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March 2020 Wrap-Up!

Photo by Ella Jardim on Unsplash
Remember how I said that February wasn’t my best month? Hahahahahahaha, oh March, you really stole the show! I think it’s fair to say that March has been a terrible month for everyone, not just for me. It’s times like these that really make you see who people truly are (that survival mode for some people does not include anyone but yourself! But seriously, do you really need all the toilet paper?) and if they really think their freedom means more than people who are vulnerable (it does not. So stay at home, people! Please! If you can, stay. At. HOME!). But apart from that, March has been an okay, but scary time. It started out pretty good, and then slowly got more and more...intense. All of the things I wanted to do this month (that take place out of the house, that is) have been cancelled or pushed way into the future, so now I’m going to have to make some new plans that just take place at home (don’t worry, I have some tricks up my sleeve for me and for this blog!). But for now, here is what I’ve been up to during this crazy month of March! (Did any of us seriously think 2020 was going to be this batsh*t?? Because I certainly didn’t!)

If you haven’t caught up with what I was up to last month, read my March 2020 post here!

What I’ve Been Doing In March:

Coronavirus/COVID-19 is scary but actually the people buying all the toilet paper from stores are so much more scary! Well, 2020 took a turn! I already wrote a post about how the virus has affected me and my mental health (which you can read here, but it’s also linked down below), and despite everything, I’m not going to let it infiltrate my blog and cast a shadow over it. Real life is scary enough already without it taking over something that brings me so much joy and distraction (and hopefully for the people who read this blog too!). So my blog will still be staying the same and not focusing on this virus. Also, can people stop panic buying and hoarding? I understand that we’re all scared, but do you really need enough Purell to bathe in? (The answer is no, by the way!) Keep calm, help others, and stay home and stay safe, everyone. That’s all we can really do right now!

I’m kind of killing this self-quarantine/isolation thing! As a natural introvert, I think this is what I have been preparing for my entire life. Staying at home? Check. Canceling plans? Check. Not going out? Check. Binge-watching Netflix and YouTube? Check. Reading all the books? Check! I’m not really feeling any cabin fever yet, thanks to living with my family and having access to friends and family through texting, video chatting, and social media, and I have some plans for keeping busy at home with ideas for my blog (so get ready!). But the only thing I really want to go out for is fast food, of all the things. For some reason, I’m just craving it like crazy! It’s probably because I know I can’t go out and I know I shouldn’t eat food made by people who may be carriers, but an Impossible Whopper from Burger King sounds so, so good right now! You always want what you can’t (and know you shouldn’t) have!

I filed my taxes! Yay I'm a good American but I hate losing my money! What’s even more ironic, is that in the U.S. the tax deadline has been moved to a later date, so people can have more time to file during this crisis. Guess who filed before this new rule came into play? This patriotic American! Oh well.

I survived my dentist appointment! This happened March 1st, before all of this hullabaloo went down, but I made it through! If you didn’t know (and how would you?), I’m terrified of the dentist. I don’t have the best teeth, despite trying my best to take good care of them (seriously, I do!), and yet I always need work done on them (I blame genetics!). But I got a clean bill of health when I went, plus I faced my fears! And I only have to wait six more months to do it again. Who says I don’t face my anxiety?? I do it at least twice a year!

I read seven books this month! You’d think that I would have read more books this month, what with trying to stay home, and all, but you know what really was a hindrance to my reading? The fact that my local library closed! For obvious reasons, it shut its doors because of the virus, but that means no new books for me. Sad! But that just makes me realize that this is a good opportunity to work on all of my TBR books that I have piled up in my room. Some of those poor books have spent years on my shelves not being read! So, whenever I need a book to read, I know that I have plenty of choices to pick from. They just may not be as shiny and tempting as a library book may be. Sigh.

I tried a shampoo bar for the first time! Shout out to Julie for helping inspire me to be more eco-conscious and sustainable. If you don’t know who Julie is, she runs the blog Dark Blue Journal and she is an expert on sustainability and has really opened my eyes to trying to be more eco-conscious. So when my shampoo was running low, I started doing some research on some shampoo and no plastic alternatives and discovered the world of shampoo bars! Less plastic, hurray!! After doing a lot of research on what should and shouldn’t go into shampoos (thanks again to Julie for teaching me about sulfates!) and then seriously gasping at the prices of shampoo bars (I know they have natural ingredients and are supposed to last longer than bottles of shampoo but still! My jaw has dropped multiple times while I was online looking at different ones that I thought my mouth would never be able to close again!). But I found a shampoo bar at a somewhat decent price (compared to the others!) from Love, Beauty, and Planet (which they sell at my local Target, so score!) and it’s the Murumuru butter and rose shampoo bar. I actually really love it! I’m not the biggest fan of rose scent, but this is so mild and it makes my hair feel so soft. I don’t even need a conditioner with it! I’m letting my hair get used to the new shampoo bar, so I’m washing my hair every other day and it doesn’t even feel greasy on the second day like it did with my old shampoo! The only issue I have is that I tend to get an itchy flaky scalp at times (I know, TMI, but it’s my blog, I can write about my dandruff if I want to!), so I may need a shampoo bar that helps with that someday. So if anyone has any ideas of shampoo bars that treat dandruff and that don’t cost an arm and a leg, please let me know!

