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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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Taste Testing Irish Snacks For the Very First Time!


You all know I love a good taste test. Especially an international one. And what better way to start out a new month than with a new international taste test? And how about one from none other than the Emerald Isle aka Ireland, home of B*Witched, Guinness, and Saorsie Ronan? And the homeland of Conan O’Brien, who I personally love and think is the best late night host ever (don’t at me, because I will win. Team Coco forever!).

Now, I’ve already done a SnackCrate taste test before of British snacks and candy, but that was a one off box from their store. SnackCrate (totally not an ad!) offers you a one time trial size box for a $1 (which I paid for myself, thank you very much!), in hopes that you will buy a full subscription to their snacks. And if I had the money, I totally would! (Want to sponsor me, SnackCrate??) Because I was so impressed by their packaging and selection! Plus, it even comes with a card describing the country of the box, plus fun facts about said country, and it includes descriptions of the items! (Probably very helpful if the country’s native language is not English, which is probably 98% of all other countries in the world. We English speaking people really take everything for granted.)


I honestly had so much fun taste testing this box, plus they included more snacks than the original five they said they would (thanks, SnackCrate!), and the box came with fun Irish themed stickers (which I’m totally giving to my niece for St. Patrick’s Day), plus the contents of the box were wrapped with the cutest Irish themed paper, sealed with a circular Irish flag sticker. I’m a sucker for good packaging and SnackCrate nailed it. Plus, SnackCrate sent me TWO brands of cheddar and onion crisps, so I think we may have a crisp taste test battle on our hands!



Let’s get tasting!

Taytos Cheddar and Onion Crisps


What Is It/What’s In It? Crunchy Irish potato chips (or crisps, if you want to be totally Irish) flavored with vintage Irish cheddar and onion.
How Does It Taste? Delicious! I’ve had cheese and onion chips/crisps in my British snack taste test (again, by SnackCrate. Wanna collab, guys?), but I’ve had previously heard of Tayto, a very Irish crisp brand from Conan O’Brien, on his show. He visited an Irish American Cultural Center in Chicago and was teasing the people who ran it on how many packs of Taytos they had stocked there. So for a while, my sister and I would just randomly say, “Taytooooo!” to each other in a fake Irish accent, mimicking Conan. (I really love Conan, you guys)
Would I Eat It Again? Yes, please, thank you. I personally like rippled chips better, but the taste and cut of these chips were perfectly crunchy and lovely, so 10/10 would eat again. Why don’t they sell these here in grocery stores in the States??


StarBar


What Is It/What’s In It?
A milk chocolate candy bar with caramel and crushed roasted peanuts.
How Does It Taste? Pretty good! I was a little thrown off by the crushed peanuts because they almost mimicked the texture of rice crispies, which made me check the ingredient list to see if there were any in there! But the caramel was nice and stretchy and there was LOTS of it!
Would I Eat It Again? I enjoyed it, but it didn’t knock my socks off. I personally like whole peanuts for the texture better, so maybe if they had peanut halves instead of crushed peanuts, I probably would eat it again. But I’m a picky American who loves my peanuts, so what can I do?

Snack! Shortcake Bar


What Is It/What’s In It? A Cadbury (so you know it’s gonna be good) bar with buttery shortbread squares covered in chocolate.
How Does It Taste? Um, so freaking amazing! It tasted really similar to Keebler’s Fudge Stripes cookies or those Girl Scout cookies that were shortbread that had the bottom of the cookie covered in chocolate (those existed, right? I’m not just making them up?). But I don’t know if it was the shortbread or the silky chocolate but they almost reminded me a tad bit of Maltesers. I have no idea why, because they didn’t taste malty, but I couldn’t help but think of them as I ate them.
Would I Eat It Again? Yes! These were a total winner! Shortbread and chocolate? You can’t go wrong!

Snack! Sandwich Bar


What Is It?/What’s In It? The same ingredients as the Snack! Bar, but a sandwich version! Two shortbread biscuits/cookies with sandwiches together with chocolate, and then covered in chocolate. *drools*
How Does It Taste? Just like the regular Snack! bar version, but a bit more hearty, since the biscuits/cookies were thicker plus there was more chocolate.
Would I Eat It Again? Um, heck yes! I don’t know which Snack! version I liked more, but I would happily eat them both again, with no hesitation whatsoever.

Oatfield Glucose Barley Hard Candy


What Is it?/What’s In It? A hard candy flavored like Glucose Barley. My options were either of getting Chocolate Orange or Glucose Barley. They gave me Glucose Barley. So basically it's a sweet wheat treat. You guys, I’m scared.
How Does It Taste? You know, it wasn’t too bad! It honestly just tasted like a lemon cough drop without the menthol, or just a lemon flavored candy with barely any lemon in it. So not as scary as I was expecting, but not at all flavorful (which is maybe a good thing…?)
Would I Eat It Again? Most likely not. Sorry, Glucose Barley!

Elite Kimberley


What Is It?/What’s In It? Sweet cookies topped with marshmallows and dipped in milk chocolate.
How Does It Taste? You know, this sounded really, really good, like American Moon Pies, but once I tasted it, something tasted a bit odd to me. It wasn’t the chocolate or the marshmallow, but it was more like the cookies themselves. Like something it was flavored with something a little heavier than just a simple cookie. I had to Google the cookie itself and discover the cookies are flavored with ginger! Huh.
Would I Eat It Again? Honestly, probably not. The heaviness and almost mealiness of the ginger cookies (which really doesn’t taste like ginger to me) isn’t very appealing to me. But I love the idea of these and just wish I liked them more!

ChewIts Xtreme Sour Apple Chews


What Is It?/What’s In It? Sweet chews that are tart but end up sweet at the end. I had the option of either getting Sour Apple or Tutti Frutti, and they gave me Sour Apple. Thank god.
How Does It Taste? It tasted like my childhood! I used to love sour apple flavored things, so eating one of these was like revisiting my youth. The pieces were individually wrapped (for some reason I just thought it would be one long piece of chewy candy, like a huge Laffy Taffy), and was really tasty! Not too sour, with just enough sweet. Plus, on the package it says it's suitable for vegetarians, which is something you don't often see on candies in the States.
Would I Eat It Again? As much as I enjoyed this nostalgia trip, I’m more of a chocolate fan now if I’m going to eat sweets. Though I do love the little alligator/crocodile (or is a dinosaur?) mascot they’ve got going on. We need more branding like that in the world!

Hunky Dorys Cheddar and Spring Onion


What Is It?/What’s In It? Ripple-cut crisps flavored with cheddar cheese and spring onion.
How Does It Taste? Yummy! I love me some ripple-cut chips, and these tasted really good. Like Ruffles but with a much better cheese and onion flavor (possibly even better than cheese and sour cream? Don’t tell anyone I said that!)
Would I Eat It Again? Ooh yes! These should be a requirement in the chip bowl at any party in Ireland. (Do Irish people have chip bowls at parties? I thought that was just a thing everyone did!)

But which crisps/chips win in this ultimate battle? Tayto or Hunky Dorys? In my opinion, it has to be... Tayto! As much as I love ripple-cut chips, I loved the aged cheddar flavor of Tayto more, plus the kettle style of the chips gave them a great crunch. The Hunky Dorys ones seemed to have a more powdery flavoring covering them, which made them taste more artificial (but still tasty!). Tayto is the clear winner for me!

And that was my taste test of Irish snacks! I’d say this SnackCrate sample box was really varied and had some great tasting (and not so great tasting) snacks and candy in it! I wish I was able to buy more of these sample sizes, but I understand why they want you to try one and then get a full subscription (they wouldn’t be making very much money if everyone was just buying $1 boxes!). But SnackCrate, again, if you’d like to send me a full box to review I’d love to try it and post about it! *wink wink* *nudge nudge* *mouths “Email me”*


And if you love reading about my taste tests, feel free to check out my Ko-fi page, where you can donate a cup of coffee so I can keep making more posts like this! (No pressure though! You have no idea  how much people just reading and commenting on my blog means to me! But just in case you were wondering, I do have a current goal I’m trying to reach on my Ko-fi page which I'm trying to reach, if you're at all interested!)

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

I hope you enjoyed this very Irish themed taste testing post! What did you think of the snacks and candy and the variety of them? If you’re Irish, do you eat any of these treats? Also, what kind of international snacks should I try next? I have still yet to try Irn-Bru and it intrigues me! Let me know what you think in the comments!

Stay Weird,
Emily


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