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Throwback: 12 Of My Favorite Toys From the 90's/2000's!

Photo by Angelina on Unspash
Ah, childhood. We all have such nostalgia for when we were younger, no matter what age or generation we came from. Times were just simpler then. We didn’t have to work, pay bills, pay taxes, or buy groceries, or just worry about life in general like we all do now (why is that a thing? Who decided that adulting should be so complicated and difficult? I’d like to have a word with them!) All we had to do was go to school and then play. And playing was the best. Whether it was just being creative and using our imagination or playing with toys and using our imaginations, you have to admit, that there was something magical about toys from the 90’s and 2000’s (or at least I think so!). It was right on the cusp of old school toys and technology, so we had the both of best worlds. A magical, wonderful mix of toys that were both classic and modern and just perfect for us grown up millennials.

Here are a few of my very favorite toys from when I was a kid back in the 90’s (and I’m just adding the 2000’s, just in case. There was a bit of a crossover back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, plus, my memory isn’t what it used to be. Not that I’m old. I just...have better things to remember now! Good save, self!)

Barbies

I swear, I had this Barbie as a kid! Remember how those birds that balanced on your fingers were a thing then??
Oh, Barbie. We loved you and yet had no idea how bad you were for our body image later on. But you had the most fashion forward outfits and hair (at the time), the neatest accessories, and the coolest jobs ever! (Who else could be an astronaut, ice skater, Olympic gymnast, teacher, and a doctor? Only Barbie!) Thanks to Barbie, her forever boyfriend Ken, her friends and family (why did Barbie have so many sisters? Skipper, Kelly, and probably more? Who were her parents and why did they keep popping out kids?), we were able to imagine fantastic scenarios with our friends and create our own little almost grown-up worlds. And who can forget dreaming of owning a Barbie Dreamhouse with a freaking elevator? I’m still jealous of any girl who had that growing up! And who could forget that wonderful plastic smell when you opened up a brand new Barbie from her box. Ah. There was nothing like it!

Pound Puppies & Pound Purries

Look at those sad, "adopt me!" puppy dog eyes. No wonder all of us millennials love our pets more than our significant others!
To be fair, I believe these toys were first released in the 80’s but I remember loving them in the 90’s! These sad, big eyed puppies and kittens all needed homes and would look at you desperately and lovingly from their cardboard kennels in the toy section. How could you not want to adopt one and take one home? I remember having both Pound Puppies and Pound Purries and loving them to no end. It’s also made me realize why I now want to adopt every stray animal I see as an adult and give them a home. Damn you, Pound Puppies and Purries! I don’t have enough money for all that kibble!

Tamagotchi & Nano Pets

I think the secret jobs of Nano Pets and Tamagotchis were to really train us to take care of ourselves as adults. Sadly, in real life, we can't start over and get a new life- I mean, pet.
Now here we get to the early and wonderful technology of the 90’s/2000’s! Stuffed animals like Pound Puppies were cool and all, but what if you could take that animal and make it a digital little pet of black pixels on a screen in a round piece of plastic that was also a keychain, and play with it, clean up after it, and feed it through a series of pressing little buttons? Even better! Tamagotchis and Nano Pets were all the rage when I was in grade school and all the coolest kids had them. I remember wanting one so bad, but I really wanted a Nano Pet, since you could pick your animal, whereas Tamagotchis were little alien creatures (or so I remember). Then I finally got a Nano Pet on one of my birthdays from a classmate and it was- a Nano baby. A little disappointed, I still relished the idea of having my own Nano Pet. It was such a status symbol! And then I lost it. I lost my Nano Baby. I think this may be the reason I don’t want kids. I’d just lose them like I lost my Nano Baby. Gosh, I hope she’s doing alright. She must be in her twenties by now! They grow up so fast...

Sky Dancers

She's beauty, she's grace, she'll fly up into your face and take your eye out- said all of our moms.
 If you don’t know what a Sky Dancer is, I’m so, so sorry. A Sky Dancer was the coolest toy from my childhood (well, one of them anyway) and it was basically a fairy (or a water nymph or something very girly and cutesy) with wings that were located in the front and back, and when you put her on her base, you could pull a string and she’d spin around and around, lifting off and flying around with her wings spread out. They were very hard to control, but also so much fun to set flying. This was also another must have toy and status symbol of being a kid. “Oh, you have one Sky Dancer? That’s cute, I have five!” Also, if you can find it, please check out the video of the little girl playing with her Sky Dancer and it flying into the fireplace. It makes me laugh so hard every time.

Skip-It

This was a legit toy and the outfit this girl was wearing was legit too. At the time. Now, I can't vouch for it. But scrunchies are back in style, so who's laughing now?
No no, this isn’t a cousin to the Bop-It (though that was also a cool- and frustrating- toy back in the day!). The Skip-It was the cool version of a jump rope, where you put the round plastic ring around your foot, and swung the ball type thing at the end around your feet, using your outer leg to skip over ball. If you were really cool, you had the kind with the counter on it, which counts every time you skipped over the ball. And guess what- mine had the counter on it. Oh yeah. I was a pretty awesome kid back then! The only problem with Skip-Its was when you missed the skip and the hard ball slammed into the back of your heel or your shin. OUCH.

Polly Pocket

I had this exact one as a kid and the fact that it lit up (batteries not included!) made it even more special! Plus the gazebo lit up too. I love gazebos.
A classic. What little 90's girl didn’t want or have at least one or two Polly Pocket toys? I know I had quite a few (thanks to hand me downs from my older sister). Each Polly Pocket came in either a shell like case (or another fun shaped case) and opened up into a small scene or scenario. Think Cinderella-esque castle that lit up and came with a princess and a prince (see above), or a pool park with a lazy river and little moving rides (I also had that one!). Each Polly Pocket character was teeny-tiny and bent at the waist and was a total choking hazard, which was why years later they redid Miss Polly and friends and made her bigger, so she could now wear different items of clothing. But it just doesn't match the mini-magic worlds that Little Polly and those Pockets held.

Littlest Pet Shop

I swear, I had a few Littlest Pet Shop cat/kitten sets, a bird cage one, a bunny burrow one, and a hamster one. I loved that the cat ones usually came with litter boxes AND a scratching post. How realistic! But where's the pooper scooper? And the vet bill(s)?
If you were anything like me as a kid, when you grew up, you either wanted to be an artist or a veterinarian (those two go hand in hand, obviously). Or a close second, you wanted to own a pet store! (Even though now we know to adopt, not shop, when choosing a pet!) But the Littlest Pet Shop toys certainly made me want to be the proud business owner of a pet store that sold animals of all kinds, including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, fish, probably reptiles and probably even some weird exotic ones too, like arctic creatures such as whales and penguins. The toys were all super cute and small and you could buy them as a set of one animal toy with accessories, or even a set with parts of the store or little habitats for your animals. They still sell Littlest Pet Shop toys, but sadly they’ve had a makeover and are now bigger (again, must have been a choking hazard thing again!) with weird, large eyes and overly large heads, too. Sigh. Remember when we used to make toys look like the actual animals they actually resemble? Kids these days!

Quints

I don't remember the Quints AND bed sold separately! What a scam! Anyway, MY Quints toys were brunettes. Just FYI.
How do I describe Quints? They were the strangest concept and yet so popular! They were a set of five, very small baby dolls, a mix of boy and girl dolls (sometimes. Or maybe some were all girls or all boys? Who knows!), and they were quintuplets. Why any child would want to play with five tiny baby siblings confuses me now, but I remember loving my Quints dolls! In the box, they all came in one bed, and mine were a special kind where you could feed them water from a bottle and then they “peed” out the water. I thoroughly enjoyed feeding them, sans diaper, and just enjoyed watching the water come out their bottoms. Weird? Yes. But then again, I was a weird child. I also loved tucking them into that giant bed that they all shared, which thinking about that now, seems very unsafe for five babies. But I guess five individual cribs would not have been as cute.

