April Fools: a Socially Awkward comic by Danaye . Shiplett

April Fools!

Personally, I’m not a fan of April Fools Day. But that may be because I’m usually the fool in these situations. (Gullible – that’s me.) However, I know that so many of you LOVE playing pranks on unsuspecting victims like me, so I thought I’d draw this little comic in commemoration.

I mean, let’s face it. I’d never get away with this in real life… 🙂

Interruptions when I try to work or create things – a Socially Awkward Comic

Interruptions when I try to work or create things – a Socially Awkward Comic

Interruptions at every turn…

Even without young kids running around at my feet, I certainly have my hands full in this household! Case in point: each and every time I sit down at my desk, or curl up on the couch with sketchbook in hand, the interruptions abound. Veruca wants fed, or needs water, or wants out on the porch, or wants cuddles. Bama wants to play, or eat, or go outside, or watch me watch her play on the floor, or do nothing at all as long as she has my undivided attention. Steve turns into a massive, attention-hungry man-child.

I no sooner put a pencil to paper when the interruptions start.

So, I apologize in advance if sometimes I am frazzled, or I post something at midnight, or forget to post at all. At least now you have a little visual of the reasons why. 😉


Work Week: a Socially Awkward web comic

Work Week: a Socially Awkward web comic

Every work week is the same…

Monday starts off with a desperate need for coffee and a dark corner away from people. Tuesday is better (not much), but the weekend still feels like a far distant dream. By Wednesday, our work week runs at full source and we start to turn a little stir crazy. Then, Thursday comes and we long for alcohol because – good lord – nothing else will work at this point. Finally, Fridays sweep in like a guardian angel, here to save us from the monotony. We put in our appearance at work, then race off to enjoy the weekend.

So the cycle continues….

Autoimmune Disease Illustrated Guide (a Socially Awkward Comic)

Autoimmune Disease Illustrated Guide (a Socially Awkward Comic)


Click on the panels to the right to begin reading:

Autoimmune disease illustrated guide: a visual way to explain a hidden ailment…

It seems like anyone who, like me, struggles with an (or multiple) autoimmune disorder(s) knows they royally suck. Furthermore, trying to explain it to someone who doesn’t have an autoimmune disorder exactly what happens to our bodies can be downright mind-boggling, both to the person who we are trying to explain and for ourselves. Because, let’s face it – trying to come up with the words that describe our horrible daily struggles is akin to a trip to the dentist. (No? Just me?) Therefore, I decided to come up with an autoimmune disease illustrated guide (a.k.a. a web comic -that’s how I roll) as an easy, visually pleasing way to describe just what autoimmune disease is and how it works!

A quick breakdown…

  • Phase I: During phase 1, the body seems like it has a normal, healthy immune system. This is because the immune system does it’s job and finds bad bacteria, then removes the threat.
  • Phase II: While in phase 2 (the early stages of autoimmune disease), the immune system starts attacking good bacteria as well as bad.
  • Phase IIIFinally, in full-blown autoimmune disease, the immune system is so hyper-sensitive that it often begins to attack itself.

(I know there are autoimmune disorders out there that, in addition to overacting, under-perform to the point that it cannot fight off diseases. Yet, I do not have that problem so I drew based off of what I know. However, I will probably create the opposite as a guide sometime soon.)

In conclusion, I hope that this comic helps to educate folks and – most of all – gets a good chuckle. 🙂

Public Drinking Comic (or why I DON’T drink in public): a Socially Awkward web comic

Public Drinking Comic (or why I DON’T drink in public): a Socially Awkward web comic

The following public drinking comic is NOT a PSA.

I promise. Just the reasons why I don’t do public drinking. 🙂

public drinking comic a Socially Awkward comic

I’m a lousy drunk.

That’s about what this public drinking comic amounts to. I either have a nasty allergic reaction (which is extremely unpleasant let me tell you…) or I get clingy after a drink or two then want nothing more than to sleep.

Although, drinking at home is another story. Slip into some fuzzy pajamas, pour a glass of wine I KNOW won’t break me out, and I’m happy as can be! Who cares if I fall asleep? I’m in PJs!

