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June and July 2020 Wrap-Up!

Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash
Well, it’s been a little bit, hasn’t it? It’s amazing how fast time has been flying by in 2020. I guess that’s what happens when you’re trying to stay inside most of the time! Also, the fact that I hadn’t blogged in a while (which I will explain why below and is obviously why this is a June and July wrap-up), made me realize that if I don’t keep track of what I’ve been doing monthly, I tend to forget! This is what happens when you’re in the house all the time. Cabin fever and just plain ol’ delirium! 2020 is like a hurricane but you’re always stuck in the eye of the storm. No end or escape in sight! But after doing a bit of a think, I realized that things did actually happen to me this June and July. Here’s what I’ve been up to these past couple of months! (Literally! It’s been a while! I’ve missed you, friends!)

If you haven’t caught up with what I was up to last month, check out my May wrap-up post here!

What I’ve Been Doing in June- and er, July, too

The Black Lives Matter movement. I know I’m starting on a serious note, but how can I not mention this? This was single-handedly one of the most important things that has happened in our current history, let alone what happened in June of 2020. I just hate that it had to take the (recorded) death of a Black man, George Floyd, to make a movement happen (plus the deaths of other Black men, like Ahmaud Arbery, and women, such as Breonna Taylor, some of their deaths were recorded and shared, some were not. But thankfully lots of stories are now being told regardless of recorded “proof.”). I am embarrassed and ashamed to say that I was ignorant of so many of the things that were happening in our country to Black people and People of Color. But my eyes and ears and heart are now open and I am ready to learn and help with the change. I’ve been reading lots and reflecting as well about my own subconscious biases that I didn’t even know I had (but sadly, realized I did).  All of this to learn something we all should have known for years and years. That I should have known about but was too privileged and too blind to see.

I am not in any way trying to make this movement or this hurt, pain, anger, and history of Black people and POC about me, a white woman, by writing this, but am just trying to explain how this movement has impacted me, and how I am trying to change, learn, and help. I hope I can do my part as an ally now and in the future. Things have to change and with the help of everyone, I’m sure it can. Because it has to.

Here are some links to organizations and resources and books so you can learn more about this movement and help:

Organizations and Resources:

Books*:

*These are just the ones I've read (so far) but I highly recommend!

Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash
My laptop betrayed me. But it’s better now. Sort of. As you all may know, it’s kind of hard to blog without a computer. Sure you can try to write on your phone, but to me, nothing beats the clickety-clack of a keyboard to write up my (very strange) thoughts and feelings. So when my laptop started to make a very worrying whirring noise, my heart sank. Don’t fail me now, old girl! But oh, it did. My laptop fan was going off like crazy, and I kept getting sort of suspicious, not quite official-looking pop-ups on my computer saying I needed a new battery. After waiting eight (eight!) days to get an appointment with the Geek Squad at Best Buy, they just listened to me and said, “yup, you probably need a new battery. But we don’t carry your laptop model’s battery so you’ll have to find it from a third party seller on Amazon. Good luck!” Did I ever mention I am not tech-savvy at all? So I bought a new battery, borrowed a set of tiny tools to open up the back of my computer to expose it’s innards (terrifying, by the way. It’s like cracking open C-3PO), and had my dad help me replace the battery (because I was afraid to touch anything because I am convinced I will touch one wire, I will destroy everything). And guess what: My fan is still going off! Sigh. But I’m back to blogging, and honestly, when the fan starts to whir and I feel like my laptop is about to shoot off like a helicopter, I just close my laptop and take a break. Which, in a way, is so kind of my computer to make me take screen breaks. So thoughtful!

I dog-sat over the 4th of July and now I hate fireworks almost as much as pets do. I actually dog-sat twice for two different families, once in June, and the other over the 4th of July. Both times were fun because a) I got to earn some extra money, b) I got to have a different house all to myself (plus, the families keep their A/C temp even lower than my house does so I was always cool and comfortable), c) streaming services and cable! But I now do not like fireworks. At all. I used to think they were fun, but I am a changed woman now. One of the dogs I looked after over the Fourth is a bit anxious, and fireworks definitely make her very anxious (I could relate!). So to get through the night, I had to give her a pill (in a spoonful of peanut butter. So cute). But guess what: the people in my state don’t just set off fireworks on the Fourth. They set them off before the Fourth and after the Fourth. Which means this poor dog, despite the pills I gave her, had three sleepless, nervous, and anxiety-filled nights, which meant I didn’t get any sleep either! Mostly because I was worried about her and following her around the house because she was wandering and anxious, and also because I was silently cursing whoever was setting off poppers at one in the morning. I felt like I needed one of the dog’s pills to get through the nights! So while it was fun to get away and keep company with some furry canines, I am now a sparklers only girl. Pretty and fun, but they don’t make any alarming, loud noises.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash
I know my cat loves me, she just doesn’t want to show it. Little Miss Margot is not so little anymore! (Not just in growing up, but she seems to get fluffier each month. I have no idea how. It’s not even that humid out! I feel like her tail has literally become a feather duster. Now, if only she'd actually help me dust...) She is also Little Miss Independent, meaning she knows what she wants and is out to get it aka she doesn’t really cuddle with me. I know she loves me, but she’s such a social butterfly and loves to be around my family, that I kind of wish she was a bit more Little Miss Dependent. Ah well. I still love that floofball. My sister and I have decided she might be part Wookiee, as her coloring is very similar, she’s loyal, and she is quite vocal when she wants to be. I also found the cutest cat play structure for her. It has a cubed hiding area, where you can sit on top (but she likes to lurk inside), and it also has a tunnel attached. This cat loooooves her tunnels! I put her other tunnel in front of the new tunnel (double tunnel!) and she’ll just race through. Best $10+ I’ve ever spent! I swear, if she ever goes missing, we’ll find her in the sewer system, just zipping through the tunnels. Oh god, her long fur would be so disgusting and sludgy! 

Queen Margot on her new jungle play structure. Photo by That Weird Girl Life
It’s too hot to function out. I also think the world may be on fire. If you didn’t know, I live in what is technically the desert, but where some stupid people decided to settle and build tons of ranch style homes because air-conditioning was invented (why couldn’t we have just left this lovely desert alone?). Anyway, the temperature has now hit the triple digits and it is just delightful (not). I’m pretty pale but can tan easily, and just by driving in the car, I have a pretty good tan. Just from being in the car! The heat is nauseating and I always forget how awful it is in the summertime here (when you finally get into winter here, it’s sort of like a woman forgetting how painful childbirth is, until she is ready to go into labor, but for us, it’s when summer is about to appear), but mixed with quarantine and having to stay at home, it just makes leaving the house or going out seem like a punishment. And I’m so sick of staying at home! I literally cannot wait for fall! (Which technically is our winter, because it really doesn’t start to cool off until November. Also, sorry for the rant. I just needed to rant about the weather. It really is horrendous out. This is why I dream of living in London.)

