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Let's Get to Know Each Other Blogger Tag!


This may sound a tad silly, but I have always wanted to be tagged in a blogger tag. Weird, yes. But I love the idea of bloggers asking each other thoughtful questions, answering honestly, and sharing new questions with another set of bloggers and keeping the chain going! It's a great way to get to know each other, find new blogs to read and bloggers to know, AND support small bloggers! Win-win-win!

And guess what: just as I was wishing I could tag myself to do a blogger tag (is that lame? Guys, I really, really wanted to do one), I was tagged by the lovely Amber over at My Life in Limbo after she was tagged by another blogger. So thank you Amber for tagging me and making my blogging dreams come true! Okay, I'm excited, so let's get started! Here's how it works:


The Rules:

1. Answer the 11 questions that your nominator has asked you.
2. Nominate 11 other bloggers (with under 200 followers)
3. Ask your nominees 11 questions.
4. Let them know that you have nominated them!
Alright, so I may be tagging people who have OVER 200 followers, but that's only because I like these bloggers and want to hear their answers to my fantastically original (NOT) questions. And also, it's totally okay if the bloggers that I tag don't do this tag. I'd love it if you did, but if it's not your thing, I get it and just know that I tagged you because I like and respect you and your blog and want to get to know you better. That's all. No pressure! 😊 (But seriously, if you do the tag let me know and then tag other bloggers and keep the it going!)

The bloggers I'm tagging are...

singlevegasgirl
Ashley: @bolognabudget
Kimberly: @KayyThevv
Kala: @Kala_Mari3
Siobhan: @fuller_siobhan
Marylou: @itsrylou
Leah Rachel: @reading_while
Aleksandra: @OlaGrab
Nicky: @knickknack99
Emma: @Emma111996
Alex: @inafieldofbooks

Now, it's time for the 11 questions that Amber came up with!

1. Where is your favorite place to go to when you’re feeling down or disconnected?
If I'm feeling depressed or disconnected, I find that actually getting out and being around people helps. It's almost reassuring to remind yourself that you're not alone in the world and life is still going on. It's weird how you can ground yourself just by being around people you're not going to even talk to!

2. Besides blogging, what is your favorite hobby?
Reading, hands down. If I could read all day, everyday, I would. If my job could be Official Reader of Books, I would have the credentials, the degree(s), and be the best in the business!

3. What have you learned about yourself while blogging?
Blogging has really encouraged me to let out my creative side. I've always has an active imagination, thinking of scary horror stories (I love all things paranormal- ghosts, demons, hauntings- FYI), but never actually writing them down. Seeing everyone on Twitter, their blogs, or even Wattpad chase their writing dreams or even just writing for fun has inspired me to actually put pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard) and write my own stories. Am I any good? Who knows! I just love doing it and it makes me happy and that's really all that matters to me.

4. What is a favorite quote of yours?
"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am"- Sylvia Plath

5. What is your favorite television show?
I can't pick just one!! Don't make me choose! I absolutely love 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, I Love Lucy, Gilmore Girls, The Simpsons, Black Mirror, and Shameless. I couldn't possibly pick an all-time favorite!

6. What is the blog post that you are most proud of? Why?
The blog post I'm most proud of is probably my post about being more open about having mental illness. I've always kept my mental health very private, one, because I felt like no one I knew really understood or could understand, and two, because I've always been embarrassed about the fact that I actually have issues with my mental health. But thanks to so many awesome mental health bloggers that I follow, I've learned to be more honest about my experiences, and that it's okay and even appreciated when other people share their stories (It even helps spread awareness to break the mental health stigma). Just admitting that I suffer from OCD, depression, and anxiety (and more), was like a weight was taken off of my shoulders and I loved how understanding and encouraging people were online once I shared my post. It just warmed my heart and reminded me that I'm not alone and that other people DO know what I go through or at least can sympathize. And it's slowly giving me the courage to talk about my issues more with my family and friends. (Who knew a blog post could do so much??)

7. What are you grateful for?
My family, no question. They've always supported me, no matter what. Sometimes they drive me crazy, and I'm sure I drive them crazy, too, but I'm honestly so lucky to have them and know that they're there for me, always.

8. Why did you start blogging?
I actually started this blog as a way to keep track and share my experiences checking things off of my bucket list. But it slowly morphed into so many different directions, like talking about books and sharing my stories about travel and my life experiences. I decided to reinvent my blog and talk about whatever weird things I wanted to and not to limit myself to just one topic. And so That Weird Girl Life was born! 

9. What is your guilty pleasure?
I love watching YouTube. I love it! I could spend hours watching the channels I've subscribed to, and I could watch hours of random videos I look up on weird subjects, like old girl and boy band interviews from the late 90's/early 2000's, video footage of (supposed) real ghosts, and documentaries/interviews about/with serial killers. My interests are obviously quite varied and sophisticated (and slightly creepy, to be honest).