Photo by That Weird Girl Life
Photo by That Weird Girl Life
Margot the kitten is so sweet but also growing like a weed! You seriously didn’t think I wouldn’t give you an update on my kitten in this blog post? You fools! Even though I brush her every night (it’s our little nightly routine), she still looks like a ruffled werecat. Plus, she had her first vet visit (with me. She’s already been treated before with her foster mom, don’t worry!) and she was so brave and got two shots and was microchipped! If you haven’t noticed, one of her eyes is pretty cloudy, and they think it’s permanently scarred, but I don’t mind, because I think she’s just beautiful and perfect as is (and if you don’t agree with me...well, then too bad!) She’ll have to go back in three weeks for an extra booster shot, since she still is pretty wheezy from the upper respiratory infection her foster mom treated her for when she first got her. The vet also thinks she may have some scarring in her lungs from that too, but other than that she’s in perfect health! And the most exciting news: she’s almost six pounds! My big girl! Honestly, Margot has been so wonderful to have in this crazy time. She’s equal parts sweet, entertaining, silly, and cuddly and I’m so grateful to have her. Except that the vet wants me to get a stool sample from her, so here I am trying to see when she uses the litter box (we have several) but also trying to distinguish her poop from the other cats. Margot must be so weirded out that I’m following her to the litter box with a stool sample vial in one hand. And then that I'm disappointed when she comes out and she’s only peed. My life is very strange right now.

Margot the kitten, being so brave at the vet! Photo by That Weird Girl Life
In this crazy time, I’m reminded of the kind people there are out there! The other night, a dad and his daughter came knocking on our door. They were asking about an older lady that they had sold Girl Scout cookies to one year, and that the lady was so sweet, that they wanted to come by and offer some toilet paper and other items if she needed it. Obviously, that lady was my mom and I just thought the gesture was the sweetest thing ever. My mom bought cookies from the girl last year, and yet they remembered her and wanted to offer her help in any way that they could. (And obviously remembered our house because we have rocks painted like cats in our front yard. Because of course we do) And during this hectic time, that meant toilet paper and other household items. We don’t know exactly where in the neighborhood they live, but I hope that we can run into them soon and thank them again for their generosity and maybe offer them something if they need it. The world needs more random acts of kindness and I needed that reminder to reach out to others and spread that good with others. I hope I can follow their lead and offer to help someone else, just because!

Blog Posts I Wrote This Month:

The Real Neat Blogger Award
9 Ways to Get Back Into Reading and Find the Time to Read!
A Very Special Post On The Virus and This Blog
And this post you’re reading now!

I hope April is slightly less scary than March was, but you never really know. So I’m planning on keeping busy with my blog and trying to stay distracted and help others when I can. Sometimes if you don’t focus on yourself and your fear so much and on others instead, it can really do wonders, and I hope that will help me in these coming months. And I hope I can throw some fun into this whole self-quarantine/isolation situation and really think of some fun ideas for my blog! I mean, I certainly have the time, now don’t I? Maybe I’ll finally write five blog posts in April! Okay, let’s not go too crazy!

See you next month for my next wrap-up, everyone!

Stay Weird (and safe),
Emily


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A Very Special Post On The Virus and My Blog

Photo by pixpoetry on Unsplash
Hi everyone! I know I didn’t post last week (in case you didn’t know, I try to post a blog post every week but utterly failed at it last week. My bad! I explain why I skipped it though, so please read on!), though I truly did mean to. Last week was a really scary week for me, and I’m sure for a lot of other people too, because of this virus that has spread across the world. While I won’t go into too much about the virus itself (I think it already has enough time in the spotlight, let’s be honest, and I’m not one to give advice, and I’m sure we’ll doing all we’re supposed to, like washing our hands and staying away from others), I just wanted to talk about where I was at with everything and how it will affect my blog going forward.

As news of the coronavirus/COVID-19 spread, I wasn’t worried too much (I'm embarrassed to say). It seemed to be so far away from me, the people I love, and where I live. But then that all changed a few weeks ago, and the sh*t really hit the fan last week. The US government got involved, introducing us all to social distancing, self-quarantine/isolation, cities, states, and countries now ordered to shelter in place or be on lockdown, and all of the fast changing facts that keep getting thrown at us on the news and social media. And it suddenly struck me. The reality of this virus hit me really, really hard. In a very personal way.

Why the Virus and Its Impact Is A Very Personal (And Scary, Obviously) Issue to Me

In case you didn’t know (which makes sense because I’ve never mentioned it on this blog because it was such a hard time for my family and not something I like to think about too much), I almost lost my dad two years ago. He was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, serious scarring of the lungs. His options were to go on oxygen and that he might need a lung transplant in the future. Only a few months later, after being on oxygen, his lungs started to fail. Before I knew it, he was on life support and on the list for a new pair of lungs. But we weren’t sure if he was going to make it or he would get a transplant in time; he was declining that fast. It was probably the scariest thing I (and the rest of my family) have ever gone through; to think that I could lose my father and not be able to say goodbye was unthinkable and devastating. Thankfully, his dire situation put him at the top of the transplant list and he was able to get a new pair of lungs, and after a long road to recovery, his life back.

Now, my dad is a prime candidate for someone who could be seriously affected (and you know what I mean by "affected") by this virus. He’s over 65, and with his new lungs, he’s on immunosuppressants to keep his body from rejecting his lungs. Not only is he not going out if he doesn’t have to (doctors appointments only! As a transplant patient, he kind of has to stay on top of that sort of thing), but he’s taking extra precautions to stay safe (he wears a mask every time he goes out). After almost losing my dad a few years ago, to say I am worried about this virus is possibly the understatement of the century.

My Hell Week (Not a College Hazing Thing, But In A Way It Sure Felt Like It)

All of this anxiety really came to a head last week. Not only was there a mix up with my doctor’s office and my insurance about my anxiety medication (it was literally a real life nightmare so I won’t get into it!), so I was essentially off of my anxiety medication entirely (not fun. You never really realize how much you need a medication until you are completely off of it!). Mix that with trying to get toilet paper aka waiting in line outside of the grocery store from 4am to 6am, only to learn by a stressed employee (I didn't blame them at all, poor thing) five minutes before the store opened at 6am that there wasn’t a delivery of toilet paper the night before (though we did call to confirm that there would be!). And then throw in all of the bombardment on the news of updates on the virus in other countries and now in my country, ever evolving facts, and stories from around the world, the lack of sleep caused by all of this worry, and I was a hot anxious mess. Lacking any anxiety medication, all I could do was lay in bed, heart pounding with panic, palms sweaty, shaking, and watch YouTube, trying to distract myself from my obsessive thinking about how every time I leave my house, I could be exposing my father to the virus when I got back home. It was hell and I couldn’t stop thinking that way. I couldn’t blog (I couldn’t even think straight to write!), skipped social media altogether, stayed away from the news, even stayed away from my dad (just in case I had somehow been exposed), and just tried to survive until I could get my anxiety medication back and so I could think straight again.

Having anxiety, OCD, depression, or other mental health problems during a crisis like this is just awful. Everything is magnified and when you have to stay at home, you tend to be alone with your thoughts and can’t help but focus on the worst or the possible worst case scenarios. That’s where I was and it was terrifying. I kept thinking that I almost lost my dad once, and I cannot lose him again. He was saved by a literal medical miracle procedure aka an organ transplant and now I could lose him to this jerk of a virus? It wasn’t fair and I couldn’t stop thinking that these could be my last days with my dad. I wanted to spend time with him, but my OCD was telling me that if I did spend time with him, I may unintentionally be a carrier and infect him.

How This All Made Me Start Thinking About What I Want My Blog To Be Like During These Crazy Times

Thankfully, I’m back on my anxiety medication (wuhoo! Suck it, chemical imbalance!) and my worries have been slightly lessened. I’m still scared for my dad being exposed and I’m only going out if I have to. But after last week’s anxiety hell week, it really made me think about how this virus will affect my blog. I obviously talk about my life through this blog, but I really do try to write about fun and silly things, with some serious subjects, like my mental health stories, thrown in (you know, just for some color!). But after my horrid week, I realized that we are all so surrounded by news of this virus 24/7, that I don’t want to talk about it on my blog, unless I really want to or have to. I want my blog to be a source of light and fun during this crazy and scary time. I’m not not acknowledging the horribleness that comes with this virus, but I’m also not going to let it rule and overshadow something I enjoy doing. I think we all need that distraction, since we’re all dealing with the virus and it’s horrible consequences in real life, every single hour of every single day.

So when you read my blog, please don’t think I’m ignoring what’s happening in the world if I write about something silly or happy and don’t discuss the virus and what’s going on at the current moment. I am very much aware of everything and my heart is with every single person who is affected by this awfulness. We’re all scared and so am I. But I want my blog to be a little haven of happiness and weirdness in this time of chaos and anxiety. I think we could all use a bit of distraction during these troubling times, and I am more than happy to be able to provide that for anyone who could use a break from the harsh real world we are all living in.

Let’s Focus on the Good in the World

And despite all of the scariness that is happening at the moment, I am trying to focus on the good. I am thankful for the people who are taking this seriously and are staying at home to stop the spread of infection (I thank you so much for doing this, because you are protecting vulnerable people like my dad!), the people who are offering their help and their household supplies (toilet paper, food, hand sanitizer) to friends, family, and those in need, and everyone who is reaching out via e-mail, text, video chat, and social media. Basically, I’m super thankful for the internet for bringing us all together, while this virus is forcing us to stay apart. This pandemic may not be ending for a while, but I am so grateful for the generous people who are making life a little kinder, just by either checking on people via text or direct message or dropping things off at a neighbor's door. It’s the little things that matter right now and can make the most difference right now. So be there for people and help out when you can! (But still social distance, of course)

So I hope you understand why my blog isn’t going to switch focus and become something very serious and dark. If nothing else, my blog staying the same and not changing in a way is for me, to continue with some semblance of normalcy (or in my case, weirdness) and to hopefully be a distraction that we could all use during this scary and uncertain time. If you’re game for going along on this ride with me, I’d be so honored and grateful. I’ll try to make my blog as weird, fun, and distracting of a place to be while we’re all going through this horrible time. If I can help distract you with just one blog post, then I’ll know this little hobby won’t be in vain. If you have some fun blog post ideas for me to do, please leave them in the comments below! I have a few things brewing (that may or may not be a Harry Potter reference), but I’d love some suggestions!