Beanie Babies


I never had a Beanie Baby bear, but oh did I want one. But what kind of kid wanted the Jerry Garcia bear? Except for me, the daughter of a Grateful dead fan. I love my dad, but I really don't understand him.
Beanie Babies!!!! The holy grail of 90’s and 2000’s toys! They took the world by storm and not just kids! Adults were in on the action too! The adults were all for Beanie Babies for their value (because apparently everyone thought that Beanie Babies would be the equivalent of gold bars in the not-so-distant future), but kids were all for collecting. You had to have one of each and as many as you could. I didn’t have the biggest collection of them, but I treasured each and every one of them as if they were holy relics of some bygone saint that grants miracles. I even had the clear display boxes and tag protectors! Sadly, Beanie Babies did not increase in value over time, and my collection slowly disappeared as I lost interest and gave them away. But I will never forget that rush of getting a new Beanie Baby and adding it to my collection. Plus, who could forget the adorable names they all had plus the cute little poems that were included on each tag??

Pocahontas EVERYTHING

I had this doll! And a Pocahontas lunchbox that I sadly can't find a picture of but it was really cool, you guys!
If you thought Frozen was a phenomenon now, then you weren’t a kid in the 90’s when Pocahontas came out. It was the sh*t. And I mean that in the best way possible, considering that the movie was incredibly historically inaccurate and actually very disrespectful to Pocahontas’s actual true and tragic story (I guess they tried to make up for that in the sequel but apparently that flopped because it leaned more towards the truth. No one wants that, right?). I remember being obsessed with the movie. My very first CD I ever owned was the Pocahontas soundtrack. I had Pocahontas hiking boots, a Pocahontas lunch box, and a Pocahontas Barbie doll. I was Pocahontas obsessed and is probably the reason why I still want a pet raccoon, despite them being very troublesome, but cute, pets. And illegal where I live. Dang it!

Pokemon Cards

Apparently, there's a game to be played with these, not just to collect them. Huh.
Gotta catch ‘em all! And boy did we try back in the day! Even if you didn’t play the card game, you had to collect the cards, regardless of whether you understood it or not (okay, so I knew some of the Pokemon monsters/creatures/things and watched the show sometimes, but the cards were where it was at). All us kids really knew was that some of the cards were valuable, and we needed all of the cards. You were pretty cool (and organized) if you had your cards in a really cool binder with clear card holders so you could display your super rare and holographic cards for all to see. The whole thing was such a phenomenon that it spawned toys, movies, golden Pokemon cards in their own Pokeballs at Burger King (yes, I had one and cherished it), soundtracks featuring the best late 90’s pop artists EVER (Baby Spice, B*Witched, M2M, anyone?). And it still blows my mind to this day that Pokemon is back and better than ever with kids like it was back in my day. Maybe not with cards, but with Pokemon Go, memorabilia, collectibles, toys, and the Detective Pickachu movie- Pokemon lives on! (And probably never really went away, I just didn’t realize it. I guess the world doesn't revolve around me and my interests, sadly.)

Sand Art

Was there a point to this? Who knows! But it was soooo cool at the time!
Okay, this is a weird one, but I needed to include it! As a kid, amongst all the other toys I loved, I also was obsessed with craft making kits. Whether it was that weird pot-holder kit that almost every kid had and parents begrudgingly used them (not because they didn’t love their kids, but because the pot-holder themselves were so misshapen and ugly) and friendship bracelet kids (or if you were really lucky- make your own lip gloss or candy kits!), kits were my jam! (Yet there were no jam making kit for kids. Huh. Lost opportunity there.) I loved being creative as a kid and kits were my way of expressing myself in a total company manufactured way. But one of the kits I most remember from my youth were sand art kits! Essentially, the kit came with multiple plastic bottles of varying sizes and shapes, and with packs of different colored sand. You could then pour the sand, layer by layer, with a funnel, into the bottles, making different layered designs. What were you supposed to do with these beautifully colored bottles after you popped the plastic cork in ‘em? I guess just display your wonderful artistic talent for putting different colored sand in bottles in a somewhat pretty pattern? Also, some of the bottles were small and could be made into necklaces, which is something I’m sure every kid wanted to wear and none of the colored sand ever spilled out. The 90’s were a weird time, you guys.

Those were just twelve of some of the toys I could think of (I’m sure if I had given myself more time I could have come up with so many more toys!) that I loved as a kid back in the 90's/2000's! These posts are always such a trip down memory lane and reminds me of how much toys have changed from then and till now (I feel like all the toys they have today talk and make noise. With waaaay better technology. These lucky kiddos nowadays!) Plus, it’s amazing to realize how important toys were in our lives! They really dictated who you were in school, your “status” if you had this toy or that. Oh, fads. Let’s just let toys be toys and be fun to play with! (Thank you for coming to my TED Talk!)

What were your favorite toys from back in the day? And what was the coolest toy that you could own back when you were a kid? Let me know in the comments and thank you for reading this total random nostalgia trip! If you have any other 90's/2000's nostalgia ideas for blog posts ideas for me to write, let me know!

Stay Weird,
Emily


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Why A Cynical Person Like Me Loves Valentine's Day!

Photo by Laura Ockel on Unspash
Hello, cynics! As a fellow cynical person, you may be surprised to know that I love Valentine’s Day. And no, it’s not because my birthday is on February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day (but that certainly helps). Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays, despite the fact that I have rarely had a significant other to celebrate it on the actual holiday. And I’m here to tell you why this cynical ass person (aka me!) loves it so much. And the reason why I love it may actually change the way you feel about it too.

A Day for Love- But Only for Couples. No Singles Allowed!

We all know that Valentine’s Day is a holiday all about love. Romantic love. We see commercials for it on TV all the time. For the guy: buy her jewelry. For the girl: buy lingerie to wear for him for your special night (and he doesn’t have to dress up?? Sexist!). Hearts and pastels are everywhere, and so are chocolate, flowers, and so many corny, punny, and “sexy” gifts to give to your significant other (or your significant “otter.” It has to due with romance, but I still love me a good pun!). I know why you find this holiday horrifying and trust me, I understand when I see the commercialism and all of the nauseating happy couples (though I’m happy for you. I know it sounds like I’m not, but I am. Seriously. Just no PDA directly in my field of vision, please). I’m with you, friend. (Plus, no one likes those conversation hearts. They taste like flavored chalk!)

Valentine’s Day has always been marketed towards couples. Celebrate your love, show them you care on this special day. So many couples get engaged or married on Valentine’s Day, almost like it’s an even more romantic gesture to prove their love (but it’s probably just an easy way to remember an anniversary, am I right?). Some other fellow cynics will argue that it’s just a holiday made up by corporations to make money, like Hallmark. While Valentine’s Day lovers (sorry, had to) will counter that by saying that, actually, St. Valentine was a real person, and married people in secret while Christians were being jailed for their new religion by the Romans. Tre romantic, no? (And of course I know this story because I grew up Catholic. Also, St. Patrick apparently explained the three leaf clover to non-Christians as a way to explain the Holy Trinity so that’s we associate shamrocks with St. Patty’s Day. Why did I retain all of this knowledge???)

The focus that everyone puts on Valentine's day is romance. Ooh la la! Pretty much nothing else (well, that and candy). Sure, card companies (hi there again, Hallmark!) will have cards for grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, etc. so you can send them a card for Valentine’s day to show them you love them (platonically, of course. The racy stuff is only for your significant otter- er, I mean other!), but other than that, it’s all couples nights out or nights in with wine, chocolate syrup, and sexy dice. (I want to gag just after writing that sentence!)

Single people, understandably, feel (or have felt) left out (me included!), end up boycotting the holiday entirely, and celebrate being single (which is totally amazing and valid. Happily single girl here! *waves*) on Galentine’s Day on February 13th, the day before Valentine’s day. Which is actually my birthday, so really everyone is unknowingly celebrating my birthday as well as female friendships, which is such a beautiful feminist move and a lovely universal present for me on my birthday. (Thanks, everyone!)