10. What is one new thing you’ve started doing lately?
I've started getting into doing crafty things. And by getting into, I mean buying cross-stitch kits but I haven't started any of them yet. All of the patterns are super easy but now I'm terrified of starting a cross-stitch kit and messing it up! It's the perfectionist in me!


11. What do you love about your life?
I already said my family, so is it okay to say my cat? Or is that super sad? I don't care, I love that furry fluff ball who sheds like it's her one job in life (it is) and cuddles with me at the most inopportune times and never when I'd like her to. She's now 13 years old and crotchety old lady cat (she even has an old lady name: Harriet!) but I still love her to bits. I'm her person and she's my cat 🐱💖


And here are my 11 questions for my tagged fellow bloggers:

1. When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

2. What time of day do you do your blogging? Do you usually work in the daytime or are you a night owl?
3. If you could only eat one candy or chocolate for the rest of your life, what would it be?
4. What is your go to movie to watch when you're feeling sad or upset?
5. Has there been a book that has changed your life?
6. Which Disney movie scared you the most as a kid?
7. What is the hardest thing for you about blogging?
8. If you had to recommend one musician/band that everyone should listen to, who would it be?
9. If you could sit down and chat with any fictional character (from a book, movie. or TV) who would it be? And what would you talk about?
10. What is something that no matter what, always makes you laugh?
11. And if you had to pick: cake or pie?

Let me know if you do the tag, I'd love to read it! Let me know in the comments if you've ever been tagged to do a blogger tag!

Stay Weird,
Emily

Book Review: The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

That Weird Girl Life
[Disclaimer: I received this book for free after winning a giveaway from Goodreads through the book's publishers, and in exchange am writing an honest and fair review. All thoughts and opinions are my own]

William Morrow Paperbacks
Book: The Cottingley Secret
Author: Hazel Gaynor
Genre: Fiction
Subgenres: Historical, romance

My Review and Thoughts: I had heard of the Cottingley fairy photographs when I was younger, and I remember being so intrigued by the photograph of Frances, posing with her chin in her hand, staring slightly off camera while small fairies danced in the foreground. The idea to a young little girl that fairies could possibly be real was the most magical thought I could ever imagine and I wished with all my heart that it was true. Then I learned it wasn't true and I remember being so disappointed when I found out it was all just a hoax by two girls (but I wasn't the only one who was fooled!). But when I learned that author Hazel Gaynor wrote a historical fiction account of the girls behind the (in)famous photographs, I knew I had to read it and review it. Would it be a fictional account of two girls and their rationale behind one of the biggest hoaxes ever? Or would the book have us believe that the girls were telling the truth and fairies were/are -gasp- real? 

For those who don't know, the tale of Frances Griffith and her cousin Elsie's photographs of supposed real fairies back in 1917 (and also took a few more pictures of the fairies and gnomes over the years) in the English countryside actually happened. Those series of photographs taken by the two young girls took the world by storm, and made believers of even famed author and spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle during the dire days after World War I. After years of Frances and Elsie sticking to their story of the fairy photographs being real, they finally revealed in the 1970's that the photos were faked (they used cut out pictures of fairies and gnomes and used hat pins to pin them to the ground). All except for the last photo which they've claimed was the only real photograph out of all of the pictures they took over the years.

The story is told through two seemingly unconnected stories, told one hundred years apart. In 2017 Olivia, a lost in life 30-something year old who works as a bookbinder in London and is unhappily engaged to a man she knows she doesn't want to spend the rest of her life with. After her mother died when Olivia was young, she was raised by her grandparents in Ireland where her grandfather owned a secondhand bookstore, Something Old. Now her beloved grandfather has died, and she heads back home to check on her grandmother, who's suffering from Alzheimer's and living in an assisted care living house, and to see to Something Old, which her grandfather left her. Going back to Ireland seems like the perfect excuse to get away from her approaching marriage and the left she knows deep down she doesn't want, but when she reads a typed, hand-bound manuscript of Frances Griffith's "Notes On a Fairy Tale," a family heirloom that has been handed down from the women in her family over the years and something her grandfather sent her before he passed, Olivia soon discovers a magical piece of history that connects the Cottingley fairy photographs and Frances to her family and to the mother she lost when she was so young- possibly with a hint of fairy magic.

The book then switches to Frances' unpublished written account starting in 1917, of Frances' move with her mother from South Africa to Cottingley, England, to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, after her father leaves to fight in World War I. There, while she misses her father and South Africa, she bonds with her older cousin Elsie, and discovers a small hidden garden in the woods, with a flowing stream. Drawn to that lush, green garden and beck, one warm afternoon she discovers some tiny, creatures flying in the garden from the corner of her eye. Frances is determined to keep it all a secret, her little secret, even from her beloved cousin Elsie. But as Frances is reminded by her favorite teacher Mrs. Hogan, secrets have a way of coming out, and with the gloom and depression that hangs over the families worried about their loved ones during the first World War, the idea of fairies seems like such a light in the unbelievable darkness and soon enchants the world- whether Frances wants it to or not.

Both stories were interconnected, emotional, and incredibly moving and relatable, and completely swept me away in the most unexpected, wonderful way. Hazel Gaynor's writing is simple and easy to read, which keeps the story moving between Frances and Olivia at a steady pace but lush and emotional when it needs to be. The descriptions of the English countryside were lovely, and I could perfectly envision the green garden and woods where the fairies supposedly flew. The historical events and figures combined with Gaynor's own interpretation of what Frances and Elsie felt when members of the Theosophical Society in London and photography experts come to investigate these intriguing Yorkshire fairy photographs, were combined with realistic ease, as two frustrated young girls just wanted to live their lives and keep a secret, while the whole world searched  and prodded for an answer only Frances ultimately knew. And Olivia's very real struggles, of being lost in love and in life, is incredibly relatable, and unlike a lot of other main characters in other modern fiction novels, you aren't annoyed or frustrated with her decisions or lack there of. You want her to succeed, to find out what she wants in life, and to be happy, and are grateful for the discovery of Frances' hand-written memoir that sets a series of events into motion for Olivia and ultimately changes her life.

Though there were only two main characters in the book, Olivia and Frances, who were both compelling and very relatable, it was the secondary characters for me that really made the book. Frances' cousin Elsie, aunt, uncle, and her teacher Mrs. Hogan, to Olivia's grandparents, her grandparent's old friend and now Olivia's mentor, Henry Blake, and handsome local writer and frequent bookstore customer Ross and his young daughter Iris all made the book come alive and bloom, adding even more depth and heart to it's already two charming protagonists. Even the bookstore, Something Old, brings along it's own rustic charm, filled with books that hold so many stories, through their old typed word and past lives of their old owners, to the large storefront window where some seemingly magical flowers start to bloom around a fairy door Iris places there and draws customers to the store. All of  these elements- human characters, secret family history, romance, the lush English and Irish countryside, and the idea of fairies- all blend together to make one of the most charming and captivating stories I've read in a long, long time. 

It's not very often a book literally encapsulates the word "enchanting," without actually being a sweeping fantasy novel, but The Cottingley Secret pulls it off and then some.

Should You Read It: In my honest opinion, if you love historical fiction with a hint of fantasy (aka the idea of fairies, not some grandiose novel set in another land with human/dragon shapeshifters), I think you'll love The Cottingley Secret. I seriously could not put it down and was swept away with the story and imagery and characters. This will probably be the book that I recommend the most to people this year, so do yourself a favor and read it so I won't bother you about reading it! (You're welcome in advance!) Because we all need the idea of fairies and magic in our lives, don't we? (I'll answer for you: we do!)

Stay Weird,
Emily


Grab a copy of The Cottingley Secret now so you can be swept away by magic and fairies! ✨

Also, how gorgeous is this cover?? I seriously could not stop taking pictures of it! So beautiful! Could this book be any more perfect?? 😍

That Weird Girl Life

Why I Don't Dye My Hair (Anymore)


Disclaimer: I'm not looking down at anyone who dyes their hair (to each their own!). This post is just about my personal journey to realizing what dyeing my hair really told me about myself and learning to accept me as a person. So if you dye your hair and don't really understand what I'm talking about, at least just amuse yourself with some of these awkward pictures of myself back in the day with some awful dye jobs! It's hilarious. trust me. Well, hilarious to you but mortifying to me. Enjoy!

It has just crossed my mind that it's been about two whole years since I've last dyed my hair (the color, you may wonder? Mahogany red-brown. More red than brown and not the exact color I was going for, but oh well). I always thought I knew why I decided not to dye my hair again: to save money and because I'm lazy and find the upkeep annoying (obviously). But after some careful reflection, I think I may have discovered another reason why I've chosen not to dye my hair anymore.

That Weird Girl Life
This is me and what used to be my at home hair dyeing routine: old towel around my neck/shoulders, held closed with a clothes pin, and pure boredom and a slight high from waiting for the color to set.

But let's start at the beginning and take a trip down memory lane...

I became obsessed with dyeing my hair back when I was an emo teen (yes, I was an emo girl. My Myspace profile name for the longest time was Emo-lee. I thought that was so clever. *cringes*). And of course the color I wanted to dye my hair was BLACK. I've always had brown hair. Not dark brown, not light brown: just BROWN. I absolutely hated it and thought it was the most boring color in the world. I decided it made me look dull and faded and since I was so edgy and emo (My Chemical Romance and From First to Last were my go to all time favorite bands forever and ever, that'll never change- well, guess what. IT DID. Sorry, guys) I, of course, needed a hair color to match my dead, broken emo heart that only beats for music that has screaming in it (what were we thinking then??).

