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That Weird Girl Life

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Experiencing Screamfest LA 2019 (Horror Movie Festival)


If there’s one thing (of the very random things that make up my life and person) you should know about me is that I love horror movies. Love, love, love them! The spookier, the better! And out of all the genres (and sub-genres) there are horror, my favorite tend to be the paranormal/supernatural. Does it have ghosts in it? I’m watching it! Does it have demons or someone that is possessed by a demon in it? Then I’m watching that one too! I do love a good psychological horror movie as well, but the paranormal/supernatural genre is where it’s at for me. So it was such good timing and luck that some friends of my family in Los Angeles, California invited me to go to a horror film festival with them last week!

Screamfest is an annual film festival that celebrates horror in all of its many genres, with short films and feature films that come from filmmakers from all over the world. It’s a great way for directors, writers, actors, musicians, cinematographers, student filmmakers, and more to enter their films and showcase all of their hard work and passion for the horror genre. The movie Paranormal Activity (I’m sure you may have heard of it and all of the sequels/prequels it has spawned over the years!) premiered there and movies like Trick ‘r Treat were awarded prizes (on closing night they have a party and hand out awards). Basically, it’s great for both filmmakers AND horror lovers and the perfect way to celebrate both film and Halloween. The festival this year ran from October 8th to the 17th and is celebrating its 19th anniversary! Which makes me wonder what the 20th anniversary holds in store for the festival next year!

I had been looking forward to this for months and my friends were super excited to take me. They love horror too and, living in the LA area, they go to Screamfest every year. Since it was my first time going, my friends decided to give me the whole Screamfest experience, which means two blocks of short films and then ending with a feature film at the end of the night (there are actually two feature films showing each night, but they usually only see one and I was fine with that. It sounded like it was going to be a long- but fun- day anyway!). My friends picked me up on Saturday, October 12th and we left for Hollywood at around 12 pm (because you know it takes at least an hour in LA traffic to get anywhere! And if you didn’t, now you know! Los Angeles is HUGE).

We got to the famous TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood (formerly known as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, back in the day. Fun fact: as an LA native, my mom used to go there to see movies back in the 50's and 60's) and attached to it and the surrounding area, is almost like a huge, multi-storied mall, filled with stores and restaurants (very touristy, but fun!). The first block of short films didn’t start until 2 pm, so we wandered around the mall, checking out the fun (and expensive!) shops, as they pointed out the El Capitan theater across the street, where they film Jimmy Kimmel Live. As we people-watched the tourists walking and posing with the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, then posing with the people who dressed up as famous characters like Batman and Minnie Mouse to take pictures with, the clock made its way toward two and we headed back to the theater.

Screamfest is run by volunteers, and they were giving out booklets in the front about the featured films, little postcard sized ads for the short and feature films, and were working hard by giving out general information about the festival. (If I lived in the area, it might be fun to volunteer with them! Especially if I could sit in on all of the films!) Behind them was a fun black carpet where the filmmakers and actors could pose for the cameras before the showings. They also had some fun zombie props to pose with, which my friend and I did. I wish I had the picture! (Hopefully they’ll send it to me at some point) I’m sure me standing next to a decrepit zombie lady made me look even better in comparison. It was really fun to wait in the lobby and see lots of people dressed up, knowing that they were either the filmmakers or the actors, and this was their big, proud moment. Plus, you could tell they brought their family and friends, too, to share in the joy of their finished work!

That Weird Girl Life
We got in our seats before two and enjoyed the first block of films! Each film could be as short as 3 minutes or as long as almost 30 minutes. I’ll try to list all the ones we saw in the first block with the descriptions listed in the official booklet (I’m sorry if they’re out of order, I’m doing this from memory! The arrangement, not the descriptions. That would be quite impressive of me!):

The Original- “Alana’s partner, Gwendolyn, is in the final stages of locked-in syndrome. They are offered a chance to regain the life they thought they had lost through a procedure that will transfer Gwendolyn’s consciousness into a healthy clone. Although the procedure initially appears to be a success, something has gone terribly wrong.”

Bad Hair- “Insecure and balding Leo has closed himself in his apartment to try hair growth liquid for fixing up his looks. The liquid causes a series of grotesque metamorphoses with his skin and hair and as Leo tries to get his bodily changes under control the evening quickly turns into chaos.”

Dead Packet- “On the eve of his record breaking 444th on-screen death, veteran Hong Kong actor Richard, forsakes a long lasting Chinese superstition- challenging the Chinese demon, Sui, to come and devour his soul.”

The Desolation Prize- “With only the ghost of the man he killed years before to keep him company, Jake lives an isolated life. He rarely goes outside, and his groceries are delivered to him. Fearful that this unwanted spirit will continue to humiliate and terrorize him in public, he has structured his life around a lonely and bleak existence.”

Murder Ballad- As an abused wife tends to the post-robbery wounds of her criminal ex-husband, they are visited by a mysterious- and malevolent- preacher.”

The Listening- “A group of friends on their way to a remote lake house come across a stranger with some important information.”

The first set of short films, as well made as they were, honestly weren’t my favorite. Since my favorite genres of horror are supernatural, which none of these were, none of them really spoke to me. I did really like The Listening, since it was a straight up horror comedy, mocking the slasher genre is such a fun way. As for Bad Hair, I am not a body horror fan at all, and while well done, I made the mistake of snacking right before it came on, and my stomach started churning as the gory special effects started getting more extreme and nauseating (but the film was a big hit with the audience!).

After the first block, a Screamfest volunteer invited the filmmakers of the shorts to come up and introduce themselves and explain a little bit about their films. It was so interesting to hear how they came about with the ideas for the shorts and even where they were from! It’s amazing that filmmakers from all over the world had their short films premiere for the first time here at Screamfest. You could definitely hear the pride from the crew, actors, and families in the applause after the films ended (and sometimes right as they started!). Though most of the short films in the first block weren’t my style, they were all excellent and so original and everyone in each and every one of them should be extremely proud!

Afterwards, we had some time before the next block started at 4 pm, so we got a snack at concessions (nachos!), used the bathroom, and then headed back to the theater for the second block of short films:

Amandine- “Amandine is a kind, extroverted Postdoc student who is living temporarily at a student residence. Oscar is the doctor who works at the infirmary. As the rest of the students leave the residence for the holidays, Amandine is forced to stay on a few more days to finish her Postdoc. Her relationship with Oscar intensifies. When the day arrives for Amandine to leave, Oscar finds an unusual way for Amandine to stay with him, perhaps forever.”

The Crying Boy- “Andrea visits deceased painter Arganti’s house to investigate his cursed paintings of the crying kids, among them The Crying Boy.”

#chadgetstheaxe- “Join top ten vlogger, Chad Ryan, as he live streams his visit to the William Burrows murder cabin!”

Honour Thy Mother- “Liz is homeless, living life adrift. In a moment of despair and loneliness, she returns home after many years to her God-fearing mother and discovers time has changed more than she ever could have imagined.”

Shelly- “Shelly is the story of a Halloween party gone very, very wrong…”

A Mother’s Love- “A woman forgets who her daughter is, but things aren’t as they seem.”

Sunnyvale- “Sunnyvale, a ‘happy healing home’ uses cutting edge technology to free its patient’s minds...But happy comes with a cost.”

Now the short film block #2 was more of my style! While all of the films in second block were great, one of my favorites was definitely, Amandine, a Spanish short, which was a great way to start out the second part of the night. It was more a psychological thriller and was just so well done. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole time! #chadgetstheaxe was a perfect horror comedy and a hilarious commentary on influencers in the world of YouTube and streamers right now. It had the audience, myself included, literally howling with laughter, but still had that great horror edge to it. Shelly was a cute, fun teen short about a ghost girl who just wants to attend a Halloween party, with devastating results for the other partying teens.

But my absolute favorite of the night, by far, was The Crying Boy. It was a supernatural short, and while quick, it had the best scare of the night that left the whole audience jumping and then clapping. It was so well received that I swear it got the best audience reaction of the night (or, at least, in my opinion it did!). During the second block Q&A (which included a director from China who was in the US for the first time ever!), the directors of The Crying Boy, three Italian men, said that they are hoping to turn The Crying Boy into a full length feature film! That got a big round of applause from me! (I’m now following them on Instagram to get more updates on it!)


