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Unboxing: Cherry Wallis & Geek Gear's Curation of Magical Curiosities CHRISTMAS Box


It’s the most wonderful time of the year… meaning my Curation of Magical Curiosities Christmas box from Cherry Wallis and Geek Gear finally came! If you haven’t seen my first review/unboxing of Cherry’s first collab with Geek Gear, you can read it here. But for Cherry and Geek Gear’s second collab, they did a Christmas edition of the Curation of Magical Curiosities box and I couldn’t be more thrilled! What’s better than Harry Potter at any time? Harry Potter at Christmas time!

Before we begin, for those of you who may not know, Cherry Wallis is a British YouTuber who focuses on all things Harry Potter (and who I adore so you should go subscribe to her!) and Geek Gear is a British based subscription box company who has a fan-based (not official) Wizardry Box. Cherry and Geek Gear teamed up to do the first one time box of Curation of Magical Curiosities box back in late August/early September, and right after I received my box (and posted my review!), Cherry announced that she would be doing another Curation of Magical Curiosities box, but this time it was Christmas themed! So I just knew I had to get it. (Treat yo self, right??)

Cherry and Geek Gear offered it in a classic sized box with seven items in it or a Maxima box with eleven items in it, but both still very magical. I decided on the Maxima box (again, treat yo self and also an early Christmas present to myself!). I’ve been trying my hardest not to see any spoilers until I opened my own box (which is very difficult because people in England always get theirs first, and Cherry did her own unboxing of the Christmas edition on her channel, so it was torture NOT to watch), but the owl post finally delivered it this week and I am ready to share my thoughts and excitement about the box!

*FYI, I bought this box with my own money, so all opinions and thoughts about it are my own. And still would be even if this box or any other subscription box was gifted to me. Ahem, subscription box companies!*

**Also, I again apologize for my photography skills. There’s only so much my phone plus a photo editing app can do!**

First, the box came in wrapping and I, of course, was very excited to see the Royal Mail sign on it. It’s official! It came from England! My anglophile/Harry Potter heart was aflutter!


And then came the box itself! It looked just like the first one, except for a giant Christmas bow on top. Plus, it came with a poster tube along with it in the bag. I vaguely remember Cherry tweeting saying that one of the items didn’t arrive on time, and that makes me wonder if that’s why the tube wasn’t in the box. (Or if it just didn't fit! Most likely that it didn't fit.) But what could be in said box and tube?? Let’s open and see!




The first thing I saw when I opened the box was a bunch of Christmas colored “wiggly worms,” as Cherry calls them, along with what looks to be a card wishing Neville a Happy Christmas (I always love the British way of saying “Happy Christmas” instead of “Merry Christmas!”). So cute!


On the back of the Christmas card for Neville, there was a note from Cherry:

“Dear Friend,

‘I couldn’t risk sending Hedwig. Ever since the World Cup the Ministry’s been intercepting more and more owls and she’s too easily recognised.' - Sirius

That reminds me, did you feed the owl upon arrival? It’s quite cold this winter and it’s flown quite the journey to get to you.

I can’t believe the festive season has arrived, it’s the most wonderful time of year don’t you think?

This year has been filled with such magic, and our community is thriving. Our Wizarding World has some of the most incredible, passionate, and kindhearted wizards and witches within it, and I’d like to say a huge thank you for all of your support with the Curation of Magical Curiosities this year.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a very magical New Year!

Always,
Cherry”

How sweet! Cherry is such a sweetheart and so sincere and lovely! I know she puts her heart and soul and all of her creative juices into these boxes, so I know I can expect nothing but the best from her! I couldn’t wait to see what was next.

After lifting up Neville’s Christmas card, I got to see the box. So many packages of various sizes and lots of wiggly worms!


I picked up this small package first, which I thought was adorable. I loved the designs on the box, with the flying keys, snitches, stars, and snowflakes! But to my great surprise was what was in the box!


It was a flying key ornament! I’ve been dying to do my own little Harry Potter themed Christmas tree and have been collecting ornaments for it for a few years now, but have been wanting a flying key to put on it! I even bought a key ornament to make my own flying key, but now I have an official one! And I love how it even has the Deathly Hallows set into the top! What a great little way of making it even more Harry Potter-esque! And of course, Cherry would have included a flying key, since she loves them so much! They’re honestly one of my favorite images from the books/movies, too.


After a great start to the box, I moved on to the next little package. I loved the design of this one as well. It looked like just a simple box that an owl might deliver, brown and covered with string. I thought it was a cute touch to have the Owl Post stamp on the top, too! But I was even more thrilled to see what was inside!



It was Neville’s Remembrall! This must have gone with his Christmas card! In case you’ve forgotten, Neville received this from his Gran in the first book/movie, and the Remembrall glows red if you’ve forgotten something. Mine is clear, thank goodness, so I haven’t forgotten anything important just now, but the design and quality, even though it’s plastic, is just so amazing!



Next up was a pin! If you don’t have a pin in a Harry Potter subscription box, is it really a Harry Potter subscription box? This one was so cute! It’s a Christmas wreath, with the Hogwarts “H” on top, a lightning bolt dangling in the middle, and a snitch at the bottom. Plus, they have little faux House colored jewels on it and in the green of the wreath, there’s a Deathly Hallows symbol, plus glasses, snitches, stars, and lightning bolts. It’s so festive and jolly! I know Cherry loves her pins and I’m sure she’s thrilled to add this to her collection, just as I am! She designed it with Amelia, who you can find over on Instagram as @Amelia_B83.


Another box I picked up was a checkered box with a crown on it. Hmm. I was genuinely confused to see what could be on the inside until I opened it. Duh! Of course!