For a fellow cynic like me, I completely get where people who hate Valentine’s Day come from. You feel like you’re being excluded from this very exclusive thing that most of the world gets to celebrate, just because they’re coupled up and you’re...well, not (Again, I'm currently single at the moment, so I feel you!). But I’m here to tell you that Valentine’s Day isn’t just about finally getting frisky with your hunny-bun without the kids interrupting. It is so, so much more than that. (Thank, god!)

Valentine’s Day Isn’t Just for Romantic Love (And I’ll Prove It To You!)

Guess what! Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about romantic love. There are all different types of love. The love you have for your family. The love you have for your friends. The love you have for your pet, even. Just like Thanksgiving seems to be a day to remind us to be thankful (even though we should be thankful all year round, not have a holiday once a year to remind us), I feel like Valentine’s day is a day to remind us of the love we have for others. And not just the romantic boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife love. Love that is so much more than “I’d rather die than live without you” kind; it's the love that is there everyday for the people who have always been there for you. Like your mom, dad, sibling, friend, or mailman (listen, I don’t judge). That kind of love.

To me, Valentine’s Day has always been that kind of day for me. Like I said before, I’ve only been with a few boyfriends for Valentine’s Day (and mainly it was a lot of excitement before you realize it’s just another date, but with presents that you have no use for, like flowers, teddy bears, or really ugly pieces of jewelry that you would never wear except that one time to show your boyfriend that you really did loooove it: “see! I love it! I’m wearing it right now!”). But before that, it was just me and my family and friends. And I loved celebrating that way! I loved that I could show them that I love them, to remind them of that, by giving them little gifts or a card that said so. In my opinion, like with Thanksgiving, we don’t say how much we love one another enough. Why not take the opportunity of a supposed “romantic” holiday to express other types of love to those we truly care about?

I personally love to make or buy (nothing fancy or expensive, don’t worry!) little presents or bake cookies or treats (let’s be honest, it’s usually sugary treats that I give to people), to show my family and friends that I love them. No, I don’t have to buy them a fancy piece of jewelry or fancy dinners, his and hers gross bedroom product, or hotel rooms with a hot tub on the balcony, like couples are forced to think they have to because of the holiday. My presents are just gestures to remind my loved ones that I do in fact love and care for them. Whether it’s a simple text saying “I love and appreciate you” with lots of heart emojis to my aunt (who loves emojis), a cute cartoonishly bright Valentine’s card sent in the mail to my four year old niece, or just a plate of cookies that I frosted and tried to make pretty to the best of my ability, but it's a gesture of love and that's what matters.

It may not be much, but it’s honestly and truly the thought that counts. It’s the fact that we take the time to sit down, write a card or make or bake a little something, and tell our loved ones we care. Not because we have to, but because we want to. Love is more than romantic. Love is thanking our family for raising and loving us, for being there when we were sick or supporting us when we were down on our luck. Love is reminding our friends that we remember when they dried our tears after that guy dumped us on our birthday- and then made us laugh and forget about him (this is possibly a true story). Love is even giving your neighbor a plate of cookies, just because. (And because they watched your cats for you while you were on vacation.)

Let Valentine’s Day be a day not consumed with who had the best, most romantic date night with their partner (I mean, good for them, we’re happy for you, blah blah blah), but one about reminding us of the love that has constantly surrounded us for years, and the fact that we should recognize and give it back, not just once a year, but all year round.

Have I Convinced You Yet? (If Not That’s Okay. You Do You, Boo!)

So this Valentine’s day, I invite you to be as cynical as you want to be. That’s your right. But if you want to think about the holiday in a different way with a different meaning, then I suggest you start think about the different types of love you have for the people in your life. Maybe you want to show your parents how much you love them by popping by with some dinner you made, to show them how much you care. (I mean, they did make you dinner for most of your young life, so you might as well give back with the ultimate sign of love aka food) Or bake some cookies for friends and write them a note, just reminding them how much you appreciate having them in your life (especially if they’re a “help you hide the body” kind of friend. They’re the real OGs). Or for your pharmacist, to thank them for always having your prescription ready, so you never run out of your anti-depressants (haha, oops, that’s me! But if it applies to you, go for it!)

Remember in school where you got to decorate a tissue box as your mailbox and every other kid in class had to give you a Valentine? (the rich kids always gave you the ones with candy in them, which were the best. Thank you, rich kids!) As a kid, that was not about romantic love. It was more about forced participation and including everyone in class, but it was the thought that counted. Valentine’s Day should be more like that, where we would show that we cared with cheap little cards with our favorite characters on them (not fancy gifts), and squealed when our friends gave us the best cards that they knew we loved (and the good kind of candy, too!) Love is simple and for everyone, not just the happy couples that bore us and bog down our social media with their kissing selfies.

Love and appreciation is a forgotten language between family and friend sometimes, so let’s remind ourselves of the people we hold most dear in our lives, and remind them that we love them. That’s how I think we should truly spend this otherwise wrongly marketed Valentine’s Day.

(But, if you are with a romantic partner and want to celebrate the day, please don’t think that I’m trampling on your joy! Just remember the other wonderful people you love and have in your life that day too, so please show them you appreciate them and then go and get busy with your boo. And try not to rub it in any singleton’s face. That’s all!).

Happy Valentine’s, everyone!

And that was my unique and not-actually-so-cynical take on Valentine’s Day! What did you guys think? Do you like the holiday or are you anti-Valentine’s Day? Let me know what you think in the comments and if you celebrate it, alone, with friends or family, or with a partner!

Stay Weird,
Emily

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Taste Testing Irish Snacks For the Very First Time!


You all know I love a good taste test. Especially an international one. And what better way to start out a new month than with a new international taste test? And how about one from none other than the Emerald Isle aka Ireland, home of B*Witched, Guinness, and Saorsie Ronan? And the homeland of Conan O’Brien, who I personally love and think is the best late night host ever (don’t at me, because I will win. Team Coco forever!).

Now, I’ve already done a SnackCrate taste test before of British snacks and candy, but that was a one off box from their store. SnackCrate (totally not an ad!) offers you a one time trial size box for a $1 (which I paid for myself, thank you very much!), in hopes that you will buy a full subscription to their snacks. And if I had the money, I totally would! (Want to sponsor me, SnackCrate??) Because I was so impressed by their packaging and selection! Plus, it even comes with a card describing the country of the box, plus fun facts about said country, and it includes descriptions of the items! (Probably very helpful if the country’s native language is not English, which is probably 98% of all other countries in the world. We English speaking people really take everything for granted.)


I honestly had so much fun taste testing this box, plus they included more snacks than the original five they said they would (thanks, SnackCrate!), and the box came with fun Irish themed stickers (which I’m totally giving to my niece for St. Patrick’s Day), plus the contents of the box were wrapped with the cutest Irish themed paper, sealed with a circular Irish flag sticker. I’m a sucker for good packaging and SnackCrate nailed it. Plus, SnackCrate sent me TWO brands of cheddar and onion crisps, so I think we may have a crisp taste test battle on our hands!



Let’s get tasting!

Taytos Cheddar and Onion Crisps


What Is It/What’s In It? Crunchy Irish potato chips (or crisps, if you want to be totally Irish) flavored with vintage Irish cheddar and onion.
How Does It Taste? Delicious! I’ve had cheese and onion chips/crisps in my British snack taste test (again, by SnackCrate. Wanna collab, guys?), but I’ve had previously heard of Tayto, a very Irish crisp brand from Conan O’Brien, on his show. He visited an Irish American Cultural Center in Chicago and was teasing the people who ran it on how many packs of Taytos they had stocked there. So for a while, my sister and I would just randomly say, “Taytooooo!” to each other in a fake Irish accent, mimicking Conan. (I really love Conan, you guys)
Would I Eat It Again? Yes, please, thank you. I personally like rippled chips better, but the taste and cut of these chips were perfectly crunchy and lovely, so 10/10 would eat again. Why don’t they sell these here in grocery stores in the States??