After the second block of short films, we had time to kill (hardy har har) before the last feature of the night, the full length film, which started at 8 pm. We had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, where we ate outside and had a great view of the Hollywood sign, and then browsed at the Sanrio store (who doesn’t love Hello Kitty??) and then at a very expensive sweet shop that have a ton of different themed rooms and candies of all types (they had European candy! I got to get my Kinder Happy Hippos for way too much! But did I regret it? Only slightly because they were so delicious and cute!)

And now, it was time for our main (and last event). The 8 pm full length feature film! Here’s the premise:

Swing Low: “When a nature photographer explains to the police how she fought her way out of the Watchatoomy Valley, they dismiss her crazed and violent story as a meth-induced nightmare. But when they discover that she’s telling the truth, it’s too late.”


Wow, you guys. This movie. Was. DISTURBING. So, so disturbing. It was a rollercoaster ride of a psychological/revenge thriller and by the time it was halfway through, I was hugging my knees I was so terrified. A nature photographer named Harper sees something horrific done by some locals, takes some photos as evidence, and brings it to the police. From there, she learns that she can trust no one, and must escape from some truly horrifying men, survival being her main goal. This film was brutal to watch, but it was so well made and left me truly aghast at the end. I was almost shaken up it was so intense and horrifying. It’s definitely one of the more disturbing movies I’ve ever watched (and that’s saying something) and it really does have that Deliverance vibe to it (if you’ve seen that movie, you know what I mean). Wow. While this movie was incredibly good and so well done, I would only recommend watching it if you kind of know what you’re getting in for. Because I didn’t and it was intense, to say the least. Right after it ended, I wanted to turn to my friends and ask “what did we just watch???

Thankfully, there was a Q&A with the director/writer, cinematographer, and fellow actors, who got up from the audience to answer questions (including how they got Bruce Dern to be the in movie- who was great, by the way) and, for me, bring some much needed levity after the credits rolled. It was fascinating to me to hear from the director/writer and see how the film was made, where they filmed it (his place in Virginia!), where the story came from (one of the most disturbing parts was based on a news report he heard on NPR, of all things), and what it was like to work with Bruce Dern. It was a crazy way to end the night, and it gave my friends and myself a lot to talk about.

After we left the theater, our night of horror was officially over, but for the people who were there for the 10 pm feature, it was just getting started. A movie called The Wave, starring Justin Long, was playing after Swing Low, and the lobby was crowded! It must have been a popular one, but we were tired after a long day, so were headed out to the parking garage to start the long trek back.

Screamfest wasn’t what I expected (I actually wasn’t sure what I was expecting!) but it was a whole lot of horror fun and I’m so glad I got to go! It would have been fun to go another day as well, that way you could pick out of the schedule what movie you wanted to see that night (not that Swing Low wasn’t good, I just might have picked a feature length that was more supernatural based). It was really neat to be able to see the cast and crew sitting in the audience with you, but only realizing it after you saw the short or film! I got a little bit shy once I noticed I was sitting near some of the actors that afterwards I avoided them, instead of saying “good job!” (I get a little starstruck around celebs. Apparently when I was little and at Disneyland, I was terrified of Mickey Mouse when I finally saw him in person. I think it got a bit too real for me and that’s how I felt with the actors in the theater!) If I go again hopefully next time I’ll have the courage to say hi and congratulations!

If you’re at all interested in horror and are in the LA area when Screamfest happens in October, I highly recommend you check it out! It’s a great way to discover new horror and support the filmmakers who love the genre as much as you do! Check out their website at Screamfest LA and also, they have a YouTube channel where you can watch some horror shorts that have been featured there in the past. But be careful- you might fall down a horror filled rabbit hole like I did before I went! (Fun though it was, it just sucked up my evening and made it hard to sleep that night!)

And that was my very first experience at Screamfest! Would I go back again? Definitely! I’m crossing my fingers for next year! If I lived in the area I’d love to volunteer, but I think it would be so much fun to be part of a cast and crew that helped make the film and then finally see it on the big screen. You definitely felt proud for being there and supporting filmmakers who love horror just as much as you. Plus, I kind of really wanted to get dressed up and walk that black carpet after seeing some of the filmmakers and actors do that too! All in all, it was a spooky fun time and a great way to celebrate all things horror!

What did you think of my experience at Screamfest? Are you a horror fan too? Would you dare to go and see lots of different types of horror shorts and films? And which short films sounded the most fun to you out of all of them? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay Weird,
Emily

PS. Also, I NEED The Crying Boy to be online as soon as possible because I loved it so much and I just want to show everyone how brilliant it was! If I find it online, I’m definitely going to be posting it on social media, so look out for that!


Underrated Horror Movies to Watch This Halloween! (Part 3)


It’s that time of year again! It’s October, which means HALLOWEEN is in the air! And you know what comes with Halloween besides pumpkin everything and delicious mini versions of your favorite candies? Horror movies! In my opinion, horror movies are a year round thing, but there’s something extra spooky about watching them around Halloween time. This year, I’ve written part three(!) of some more of my favorite underrated horror movies (thirteen in all, of course, because that is the spookiest and unluckiest number!). These are some of my favorite and, just a warning, most of them have to do with the supernatural since that’s kind of my spooky jam. So get in the spirit (get it? I know, I’m sorry) and get watching! You only have a month to watch them all!

For When Going a Hiking Trip with Your Buddies in Another Country Just Isn’t Exciting Enough For You So Let’s Throw In Something Scary To Stalk You All:

Netflix
I’m going to be honest: this is based on a book which I did not like. At all. So when I saw that Netflix was making The Ritual into a movie, my expectations were suuuuuper low. But when I saw the movie, I was so glad that they changed a lot of the book and actually made a scary ass movie out of a not so great book (in my opinion, please don’t come for me book fans!). I was actually very impressed by the quality and the story, and it actually scared me! Me, horror movie extraordinaire*!  If you haven’t seen this movie, please do, it is entirely worth it! (Plus, Thomas from Downton Abbey is in it!)

*Not my official title.

For When You Want to Watch Something Both Spooky and Stylish (And If You Want to See Tom Hiddleston’s Butt):

Universal Pictures
Guillermo del Toro is a huge horror fan, so it makes perfect sense that he would direct his own Gothic tale Crimson Peak with his fantasy laced style woven throughout. The plot may not be the most complicated and twisted (I was actually hoping for more of an original twist and backstory, but oh well), but it makes up for that with a horrific sense of dread, fantastic sets, costumes, and creepy ghostly prosthetics, and some great, creepy acting, courtesy of Jessica Chastain (how has she not won an Oscar yet??). Plus, the classic Gothic style of the entire movie has been turned up to eleven, so it really is a horror lover movies dream (and most likely Guillermo’s too!).

For When You Thought Having a Twin Might Be Fun But You Learn the Hard Way That Having Someone Who Looks Exactly Like You Isn’t As Cool If They Want to Murder You:

Universal Pictures
You guys. This MOVIE. After seeing Get Out, I knew Jordan Peele was onto something with his horror movies. Get Out was so different and original than anything I had seen before and Us is no exception. The symbolism and story is just as thought-provoking as Get Out, but the story is completely different and all together more horror-like. I promise you will not have seen anything like this before and if you see that twist coming, then you must be psychic, because I swear, none of us did. And if you did, I'm a little scared of you, honestly.

For When You Watch Something That Will Remind You to Never, Ever, Ever Use An Oujia Board (EVER):


Film Factory Entertainment
You may have heard of Veronica, this Spanish movie because of the hype that surrounded it after Netflix released it, with people calling it the scariest movie they’ve ever seen. Was it the scariest movie I’ve ever seen? No. But was it a good horror movie with an excellent slow burn that ended in some great and scary final scenes? Heck yes! Plus, it was based on a real life police case that they officially ruled was caused by “supernatural” causes. Seriously.

