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Things That Cheer Me Up When I'm Feeling Blue

I'm going to be quite honest: I've been feeling a little blue lately (pssst! That's code for "depressed"). Without getting into it too deeply (because then anyone who reads this would literally have to bill me because this would technically be a therapy session and I don't have the money for that! But nice *free* comments in the comment section are always appreciated), I've been feeling a little stuck and directionless in where I am in life and frankly where I want to be in life. I just have no idea what job or career or even LIFE is right for me now. So I'm a bit discouraged and kind of low right now, hence the blues.

I hate feeling this way: some days I feel okay and can put the blues on the back burner, but other days, my whole world is a dark cerulean hue and I just want to wallow in my own self pity. But I'm determined to get out of this depressive rut, which leads me to this post. I have compiled a list of all of the ways that help cheer me up when I have the blues. Sometimes these tips help, sometimes they don't, but honestly, just trying one or several of them is distraction enough to help pull me out of the well from The Ring (just call me Samara. Oh my god, that's kind of a genius analogy. Screw my original analogy of depression being like you're stuck under water, I'm going with my Ring analogy from now on! The creepy vibe suits me better anyway) and get me sort-of-kind-of back on track (or at least near the track). I hope my tips can help you too, if you've been feeling a little down lately as well. Maybe you've tried all of my suggestions or maybe you haven't, but honestly, it doesn't hurt to try any of those listed below! (Especially the cuddling with a furry animal one. We all deserve more cuddles with cute, furry pets!)

So here is my list of all the things I do when I'm feeling blue! ☔

1) Cuddle With a Cute Furry Animal*
What's the point of having a pet if you can't cuddle with it in times of need? I've lost count of the times I've held my cat Harriet and cried, as she tries to crawl out of my arms and then eventually just settles in because she knows I need it ("I'm feeling sad, why won't you let me just cuddle with you???"). But she also has that sixth sense of knowing when I need company. There have been many times where I've been in my room, feeling sad, and she comes sauntering in and rubs up against me like, "you feeling sad? It's okay, human, I'm here now. Pet me and you'll feel better." And you know what? It always helps!

*Or whatever textured pet you have

2) Read An Old Favorite Book
There's nothing like diving into a book you've never read and experiencing a brand new story and adventure, but usually when I'm feeling down about life, an old favorite is the way to go. Reading a Harry Potter book is my go to (especially the new illustrated versions!), but I also love re-reading old childhood and tween favorites like A Series of Unfortunate Events (because you'll probably never have it quite as bad as the Baudelaire orphans), the Georgia Nicolson series (who doesn't like Angus the cat and little sister Libby? Name a more iconic duo, I'll wait!), and anything by Louis Sachar, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, Bruce Coville, and Sharon Creech, just to name a few! Those books instantly transport me back to my childhood, even just for a half hour or so. But  sometimes a little nostalgic literary break from your current gloomy mood is all you need to help you get through the day.

3) Hang Out With Friends
This is an obvious one, but it's easy to retreat from others when you're feeling down. Which is the complete opposite of what you should be doing, because once I drag myself out of the house and I'm with my friends, I forget about my worries for however long I'm with them and it's such a nice vacation from my worrying mind and troubles. Plus, I always feel lighter after I've had a catch up sesh/gab session/heart to heart and I feel much more determined after to feel better so I can see them even more. My friends know that I struggle sometimes but they don't have to say a word to let me know that they're there for me. And after you hang out with your friends, you start to believe that old saying that laughter really IS the best medicine. (Honestly, is there anything better than your stomach being sore from laughing so much? That's the only sort of pain I'd wish on someone!)

4) Go For a Walk
Exercise is like, my third least favorite thing to do (behind going to the dentist and taking tests), but I have to admit, doing any kind of exercise makes you feel a whole lot better. Doing anything active when you're feeling glum will definitely help raise your spirits, especially if you change your location by going for a walk or a run (plus, it's free!). Getting out and getting active (as annoying as it is. Seriously, do some really athletic people just love sweating or something??) is key and will help more than you realize. And you don't even have to sign up for Crossfit or any other expensive, borderline cult exercise program to do it!

5) Organize!
Go through old clothes, trinkets, photos in your room/closet/home/junk drawer. It'll stir up fun and nostalgic memories and remind you that there's life outside your depression- even if it doesn't seem like it at the time. Also, if you find something you don't wear or use, give it away! The less cluttered you are, the more put together your life will feel, trust me. Plus, there's something sort of cathartic about giving your unused stuff away. Begone tickets stubs from all the movies I saw with my ex! Goodbye favorite sweater from three years ago that doesn't fit anymore and I have no use for but I kept it just in case! Organizing is a seriously underrated therapeutic exercise.