StarBar


What Is It/What’s In It?
A milk chocolate candy bar with caramel and crushed roasted peanuts.
How Does It Taste? Pretty good! I was a little thrown off by the crushed peanuts because they almost mimicked the texture of rice crispies, which made me check the ingredient list to see if there were any in there! But the caramel was nice and stretchy and there was LOTS of it!
Would I Eat It Again? I enjoyed it, but it didn’t knock my socks off. I personally like whole peanuts for the texture better, so maybe if they had peanut halves instead of crushed peanuts, I probably would eat it again. But I’m a picky American who loves my peanuts, so what can I do?

Snack! Shortcake Bar


What Is It/What’s In It? A Cadbury (so you know it’s gonna be good) bar with buttery shortbread squares covered in chocolate.
How Does It Taste? Um, so freaking amazing! It tasted really similar to Keebler’s Fudge Stripes cookies or those Girl Scout cookies that were shortbread that had the bottom of the cookie covered in chocolate (those existed, right? I’m not just making them up?). But I don’t know if it was the shortbread or the silky chocolate but they almost reminded me a tad bit of Maltesers. I have no idea why, because they didn’t taste malty, but I couldn’t help but think of them as I ate them.
Would I Eat It Again? Yes! These were a total winner! Shortbread and chocolate? You can’t go wrong!

Snack! Sandwich Bar


What Is It?/What’s In It? The same ingredients as the Snack! Bar, but a sandwich version! Two shortbread biscuits/cookies with sandwiches together with chocolate, and then covered in chocolate. *drools*
How Does It Taste? Just like the regular Snack! bar version, but a bit more hearty, since the biscuits/cookies were thicker plus there was more chocolate.
Would I Eat It Again? Um, heck yes! I don’t know which Snack! version I liked more, but I would happily eat them both again, with no hesitation whatsoever.

Oatfield Glucose Barley Hard Candy


What Is it?/What’s In It? A hard candy flavored like Glucose Barley. My options were either of getting Chocolate Orange or Glucose Barley. They gave me Glucose Barley. So basically it's a sweet wheat treat. You guys, I’m scared.
How Does It Taste? You know, it wasn’t too bad! It honestly just tasted like a lemon cough drop without the menthol, or just a lemon flavored candy with barely any lemon in it. So not as scary as I was expecting, but not at all flavorful (which is maybe a good thing…?)
Would I Eat It Again? Most likely not. Sorry, Glucose Barley!

Elite Kimberley


What Is It?/What’s In It? Sweet cookies topped with marshmallows and dipped in milk chocolate.
How Does It Taste? You know, this sounded really, really good, like American Moon Pies, but once I tasted it, something tasted a bit odd to me. It wasn’t the chocolate or the marshmallow, but it was more like the cookies themselves. Like something it was flavored with something a little heavier than just a simple cookie. I had to Google the cookie itself and discover the cookies are flavored with ginger! Huh.
Would I Eat It Again? Honestly, probably not. The heaviness and almost mealiness of the ginger cookies (which really doesn’t taste like ginger to me) isn’t very appealing to me. But I love the idea of these and just wish I liked them more!

ChewIts Xtreme Sour Apple Chews


What Is It?/What’s In It? Sweet chews that are tart but end up sweet at the end. I had the option of either getting Sour Apple or Tutti Frutti, and they gave me Sour Apple. Thank god.
How Does It Taste? It tasted like my childhood! I used to love sour apple flavored things, so eating one of these was like revisiting my youth. The pieces were individually wrapped (for some reason I just thought it would be one long piece of chewy candy, like a huge Laffy Taffy), and was really tasty! Not too sour, with just enough sweet. Plus, on the package it says it's suitable for vegetarians, which is something you don't often see on candies in the States.
Would I Eat It Again? As much as I enjoyed this nostalgia trip, I’m more of a chocolate fan now if I’m going to eat sweets. Though I do love the little alligator/crocodile (or is a dinosaur?) mascot they’ve got going on. We need more branding like that in the world!

Hunky Dorys Cheddar and Spring Onion


What Is It?/What’s In It? Ripple-cut crisps flavored with cheddar cheese and spring onion.
How Does It Taste? Yummy! I love me some ripple-cut chips, and these tasted really good. Like Ruffles but with a much better cheese and onion flavor (possibly even better than cheese and sour cream? Don’t tell anyone I said that!)
Would I Eat It Again? Ooh yes! These should be a requirement in the chip bowl at any party in Ireland. (Do Irish people have chip bowls at parties? I thought that was just a thing everyone did!)

But which crisps/chips win in this ultimate battle? Tayto or Hunky Dorys? In my opinion, it has to be... Tayto! As much as I love ripple-cut chips, I loved the aged cheddar flavor of Tayto more, plus the kettle style of the chips gave them a great crunch. The Hunky Dorys ones seemed to have a more powdery flavoring covering them, which made them taste more artificial (but still tasty!). Tayto is the clear winner for me!

And that was my taste test of Irish snacks! I’d say this SnackCrate sample box was really varied and had some great tasting (and not so great tasting) snacks and candy in it! I wish I was able to buy more of these sample sizes, but I understand why they want you to try one and then get a full subscription (they wouldn’t be making very much money if everyone was just buying $1 boxes!). But SnackCrate, again, if you’d like to send me a full box to review I’d love to try it and post about it! *wink wink* *nudge nudge* *mouths “Email me”*


And if you love reading about my taste tests, feel free to check out my Ko-fi page, where you can donate a cup of coffee so I can keep making more posts like this! (No pressure though! You have no idea  how much people just reading and commenting on my blog means to me! But just in case you were wondering, I do have a current goal I’m trying to reach on my Ko-fi page which I'm trying to reach, if you're at all interested!)

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

I hope you enjoyed this very Irish themed taste testing post! What did you think of the snacks and candy and the variety of them? If you’re Irish, do you eat any of these treats? Also, what kind of international snacks should I try next? I have still yet to try Irn-Bru and it intrigues me! Let me know what you think in the comments!

Stay Weird,
Emily


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January 2020 Wrap-Up!


Oh my goodness, I can’t believe January is almost over. In a little less than a week, it’ll be February- and my birthday! (It’s on the 13th, if you didn’t know. I'm almost a Valentine’s baby!). I wanted to try something a little different this year, and do a once a month wrap up of the month, to update you on any interesting or fun things have happened to me. Will it be a hit or amusing to read for anyone? Who knows! Will I keep doing this till December? Don’t know that either! You let me know! But for now, let’s give it a try!

What I’ve Been Doing in January

I’ve been working on my blog! Basically, using my own advice from this blog post. I'm rewriting/revamping old posts to make them fresher and more current, reformatting, making new headers, and making more Pinterest graphics (even though I’m terrible at them!). I may not write as often as other bloggers (I only post once a week. For now), but I’m going to try to make my blog as functional and stream-lined (and pretty!) as I can until I can start posting more. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I'm trying to my hand at minimalism! Thanks to Julie over at Dark Blue Journal (Hi Julie!), she's inspired me to go on this journey. I want to be less cluttered and more focused. And far less attached to things. So I’ve been going through my drawers to see what I can donate (as far as clothes, trinkets, etc.). It’s honestly been so liberating so far!

I’m looking into donating books to prisons and am also donating my old bridesmaid dress! I have a few advanced readers copies (ARCs) of books that I’ve received for free from Goodreads and you’re not allowed to sell ARCs or even donate them to the library because they could be sold later. So I thought, why not donate them to people who don’t get the chance to have as much choice in what they can read and could use some new books? So right now I’m currently looking for prison programs who will accept the ARCs! I’m also going to donate my beautiful bridesmaid dress (after I dry clean it, of course) from my best friend’s wedding to a local charity that gives away free prom dresses to students in the community. I figure, if I’m going to give things away and declutter, I might as well give back to the community and let someone else enjoy these things as much I did when I used them! 