And I just wanted to end with this picture that’s been circling around the internet right now. I’m also so grateful for the people who are not staying at home, because they have very important jobs to do. Thank you to everyone who has to work out in the open and are putting their lives at risk to keep our society healthy and functioning. We owe you so much! (Though they forgot to mention pharmacy workers, who are also the real MVPs right now!)

Also, I know this time is very hard on people with mental health issues (as you could obviously see from my own experience!), so please if you can, try to talk to a therapist, friend, or someone you trust if you need to talk or vent. Lots of doctors are now offering virtual appointments (like through Skype), so if you're suffering and scared, please try to make an appointment and talk through your fears with someone. And my e-mail is always open, so feel free to shoot me a message if you need to talk. Just remember, even though the world is a scary place right now, you're not alone. I promise. 💖 (Also, my friend Tanya over on That Phat Girl Blog has some excellent tips for keeping calm in stressful situations, like the one we're currently in now. I found it so helpful and I think you might too. Read it here)

Stay Weird,
Emily

9 Ways to Get Back Into Reading And Find The Time to Read!

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash
Hi, I’m Emily, and I’m a bookworm. And no, this isn’t a Bookworms Anonymous meeting. I am quite proud, and not at all ashamed of being a ferocious reader of books (and probably don’t need help with it. Except when I’m trying to write a blog post like this and keep on reading instead of working on my blog. Then it’s a problem!). If given the chance, I could read all day! (Granted my eyes don’t get sore. I probably need a new glasses prescription, actually, thanks to all of this reading. And possibly Lasik.) I was recently asked how I read so much and how I find the time. Well, long story short, I have no life (which is a joke. Sort of). But short story long, I just love reading and I make the time to do it! If given the chance to binge-watch a reality show on Netflix (I still have not watched any of those new reality shows on Netflix that everyone is talking about yet, sorry guys) or reading, I’ll choose reading in a heartbeat! (Along with choosing between going to a party or reading. I’ll force myself to go to the party, but would prefer to be cuddled up with a book and a cat by my side, in all honesty!)

So if you’re someone who would like to read more, but are having trouble finding the time, or if you’re even trying to get back into reading after a slump (reading slumps are the worst!), I have a few tips that I think might help you get back into reading and being that bookworm you always knew you were deep down!

#1. Carve Out A Specific Time to Read
It doesn’t matter when, just as long as it’s a good time for you. Reading should be an enjoyable escape, so pick a time when you’re relaxed and ready to jump into a story. Whether that’s before bed (to help you relax), or on the weekends during a certain chunk of time (also to help you unwind. Reading is excellent for stress relief!), find a time that works for you. And stick to it!

#2. Ignore Netflix or Whatever Streaming Service is Distracting You
I know, I know. It’s the perfect way to relax. You literally don’t have to do anything but stare at the screen and if you’re watching a TV show, it automatically sends you to the next episode! But after a while, sometimes you’re just watching Netflix because you’re bored or don’t have anything else to do. Reading takes more concentration, but that’s okay. Your mind needs that stimulation, rather than the mind-numbing TV you’re not paying attention to, so turn off the TV, tablet, laptop, or whatever device you may be watching on, and get to reading!

#3: Put Down That Phone- Or Use It to Read!
We all get so distracted by our phones these days. Even I do when I’m reading! I’ll look up a word or a style of historical outfit to see it in my mind when I’m reading, but then I get distracted by a notification or “IjustwanttocheckInstagramforlikeasecond!” But how about putting that phone to another use? If you don’t have an iPad, tablet, or an e-reader, you can actually still read on your phone! Download Kindle or another e-reading app, and the possibilities are endless! Some reading apps like Kindle or Apple Books even offer free books to read too, so look out for those. (Just remember to turn off those notifications from your apps so you can really get lost in your book!)

#4: Look Into Audiobooks As a Fun Reading Alternative!
Audiobooks are more popular than ever! With authors and celebrities reading new fiction and old classics, you’ll be able to find a book you want to listen to, no matter what! And audiobooks are not only perfect for people who are visually impaired, but are great for when you’re on the go! Whether you’re on your work commute, traveling, or just busy cleaning the house, you’ll still be listening (aka reading) to a book!

#5: Try Giving Yourself a Reading Goal!
Want to make sure you’re holding yourself accountable when it comes to reading? Try setting up a reading goal for the year! It can be as easy as one book a month, or as crazy as 100 books a year! (Which really isn’t that crazy when you know so many bookworms!) Reading isn’t a competition (you can read as slow or speed read as fast as you like), but a reading goal is a great way to keep track of what books you read, when you read them, and to see how many books you read in one given time. Try signing up for Goodreads if you haven’t already. It’s a great social media platform/app that has a reading challenge you can sign up for every year. Plus, you can read reviews of books and also write your own to share! You can also add books to your own lists, like books you've read, books you're reading, and books you want to read! It’s a great community for connecting other readers together! (Also, you can follow me on Goodreads if you want to as well!)