6) Watch A Favorite TV Show Episode (or Two)
Binge-watching may not be the cure for what ails you (apparently not being productive doesn't help being depressed, go figure), but small doses can help. There are a few TV shows that never fail to put a smile on my face, and just re-watching a favorite episode can be enough to give me that warm, fuzzy feeling, or to make my sad tears turn into the happy tears you get from laughing. The Office (the US version), Parks & Recreation, and I Love Lucy, and Gilmore Girls are all shows I turn to when I need to turn my frown upside down (I really hate that I just typed that. I really, really do) and provide the perfect distraction for maybe just a half hour or at least 42 minutes. Also, how can you feel sad when you're watching the perfect couple that is April and Andy from Parks & Rec? They are seriously (weird) couple goals! (Ben and Leslie are a close second, don't worry!)

7) Do Something Thoughtful For Someone Else
This is something I always forget to do when I'm feeling blue. I just get so focused on myself and my own troubles that I sometimes forget that there are other people in the world (that's an exaggeration, by the way), going through their own struggles. Which is why when I get too down on myself, I try to shift my focus on others instead of myself. From planning the perfect birthday or Christmas present for someone, reaching out to a friend I haven't talked to in a while via text or Facebook to just say "hey, I've been thinking of you!" and volunteering (I've recently started volunteering at a food bank, boxing up food for those in need), taking a break from thinking of yourself and your gloomy thoughts and putting others first is a great way to regain your perspective on yourself and life. Plus, it's productive and you're being thoughtful at the same time! Wouldn't you want to receive a little random act of kindness every once in a while? You never know who else may need a pick me up! It's amazing how one little gesture can change your whole day. And I bet you that after doing something good for someone else, that karma will come back around to you. So spread that love and be thoughtful!

8) Look At Real Estate Online
Hear me out! I know this sounds super weird, but it literally never fails to cheer me up. Looking up houses on real estate sites in other cities or even other countries, is so much fun. Yes, everything I look at I could never afford and are located in places I'll probably never even visit- but it sure is fun to look at the super fancy, super expensive ones that are for sale and think, "Well, I never would have spent thousands of dollars and made it look like that!" or "I totally would have done this instead! Ugh, rich people." Plus, I love looking at cottages in picturesque country towns in England and imagining a quiet, simple English life, where I'm just a train ride away from London- where, of course, I also have a house. And don't get me started on French chateaus and castles! (Because I totally own at least one French chateau and castle in my imaginary, unlimited income life) Plus, it's fun to pretend how you'd decorate said home (or castle, cottage, or chateau). Add a Beauty and the Beast-esque library? Of course! Build a secret passageway? Duh! Design a large hedge maze in your giant backyard? Sign me up! Is this all silly and unrealistic? Totally! But fun, creative, and distracting? Heck yeah! Because sometimes that's all you need in a dark moment. A look into the bright, not-so-distant future, even if the one you're currently thinking of is imaginary.

But just remember: you may feel down now, but I promise you, it won't last forever and it will get better (That's been my new mantra lately). I promise. 😘

*If you're feeling depressed, please find someone to talk to, whether it's an understanding family member, friends, or health professional. There's no reason to feel alone when you're feeling depressed and it's totally okay to ask for help or support!*

What did you think of my list of things that cheer me up? What do you do to get yourself out of a gloomy mood? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird,

Library Books Haul! Vol. 3

It's that wonderful time again.... that time when I review the books I've recently checked out and read (or didn't read. Dun dun duuuuun!) from my local library. I'll talk about the ones I liked, the ones I disliked, and all of the other books in between! And of course, I'll be rating them from 1 to 5 on my own weird, ever changing rating scale (this library books haul edition features scales of tapeworms, puppets, and more! But did you expect anything less weird from me? I mean, honestly, you should know better by now). Read on to see what I thought of this round of books!

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Quirk Books
Read or Returned? Read

My Thoughts: Out of allll of the books on this list, this one is quite possibly my favorite book that I've read in a very, very long time. I first saw this book at a local bookstore and I loved the concept of the design of the book: it was hardcover and made to look like an 80's high school yearbook, with stereotypical teenage "let's keep in touch over the summer" and student's names scrawled along the inside front and back covers. It was incredibly clever, plus I adored the name of the book: My Best Friend's Exorcism. I mean, c'mon! It sounded like it had the potential to have a biting wit as well as being a scary read. But I resisted my temptation to buy the book and decided to get a copy from the library (damn my penny pinching ways!). Thank jeebus for the library though, because I checked out the book and instantly regretted not buying it on the spot! The book was exactly what I wished it would be and more: demons, 80's music, exorcisms, 80's hair, the power of friendship, and a whole lot of horror/disturbing imagery mixed with some clever wit and observations (at times. At other times it was downright horrifying). But I especially loved the tale of friendship that Grady Hendrix weaved and it made me hope that one day if I was ever possessed by a demon (god forbid, but honestly you just never know where life is going to lead you), that the power of my current friendships would be enough to save me (hear that friends? This. Is. On. YOU!!!)