I’ve decided to grow my hair out so I can donate it! I’ve always had short hair (one disastrous haircut in first grade can really make or break your hair length for life) and I thought last year that it might be fun to grow it out. But then I thought, What if I grew it out so long that I then could cut it and donate it?? So that’s my new goal! For the next year and a half (I’m about at 4 inches now, if my hair were tied in a low pony, so I have a ways to go!), I’ll be taking extra good care of my hair to make it nice and long and healthy. Plus, I’m trying NOT to shampoo it as much to make it extra healthy! (I used to shampoo it everyday but now I’m going for every two days. My hair is a complete greaseball aka book Snape on day two, but hopefully my oils will even out soon and I can go for every three days!)

I’m reading my 11th book of the year! Or it could be 12th or 13th by the time January ends. My reading goal this year is 60 books! Last year it was 50 and I ended up reading 109 books! I’m excited to see if I can reach 60 or even more this year! (Though I’m not holding my breath that I can beat 109 from last year!) But I think 11 books in January is still pretty impressive! (At least in my opinion!)

I got the birth control implant in my arm! It's good for three years, covered by my insurance, and it may make my period go away! Wuhoo! It's a silly thing to be excited for, but I am. Personally, I feel like everyone should have access to birth control, but obviously not everyone feels that way (Ahem. And that's all I'll say on the matter). But I also wanted to add this in because when I got the implant, I was pretty relaxed, but right afterwards, I felt really dizzy and ended up fainting! I was so embarrassed, but my doctor and the medical staff were so nice that I probably need to bake them cookies to thank them for being so nice to me. Why am I a fainter?? It didn't even hurt and there wasn't even blood! And why do I still want to try to donate blood?? What is wrong with me??? (Also, it's kind of fun to have people touch my arm where the implant is because you can feel it under the skin and it grosses people out. Win-win!)

I may be getting a new kitten soon! (Fingers crossed and knock on wood!) As you may know, if you’ve read my blog from last year, I lost my cat D.W. quite suddenly and haven’t wanted to get a new cat for a while. D.W. was so special to me that I was almost sure I didn’t want another cat. But then a friend of a friend said she was fostering two kittens and I went to go visit them and I just fell in love with both! I know I can only choose one, so right now I’m trying to pick which one would be best for me and our family, but my goodness, they are both so adorable! I will keep you updated on what happens. A (possible) new kitten aka a tiny floof to love!!!

And that has been my January so far. Seems not that exciting to some, but it's been keeping me busy. Also, there will be a lot in store for February, since that is my birthday month! And no, I will not tell you how old I'm turning because I am obviously ageless and immortal! So check back next month for my February wrap-up!

So what did you all think of this type of post? Like it? Ambivalent to it? I thought it was pretty fun, but I'd like to know what you think! Also, if you have some tips on how to make killer Pinterest graphics or keep your hair healthy and good charities in the US to donate your hair, I'd love the suggestions!

Stay Weird,
Emily

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My Story Of Living With Emetophobia


*Trigger Warning!*

In this post I will be talking about emetophobia. If you’re easily triggered by talk of vomit or other words I may use instead of vomit (because honestly, using that word is going to get boring and I’m going to bring in some synonyms to mix things up), skip this post and read one of my other happier ones.

What Is Emetophobia?

Some of you may know what emetophobia is. But some of you might not. Here’s a hint:

“Emesis” comes from the Greek word “emein,” which means “to vomit,” and “phobia,” obviously means an irrational fear.

Put "emesis" and "phobia" together, and what do you get? Emetophobia, the fear of vomiting.

I suffer from emetophobia. It started when I was around 11 (we’ll get around to the story soon, I promise), ruled my life for many years, but is now lying dormant, just waiting for a stomach bug. It’s an awful fear to have, because as gross as barfing is, it’s very hard to avoid it. Sometimes you get sick, sometimes someone else gets sick. Sometimes you even throw up because it’s your stomach’s own defense mechanism if you eat something bad for you or possibly poisonous (aka the dreaded food poisoning!). Basically, puking happens in life and you can’t avoid it forever. Unfortunately.

Emetophobia can be being scared of vomit or vomiting, and of being around others who vomit. The sight, sounds, or even the thought of vomit or vomiting can send a person with emetophobia into anxiety or a panic attack (or both!). I mean, no one likes throwing up (it’s super gross and awful, we can all agree on that!) but people with emetophobia will avoid all situations that can in any way possible lead to vomiting. Mention of the stomach flu? Avoid! Food that’s been in the fridge too long or near or past its expiration date? Throw that out! Going out drinking with the possibility of blowing chunks? Nuh-uh! Not gonna happen!

I didn’t always know that emetophobia had a name or it was an actual thing. I didn’t even know that other people had it! I honestly thought I was the only one in this very awful and exclusive club. I just knew that I had a strong and extreme fear of vomiting. It hurt my life for many years and led me to avoid so many situations and experiences just because I was scared of the possibility I might vomit. Because of this, I want to share my experience with all of you in the hopes that I can educate people about this phobia and hopefully help someone out there who reads this to know that they aren’t alone. (Because you aren't!)

It’s taken me a really long time until I discovered the Twitter community to realize that other people had this emetophobia thing too. I was inspired by Naomi over at Inching Forwards, to write about my own experience, since she wrote about hers, and I was so grateful that someone else understood. She also has some great tips and resources in her post (much better than mine), so please check out her post.

But my journey to emetophobe (aka a person who suffers from emetophobia) began with what I call "The Pizza Incident."

The Start of My Fear of Vomiting, or "The Pizza Incident" 

It all began, like I said, when I was 11. My mother is a great at making homemade pizza, and we’d have it often. So for lunch one day, my mom made an extra good pizza and my older sister and I chowed down. My sister has always been able to eat more than I have, so I felt a little like I was competing with her to eat as many slices as I could. I remember having several pieces and feeling rather full. But the pizza was yummy so I honestly didn’t mind.

A little while later, I started feeling a little sick. I wasn’t quite sure if it was my stomach or intestinal discomfort, but all I knew was that I felt very queasy. I decided the best thing to do was to plop myself down on the toilet (I know, TMI) with a book and just wait to see what would happen. Whatever end it came out of, I’d be set! (Listen, TMI again, but all bodily functions are gross and we all do them, so let’s just get over it, okay?) But the longer I sat there, the more queasy and sick I felt, and the more my heart started to race. I started sweating and thinking, “this hurts so much! What’s wrong? What’s going to happen? Why is this happening???” I felt so scared and confused. I didn’t realize it, but that was my very first panic attack. And the next thing I knew, I grabbed the trash can next to me and threw up into it. I remember my mom and sister coming in to check on me in the bathroom, with me sitting on the toilet, pantless, shaking and crying.

Even I could figure out what happened. Emetophobia usually comes after a traumatic incident involving vomit or vomiting. I knew that my first panic attack was connected to the idea of barfing, and they would forever be connected. Worst of all, I couldn’t eat pizza again for years. (If that doesn’t tell you how awful this fear is, then I don’t know what else will convince you!)

From there, the panic attacks would start and sneak up without warning. I remember waking up one day, early, and feeling panicky and nauseous. I wouldn’t eat anything, since I was afraid of throwing up again. I never wanted to feel that panic again. My mom would coax me with smoothies and gentle foods she promised wouldn’t upset my stomach. I eventually started eating again, but that fear remained and to be honest, I ate a lot less in case I overate and got sick. And continued to do so for many years to come.

The Peak of Fear

I had become obsessed with not vomiting. Or being around vomit. Or seeing vomit. Or hearing someone vomit. I even become obsessed with the idea of barfing and puke in general, despite the fact that it scared me so much I would obsessively check the labels on food to make sure they weren’t spoiled or else I would get food poisoning. I couldn’t watch any movie that had a puking scene in it. You know that one iconic scene in The Sandlot? I used to be able to watch it and laugh, but just the thought of it would make me go crying into my room. Even comedic scenes with throw up in them would send me in a blind panic, making me pull out my hair. I took to checking a website for parents that reviewed all the inappropriate things in movies to check for scenes of vomiting to make sure I could watch the movie in peace.

I ate less and less- just in case. When my acid reflux acted up, I carried about a plastic bag in my purse just in case I needed to puke when I was out. I flinched and freaked out when the words “vomit,” “barf,” or “puke,” (words I’m using now in this post) were even mentioned casually. I never tried alcohol as a teen because I was afraid just a single drop would make me hurl. I insisted on having food with any medication, just in case the medication shouldn’t be taken on an empty stomach. My life was consumed with not barfing, seeing vomit, or anything that had to do it. It was physically exhausting and emotionally draining.

This lasted for many years and coincided with a dark depression that started when I was around 12. I went to therapy. A lot of therapy. A lot of medications. No one I saw had any great ideas to help me with my Extreme Fear: Vomiting Edition except for talking about it. Which in all honesty, didn’t do too much, since we weren’t making any progress. Looking back, I was just wasting my parents’ insurance co-pays on substandard therapy sessions. Also, in retrospect, those therapists sucked and had no idea how to help me.

Eventually it got a little better when I was around 18, but unfortunately, another traumatic experience involving the idea of vomiting sent me on another dark route that I won’t get into now (or maybe ever, on this blog. Sometimes some things are too personal to share). But after many years of suffering, crying, hair-pulling, panic attacks, and anxiety, finding the right medications, and therapy, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. An unexpected, horrible light that would kind of really help.

The Thing I’ve Been Fearing the Most Happens (And It Kind of Helped)

Like I said earlier in this post, puking is kind of hard to avoid in life. Unfortunately, even if you have an irrational fear of it, it’s going to happen to you. It’s not like a “normal” fear, like of being murdered, where the percentage is incredibly tiny. Vomiting is going to happen to you at some point. And it finally happened to me.

After years of avoiding the regurgitation monster, it happened. I remember one night I got really dehydrated, and ended up getting very sick, gastrointestinally speaking, in the bathroom (we already discussed bodily issues earlier, so don’t get grossed out. You know it’s happened to you, too!). My body was losing a lot of water and I was feeling shaky and sick from all the trips to the bathroom. It was early morning and I thought if I possibly had a cracker (pita chips, to be exact) and a drink, it might settle my stomach.

It had the opposite effect. Being dehydrated can cause nausea and guess what happened after I ate? I threw up! For the first time in so many years, my worst fear happened to me. But it was so quick I almost barely registered it. Afterwards, as my mom helped me clean up the couch (sorry, couch), she smiled at me, hugged me, and whispered in my ear, “you did it.”

And she was right. I did do it. Well, technically, my stomach did the work for me. If I could have avoided barfing, I would have. But that’s the thing. Sometimes the thought and anticipation of throwing up is worse than the actual act (not that the actual act is pleasant. It’s the total opposite). Because the anticipation is really the fear of the possibility of throwing up. It’s that fear of losing control that somehow forms and clamps onto something physical that is really the problem. And I finally faced that fear without intending to!

Where I Am Now With My Fear

I can’t say that I’m “cured.” I don’t think there really is such a thing as being cured from a lot of things, especially mental health issues. I know people use the word “recovery” a lot, but I actually like the term “remission” better. I feel like a lot of my mental issues will always stay with me, but they will ebb and flow (more on the ebbing side, I hope!), and I feel that way about my fear of throwing up.

But after my unexpected hurling session happened, I learned that I could survive my worst fear. It didn’t destroy me. There wasn’t total blackness after it happened like I always expected there would be. I was still here, I made it through. Was it a horrible, gross experience? Of course it was. Again, no one likes throwing up. It just proved to me that I could work through my fear and survive something that is gross and scary, but not let that fear take over my life again.

Am I still scared of vomiting? Heck yes! I still panic when I hear a family member barfing, but I’ve come a long way. I’m able to pull myself together. Even though I do try to avoid the situation, I force myself to put that fear aside and focus on the person and what they’re feeling, not the act of barfing itself. I’ve even cleaned up some puke. Talk about self-imposed exposure therapy!

So for now, I try not to think about myself barfing unless I actually think I might. My current (and wonderful) therapist told me about anxiety is that there is no point in worrying if nothing has actually happened yet. After years of living with this and suffering from it, I feel like I sort of have a handle on it. But I’ll update you the next time I throw up on how it went! (If you really want to know, you twisted freaks. I’m kidding. I love you all. Thank you for reading this!)

Where to Find Help for Emetophobia

If you suffer from emetophobia, I highly recommend you find a therapist to help you deal with it. A therapist who deals with phobias and anxiety is the best option (not like the ones I went to who just wanted to take my parents’ money!). It will be incredibly hard to do, I’m just warning you, because the last thing you want to do when you have a fear of something is to talk about it and learn NOT to avoid it. But it is really worth it, if this fear is keeping you from living your life, like it did for me.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are a few ways that therapists can help you face your fear of throwing up. I never did exposure therapy officially, but in a way I made myself face that fear by watching movies and videos with vomiting in them and dealing with barfing family members, as mentioned above. I’ve even heard some people say they’ve found websites or books to help them with their fear. All of these can help and have helped people (or so I’ve heard), but I would definitely try to find a therapist to help you instead of doing this all by yourself (I’m sure you can still use the books or websites along with therapy). I wish I had had that support back then, but hopefully you can have that support now.

You can get help with your fear. Don’t let it hold you back from all the good things life has to offer you! I missed out on so much because my anxiety and panic attacks influence me so much and I let my fear rule me. No one should live like that. I can’t promise that you’ll ever be “cured” (like I said, my status is currently “in remission”), but getting a hold on emetophobia and not fearing the vomit or the idea of puke can really change your life (and honestly let you watch more movies!). So with the help of a mental health professional and support from family and friends, you can learn not to let this fear rule your life. I promise you that it will be worth it!

Because guess what? Pizza and I are on good terms now. Take that, emetophobia!

This was a very emotional and hard post for me to write. I feel like most posts regarding my mental health are! Sometimes it can be painful to go back to such dark times. But I’m so glad I wrote it if it helps educate and help someone else who may have emetophobia. Thank you to everyone who reads this for listening and understanding. Please let me know in the comments if you’ve ever dealt with emetophobia or you’ve even heard of it before! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Stay Weird,
Emily

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The Versatile Blogger Award


The Versatile Blogger Award

In honor of this new year and decade, I’ve decided to (finally) do another blogger tag that I was nominated for! Hurray! I know I always say this, but I really am so flattered and humbled when someone nominates me for a blogging award. That means they either like my blog, me, or both! (Hopefully both!) Either way, I thought this would be a lovely way to start off the new year. (Plus, I’m super behind on all of the awards I’ve been tagged in. Oops! But I have all of 2020 to make up for it, right?)

The Versatile Blogger Award Rules
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Share seven facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate fifteen other bloggers.
I was nominated by the spectacular Naomi over at Inching Forwards. Her blog is a wonderful mix of real life issues, mental health, and so much more. She writes about a little bit of everything and really wants to help others improve their lives, by focusing on mental health, self-care, and by making positive changes in the world. (I mean, how cool is she??) Her writing is so honest and interesting, but she also brings up such important subjects and handles them with such care. But she’s not afraid to be herself and I admire her for that! If you’re looking for a one of a kind blog by an amazing blogger, you need to read and subscribe to Inching Forwards. Plus, she loves cats, just like me! Thank you so much for the nomination, Naomi! As a big fan of you and your blog, I’m so, so honored! (Plus her little description of my blog on her tag, helped remind me that I am a decent blogger and I was so encouraged by her lovely words about my blog. It really has motivated me to keep blogging!)

7 Facts About Me
  1. I am incredibly stubborn! I don't like people telling me what to do or choosing for me. I get very upset if my choice has been taken away! Also, fun fact: I’ll most likely do something you want me to do if you tell me not to do it. Yep, even I know that people have to use reverse psychology on me! (By the way, no one get any ideas! I know how I work!)
  2. I’ve had a lot of odd jobs over the years, but the one I’ve done the most has been dog-sitting! The ironic part? I’m more of a cat person! Not that I don’t like dogs, they just aren’t my preferred pet. Oh, what I do for a few bucks!
  3. When I was younger, I either wanted to be a veterinarian or an artist. Then I found out all the sad and gross things a vet has to do to treat animals (I’m very squeamish and don’t like seeing animals in pain) and I also realized I didn’t have much artistic ability, despite taking many art classes when I was younger. Oh well!
  4. I was home-schooled from 4th grade all the way up to high school. And yes, my mom taught me. And yes, I do have friends and was properly socialized. Just in case you were wondering! (Let’s break that stereotype, people! Home-schooled kids are- usually- quite normal! Minus me, of course)
  5. I have a huge sweet tooth (or maybe all of my teeth are sweet teeth!). I love anything (milk) chocolate. So I’m obsessed with candy bars, cookies, brownies, and pies too (apple is my favorite!). I could literally go on! I really have to reign myself in and try not to go too overboard when sweets are around! This past Christmas was really hard for me, you guys.
  6. I tend to watch way too much Youtube! You know how some people binge-watch Netflix? I binge-watch Youtube! The channels I’m most obsessed with now are KoreanEnglishman and Jolly. They're run by two British guys, Josh and Ollie, who love South Korea and share their experiences there and in England too. It’s really educational but also lots and lots of fun! Plus, you get to meet (and love) Josh and Ollie, their families and friends, since they share visits to Korea, Korean food, and lots of other Korean things with them. South Korea is now on my bucket list thanks to them!
  7. I’m so embarrassed to admit this, but I am an interrupter! I honestly don’t do it to be rude, I just sometimes get excited when someone brings up a topic that I’m interested in and I just kind of open my mouth and the words just fall out as someone else is talking. I’m getting better at it, and I apologize often for doing it, and then let them finish talking. Again, I’m not trying to be rude, but it’s almost like if I don’t speak, then I’ll forget what I wanted to tell them later! But I think I’m getting better at letting people finish speaking and trying to remember what I wanted to say after they finish talking! I'm a work in process.
My Versatile Blogger Nominees

Julie from Dark Blue Journal
Camila from Plaid and Sugar
Beth from The Black Ant Blog
Tanya from The Phat Girl Blog
Payton from In the Flux
Ash from This Dreams Alive
Anne from Rooting Branches
Emily from Scripturient Blogger
Amy from ABC Family
Kim from Dirty Thirty Blog
Jess from Just Call Me Jess
Steph from Sometimes I Write
Jordanne from Of a Glasgow Girl
Meagan from Quibbles and Scribbles
Eleanor from Mrxshmallowqueen

For the bloggers I tagged, I know I’ve said this before on previous tags, but I completely understand if tags aren’t your thing, or you’ve been tagged before, so no pressure if you don’t do the tag! I just wanted to nominate you all because I admire each and every one of you and your blogs as well! And for those of you reading this, please check out everyone’s blogs, and read and subscribe to them too! Each person on this list has a wonderful blog and they all work so hard on them!

That concludes my nomination for the Versatile Blogger Award! I hope you enjoyed reading it and learning seven (strange, most likely) facts about myself! Again, I’m so flattered that Naomi nominated me! Thank you again, Naomi! I feel like bloggers work so hard on their blogs and don’t get enough credit and that these awards really help highlight all of the time and effort we put into our blogs. It’s a medium I feel like doesn’t get enough recognition (unlike YouTube) but I think bloggers deserve more consideration and credit for what we put out into the world! So these awards/tags are a perfect way to show others that we bloggers put in the time, our talent, and our hard work into our little corners of the internet for others to enjoy and for us to express ourselves.

(I kind of feel like that was my acceptance speech for this nomination. Oops! Didn’t mean for that to happen. At least it was heartfelt! Also, I forgot to thank my family. Sorry, Mom and Dad!)

What did you think of blogger awards and tags? I think they’re a lovely way of spreading encouragement and showcasing other bloggers and their blogs. Let me know if you’ve ever been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award or any other blogger award and what you think of them!

Stay Weird,
Emily

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What The Heck is An Enneagram & Finding Out What Mine Is!


For some reason, every time I go on Pinterest lately, I get random pictures, illustrations, and info graphics popping up saying things like “Enneagram Type 4: You’re spunky and won’t change your mind for anything!” or “Harry Potter Enneagram Types: Hermione Granger is totally a 5!” (I have no idea if those numbers are correct, by the way) Basically, I’m being told by a social media platform that Enneagrams are important and I need to find out what mine is. (Not really, but I’m doing this for the blog! And because I’m curious!) But first of all: what the heck is an Enneagram and what does it mean???

I have heard of Enneagrams before; I just don’t quite know what they were. I figured it was something akin to the Myers-Briggs test: where they use psychological traits plus other personality tests to identify what kind of personality you have, your strengths, and how you perceive the world. It’s a really helpful quiz to do if you’re looking to understand yourself more and why you behave the way that you do. For example, I’m an INFJ aka the Advocate or Idealist, which apparently is very rare, but surprisingly, it seems like most of the people I meet tend to be INFJ (boo, I’m not special!). But INFJ stands for Introverted (check!), Intuitive (okay?), Feeling (oh yes, I feel all the feels!), and Judging (I’m SO judgy. Just kidding! It just means how you view things). While not 100% percent accurate because everyone is literally different, even if you are the same MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) type, I’ve found myself enjoying the fact that I’m an INFJ because it really explains a lot about myself. (Like, a lot. Seriously.)

To learn more about the MBTI test, check it out here. (There are 16 MBTI types!) They have really cool explanations about why certain types act the way they do, and how they interact with others. Plus, they even give out job recommendations that would be good for certain types, plus famous people who share your personality type (For me: Oprah and Martin Luther King Jr. Heck yeah!). But again, nothing is 100% accurate, so don’t take it too seriously or think it’s utterly and entirely factual.

But Enneagrams sounded a little weird to me. For some reason, even the name of them sounded like something out of Scientology or a cult. (I think because in Scientology they have “engrams” and that sounds a lot to me like Enneagrams!) But after some further research, I found out that Enneagrams, or Enneagram of Personality, is another type of personality test, that consists of nine personality types (called enneatypes) which make up a geometric figure of all the interconnecting personality types called (you guessed it!) an enneagram. (So, really, shouldn't we not be calling them Enneagrams, but our enneatypes?)

According to the website Truity which offers free tests, Enneagrams: “...is a personality system that aims to reveal how emotions drive our lives and how we engage with others in an effort to get what we want and need…defines nine personality types, each with its own set of strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for personal growth.” Finding out your type also “reveals what motivates you on a very deep level, and illuminates the path you must take to achieve a higher level of self-actualization.”

Hmm not as cult-y or strange as I thought, but also not too different from Myers-Briggs (though there are some people who mix Enneagrams with spirituality. Whatever floats your boat!). So let’s find out what I am and what all this fuss is about!

Before I started though, I found out there were nine different personality types (some with different names, but meaning the same basic thing):

Type 1: The Reformer/The Perfectionist: principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.
Type 2: The Helper/The Giver/The Caregiver: generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.
Type 3: The Achiever: adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.
Type 4: The Individualist: expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.
Type 5: The Investigator: perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.
Type 6: The Loyalist/The Skeptic: engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.
Type 7: The Enthusiast: spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.
Type 8: The Challenger: self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.
Type 9: The Peacemaker: receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.

Of course, these are just four basic words to describe each type, but if you look into all of the types, different websites will go in really deep (like, real deep) into how the types interact with others, how they view themselves, others, and the world, and so much more. The *official* Enneagram Institute website goes incredibly deep into how these types are all connected, how the Enneagram system works, and a lot more (seriously, they have so many Enneagram graphs and writings about how the types handle anger, stress, and more. It looks very complicated! And kind of science-y and psychological-y...? But who knows!).

Also, these descriptions are from the *official* Enneagram Institute website, where I did NOT pay $12 to get a code and take their test. Apparently a lot of businesses like to use these tests (also MBTI) to figure out employees' strengths and weaknesses, which is cool, but I’m my own boss and I’m not paying myself $12 to take the test. Sorry, self. You’ll have to figure it out unofficially

I started out by taking some (free) tests, because I wanted to take them several times to see if the results would vary. (I took several Myers-Briggs tests multiple times and always got INFJ) The first Enneagram test was on Truity, which reportedly would only take 10 minutes (fingers crossed!). After six pages of checking five boxes ranging from “Inaccurate,” “Neutral”, and “Accurate” and questions like, “I don’t fit in with ordinary people,” (um, yes) and “I do not hesitate to call out other people when they are behaving badly” (um, no. But I should!), I was finally done.

Enneagram Test #1: Truity

Apparently everyone shares a percentage from every different personality type, but the one I matched with the most, at 98% was type number Two! Aka the Giver, Twos wants to be liked and find ways to help others to make them feel loved and like they belong. Aww, I sound like a sweetheart!

But I also matched very closely with type 9, at 96%, the Peacemaker. Nines obviously like to stay out of trouble and let people around them make the decisions. Which I totally do at times.

The seven other types I matched with were, in order:

Four: The Individualist (87%)
Six: The Skeptic (83%)
One: The Perfectionist (79%)
Five: The Investigator (71%)
Seven: The Enthusiast (64%)
Three: The Achiever (63%)
Eight: The Challenger (42%)

Truity/That Weird Girl Life
I could have gotten the full report, but you had to sign up, and honestly, I didn’t know if I’d have to pay for it, so I just didn’t bother. (Also, I was feeling lazy and I had other free Enneagram tests to take!) On to the next test!

Enneagram Test #2: 9Types

The next one I tried was on 9Types, a website that looks very old school, like in a “remember-this-from-the-first-mid-2000’s” type of way that brings me so much nostalgia. It said on the first page to look over my results afterwards to see what type I truly identified with, which I found very intriguing. I took the free test, which consisted of selecting the statements that most applied to you (“methodical and cautious” vs. “adventurous and taken risks”) and these were my results! (They also asked for my gender and MBTI type at the end, too. Hmm.)

For this one, they’re saying I’m a Two as well! Only they’re calling it the Helper, not the Giver. My second type is Seven, the Generalist (or as the previous test called it, The Enthusiast). My other results from this site were:

Type 3: Four, the Artist
Type 4: Six, the Skeptic
Type 5: Two, the Helper
Type 6: Six, the Skeptic (again??)
Type 7: Four, the Artist (um, again??)
Type 8: for this I got a zero, and I have no idea what this means.
Type 9: Five, The Thinker

9Types/That Weird Girl Life
As you can see, I got wildly different results, despite my same number one results being a Two aka the Giver/Helper. Hmm. I’m not sure if it’s the tests or me! Especially since I got a zero for my 8th type (What. Does. That. Mean???). Let’s try one more and see how it goes!

Enneagram Test #3: CrystalKnows

Next up was the CrystalKnows test. This one was a lot like the Truity test. Very updated and geared towards finding out the psychology of the person, to help better you and work on yourself (it made me feel like it was again geared towards businesses, looking all professional and sleek). I had to answer several questions by checking boxes ranging from 1-5, 1 being very Disagree and 5 being very Agree. This one was a lot shorter than the Truity test, with the test barely taking five minutes (maybe I should have been paying attention more?)

But it turns out my Enneagram is way different than the first two tests I took. According to this test, I’m a Type Six: A Loyalist! As a Six, I “tend to be engaging, hard-working, and responsible. You generally want to feel safe and avoid outside threats.” Which is somewhat true, because I try to be responsible (usually), work hard (also usually), and I do like to feel safe and avoid outside threats (I mean, who doesn’t want to avoid outside threats?? I know I do!).

But again, to get my full profile and to see what my other percentages or types were, I had to make an account. Um, I don't have time for that, so let's move on!

CrystalKnows/That Weird Girl Life

Am I Really A Two?

But for now, let’s focus on the Truity and the 9types tests, because my first two type results were the same on both: My number one type being a Two, the Giver/Helper.

According to the *official* Enneagram Institute website: “Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their Best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.”

Some other famous “Two’s” they listed Eleanor Roosevelt, Dolly Parton, Elizabeth Taylor, and, here’s a fun one, Monica Lewinsky (hey, ladies!).

And this is what Truity has to say about Twos and their core values: “A strong sense of meaning, acknowledgment from loved ones, and emotional intimacy with others are Givers’ grounding principles. Altruism holds a strong place in their hearts and they readily go out of their way to volunteer their time and energy to bring others up. Kindness and reciprocity are the guiding values for their decisions. To improve someone else’s life or mood is an immeasurable times better than helping themselves. The shared experience of spending quality time with a loved one is among the best feelings in the world to Givers.”

And according to CrystalKnows, here are some Two weaknesses: “Seeking and needing approval from others... Being perceived as overbearing at times...Difficulty recognizing and acknowledging their own needs...Disliking or being easily offended by criticism.”

I mean, a lot of this does strike a chord with me. I do try to be as kind and as helpful as I can. So many people in my life have been that for me, and I really do want to try and give back as much kindness that has been shown to me. I also try to be as sympathetic and as empathetic as I can towards people. I know what it’s like to not be in the best place, and I want to support people as much as I can. And I am altruistic! I like to think the world can be a better place, if only people would just try to make it that way. And as far as disliking or being easily offended by criticism...oh yes, that’s me all the way! (Don’t hurt me, I’m delicate!)

So what is my Enneagram? Am I really a Two, the Helper/Giver/Caregiver? Or am I a mix? Because honestly, when looking at all of the Enneagram types, I identify with a lot of them. I can be a Peacemaker at times, receptive and complacent, and sometimes I feel like I’m very the Investigator (who sounds very mysterious, by the way, and something I now aspire to be). So what am I really?

The *official* Enneagram Institute website says that people do not change from one basic type to another. But then the 9Types website says that after you get your results, you should really think about if you identify with the type you’ve been assigned. Call me confused! What or who do I believe??

So, What Do I Believe About All This of Enneagram Stuff?

All in all, I found this Enneagram experiment to be so fascinating! Much like the Myers-Briggs test, I found it to be an interesting take on the personality test, but I also didn’t quite agree with the results as much as I did with the Myers-Briggs one. My INFJ seemed to cover more of my personality traits, whereas my main type, being a Two, along with my second type, a Nine, were more of a mix of my actual personality type. Plus, there seems to be a lot of differences between Enneagram tests and beliefs, as seen by the various tests and what they call the different types.

I think the test, just like the Myers-Briggs test, is what you make of it. I love being identified as an INFJ, and thinks it suits me (almost) perfectly. As far as being assigned a Two as an Enneagram, I’m okay with it, but I feel like it isn’t perfect and other types may suit me better at different times (which I guess is why you have different types of your types. Does that make any sense? I'm still a bit confused by it all). 

So are these tests perfect? No, they aren’t. I don’t know how scientifically based they are (some people say not at all), even though they say they use “psychological traits” in some cases to determine your personality (some have called these test total pseudoscience and a new sort of “astrology," aka open to interpretation, in that it fits you at the moment). But they are kinda fun, and some of them really do help me look at my personality, and what I can identify and see as myself in these descriptions. But like I said before, we’re all such different people, that no test can really fit us into one perfect niche or define us, no matter how scientific or psychological (or spiritual) it might be. Just take it all with an open-mind, and remember that you are way more than what you are assigned and labeled by a test, official or unofficial.

And if nothing else, just have fun with it! Go give the Enneagram tests I took a try and see what comes up for you! Maybe you'll see yourself in that personality type and maybe it'll help you figure some things out about yourself. Or maybe you think it's all a bunch of nonsense and you'll leave me a strongly worded comment letting me know exactly how you feel! You never know!

That was my journey into finding out what the heck an Enneagram is and what my Enneagram is! I guess I’m a Two if I decide to be! (I’m taking the 9Type’s website’s advice and deciding for myself!) But I’m still not exactly sure if I think Enneagrams are my sort of thing, but if nothing else it was a blast taking the tests and learning about all of the different personalities!

Let me know in the comments if you’re into Enneagrams or not or had no idea like me what they were in the first place! I’d love to know your thoughts! (And what type of Enneagram you are!)

Stay Weird,
Emily

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