I’m getting rid of stuff and it feels so good! In case you missed it, I finally dove into the minimalism/declutter pool and cleaned out my DVD collection and wrote a blog post about it! Now I’m off to sorting through my books and other random things (including...my closet! Cue the Psycho theme music!). So look out for future blog posts of my further minimalism adventures! Because I’m going to find a lot of...odd items. Because I’m an odd girl. And proud of it!

Getting back into the blogging game...somewhat. After my laptop debacle, I’m slowly getting back into the blogging game. So if you’ve commented and I haven’t commented back, I’m sorry and I swear I’ll get back to you! I’m also so behind on commenting on other people’s blogs, scheduling my tweets, making pins...Eek! Not to mention actually writing these damn blog posts as well (which should be the main focus, but all of the other things that come with blogging sometimes get in the way!). But I’m working on it (at my own pace) and hopefully I’ll get back into a good blogging space. Also, I rejoined the Amazon Affiliate program, so fingers crossed that I can make a commission or two and finally start earning money from this blog! (You know, since I can’t get my AdSense payout till I reach $100 and I’m only at $12. Don’t be jealous that I’m so successful. After five years of blogging, you can finally earn $12 you can’t have yet too! I’m such an inspiration!) You will know what posts have them because I put a disclaimer at the top (because I’m very honest), and also I mention that those links are Very Special Links and marked as so. So if you want to support my blog and actually want to buy one of the products I list, go for it! But no pressure at all! Seriously.

I finally got my very first official blog header! After wanting a custom one for literally years! Thanks to Cassie aka Zombie Goddess Beauty, she made me the most beautiful blog header in the world! It came out a million times better than I could have ever imagined. If you want a custom header or any other digital art (she is so talented and can make so many different things for your blog or social media account) you can check out her shop and soon her website! (I will have more of her info in my About Me page.) Seriously, she was so patient with me and gave me exactly, and more, of what I wanted! I’ve always thought of Russian nesting doll as my official symbol/mascot of my blog, and now it’s finally a reality! Yay!! Should I name her? If so, leave suggestions in the comments!

Isn't she so sweet and adorable?? All credits go to Cassie at Zombie Goddess Beauty for making my little cutie!
Is it just me or is the Eurovision movie kind of amazing? Okay, I know this sounds weird, but probably like most of you, I had zero hopes for this movie. I was just curious because I had heard about the Eurovision song contest and wanted to see what Will Ferrell’s take on it would be. And surprisingly, I loved it. I’ve literally watched it three times and I had to show it to my family and forced my sister and brother-in-law to watch it as well. Who would have thought a Will Ferrell movie about the Eurovision song contest would be so enjoyable, funny, and yet so emotional? Plus, the songs in it are actually really good and I want Ja Ja Ding Dong (even though it’s totally dirty) to be played at my wedding reception. Plus, I loved seeing Dan Stevens aka Matthew from Downton Abbey as a Russian pop star who’s actually not the villain in the movie? So good! It’s not a perfect movie, but I think it’s the movie we needed during these hard times. (Also, Rachel McAdams as Sigrit was so adorable. And I think Sigrit is a style icon on par with Luna Lovegood!)

Netflix
Blog Posts I Wrote These Past Two Months (aka Not a Lot):

Let’s Start Getting Rid of Things (Movies Edition)
Ethique Heali Kiwi Shampoo Bar Review- Is It Worth the Price?
And this post that you’re reading now!

And that was my very odd June and July 2020! Sorry this post ran a bit long, but I had to update you all on what I’ve been up to! (And rant a little bit. Again, sorry about that) And you know what, I didn’t keep track of how many books I read these past few months! How crazy is that? But how was your June and July? What were you up to? Are you surviving the heat, if it’s hot where you are? Tell me what you’ve been up to and what you thought of my June and July! (And also what you thought of the Eurovision Song Contest movie and some name suggestions for my Russian nesting doll blog mascot!) I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy!

Stay Weird,
Emily

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Ethique Heali Kiwi Shampoo Bar Review- Is It Worth The Price?

Photo by That Weird Girl Life
Disclaimer: The product I am reviewing was bought with my own money and my opinions are all my own! But this post includes an affiliate link so if you decide to purchase through this Very Special Link, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Just wanted to give you a head's up!

I've been on a quest now to be more eco-friendly and sustainable, thanks to people like my friend Julie, over at Dark Blue Journal, who have opened my eyes to the state of the environment and world today. I'm trying to limit my plastic use and find better, more sustainable alternatives to try to stop the pollution of our earth and its oceans, and one of the first things I decided to try was because of the very product I was using was running low: my shampoo!

After reading Julie’s blog, which prompted me to do my own research, I discovered the world of shampoo bars! Basically shampoo in soap form, they do away with the plastic bottles, usually wrapping them in either paper or sometimes even in reusable jars or canisters, plus, most tend to tout more natural ingredients in their items (no crazy chemical sulfates, which I learned aren’t a great thing!). Though I did learn another thing that came with a more natural, earth-friendly: the price tag!

Oof! I was NOT expecting that! I guess I was just used to my store brand Head and Shoulders shampoo! But after doing a good amount of research, the first shampoo bar I tried was Love Beauty and Planet’s rose shampoo bar, which I loved using (and it was pretty cheap compared to the other ones on the market!). Unfortunately, while I did enjoy the product, I kind of forgot in my excitement to finally be using a shampoo bar and not buying another plastic bottle, I need a shampoo that would help with my dandruff. And sadly, the Love Beauty and Planet one did not. (But I still use it as a soap and it’s lovely!)

So I was back to doing more research, and one brand I kept seeing on so many lists was this company called Ethique. They are a New Zealand based company that uses all natural products in their line (they have shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, and other products- all in bar form!) and are determined to help stop the pollution of the ocean from all of the plastic that’s being produced. I loved their message and the fact that their products come in compostable boxes.

I found that they sold them directly from their site (via New Zealand. Shipping = expensive!), but that they also sold them at Target stores in my state (just not in my city. And they also can’t be delivered to my zip code. What??), and that Amazon sells them (yay!). So I decided to try them via Amazon, despite the pretty pricey- well, price. It was about $16 for one shampoo bar, but it’s supposed to be the equivalent of three bottles of shampoo (at least as far as plastic usage). Compare that to the almost $5 I was spending on my either generic or name brand Head and Shoulders shampoo (times three, of course!) and the price actually isn’t too bad. If it lasts as long as three bottles of shampoo, that is!

So I’m here to unbiasedly (because I bought it with my own money, remember?) review Ethique’s Heali Kiwi shampoo bar for itchy scalps to see how it works, how the bar holds together, and how long the bar lasts, and finally, to see if the product is worth the price. I love the idea of Ethique and their other products, and they sound like a great company to support, especially if you want to start using less plastic, but will the shampoo bar be worth it and would I buy it again? Let’s find out!

Photo by That Weird Girl Life
Just a disclaimer (I know, another one): since I’m trying to wash my hair less, but am out of the habit, I am currently washing my hair every other day (my hair can get very greasy if I don't wash it often enough!). I’m hoping to increase that to every two days, and so on. Obviously in the hopes that it will help my hair and scalp health, but also to prolong the life of the shampoo bar.

