece you've picked up from a festival previously (i.e. elf ears, a crown/diadem/circlet, etc.) and "civillian" clothes to start with. I got my flower crown here, and it was the BEST. You'll still feel plenty immersed in the medieval fun and action (a friendly pirate called my turkey leg a "leg of squaw" and my friend's stroller for her baby daughter "the smallest pirate ship [he'd] ever seen"). You can always add to your outfit when you're there. I did; I got some elf ears made of gold wire and tiny white metal flowers to match my crown.

5. Get that turkey leg.

Turkey legs are a Renaissance Faire staple. If you want to eat some kind of meat there, I'd recommend this over chicken salad or a Caesar wrap. I mean, it's a Renaissance festival; gotta be immersed in another time, right?

Have you ever attended a Renaissance Festival before? Let me know down in the comments!

Disclaimer: Links in this post are Affiliate Links, which means that I will gain a small commission if you buy any of the items I've mentioned through the links I've placed in this post. Clicking, browsing, and buying come at no extra cost through the links. All opinions are my own, and they are unbiased. If you do use the links, thank you!

I Self-Published a Novella!

Monday, June 3, 2019

First, let's get this out of the way: My novella, "Do Life", is now out online and available for you to purchase for Kindle (devices or the app) and Paperback!


Now, the details.

This particular novella was the project I drafted for the very first Camp NaNoWriMo I ever participated in. Camp NaNoWriMo is a version of NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) that takes place twice a year during April and July. I wrote "Do Life" during the April 2018 session; I drafted 25,000 words in 30 days. To see this first novella I ever wrote out in the world now is pretty surreal and exciting for obvious reasons.

Here's the synopsis:

Jessica Smith has a fresh start: new town, new house, new job, new neighbors. What more could a bright-eyed twenty-something want?

With the rush of these new changes in her life, Jessica still feels like she's moving at breakneck speed through her new career and potential relationships.

But when a tall stranger barges through her door and tells her she's in danger...what will it take for Jessica to risk it all and leave her new life behind?

In this heart-pounding sci-fi thriller novella by Savannah Cottrell, join Jessica as she learns what it means to be human, and what it means to have free will in a world where it feels like all control is lost.

Now, I will say this, too: "Do Life" is very much inspired by one of my favorite video games. I would tell you which one...but you should read it to see if you can guess. ;)

Want to buy and read "Do Life?"

For the Kindle version (readable on Kindle devices, phones, tablets, and your computer), click here.
For the Paperback version (my personal favorite!), click here.

(For some reason, these are two separate listings. I've been looking into having them be combined into one listing, so please pardon this little bit of dust.)

If you read my book, please let me know through an Amazon review!

Y'all have been with me through my writing journey for years now. As always, thank you so, SO much for following along with me. You're the best. And stay tuned for more writing over the course of this year!

Brief disclaimer: the links above are Affiliate Links, so I will make a small commission if you buy my book through the links above. This is ONLY if you buy the book, though, and it's at no additional cost to you. If you use these links, thank you! 

Chicago, I Love You: BTS Whirlwind Weekend Edition

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

So, a couple weekends ago, my childhood friend Maddie and I went on a trip to Chicago to go see BTS.

Let's start from the beginning.

One day, a couple months ago, I got a text from Maddie asking if I would want to come with her to see BTS in Chicago. I love adventures like this, and going to see a K-Pop group was something that had been on my bucket list, so of course, I said yes. Fast-forward through a flurry of reservations and planning, and before we knew it, it was the beginning of May, and time to board our late flight to Chicago.

Several plane delays later, we arrived.

Here's what we did.


Here is what we saw in our 48 hours in Chicago:
  • The Chicago River and the Corncob Buildings
  • The Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue)
  • Millenium Park
  • Cloud Gate (The Bean!)

Deep-Dish Pizza

There is a reason why deep-dish pizza is a mainstay in Chicago. Surprisingly, even though I've visited the city before and absolutely adore it, I had never had deep-dish pizza before.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Hello, lovah!

It took an hour for us to have it brought to our table, but good gracious, that pizza was worth it. We had pepperoni, cheese, and bacon, and it was perfect.

(For the curious, we visited Giordano's just off Michigan Avenue.)


Following our pizza adventure - and crashing after 40 minutes' worth of walking around north Chicago - it was time to hail an Uber for the main event: the BTS concert.

This was actually the largest concert I've ever been to. At LEAST 60,000 strong of the BTS Army (fanbase) were in attendance at Soldier Field. Following the concert, I've told several people that this is the closest that our generation has come to Beatlemania: fandom on insane levels for an artist that doesn't look like it'll fade anytime soon.