Newsies musical comic tribute (a Socially Awkward comic)

Newsies musical comic tribute (a Socially Awkward comic)

My little Newsies musical comic tribute:

Newsies musical comic tribute


After seeing Newsies: the Broadway musical this past week, I just had to make a Newsies musical comic tribute.

Like, there wasn’t even a choice.

You see, I have been a Newsies musical fan for – well, for as long as I can remember. I saw the original Newsies movie for the first time years and years ago. Several of my friends and I created our own little Newsies group. We had Newsies names (mine was Santa Faye – Faye for short – because I had the biggest crush on Jack Kelly. He was totally mine.)


Anyway, I created my very first website – a Newsies fan site complete with fan fiction, poems, song lyrics, drawings… you name it. My closest friend (still to this day!) was none other than Skweeker McCain, who was infamous in the Newsies web world. (Seriously – if you don’t know who that is, well, you’re either just too young or NOT a total fanatic like we were are).

Coincidentally, I moved to an area where another Newsies fanatic (and good friend of Skweeker) lived.

Fast forward to this week and the chance to see Newsies: the Broadway musical. I sadly did not get to see it on Broadway (something that haunts me, let me tell you). The tour came close to our town, but I was unable to go to that, either. So when my friend Haley mentioned that they were doing a limited run of the musical at select theaters, and one in our town (Hallelujah!) I knew that this was my chance!

And let me tell you… it did not disappoint. Not only was I overwhelmed and overjoyed at every turn, I also got to witness a new generation of Newsies fans in the making. Seriously. These girls were absolutely adorable! The cast of the Broadway musical, dare I say, were even more endearing than the original cast! It won me over in a whole new way.

♥ Newsies as much as me? Check out the FIRST web site I ever created – a Newsies tribute site called “Newsies World.” Yes, it still exists! Trust me. It’s rather entertaining…. 🙂

Lady Liberty Coloring Page: “These Arms are Wide Enough”

Lady Liberty Coloring Page: “These Arms are Wide Enough”

Lady Liberty Coloring Page“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…”

For those who expressed interest, here is a FREE coloring page download of the Lady Liberty Coloring Page based off the drawing that I’ve titled “These Arms are Wide Enough.”

This illustration was hand drawn and optimized in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. The coloring page depicts the Statue of Liberty holding refugee children in her lap, with the words “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

*** I would love to see your finished art. Feel free to post them on my Facebook page, or tag me via Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr. I can’t wait to see and share what you create! ***


Happy (Belated) Holidays!

Happy (Belated) Holidays!

 Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa!


Happy New Year!

Well, this is the first Monday back from the holidays (boooooo!). I hope that everyone had a nice break! Mine was not nearly long enough – but that’s the sad truth of a developer who has very little vacation time.

Anyway, did you miss me?! (Sorry. I may have watched Sherlock this weekend. Ehem.)

For those of you who may not have received it via my social media accounts, here’s my Merry Christmas illustration:

I also did a little one for New Year’s Eve – because, frankly, the only way to celebrate the END OF 2016 was to drink lots of alcohol fizzy drinks!

Now, it being a new year and all, how about some resolutions? January comes every year, and every year I like to think of it as a mini reset button on my life. Not to say that the year before never happened — but it’s a chance for me to stop and think about things I’d like to change and better myself. Many people hate new year’s resolutions, and I totally get it. But, I always like to think of things I could improve on from the previous year. Here are my top five:

  1. Be more present.
  2. Stress less.
  3. Exercise and meditate daily!
  4. Focus on the little things.
  5. Show gratitude.

Not too bad, eh? Definitely things worth striving for, in my opinion.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited to see what 2017 has in store. Be on the look out this week for some news — both here and on my social media (if you don’t follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook, the links are to the left!).

Lots of love to you all!

♥ D.

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Truffles

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Truffles

I don’t usually do recipes on here. But hey, it’s just another type of creative outlet, right? Plus, this one is just too tasty not to share! 

Thanksgiving desserts seem to be split into two very distinct camps:

1. Pumpkin pie

2. Pecan pie

Or, if you’re like me, there’s totally a third option:


I like pie. Pie is yummy. And pecan pie can only be made better by adding CHOCOLATE and BOOZE! Last year, I found such a recipe on Pinterest (ahh, lovely Pinterest) and decided to make it for Thanksgiving: Mini Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pies via Freutcake.

They. Were. Delicious.


The gluten free pie shell I used felt too heavy for the recipe (I avoid gluten like the plague. Autoimmune disorders for the win!!!) However, the filling was absolute perfection, so I tried to think of another way I could make these that would A) NOT cause me all kinds of issues and B) still be very tasty.

Thus, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Truffles were born! Let’s just say that my dear father couldn’t stop sneaking a truffle (or three!) here and there all through Thanksgiving until they were gone. 🙂

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Truffles

  • Time: Approx. 2 1/2 hours (total)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2+ tablespoons Bourbon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans, chopped small
  • 1-2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips (can sub out dark or white chocolate, as well)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, salt, bourbon and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.
  3. Pour filling into a lightly greased 8 x 8 baking pan.
  4. Bake on center rack of oven for 40-45 minutes. Filling is done when center surface springs back when lightly tapped. Allow filling to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Drop filling in spoonfuls onto a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (I use one of those small cookie scoops – it helps to get it in a truffle-like shape).
  6. Once all the filling has been transferred, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for approximately 1 hour.
  7. Once the truffles are ready, melt the bag of chocolate chips.
  8. Dip each truffle into the melted chocolate. Cover completely.
  9. Transfer the truffles back to the cookie sheet lined with parchment.
  10. Allow the truffles to harden. (You can speed up the process by placing them in the refrigerator or freezer.)

(View the original recipe here.)

I hope you enjoy them – and definitely let me know what you think!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week, I will be disconnecting from the inter-webs to spend time with my wonderful family. (Well, as much as I possibly can. I mean, let’s be honest.) Before I go, I just wanted to share this very important Thanksgiving message!

Thanks to each and every one of you. Your words of praise and encouragement mean the world to me. Your sincere interest in my work is what keeps me creating. 

So, whether you celebrate the holiday or not. Whether you are from right here in America or far across the ocean – Happy Thanksgiving! Because the holiday, to me, is about giving thanks – and YOU are the thing I am most grateful for. 



My favorite things about autumn (& fun things to do when the weather starts to turn)

My favorite things about autumn (& fun things to do when the weather starts to turn)

I miss autumn on the east coast.

autumn east coast fall change forest path dirt road leaves

That crisp air and the crinkling of leaves underfoot. Red, amber, orange, and gold that explodes in a kaleidoscope of color everywhere I turn. The biting scent of burning firewood from chimneys and outdoor fire pits. Scarves and warm fabrics; heavy boots and sweaters. Pumpkin everything.

Back in my hometown, you are completely immersed in the fall season. The leaves pile high enough to jump into. Once the weather turns cold, it sticks to you and lingers. Cold turns colder. Frost covers every surface . Every waking moment, you are reminded of the season. Halloween seems a tangible, real thing. Pumpkins and pumpkin spice are the norm.

Okay, so living down south still has a lot of those things. Certainly the pumpkin. But, it’s hard to enjoy fall when the mornings are frigid but, by midday, the temperature has shot up 40 or 50 degrees and the afternoons turn sweltering hot. (Mother Nature has a serious case of menopause down here.)

Alabama autumns just aren’t the same.

fall leaves turning colors white picket fence forest

In Alabama, the trees hold onto their leaves until the last possible second. There are brief flashes of color interspersed within the green, until one day late in the season – the leaves fall in great bunches, leaving the branches bare for winter. No kaleidoscope. Just a spark that extinguishes when winter rolls in.

Halloween makes less sense to me in that warm Alabama weather. Pumpkins and pumpkin spice seems a bit forced.Although I am jealous of the kids in this area. (Insert old granny voice) When I was that age, we fought tooth and nail every year NOT to have to wear a winter coat over our costumes. Here, it’s so nice out that they usually don’t need any jacket at all. Many times I remember my friends and I (unsuccessfully) trying to squeeze out coats underneath the costume. Marshmallow ballerinas, puffy superheroes, policemen that looked like that had one too many donuts… it was truly a sight to behold.