But before I wanted to make that big decision and dye my hair for the first time, I picked up some wash out purple hair dye just to try it out. I had my friend dye my hair for me and though you could barely see the purple in my hair (because my hair is brown and remember, this was temporary hair dye), I was hooked. This was the emo girl I was meant to be! Dyed hair, every t-shirt I wore had to be black, and my studded belt from Hot Topic must be worn with every outfit! (And I was determined to master heavy eyeliner despite the fact that I didn't wear makeup before this and having anything like a finger or a eyeliner pencil near my eye seriously grossed me out. And still does). It was destiny! And so my hair journey began!

That Weird Girl Life
Oh, young Emily. Just starting out on your emo journey. No makeup, From First to Last fan club shirt. purple bedroom walls AND comforter (sooo not emo!) and your newly dyed purple-ish hair that you can barely tell is dyed. You sweet, innocent fetus.

The next color I dyed my hair was black. For my birthday I was given a gift certificate for a haircut and color at a salon. And you bet I used that up ASAP! Sadly I don't have any pictures from that day, but you better believe that I had a full on photo-shoot afterwards and posted those pictures on Myspace! (Thank god I can't remember the e-mail I used for Myspace or my account number. Going back on to my old Myspace account would be a journey I would NOT want to take!)

That Weird Girl Life
Want to know how emo I was in this picture? I'm wearing a black and white striped shirt with black tanktop OVER it (???), with a long silver chain necklace (showing off my enlarged thyroid, I might add), a grey tote bag with black hearts on it. AND I'm at a tattoo convention with friends. So emo!! Also, kudos to that girl in back of me rocking that body confidence and studded belt!

From then on, my hair was black. And I either had my mom, sister, or a friend dye it for me because I could not be trusted with dyeing my own hair (read about that at the end of the post! There's photographic proof of why I'm not allowed to dye my own hair!).

Sadly, my emo phase came to an end and out went the black hair dye. For a short while, I decided red was my color. Bright red. As you can see, though I was no longer emo, I still preferred black and grey clothing. And dark, dark eyeliner and eye makeup. (Does it make me look dead inside and out? Then I guess I was making my face look like that!) But after that red hair faded (let's be honest. I literally wash my hair everyday so my hair color never lasts), my hair returned to its boring brown color. And there it stayed. For a time.

That Weird Girl Life
Confession: I still kind of low-key like this look. And yes, along with my dyed hair I also had a nose ring, which I no longer have. Also, my bedroom walls were no longer purple, but now a bright teal, which was from a Disney paint line called Ariel's Song. I may have fallen in love with the color just for the name alone.


That Weird Girl Life
Another confession: I may or may not have used this specific picture in online dating profiles back in the day. Don't judge! I got some dates. None worked out, of course, but still. Also, that eye shadow and eyeliner though. *shudders*

Then I was dating a guy and we broke up (story of my life). I was devastated but didn't want to admit it. So instead I decided I needed a change. How about a new hair color??? Yes! That'll show him I'm doing fine without him! How about a nice, natural red color? (You know, unlike the unnaturally colored one I had previously dyed my poor hair) And guess what: that guy I dated loved redheads! That'll show him what he's missing! (Yeah, great idea, Emily. If only I had a time machine to warn you...)

That Weird Girl Life
This is me a few years back with my more natural red hair, post breakup, with a wax Leo DiCaprio at Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas. It barely looked like him, but I still needed a picture because that's the closest I'm ever getting to a good looking actor/Oscar winner. 

And then, I got back together with that same guy (oh, Emily. Foolish, foolish, Emily...). And later on in the relationship (with my hair in its natural brown state again), when I was starting to feel insecure in the relationship and was trying to figure out if being together was right or not, I decided to dye my hair. For me, I thought, not for him. It's not like he's said that he's into redheads (remember from above?) and I wanted to make him- I mean, myself happy (oops. See what I did there? But please note, despite the face that it didn't work out with this guy, he was actually a pretty good boyfriend and he didn't insist on me dyeing my hair. That was all me and my own insecurities. We just weren't right together. Just letting you know!). But did it? Not really.

That Weird Girl Life
At first I liked the color and cut that I got while in my previous relationship, but looking back at old pictures, it doesn't seem like me at all and I cringe looking back on it. So instead of showing you a picture of me with said color/cut, here's some of the fallen dyed hair sitting alone on the floor. Godspeed, hair. It took so long to grow you out and then I just had you cut off, like you meant nothing to me. I'm so sorry.

Why did I keep dyeing my hair? And what finally convinced me to stop and just accept my own naturally brown hair?

I came to realize that I saw dyeing my hair (or even getting a new haircut) was a way to symbolize a a big change in my life. That when something happened (sometimes good, usually bad), I either wanted to change myself to fit this idea I had of me (or someone else's idea of me), or I wanted to change myself to make a fresh start, or try out a new and improved me.

Basically, I wasn't happy with myself. My boring brown hair represented the real me, the someone I can't change but so desperately wanted to. I had to learn the hard way (as in, dyeing my hair so much that I'm sure once I stopped my hair was finally able to breathe and say "thank you for not torturing us anymore! We're freee!" And then about a dozen of my hairs fell out. I shed a LOT) that I needed to accept my own natural hair, meaning my own self, just the way I was. I was dyeing my hair and trying to change who I was, or convince myself that I was a newer, better version of myself. But you can't change your appearance and think that will solve all your problems. You have to do those things yourself, by working on you, from the inside, not the outside.

And when I had that epiphany, that's when I knew that I needed to learn to accept myself, and come to terms with being me. I'm not going to lie, it's been tough. What with all the new hair trends, like pastel, rainbow, unicorn, and mermaid hair, it's hard not to have hair envy. But I know I can't hide behind a new hair color or cut anymore. I need to be okay with me and who I am.

It's weird to think that a revelation about not dyeing my hair anymore would put me on a path to self-acceptance. But I'm so glad it did. And I'm actually starting to like my brown hair. It's not so plain, and it even has some red and gold highlights in the sun. And you know what? Brown suits me. It fits my skin tone, my eyes, and my personality. I'm 100% me and working on feeling fine about it!

Dyeing your hair can make you unique, but not dyeing it and just being yourself also makes you just as unique and special. Do whatever makes you feel good and makes you the best and truest you that you can be! Hair dye or no hair dye 💖

That Weird Girl Life
Me now, rocking my natural brown hair and looking just as awkward as per usual even while taking a selfie by myself. Some things never change.

Now, I wonder what I'll be saying once my hair starts turning grey...

Also, this is why you shouldn't dye your hair by yourself (at least if you're me. You'll miss your head (because you aren't wearing glasses) and the dye will hit the bathroom door, where it will stain after you try to wash it off but instead just stain it even further by trying to wipe it away. And yes, the door had to be repainted and I've never tried to dye my hair myself again! And yes, it sort of-kind of-definitely looks a murder scene, a la Dexter.

That Weird Girl Life
Do any of you dye your hair? What color is it currently dyed? Or are you au natural like me? What are your thoughts on dyeing vs. keeping your natural color? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay Weird,
Emily

Making the Grey Stuff From Beauty and the Beast!

That Weird Girl Life
I cannot tell you how excited I am for today. Because today, the live action Beauty and the Beast comes out on DVD/Blu-ray! Which means that I can now own it, and watch it as many times as is socially acceptable for a late 20-something year old to watch it (so, no more than twice in a row, obviously). But in honor of this day when an AMAZING new version of an old classic is being released to the general public, I thought I would celebrate by making the famous dish that was name checked in one of the best songs and scenes in movie history: the Grey Stuff from "Be Our Guest"!

Disney/That Weird Girl Life
You know, as in: "try the grey stuff, it's delicious! Don't believe me? Ask the dishes!"

I can't be the only one who's wondered what this swirled pile of grey goo on a cracker(?) was and, more importantly, what it tasted like. Was it savory? Sweet? Or something gross (and incredibly unethical) like foie gras? I recently learned that you can actually order and EAT the Grey Stuff at Disneyland and Disneyworld! And it is neither savory or foe gras! It's sweet, like cookies and cream whipped topping, apparently. It's maybe not how they originally animated it in the original Beauty and the Beast movie, but in true Disney parks fashion, it's been recreated with a sweet and stylish makeover. Sometimes served by itself on a plate, or on a cookie, or at Disneyland, red velvet cake covered in the Grey Stuff on a scalloped shortbread cookie and at Disneyworld, a chocolate cake covered with the Grey Stuff and also on a shortbread cookie- whatever way, it sounds delicious! And this newly vamped Grey Stuff certainly looks way more stylish than it did in the OG movie.

*Check out this delicious sounding article from Buzzfeed where someone documented their journey of eating the Grey Stuff for the first time!

So obviously I'm going to have to make some of this stuff myself to see what it tastes like, right? Since I can't get to either Disneyland or Disneyworld right now (but hopefully I'll visit both parks sometime in the near future!). I found some copycat recipes online (including one from the official Disney Family website) and have decided to follow these instructions (which involve different pudding mixes, Oreos, and whipped topping. I've seen other recipes that just involve Oreos and frosting, but I thought the pudding one sounded more interesting to try. Plus, it's the most popular Grey Stuff copy cat recipe). Let's get started!

*Much thanks to the sites/blogs, Lil' Luna, The Disney Diner, and Disney Family for their Grey Stuff recipes!*

Here's what you'll need for the Grey Stuff:
  • 1 small package (3.4 oz) Instant Vanilla Pudding mix
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk or 2% milk
  • 15 regular sized Oreos
  • 1 small tub Cool Whip or whipped topping (8 oz)
  • 1-3 tablespoons Instant Chocolate Pudding mix (some recipes said only 1 tablespoon of chocolate pudding mix, others said more. I think how many tablespoons you put in will all depend on how grey you want your Grey Stuff to be, so it's up to you!)
  • Pearl candies or pearl sprinkles (I found a Wilton multi pack of different types of black, white, and grey sprinkles, including some teeny tiny round ones which I'll just use at itty bitty pearls to decorate my Grey Stuff)

For the cookie base, I just used a sugar cookie mix (gasp! I know! Not from scratch?? How dare I!) and used a flower shape cookie cutter to make the scalloped edges. I made the cookies the day before I made the Grey Stuff, just to cut down on the cooking time. Because sometimes it feels like baking can take forever, with waiting for things to chill, then bake, then the dreaded clean up, ugh.

Instructions to Make the Grey Stuff:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the Vanilla Pudding Mix and milk. Mix well with a whisk and then refrigerate for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Blend Oreos in a food processor until they're blended into a crumbs (no big crumbs!)
  3. Take the pudding mix out of the fridge and mix in the Oreo crumbs.
  4. Fold in the tub of whipped topping into the pudding/Oreo mixture.
  5. Add 1-3 tablespoons of the Chocolate Pudding Mix and mix until you're satisfied with the grey color. Put it back in the fridge for at least an hour to chill before serving.
  6. When you're ready to serve, put the Grey Stuff mixture in a piping bag and pipe a swirl onto a cookie (you can either use a plastic baggie, or an actual piping page with a tip to make it look fancy). Decorate with with pearl candies or sprinkles.
  7. And you're ready to serve! Bon appetit!

I bought a cheap set of four disposable piping bags plus adjustable star shaped piping tips. I'm not the best when it comes to decorating cookies and cupcakes, but I enjoy doing it. I just forgot that since the Grey Stuff is a mix of pudding and whipped cream, and it's incredibly hot today, it melts super fast! So I tried to pipe as fast as I could, but with some of the bigger Oreo chunks (I tried to make them small!) getting stuck in the tip, I ended up squeezing too hard and the Grey Stuff came flooding out of the piping bag, landing in a poo-like pile on the cookies. I did my best to rectify the situation by adding some swirls to give it that pointed top (and obviously to make it look less poo-like. Sooo unappetizing!) But look how pretty (some) of them turned out!

That Weird Girl Life

That Weird Girl Life

That Weird Girl Life
But now the most important questions is: HOW DO THEY TASTE??

I'm not going to lie: I used to be a big pudding fan, but I've kind of grown out of it. And if you hadn't noticed, this recipe is ALL PUDDING. Especially since I added 3 tablespoons of the chocolate pudding mix to make it extra "grey," which then made it taste even MORE like chocolate pudding. You can taste the Oreos too, but the chocolate pudding taste is overwhelming (in a good way, if you like pudding). Adding the whipped cream gave it a much lighter consistency, which I enjoyed. Overall, it was really delicious, but pretty rich (again, probably because of the 3 tablespoons of chocolate pudding mix I added!). It was easy enough to make, but maybe next time I'd use regular vanilla frosting with added Oreo crumbs to make my own Grey Stuff (I mean, to make that swirl of Grey Stuff that would be a LOT of frosting and Oreos, but I'm one of those people that likes more frosting than cake and I love Oreos so it sounds perfect to me!). I even saw at the store that they make an Oreo cookies and creme pudding mix, so I'm sure if you wanted to skip some steps and ingredients, you could probably just use that as a main ingredient instead!

That Weird Girl Life
Overall though, I'm so happy I made my own Grey Stuff to celebrate the release of Beauty and the Beast! It made a perfectly festive dessert to eat while watching the movie, and added to the experience of the fabulous "Be Our Guest" song/scene. They turned out better than expected (well, not really, but I was able to make them prettier. So I'll call that a win!) and frankly, I'm glad they weren't a savory, foie gras type of food. Hopefully one day I'll get to try the official Grey Stuff at Disneyland or Disneyworld (or both!), but for now, my own will do as I keep rewatching the original Beauty and the Beast and now the newly released remake! (Again, I'm a late 20-something year old. This is how you adult, right? By eating themed Disney desserts and rewatching Disney movies. If so, I'm adulting RIGHT!)

🌹

Is anyone else super excited for the remake of Beauty and the Beast being out today to own and rewatch again and again like me? Have you tried the Grey Stuff at Disneyland or Disneyworld? How as it? Was it delicious? Have you tried making your own? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird,
Emily

May 2017 Monthly Favorites!


Another month gone, another Monthly Favorites post is now here! May has seriously gone by way too fast. Seriously, it's June already and if I thought summer was here before, than June has already proved me wrong because it is HOT in Arizona (it's already 108 degrees Fahrenheit here, and if you're in another part of the world that's 42 degrees Celsius! And it's only going to get hotter. Waaah!). But thankfully I have my favorites from May to keep me occupied while I stay inside from the heat (because who in.their right mind would be outside in weather like this? The answer: lots of people. Some people here in AZ just loooove hot weather. I am not one of those people). Things like fun, poppy songs that I should be embarrassed that I like but I actually don't, a riveting Netflix docu-series that will make you think and will probably start an interesting conversation with whoever you talk about it with, and probably the prettiest and most mystically dreamy spinning necklace you'll ever see. So, please enjoy this May edition of my Monthly Favorites! I know I sure did!

Accessories:

That Weird Girl Life
I first discovered Aisha Voya's incredible jewelry and masks when her Niffler necklace went viral online (it's seriously the cutest necklace ever. She handmade a tiny Niffler sculpture and then attached it on a necklace with a pendant to make it look like the Niffler was grabbing/hanging on to the shiny jewel on the necklace. Frickin' brilliant AND adorable!). While I really wanted the Niffler necklace, it was a tad expensive for me, but once I saw her Lucid Dreamer spinning necklace, I was so glad I didn't spend the money on the Niffler necklace (though I'd still be open to buying it if I ever got the money. And, you know, if it wasn't sold out currently). The necklace features a spinning pendant, with a woman on one side with her eyes open, and on the other side, her eyes are closed. It was designed to be used when you think you're dreaming (a la lucid dreaming, or Inception), to check if you're really asleep or not (I think. I don't know too much about lucid dreaming because most of my dreams are nightmares and who really wants experience that further?). Though I really wanted it more for the beautiful design and the fact that it looks so vintage and mystical. I love the long, gold chain it comes with, too. And seriously, my pictures do NOT do the necklace justice. It's more stunning in person (and in professionally taken photographs, unlike mine). My favorite jewelry purchase I've made in a long, long time!

Note: The woman faces right on each side of the pendant, I just mirrored the images on the right sides of the collage to make it more pleasing to the eye (I'm so artsy!).

Check out Aisha Voya Creations's spinning The Lucid Dreamer necklace here 

That Weird Girl Life
You never know what you're going to find at a yard/garage/estate sale. And when I was helping work at an estate sale a few weeks ago, guess what I found: a pair of Luna Lovegood's Spectrespecs! I had been wanting a pair for literally forever. I even looked for them at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando three years ago, but they didn't sell actual hearty, plastic ones, just paper ones that came with a copy of the Quibbler. Not good enough for me! So who would have thought a few years later I would actually find a pair at an estate sale I was working at?? Life is crazy, but crazy awesome because now I have my own pair of Spectrespecs! Now I can finally see those wrackspurts Luna keeps talking about!

Books:

Adams Media Corporation
Never has a book spoken to me as an introvert. It's cute, funny, and so, so relatable. You'll feel better about being an introvert after reading through it. Maybe even a little proud, once you realize (like I did) that there are other introverts just like us out there! Give it a read and share it with your fellow introverts, and even extroverts! It's that good that even extroverts will get a good chuckle out of it (because they'll obviously recognize you in a lot of these situations!). Plus, all the cartoons are super, super adorable!

Read my book recommendation about Introvert Doodles here


American Girl
I can honestly say that I purely blame the American Girl series on my love of history and historical fiction. They were my absolute favorite books when I was younger (plus, I always wanted an American Girl doll of my own. Never got one. I'm not bitter or anything...) and I devoured the stories and the characters from different times in history. I also really liked the extra books they put out, based on the time period of each character. Felicity was one of my absolute favorites of the OG American Girls (Her best quality was that she was spunky! How awesome is that?? Also, who are all of these new American girls who keep popping up? Julie from the 1970's? Pssh, please!) and my favorite of these books to check out was the one about what Felicity's life would have been like in the 1770's. So guess what fate had in store for me when I worked that same exact estate sale where I found a pair of Spectrespecs? Yes, that's right, I found Welcome to Felicity's World, bought it, and was instantly transported back to my childhood. Isn't it weird how some of your favorite forgotten childhood books just find their way back to you? I swear, there's bookworm karma and I must have done something right to have been blessed by the book gods! (Maybe it's because I always pay my overdue fines at the library)

TV:
Netflix
I was seriously blown away by the Rashida Jones produced Netflix documentary, Hot Girls Wanted, a look at young women in the booming amateur porn industry. Whether you're for it or against the industry (or a combination of both), it was a fascinating documentary that was incredibly honest and truthful, yet ultimately non-judgmental. Now the creators of the original documentary released a docu-series on Netflix, Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On all about different aspects of the porn industry, focusing on the digital age. From female creators/directors of porn to the new hooking up culture of Tinder and how that affects people emotionally, Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On is a must see docu-series that will open your mind to different aspects of the industry, while still showcasing some compelling story telling with all sorts of people from every background and lifestyle. It's the most thought-provoking series I've seen in a long time and I honestly can't stop recommending it to everyone I know (or, you know, anyone who would at least be interested in it!).

PBS
You know how most reality shows are incredibly compelling but are based on the most ridiculous premise ever? This is the kind of reality show that should be shown as an example of what a reality show should actually be (this, and The Great British Baking Show, of course): original, riveting, and surprisingly heartfelt and educational. (You know, the opposite of the usual reality show drivel that's flooded TV) Different British families from all walks of life (but all have roots/family history going back to the Victorian age) voluntarily decide to live their lives as families in the Victorian era slums of London. All the families have different jobs, therefore different incomes, but all deal with the struggles of living in the London slums. From finding the money to eat and pay rent, and finding a place to work, or even sleep at night, the series is entertaining but hard-hitting, and illustrates the hard times and sacrifices families went through for a better life. Each week the families are in a different decade of the late 1800's, and their primary goal is find enough work/money to pay the rent (sounds boring but is actually super compelling). Sometimes it's tough to watch as these modern day people try to function in a tough and unfair outdated system, but it's amazing how in the face of adversary, people come together to help one another and find some light in the darkness. Plus, they learn more about their ancestors who lived in the Victorian slums themselves. While PBS has had other reality shows similar to this (I remember one about modern day American families settling out West and a British version about with one family living like rich people in the Victorian/Edwardian age and various people living as the servants below stairs), I honestly like this one a lot more. It has more depth, it's more thought-provoking, and honestly just more interesting and well done. Bravo, PBS!

Netflix
Okay, if you haven't seen Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix, or heck, if you haven't even heard of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, then you are seriously missing out on so many stupidly funny story-lines, ridiculous characters, and just hilarious one liners and quips. It was created by the QUEEN Tina Fey, and if you loved/and miss 30 Rock, which I did/do, then you'll LOVE Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Don't miss out on this quirky gem of a show. Because if you aren't watching it, then you have not been blessed with the character that is Titus Andromedon. ♫Peeno nooooooirrrrrr!♫

Music:

Erksine Records Limited/Columbia Records/Sony Music Entertainment
Sign of the Times- Harry Styles

I am way too old to ever be a One Direction fan (though I do admit I like a few of their songs), but I gotta admit, these boys as solo artists are totally killing it right now. Sign of the Times is a total slow rock anthem and I absolutely love Harry Styles' voice mixed with the classic rock guitar riffs. I actually like his song so much I got his new album. DON'T JUDGE ME, it's actually really, really good. Poppy One Direction it is not! 

Atlantic Recording Corporation/Warner Music Group Company
Hard Times- Paramore

Oh, Paramore. You were like, one of the coolest bands back in the emo heydays of the early to mid 2000's. While they were never my favorite band (From First to Last and My Chemical Romance owned my dark, melancholy emo heart), I did like a few of their songs. And how can you not admire Hayley Williams' ever changing bright red/orange/blonde emo/scene hair? She was, without a doubt, THE coolest emo girl. I think the band had been a bit quiet for a while but they're back on the scene (but without the scene hair) with a totally 80's electronic pop track Hard Times and I honestly can't stop listening to it. It's catchy, but the lyrics are so dark and gloomy, that it's such an interesting juxtaposition of a song but it totally works! It makes me want to do the robot and tie my hair up in a scrunchie and use a ton of hair spray- and I haaaate 80's fashion! 

RCA Records/Sony Music Entertainment
Malibu- Miley Cyrus

I have some issues with Miley Cyrus. While I admire her self-expression and the fact that she's unapologetically herself, I feel like she tries waaaay too hard with whatever she gets into (musical styles, fashion, weed obsession- you like to smoke weed. WE GET IT.) and then tends to backtrack on whatever crazy thing she's said or done. But dammit if her new song Malibu isn't catchy and heartfelt. Stripped down and straightforward (unlike her previous fake rap or strange, experimental electronica about her dead pets. Which, I have to admit, some of which was insanely catchy), it's a love song dedicated to rediscovered love and renewing a relationship in Malibu, California, of all places. The simplicity of the music and lyrics just works great together, as does Miley's raspy but powerful voice. If this is Miley's new direction, then she may have found a new fan in me! (Maybe. Let's see how her next new single goes!)

Neon Haze Music Ltd/Capitol Records
Slow Hands- Niall Horan

What is with these One Direction boys, right?? I liked Niall's first single This Town, but Slow Hands just blows This Town out of the water. Slow Hands is a fun, sexy summer jam that's incredibly catchy and I've found myself just bopping my head to the beat at random times during the day. Seriously, who would have thought these British boy-band guys would start releasing all these crazy good tunes???

Odds & Ends:

That Weird Girl Life
Not gonna lie, I love a good bargain. Love 'em. The sales section at any store is the one section I always check out whenever I'm out shopping because you never know what you're going to find there. And when I found these adorable little dessert plates at Michaels and my discount and sugar loving heart was immediately stolen by the cuteness AND the price! How absolutely adorable are these plates?? Perfect for dessert of ANY kind, the mint green color is lovely, the sayings are cute and right on for any dessert lover, and honestly, I just can't get enough of these plates. I'm hoping to use them very, very soon for a special homemade dessert!

That Weird Girl Life
(And, as always, please excuse my crappy photography skills. This is what I get for trying to make them look better by adding a glamour glow filter over them! Will I ever learn? Or learn to take better pictures??)


What did you think of this month's Monthly Favorites? There were so many things I loved! What do you think of the songs I'm currently listening to? They're all so poppy, but I'm not ashamed! Let me know in the comments below! See you next month! 💖

Stay Weird,
Emily