PS. Also, just FYI, I bought the book. I mean, once you fall in love with a book, you kind of have to buy it, right? So right now it's sitting on my bookshelf with all of it's new horror novel friends. Awww.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 giant tape worms via smoothie. DON'T ASK, just read the book!

The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue

Read or Returned? Read

My Thoughts: This was a random find at the library in their "new" book section (under "horror"/"supernatural," obviously. Where else do you think I go? Paranormal romance? Please!) and I immediately was attracted to the cover. It was dark, it was ominous, and it had a dangling marionette on the cover- done, sold, checked out, YES. (I freaking love puppets. They both simultaneously fill me with joy and yet terrify me. For some reason that's a winning combination in my book) But when I actually sat down to read it, I was disappointed almost immediately. While the book is short (almost more like a novella), where I thought it would be more creepy and twisted, it was more.... just bland.

Let me explain: a man and his slightly younger wife (this comes up in the book several times, don't blame me for mentioning it! Also, I've forgotten their names already and am too lazy to look them up) move to Quebec where the wife is a dancer/acrobat in a local show. The wife is enthralled by an ancient puppet in the window of a seemingly always closed old toy store in their neighborhood and needs to stop and gaze at it every time she and her husband pass by it. But one night, after a late night performance, the man's wife doesn't return home. She's disappeared without a trace and the police, of course, are blaming the husband. But somehow the man just knows in the back of his head that that mysterious old toy shop has something do with it. The book's views changes from the man's to his wife's, and while the book was incredibly well written, I had a hard time getting into it despite the fact that PUPPETS COME ALIVE IN THE BOOK!!! (Which I was all about!) I mean, really, you'd think that would completely make the book, but it just didn't.

I guess I wanted a bit more twisted, dark reason behind these living puppets, a history of this magic, ritual, or whatever you want to call it. Instead you just get a man searching for his lost wife, who's been turned into a puppet, along with a bunch of other lost souls turned puppets and it ends up just being a monotonous journey to uncover the truth (which really isn't much). The ending of the story has a slightly dark, almost disturbing ending that I actually really liked and didn't see coming, but it honestly came a little too late to save this book.

(And I wanted so much to like this book! We need more horror novels about creepy and malicious puppets!!)

My Rating: 2 out of 5 human souls that now reside in puppets (one of the puppets is a marionette, of course)

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Quirk Books
Read or Returned? Read

My Thoughts: This is Grady Hendrix's second appearance on the list and for good reason! This is his homage to the (in)famous Ikea stores and their reasonably priced put-it-together-yourself furntiure. In fact, much how My Best Friend's Exorcism was designed to look like a high school yearbook, Horrorstor has been cleverly made to look like an Ikea-esque catalog, with ads, coupons, and, of course, wonderful illustrations of the very modern, stark, and quite practical and economical furniture that Orsk (the fictional store in question. The store's cutesy catchphrase for when you need help? "Just Orsk!") has to offer. Told from a stuck in life and disgruntled employee's point of view, something is amiss in the Orsk superstore. Weird smells, mysterious stains, random noises at night, but nothing is ever stolen. Is someone breaking in at night? Do they have a rat problem? Before they report anything to corporate, the store wants to do their own investigation, so a bunch of employees stay late (a fun mix of very different types of people/employees, from the very devoted, to the very young and flippant) and the whatever is walking and disturbing the Orsk's massive maze of a store's floors at night finally comes out of the walls (you'll wish they hadn't). It's a hilarious and incredibly tongue-in-cheek satire and ode to the retail industry, the Ikea phenomena and its devoted consumer base that's seemingly taken over the world. While not quite on the same high flying level as My Best Friend's Exorcism, Horrorstor is still a good time, filled with humor, some intense gory scenes, and honestly some pretty scary moments. You'll read it all in one sitting (I did) and probably make other people wonder why you're reading an Ikea catalog so intensely. (Obviously they're not looking very hard at the cover!)

My Rating: 4 out of 5 practical and reasonably priced sofa sectionals that do NOT convert into torture devices (again, just read the books)

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Read or Returned? Read

My Thoughts: Is this book a fun satire of modern technological life or a cautionary tale about this generation and it's constant need and demand to know and receive knowledge via the internet and social media? You be the judge, but despite the very mixed reviews of The Circle, I took it more as a satire with a very light cautionary message about the overwhelming and sometimes all consuming influence of social media, all blended up into a very enjoyable and gripping read.