But, north or south, east or west, autumn is still my favorite time of year. If you’re like me, autumn is the perfect time to reflect. It is a time of creative renewal. I get my second wind, and the ideas start rolling in.

Here are some fun things to do to keep you in a creative, artistic mindset (and maybe a jumping off point for some great new projects!):

Now that you are in the right mindset, take this time to think about your favorite fall things. Maybe jot them down, describe them in detail. Try out one of the ideas above. Snap photos. Journal. Mind map some new ideas.

While you are delving into all these creative outlets – what are your favorite things about autumn? And, what sort of things do you like to create during this season? Post them in the comments below!

Some days, I just need a hug

Some days, I just need a hug

Some days, I just need a hug.

We all know those days.

Nothing goes right, your hair frizzes, the cat pukes on the carpet (and you step in it), you hit your funny bone climbing out of the car, you spend five minutes searching for your phone when it’s in your hand the entire time… (Yes. All of that has really happened to me.)

By the end of it all, I drag my weary body and soul through that door, slip into my comfiest pajamas, and wander aimlessly around the kitchen in search of chocolate. I then turn to my husband and pout. “I want a hug,” I say, trying to look as pathetic as humanly possible.


Here’s the problem: Steve does not do comfort. He does humor. His new favorite thing to do is to hold me at arm’s length and do that thing Baymax does in Big Hero 6. He turns all cloying and sugary sweet and, in an overly dramatic gesture, pats me gently on the head.


Steve likes to do this little thing where he pats my head and says, "There. There." like Disney's Baymax

Yes, it’s funny. Yes, I freaking love Baymax and it’s adorable when he does it. No, I do not want my husband doing it when I’m seeking comfort and solace. I want a hug and I want it NAOW!

So, I usually take matters into my own hands.

When provoked, I can be quite an aggressive hugger.

Hey, I’m not above taking what I want. 😉


Girls’ Globe — Discover

Girls’ Globe — Discover

The Girls’ Globe website is the central hub of an international network of bloggers and activists who fight gender inequality and promote women’s and girls’ rights around the world.

via Girls’ Globe — Discover

I think this is a wonderful idea, and I thoroughly applaud those who helped bring something like this together. Definitely go check it out!

November: little things I am thankful for

November: little things I am thankful for

You see them pop up all over social media in November. 30 days of thanksgiving. Pick something each day that you are thankful for and share it. Post a picture to further illustrate.

I’ve done it before. I bet you’ve done it before, too (c’mon, it’s okay, you can admit it). But, it has always kind of irked me that it’s always the same old thing. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my friends. I’m thankful to be alive. I’m thankful for good food. I’m thankful to have a steady job.

Yeah, those are all perfect things to be grateful for. But, I kind of consider them gimmes. Of COURSE you are thankful for your family and friends. You SHOULD be thankful for your family and friends. We all pretty much expect you to be thankful for your family and friends. There are always exceptions to this, of course, but I’m just speaking in generalities.

What about those things that we often take for granted? The little things that make you stop and really take in the moment? Why do we never mention those obscure things that people hear and just look at you like, “Really?” Yes, really! Little things matter. They are vital.

“Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but all together perfume the air.” Georges Bernanos

This month, and for every day beyond, I am going to think of something small and seemingly insignificant, and I am going to say thanks. To start, here are 30 little things that I am thankful for:

1. The smell of burning firewood mingling with a crisp autumn breeze.

2. My cat’s purr when she snuggles onto my lap.

3. How good my husband smells.

4. Midday naps.

5. The look of pure elation on my dog’s face when I take her outside to play fetch.

6. The smell of paints and turpentine (takes me back to studying art in college)

7. That even though we live states away, I still feel so close to my family.

8. Coffee.

9. Doggy kisses.

10. When a song I love comes on the radio.

11. That moment right after the house gets cleaned. (I hate cleaning, but feel so wonderful when it’s done!)

12. Early morning walks.

13. Mornings at the office where I can get some work done before things get crazy.

14. Creating an illustration and being truly satisfied with how it turned out.

15. How no matter how much time has passed between conversations, my friends and I can always pick up where we left off.

16. The relief I feel every time I wake up and realize it’s Saturday.17. Hugs from my mom and dad.

18. Cuddling in bed with my husband and the fur babies.

19. The little dance my dog does when she gets a bone out of the pantry. (Seriously. I need to record it.)

20. Comfy pajamas.

21. How nice it feels to slip under the covers when I’m exhausted after a full day.

22. Listening to classical music to unwind.

23. That first taste of a piece of good quality chocolate.

24. A good joke.

25. The goofy smile my husband gets when he’s super excited about something.

26. The sound of the ocean.

27. Watching the sun rise on a crisp morning, sipping coffee.

28. The smell of books.

29.  Books in general. (A great means of escape when I need it.)

30. My followers – because you keep me wanting to create. ♥

Now that I’ve got my start – what sorts of little things are you thankful for?

An Elsie-shaped Piece of My Heart

An Elsie-shaped Piece of My Heart


I know just what you would say.

“Why are you crying? Stop it. This is what I want, remember?” And you would give this little eye roll, maybe an exasperated sigh. But, it is one thing to say – don’t cry – and another thing entirely to keep it from happening.

Our heads and our hearts live in two completely different worlds.

My head knows that you are happy now, when you had not been truly happy for a long time. You are with Bill, your husband, whom you have missed terribly – despite all of your half-hearted grumbles and complaints about him before he died. We all knew how much he meant to you.

My head knows the worst part, though, was losing your independence, and you always were so independent. So full of life with a sharp wit. You spent time with Jehovah’s Witnesses every chance you got just to have a lively debate about God, faith, and heaven. You loved nothing more than a good friendly argument.

And your garden… my head knows how much gardening meant to you. You surrounded your little house with a paradise of beautiful plants and flowers. How you tended to them, always as lovingly as if they were your children.

I can remember countless days coming upon you, kneeling on one of those little cushions, elbow deep in the brush while you weeded and trimmed. A large hat often covered your head to shade you from the sun. But, even so entranced as you were, when Mom and I arrived, you always greeted us with a hug and an offer of something to drink. Bill would be sitting inside, and we would spend a little time sitting with him. But, inevitably we would end up on the back porch on that little swing, looking out at the landscape you were so proud of.

My head knows that after the stroke, you fought. When you lost Bill, you fought. But, when you started losing your sight, when you moved into that nursing home, you lost those integral parts of yourself, those things that made you so uniquely you. When that happened, you gave up, and you were never quite the same Elsie.

My head is happy for you, that you are finally at peace. My head knows you have had a long and full life, that you were more than ready to go home. There is even a sense of relief, because I know you had grown sad and listless these past few months, eating less and less. You were not happy, and, more than anything, I always want you to be happy.

But, my heart… my heart only knows the sudden loss of a close family friend. My mother’s best friend. Someone I loved as a grandmother. Someone I took for granted would always be there.

My heart knows the guilt of a hundred tomorrows. Tomorrow, I will call. Tomorrow, I will talk to you. Tomorrow, I will send you a note, a card, a letter. Tomorrow, I will get to visit home and I’ll definitely stop to see you. You are going through a lot and I should wait until things calm down. Wait until tomorrow, when you settle more into your new life.

Only, you never really did, and tomorrow never really came.

My heart sees only sadness, and loss, and the realization that you are gone. I can only hope that you knew how you were always more than just my mother’s friend. You were family. My family. I’ve lost the chance to say that out loud (and I’ve always been much better at writing things down). But, mostly, I’ve lost the chance to say goodbye.

My heart will always remember the woman with the caustic tongue and the warm hugs. The home away from home where I spent so much time growing up. The bright-floral couch I spent many hours on, curled up, sharing stories and just talking. The back porch and that squeaky, cushioned swing. The plastic goose near your front door that you faithfully dressed up in quaint little costumes for every different holiday and season.

I really loved that silly old goose.

I really loved you.

I hope you knew that, even at the end. Even when I was busy living my own life, several states away. You were never far from my thoughts. You have always owned a special piece of my heart. That piece you have taken with you to heaven, and there now resides a little Elsie-shaped hole.

And so, tonight, my heart cries.

For you, though, I promise to be happy tomorrow.