It was a queen chess piece from Wizard’s chess! Now the crown makes sense! I’ve never been a chess fan, but I loved in the first book how Ron teaches Harry how to play the pretty violent Wizard version of chess, and we all remember in the first movie how appalled Hermione is when she sees Ron and Harry playing it during Christmas time. (“Hermione: That’s totally barbaric!” Ron: “That’s Wizard’s chess!” The detail on the queen is pristine and so defined. I’m very impressed by how quality it looks! Wow, I honestly can’t wait to display this piece, (Wizard’s) chess fan or not. (Also, I like how worried she looks. Literally me as a chess piece.)


After the queen chess piece, I saw a pretty giant wrapped present. Ooh! I was intrigued! What was inside? It seemed pretty soft…


It was a Molly Weasley-inspired scarf! It’s nice and long and has the perfect 70’s colored yarn that just screams “Molly Weasley made this!” Thankfully, the 70’s colors translate well to autumnal colors, with the orange, darker reds, and very dark green. I honestly was really surprised and pleased at how nice and authentic this piece is. I can’t wait to add it to my scarf collection and finally get to wear it when it cools off here! (It’s still not that cold out here in the desert.)


The next item was wrapped in bubble wrap, so I had a pretty good hunch it was going to be a bit fragile. And when I unwrapped the bubble wrap, the most pretty decorated box was awaiting me. Could it be Yule Ball themed with those colors and two dancers at the bottom?


Yes, it was! And not only that, it was a clear glass pumpkin juice bottle, inspired from the fourth film! With a blue bottom and a silver snowflake on the side, this bottle looks like it was just picked up by a student after a night at the Yule Ball! I even love how the pumpkin stopper on top comes off! If you’ve been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Universal Studios, you’ll have seen very similar bottles like this at their Yule Ball set up, and I’m sure Cherry was inspired by it. I absolutely love the item and the craftsmanship of it is just off the charts!



Could it get better than the Yule Ball version of a bottle of pumpkin juice? Possibly! The next box probably has my favorite design out of all of the packages included in this entire box. It looks like a package wrapped up in brown paper, but with white holly leaves and red berries decorating the paper. With tied printed string and a tag that says “Happy Christmas, Harry!” and “Happy Christmas, Ron!” on it, I was absolutely dying to know what was inside if it was for both of them.



It was a set of gloves! One blue with an “H” on it for Harry, and the other maroon with an “R” on it for Ron! Inspired by the famous sweaters that Molly Weasley makes for all of her children (including her surrogate son Harry), I now have the cutest pair of mismatched best friend gloves! Too cute! Also, my style has always been a bit on the quirky side, so having two mismatched gloves isn’t so far off for me (no wonder I’m a Ravenclaw!).


The next item I saw was a Chudley Cannon pennant! Chudley Cannons is Ron’s favorite Quidditch team that seems to always lose their matches, but Ron loves them anyway. I remember in the books Ron’s bedroom at home is decorated all orange in honor of Chudley Cannons, which seemed to clash with his ginger hair. But I can see Ron hanging this pennant up next to his bed in the Gryffindor dormitory! So original and a great display piece!


I then saw a rather long and shiny/glittery envelope (which was super hard to take a picture of, so forgive me for not having one) and inside was an invitation to the Yule Ball!




Both sides of it are utterly gorgeous, with shiny gold foiling designs and the prettiest blue color, and it then opens up to reveal details about the Yule Ball, including the date, what to wear, etc. According to Cherry it was designed by Danny from MuggleMagicDIY. What a gorgeous replica! I feel like I’ve been invited to the Ball myself and now have to find a date. Um. Awkward. I now know how Harry felt trying to ask Cho, getting rejected, and then trying to find another date. I think maybe I’ll just go with some gal friends and focus on what dress robes I’ll wear!

The poster at the very bottom of the box that I had to literally turn the box upside down to get (worth it!), was of a lovely painting of a Howler (if you can call a Howler lovely), painted by Miss Cherry Wallis herself! In the first Curation of Magical Curiosities box, she painted a very pretty picture of a Mandrake, which I love, and this Howler print is no exception. I can’t wait to put it up for all to see!


And for the last item (sad!), I finally picked up the poster tube to see what was inside. And lo and behold, it was in fact a poster! For the Yule Ball!


Created by the same person who designed the Yule Ball invitation, Danny from MuggleMagicDIY, this poster is so gorgeous, I’m honestly in shock! It was hard to take a picture of, since I had to use items to prop it open, or else it would keep curling, haha. But it described what would happen at each stroke of the hour, such as “At the First Wand Stroke, Lead Your Partner to the Dance Floor” and “At the Fourth Wand Stroke, Witch and Wizard of the Ball Will Be Announced.” So creative and beautiful! I also liked how at the bottom is said “Strictly Dress to Impress. See Professor McGonagall for details.” Danny really hit it out of the park with this one! I honestly can’t wait to frame this one. Actually, I think I have a lot of framing to do in my future from these boxes!

And last but not least, the cheat sheet with all the information about the items by Cherry!






All in all, the Christmas edition of Curation of Magical Curiosities Maxima version had eleven items and I honestly was so impressed by each and every one of them! They were all so Christmas-y and winter-y! Cherry outdid herself once again! It’s going to be so hard for me to pick which one I loved the most, because I loved each and every one of them in their own way. I definitely loved the glass Yule Ball pumpkin juice bottle. So beautiful! But I also loved the flying key ornament (again, perfect for my mini Harry Potter Christmas tree!), the Remembrall, the Harry and Ron gloves, and the Yule Ball poster. Okay, basically, I just love them all! And I'm not going to lie, I'm going to keep ALL of these amazing packages the items came in! I just love the designs, I can't throw them out! Cherry has such great taste that I knew her boxes would be fantastic and they’re basically the only Harry Potter subscription boxes I buy (unless a Harry Potter subscription box would like to send me a free box or two in exchange for an honest review. Ahem…).




That was my unboxing and review of Cherry Wallis and Geek Gear’s Curation of Magical Curiosities Christmas edition Harry Potter box! It really got me in the mood for the upcoming holiday season and I really, really hope she ends up doing another box! What did you think of all of the fun trinkets that were inside?? Which one was your favorite? And let me know if you watch Cherry Wallis and have bought one of her boxes before! I’d love to know!

Stay Weird,
Emily


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My Struggles with Low Self-Esteem


I know this may come as a shock to you, but I am not the brimming, over the top, bubbly person that you may think I am. (Shocking, right??) I’m not particularly outgoing, or even that tenacious. I’ve always been rather shy (unless it’s around people I know very, very well) and an introvert, but one thing that’s really gotten in my way lately has been my self-esteem. And by self-esteem, I don’t mean that I have great confidence in myself, a la Sister Maria from The Sound of Music (is my musical nerd side showing? But seriously, it’s a classic!). No, what I mean is that I have low, poor self-esteem.

I knew this was something I should write about when I was in a group therapy session recently (I try, you guys, I really do). The counselor asked us to write down three names and to assign a monetary value to those people: one person you greatly admired and respected, yourself, and a person you hate. I gave the person I admired the value of a million dollars (I’m quite generous). And I gave the person I hate the value of $50 (he was a d*ck). And I gave myself the value of $250. The counselor was shocked I gave myself such a low value. I replied, “well, I’m $200 more expensive than a person with a really fancy degree and thinks he’s the sh*t, so I think I’m doing okay.” But, honestly, seeing my low value on paper got me thinking that maybe this is something I should address. Finally.

I always kind of knew this was a problem, but for some reason, it’s gotten really bad these last few years. Which is quite ironic, because as a kid, you literally have no inhibitions. I was definitely like that as a kid. I was outgoing (at least to my family and friends), and when I was in middle school, I was so dramatic that I was convinced I was going to be an actress (I was also obsessed with Entertainment Weekly magazine at the time, so that didn’t help either). But as I got older, my mental health wasn’t the best, and as we all know, depression has never been known as a confidence booster. My self-esteem took a hit, but it wasn’t quite as much at an all time low as it is now. Why is that?

A Series of Unfortunate Events (Way Less Entertaining Than the Book Series)

I think it’s just a series of unfortunate events, honestly. From dating a guy who was a bit too honest in his eagerness to try to “help” me by pointing out all of what I haven’t achieved yet, as if I didn’t see these flaws in myself every single damn day of my life (we broke up, don’t worry), my mental health getting better then randomly getting worse, failed job interviews, losing a job, not being able to find a job, etc. All of these things by themselves probably wouldn’t be too bad, but add them all together and then throw in some things on top of those events that come along with them (still living at home, I never got my college degree, not earning enough money…), well, even I have to see how that can be a big blow to my confidence and self-esteem.

Thanks to these events, they’ve all had a negative impact on me and the way I view myself. I’m no longer that little kid who dreams of being an actress (I never would have made it past the first casting call for any part, let’s be honest. I can barely remember anything unless it’s an old TV commercial jingle), but someone who doesn’t believe in themselves. And that’s an important part of being a human being. Sure, you may not be quite as confident as that one friend (everyone always has that one friend) who can talk their way into a job at NASA while only ever majoring in liberal arts, but you should be able to know that you’re capable.

But I don’t know if I am. And I also don’t really believe it.

What My Self-Esteem Tells Me and Makes Me Believe

Now I don’t know if I can ever sit through a job interview again. My very first job interview, I peed my pants right before I went in. I was so nervous that I had to pee, like right this second, and I started peeing even before I could get my pants off in the bathroom stall. Thank god I was wearing black pants and they (hopefully) didn’t notice. It’s a funny story in retrospect, but also a glaring observation of how severe my anxiety was because of said interview. Oh, and I didn’t get the job. Or the job after that. Which makes me even more anxious now to look for a job and that dreaded job interview that comes with it.

And I worry that I will never find a job without a college degree. Even though school has always been a very anxiety provoking part of my life, I couldn’t even make it through online courses without my anxiety overpowering me. I also feel uneducated and stupid for not having a degree, as well. Some people put so much value on where you went to school and what you majored in, that I’m ashamed to say that I couldn’t even manage a few simple courses without having a breakdown.

My mental health has always been very up and down as well. From being on different medications for most of my life, going to therapist to psychologist to psychiatrist, my life has been a series of dark depressive or anxious attacks. Who’s to say it will ever go away? And along with my mental health issues, my anxiety triggers a gut reaction, resulting in IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, making it very hard to find a job that would make it easy for be to have full access to a bathroom whenever I need it. Which is why I usually only have stay at home jobs for most of my life. Am I even capable enough of having a job?

And once, in one of the most embarrassing instances of my life, when I was severely depressed and not working, at a party, a friend of a friend asked what I did. I replied in what I hoped was a fun and flippant way, “Oh, right now I’m helping my mom baby-sit.” (Which I was doing at the time) But he persisted. “No, but what do you do?” I was flabbergasted and grasped for an answer. “I’m...I’m...I’m...” I stammered. “I’m taking some time off for my health,” I finally managed to say. He seemed really confused and eventually walked away. I had never felt more ashamed and pathetic.

But the most prominent question that pops in my head is: do I deserve to have anything good happen to me?

And my answer is always: no. I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve to have anything. I deserve to have nothing.

Because when you have low-self esteem, you feel like you’re meant to be rejected. That you deserve it. Of course it’s your fault. You’re doing something wrong. You did this to yourself. And everyone can see it.

The job interviewers didn’t give me the job because they knew I wasn’t capable enough. I could barely get through the job interview without shaking violently and having my brain turn to mush when they asked me their questions.

I’m stupid for not having a college degree. Dumber people than me have degrees. I just couldn’t do it because I let my anxiety take over. I wasn’t capable enough to handle it. And everyone judges me for being too stupid to have one.

And why would I even think my mental health would get better? This is the card I’ve been dealt. My gut issues are never getting better. Medications don’t help. The doctors say it stems from my anxiety, and my anxiety stems from gut issues. It’s a vicious circle. Why even dream about getting a normal job? I’m not normal. Not at all.

And Here's What My Low Self-Esteem Makes Me Do

So instead of being rejected, I avoid. I wanted to start a new career years ago, but then when I found out I had to have a college degree plus a master’s, I balked and stopped.

I looked into getting a part-time job, but once I saw the application and realized I would have to do a job interview, I froze. I panicked. I closed my laptop and forgot about it.

My mental health and gut? Well, how could I ever manage anything with that? With frequent, painful trips to the bathroom at inconvenient times? How could I hold a job down with that? I couldn’t, I can’t.

These are all things (and more) that was my low self-esteem says to me. It reminds me of it daily, my weaknesses, my lack of accomplishments, even my lack of trying. It teams up with my depression and anxiety, making me feel blue and irritable that I’m wasting time, not doing anything, for fear of rejection. That everyone can see I’m inadequate, even more than I do.

It’s even the main reason I don’t share anything about my blog with my family or friends. I’m afraid they’ll look at my blog, think my writing isn’t good, or critique it, and say I’m wasting my time. They’ll ask if they really think I can do this as a job, and wouldn’t it be better to have a real job and just keep this a hobby? Or, did I really spend money on this? What a bad investment, especially if your blog never makes any money. What a waste of effort, time, and money.

Low self-esteem is an awful, degrading feeling to have. To have your own mind say you aren’t worth anything, that you don’t deserve anything. All of this just from a combination of bad experiences. Why can’t I just bounce back like other people do? Why do I have to be like this?

But There Is Help. And Hope. (Plus Some Tips!)

And the thing is: I don’t have to be. I’ve talked about this at length with my therapist (I’m under care guys, it’s okay) that this may be the way my brain has rewired from all of these negative thoughts and negative inner voice (in a way, my brain is stuck in a very negative rut), but I can change it. That there are ways to change how I think and feel about myself.

I can stop that negative self talk. That negative inner ear that tells me I’m pathetic, that I’ll never amount to anything, that I don’t deserve any accomplishments, that all I’ll ever be is just a rejected human being.

That I can switch the narrative on that negative voice, turning, “I don’t deserve anything”, to “I deserve something good.” Or “I’ll never find a job that’s right for me,” to “I can find a job that fits most of my needs.” Try taking a negative statement and putting that positive spin on it. It’s amazing how that switch from negative to positive can completely change your view on yourself and what you’re capable of (because we are all capable, no matter what your brain tries to tell you!). It’s realistic and simple, but also, kind of hopeful. And that’s something usually missing with low self-esteem. That hope that you used to have.

I can also start treating myself as a friend aka self-compassion. I’m not at all as harsh to my friends as I am to myself. I’d actually never even talk to someone I hate like the way I talk to myself (not even the $50 guy!). Instead of judging myself, I can try to understand and comfort myself. Remind myself that we’re human and that we’re not all perfect. It’s what I would do for a friend, and shouldn’t I treat myself with that same love and compassion? (You would think, right?)

Another way I’ve heard is to list positive things about yourself. They don’t have to be super specific or important. You could just write “I’m super good at playing Monopoly and usually win!” (which is not an example from my life) or “I love to read and pride myself on how many books I’ve read this year!” (now that is an example from my life). It’s the little things that remind us we’re more than what we think we are not. 

Also, positive affirmations are always another good idea as well. Your own specific ones or even the ones you see all over Pinterest. You can stick them around your room or places you can see them for an added boost of positivity. They can be as sappy or as unsentimental as you want. Just make sure they're positive!

But the one thing that is really helpful is to give yourself small challenges and goals, to push yourself and prove to yourself that you are worthy and you deserve good things in life. I’m slowly trying to do that, by looking for jobs that would suit my needs, go and see my friends more (aka positive- and fun- influences) and trying to be more confident (even though I don’t feel like it. Fake it till you make it!). Don’t push yourself all at once, work up to it, but with each tiny accomplishment, you’ll feel that low self-esteem start to lift away a little bit. Little by little, it does get better (or so I hear).

To (Finally) Wrap It Up (aka Thank You For Reading This Insanely Long Post)

It will take time to rewire your brain from the negative to the positive, but I feel like it’s worth it. It’s the journey I’m currently on and I hope will help with my mental health, my future, and my life. Because deep down, I know that I don’t want to have this low self-esteem. I want to be happy, healthy, and free of the negativity that’s pushing me down and keeping me under. I want to succeed and live and find my self-worth. But I can only do that if I try. And I’m willing to do that. And I hope you are too, if you struggle with low self-esteem. Because you are capable. And you deserve to be happy.

This was my really honest story of my struggles with low self-esteem. This was really hard for me to open up about, so thank you for reading, and I hope some of you may understand what I’m going through. It was, not surprisingly, difficult for me to write, to be so sincere and honest and share such a big and embarrassing and tough part of my life. Mostly because I feel like people would judge me for it and think I'm pathetic (there's that low self-esteem again rearing its ugly head again!). But I hope in a way sharing my struggles will help someone else, and my journey to loving myself and finding my self-worth and believing in myself will in a way hold me accountable for my actions and my negative-hopefully-turned-positive thoughts. I’m worthy of feeling whole, happy, and deserving, and so are you.

*If you’re suffering from low self-esteem, I suggest you see a professional to help with it, as sometimes therapies like CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) or even some medications can help (since low self-esteem can cause or lead to depression). If not, please surround yourself with caring and supportive individuals who will help you. Sending you all my love!*

Stay Weird,
Emily

I got some of my tips for helping with low self-esteem from these sites:
PsychAlive
NHS UK
Also from my therapist, but she doesn't have a link. Thanks, girl!



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73 Vogue Style Questions Tag


I think everyone has seen those Vogue 73 Questions with celebrities on YouTube before. It usually involves a celebrity being followed around their house or some other very fancy place they’re staying (“oh this? I’m just renting this 6 bedroom, 8 bath mansion while I’m filming!”), answering questions to someone behind the camera. You can tell it’s totally scripted (“I randomly had this plate of cookies for you that I baked from scratch right before you came. Here, have one!”), but it’s also super fun to watch and get an inside look at some random or deep questions (usually random) about the celebrity themselves. But guess what! Someone made a BLOGGER version of the Vogue series so now we can answer random or deep questions too! Take that, Taylor Swift and Blake Lively!

I have to admit that I’ve always wanted to do this blogger version of the 73 Questions tag and I was so delighted when Steph over at Sometimes I Write tagged me! Thank you, Steph! Dreams do come true! So now just imagine me being asked questions and followed by a camera in my big mansion in LA aka my small home in the next state over from California and about a million times less glamorous. But still just as much fun! (Hopefully!) Here we go!

73 Vogue Style Questions Tag

1. What Is Your Usual Starbucks Order?
I actually don’t like coffee or tea! (I know, I’m a monster!) So I usually go for a soy hot chocolate or a plain lemonade! Sweetened, of course.

2. What does your workstation look like right now?
Hahahaha, what work station? I currently don’t have one, and just try to find places to work when I can, which sometimes means just putting a pillow on my lap so my laptop doesn’t burn my crotch. You’re welcome for the imagery.

3. All-time favorite food?
Waffles.

4. Favorite author?
I will read whatever Libba Bray writes. She is a genius! She could write something so obscure and abstract, and it would still be so meaningful and hilarious. I love her.

5. What do you think of open relationships?
They may work for some people, but not for me.

6. Favorite video game?
I don’t play video games, unfortunately. They’ve never really caught my interest.

7. Guilty pleasure treat?
Anything sweet! Chocolate, candies, pastries. I love them all and I should not be eating as many of them as I do.

8. Favorite film?
Don’t make me choose! If I had to pick one, I’d say Atonement. I think it’s beautifully written (very true to the book), wonderfully acted, gorgeously shot, and makes me sob every damn time at the end. It’s just perfect.

9. Favorite book?
You know I can’t answer this one, right? Right???

10. Twitter or Instagram?
I love them both, just for different reasons. Twitter is lovely for communication, but sometimes you just want the fun aesthetics of looking at pretty pictures on Instagram.

11. Desktop or laptop?
Laptop.

12. Best advice you’ve ever received?
Not directly towards me but from Michelle Obama: “When they go low, we go high.”

13. What project are you working on right now?
Just my blog! And possibly a small writing project if I get up enough nerve!

14. Favorite color?
Green.

15. Did you get good grades at school?
In everything but math! Aka my nemesis.

16. Dream job?
Honestly, being a full time blogger would be lovely! But I’d settle for writer. Or a job that helps people in some way. Basically I’m still trying to figure things out!

17. Played any sports?
Dear god, no. But I did do dance. Ballet, jazz, Scottish Highland dance (don’t ask).

18. Do you have a degree?
I don’t.. I know, I seem so smart, you’d think I’d have a PhD in everything! (That was sarcasm, by the way)

19. Nationality?
American! But my heart belongs to England.

20. What is your favorite kind of blog post to do?
I love writing about personal experiences or things I’m really passionate about. Something that I enjoy writing and hopefully other people will enjoy reading!

21. What do you like to collect?
I don’t really collect too many things (except for books and Harry Potter things), but I love Russian nesting dolls. I have only two at the moment, but I wish I had more! I love the stories they tell.

22. Describe yourself in three words
Quirky, nice, passionate.

23. If you were a rapper what would your rapper name be?
E-dubz. I’ve known the answer to this question for years now.

24. Who was the last person you dmed?
My friend Matt. Hi, Matt!

25. What’s on the top of your wishlist right now?
A kitten. I really, really want an itty-bitty, teeny-tiny kitten to love and snuggle.

26. Hogwarts house?
Ravenclaw! And our mascot is an eagle, NOT a raven, thank you very much.

27. How many tattoos do you have?
Just one. Well, it’s three small stars from the American versions of the Harry Potter books, but I think it counts as one!

28. What are you most grateful for this year?
My family being happy and healthy again. We had a rough year last year!

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?
I had a fun girls night with my gal pals last week. It was so much fun and so nice to see everyone because we’ve all gotten so busy lately!

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?
Hmm! I went out to lunch and then had a nice nap. That counts, right??

31. What’s the best thing ever?
Cats! The animal, not the musical.

32. Favorite season?
Autumn/fall!

33. Favorite holiday?
Halloween, of course!

34. What fictional character do you relate to the most?
I love Jo March from Little Women. She was strong, determined, but very human, and everything I wanted to be growing up (and still want to be). Plus, I had a major girl crush on Winona Ryder in the 90’s version of the movie when I was younger!

35. Do you like surprises?
Not usually. They usually make me a bit anxious and upset, to be honest. I need a little bit of preparation before one, which kind of defeats the purpose!

36. What’s the biggest surprise you ever got?
My sister threw me a surprise party a few years ago and I recovered quickly and it was so nice to see all of my family and friends there to celebrate my birthday.

37. What’s a surprise that’s made you cry?
I don’t know if I’ve ever had a surprise that’s made me cry! I guess that’s something to look forward to in the future…? Maybe?

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve ever given anyone?
I helped arrange a surprise party for my mom with my sisters and my dad. Just to see my mom cry because she was so delighted and shocked to see her family and friends throw a party for her really made me so happy we could do for her, because she deserves it and more.

39. Do you like muffins?
Um, yes. I like ALL the muffins.

40. Do you cook often?
Very, very rarely.

41. What’s your favorite dessert?

I love a good apple pie!

42. Is there a dessert you don’t like?
Despite loving most chocolate items, I do not like chocolate cake. Try to figure that one out, because I certainly can’t.

43. Cake or pie?
Why are you making me choose? Why? Why??? I can’t. You monster.

44. What’s your least favorite food?
Cottage cheese. I just can’t.

45. What’s your favorite condiment?
Ketchup! Or ranch dressing. I know, I’m very American.

46. It’s 4 am on a Saturday night, what would you eat?
Probably a cookie or some candy. There’s nothing like chocolate to lull you back to sleep!

47. If you could teach a college class, what would it be called?
An Introduction to the Paranormal: From Ghosts to Demons. I know way too much about the paranormal, without actually experiencing anything paranormal in my life.

48. Best animated film?
This is such a tough question! How can I answer?? But I love Inside Out. I think it’s just brilliant and beautiful.

49. What had a guy done or said to impress you?
Compared me to Tina Fey. Best compliment I’ve ever received. EVER.

50. The best thing to do on a first date?
Do something you both like! And something where you can actually have a conversation and get to know one another. Seeing a movie is nice, but sitting next to someone you don't really know for an hour and 30 minutes is a little awkward.

51. The worst thing to do on a first date?
Being pretentious. Total turn off and I can’t ignore it anymore like I used to!

52. What’s the funniest pick up line a guy can use on a girl?
I’m not one for pick up lines. Maybe if he had something to say about a book I’m reading! That would be adorably bookish. And then I knew he’d like to read, so bonus!

53. Best comic book character?
I’m not really into comic books, but I do like Spider-man and Batman. I know, Marvel vs. DC. I at least know that much.

54. What are three things that are always in your handbag?
Wallet, lip gloss, and my phone.

55. Favorite drink?
I don’t drink alcohol, but I do love me a Dr. Pepper. A cute old drug store cashier man once called it “nectar of the gods” when I was buying a bottle. It really made me laugh.

56. If you could play a historical character who would it be?
Growing up Catholic, Joan of Arc was such a cool female figure to me. I’m not religious now, but I do love how strong she was and the conviction she had towards her beliefs in her religion and her country. Plus, I’d get to wear armor! (Though I wouldn’t mind a scene where she’s wearing a fancy historically accurate dress, just for funsies.)

57. Kittens or puppies?
Sorry puppies, but kittens are my everything.

58. Favorite sushi roll?

I’m not a sushi/fish person. I don’t even like the fish-less kind!

59. What kind of lipstick do you use?
I rarely use lipstick. I usually use a tinted lip balm or gloss for that added moisture plus color.

60. What kind of foundation do you use?
I don’t usually use too much makeup (adult acne. Damn hormones!), but I have a really nice Clinique foundation I use on special occasions, when I know it’s worth it to break out afterwards.

61. Blow-dry or air dry?
Air dry!

62. Who is your fashion icon?
I’m not sure I have one. I feel like my fashion is a strange mix of simple, classic French fashion, mixed with Molly Weasley from Harry Potter. It’s weird, but I like it.

63. Favorite Disney character?
Aaggh, this is a hard one! But I do love Stitch. I love that Experiment 626 so, so much.

64. What are you doing tomorrow?
As I’m writing this, hopefully Christmas shopping! I want to get my list done so I can fully enjoy December without stressing!

65. Movie you laughed the hardest through?
For some reason it was Bowfinger with Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy. I don’t know why, maybe because I was watching it with my family and we were all in a great mood that night, but we were all howling and crying with laughter during it.

66. A movie that made you cry?
Atonement, as mentioned above. Every. Single. Time.

67. If you could sing a duet with someone who would it be?
Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys. If I had the voice, which I don’t!

68. If your life was a song what would the title be?
“Bless Her, She Tried.” It’s also something I want inscribed on my tombstone (among other things!)

69. What’s your favorite animal?

I love elephants! It’s one of my dreams to befriend one one day. Sounds weird, but when you think about it, it’s really not. Elephants are very smart and think of us like puppies! (Don’t burst my dream bubble, please!)

70. Favorite illustrator?
I love Mary Grandpre, the illustrator of the American Harry Potter book editions. I love her style. It brought such a magical quality to the HP books, and really shaped the way I’ve always viewed the books from the first time I read them.

71. The person you want to have coffee with?
Michelle Obama. She’s incredibly inspirational and smart, and I feel like we’d have both a serious and fun conversation.

72. What’s the country you wish to visit?
I’ve already been to England, but I’d love to go again! But if I were to visit a country I’d never been before, I’d love to visit Australia or Japan.

73. Best way to decompress?
Simple: read!

And that was my 73 Vogue Style Questions Tag! I can't believe I got to do it! Finally! I feel so special. So for this tag, I'm tagging some of my favorite bloggers to do the tag, if they would like to do it or haven't done it before (no pressure and I'm sorry if I've tagged you if you've already done this!):

Elissa Renee @ Welcome to My Thoughts

*By the way, check out these amazing bloggers and subscribe to their blogs! They all put out amazing and different content that I know you'll love!*

Let me know what you thought of the tag and my answers down in the comments! Thanks for reading!

Stay Weird,
Emily


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Why I'm Single and Not Ready to Mingle (Yet)


Dating. Courtship. Relationship. Partnership. Marriage. Whatever you call it, I want something like it. But I don’t think I’m ready for it. Yet.

Let me explain. (And by explain, give you a brief history of my dating past. Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy and emotional roller-coaster ride!)

I was a late bloomer. And by late bloomer, I mean, I developed fine physically, thank you very much, but as far as dating: I didn’t have my first boyfriend until I was 17. I remember being so scared of turning 18 without having my first kiss that I just grabbed the guy I was “dating” (if you could call it that) by the shirt and kissed him, so I could at least get that out of the way. (How is it that most of my friends had already been kissed, especially as kids, and I hadn’t??) The relationship lasted a few weeks and ended rather dramatically at my 18th birthday party, where I ended up crying at home with two friends and my mom over it. Fun times! (Fun fact: as a couple we were both super emo then and made a delightful emo couple. Just all black, hoodies, and eyeliner.)

From there, I’ve had other relationships. My first serious one was when I was 18, and it was one of those where we would break up and come back together every few years. He was a great boyfriend (at first) and I was a terrible girlfriend (at first), but by our final time together our roles had switched and we finally saw after so many tries that it still wasn’t working and we (meaning he) broke it off. He was a really nice guy and put up with so much from me, that he honestly deserves a medal. (For the first parts of the relationship, not the second. For the second half I deserve a medal for putting up with his wishy-washiness and him being still hung up on the girl he dated after me the first round we dated.)

From there, I dated on and off, meeting people back in the days of actual online dating, not apps. They didn’t work out, but that was okay. I was at a point in my life where I was like, “I’m just going to date and see how it goes and if something sticks!” And then I met someone, started dating, and ended up getting into a relationship with them. And moving in TOGETHER. Quite quickly, actually.

I thought I knew what I wanted (and the same with him), but in reality, it didn’t turn out that way. It was great at first, but when you first start dating and make a serious commitment like a "living with each other" relationship, you find out a lot about the other person and yourself. We were total opposites with only a few things in common, and the relationship just wasn’t right (in my opinion. He was as happy as a clam, apparently, and couldn’t see how unhappy I was), and we broke up. The aftermath was messy and awful and I still have some of the text messages he sent to me afterwards to remind myself of how NOT to handle certain situations, say, like a breakup. (Screen shot those as reminders to yourself, people. Trust me, you may need to see them in the future to reassure yourself you made the right decision!)

My very last relationship was another on and off one with a really sweet guy, but it just didn’t seem to work out either. I won’t go into it too much, but we both had some personal problems that we each had to work on, and no matter how hard we tried, I think we both realized it was better to put ourselves first than try to make a relationship work. He was a great guy and I wish him nothing but the best! And I hope he feels the same about me, too. (Plus, he still has a book I lent him, and I never forget a book I let someone borrow. Ever.)

From these past relationships, I learned a bit about what I wanted and didn’t want from a relationship. Isn’t that the point of dating? To find the person you want to be with forever? Your best friend? Your partner in crime? So why am I not ready to date again just yet? (Besides, of course, the above examples. I mean, just reading them makes me so tired and sad that I spent so many years metaphorically trying on hats that just weren’t my style. Is that a nice way of putting it? I think so! Too nice for certain fellas, anyway...)

It’s honestly because of where I am in life. I know what I want, but I’m not ready for it yet.

And why is that, exactly?

Because I’m still figuring out myself, mentally, and figuring out my future and what I want it to be (don’t judge, we don’t have it all figured out at 18, okay?). In one of my relationships, I always told my ex that it was okay to put himself first. But I never put myself first. And our relationship didn’t work out because I gave too much. That’s not going to happen now. I know now that I need to put myself first sometimes, and as a result, maybe that means it isn’t the best time for a relationship right now. And that’s perfectly fine.

"Singledom is so underrated" scratched into the bathroom door inside the British Museum when I visited it a few years ago. I feel you girl who wrote that. I feel you/ That Weird Girl Life 
I truly feel that in a relationship you need to know yourself. What you want out of life, for you, for your family, your partner, etc. But most importantly for yourself. What are your goals and dreams? What do you want to achieve? What do you want out of life? Because despite everything else, you come first. Your health, your well-being, is the most important. When you’re in a relationship, you have another person to care about as well, and sometimes you lose yourself in the relationship. If you’re not okay with yourself and where you’re at in life, your relationship with your significant other isn’t going to flourish, because you aren’t flourishing. You have to put yourself first and love yourself first. That’s the key.

I hope that one day I’ll be okay with myself and in a better place to be able to start dating and have a relationship (because unfortunately you have to date to be in a relationship first. Ugh. It’s so annoying) with someone. But as for right now, I need to focus on me, and my needs, to be whole and happy (remember how I said you have to love yourself?). Because being in a relationship won’t heal what’s bothering me. Only I can do that, it’s not the partner’s responsibility. (Though I’m sure they’d try to help if you were in a relationship and going through something!)

If you’re not in a relationship or dating right now, try not to worry about it. Focus on you and what you need out of life. If it’s your health, focus on that. If it’s school, financial, or family, or just your general happiness, it’s okay. There’s no law saying that you have to handle everything at once and then throw dating and a relationship on top of it. Dating and relationships will always be there, but you need to be your best self before you get into a serious commitment. Relationships are a lovely and beautiful thing, but take a lot of work that you may not have the time or effort or even patience to give right now. And again, that’s okay. It’s what I’m doing right now, and I know that when it’s right, love will come my way. And I’ll be ready for it when it arrives. (God willing, fingers crossed, throws salt over my shoulder)

From every past relationship I’ve had, I’ve learned something about myself, and I’ve evolved and changed. And despite some experiences that have felt like they’ve scarred my heart, I’m so grateful for all of the experiences that taught me (even the bad ones). I know now that I need someone who can understand my mental illness and the quirks that come along with it. I also know that I need someone who can grow and change with me, too. Because no matter how old you are, you’re always evolving. I also know I want someone who is kind, compassionate, loves to read, is hilariously funny to make me laugh on bad days, and have some sort of British accent (not required, but will be strongly considered above other applicants). Also, must love cats. That’s a deal breaker.

(Did that feel like some sort of nanny list that the Banks children made in Mary Poppins, and then Mr. Banks tore it up and tossed it into the fire, and then magically the perfect nanny aka Mary Poppins turned up? Is that going to happen to me? Am I putting all of this out into the universe via the internet and then the perfect man is going to float down from the sky via an umbrella with a talking parrot at the end of the umbrella handle? *Gasp* Probably not, but wouldn’t that be a fun meet cute story instead of the typical, “we met on an app and he wasn’t a murderer, now we’re engaged! Yay!”?)

So that’s why I’m currently single and not ready to mingle quite yet. (Despite popular rumors, it’s not because I’m a screeching harpy. That does sound like fun though!) How do you feel about putting yourself and your current needs first before diving into dating and relationships? This is just my personal opinion and what I feel like I need right now, but I know other people have gone through personal things in life and have found love during difficult times and made it work.

Let me know what you think in the comments and also wish me luck on my personal journey of working on myself and hopefully finding love one day! (And braving the world of dating apps. Because apparently that’s how you date these days. Oh geez, that’s another blog post for another time, I think!)

Stay Weird,
Emily

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Back to Hogwarts Harry Potter Tag!


I feel like I’ve been waiting for quite some time to do a Harry Potter tag like this! I’m sure almost every Harry Potter fan has always wanted to get their letter from Hogwarts and has imagined what their life would have been like at that magical school. You might wonder if you’re Muggle born, from a wizarding family, or maybe you had a place in both the magical and non-magical worlds. Or what house the Sorting Hat might put you in (though you probably already know that!). Or what classes you’d love and excel at (or worse, be bad and fail at. *Coughpotionscough*), and also what adventures you and your friends would get up to in your common room and throughout the castle and grounds (Harry, Ron, and Hermione couldn’t have been the only ones defeating a dark lord and saving the day, right??). But most of all, we’d get to use wands and cast spells with MAGIC!! (That’s the big one for me right there!)

Thanks to Meagan over at Quibbles and Scribbles (who is amazing, by the way, so please check out her blog!), who has tagged me and given me the opportunity (via a blogger tag) to envision my life if I were a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Sigh. If only!

THE QUESTIONS

Have to go shopping in Diagon Alley! What store do you go to first?

Oh my goodness! There are so many options! If it was my first time in Diagon Alley for my first year at Hogwarts, I’d say Ollivander’s to get a wand, of course. But I'd might stop by Flourish and Blott’s first, to check out the new book releases! I’d also love to stroll through the Magical Menagerie and see if there’s a cute new critter I need to adopt.


You’re on the train! What are you getting from the trolley?

Ooh this is a tough one. Cauldron cakes always sounded so delicious to me (minus the firewhiskey inside!), chocolate frogs (of course! I wonder what witch or wizard card I’ll get!), and maybe a licorice wand or two (but only if they don’t actually taste like actual black licorice. If they tasted like Twizzlers then yes! I know, I’m a very picky witch!)

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It’s time for the welcome feast! Which house table are you at?

Ravenclaw, of course! Though I think I’m a bit of a mix of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, but I think I found the right house to be in with my fellow weirdos- I mean, intellectuals.

Gfycat
You get an elective this year! What will it be?

I looked it up (very Hermione of me!) and apparently you get two electives if you’re a third year and up! So of course I would Care of Magical Creatures and I think Divination might be fun to take, though I’m not sure I’d believe much of Professor Trelawney’s teachings or Divination in general! (It sounds very subjective) But Muggle Studies might be fun to take to see how wizards view non-magic folk.

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You’ve got a break between classes! What will you be doing?

I would love to explore the castle! There are so many hidden spots and rooms in Hogwarts, I’m surprised the Marauders were able to put most of it in their map! Though I’d probably get lost and either run into Peeves or Filch while I was trying to hurry back to my class. Plus, I’d have to worry about the staircases moving on me, too!

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You get to go to Hogsmeade this year! Where do you go first?

Oooh yay! I’d probably hit up Honeyduke’s first, to stock up on some sweets, then check out Zonko’s Joke Shop for fun. I’d probably stop by the Shrieking Shack too, and then finish up with a Butterbeer from Madam Rosmerta and hang out with friends at The Three Broomsticks.

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You’re meeting up with friends to hang out! Where in the castle are you all going to chill?

I think the Ravenclaw common room would be lovely to hang out in, with its high windows in the towers, but we might be disturbing the other Ravenclaws who are trying to study or do their odd experiments. I think it would be fun to hang out on top of the Astronomy tower with my friends, just to look out over Hogwarts and its grounds. But I’d also love to hang out by the Great Lake (see if the giant squid is visible or if a merperson pops up to say hi) or visit Hagrid in his hut (I’m sure he’d be friends with a Ravenclaw!).


The end of year exams are coming up. What test will you do the best at?

Oh no, the O.W.L.’s! This is a tough one. I feel like I’d be pretty good in Charms, Transfiguration Herbology, or Care of Magical Creatures (my favorite subjects), but I’d probably struggle in Potions (measuring is basically math and I’m terrible at math). But hopefully I’ll pass and not get a P (poor), D (dreadful), or T (troll) in any of the classes!

Amino Apps
And that’s my (imaginary) life at Hogwarts! This was such a fun tag, and I kind of wish I was back at Hogwarts right now (even though I’ve never been to Hogwarts. My letter just got lost, right? Right??), even with Peeves there. Though technically since I’m an American, I’d probably would have gone to Ilvermorny (go Horned Serpents! Yes, I took that Pottermore quiz. Of course I did!).

Here are my fellow magical would be students I’m tagging:

Cassie @ Zombie Goddess Beauty
Ash @ This Dreams Alive
Sharona @ Sunflowers and Dragons
Jen @ Diffusing the Tension

And here are the questions for you all to answer:

Have to go shopping in Diagon Alley! What store do you go to first?
You’re on the train! What are you getting from the trolley?
It’s time for the welcome feast! Which house table are you at?
You get an elective this year! What will it be?
You’ve got a break between classes! What will you be doing?
You get to go to Hogsmeade this year! Where do you go first?
You’re meeting up with friends to hang out! Where in the castle are you all going to chill?
The end of year exams are coming up. What test will you do the best at?


What did you think of this magical Back to Hogwarts tag? I had a such a lovely time writing it, despite the Hogwarts school year starting in September and it’s now November. Oh well. A Harry Potter tag is always a good idea no matter what time of year! If you want to do the tag, please feel free and let me know, so I can read it!

Stay Weird,
Emily

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