(Yet) Another disclaimer: I was honestly planning on waiting to write this review until I had used up the whole bar, but as you will see later on, that might take quite a while! So I decided to post my review now, after three months, which is honestly a lot longer than most reviews I’ve seen about shampoo bars. (Most just post their review after just one wash!)

First Experience and Impressions:

The box and shampoo bar were definitely smaller than I expected! But we all know we can’t judge everything by size! (Get your minds out of the gutter, people) The instructions on the box (which is also compostable! Cool!) say to swipe the bar down on your wet hair four times, and then lather in until it’s foamy, and then rinse out. I made sure to really massage my scalp as I washed my hair (you know, to get rid of the flakage). It honestly felt pretty nice and lather-y while I was washing my hair, and after rinsing, my hair felt clean, and I had a lot less flakes! No feeling of waxiness (which I’ve heard can be a problem with shampoo bars), plus the kiwi scent (which smells great from the shampoo bar) in my hair was almost non-existent (but if I sniffed my dry hair afterwards I could smell the faintest trace of it). I then dried off the bar and it (thankfully) didn’t fall apart and was exactly the same size. I read some complaints on the reviews for this shampoo bar that it fell apart pretty easily, so I made sure after I used it to carefully tap it dry it with a washcloth, let it air dry for a few minutes, and then wrap it up with another dry washcloth, and store it under my bathroom sink to avoid the moisture from the shower. I don’t have a special case for it (though Ethique does sell biodegradable ones!), but this seems to be working so far!

Photo by That Weird Girl Life

Other Subsequent Washes aka Months 1-3:


Still some flakes after the first shampoo (I mean, I did have a month’s build up, so it’s not like the Heali Kiwi shampoo bar can knock ‘em out in one wash!), but after a few more washes, the dandruff was pretty much gone! Also, thankfully, the shape of the bar hasn’t changed at all (except to get slightly smaller, obviously and I keep to my gently-drying-the-bar-then-using-a-washcloth-to-keep-it-in routine), and my hair feels so fresh and lovely. I honestly look forward to my hair washing days! (And not just because my hair gets greasy if I don’t wash it! Well, that’s partly one of the reasons I look forward to washing my hair) I really like using this shampoo bar and now I’ve added a (non Ethique) hair conditioner to my wash routine as well (just for the lower half of my hair. My greasy roots do NOT need any more moisture!). But here come the big questions that need to be answered:

So… How Does the Ethique Heali Kiwi Shampoo Bar Hold Up And Is It Worth Buying?

Photo by That Weird Girl Life
Does the bar help with dandruff?

Yes! I also love that the bar uses natural ingredients to fight dandruff, instead of all of those chemicals doctors have given me in the forms of potions and lotions (which I have needed at times when my psoriasis was bad, but no one wants to willingly use tar shampoo! That smell...). As I mentioned above, after the first few washes, my dandruff was still there, but as I used the shampoo bar more and more, my dandruff disappeared! It seems to work on keeping it away, since I can go about two days without washing my hair (you know, until it gets super oily again) and I will rarely find a flake between those days!

Does the bar hold together?

For me, it totally did! The bar is small (about 2 ¼ inches in length on each four sides, so basically a perfect square, and is about 1 ¼ inches thick) but has kept its shape and hasn’t gotten too much smaller, and I think it’s because of me being extra diligent in keeping it as dry as possible between washes. Like I mentioned before, people online have complained about it disintegrating, but I think that’s because it has oatmeal in it, which of course, is famous for being an anti-itching remedy for chicken pox in the form of oatmeal baths. Obviously if you’ve ever had a bowl of oatmeal before, you know that oats get mushy, so that makes sense that some people might have issues with this bar and keeping it solid. But for me, my bar was fine and my air dry/small towel technique seems to have worked in keeping it from falling apart! (The corner of one part did get slightly smooshed when I put it against something under the bathroom counter when it wasn’t quite dry, but it was only a little dent!)

How long does the bar last?

So far, I’ve been using this bar for about three months, starting with using it every other day for the first month and then to every two days in months two and three. (Listen, my hair is very, very oily, and if I go without washing my hair for more than two days, I look like a 1950’s greaser guy, but gross and with much longer hair. I'd love to wash my hair less, but what can you do?) Right now the bar is only slightly smaller, measuring in at 2 inches in length on all four sides and and the bar is now just over an inch thick. So really only slightly smaller despite my frequent use! It’s still square in shape, only now it has an inverted dented dome at the top from where I swipe it down my hair when I use it! I’m hoping since it’s lasted three months and has only gone down in size just a smidge, it’ll at least last me a year! (Fingers crossed, knock on wood!)

Is the Heali Kiwi shampoo bar worth the price?

Overall, I really love this shampoo bar! I feel like it’s helped control my flakage, and I really do love the smell. It smells like real kiwis, not an artificial or strong smell, but very pleasant and fruity. You can barely smell it on your hair after you wash and dry it, but I don’t mind, honestly. My hair looks and smells clean! 

I love that Ethique is filled with natural ingredients (though there is some controversy over a natural sulfate used in their shampoo bars) and is dedicated to cutting down on plastic use and waste. So for me, it makes me feel better that I’m not buying shampoo in a plastic bottle that will probably not be recycled, even though I always try to recycle my plastic items (if the plastic can even be recycled, that is!). Plus, it makes my bathroom look less cluttered without all of the plastic bottles hanging around the shower!

Really, my only issue with Ethique is the price! I get that natural ingredients will be more expensive than chemical and artificial ones, and these are being made and shipped from New Zealand, but yeesh! Maybe I’m just used to buying cheap, generic shampoo and will have to get used to buying more expensive, but natural and eco-friendly items that last longer. If they could lower their prices a tiny bit, or have sample sizes of their products available in America (they have sample size packs of shampoos/conditioners, face washes, etc. But they are about the same price as one Ethique shampoo bar!), I think I would definitely want to recommend them more to people, as the price wouldn’t be so intimidating to people! (It certainly took me by surprise when I first saw it!) But to me, if this shampoo bar lasts a year or more, it’s worth the high price because it’s eco-friendly and sustainable and I get flake-free hair!

Photo by That Weird Girl Life
All in all, I’m really impressed with Ethique and the Heali Kiwi shampoo bar! My hair feels great, my flakes are at a minimum, and the bar is holding up! I don’t know if it will last as long as three bottles of shampoo, but I like the fact that I’m not using plastic and this is better for me and the environment. But the bar itself is certainly still big and I hope I can get a lot more washes out of it! I’d love to try more Ethique products, such as their hair conditioners (would be interesting to see how it goes with the Heali Kiwi bar!) and the deodorant (I’m still on the lookout for a good, natural deodorant that actually works in the desert heat!). 

Would I recommend this to people with itchy and flaky scalps? If you have the money, I would say go for it! I’m sure there are other, possibly cheaper shampoo bar alternatives for dandruff-prone hair, but this bar came with such good reviews, that I really wanted to try it out and so I splurged (plus I had an Amazon gift card, so that helped with the price!).