For When You Want to Watch a Ghost Story That Is Classically Gothic But Also Has Harry freakin' Potter In It:

CBS Films
Who doesn’t love a classic Gothic ghost story? You don’t need blood and guts when you have a super scary backstory, an empty abandoned mansion, and a dead woman bent on revenge aka murdering your children in The Woman In Black (based on the novel by Susan Hill, which I have not read yet, but it is on my to be read list!). And here I thought all British towns were quaint and cute. Apparently not! (Also, this is a great reminder that Daniel Radcliffe has great acting chops and can star in almost any genre!)

For When You Don’t Think That You Are Terrified Of Small Spaces But After Watching This Will Now Have a Severe Fear of Exploring Caves (Among Another Things):


Lions Gate Films
You will never step into a cave on a girls spelunking trip* after seeing this movie. I can promise you that. Also, claustrophobic people beware: this will scare the sh*t out of you. So maybe don’t watch if you don’t want to be traumatized forever.

*There goes my future bachelorette party!

For When Moving Into a Haunted House Isn’t Creepy Enough- Try Moving Into an Old House with a Morgue in the Basement Instead:

Lionsgate
This is one that I feel is very underrated, very scary, and very unknown as far as horror movies go. It’s based on a true story (dun dun DUNNNN) which always make it a hundred times more terrifying. You’ll never want to move into an old house after seeing this. No matter how good the price and location is. (I think I might be the only exception to this rule. You know how in some parts of the world you don’t have to disclose if someone died on the property? I’d be asking the realtor to tell me because that would be a selling point if the house was haunted! But with nice ghosts, no malevolent spirits or demons or anything like that! Just making myself clear.)

For When You Want to Watch A Scary Halloween Based Anthology Movie That Is Both Fun and Frightening:

Warner Bros.
Trick 'r Treat is a cult classic for a reason: not only does it not get the recognition it truly deserves, it has a massive fan following that loves it to bits. Me included! If you’ve never seen the movie and are a horror movie fan in general, you need to watch this movie! It seamlessly weaves various story-lines together, slightly overlapping them, and all of the various plots occurring on Halloween night. But most of all, it’s whole bunch of Halloween fun. And you’ll end up loving/being scared of Sam. You’ll know who I mean when you watch the movie! He is literally a horror icon now.

For When You’re Home Alone and Nice and Relaxed But You Hear Something Coming From the Other Room, But You Swear All the Doors and Windows Are Locked (But Did You?):

Universal Pictures
This is another one based on a true story, though even if it wasn’t, any kind of home invasion movie is still terrifying. The entire premise of The Strangers is scary because it’s entirely possible for this to happen to anyone, you included (not that I would wish that on anyone! Well.... no, I'm just kidding!). The movie does an excellent job of building the story (and the scares!) to a horrifying climax (I hate using that word, but you know what context I’m using it in!) that will leave you exhausted and horrified.

For When You Want To Convince Your Friends That Clowns Really Aren’t That Scary- And End Up Scarring Yourself In the Process (Beep Beep, Ritchie):

New Line Cinema
I’m going to say something here that is going to upset a lot of people in the world: I am not a fan of Stephen King’s horror style. I know, I am a monster and don’t deserve to read books. But it’s true! I’ve read The Shining and I’ve read Pet Semetary, and while both are great stories and have good premises, I’m just not a fan of his type of horror. He is a fantastic writer, I will give him that, but his horror doesn’t spook or thrill me. So when the remake of IT, came out, I didn’t go see it in theaters. For obvious reasons. But I decided to give it a try when it came out on video and WHOA. I was not expecting to like it that much! I thought IT: Chapter One was terrifying and so well done that I immediately because a huge fan and had to see IT: Chapter Two as soon as it came out in theaters (loved it, but I thought the first one was better. Just an opinion!) For me, IT: Chapter One was the perfect balance of horror and those summer days of being a kid and hanging with your group of friends. Plus, Bill Skarsgard was perfect as Pennywise. He was so good in that role you almost rooted for a child eating clown? (Just me? Forget I said that.)

For When You Want to Trick Your Friends Into Watching a Horror Movie By Saying You’re Just Going to Throw on Something with Kate Hudson in It:

Universal Pictures
Kate Hudson the rom-com queen (I guess more like princess- Meg Ryan is my rom-com queen!) in a horror movie? Who knew! The Skeleton Key is a great mix of Southern horror, with some (obviously!) voo-doo inspired supernatural elements thrown in to make one original and spooky movie. It’ll creep you and make you think twice before buying a little voo-doo tourist souvenir the next time you’re in New Orleans (I know you want to, but don't do it!).

Honorable Mentions (aka not movies):

For When You Want to Watch a TV Series That Will Scare the Sh*t Out of You But Also Make You Feel All the Feels:

Netflix
Oh goodness, guys. This show was more than I ever expected it would be. Inspired by (and very loosely based on) Shirley Jackson’s classic novel, The Haunting of Hill House, the show goes back and forth in time to tell the story of the Crane family, where they spend a summer fixing up and flipping a very, very, very haunted house. As adults, they must come back together after a tragic event to come to terms and literally deal with what happened in their childhood. The first season is so well done, weaving different timelines, the character’s individual story-lines, and the history of the house all together, along with providing some shocking scares but even more potent emotional scenes and familial relationships. You’ll fall in love with the characters and root for them, despite the very human flaws they show. It’s the deepest character study I’ve seen of human nature and grief in a horror series. Watch it, you won’t be disappointed! And also, episode six, "Two Storms," may be one of the best TV episodes I've ever watched in my life. So, I guess look out for that one!

For When You Want to Be Reminded of Who the REAL Monsters Are: Human Beings:

Netflix
Most of the movies (and shows) on this list deal with the supernatural (or just random bad people who like to break into people's houses), and whether or not you believe in ghosts or demons, I feel like we sometimes forget who we should really be scared of: our fellow man. If you’re fascinated by serial killers, then you’ve come to the right show. Based on real accounts, in Mindhunter the two main FBI agents interview serial killers and learn what makes them kill. It’s a disturbing and interesting way of seeing the inner workings of killers’ minds and hearing in their own words (based on real life interview tapes with real life and very infamous serial killers) why they did the awful crimes they committed. And interwoven throughout the first and second season are short snippets of scenes of a (very famous) serial killer in various points of his life, paralleling the hard work the Bureau agents are doing to help understand and stop people just like him. It’s fascinating, gripping, and just plain old frightening.

And there you have it! Just in time for Halloween, my part 3 of some of my favorite underrated (well, some more than others!) horror movies to celebrate this most spooky time of year! What did you think of my list this year? Let me know in the comments if you've seen any of these movies and if you found them scary or not! (Let's keep it friendly though! I know us horror movie fans are a very opinionated lot!)

Stay Weird,
Emily




The Mega Love for Autumn Tag!


Who else loves autumn/fall? Raise your hand if you do! *raises hand proudly* Autumn (or as we Americans call it, fall. Probably because leaves fall around this time of year and being the people that we are, we put two and two together and were like “aha! Leaves fall and so shall we call this season ‘Fall!’” Then I’m sure a bunch of old white guys proudly clapped themselves on the back and congratulated each other for not conforming to England yet again) is my all time favorite season and that’s probably because of Halloween (suck it, Christmas!). There’s just something about this time of year, where the heat of summer finally wanes, and a certain briskness fills the air, that makes me feel such joy and anticipation. Holidays are coming up (most importantly Halloween, of course), family and friends gather together, and also the end of the year is coming up. There’s so much to look forward to and so much happiness to come, it’s so exciting and fun! (Plus, who doesn’t enjoy the cooler weather and the cute fall fashion??)

And believe it or not, there are other people out there who enjoy autumn/fall as much as I do! (Some probably even more, believe it or not!) Cassie from ZombieGoddessBeauty has made THE ultimate mega Autumn tag and I was lucky enough to be tagged by her to do it! And trust me, if you’re going to do any autumn tag, this is THE one to do. So thank you so much for tagging me, Cassie! I can't think of a better way to celebrate the best season ever. Let’s do this!