#6: Ask For Book Recommendations! 
Having trouble finding a good book (or any book) to read? Ask a friend or family member! Or ask a librarian, or search for the bestsellers on Amazon or Goodreads. Read reviews and find your genre! (Or genres! Lord knows I’m always flipping back and forth between fiction and non-fiction, historical fiction and contemporary fiction, or horror and celebrity autobiographies!) Sometimes all it takes is one recommendation from a friend or one really good review to help you find the book (or series of books) of your dreams, so go out there and ask! (Plus, it really tells you a lot about a person when they tell you about the books that they read!)

#7: Check Out Free Reading Resources- Like Your Local Library!
In case you didn’t know, I love libraries! I think they are just great, free resources for everyone and obviously, perfect for bookworms! You get to read as many books as you want for free (minding that you have a library card) and then return them and go get more! Plus, libraries are now up to speed on technology and lots now offer free reading apps, so you can check out and read all the books your little heart desires on your phone or e-reader. All for free. Give it a shot, save some money, and get reading!

#8: It’s Okay Not To Finish a Book (Seriously, It Is!)
"DNF" in the reading world means “did not finish.” You see that sometimes on book reviews. Not every book is going to be to your liking. And that’s okay! Which means it’s totally alright not to finish a book. There isn’t any shame in that. If you’re not enjoying the story, the characters, or the writing, it’s okay to put the book down and move on to something else. Even if the book is super popular and everyone loves it, maybe it’s just not for you. It’s not a crime not to finish a book, but it is a waste of time to continue with a book you’re not enjoying reading. Don’t take it as a failure, just find a new book to try! Trust me, there are other books you will love out there just waiting for you!

#9: Don’t Think Of Reading As a Chore- Because It's the Exact Opposite
Reading should never feel mandatory or like you're being forced to do it. This isn't like having to read books and write reports about them in school! Reading is an escape, a way to time travel, and a vacation all in one. It's fun. It’s therapeutic because it’s you time. Reading has been known to help with stress relief (as mentioned above), help with sleeping (the act of reading before bed can be really relaxing and help with sleeping troubles. But then, if you're really into a book, it could keep you up at night because you have to do know who the murderer is!!), helps with your memory, helps you with focus and concentration, helps you continue learning (and with your vocabulary, of course!), and has even been known to help increase empathy in people! Basically, reading is the best and not only provides one incredible hobby, but it also makes you a better person. What other form of entertainment can give you that??

Ta-da! Those were my nine tips and tricks for finding more time to read and getting back into reading! I’ve used all of these tips when I’ve been in a reading slump and they've helped me so much! Though I’m currently not in a reading slump right now. My TBR (to be read) pile is overflowing and so are my library book requests and I can hardly keep up! (What a problem to have, right??) Let me know what ideas you use for finding more time to read or for getting back into reading after a slump! I’d love to know some of your ideas!

Stay Weird,
Emily


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The Real Neat Blogger Award

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash
If you didn’t know, I have been nominated for a few blogger awards in my time (just a little humble brag, no big deal), and now I’ve been nominated for the Real Neat Blogger Award- three times by three different fantastic bloggers! At first, I thought I would just do the first one I was nominated for, but not the others. Then I thought, "everyone was so nice and generous to think of me and my little ol’ blog when they were nominating people, so why not just join all three nominations into one giant blogger award tag??" So prepare yourselves, because I am going to be answering 21 questions from three wonderful bloggers who nominated me (7 questions from each!). Am I super excited and ready to do this? Heck yes! Are you ready for this? Well, you’re going to have to be. Here we go!

Thank you so much to Julie at Dark Blue Journal, Amy from ABC Family, and Jordanne over at Of A Glasgow Girl for nominating me! You three are amazing and I’m so honored and humbled that you thought of me when picking out people to nominate for this blogger award! And if you haven’t checked these lovely bloggers and their blogs out yet, please do because I promise you’ll love them! Don’t forget to subscribe to them, too. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!

If you haven’t read my previous blog post where I did where I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award, you can read it here!


The Rules:
  • Display the award logo.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog.
  • Answer the questions from the blog who nominated you.
  • Nominate seven to ten bloggers.
  • Ask them seven questions.
Julie’s Questions:

1. What does freedom mean to you?
Freedom for me means having the choice to live my life the way I want to, and have others live their lives in their own way, too. Of course, this gets tricky here in America, where everyone has their own idea of “freedom” (‘Merica!!!), but I am personally okay with living a life that does not hurt yourself or others.

2. How do you handle mistakes?
Honestly, not well! I tend to take them to heart and quite personally, too. It’s something I need to work on because mistakes don’t define us but we can learn from them. (Now I just have to drill that into my brain for the next time I make a mistake so I won’t get so upset over it!)

3. What’s your favorite food or drink to make/bake/cook?
I don’t really really cook, but I love to bake! Especially if it’s a very easy recipe (aka from a mix!). My favorite thing to make is chocolate chip cookies, because they’re pretty easy to make, plus they just taste delicious if they’re fresh and (somewhat) homemade!

4. What is your typical attire?
Shirt, jeans, flats. I have a very simple style: comfortable and cute! And hopefully a little quirky, just to be fun.

5. How do you behave in a situation in which being real and being kind are on different sides? Looking for some tips!
Ooh, this is a tough one! And one I’m currently working on. I tend to choose being kind over being real, because that’s how I am naturally, and I never want to upset anyone. But I know you can say what you want but still not be rude or mean. I just have not succeeded in doing that yet! But I’m working on it! One day...

6. What bothers you most about the world?
The unfairness of it really gets to me sometimes. The fact that some people have so much, and others so little. That some people are suffering and others are not. I’m not here to dole out what is fair or not, but I just wish more people who are doing well could take some of their “luck” or good circumstances to help those who may not have had that opportunity in life. If we could just balance out that “unfairness,” I think the world would be a much better place.

7. What do you love most about the world?
The random acts of kindness that happen everyday. The thoughtfulness that can happen unexpectedly to brighten someone’s day. I think we’re all too wrapped up in our own little worlds, so when someone is kind or generous, it can really make someone’s day turn from awful to wonderful. We all need to think less about ourselves and spread a little more kindness towards others in life and vice versa!

ABC Family’s Questions:

1. It’s a classic, but it has to be asked… Who are your 5 dream dinner party guests?
Okay, this is a big question and I really need to consider all of my options, living and dead. Okay, I think I have it: #1: Abraham Lincoln, everyone’s favorite American president. #2: John Lennon, because obviously. #3: Julie Andrews, because she is just perfection personified. #4: Domhnall Gleeson, because I have a big crush on him and this could be our moment, and #5: Conan O’Brien, because I love that guy and I’m Team Coco all the way (plus, I’d love to see him chat with Lincoln, John Lennon, Julie Andrews, and Domhnall Gleeson!).

2. If you could go back and live in any decade, what one would it be?
Ooh, this is a good question! I absolutely adore the 1920’s. I love the fashion, the lifestyle, the music, the fads. It just seems like such a fun time to be alive that I’d love to experience that jazzy time (before you know, the Great Depression). But there are so many other time periods I’d love to visit! Can time travel be a thing already???

3. If somebody gave you £100 right now to treat yourself with, what would you buy?
Honestly, I might put it towards whitening my teeth! I know that’s such a random thing to say, but I’ve never liked my smile, and I’d just love to get my teeth whitened and smile showing my teeth for once and not be embarrassed about it. But I’d totally go for a natural white shade, not, you know, blinding coming-down-from-heaven-white, don’t worry.

4. Where would you love to wake up on your next birthday?
London! End of question, story, period. That’s where I want to wake up on my next birthday. Let’s make that happen!

5. What piece of advice would you give to your 10 year old self?
This is a tough one! I think I would tell her: “Stand up for yourself and be honest. Things might get hard, but believe in yourself. It’s all going to be okay.” But would my 10 year old self listen to now me? Probably not.

6. What makes you panic if you leave the house without it?
Unfortunately, my phone! Not because I’m panicking that I’m away from social media, but I’m always just worried that something is going to happen, car breaking down, getting in an accident, etc.  and I always just like to know I have my phone with me, just in case of emergencies. I’m a worry wart!

7. If you could design and build your own home, what 3 things would it NEED to have?
1) A secret passageway, possibly with the door being a bookcase that swings open (obviously).
2) A library to sit and read in with the perfect reading nook (of course).
3) The coziest, homiest bedroom with the softest, comfiest bed that I can sleep and read in, and feel safe and secure in my own little haven (goes without saying).

Jordanne’s Questions:

1. Why did you start blogging?
I actually first started blogging to talk about mental health anonymously. I never did, but then I changed my idea to a bucket list blog. Then I switched my focus again to travel. And now here I am, just talking about my life, mental health (hey, I’m actually blogging about it!), and whatever else pops in my mind! Isn’t life weird that way?

2. What's your favourite social media platform?
I think I like Instagram more than any other. Sometimes it’s just nice to see a snapshot of someone’s day with a nice caption underneath. Also, it’s not as chaotic as Twitter, where someone is always saying something and everything is going a mile a minute. Instagram is Twitter’s more chill, relaxed, visual social media app.

3. If you could go anywhere in the world RIGHT NOW, where would you go and why?
London. Always London. If I ever say any other place than London (besides like Hawaii or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter) something is not right and please call for help. Thanks.

4. What's your favourite memory from school?
I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day at school! We would all make our own mailboxes out of tissue boxes, decorate them in red, pink, and white construction paper, and then finally get to deliver our Valentines to everyone. The best part of the day was finally opening up our mailboxes and seeing what kind of Valentines (and candies!) we got from who!

5. Which of your blog posts to date is your favourite?
This is a tough one! There are a lot of blog posts that are really personal and special to me. I think the one I’m really proud of is “A Letter to My Younger Self About Mental Health.” I wrote it right after an EMDR therapy session and it just felt like I needed to get all of these things I had processed off of my chest. It was so therapeutic to write and really meaningful to share it and have other people read it and possibly relate to it as well.

6. If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
A cat. Because I basically am one already. I’m pretty independent, but I can be needy. I like attention and affection, but only when I want it, and I love to nap at any time of day.

7. What is a random fact about yourself?
I can crack most of my joints (aka my back, neck, toes, fingers, etc.)- a lot. Most people hate it when I do it, especially my family. They get so grossed out by it! But it just feels so good and sometimes my joints crack on my own, so it’s not like I can help it! I should probably be a foley artist for horror movies, making the sounds for when ghosts crawl up and they start making those loud cracking noises as they inch over all creepy-like. I’d be good at that! New career, maybe??

I Nominate:

Meagan from Quibbles & Scribbles
Camila from Plaid and Sugar
Ash from This Dreams Alive
Cassie from Zombie Goddess Beauty
Deandra from The Black Princess Diaries
Amy from Sassy Cat Lady
Renata Leo from Buffalo Sauce Everywhere

(And like always to those I nominate, if blogging awards aren’t your thing or if you’ve done this one already, I apologize- I try to do my research, I swear! Just know that I nominated you all because I think you’re fabulous and wanted to share your blogs with the world!)

My Questions:

1. If you could live anywhere in the world (besides the place you’re currently living), where would you live?
2. What’s a guilty pleasure movie/show/book/food/activity you like to indulge in?
3. What’s a cause that you are passionate about?
4. What’s something about blogging that annoys you?
5. If your life had a theme song, what song would it be?
6. Do you believe in ghosts, and if so, have you ever seen one?
7. What does your perfect day off look like?


And that was my Real Neat Blogger Award- times three! I’m always so honored when I get nominated for one of these awards/tags! I hope you all were able to bear with my answers to 21 different and interesting questions! What do you think of these blogger awards? Are you a fan or no? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject!

Stay Weird,
Emily

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February 2020 Wrap-Up!

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash
Oh, February. You mixed bag, you! While I usually love February (it’s my birthday month, also I love Valentine’s Day), sometimes it can be a weird sort of month. There’s a lot of expectations because it’s still the beginning of the year, plus my birthday is mixed in there, so I always feel some sort of pressure to do something exciting or interesting for it, even if I can’t think of anything or I’d rather just have a quiet evening of food and reading for my birthday celebrations (which sounds delightful to me!). But thankfully, most of my February has been good, just with a few annoyances of life thrown in (because “why not?” says life, rubbing it’s hand gleefully and cackling). Here’s my wrap up of my February of 2020!

If you haven’t caught up with what I was up to last month, read my January 2020 post here!

What I’ve Been Doing In February

The Not So Good:

February hasn’t been the best for my mental health, but it’s getting better. Hopefully! I’d noticed in the past few months that I’d started to grow really irritable, emotional, and a bit more obsessive lately (hurray for OCD!). At first I thought it was my new birth control implant (I looked it up and saw that “emotional lability” is a side effect) but I’ve never had any bad side effects from birth control before. Plus, this was a freaking implant in my arm, so I didn’t really want to get it removed right away. Thankfully, I was able to talk to my psychiatrist and I’m now going to switch antidepressants and see if that helps. I’m crossing my fingers that it does! (You know, once my insurance approves my new medication. Ugh.) All of these negative emotions have got to go! I’ve got things to do and this chemical imbalance in my brain is not helping right now!

My new year’s resolution was a fail as far as “The-Store-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named”. But I tried! So remember in my New Year’s Resolution post how I said how I was going to take “no more bullsh*t” or "take no sh*t?" Well, just to preface what I’m about to say, I did try! So, I tried to get into contact with that store That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, aka Voldemart, again. They very politely in person said that they were trying to sue the dentist office because Voldemart (not their customers) lost a lot of money from the dentist office, but were Voldemart going to help me or compensate me? (Not that I was asking them to give me money) Nope! Because the dentist office was a vendor and my contract was with them, not Voldemart. They even said “have a nice day!” afterwards. The nerve!

I even tried calling the corporate office again, and they just said, “sorry, there’s nothing we can do!” It was so frustrating and there were a lot of tears on my part. Again, the amount isn’t very much, so there’s no point in hiring a lawyer, but I was really hoping for some help, considering the fact that I had been a loyal customer and have always spoken highly of them (despite their reputation. Ahem). And I just thought they would hold themselves accountable for customers having lost money in part because of their decision to accept that vendor/business into their stores and then have them take advantage of their customers. So my sister has agreed to help me write a very strongly worded letter, explaining what happened and that they were losing a loyal customer. I hate that I have to accept this loss, but if they won’t do anything for me, they no longer will get my business. No more bullsh*t!

I wanted to post five times this month on my blog but I failed. Since I was in California visiting for a week for my birthday (which was lovely, of course!) and didn’t get time to post, despite bringing my computer. Boo. I was just too busy with my family and my four year old niece by the time I could use my computer, I was too exhausted! So I only posted four times this month, but there’s always March, right? (I’m trying to stay more positive about this!)

And The Good:

I’m still working on fixing up my blog and making more Pinterest graphics! From deciding whether or not to go with graphics for blog post headers or just plain photos for headers (I’m thinking just plain photos for headers, just to make my blog look more streamlined and nice. And yes, they will be stock photos, because I cannot take a good picture to save my life and I will have to work on that!), to working on fixing my blog format, getting rid of all those ads I thought would make me money (they haven’t, so I’m taking most of them down), to making more Pinterest graphics (I hate making pin graphics! I’m so bad at it!), I’ve been trying to work on my blog’s looks and user experience more! So if my blog keeps changing appearances, you know why now! I still want to get an official blog header, but I can’t think of a design that I want. If you have any ideas, let me know in the comments!

I read 10 books this month and my reading theme was TBR! With a mix of library books, of course. Okay, so it was more library books than TBR. But I rediscovered my library’s e-book app, and I got sucked in with borrowing books and read lots of those instead of the ones that I already had. But at least I’m still working on my Goodreads reading challenge! I may not have hit twelve books this month like I did last month (I'm on my 11th though!), but I’m still ahead of schedule! Wuhoo!

I went to Disneyland for my birthday! It had been over 10 years since I had been to the happiest place on earth and my parents were so sweet to treat me and my sister, who also has a birthday in February, to go with my other sister, my brother-in-law, and my niece! Thankfully my sister and bro-in-law live relatively close to Disneyland (you know, in Los Angeles miles), so we could just stay at their place and then go for the day. It was so much fun (despite Haunted Mansion being closed. Boo! I want a rain check ride!) and it was so magical, too! I bought a whole bunch of treats to take home so we could have a little taste test the day after, and I even got to ride the new Star Wars ride, Rise of the Resistance (don’t hate me, but it was a bit overrated. Though it was nice to see a projected image of my future husband, Domhnall Gleeson). It makes me wish I lived in LA and could be an annual passholder! But I wonder if going so often would take the magic out of it. (But honestly, I think I’d rather be an annual passholder for Universal Studios in Florida so I could visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter anytime that I wanted to. You know- if I lived in Florida. I still love Disneyland though!)

The happiest (and one of the most crowded) place on Earth! Photo by That Weird Girl Life
Sorry not sorry, but I love the aliens from Toy Story. So I took a lot of pictures in front of Pizza Planet! Photo by That Weird Girl Life
I'm going to start drinking less soda! I've been really terrible lately and have been drinking a lot of soda. I blame is on my week in California and "treating" myself for my birthday. I was bad, you guys. Lots of Dr. Pepper, and one of those weird, round Star Wars Sprite bottles from Disneyland (I mean, I kind of had to!). I've cut out soda before (and even wrote a blog post about it!), but I'm hoping now to cut back to one soda a week, until I only have a soda on a special occasion. Oh, Dr. Pepper. I will wait for you!

I got my new kitten! Oh my gosh, you guys. It finally happened! If you haven’t been around my blog long, you may not know that last year I had to put my cat D.W. down. It was such a hard decision because she was only a year old, but at the same time, she was really, really sick. It took me quite a while to get over her passing. But last month, I finally decided that it was time and that I was ready for a new kitten. Thankfully, my sister’s friend’s sister fosters kittens and I got to visit two very adorable kittens and pick one! It took me a couple of visits and lots of discussions with lots of people to figure out which kitten I should pick (if I had had my way, I would have picked both!), but I finally decided on a long haired, calico tortoiseshell named Lucy, who I then renamed Margot. Just in case you’re wondering why I named my kitten Margot (because apparently a lot of people in my family are asking me why), I named her that because I’ve always loved the name since I was a kid, plus I like the fact that it makes a very mischievous and playful kitten sound sophisticated and French! Also, that silent “t” at the end is fun. But Margot is seriously the sweetest kitten! The moment you pet her she starts purring! I’m so lucky to have her and I can’t even imagine my life without her already!

Introducing Margot the cat! Photo by That Weird Girl Life

Blog Posts I Wrote This Month:

Taste Testing Irish Snacks for the First Time!
Why A Cynical Person Like Me Loves Valentine’s Day!
12 of My Favorite Toys from the 90’s/2000’s!
And this one you’re currently reading!

Next month, I’d love to start posting five times a month (including my monthly wrap-up posts! You know, if I can manage!). I’m crossing my fingers that I can do this and keep making those silly pins and work more on my blog. It’s a never-ending struggle, you guys!

And that was my February! I’m hoping in March I can be even more productive and hopefully some fun adventures will come my way! (Or I’ll have to plan a few of them myself!). What have you been up to in February? Was it a good, bad, or a mixed bag month for you like it was for me? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird,
Emily


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

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

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

Barbies

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

Pound Puppies & Pound Purries

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

Tamagotchi & Nano Pets

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

Sky Dancers

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

Skip-It

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

Polly Pocket

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

Littlest Pet Shop

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

Quints

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

Beanie Babies


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

Pocahontas EVERYTHING

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

Pokemon Cards

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

Sand Art

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

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

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

Stay Weird,
Emily


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Valentine’s, everyone!

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

Stay Weird,
Emily

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