If you want to give the bar a try, you can find it over on Amazon or by clicking on this link to buy it:

Very Special Link: Buy the Ethique Heali Kiwi Shampoo Bar on Amazon

And that was my (long-winded) review of Ethique’s Heali Kiwi Shampoo bar! I have to say, I actually really like this shampoo bar! I’ll definitely buy it again (with the help of an Amazon gift card). Have you used any eco-friendly/sustainable shampoo bars or conditioners? What brands did you try (any Ethique) and did they work for you? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear some brand suggestions and stories! Also, should I do an update on the Heali Kiwi shampoo bar later in the year to see how it’s still holding up?? I kind of want to report on how long this bar lasts!

Stay Weird,
Emily


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Let's Start Getting Rid of Some Things (Movies Edition)- My Minimalism Journey, Part 1

Photo by That Weird Girl Life
We all love movies. Watching them and going to them (well, not so much now! I'm writing this deep in 2020, so you know what I'm talking about). And from streaming services to renting services to our own home collections, we've all been watching them a lot while we've been staying at home. So I decided that my first act of minimalism would be going through my own collection of DVDs and blurays and declutter my movie collection!

I hinted at this in my previous post about what I was up to in May, so if you want to read my little blurb about it, click here!

Hey, It’s a Start!

I know, I know...this may not be the right way to to start to declutter, but I decided to dip my toe into minimalism the easy way- because honestly, all I've been doing has been watching a lot of movies and TV (okay, not all I've been doing, it just seems like it!) and it made me think, "if I'm watching all of these TV shows and movies on streaming services, what am I not watching in my own movie collection? If I'm not going to watch it anytime soon or in the future, do I really need to own it?"

That's always the question that gets me when I declutter: do I need it? But in this case, it was more of the question: “Will I watch this again in the future (numerous times)? And will this be something I’d recommend to family and friends so they could borrow it?” With that, I culled through my DVD/bluray collection!

My Life in Movies (and How My Tastes Have Changed)

I will have to admit, though my DVD collection isn’t huge, I was still surprised at how many I had and hadn’t watched in so long! Some of my DVDs were OLD! (Like I have an original copy of Signs from when it was first released. That was in the early 2000’s, I think? That’s pretty impressive, you gotta give me that! Also, that scene with Joaquin Phoenix in the closet watching TV with the alien footage is still the best reaction scene ever!)

It was actually pretty fun to go through my collection. It was like a walk down memory lane. I was reminded of why I bought the movies in the first place, where I was in life, what I was going through, the memories that movie (or even that copy of the movie) holds for me. I honestly buy movies because I like them and I really do mean to rewatch them, but even though the movies are good, I tend not to rewatch certain ones, for some reason or another (I blame streaming services! And books. Books always distract me).

So I gave myself a little mission: watch some of the movies I was unsure about, and decide if I really want to keep them or not. Because, honestly, I hadn’t watched some of these movies in such a long time, that I had forgotten if they were any good or not! (I mean, I obviously thought so if I bought them in the first place, but it had been so long!) And you know what: it worked! I ended up being reminded of movies I thought I liked, but now didn’t really enjoy (no fault to the movies. Sometimes your movie taste just changes over time!). Into the pile they went!

Others were easier to decide to give away. They were the ones I had once loved, but had outgrown. Or ones I still liked, but rarely watched and were just gathering dust. And what’s the point of having a whole bunch of movies if you’re just never going to watch them?? Plus, I reminded myself that it’s not like these movies are disappearing forever or I have the only remaining copies in the world (I’m not that special!). I can always borrow them from the library, rent them, or watch them when they pop up on a streaming service! Or the old school way- borrow them from a friend! (Remember when we used to do that sort of thing? And Blockbuster and Hollywood Video?? Okay, now I’m really showing my age!)

And it gave me a fun reason to send my niece a fun package in the mail! I have a few kids movies that are nostalgic favorites, but I never really watched, so I thought maybe I could share a bit of my childhood with my niece (I had, and still have, excellent taste, even as a child). So not only was I able to let her borrow some of my personal favorites (and I gave my sister the option to keep them if my niece really liked them!), I was also getting rid of a few more movies! Bonus!

A big stack of just SOME of the movies I got rid of! Also, can you spot the random cat hair amonst the cases? Photo by That Weird Girl Life

What Movies I Decided To Get Rid Of*

*and a little reason or two on why I decided to not keep them:

Black Swan- I love me a thriller! But I rarely watch this one, despite loving ballet and all of the dark themes.

Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging- I loooved these books as a tween, and was so excited when I heard they made a movie about it in England years ago! The movie is super cute, but not one I watch on the regular. I may just be a little too old for it. (Also, Georgia is supposed to end up with Dave the Laugh! Even though the guy who played Robbie in the movie is super cute!)

Aquamarine- Another one I’m just a little too old for. But it’s adorable and it’s all about mermaids and the power of friendships. Not going to lie though, I saw this when I was legit 18 years old and loved it.

Shutter Island- Here’s another thriller while I love, but again, don’t watch that often. That twist though! Still makes me shiver!

Oculus- I remember watching this one in theaters and being so disturbed by it! In case you didn’t know, horror is my favorite genre, and while this movie is good, it’s not one of my go-to horror movies and one I’ll watch over and over again.

Whip It- Girl power and roller derby! Ellen Page and the rest of the cast is amazing in this, and I love the empowering message in it. But again, I couldn’t remember the last time I watched it (judging by the layer of dust on top of it, not for quite some time!).

The Haunting in Connecticut- This was a horror movie I initially liked when I first saw it, but after rewatching it, I didn’t really like it that much! Just shows you how your tastes can change!

Hook- Oh, Hook. A childhood favorite! A lot of people think this movie didn’t age well, but I still like it. Just not enough to keep it and watch it on repeat like I used to when I was little! Rufiooo!

Moana- Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Moana! But the bluray, not the movie itself, holds some bad memories for me. Thankfully, I can give away the bluray, but always watch the movie some other way (again, streaming services!).

Mad Max: Fury Road- Man, this movie was good! But intense. And not one I watch all that much. (Though I will pretty much anything with Tom Hardy in it, let’s be honest, good or bad)

Girl, Interrupted- You know how you really relate to certain movies at certain times in your life? This was one of them and as much as I still think it’s an excellent movie, I really don’t ever watch it (it hits a little too close to home, you know?).

Mama- This was another horror movie that I really liked when I first saw it, but then on a recent watch, decided it just wasn’t as great as I remembered. Or even as scary as I remembered! As someone who likes horror, I have to admit that I like my horror movies more on the scary side than not. (Also, I thought the original short it was based on was way more creepy. Sometimes less in a horror movie is more!)

The 40 Year Old Virgin- This is one of those classic movies that makes me laugh, but I’ve just seen it one too many times. I’d probably be happy to watch it in a year or so if it ever goes back onto a streaming service, but not to own.