🍁🍂

THE QUESTIONS:

1. What signifies the start of Autumn to you?
For me, the start of Autumn usually starts around the end of September for me, even though where I live it does NOT feel like fall yet! You just get that sense that Autumn is around the corner, but starting to celebrate before the end of September gets a few strange looks. But it’s okay for Christmas fans to start decorating right after Thanksgiving! The injustice of it all!

2. What are you most excited about for Fall?
The cooler weather, most definitely! Have I mentioned I live somewhere where it’s hot for most of the year? Because I do. So when it finally cools down, oh it’s so nice! But I can’t wait for Halloween and to decorate for it!

3. Name one place you want to visit this Autumn.
I’d love to visit somewhere where the leaves actually turn gold, red, and orange and enjoy that crisp fall smell.

4. What is one item on your Autumn Bucket List?
I think it would be really fun to visit a pumpkin patch! Mostly because I haven’t done that in years, but also because just seeing a field of pumpkins is just such a lovely fall-esque sight.

5. What is the best way to spend a rainy day?
For me, reading in a cozy spot, wrapped in a blanket, drinking something warm, while listening to the rain. Such a perfect kind of day!

6. What gets you into the fall spirit?
Decorating for Halloween! There is nothing better than getting out your decorations and putting them up, just knowing that Halloween aka spooky season is coming.

7. Describe your ideal fall day.
Ooh. For me it would be dressing up in a cute fall outfit, and probably go on a super cute date at the pumpkin patch (you know, if I had a cute date), and then watch a scary movie when we get home. Or if I don’t have a date, I would just visit the pumpkin patch with my friends and STILL watch a scary movie when we get home. I might add baking those Pillsbury slice and bake Halloween cookies to the day too, because then I wouldn’t have to share any of the cookies with said date.

8. What TV show are you most excited about this fall?
I don’t think there’s a specific TV show I’m looking forward to this fall, sadly. I wish there was a horror series coming up. That would be perfect timing! If only...

9. What are you being for Halloween/What were you this Halloween?
I haven’t dressed up in years, but I do always think of Halloween costumes I could make. I’d still love to make a Cereal Killer costume, or some other silly pun costumes. Those are my favorites, anything punny! So let’s hope I get invited to a Halloween party this year so I can make a punny costume!

10. What is the Fall weather like where you live?
Too warm for me! I live in the desert, so it does take a good while to cool off, but once it does, the fall weather is so lovely. But it happens in the later months of the year, like in late October and November. It really makes me wish I lived somewhere where there were actually four seasons! (Though I could do without lots and lots of snow!)

11. What changes do you look forward to in Autumn?
The cooler weather, obviously, and I just love how once fall hits, everyone kind of gets into the holiday spirit since there are three major holidays coming up (the first and best being Halloween). There’s just something festive in the air that I love about autumn.

12. Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?
I have to say that I am not a coffee fan, so I’ve never tried a pumpkin spice coffee! But as far as other pumpkin spice flavored things, meh, I’m not a fan. Way overhyped!

13. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Autumn?
Trees covered in yellow, gold, and red leaves. And pumpkins. And Halloween, of course! Sorry, those were three things, haha.

14. What is your go-to autumnal beauty product? A must-have staple.
For me, it would be a tinted lip balm. Once the weather gets cooler, my lips tend to get dry, so I love to keep them hydrated but also have a hint of color on them at the same time. It’s a win-win!

15. Do you have any Autumn traditions?
Hmm… that’s a good question! I like to go around to all the stores that sell Halloween decor and I like to peruse and see what new decorations are out. It really does get me in the Halloween spirit and I love it! (Though I really have to reign myself NOT to buy everything in sight!)

16. The moment of truth, is Autumn your favourite season?
Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes! It really is my favorite season! Nothing compares for me. Winter is cozy and nice, but Autumn is just perfect. Not too cold, just brisk, fresh, and festive.

17. Do you decorate your room/home for autumn?
Of course! I first decorate for Halloween, and then (sadly) replace the Halloween decor with fall decor once Halloween has passed. *sobs*

18. Do you have any fall pet peeves/something you dislike about fall?
My only pet peeve about fall is that it doesn’t get cool enough here until November! And even then it just feels like a very brisk spring. But once it does finally cool off, I’m so happy. I just wish the weather was on schedule with the rest of the country’s!

FALL FAVOURITES:

1. What is your favourite Autumnal Colour?
A nice deep red, like a maroon. Just to remind me of red leaves and cinnamon.

2. What is your favourite Fall Scent?
Speaking of cinnamon, I love the combination of either cinnamon and apples or cinnamon and pumpkins. So autumn-y and lovely!

3. What is your favourite Autumn Candle?
I love the Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin candle from Bath and Body Works! It’s my absolute favorite fall candle that I’ve found so far.

4. What is your favourite Fall Fashion Item?
Boots are a staple for me in the fall! They go with everything and just scream “autumn!”

5. What is your favourite Fall Accessory?
I personally love gold jewelry at the moment, because I think gold goes with darker fall colors so well.

6. What is your favourite Autumn Lip Colour?
A good, deep maroon. Still classy, but very autumnal.

7. What is your favourite Fall Nail Polish?
I love a good red/maroon color (I know, again!) or a dark green. Fall is the perfect time to break out those dark colors!

8. What is your favourite Autumnal Drink?
Hot cocoa! With marshmallows or whipped cream, yum.

9. What is your favourite Fall Treat?
Halloween Oreos! I know they’ve already been released in stores, but I’m waiting to buy them until October. I can’t wait though! I swear the orange frosting makes them taste even better than regular Oreos!

10. What is your favourite Fall Flavour?
I love anything apple cinnamon. Most preferably apple pie, but I can honestly eat that all year round! But it tastes so much more cozy in the fall.

11. What is your favourite Thanksgiving Food?
Mashed potatoes! Always the highlight for me at Thanksgiving. There might be some competition though if some really delicious and fresh dinner rolls show up though!

12. What is your favourite Halloween Candy?
Don’t make me choose! There’s just something about the miniature versions of Halloween candy that just make me so happy. I do love the Reese’s pumpkins though. They taste way better than regular peanut butter cups, in my opinion. I think it’s the ratio of peanut butter to chocolate, plus the pumpkin shape!

13. What is your favourite Fall/Halloween Song?
I love “This Is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s the perfect start to the movie, but also such a good Halloween song. It always gets me in that spooky mood!

14. What is your favourite Fall/Halloween Film?
Honestly, anything spooky! The movie may not be set in fall or have to do with Halloween, but any horror movie is perfect for fall/Halloween watching. Also, any of the Harry Potter movies too!

15. What is your favourite Autumn Makeup Look?
I love dark lipsticks and smokey eyes.

16. What is your favourite Autumn Beauty Trend this year?
I’ve just learned about smokey neutral makeup and I’m obsessed! It’s so understated and yet so elegant and looks almost effortless (even though I’m sure a lot goes into an effortless look!).

17. What is your favourite Fall Fashion Trend this year?
Anything to do with coats or jackets! Give me a good pea coat but add some autumn colors to it or make it plaid. It puts an autumn spin on something classic.

18. What is your favourite/Most Worn Sweater/Jumper?
I have this sweater that I found at a thrift store that I haven’t worn yet, but it’s so comfy and warm and looks just like something Molly Weasley would knit herself, blue but with little pom poms dotting it, that I cannot wait to wear it this year when it finally cools off. It’ll look like I’m visiting the Burrow during Christmas break!

19. What is your favourite Autumn Memory?
Definitely trick or treating when I was younger. It’s so fun to remember when you were super excited for Halloween, and you’d worked hard on your costume (I always had a homemade costume), and can’t wait for the candy. And it was so satisfying to come home, tired after walking for so long, but then you get to look at all the candy you got, and sort it into categories (the gross candies like Almond Joys and black licorice went to my parents). There’s so much nostalgia for me just thinking about it!

20. What is your favourite photo you've taken in Fall?
I don't think I have one! Is that sad? Please don't say it's sad! I think I don't have one just because it's hard in my climate to even know if it IS fall in the picture! (Unless you're in a Halloween costume, of course) I hope I can visit somewhere upstate soon so I can actually take some pictures of some golden and red fall leaves on some trees.