The book is about a young college grad Mae, who gets hired to work at a tech company called The Circle, who pretty much runs the internet (think Google), make computers, phones, and other technology (think Apple), and has a giant location on the west coast where they all work, live, get massages, try out new gadgets, and work on innovative new things like medicine, technology, world peace, yada yada (think Google and Apple again). The point of the Circle is to connect all us, and for each and every one of its Circle users to have every last bit of information available at their finger tips; from news sources, entertainment, or even from each other. In a way, total transparency. Everyone's experiences are your experiences and vice versa. Mae swiftly rises up the Circle's success ladder and becomes the new spokes model for the Circle's new campaign to basically live stream her entire day, so she can showcase the Circle and others can tune in and comment whenever they want. But her delve into the inner Circle (haha, get it? I'll go home) makes Mae discover that all may not be what it seem and maybe the ideals of the Circle are not at all truly altruistic.

Personally, I thought the satire of the book, with all of the gadgets and features that the Circle offers mimicked the social media world that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and more have created to a tee. As entertaining as the book was, it really did make me think about how I use social media and what it actually represents to others, and to myself. I thought The Circle was thought provoking in an educated but absorbing way and I could not put it down (except for the times I had to to take a breath and process what just went down. A LOT goes down, people!). If you're an avid reader and social media user, you might want to give this a read. Or you know, you can just read it before the movie with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson comes out so you can compare and contrast the book vs. movie (which is always a good time! But everyone knows the book is always better than the movie! Usually.)

My Rating: 4 out of 5 deep sea sharks that will literally eat everything and everyone in their paths (Jaws who?)

The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay

Gallery Books
Read or Returned? Read

My Thoughts: This is a historical fiction book set during the aftermath of World War I, about a family of sisters (the Turner's, in case you didn't get that from the title!), who forced by their overbearing mother turned stage mother (a totally natural transition for an overbearing mom), become an acrobatic act to make ends meet in their family and tour the vaudeville scene. Not only is it endorsed by Sara Gruen (author of Water for Elephants, a spectacular book that everyone should read, in my humble opinion), which is a total check in the pro column for reasons to read this book, but it also features a lovely and realistic story of sisters. Much like the March sisters from Little Women, the Turner sisters, who are all completely different from one another, from their personalities, to their hopes and dreams of the future and their careers, but are supportive as sisters and united as a family, which shows some very volatile moments, but also some sweet and tender ones as well. There really is nothing else like a historical fiction novel to sweep you up and transport you to another time and place, and The Tumbling Turner Sisters does that and makes you part of the Turner family, familial and backstage drama included. Plus, I love a good novel about showbiz with some added romance thrown in and the book has all of that and more!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 jars of vaudevillian era greasepaint (cake it on, people!)

Yesternight by Cat Winters

William Morrow Paperbacks
Read or Returned? Read

My Thoughts: Don't get me wrong: I love Cat Winters. Her first YA book, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, was haunting and heartbreaking, and visually stunning, a story of two young lovers torn apart too soon and unjustly as well, with WWI era photos woven through the book. Her second YA book. A Cure for Dreaming, a story about suffragettes and hypnotism (not my cup of tea. The hypnotism, not the fight of the suffragettes. We should all be thanking those brave ladies who came before us!) wasn't the greatest sophomore effort in the world, but I was still on the Cat Winters train. And her first adult novel, The Uninvited, was an understated paranormal drama with a poignant love story and a jaw dropping and devastating reveal. So I was very much looking forward to Yesternight (such a lovely name for a book! I can't fault Cat Winters on that) but as I eagerly started, the feeling waned. To put it bluntly, the book was so disappointing!

Yesternight revolves around reincarnation, which I'll admit is not a common subject usually, but to me it wasn't enthralling or even vaguely interesting. The book started out with a vaguely ominous tone, but swiftly changed to a rather dull mystery and love story. There was a big revelation that Winters sets up that should hold some emotional weight, but sadly just falls very flat, leaving you just saying, "oh. Okay. Makes sense." While the book (like all of Cat Winters' books) was very well written and a good, if not all that creepy, twist finally appeared at the end to make the story come full circle, the characters really weren't enough to carry the story and the tone didn't seem at all consistent and just wasn't compelling. I'm still a fan of Cat Winters, but I'm hoping her next book will be a winner, something more on par with In the Shadow of Blackbirds and The Uninvited. Fingers crossed!