The Back to the Future trilogy*- For some reason my family had two of these sets on DVD? We don’t need two, we just need one. How did we get two sets of these movies??? Sorry, older edition, you’re out!
*Not pictured

Signs- As mentioned above, I have one of the first releases of this movie on DVD (humble brag). And as great as this movie is (unlike some of M. Night Shyamalayn’s latest movies...ahem), this is one I’ve seen a lot and really don’t plan on watching in the future (at least anytime soon).

Heathers- Okay, I love me some Winona Ryder and this movie truly is a cult classic, but did I watch it more than twice since I bought it years and years ago? Nope! Sorry, Veronica! Also, what's your damage, Heather?

Jennifer's Body- Another cult classic, but one that I watch frequently? No. (But you should totally check it out! It’s highly underrated!)

Shaun of the Dead- a great horror-comedy that's so funny and clever. But I haven't watched it in so long! (Also, I’m kind of over zombies at this point)

*Bonus* Loaned to my niece (and she has the option to keep them if she likes them!):

Annie*- Such a classic and one that I hope my niece will sing the songs over and over again to annoy my sister and brother-in-law (I’m such a good aunt!)

Coco*- I love this Pixar movie, but every time I watch it, it makes me sob! Damn you, Pixar, for making some stellar animated and emotional movies that hit me right in the feels! That's why I can rarely watch it! Wah!

Anastasia*- This movie was my go to as a kid and I still love it to bits! But do I watch it over and over like I did as a kid? Nope. The soundtrack is still really good though! (But again, I just listen to that via Spotify or YouTube!) 

*Also not pictured

The After Effects of Getting Rid of a Whole Bunch of Movies

Going through my movies was actually really, really satisfying! It gave me a chance to look through what I had, evaluate my taste in movies (it’s changed a lot!), what I was holding on to just for the memories, not necessarily the movies themselves. And it really reminded me that movies are for watching, just not collecting. I mentioned above that I used to watch certain movies over and over again as a kid, but obviously as adults, we don’t do that. So the movies we do keep tend to be favorites that we don’t watch that often, but watch often enough that we actually own copies of those movies. Or at least, that’s how it should be. So after going through all of my movies and deciding on the ones I want to keep, I know that the ones I’m keeping are the ones I’m definitely going to watch multiple times in the future and are going to be the ones I like enough to recommend enough to others (and enjoy watching myself!).

In fact, my mom’s friend was asking for a movie to borrow and I asked her what she was in the mood for. No musicals, nothing scary or dramatic, just something that she’ll enjoy and is an overall great movie. Thanks to my pared down movie collection, I knew exactly what she would like: the 1994 version of Little Women. And guess what! She loved it! We even had a great discussion after she watched it (the Jo, Laurie, and Amy love triangle is timeless) and then I suggested she watch the 2019 version when she could so she could compare the two movies. See! My decluttering helped!
Also, I came up with a few tips (four, exactly) that helped me when I was decluttering and they may help you get rid of a few of your DVDs, blurays, and old tv shows (or laser discs or VCRs or whatever old school devices you may watch movies on. I don't judge!):

My Tips For Going Through Your Movies/TV Shows and Getting Rid of Them 
  1. If you’re unsure about it, give it a watch! See if it still makes you laugh, cry, or if you still simply enjoy it. Then think about if you’re going to watch it again multiple times. If you will, keep it. If not, let it go!
  2. Give yourself time to think it over. I initially thought I wanted to keep one movie after rewatching it, but after giving myself a few days to think about it, I decided I really wasn’t going to rewatch it anytime soon. Buh-bye!
  3. Think of places to donate your old DVDs/blurays to! Whether it's a thrift store, a used bookstore that also takes movies, or a charity or even a friend, think beforehand where you're going to give them away so they just don't sit there! Also, make sure your movies are not scratched and are in good working order. If not, look into how to properly dispose of them or recycle them in your area! (Or somehow reuse them if you're a super crafty DIY person!)
  4. And just remember, it's not like you’re never going to watch any of these movies again! Like I mentioned previously, there are tons of ways to watch movies without owning them- renting/streaming and borrowing! So don’t be afraid to give away a movie you just “like”, not “love.” You’ll always be able to watch it again! (You just won’t own a physical copy of it!)
All my books ready to donate in my cute cat canvas bag! (I'm not donating the bag though!) Photo by That Weird Girl Life
A sneak peak inside the cat bag of all of the movies I'm giving away! There were more than I thought! Photo by That Weird Girl Life
It may not have been the most earth shattering decluttering cleanse in history, but I cut my DVD/Blu-ray collection in half! I'd definitely say that's a success for my first dip into minimalism! I definitely feel a lot more organized and I liked that I prioritized what movies I really liked and wanted to keep. Now I just have to figure out where to donate all of these movies to! (This trying to stay at home thing is really getting annoying when you want to get rid of things!)

What did you think of the start of my minimalism journey? It may have been an easy start, but it was a great way to practice on how to think through what you want to keep or give away. Any suggestions on what I should sort through next?  And I can't wait to get started on my next decluttering project! (Dresser drawers? Books? My closet? Ack!!)  And if you have any tips for me on decluttering and getting rid of things, let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird,
Emily

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May 2020 Wrap-Up!


Photo by negin mrd on Unsplash
I can’t believe May is almost over! May, where have you gone?? You seemed to take so long and yet went by so, so fast! May was another month of staying at home, trying to stay busy, and not go crazy from the fact that I can’t go out! (Even though a lot of people now are going out for fun and to eat, which I don’t really agree with but that’s just my own opinion and I am personally going to try to stay home and social distance as much as possible) My May wasn’t as exciting as April was (and I’m using the term “exciting” very, very loosely!), but hey, I got through it and I can only hope that June is a bit more fun and exciting! But exciting in a good way and probably one that requires me to stay home. (And that I can hopefully be a bit more productive in June, which I totally haven’t been and will discuss later on in this post!) Here’s what I’ve been up to in this fine month of May!

If you haven’t caught up with what I was up to last month, check out my April wrap-up post here!

What I’ve Been Doing in May:

I read 12 books this month! (I’m currently on my 13th!) Okay, I was kind of on a roll this month, when it comes to reading! But again, what other kinds of things do I have to do? (Besides taking pictures of my cat, which I love doing) A bunch of my library borrows came in (e-books, of course, which I read on my phone since I don’t have an e-reader, but it’s better than no library books at all!) so I was busy reading those, plus I’ve been trying to sort through my books, to see which ones I want to keep or give away (and then organize them all!). So some of the books I read this month were rereads of books I had already read, but it was fun to kind of go back and read some of my old favorites and see if those stories still were as great as I thought (some yes, some no).

I started on my minimalism journey and sorted through my DVDs/blu rays! Blog post to come soon! (Fingers crossed!) I know this probably isn’t where most people decide to start decluttering, but I figured, I’m watching so much TV in quarantine right now, why not see what movies I have that I actually want to watch again and keep? It was kind of fun to go through all of my movies, to see what I had, to walk down memory lane (some of my DVDs are so old!), and I even watched a few to determine if I really wanted to keep it or not (which was fun! My taste has changed so much and some of the movies I thought I liked weren’t actually as good as I remembered they were!). While I enjoyed all of the movies I decided to give away, I know I was just keeping them because I “liked” them, not because I was going to watch them again in the near future. If I ever want to watch a certain movie again that I don’t own, I can look for it on streaming services, or to rent, or get from the library! So yay, less clutter!

Have you read my blog post about why I’m trying minimalism? No? *gasp* Well, here's a link so you can read it! 

My mom, sister, and myself sent a super cute care package to my 4 year old niece! Okay, this was super fun! I have a four year old niece who lives with my sister and brother-in-law in California, and back in March my sister, niece, and aunt were supposed to come and visit. And then the virus happened. Boo! It’s hard enough being away from my niece (we live a state away), even with video chatting, so it was extra disappointing when they had to cancel their visit. But my mom, sister, and myself put together the cutest care package for my niece, filled with goodies to keep her occupied (and to buy my sister and brother-in-law some spare time since they’re all stuck at home!). I honestly had so much fun picking out some of the things (I guess I’m still a kid at heart!), plus I was able to include some of my old kids DVDs to share along with her! (Anastasia, Coco, and Annie- I really hope Annie will annoy my brother-in-law! There’s just something about that soundtrack that really annoys dads and that delights me to no end.) Here are some of the magical and colorful things we included:

-A box of Frozen mac and cheese (which really shows that I love my niece because I hate Frozen)
-A Lisa Frank coloring book (because my niece has to know the OG illustrations of one Lisa Frank, seminal 90’s artist!)
-Pearl crayons (I was hoping for glitter crayons, but they didn’t have any, so I thought pearl crayons would be interesting for her to try!)
-My Little Pony Stickers
-A Minnie Mouse Magic towel
-A blue raspberry Push-Pop (because candy!)
-And a pair of heart shaped glasses that I bought years and years ago when I was obsessed with the Veronicas but never wore them.

Photo by That Weird Girl Life. Our care package for my niece! Movies not shown, but we totally included them!
After a Zoom call with my sister and niece, I think it’s safe to say that my niece loved the box! (She immediately put the heart-shaped glasses on and had to go through every page of the coloring book and the My Little Pony stickers) Yay! I’m hoping I can send a part two to her in the mail soon! (It’s also a great way for me to declutter! For some reason, I have lots of trinkets a 4 year old would like. Again, I just think I’m still a kid at heart!)

I've been obsessed with Instagram stories! It’s so weird, because I’ve never really been one for watching anyone's Instagram stories or even posting my own, but one day I saw some cute “This or That” templates and decided to try them out on Instagram. And you guys- I’m hooked! No, I may not be posting that many selfies, but I love exploring all of the filters (I found the horror/weird section and I am OBSESSED! It’s a horror lovers dream and I think all of my selfies will now be made with scary filters!) and posting those cute “This or That’s” (especially Harry Potter themed ones!) or updates with stickers, gifs, and music. So my apologies if I’m posting too much on Insta stories, but it’s been a bright spot in these stay at home months! (Or at least for this month!)

I am loving ASMR soundscapes on Youtube! I may have talked about this before previously on my blog a long time ago, but I have become obsessed with videos of images and animations of pleasant scenarios and lovely, calming sounds aka soundscapes! (It's also a type of ASMR, I think) My favorites right now are the channels Autumn Cozy and Miracle Forest. I love to listen to them when I’m falling asleep (the sound of rain and thunder to me are just so relaxing!), and I love the visuals and scenarios that these YouTubers come up with! Autumn Cozy is more, well, cozy and cute, and Miracle Forest is so creative with her soundscapes and incorporates stories into them! (A lot of them are creepy, which I love! Is it weird I like to fall asleep to creepy sounds? I think that says a lot about me!) Give them a listen! They’re perfect for relaxing or if you want to have some calming background noise or ambiance while you work or read! (My personal favorites from Autumn Cozy is Summer Kitchen Ambiance and Night Greenhouse Ambiance and I love Miracle Forest’s A Night in the Enchanted Forest!)

I’ve got the quarantine blues! Ugh, you guys. Does it seem like quarantine has been going on for eons? Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to stay home and stop the spread, but all of this staying at home has got me really down. And tired! So, so tired. It’s amazing how many naps I take nowadays! It feels like I don’t have any energy, and while I want to go out and do things, for me, it’s scary to go out because I run the risk of bringing something home to my immunocompromised father. (Don’t worry, I always wear a mask when I go out, use hand sanitizer, and then wash my hands when I get back home! I also sanitize everything I bring home.) So even though I should be relishing going out (you know, on essential errands like the grocery store and pharmacy, basically that’s all I go to now), I get very nervous and start freaking out (internally, of course) if people aren’t wearing masks. It’s especially scary to me now that my state is lifting restrictions and restaurants and stores are reopening and lots of people are foregoing wearing masks. I may be overreacting because of my dad (I obviously don’t want him or anyone else in my family to get sick!), but I just worry that people are risking their health and safety just a bit too soon. Plus, I miss my friends! Again, I love my family, but I’m getting a little sick of them. I need some new conversation with people who I love but aren’t related to me!

I’m going through a blogging existential crisis! Remember how I said I was feeling tired and have the quarantine blues? I don’t know if this is the reason why, but I’ve been feeling so unmotivated to do anything regarding blogging lately! My scheduled tweets for promoting blog posts? Haven’t done those in forever! All of those pins I was making for Pinterest and totally killing it? (Well, sort of) Haven’t made a pin in about a week or so. Am I filled with blog ideas and the motivation to write them all and just have killer content? Well, I have blog post ideas, but none of the motivation to actually write them. I’m not sure what’s up with me; if I’m having a blogging existential crisis, or it’s just the quarantine blues coming up and affecting my blogging. But I’m in such a slump that I’m purposely staying away from Twitter (all of those productive bloggers! How dare they flaunt that in my face!) and I haven’t even been replying to blog comments or commenting on other people’s blogs! It’s a problem, you guys! It’s almost like I got burned out from blogging, or the work that comes along with blogging, because to me, the writing is fun, but all of the other stuff is just work. Any ideas of how I can be more productive and put the fun back into blogging? (And all of the other stuff that comes along with blogging? You know, like the scheduling, pictures, pin making, commenting, etc.) Any help is appreciated!

Margot the kitten update! I know, this is the section of blog post you’ve all been waiting for, and it’s my favorite too. Margot is just growing like a sweet, floofy weed and I can’t believe how big she’s gotten! It also makes me kind of sad, too, that I know she’s going to be a grown up cat soon! (Though I know she will make an incredibly beautiful adult cat!) Like I mentioned in last month’s update, Margot loves to be brushed, and her cat brush is not enough. She has to go for my hair brush. You know, my eco-friendly bamboo and boar bristle brush that was way more expensive than her cat brush. So I have to be careful not to leave my brush lying around, or else she’ll start rubbing up against it, just all happy and purring. Okay, and I might brush her with it sometimes. She loves it, I can’t help it! I just want her to make her happy. I’m such a sucker for this cat, you guys, it’s not even funny. And is it bad that I just now realized that her whiskers on each side are two different colors? One side is white, and the other side is black! Torties and their markings are so much fun and unique!