21. What is your favourite Autumn activity?
When I was a kid it used to be raking up all the fallen leaves in the backyard and then jumping into that big pile and tossing them around. But I’d have to say for now it’s just hanging out with friends, getting a Starbucks, and walking around Target, gossiping and looking at the Halloween/fall decor and autumn clothes. It’s seems so boring and adult, but it’s just so lovely to enjoy good company, a hot beverage, and talk about life and what’s going on during your favorite season.

22. What is your favourite Halloween costume you've ever worn?
I did have a friend who made me an Arwen costume for the opening day of last Lord of the Rings movie, and I have to say, I reeeeaaalllly loved that outfit! I wore it for multiple Halloween and even bought some elf ears and spirit glue to add to the look. Maybe one day I can dig out a picture, but honestly, all the hard work of the dress was done by my friend Caitlin. Thanks, Caitlin!!

AUTUMN THIS OR THAT:

1. Apple Picking or Pumpkin Patch?
This one is difficult, because I’ve never been apple picking! But I’ve always wanted to. So for now I’ll just saw apple picking because it sounds like so much fun!

2. Football Games or Nature Walk?
Ew, sports. It would be a nature walk for me!

3. Halloween or Thanksgiving?
Oh, Halloween all the way! Thanksgiving is a nice family holiday, but Halloween is where it’s at! Fun and spooky, plus candy and costumes? It’s the perfect holiday!

4. Bat Wing Sleeves or Cat Eye Eyeshadow?
Bat wing sleeves are so cute! (Safiya Nygaard turned me on to them)

5. Dark Lips or Winged Liner?
For me, it would be winged liner, since I don’t know if I can pull off a dark lip. But I’m jealous of those who can!

6. Apple stuff or Pumpkin stuff?
Apple stuff! I’m not that into pumpkin flavored things, but I can get behind almost anything apple.

7. Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice?
Cinnamon!

8. Coffee, Tea, Hot Cocoa or Apple Cider?
Hot cocoa is perfect for me, since I don’t like coffee, tea, or apple cider! (I know, I’m a monster)

9. Jeans, Leggings or Skirts/Shorts w/Tights?
Skinny jeans with booties.

10. Beanie or Hair Scarf?
Beanies! So cute! Plus, I’m not sure if I’d be able to figure out how to tie a hair scarf, haha.

11. Infinity Scarf or Body Wrap?
I’ll go with infinity scarves on this one! Scarves are just perfect for fall!

12. Booties or Knee High Boots?
Definitely booties! So cute and chic, while also being a little understated. I’m not sure I can pull off knee high boots- I don’t quite have that confidence!

13. Flats or Wedges?
Flats! I’m not one for wearing heels- I look like Bambi just learning to walk when I try, and the same thing goes for me in wedges.

14. Flannels or Jumpers/Sweaters?
Sweaters all the way! Flannels are super cute, but they just remind me of an ex-boyfriend I had who was a big Nirvana fan and wore waaay too many flannels in the heat of summer, haha.

15. Hair up in bun/pony tail or Hair Down?
I feel like I have my hair up for most of the summer, so I love it when it finally cools off and I let my hair down in the fall.

16. Fairy Lights or Candles?
I love fairy lights, but candles are just so classic and give you that kind of autumn-y/spooky vibe for fall. Plus the electric ones flicker like real candles now and you don’t have to worry about burning the house down with them (bonus!).

17. Scary Movie or Haunted House?
Can I...can I have both? Please? I love both of those so much! Also, can I also have the option to stay in an actual haunted house? Because I’ve always wanted to do that and autumn seems like the perfect time for that!

18. Apple Bobbing or Making Apple Pie?
Making apple pie, hands down. I feel like bobbing for apples is fun, but so unsanitary, so it’s only acceptable to do when you’re a kid and don’t know any better!

19. DIY Halloween Costume or DIY House Decorations?
Aww, I’ve always DIY’d my Halloween costumes as a kid, so that makes me think of so many great memories! But making DIY Halloween decor is so much fun and you always feel so proud to display it and say “hey, I made that!”

20. Pop of Orange or Pop of Yellow in your wardrobe?
Probably orange for me! I think I’m a bit too pale for yellow, so it wouldn’t work too well on me. But if I could pull off that cute mustard color I totally would!

🍂🍁

And that was the Mega Love for Autumn Tag by Cassie! It was incredibly fun to answer and I loved the variety of questions she came up with, too! Now I have so many new ideas about what I want to do this fall! Mainly the buying and then eating of the Halloween Oreos and Pillsbury Halloween bake and slice cookies, but other non-food related things too. What are you hoping to do this fall/autumn? Also, what do you call the season? Autumn or fall? I still say “fall,” since I am an uncouth American. But let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird,
Emily

*I’m not going to tag anyone, but if you would like to do the tag, I have all the questions right below this for you to copy and paste. I only ask if that you do this tag to please credit (and link!) Cassie over at ZombieGoddessBeauty for creating this amazing tag! And if you do decide to take on this ultimate autumn tag, let me know because I’d love to read it!*

THE QUESTIONS:

1. What signifies the start of Autumn to you?
2. What are you most excited about for Fall?
3. Name one place you want to visit this Autumn.
4. What is one item on your Autumn Bucket List?
5. What is the best way to spend a rainy day?
6. What gets you into the fall spirit?
7. Describe your ideal fall day.
8. What TV show are you most excited about this fall?
9. What are you being for Halloween/What were you this Halloween?
10. What is the Fall weather like where you live?
11. What changes do you look forward to in Autumn?
12. Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?
13. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Autumn?
14. What is your go-to an autumnal beauty product? A must-have staple.
15. Do you have any Autumn traditions?
16. The moment of truth, is Autumn your favourite season?
17. Do you decorate your room/home for autumn?
18. Do you have any fall pet peeves/something you dislike about fall?


FALL FAVOURITES:

1. What is your favourite Autumnal Colour?
2. What is your favourite Fall Scent?
3. What is your favourite Autumn Candle?
4. What is your favourite Fall Fashion Item?
5. What is your favourite Fall Accessory?
6. What is your favourite Autumn Lip Colour?
7. What is your favourite Fall Nail Polish?
8. What is your favourite Autumnal Drink?
9. What is your favourite Fall Treat?
10. What is your favourite Fall Flavour?
11. What is your favourite Thanksgiving Food?
12. What is your favourite Halloween Candy?
13. What is your favourite Fall/Halloween Song?
14. What is your favourite Fall/Halloween Film?
15. What is your favourite Autumn Makeup Look?
16. What is your favourite Autumn Beauty Trend this year?
17. What is your favourite Fall Fashion Trend this year?
18. What is your favourite/Most Worn Sweater/Jumper?
19. What is your favourite Autumn Memory?
20. What is your favourite photo you've taken in Fall?
21. What is your favourite Autumn activity?
22. What is your favourite Halloween costume you've ever worn?


AUTUMN THIS OR THAT:

1. Apple Picking or Pumpkin Patch?
2. Football Games or Nature Walk?
3. Halloween or Thanksgiving?
4. Bat Wing Sleeves or Cat Eye Eyeshadow?
5. Dark Lips or Winged Liner?
6. Apple stuff or Pumpkin stuff?
7. Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice?
8. Coffee, Tea, Hot Cocoa or Apple Cider?
9. Jeans, Leggings or Skirts/Shorts w/Tights?
10. Beanie or Hair Scarf?
11. Infinity Scarf or Body Wrap?
12. Booties or Knee High Boots?
13. Flats or Wedges?
14. Flannels or Jumpers/Sweaters?
15. Hair up in bun/ponnie tail or Hair Down?
16. Fairy Lights or Candles?
17. Scary Movie or Haunted House?
18. Apple Bobbing or Making Apple Pie?
19. DIY Halloween Costume or DIY House Decorations?
20. Pop of Orange or Pop of Yellow in your wardrobe?