My Rating: 2 out of 5 very mundane past lives

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Blue Rider Press
Read or Returned? Read

My Thoughts: This was the very first book of Carrie Fisher's that I've read and I thought it was superb introduction to her work. I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan (please, don't hurt me!), so while the book was beautifully and hilariously written, I didn't get too much out of her Star Wars anecdotes, as interesting as they were (again, please don't come for me Star Wars fans! I've seen all the movies and liked them- well, the original three, don't get me started on the prequels) most of her stories didn't do to much for me. But I loved her writing style and her wit, so I'm actually interested in checking out more of her work (I've heard that Postcards From the Edge is brilliant) and am a little disappointed in myself for not having read any of her books before her untimely death. RIP Carrie Fisher, you are missed. xo

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Princess Leia cinnamon roll hair buns

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

W.W. Norton & Company
Read or Returned? Read

My Thoughts: This is the true and courageous story of a zookeeper and his wife of the Warsaw Zoo (with their young son) in 1930's Poland who helped hide Jews in their zoo for the underground during the Nazi regime. While I initially went into the book thinking it was a fictionalized novel of the events, when it fact it is a nonfiction account of the life of Antonina Zabinski, the zookeeper's wife of the book's title. But despite that and the fact that I usually have to be a in nonfiction mood to read nonfiction (it's hard to explain but I'm usually more into fiction or fictionalized accounts of historical events aka historical fiction), I loved hearing about the true accounts and stories from the 1930's world of the Warsaw Zoo and the animals that resided there (including the ones that lived in the Zabinski's house with them!) and the strength and courage that comes with taking in people who were in danger and putting her own life and her family's in danger as well. Antonina and her husband Dr. Jan Zabinski were true war heroes and I love the fact that their lives are being told by Diane Ackerman, who despite writing nonfiction, can make day to day life of zoo upkeep riveting, with her fantastic and picturesque descriptions, and is able to shed light on these brave individuals of WWII who we may not even know about without her important book. A definite must read for those interested in the unnamed everyday heroes of World War II that are rarely given recognition for their bravery and fortitude and the fact that they've saved countless lives.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 adorable yet actually very dangerous lion cubs

I wrote a lot these books this week! I guess I just had a lot to say about them! 😮 Have you read any of these books? Did you like any of them? Was I too harsh abut a few of the ones listed? (I just get so passionate about books, guys! Also, did you notice I keep saying that books I didn't like were at least "well written?" Haha, it's true though!) Let me know in the comments, fellow bookworms 📚

Stay Weird,

What Do You Do If Your Pottermore Patronus Result Doesn't Fit Your Personality?

Pottermore/That Weird Girl Life
If you're a Harry Potter fan, it's more than likely that you have a Pottermore account. Because if you're a fan, why wouldn't you want extra information about the characters, creatures, and events of the wizarding world? But the biggest draw for fans? The quizzes to see which Hogwarts house you'd be sorted into (you know, if you were actually a witch or wizard and lived in the British wizarding world), what wand you'd have, what Ilvermorny house you'd be sorted into (you know, if you were actually a witch or wizard and lived in the American wizarding world), and now what animal your Patronus would take it's shape as! (Would it be your favorite animal? An animal that represents you? Who knows but we were about to find out!!) I, along with every other HP fan, was ecstatic and had to take the quiz RIGHT THIS SECOND. Even though I was actually in my hotel's lobby/lounge area/bar in Paris at the time, trying to talk to my father and also trying to take the quiz in a very loud and crowded hotel lobby.

But when I took the quiz, something bad happened. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention to the quiz, maybe I was paying attention, but my results were... unexpectedly bad, in my opinion. Let me walk you through it.

Let's start with my original Pottermore account. I joined Pottermore back when you could explore it chapter by chapter and you could collect items, duel with other users, and brew potions (which were super hard to do. You have no idea how many times I tried to make the Polyjuice potion so I could advance to the next chapter. It took months. MONTHS! And then Pottermore stopped with the whole exploring each book's chapters thing so all of my hard work was lost). But before I joined Pottermore I didn't have a Hogwarts house I even identified with, so I was so eager to find out which house I truly belonged to. Because you can take as many unauthorized online sorting quizzes but everyone knows that the Pottermore quiz is the only true definite quiz of it's kind, mainly because it was conceived by JK Rowling herself.

Here are the results from my original Pottermore account from years back!

My Original Pottermore Account

My Wand:

Pottermore/That Weird Girl Life
Not knowing anything really about wands, I was perfectly happy with my results. Unicorn hair? Cool! (Ethically sourced at least, I hoped. Do they just yank those hairs out of a unicorn's mane or tail??) Quite Bendy and flexible? Whatever, I HAVE A WAND!!