Photo by That Weird Girl Life. Isn't she just so pretty?? Look at those tortie markings and her black and white whiskers! 
Are you following me on Instagram yet? If not, you can follow me here. I promise, I mostly only post pictures of Margot, so you don’t have to worry about seeing my face that often!

Blog Posts I Wrote This Month:

My Perfect Weekend, Post Quarantine: Quarantine Dreamin’
Mental Illness and the Art of Pretending
My Unpopular Harry Potter Opinions
And this post you’re reading now!

And, as per usual, I didn’t write a fifth post. One day I will! Maybe. Possibly. Hopefully. Or is this just wishful thinking? No, I’ll do it one day! I will! But not this month. Maybe in June! (Don’t quote me because it probably won’t happen, let’s be honest!)

And that was my May! Was it boring? Kind of. But did I survive it? Heck yeah! Let’s hope that I can make June an even better month and get over these quarantine blues and this blogging hump! If nothing else, I’m going to force myself to be more active and have some fun! Hopefully that will help! What have you been up to in May? How has quarantine been treating you? How are you keeping busy? Let me know in the comments below! And thank you, as always, for reading!

Stay Weird,
Emily

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My Unpopular Harry Potter Opinions

Photo by Rae Tian on Unsplash
Let me preface this by saying that I absolutely LOVE the Harry Potter series. It’s one of my favorite books series ever, one of my favorite movie series, filled with some of the most iconic and memorable characters ever, and I’m one of those Harry Potter fans that has said on multiple occasions that Harry Potter has changed my life for the better. BUT… just because I love something, doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why I love the series, because despite loving all of the characters, they’re all so real, and human, and flawed. J.K. Rowling has created a magical world where despite everything being fantastic and wondrous, it somehow still seems real and raw. I’m not saying that the Harry Potter series itself is flawed, but as much as I love love love the series, there were some things in both the books and movies that I never really agreed with or even kind of liked (mostly the movies, but a few things in the books!). So here, without further ado, are my unpopular Harry Potter opinions, with both the books and the movies!

*Please, no hate, these are just my own personal opinions and again, like I said, I love the books and the movies with all of my heart, and this is in no way bashing them at all. But if you can’t critique something that you love, then what can you critique?? I guess things you hate, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make!*

My Opinions on the Harry Potter Books:

1. Peeves was annoying. I totally get it. Peeves the Poltergeist added even more color and humor and mischief to the Hogwarts castle. But if I were a student at Hogwarts, I would have dreaded going there for fear that he would throw water balloons filled with God knows what at my head all the time! But I did love in Order of the Phoenix how he listened to Fred and George and kept his promise about giving Umbridge hell. It almost made me like him. Almost. But honestly, I was secretly relieved when they left him out of the movies!

2. Why did Fred, Tonks, AND Lupin have to die in the Battle of Hogwarts? (Sorry, spoilers!) Why kill them all??

3. And take away the one connection Harry has to his parents by killing Sirius in Order of the Phoenix? I get it, plot and character growth, but still! To leave another child an orphan (Lupin and Tonk’s son, Teddy)?? C’mon, J.K.!

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4. And then Hedwig??? J.K. Rowling just might as well have had Harry die and Voldemort live in honor of the prophecy, why don’t you! I know it was supposed to represent Harry’s “loss of innocence/childhood,” but that hurt SO MUCH. Too much, in fact.

5. Why was everyone so mean? From the teachers to the students (especially Snape! How did he get away with literally bullying students like Neville and literally everyone else who was not in Slytherin??), to the students to the other students, everyone was super rude to each other! And what’s up with everyone calling each other by their last name/surname? Is that a British thing? I’ve literally never ever called a person I didn’t like by their last name…

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6. Also, why did Harry get to name his kids after his family? Did Ginny get no say in the matter? I mean, c’mon, she was the only girl and youngest child in a family of seven kids! Let her name at least one of her children, dammit!

7. And why didn't we get a great epilogue detailing what all the characters were up to after the books ended??? We got some snippets from J.K. Rowling in post Deathly Hallows interviews, but I would have loved to have learned what everyone did after the Battle of Hogwarts dust and rubble had settled! (You know, and the Dark Lord defeated and all!)

8. Snape’s obsession and love for Lily wasn’t romantic- it was creepy! I get that “Always” means a lot to us Harry Potter fans, but there’s a fine line between love and obsession. And Snape was more on the obsessive side than romantic side, let's be honest. Snape himself is a great, complicated character and he loved Lily enough to protect her son, but not be at least a little civil to him? I mean, I know James Potter was a dick to him, but be a grown up, Severus! Geez!

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My Opinions On the Harry Potter Movies:

9. Ginny had no personality! Why oh why would they do my girl Ginny wrong like this? All of us books fans know that Ginny started out as shy and nervous around Harry (because she was seriously crushing on him), but then she came out her shell and was such a cool, opinionated, and strong character (and Quidditch player!). But in the movies, they really did not do her character justice. Movie Ginny was about as compelling as a dried up leaf (a red one, of course).

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10. Hermione's Yule Ball dress was not pretty- at all. I get that it was Hermione’s She’s All That walk-down-the-stairs moment, but I really did not care for the dress. I don’t know if it was the ruffled individual pieces with the light to dark pink ombre, or the bustier part, but to me, it was not at all beautiful. I know that it’s now an iconic outfit in the HP series, but to me, it just didn’t hit the mark. Also, it was supposed to be periwinkle! That’s a pretty light blue, in case you didn’t know. (I actually just watched a really interesting video about why they chose pink instead of blue for Hermione’s dress and while I don’t like the dress itself, I get why the filmmakers chose pink instead of blue. You can watch it here)

11. I actually liked Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. I know, this one is a bit controversial. I thought Richard Harris totally had the Dumbledore look and twinkle in his eye, but he lacked that dark edge that Dumbledore later is revealed to have in the books. Michael Gambon, in my opinion, was more versatile and was able to handle more of the darker history and moments of Dumbledore. I don’t know if Richard Harris, great actor as he was (RIP), could have done that as convincingly and as compellingly as Gambon did.

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12. I liked the Goblet of Fire movie, but they left so much out of it! And instead of putting more of the plot in it, they just added more of the teenage wizard and witch hormones. Which was all quite fun (especially in the books), but not expanding on Barty Crouch and Barty Crouch Jr. (and poor Winky the house-elf??)? No Ludo Bagman?? Why were all of the Beauxbaton students girls and the Drumstrang students were guys? Also, my favorite task of the Triwizard Tournament, the maze, was totally botched. I wanted to see the Sphinx, the blast-ended skrewts, and more. Also, was anyone else creeped out by Moaning Myrtle perving on a naked Harry in the prefects bathroom giant bathtub? I mean, that kind of made me uncomfortable! (I can only imagine how Harry felt!)

13. The movies gave all of Ron’s lines to Hermione, making Ron look more like the fun, foolish friend, when we know in the books, Ron has his smart and clever moments (even if they took Hermione by surprise at times). Justice for Ron!

Gfycat
14. They left so much out of Half-Blood Prince! I loved learned about Voldemort's past, but leaving out Merope and Tom Riddle's "relationship?" Tragic! It would have brought Voldemort's upbringing and feelings towards his family and the fact that his father was *gasp* a Muggle to light and add more depth to his evil character. (I mean, he was conceived while his father was under the spell of a love potion, no wonder the guy is evil!)

15. I wasn’t that bothered by Dumbledore shouting “Harry, did ya put your name in da Goblet of Fiyah??” as everyone else seems to be. That seems to be a big complaint (and joke/meme) in the fan community, but for some reason it never annoyed me that much. Artistic liberties, I suppose!

Tenor

My Thoughts On Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:

16. Just everything in this...just no. Let’s not even go there. I know this is supposedly canon, but I’m pretending it was just a wild fever dream that never happened.

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And those were my unpopular Harry Potter opinions! Again, don’t get me wrong, I love the books and the movies, but nothing in life is perfect and these were just my humble opinions and thoughts about this magnificent series. Everyone is allowed to agree or disagree about it (our Harry Potter fandom is quite opinionated!) and that’s kind of what I love about the series. We all had different pictures of it in our minds when we first read the books, and then when the movies came out, we saw the story come to life, but maybe not in the exact way we had in our minds. So personally, that’s why I love seeing different artist’s interpretations of the Wizarding World, like Jim Kay and fan art. I like seeing what everyone else had in their minds, whether it be by art or just by their thoughts, because the Harry Potter movies were based on what the people working on the movies had in their minds! And honestly, for every "meh" thing I didn't like about the books or movies, there are about 100 things that I did love about them! The books just prove that nothing is perfect, even if the Harry Potter series is close to perfection.

What are your unpopular Harry Potter opinions? (It's okay, you can tell me. I don't judge!) Are yours the same as mine, or do you totally disagree and have others? Did you want to see more things in the movies (like the giant squid in the lake?) or were there some things you were glad they left out? I’d love to know in the comments below! (But please remember to keep it polite! We can all have our own thoughts and opinions about this amazing series, so be nice, everyone!)

Stay Weird,
Emily

Mental Illness and the Art of Pretending

Photo by Kyle Sudu on Unsplash
In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I have decided to share one of my mental health experiences this month. Writing about mental health can be hard, but I feel it’s worth it to spread awareness and share my story with others, who may have suffered or are suffering with something similar. It’s always good to know you’re not alone with this.

***

When you’re depressed or anxious or are just suffering with your mental health, you become skilled at the art of pretending.

Everything is “fine.” You’re “great.” Nothing "new" is up. Your life is just so boring right now. Nothing new to report. When really it’s the exact opposite. Your life is so hectic. It may all be happening inside your mind: the depression, the anxiety, the panic attacks, the manic episodes, the obsessive thoughts, but all of that still filters out into your physical life and is taking up so much of your time. It's consuming your life. That's "what's up" with you. You just don’t want to tell anyone about it or admit that it’s even happening. To you or anyone.

You’re a pro at make believe, that everything is normal and that you’re not suffering inside.

But what people don’t know is that you don’t want to bother anyone. Bog them down with your troubles. Burden them with it. Your medication and side effect woes. Your psychiatrist/psychologist/therapist/counselor/doctor appointments. The sleepless nights and sleeping all day. Or the fact that you don't have any help or anyone to talk to. That you're alone in this awfulness. Those feelings that you just can’t escape and so desperately want to. So you pretend that everything is just fine and dandy. It's really not though.

Pretending is an art that you’ve mastered and you have everyone fooled. But deep down you know you want help or someone to just ask you if you’re okay, and for you to just say simply and easily, “yes, yes I do need help,” or “yes, I do want to talk about it.”

For most of my life, I have been one of those people who have pretended. Pretended I was okay, pretended I was fine, pretended my life was so boring that there really was nothing up with me, when really everything up with me was a horrible tornado in my mind, spinning out of control, and causing deep depressions, outbursts of anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, awful compulsions, endless crying, and more. But on the outside, I wanted everything to look as if I was just like everyone else. Someone with a “normal" life, the one I was trying so hard to imitate. I didn’t want to admit that anything was wrong with me. So I lied and pretended.

And I have to admit, I still do at times. I’m afraid to speak up, not just because I don’t want to admit that there’s something wrong with me, but because I don’t know who to talk to about it (besides a mental health professional). Who will understand, who won’t judge me? Who won’t call me crazy? (It’s happened.) It’s a scary thing to admit that you need help or want to talk, but when you finally do get the courage or are desperate enough, who can you turn to talk to or to trust them with your innermost thoughts and feelings? Thoughts and feelings not everyone will understand because they’ve never gone through something even remotely similar? The very idea is terrifying to think that you could tell someone and they wouldn’t understand or get it. (“You do know that’s crazy...right?”- something someone actually said to me once.)

But you know what I’ve learned after years of being silent and trying to be stoic and not be a bother?

People who pretend are strong. They’re trying so hard to keep things to themselves, figure it out on their own, and not burden their family and friends, that they’re suffering even more because of their silence. But that strength will only get you so far until you need help, and then it might be too late. 

But people who ask for help are also strong. Because they have that bravery, and that knowledge to know that it's time to ask for help. That they realize they need help, and they have the strength to seek it out and ask for it, even if they're at the brink of something terrible. And I applaud them for it. (That's called advocating for yourself, people!)

I hope that one day asking for help won’t be so shameful and that you don't have to pretend that you’re okay when you're not okay. (You can always keep things to yourself, of course, because it's your life and it is your choice whether or not you want to tell people what you’re going through. You don’t have to tell any old person, just someone you trust, whether it’s a friend or a mental health professional.) That it’s acceptable to tell the truth. To ask for help. To know that you’re not a burden.

Because you’re not.

And I’m not, either.

Never be ashamed to ask for help, especially professional help. We all deserve to get the help we need, to be able to ask for it, without drama, without judgement, and with compassion. If you need help, and you’ve been pretending, I hope you can find a person you trust, and ask for help if you need to. Or even just someone to talk to. (Though I really would suggest professional help if you're having serious problems. There's only so much a friend can listen to and try to help, so getting professional help is a must, sometimes. And something I definitely encourage for people!)

Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength and that you know it’s time that you speak up for the help that you need and deserve. Let's do away with pretending and start speaking up for ourselves. Because it's about damn time.

***

I know May is Mental Health Awareness Month and is a great way to remind people of everyone who suffers from mental health and obviously bring awareness to it, but just remember that it doesn’t have to be May for you to speak up and get help. Any month of the year, any day of the year, is the best time for you to ask for help. And I hope you do. To everyone else who may not suffer from any mental health conditions but is friends with someone who has them, please listen. It will mean the world to us if you do.

Have you ever hid your mental illness behind the art of pretending? Have you learned to be more open about it, or do you still keep it quiet? (After all, it's a personal choice whether you want to talk about it or not!) Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Stay Weird,
Emily


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