BTS certainly did not disappoint with their set, either. At least 24 songs - including solo songs from each of the boys - were packed into the three hours we were there. The set design and fireworks were just icing on the cake to how talented these guys are. They're fantastic live!

It was awesome.

Overall, we had a blast in the 48-ish hours I spent in Chicago. Chicago has my heart, always, and I can't wait to be back soon!

Writing Update: Camp NaNoWriMo 2019, Revision Plans, and Self-Publishing!

Thursday, March 28, 2019


So I've been gearing up for another big writing project. Well, actually, several, if you count the revisions and the stuff I plan to FINALLY publish this year.

I guess I need to slow down a bit, huh?

In today's update, I'm going to give y'all a rundown on my upcoming writing adventures! Starting with...

Yes, I am participating in Camp again this year! I will be partaking in both the April and July sessions. I am SO thrilled with the plot so far. 

However, this year, I'm tackling Camp a little differently than I did last year. Besides doing both sessions (which I'm already pumped for), I will be taking this opportunity to write a DUOLOGY. This will be a two-novella series!!

I have always wanted to write a series, and I figured a novella duology would be a SUPER fun jumping off point for my first one. 

I begin writing the first novella April 1, finishing on April 30. Then, I'll start drafting part 2 on July 1, finishing on July 30. 

To say I'm stoked is an understatement.


Okay, I'm just going to get this out there in the open: I am not a big fan of the revision process. I love drafting so much more. Also, in my experience, the revision process was glossed over in classes I took. Not to mention it's much more fun chasing new ideas and plot bunnies than having to revisit less-than-savory sentences, paragraphs, and plot points.

That being said, I've got a bunch of manuscripts (two novels and a novella) that I want to share with y'all. So, this year, I'll be working to revise these drafts and get those stories out there.

Please stay tuned for...


I write because I love creating worlds and stories and sharing them with others. This year, I'm deep-diving into self-publishing again after a year (I missed it!) and getting some cool stuff put out for you guys! Y'all, 2019 is gonna be a great writing year for me, I can already tell.

Again, please stay tuned. I can't wait to share my words with you. :)

Be Present.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

There was one day I was at church for morning worship service when I was next to someone who was on their phone the entire time. It’s become commonplace - in a way - to see phones at church, but I hadn’t seen someone be on their phone for nearly a whole service. Out of sheer curiosity, when this person put down their phone, I decided to count the seconds before they pulled it out again. 

Fifteen seconds. 

Fifteen seconds was the longest amount of time this member - yes, member, since they took communion with me - didn’t have their phone out.

Needless to say, a pet peeve of mine flared up a bit that day. I realize that I’m preaching to myself a bit; it’s easy to wander to the tiny screen if I see a notification, and it's easy to pass time scrolling through feeds and timelines. But there’s something to be said if you can’t give but fifteen seconds to God, let alone people around you, your dinner conversation partner, a concert, a wedding, or anything that involves you engaging with another person.

Recently, I took a trip with my Mom to Northern California. There, we hardly had cell service, let alone a TV with standard cable. While the latter isn't a huge deal for me - I tend to lurk YouTube instead - sometimes, a lack of cell service leaves me disconnected.

Little did I know that disconnecting was exactly what I needed to do.

Mom and I found an adorable pub near our VRBO cottage, and we decided to swing by for dinner before getting groceries for the next day. When we pulled up to the tudor-style inn, there was a whiteboard sign right out front declaring that the WiFi was out. Mom and I just shrugged, walked in, ordered our tea and dinner, and headed into the dining room.

The dining room was very dimly lit to the point where one of the waiters actually came in and lit candles and the fireplace. If we'd had wifi and cell service, we wouldn't have noticed the fact that the same waiter would sing along to various random pop songs, nor would we have noticed the charm of the place. In fact, that's why I don't have any pictures of the pub to show you; we were too busy enjoying the atmosphere and company.

That pub reminded me of something that day: sometimes, I need to put down my phone in order to really enjoy my life and the amazing things around me. As a writer, I'm inspired by experiences and things around me, so this really rings true ihn my creative work. Also, side note, if I hadn't put down my phone and quit filming at the Bastille concert I went to, I would have totally missed Dan Smith, their lead singer, looking right at me from a couple feet away.

Sometimes, in the midst of our crazy-busy lives, we've got to put our devices down and actually stop and smell the figurative roses. Who knows? We might have a story to tell from it.

This was the view at Muir Beach Lookout, near where we were staying. Isn't it amazing?