My Hogwarts House:

Pottermore/That Weird Girl Life
I remembered being a little disappointed when I was first sorted into Ravenclaw. After reading the books, who didn't want to be a Gryffindor? But after remembering the most memorable and unique Ravenclaw of them all aka the magnificent Luna Lovegood, I was totally okay with everything that being a Ravenclaw stood for: being intelligent (I wish), sharp (sometimes, but only in humor, not meanness), wise (only when giving advice to friends but never taking the advice myself), and individuality (aka being weird. Totally me!!). But I do have some rather Hufflepuff qualities like patience (towards others, not myself), loyalty, and fairness (I hate cheating of any kind). But I think being placed in Ravenclaw really identifies with my odd spirit and interests. I think it's safe to say that if Luna and I had gone to Hogwarts together, we totally would have been best friends. No one would call her Loony on MY watch!

My Ilvermorny House:

Pottermore/That Weird Girl Life

Since the news of the American wizarding school Ilvermorny was just announced last year, we've only had JK Rowling's writing to go on about the qualities of each house. Each of Ilvermorny's houses is named after a magical creature from North America. The Horned Serpent, the house I was sorted into, represents the mind of a wizard or witch, and favors scholars. Even though JK Rowling wrote that the Ilvermorny houses are totally different from the Hogwarts houses, I feel like the Horned Serpent house is the American version of Ravenclaw. Which I'm perfectly fine with, because that means if I were actually a witch I would have gone to a wizarding school right here in the good ol' US of A! Though I'd still be down to be a foreign exchange student studying abroad at Hogwarts..
Which leads me to last September, on that fateful night in Paris where I tried to take the Patronus quiz on my phone. I was distracted, tired, jet lagged, but so eager to figure out what my Patronus would be (who doesn't need protection from dementors?). But I had no idea there was a time limit (sort of) and I may have not been paying close enough attention to the questions that were given to me. And so I ended up with THIS as my Patronus:

My *sob* Patronus:

Pottermore/That Weird Girl Life
WHAT??? What. The. NOOOO! A blackbird? A BLACKBIRD???

Pottermore/That Weird Girl Life
No. No. No. No. This will not stand! A bird? My Patronus is a freaking BIRD? This is the magical animal guardian produced by the Patronus spell that will protect me from dementors? Um, I think not. I'm sure a blackbird is a fine Patronus for some other witch or wizard, but for me? Nope. Not at all.

My main question: how does a blackbird represent me?? How?? The quiz doesn't give an explanation at all for WHY a blackbird would be my Patronus. So for that reason alone and for the fact that the only use for blackbirds is in a nursery rhyme about having four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie and LITERALLY NO ONE WANTS BLACKBIRD PIE, I reject the idea/conclusion that a blackbird of all animals is my Patronus!!!

Basically, I was just a tad bit upset about my Pottermore Patronus results (I'm sure you may have noticed). I knew in my heart of hearts that a blackbird was surely NOT my Patronus, so after waiting a while and ruminating over this very (not) serious problem, I decided to do the unthinkable: make a new Pottermore account and take the damn quiz again.

Here are the (hopefully) better results from the Patronus quiz that I took, where I made sure that I was NOT distracted nor in a foreign country (that honestly the best way to take an important quiz, anyway):

My New Pottermore Account

My Wand:
Pottermore/That Weird Girl Life
First it was a unicorn hair that was my wand core and now it's a Phoenix feather? Whatever, it's a wand. As long as the Phoenix feather didn't come from the same bird as a Dark Lord, I think I'm good. The first wand seems more girly and honestly looks prettier so I think I'm going to stick with my first wand (but of course my ideal wand looks-wise would be a mix of Hermione's and Luna's from the HP movies, duh).

My Hogwarts House:

Pottermore/That Weird Girl Life
Now, THIS was interesting! I've always felt like in some ways I was quite a Ravenpuff, but now it has been officially confirmed! I bet if the Sorting Hat had been placed on my head, I would have been one of those hat stalls, where it takes the Sorting Hat forever to place a student. Because if the Sorting Hat would have asked me if I'd rather live in a tower with fellow weirdos or live near the kitchens behind a giant portrait of fruit that you have to tickle the pear to get into the common room, I'd be incredibly torn and it would just have to make the decision for me. Thank goodness I'm not in charge of things! But in all honesty, I do now identify with being a Ravenclaw, with some Hufflepuff qualities. The two most underrated Hogwarts houses, IMHO. (Don't hex me, Slytherins and Gryffindors!)

My Ilvermorny House:

Pottermore/That Weird Girl Life
Hmmm.... Pottermore sorted me into the Pukwudgie Ilvermorny house. Pukwudgie represents the heart of a witch or wizard and favors healers. Again, no offense JK, but Pukwudgie also seems to be the American counterpart to another Hogwarts house, only this time Hufflepuff. Doesn't that description of Pukwudgie exactly describe a fair and loyal Hufflepuff? I don't know about this "healer" thing because honestly I tend to faint at the sight of blood (my own and others). But the whole representing the heart I'm here for!