The Sunshine Blogger Award


Oh my goodness. I was just nominated for another blogger award! This time it’s the Sunshine Blogger Award and honestly, it’s really touching that Beth (see below in Gratitude and Appreciation) thought of me to nominate and acknowledge me as a blogger worth thinking of and sharing to others. I’m truly honored and feel very lucky to be a part of this great community. But onto the tag! I’m quite ready to answer some questions about blogging, myself, and everything in between, and make up some questions myself! (Get ready those who were tagged!) Here it goes!

The Rules
  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging site
  • List the Sunshine Blogger Award rules and display the logo on your site
  • Answer the Sunshine Blogger Award questions
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions
  • Notify the nominees about their nominations
Gratitude And Appreciation:

Such a big thank you to Beth over at The Black Ant Blog for nominating me for this award! I’m very honored because Beth is a fantastic blogger, who writes so passionately about a variety of real subjects, like health and mental health in such a positive and informative way. If you haven’t checked out her blog already, it’s definitely worth adding to your blog reading list! Thank you again, Beth!

The Questions I Should Answer:

1. When did you start blogging? What kick-started you?
I started blogging five years ago! My blog has been through many phases: a bucket list blog, a travel blog, the first version of That Weird Girl Life, and now it’s in its second (and even better, if I say so myself) phase of That Weird Girl Life. I started blogging because I wanted to have an outlet to write about what I was interested in, and in a weird way to push myself out of my comfort zone (aka having a bucket list blog and/or travel blog that didn’t play out because I RARELY travel- though I’d really like to travel more if I could). But in a way, this version of my blog is still pushing me out of my comfort zone: though it’s doing this by having me open up about my mental health and hopefully helping other people by sharing my stories!

2. Best friend in primary school? Do you still keep in touch?
I had several best friends in primary school (I know, so popular!), but I haven’t really kept in touch with too many. I’m friends with them on Facebook, but I do have one or two I still keep in contact with and consider my best friends, though they live out of state and don’t see each other as much as we used to. Ugh, adulthood!

3. Desert, Tropics or 4 Seasons? You can live anywhere in the world!
I live in the desert, and while the tropics may be fun to visit, I’m going to have to say four seasons! I would love to have an actual autumn, with red and yellow falling leaves, and that crisp, cold weather where you can actually wear sweaters and other comfy and cute fall clothing. Here, it’s almost October and everyone is still wearing shorts.

4. Do your friends and family know about your blogging?
Hmm. I actually don’t talk about my blog with my family or friends! I don’t know if I’m afraid they’ll read it and judge me or what, but I tend to be very open and honest on my blog, regarding mental health, and I am not like that in real life. So in a way, I’m keeping my blog a secret and just sharing it with my internet friends. I hope I can be brave enough to tell more people about it in the future and discuss writing it, because I love blogging and I’m so proud of my blog, but for now, I’m too shy to say anything.

5. Where would you love to go on holiday just with your 3-4 best friends?
Oooh a girls trip! If we had unlimited cash, I would say some big city like Los Angeles or New York and really go for the whole big city experience. Stay in a nice hotel, spend the day sightseeing, shopping, and having fun. Then at night, dress up and go out for some fun shows, enjoy a fancy dinner, and see what the nightlife is like and have some late night adventures. Basically, the theme would be “treat yo selves!” and we would just go all out.

6. Where is the most exotic place you have ever lived?
Well, not to brag, but I have only lived in one general vicinity for my entire life. I’ve only lived in one state, Arizona, in the United States, and that’s it! But in the perfect world, I would love to live in England (if you could call that exotic. But from where I live that’s super exotic!).

7. If there was one vegetable or fruit that you had to include in every single meal (for life), what would it be?
Ooh, I love all types of fruit (not so much vegetables, which is odd for a vegetarian, but hi, ME!), so I may pick something like an orange (delicious and wards off scurvy!) or a nice crisp green apple. Would they go with the meal? Probably not, but I’d find them delicious anyway!

8. You have a farm: horses or alpacas? Why?
Alpacas, because horses scare me. I’m sorry, but I don’t trust a giant quadruped that can sense your fear. It’s suspicious, I’m telling you! Also, have you seen a baby alpaca? Too cute! I’d pick a baby alpaca over a baby horse any day! (Sorry, baby horses!)

9. Do you play music in the background while writing? What type of music?
I actually prefer silence when I write! I know that sounds incredibly strange, but if I listen to music, I end up getting distracted by the lyrics, and if I listen to classical music or movie scores, I get swept away in the musical emotion and start daydreaming. So it’s much easier for me to stay focused if there is just absolutely nothing at all playing in the background.

10. How do you use social media?
Probably not as well as I should be! I love going on Instagram and Twitter (not so much Facebook anymore) to see what’s going on with friends, the world, and the blogging community. I try to use Twitter and Pinterest to promote my blog, but I usually just use Instagram for fun (though I will promote my blog on there every so often, not going to lie!). And as fun as social media is, I’m really trying to cut back. I’ve noticed that the constant comparisons and the onslaught of information can be bad for my mental health so I really do try to take short, frequent social media breaks, even though that may be “bad” for my blog. But my mental health has to come first!

11. Three random facts:
  • I don’t like being the center of attention, so no surprise parties, please!
  • My all time favorite band are the Arctic Monkeys (give them a listen, they are amazing)
  • I love entering contests for some reason. Do I ever win them? No. But do I get a little thrill thinking I could actually win it even though the odds are stacked against me? Heck yes I do.
*Bonus Question!*

(Let’s make this an even twelve! I think Beth added an extra question so I’m going to answer it because it’s a good one!)

12. If you have written a book – what is it? If not, what would you write about? Does it have a title yet?
I have not written a book, but I’ve always thought writing one would be such a great accomplishment. As an avid reader, to actually write something that other people will read and enjoy, just like I’ve read and enjoyed so many books, is probably an amazing feeling. And the fact that you wrote a complete story, with a narrative, characters, made of thousands and thousands of words, is truly astonishing to me. But if I ever did write a book, as a fan of all things spooky, I would definitely write a horror novel!

My Nominations:

(And bloggers, I apologize if you've been nominated before or if this isn't your jam, so please don't feel like you have to do the tag unless you want to. I just wanted to nominate you because I admire all of your blogs and hope more people will discover all of your content! But if you do decide to do the tag, please let me know because I'd love to read it!)

1. Julie- Darkbluejournal

2. Steph- Sometimes I Write

3. Deandra- The Black Princess Diaries 

4. Sean- Authentically Average

5. Kirsty- Love Popcorn

6. Delta Elaina Ariana Deathstorm- The Dead Books

7. Kaili- Entertainingly Nerdy

8. Meagan- Quibbles and Scribbles

9. Arielle- The Little Dismaid 

10. Eleanor- Mxrshmallow Queen

11. Kayleigh- Kayleigh Zara

11 Questions I Want My Nominations to Answer:

1. How has blogging positively impacted your life?
2. When do you like to blog: morning, afternoon, or night?
3. What is the one food you refuse to eat?
4. If aliens came to earth, what would you first show them that you think is cool?
5. If you could switch places with one person for the day, who would it be?
6. What is your favorite social media medium and why?
7. What’s your perfect type of vacation: sight-seeing or relaxing?
8. If you could travel back (or forward!) in time, when and where would you want to visit?
9. What is your least favorite thing about blogging?
10. Three cutest animals: go!
11. If you could spend the whole day doing something you love, what would it be?

That was my post for the Sunshine Blogger Award! It was really fun to answer and I had such a great time coming up with the questions, haha. I hope they weren’t too quirky, but hey, that’s me! Have you been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award? If not, what questions would you come up with to ask?

Stay Weird,
Emily

Learning to Embrace My Dark Under Eye Circles


Dark circles. Bags. Under eye circles. Whatever you call ‘em, I got ‘em. I’ve had them ever since I was a baby, and they’ve been here to stay ever since (I was a very tired looking baby). And they aren’t just dark. They are actual deep crevices under my eyes as well. My glasses usually hide them, but I know they’re there. Oh, I know they’re there.