27 Things You Didn't Know About Me

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Well, hi!

If you're new here, hi, my name is Savannah. I turned 27 back in October. I started this blog back when I was 22. Good gracious.

I wanted to share some fun facts about me with you. Granted, I've done this before - twice, actually - but I feel like I could share some new things/insights that will be fun to look back on in the future (goodness, it was fun looking back on my old fun fact posts over the past couple of years). are 27 things you didn't know about me. :)

1. I have been a baptized/born-again Christian for 13 years as of January 12. I feel like I have grown every single one of those thirteen years and counting.
2. Along those lines, I have never read the whole Bible in a year before. This year, I'm changing that.
3. I'm a stationery nerd; specifically, notepads and planners. I get my love of stationery and planners from my mom, and we've gone to several planner conventions together!
4. Also, I'm a pen nerd. Brightly-colored pens, highlighters, and color coding are my jam.
5. I have dyed my hair before. In fact, it's been three colors at once: blonde with the underside being blue with pink shadow roots. Now, I'm in this phase where the bottom half of my hair is a blonde ombre situation from the bleach.
6. I've been called even more similar-sounding names to Savannah in recent months: Cheyenne, Shannon, and Cindy, to name a few.
7. I like to think I'm crazy-good at racing games, be they arcade or console/computer.
8. My favorite books of the Bible are Esther, Romans, and Hebrews.
9. I have written two novels (and counting, especially with this year's NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo months!)
10. I have also self-published some short stories! Click here to check them out.
11. I edit on a freelance basis in addition to my day job, so I actually self-edit my own work and do my own cover designs for my self-published work. I have also worked as a self-publishing consultant on a memoir.
12. I have never seen "The Wizard of Oz."
13. I have never been to a Renaissance fair.
14. I have some new additions to my travel bucket list: Seoul, Egypt, and Australia (Melbourne or Sydney).
15. I am a chorizo fiend. If there's a chorizo burrito or some kind of chorizo I can get on a Mexican dish or taco, I'm there.
16. I'm also a spicy food fiend. Hot chicken, Indian spices, and any sriracha or chipotle majesty I can get my hands on are always a treat.
17. If I could characterize my personal style, it's vintage silhouettes meets band t-shirts. One day, I'm wearing a blouse and suspenders to work, and the next, I'm rocking my Bastille tour merch.
18. Rose gold is my favorite metal; after that, I gravitate towards gold...and glitter, of course.
19. I have named both of my female dogs I've had over the years. I chose Azalea's name for the flowers at my grandparents' beach house, and I named Magnolia because my second novel's main character has the same name.
20. My friends say I need to be fed and watered every two hours...and they're right. If I don't eat for a while - especially protein - I get really shaky and feel a little more anxious.
21. Lemonade and other citrus foods give me the hiccups. No clue why.
22. I'm also partially allergic to artificial flavoring! It just makes me cough a little bit, nothing too serious.
23. I gravitate towards patterns and kitschy details when it comes to clothes, accessories, and jewelry. I.E. you'll find me wearing dinosaurs and unicorns a LOT.
24. Reading, literature, and storytelling have always been a comfort and a childhood mainstay for me. Of course, I love C.S. Lewis, but I also love Neil Gaiman's work.
25. I'm an optimist almost to a fault.
26. I find joy in the tiniest details.
27. If there's one thing that I've learned in my 27 years of life, it's that there's no shame in being yourself, exactly who God created you to be, and that normal is just a setting on a washing machine.

I Have Three Labradoodles

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Boy howdy, do I have an update for you guys.

Last year, we had to say goodbye my dog Azalea. About six months before that, we said goodbye to her brother, Harvey. They were the best miniature schnauzers in the whole wide world. I grew up with them. They were the childhood puppies I had that I got to share my younger adventures with. It was hard to talk about their passing, let alone blog about it, but we were thankful for the 15 years we got to spend with those fur babies.

Fast-forward to the Fall of 2018. My family decided that it was time to open our home to two more fur babies.

So, on October 27th, we welcomed Atticus and Thoreau, our new chocolate Australian labradoodles.

Baby Atticus

 Baby Reau

Now, these are the first "big" dogs I've ever grown up with. But they are the most loving, precious, spunky fur baby siblings a girl can have. They've lit up my life in so many ways.

Hey, Sav, you may be asking me, Your post title clearly states that you have THREE labradoodles. Not two. Where's this third puppy?