I took all of the other quizzes first and saved this for last. My Patronus. My REAL Patronus, not a dumb blackbird. And for now...the moment of truth:

My Patronus (aaaaaahhhh it better not be a bird and if it is a bird it better at least be a frickin' cute Kiwi bird!!):

Pottermore/That Weird Girl Life
Oh em gee it's a kitty cat!!!! Yay!!! And not just any cat, a GINGER cat! Soooo much better than a boring ol' blackbird!

Pottermore/That Weird Girl Life
Look how cute it is, leaping about all misty and stuff! I wonder what having a ginger cat represents. Does it mean I'm secretly scrappy or that I need a scrappy magical creature guardian to protect me? Or did the quiz somehow know that I was a cat person and that just any old animal wouldn't do because honestly I'm always covered in cat hair and I get excited and squeal whenever I see a cat, even it's a stray and have to make it's acquaintance and that cats just make everything in life better so it obviously had to be a cat?? 

But who cares, I have a GINGER CAT as my Patronus!!

Pottermore/That Weird Girl Life
So is this my official Patronus? I have no idea. The Pottermore quizzes are probably the most definitive on the internet, as JK Rowling had a hand in coming up with them (being the mastermind of the wizarding world that she is), but we'll never truly know what our actual wands, houses, and Patronuses we'd actually have unless we actually lived in the wizarding world. So until JK finally outs the wizarding world and most of us HP fans finally realize we're all actually wizards and witches, we'll just have to settle for our Pottermore versions and what we actually feel in our hearts.

Did I cheat to find a Patronus that I actually identified with? Hell yes. Do I feel bad for doing it? Hell no. It was completely worth it. I love my cute lil ginger cat Patronus! As long as I have it and a pocketful of chocolate, I'll be prepared for any dementor that I come into contact with!

Stay Weird,

Have any of you taken the Patronus quiz on Pottermore? What animal did you get? Were you happy with your results or did you utterly hate them like I did? Let me know in the comments!

HUGE Book Haul! (Vacation, Christmas, Birthday, and Impulse Buys!)

Confession #1: Sometimes I judge books by their covers. I know, I shouldn't, but I do. You have to hand it to publishing companies for coming up with some great and gorgeous (or spooky and creepy covers. Or lovely and romantic) designs. Just face it. We ALL judge books by their covers. At least initially. Then we read them and if they don't do their beautifully designed cover justice we then judge them even more and much more harshly ("How DARE your inside pages not match your gorgeous cover!").

Confession #2: I never really buy books. Everyone knows I'm a library girl through and through....

Except for late last year and early this year. But I had reasons! Last December I took a trip to northern California to visit family and we stopped in Napa Valley to sight see and in this cute little town surrounded by vineyards, they had a bookstore. A BOOKSTORE, I tell you! How could I NOT buy any books at a cute, little independent bookstore?? "Everyone knows it's important to support local businesses!"- I told myself as I bought three books at very high small business book store prices...

And then Christmas came. And with Christmas comes gift cards to Barnes & Noble! And two months later my birthday rolled around and with that came more gift cards to spend on books. So, honestly, it would have been entirely wasteful for me to NOT spend those gift cards on books. Think of all of those poor books that need homes...I'm doing them a favor!

So because of all of these combined events, I, for maybe the first time ever (or in a long time), have bought a whole bunch of books impulsively (but not all at the same time. I do show some moderation occasionally). It felt so amazing to pick up a book that looked interesting to me, read the back, and then BUY it, without agonizing over if it's really worth it to buy yet another book I have no idea if I'll even like and whether I should save my money and just get it from the library. Chances are I probably won't do this again for a long time (unless I randomly become a millionaire overnight and if that's the case then I'm BUYING ALL THE BOOKS!!!), so please enjoy my very rare HUGE book haul!

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Harper Perennial
I KNOW, I know. I've never read Stardust. I've seen the movie (don't hurt me!), but I've never read the book. I haven't really ever been that into fantasy (Harry Potter doesn't count, of course. They are universal stories that literally ANYONE can relate to) but I have read a Neil Gaiman book or two in my day (Coraline and The Graveyard Book) and enjoyed the stories, so I thought I'd give Stardust the much deserved chance to be read by me (what an honor for Mr. Gaiman, haha). Plus, this is the kind of book that when a person asks if you've read the book and you reply that you've watched the movie, the other person will shake their head slowly and say "NO. Read the book" to you very, very seriously. So it's gotta be good, right?