Now, under eye circles in and of themselves aren’t bad. Some people have dark under eye circles due to illness, lack of sleep, or just genetics (so dark circles on someone may be a sign that something is off, so if you don’t normally have them, please get yourself checked out, just in case!). I myself fall under that “genetics” category (thanks, mom and dad!). But the worst thing about having under eye circles is that they are so noticeable and everyone always points them out to you (in a concerned way, of course):

“Are you feeling okay?”

“You look really tired!”

“You need to get more sleep!”

“Concealer would really help with those!”

All super helpful, except I’m a) feeling just fine, b) am sleeping 8+ hours a night and, c) concealer is not strong enough to cover these babies.

But the worst actually is:

Person: “Wow, you look really nice! You looked really tired yesterday.”

Me: “That’s because I’m wearing makeup today…”

My under eye circles never really started bothering me until I became depressed when I was around twelve. Before that, I barely noticed them. I was healthy, sleeping well, and mentally stable. But once I turned twelve, I stopped sleeping, ate less, and was just generally not in a good way. The lack of sleep and nutrients caused my eye circles to turn even darker and that’s when people started commenting. I got more and more self-conscious until the day I finally realized how bad they were.

I was around thirteen at the orthodontist getting my braces tightened (ah, the joys of being a young teen) and my orthodontist had my file with him. I had forgotten that when you first get braces, they take some pictures of your face, from the front and both sides, just for a frame of reference for your face and jaw line. My doctor jokingly showed me mine, and said he could sell these to a tabloid magazine one day when I became rich and famous (hardy har har). But I didn’t find it funny because I saw my photos. I remembered the medical assistant who took the photos said I didn’t have to smile in the pictures, so I didn’t. But what I saw when I looked at the photos was an unsmiling twelve year old, with under eye circles so dark, it looked like I had been punched in both eyes. In fact, the first thing that crossed my mind was that it looked like a mug shot of a drug addict who hadn’t slept in a week.

I was so shocked and embarrassed. That was me? That was what I looked like? I’ve been walking around this world, walking past people, looking like this? It was then that I became obsessed with trying to get rid of my dark circles.

I somehow convinced my mother to let me start wearing makeup, or at least start using some sort of concealer or foundation. She let me buy this weird foundation stick that you were supposed to put under your eyes to try to reflect some light under your eyes and lessen your dark circles. Didn’t help, but I tried the best that I could.

Later, when I was older and feeling less depressed, my eye circles grew less dark, but were still prominent. I was so embarrassed by them. The thought of my pictures from the orthodontist haunted me. I wanted to look bright and happy, not depressed and sad. I started wearing foundation from a compact as a teen, putting it under my eyes. It didn’t do much, but it was a start. I then graduated to concealer AND foundation, and that’s where I stayed for a long, long time.

I was so embarrassed for anyone to see me without makeup. It started to become part of my identity. I didn’t like the way I looked without it. The concealer helped lighten my dark under eye circles, the foundation smoothed my skin, and the eyeliner and mascara made my eyes look bigger. I wanted to look like the best version of myself, which meant no under eye circles and no imperfections (minus the occasional pimple or two. I’m human, okay?). I even thought that people treated me more nicely when I was wearing makeup. That’s how convinced I was that I needed to wear makeup.

It didn’t help that there’s been such a boom in the beauty industry lately. Full face makeup, caking and baking concealer onto your face, with bronzer, highligher, the whole shebang covering your entire face, made me see my imperfections even more. Though the people who were doing this to their faces were probably covering up their own imperfections (maybe even some dark under eye circles…? Gasp! God forbid!).

But then came the turning point. About a year or two ago, I developed cystic acne. For those who don’t know, adult acne is real and it is awful. You thought you were done with acne during puberty? Uh-uh! It’s back to haunt you in your better and more emotionally stable years! My acne was so bad that every time I put on makeup, it made my cystic acne even worse. And for those who don’t know, the more you touch and bother cystic acne, the worse it gets (and the bigger it gets too!). And cystic acne HURTS. My face was so bad that I did the unthinkable: I stopped wearing makeup entirely.

I know. It went against everything I had done for years. But my acne was so bad that I couldn’t help it. My makeup routine dried up until I was only using acne face wash and an acne safe moisturizer since I was drying out my face so much. I was embarrassed to go out without makeup, but at this point, I was even more embarrassed of the giant cysts that were popping up on my forehead and cheeks. I didn’t want people to even look at me. I was in my late 20’s and I had acne. I felt like such a loser.

As my face slowly started clearing up, thanks to trial and error of face care and finally a trip to the dermatologist (why did it take me so long to go??), I suddenly realized that I hadn’t really been wearing makeup. My daily makeup routine had boiled down to just acne safe moisturizer and a bit of sunscreen. I should have been shocked until I realized that I didn’t care that I was walking around without makeup. My face was clearer now and I was actually proud to show it off. Nothing artificial on my face, not even under my eyes!

I don’t know if it was my adult acne, the fact that I’m older now, or the fact I just don’t care what other people think, but I realized that my under eye circles are NORMAL. I was born with them. I have them. They are a part of face and I can’t change that. So why am I trying to change something I literally can’t?

The beauty world has a product for everything you hate about your face. Cover your imperfections: zits, acne, acne scars, discoloration, wrinkles. I’ve tried and seen so many items, home remedies, and even procedures for getting rid of dark circles and the bags under your eyes. It makes me so aware and insecure of my own under eye circles and makes me wonder, “why is everyone so desperate for me to get rid of them, if I was born with them?” Are they an imperfection or just natural?

I’ve decided to embrace my under eye circles. They’re a part of me, and completely natural. Do I wish I sometimes looked like someone else who doesn’t have those deep, dark crevices circling my under eyes? Of course! But no matter what concealer I use, I can’t hide their darkness and the deepness of them too. It’s my face, and I need to love it, dark eye circles, acne scars (thanks for that, cystic acne!), and all. No amount of makeup can make me forget that I have them, so why even use it?

Thanks to developing acne later in life, I’m now taking even better care of my skin than I ever have. I’m keeping it clean, exfoliated, and moisturized. I’m taking pride in my skin and face, and usually just wear moisturizer and sunscreen in my day to day life. If I want to wear makeup for special occasions, I only wear a light bb cream, mascara, a bit of eyeshadow, and use an eyebrow pencil to fill out my brows. Simple and natural. For me, makeup should be all about enhancing your natural beauty, not about hiding and changing it.

So I’m wearing my bare face and under eye circles proudly. Is my skin perfect? Hell no! Will it ever be? I’m gonna go with another hell no since your skin just basically gets worse the older you get (yay nature and the passage of time!). But am I embracing it and working it? Hell yes! (With not too much filtering of selfies, might I add. Also, smearing Vaseline over your phone’s camera just doesn’t work the same way it did back in Old Hollywood)

So if you see me out and about, I hope you think my dark circles suit me, because they aren’t going anywhere. And frankly, I don’t want them to. If I ever have to cover them up for any reason (weddings, other special events where you are not in charge of your makeup look), you know it won’t be for long. These dark semi-circles are ready to shine and be in the spotlight! And for once, I finally don’t mind.

*NOTE: If you love the way you look and just love wearing makeup, go for it! This isn’t at all to shame anyone who wears makeup because they just love wearing makeup. You do you, but I hope that you can feel confident all dolled up as much as you do when you’re also all dressed down. Face wise, that is.*

Do you have dark circles? Do you cover them up or do you let them see the world? (Haha) Do you have any "imperfections" that you embrace? Also, do you think the beauty world is trying to make us feel bad for having “imperfections?” Let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird,
Emily


Review: Cherry Wallis' Curation of Magical Curiosities Box


In case you didn’t know and have never read my blog before, I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. And while I am not a big collector of Harry Potter things, I do have my fair share of knick knacks from the series. Books, Pop Funkos (or is it Funko Pops?), movie merchandise/replicas... I have a few HP memorabilia. I’ve also been trying to be more minimalistic too (and save money in the process too!), lately, so I’m trying to cut back on the tchotchkes. But I have a guilty pleasure of watching subscription box unboxing videos on Youtube. And one of my favorite Youtubers, Cherry Wallis, is a massive Harry Potter fan (she has the most amazing replica collection!) and does a lot of Harry Potter subscription box unboxing videos. I am obsessed. All of the amazing trinkets that come out of the boxes are so creative and cool (mostly small business/fan made!), and I get a vicarious thrill watching her unbox all of these amazing items.

So when I heard that she was going to be collaborating with Geek Gear, a subscription box that has a Wizardry box, on her own one time Harry Potter inspired box, called the Curation of Magical Curiosities, I just knew I had to get it! Cherry has such amazing taste when it comes to these things, plus she’s a fantastic artist who has an excellent eye for design. She knows good quality AND great Harry Potter things when she sees them. Girl knows her stuff. So I knew this box was going to be AMAZING.

I ended up ordering the box the day orders opened, and the boxes were sent out near the end of August, but I didn’t end up getting mine until September 4th. Apparently, Geek Gear and Cherry weren’t expecting it to be such a big hit and were overwhelmed with all the orders! Good for them! So while I was happy for them and their success with the boxes, I was dying to get mine. It was so hard to avoid spoilers when people (like Cherry herself) were doing unboxing videos of the box online and I really, really, really wanted to watch them and see what was in the box! But thankfully, I avoided spoilers and now my box is HERE and I’m ready to give my excited (yet honest) review of the box.

*SPOILERS AHEAD! And apologies for my substandard photography skills*

This box has seven items in it, each based on each year of Hogwarts that Harry attended. Let’s begin!

The box came all wrapped up in a dark plastic bag and of course as an Anglophile I was delighted to see that it was from England via the Royal Mail (me = dork).


I then unwrapped it and saw the beauty of the box! I loved all of the details on front! It made it look so magical and like it was delivered by an owl! (Albeit a slow owl, like Errol, since mine was so late. You can’t blame the poor bird, he’s so old). 


The first thing I saw when I opened it was a handwritten looking note from Cherry. I think it was her handwriting, it was so pretty and such a cute message too. It definitely made me more excited to see what was in the box!




The note from Cherry said:

“I hope this letter finds you well, and that the owl that delivered it arrived safely.

I also hope that this box didn’t end up in the wrong hands, as I will likely get into trouble for exposing our kind to the muggle world…

If you’re reading this, I wanted to say a big thank you for all of your support with the Curation of Magical Curiosities.”

Always, Cherry

PS. By the way, the bird bites.”

Cute throwback to Sirius in the postscript!

And notice this cute layer of flying keys and lightning bolt tissue paper underneath! How sweet is that? I’m so saving that for something! (Because seriously, how can you throw that away??)


The next thing I saw were a bunch of loose paper packaging (or “wiggly worms,” as Cherry might say), but they weren’t just plain brown colored, there were also GOLD wiggly worms! What an adorable touch! It made the box look a lot more special and exclusive.

The first thing I took out of the box was this cute pin, of three pumpkin juice bottles with snowflakes on them, with “The Yule Ball,” written underneath. I love how sparkly they are and the details on them are just amazing. Seriously, I would never have in a million years thought of something this cute and creative.


The next thing I randomly grabbed was this box decorated like the Herbology green room. Um, this packaging, you guys! So well designed and the colors! It’s like Professor Sprout designed it herself! How can whatever was inside compete with the awesomeness that is this box? 



And then I opened it. And a freaking Mimbulus mibletonia plant was inside! What????? I was NOT expecting that! The details on it are insane! It looks so much like the one in the movie that Neville has that I was expecting it to shoot out some goo. The Mimbulus mibletonia looks so quality that I swear it looks like a licensed item. I honestly can’t believe it how good this item is. I’m still in shock.


After being a little shell-shocked, I moved on to what was hiding in the gold wiggly worms. It was something wrapped in brown paper and string! So very wizarding world! I honestly had the thought “This looks like how the Sorcerer's Stone is wrapped in the movie,” but I brushed that right out of my head because of course it wasn’t. Was it?


But it was!! I was gobsmacked! I now have my very own Sorcerer’s Stone! (Or Philosopher's Stone, all depending on where you are. You know us Americans just want to be different from everyone else in the world. If we’re not removing U’s from letters, we’re changing book names to our liking) It looks more like how I imagined it in my head when I first read the book. Less choppy and roughly cut like the first movie, but more smooth and jewel-esque as I had first pictured it. I wish I could wrap it back up as prettily as they had, so I could feel like it’s more secure. The Sorcerer’s Stone is very precious, I just can’t have it lying around!




There was another box, small, blue and long, that said “Memory Vial”. Oh my goodness. On the very top of the box it has a small illustration of the pensieve, and on the side of the box it said “This exquisitely crafted vial bottle will hold your closest memories for many years to come.” Oh, yes. Yes yes YES!



It was, in fact, a legit memory vial, a la Dumbledore and Snape! The glass bottle itself is a beautiful shape, with a lovely looking stopper. I can just imagine some dreamy, cloudy memory floating in there, just waiting to be poured into the pensieve. And silly me didn’t even noticed that it came with stickers to put on your vial, so you can label your memory! (Which I forgot to photograph, but trust me, the label stickers are gorgeous!) So so so brilliant!


After calming down after the memory vial, I saw the next item. It was Time-Turning Tea, a passionfruit infused tea. Unfortunately, I don’t like tea (does this mean I can’t live in England ever? Please don’t say that), but it sounds really pleasant and I know my older sister who LOVES tea will gladly drink this for me and give me her review. It honestly makes me wish I liked tea, because it does sound quite delicious.


The next item I saw was a brown envelope, sealed with an interesting looking sticker. Inside were some pages from Advanced Potion Making! The recipe on the first page was “Draught of Living Death", and the rest of the pages had the rest of the recipe, along with scribbles and runes drawn on (perhaps drawn by the Half-Blood Prince himself?). The amount of detail and thought gone into this item is just mind-boggling! I love having a little piece of a Hogwarts textbook. Can we get some Hogwarts, A History pages next??




Under that was a large print, the last of our seven items, and to my great surprise, it was a lovely illustration of a baby mandrake! And not only that, but it was drawn by Cherry! I knew she was a great artist, but this was such a great way to incorporate her talent into the box! Not only is it a great quality print, the illustration is just spot on and portrays a chunky, grumpy baby mandrake perfectly! (I personally love mandrakes and feel like every Harry Potter fan who has a child should do at least one photoshoot of their child as a mandrake in a pot) It was a fantastic way to end the box, honestly.



Underneath THAT, was the cheat sheet, hand written again in what I think is Cherry’s writing, describing each of the items, Cherry’s stories of them, who or what small business made them, and what year they correspond with. Year One, was the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone. Year Two was the Mandrake artwork. Year Three was of course, the Time Turning Tea. Year Four was the Yule Ball pin. Year Five was the Mimbulus mimbletonia plant. Year Six was the Draught of the Living Death pages from Advanced Potion Making and Year Seven was the memory vial.



All in all, I have to say this was such a strong and magical box! I loved every single one of these items and found the quality and artistry in each and everyone one of them so amazing! Cherry and Geek Gear honestly could not have done a better job, with the presentation, the creativity and uniqueness of the items. You can tell Cherry put her heart and soul into this and as a fan I just want to say that I am so proud of her! I am more than impressed and just wished the box had been endless, like Hermione’s purse. Just more and more magical items coming out, nonstop. Thinking about it, I really don't know if I could pick a favorite? I mean, I kind of love having the Sorcerer's Stone. But the memory vial?? And the pin?? Okay, I can't pick. I love it all!!!!


I would of course buy another box from Geek Gear/Cherry again, despite trying to cut back on both collecting things AND spending money, but if it’s got Cherry’s name on it, you know it’s going to be good. And speaking of that, today, the day that I am posting this blog, she apparently is coming out with something magical and Christmas-y coming out for pre-order! So if you’re interested in something Harry Potter related that Cherry has to due with, please check out her Twitter and her Youtube channel, since she’ll be making the announcement there today! I know I will most likely be signing up!


What did you think of Cherry’s Curation of Magical Curiosities box? I was so impressed by it that I honestly can’t get over it. Which item was your favorite?? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay Weird,
Emily