Here's the part where we fast-forward quickly to the next month, November. Originally, my family wanted a boy and a girl, similar to Harv and Zae. The breeder we adopted Atticus and Thoreau from did not have a girl available, so Mom mentioned that if one of the girls became available, we'd be up to take her in. But the possibility was far from our minds, since all the little girl puppies had been reserved.

...until we got a text from our breeder saying, "Do y'all still want a little girl?"

They had one last girl puppy left because the owner who had originally reserved her couldn't take her in because of landlord restrictions. So, we enthusiastically said yes, and we took her in.

This is Magnolia, my little fur sister.

She was a little timid at first, but over time, she grew to love and feel more comfortable as part of our family. She is still a little shyer than her brothers when it comes to meeting brand-new people, but that's okay. I guess she's like me in that she's a little introvert.

How are they now?

Atticus, Lola, and Reau are four-and-a-half months old, and they still entertain/surprise/delight us to this day (of course!). Having labradoodles in the house has been a fun adventure every single day. The other day, Lola discovered how to jump on all the beds. Atticus is still leaping into my arms, a tradition since he was the tiniest puppy. And Thoreau still has this fascination with the microwave, especially when Dad makes bacon.

They are the best things to come into my life in a long time, and I am so beyond thankful for them.

Atticus, Thoreau, Magnolia...I love you guys. <3

Kingdom Hearts 3 | Disney, Kindness, Friendship, and Good Memories

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Back on January 29, Kingdom Hearts 3, the long-awaited sequel and trilogy-ender to the Kingdom Hearts game franchise, launched to Playstation 4 and XBOX One. Needless to say, as a longtime fan of this series, I was super excited, and I preordered it the moment I could.

Kingdom Hearts is a crossover between Final Fantasy, a long-running fantasy series, and Disney. Players traverse various Disney worlds (settings from various movies such as Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story, Frozen, and SO many more) as a happy-go-lucky hero named Sora and his sidekicks Donald and Goofy (yes, the Disney duck and dog). The story gets convoluted quickly due to alternate universes, merging timelines, time travel, and a massive cast of characters who somehow mesh perfectly with the Disney universes they inhabit, but it's worth the ride for sure.

When I launched Kingdom Hearts 3, I'm 99% sure that I squealed "THAT'S SO CUTE!!" at the screen at least ten times in the first 30 minutes. The game itself is so light-hearted and fun. I mean, what game lets you attack enemies with classic Disney rides? I got to blast away some of the monsters with Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, and I got to smash a Greek Rock Titan with the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad train. As a Disney park fanatic as well, this was exciting.  Also, there's a portion of the game where you traverse Arendelle, the kingdom in the movie Frozen, and there's sing-along portions in that level. This little Disney nerd was happy.

I played this game growing up, and to say this game is a long time coming is an understatement. The first game came out in 2002. I was ten years old. The second game came out in 2004. I was thirteen then. I even remember asking my mom if we could go to Gamestop to pick up Kingdom Hearts 2 the day it came out. I remember loving all of those characters and exploring the Disney worlds even back then. I would make up my own characters that fit into the universe as well.

Little did I know that those games actually influenced parts of my life, like my writing and my overall love of bright and colorful things, as well as great storytelling.

Now, I'm 27. I'm an adult. I've experienced a lot in the past 13 years in the real world. I graduated college. I experienced heartbreak. I have a job. And still, I experience so much joy picking up a Kingdom Hearts game and picking up a keyblade, even after all this time. I'm still working on beating this game, but I can tell you that I've learned that there's no reason to apologize for being who you are, even though it may come across as childish or too weird for some. Kindness and encouragement always wins, no matter what form it takes, Disney magic included.

I guess there's something to be said about a game that brings so much happiness, and about a game whose story aims to emphasize the importance of kindness, friendship, and staying true to yourself, even when the world around you goes dark.

The Happiest Place on the West Coast | A Guide to Disneyland

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

During a recent trip to Palm Springs this past January, my family and I took a day trip to Anaheim, California, where we Disneyland!

Y'all, Disney parks are awesome. I love them. I'm slightly biased because I've visited Disneyworld a ton in my childhood and beyond, but there's a certain type of magic that's in the Disney parks that I can't really describe. I've been to other theme parks before, but there's something about Disneyworld that keeps me wanting to come back. That's why I was excited to visit Disneyland for the first time.

In this post, I'm going to give y'all the run-down on the following: where we stayed, what we rode, and what we ate. Also, I want to give you my pros and cons/first impressions of Disneyland itself.

Before we get to the aforementioned run-down, please keep in mind that we only spent one day here. We did not come at park opening, nor did we leave at park close. We also didn't have time for California Adventure (Disneyland's answer to Hollywood Studios with more Pixar-themed attractions, including a Cars ride and an Incredibles-themed coaster called, aptly, the "Incredicoaster"), but I wouldn't mind coming back for it someday.

Anyways, on to the post!

Where We Stayed: The Californian

I'm just going to cut to the chase: this is a miniature Wilderness Lodge.

For those who have never been to Disneyworld before, the Wilderness Lodge is a sprawling resort inspired by Americana/Native American/Pacific Northwestern culture and architecture. The whole hotel is styled like a giant wood lodge. Hence, Wilderness Lodge.

The Californian has the exact same architecture and a lobby that's nearly identical to its Disneyworld sibling. However, that's kind of where the similarities end for me. The restaurants at the Californian, sadly, were not as big of a draw for me as the Wilderness Lodge counterparts. But, overall, I thought the hotel was cute.

Also, the best part was our view. We could look out directly onto California Adventure.

What We Rode

Here were all the attractions that we hit in Disneyland:

It's a Small World - It has an outdoor entrance! But for some reason, they still had their Christmas theme up. The tiny dolls were singing Jingle Bells. On January 20th. It was still cute, but Dad and I were both wondering aloud why this was the case. Keep this in mind if you plan a trip to the park.

Pirates of the Caribbean - This is also different from its Disneyworld counterpart, but in two neat ways: one, it's a little longer, and two, it floats by a cute restaurant called the Blue Bayou! We weren't able to book reservations there because of the demand (I mean, who doesn't want to eat inside the Pirates ride?), but it was still neat to see.

Matterhorn Bobsleds - I'd say this is a solid combination of Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. Of course, Disneyland has both of those rides, too, but I really wanted to try the Matterhorn since it's not in Orlando. It was SO fun.

What We Ate

We didn't dive too deep into the restaurants at Disneyland - and there's a ton of well-known food items here, from Dole Whips (just like Orlando) to bigger places (like the Blue Bayou I mentioned earlier). 

The first thing we had was in Downtown Disney, which is kind of acts central hub of sorts between the parks and the hotels in the Disneyland resort. We had pizza at an Italian restaurant called Naples Ristorante, and it was pretty good.

Then, the only other food I had in Disney proper was a churro. There's a reason why everybody eats churros at Disney parks, and I can't believe my first one was in California. They serve them warm, and they're at least a yard long.

I'd love to go back and try some of their other foods, like the Mickey beignets and the macaroons.

Final Thoughts/Pros & Cons

Overall, I really enjoyed Disneyland. I mean, it would be difficult not to, since I've always been a huge Disney fan. 

Do I wish Disneyland were a little bigger? Oh yeah. Sleeping Beauty Castle is actually pretty small in person, and we pretty much walked the whole park in a matter of a few hours. But Disneyland does have its charms, and what I got to experience, I loved.

But the biggest pro was getting to spend the day in Disneyland with my Dad. Growing up, he adored the parks as much as I did, and it's something we've gotten to share together, so I'm extremely thankful I got to spend that day with him.

That's a wrap on my Disneyland guide! Thanks for reading.

[Savannah] in Wonderland is FIVE.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


Talk about things that grow with you.

On January 7, 2019, my blog turned five years old. FIVE. I remember the day I created this little internet space: I created a blog while we were in Disneyworld on my dad's birthday. I even did some graphic design, too. The very first color scheme I had was pink and blue. The blog has gone through quite a bit of style changes since then, but I'm always happy to try new things with this blog's layout.

For some fun, here are some of the header/logo of the past:

Peach (2017)

Neon pink and Holo (Early 2018)

Teal and Holo (Late 2018)

Teal, Holo, & Ombre (Present Day!)

These days, I'm rocking the blue and teal ombre with holographic glitter (because I'm Savannah and that's what I do). The colors are based on my favorite combination of hair colors I've ever had: the blue and teal ombre underlights I got last year. After wearing them in my hair for a few months, I grew to love this color scheme, so I figured I'd transition those colors from my hair to my corner of the internet.

My hair is fully blonde again, but I'm so glad I went on such a fun hair color adventure in 2018.

I wanted to write a quick little update to let you know that A) I'm still here, and 2) I've been super busy. But I mainly wanted to let y'all know that I'm still here.

This blog has seen me through SO much of my life, from college to writing my second novel (Oh, yeah, I partook in NaNoWriMo again...and won!) And I intend to keep this blog around, so don't you worry...plenty more adventures are coming. :)

Happy 2019! See you soon! And stay awesome.