No One Gets Out Alive by Adam Nevill

Pan MacMillan
So...this may have been an impulse buy. But how could I not buy a horror novel with a name like "No One Gets Out Alive"?? I had tried reading one of Adam Nevill's books previously and couldn't get into it, but this one actually has a supernatural element to it, as opposed to the other book of his that I tried to read (The Ritual), so I decided to give this one a chance and buy it. I'm actually currently reading it right now and it's pretty different than I expected but not in entirely bad way. All in all, it was a great impulse purchase buy but we'll see what I ultimately think of it after I finish it!

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

William Morrow
Have you read A Head Full of Ghosts? Oh. My. If you love horror, psychological thrillers, and exorcisms- fake or real- then you'll love this book (so basically, you'd be me and we should be BFFs!). Please, read it and just witness the masterpiece that is this perfect psychological horror (is that a book genre? It should be!). It literally scared me, shocked me, and completely unnerved me. And that's honestly saying something considering how much horror/psychological/thriller books I read- I mean, it takes a LOT to freak me out and this book succeeded!

Ghostland by Colin Dickey

One of my older sisters bought this for me for Christmas. It's a sociological study of why Americans love ghost stories and how they actually bind us together and helped shape our country's history. My sister knows me so darn well! History and ghosts are one of my favorite combinations, much like peanut butter and chocolate. But you know, a lot more scary and less delicious.

How To Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran


I've always heard such good things about Caitlin Moran and her feminist yet hilarious writings and memoir, but I had yet to read any of her books. I found this fiction book by her in one of the sale carts on Barnes & Noble (god bless after Christmas sales!) and thought I'd give it a go! Plus, the title is genius in it of itself.

The Apartment by S.L Grey

Anchor Books
I think this one is about a haunted apartment. At least I hope it is. If not, it'll either be about a neighbor who's most likely a murderer or it'll end up just being a psychological thriller where the main character was crazy the whole time. Either way, I'm here for wherever the reading ride takes me!

The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

St. Martin's Press
Here's all you need to know: historical fiction. 1875. England. A rich pretty girl is engaged to a handsome young man. Then the Empress of Austria (older, but beautiful) enters the picture. Love triangle ensues. You won't be able to put it down. Trust me. Daisy Goodwin can write about chamber pots used by historical figures and add some romance to it and it would still be good. (Is it just me or does that actually sound like a compelling novel? Get on that, Daisy!)

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Random House Delacorte
Jennifer Donnelly wrote one of my absolute favorite books ever, A Northern Light, and I saw she had this new-sih book and it seemed a little horror-ish and historical fiction-esque and I impulsively bought it. I tried to read one of her other books, Revolution, and couldn't get into it so I sort of fell off the Jennifer Donnelly bandwagon. But now that I've discovered her and These Shallow Graves, if I like the book, I may go back and start reading her other books that I've missed out on, including Revolution. Because even books deserve second chances!

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

As much as I talk up The Exorcist (aka one of my favorite books EVER which I probably mention on this blog on at least 50% of my posts), I've never owned an actual copy of the book. Thankfully I have now rectified that problem and have added it to my growing horror novel collection. Captain Howdy would be so proud of me.

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

St. Martin's Press
I randomly found this one at Target while shopping and I had enough money left on my Target gift card to buy it (hurray for Christmas presents!) and I read the back and popped it in my shopping cart. The selling points? It's historical fiction AND it has Sara Gruen's (Water for Elephants) seal of approval. I sort of had to buy it just for those two reasons alone!

A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper

Knopf Books for Young Readers
Book one in a trilogy (thank goodness! You can't just stop at one book with these characters!) about the fictional, but written oh so realistically FitzOsbournes, the royal family of a waning small kingdom, Montmaray, a small island located near the coast of Spain. Told through main teenage Sophie's point of view via notes on the history of her country and her families' eccentric and interesting past, the journal begins in 1936 right as the rumblings of World War II have started to spread across Europe and even to the little island of Montaoray. Filled with vivid, memorable characters that you'll grow to know and love, A Brief History of Montmaray is an exciting and historically based (well, minus the itty bitty country of Montmaray and it's royal residents) book that will leave you captivated and desperate for the next book. So....please read it so I can have people to talk about it with!

The FitzOsbournes in Exile by Michelle Cooper

Book two of The Montmaray Journals. Read it. After they escape the attack on Montmaray (spoiler alert!), they seek shelter with distant relatives in England and face the dreaded coming out to society ceremonies that most royal and rich families. And the war is growing ever closer....

The FitzOsbournes at War by Michelle Cooper

Knopf Books for Young Readers
Book three and this is when sh*t gets real (war will do that to you) and the tears start coming. No spoilers from me, so go read the entire series! Please! You won't regret it!


Also, at least seven of these books I've now added to my TBR list! Eeek, that list just keeps getting longer and longer!

I hope you enjoyed my big book haul! Have you read any of these books? If you haven't, which books look interesting to you? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird,