It’s Friday; I’m in Love #87

It’s been a rough couple of weeks, you guys. Firstly, every time I get a new tattoo, I get very vigilant about taking care of it while it heals–some (Dan) would even say too vigilant, to the point that it hinders just about everything else I try to do. Since my newest is also my largest, it’s taking longer and feeling much itchier than the rest have, and it’s just been such a damper on my mood. I feel like all I can do is read and watch Netflix to avoid rubbing my arm across things too much, and sleeping has been a real struggle. I’ve barely gotten any writing done all month, which feels especially awful. The only bright side is all the reading, but even that’s not enough to make me feel okay.

On top of that, I’ve been having an awful couple of body image weeks, which I also think is related to the tattoo since I haven’t been able to put on (or, rather, take off) a sports bra, so I haven’t been working out. There are a lot of other reasons behind it too, most of which my logical self knows are absurd, but it’s not exactly an on-off switch type of deal. I’ve had snide comments from years ago crossing my mind at the most unexpected times, and I cringe any time I scroll through old photos on my phone.

There have been good parts to this month, but the bummer mood feels like such a shadow over them all.

amazing birthday gifts from friends ♥ one month to Wonder Woman ♥ new tattoos (even if they itch like the devil) ♥ The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants ♥ mac & cheese and the myriad ways you can make it ♥ Snapple on sale ♥ starting a new Goosebumps collection ♥ candles ♥ rewatching Parks & Recreation ♥ getting back into bookstagram ♥ cats. I just love cats ♥ discount DVDs ♥ Disney tsum tsums + JC Penney sales ♥ getting creative with zine packaging ♥ blind bags ♥ bursting with new Etsy/zine ideas ♥ having my hair brushed ♥ a clean house

Three ways to make next month great:

  • Watch an hour less of TV each day. / This is directly related to April, after spending so much of my time the last three weeks of the month watching Netflix. I love TV, but I love doing other stuff too, and I need to remember to take the time to do those other things.
  • Share your work. / I specifically have a goal of sending out three writing submissions this month, whether it’s three separate pieces or simultaneous submissions to three publications. It’s not necessary to share what you do with other people, but it can be nice, so I’d like to start focusing on it more often.
  • Stick to a habit. / I made a habit tracker in my bullet journal for April, and while most things didn’t get filled out every day, I did stick closely to drinking a little over a liter of water each day. I’d like to keep that up (possibly increasing to two liters) and also pick at least one other habit to work on. I’m leaning towards writing, but we’ll see.

“It’s Friday; I’m in Love” is a monthly gratitude post. It aims to remind myself and others of the good things from the past month, big and small; to share ways to make the next month a positive one; and to serve as a record to look back on for the not-so-great days to come. The title comes from the song by The Cure.

April 28, 2017

Project 365: Days 109-115

I’m such a homebody who hasn’t done much besides read and watch Netflix lately that it’s been a challenge getting photos. (I feel like I say that every week.) I’m dying to go on some kind of an adventure to push myself to take pictures of something other than the same old pieces of home decor, and there are some plans in the works for the next few weeks, but it’s just been a struggle. (Everything kind of has been to be honest, but that’s another post.)

Zines Packed in a Small Purple Envelope with Washi Tape109/365: Some outgoing zine mail. I haven’t been getting many orders lately, which I can only assume is due–at least in part–to the fact that I haven’t been making any new ones. I’ve been working on three, but slowly. But if you’d like a cute little package like this one, order a couple! (Mini zines get purple envelopes like this!)

Tsum Tsum Decorative Tape110/365: A few weeks ago we stopped at Marshall’s and as we walked in the doors there was a small display of Disney tsum tsum goodies, including a large pack of mini decorative tapes, so I picked them up with the few bucks left on a gift card. I haven’t used any yet, though; I’m planning to use them on the next pen pal letter I send out.

Succulents111/365: That poor bunny plant started out in the living room, but as you can see, it wasn’t doing so hot, so I thought I’d move it in with the succulents in my office to see if the added sunlight there will help them out. So far, no luck, but I’m crossing my fingers.

Wonder Woman Funko POPs and Trade Paperbacks112/365: My Wonder Woman love (obsession?) has gotten especially intense lately, though not quite to tsum tsum level. I’ve picked up the newest Funko POP for the movie, that funny little plush ball, and volume three (Iron) of the New 52 run. I’m really enjoying the story, but I wanna try out a few others too at some point.

Plant on a Windowsill113/365: Another plant that wasn’t doing well in its original spot, so I tucked it right onto the windowsill. On the one hand, the idea was perfect because it started getting much stronger, but on the other hand, Charlie started eating it! It’s the only one he’s gnawed on, and I wasn’t even sure until he knocked it down by accident. So now it’s in the living room instead on a higher shelf, but I think it’s getting plenty of sun. We’ll see.

Living Room Organization with Tsum Tsums, Candles, and DVDs114/365: Over the weekend, Dan and I picked up another cube organizer from Target to help us rearrange the living room a bit. For the longest time we were keeping a lot of our video game accessories–controllers and the like–in a neon green milk crate, but it was a big fat mess, so now they’re in two of the gray canvas baskets, including the one in the photo. It also gave me more space for my growing collection of Disney and horror DVDs, so for now nothing is looking too messy over in that corner. (It’s my new favorite corner, in fact.)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series115/365: I started rereading The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series on Monday, after my post on Amber Tamblyn went up, partly because I couldn’t decide what else to read and partly because it’s been such a long time since I read them. I’ve definitely noticed details I didn’t the last few times I read them–some good, some a little cringe worth–but I still love them just as much as I always have. (Also, I’m pretty sure this is my favorite photo of the week!)

April 26, 2017

Rad Gal Inspiration: Amber Tamblyn

Posted in Bookish, Rad Gals by
Amber Tamblyn Poetry Collection

Amber Tamblyn is a force of nature. She is fierce and feminist, passionate and intelligent, a contemporary poet who gives me strength, inspiration, and hope.

I first fell in love with Amber Tamblyn at the age of fourteen, when I saw her portray Tibby in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants films. I adored the series in middle school, and Tibby was always my favorite character: cynical, a little angsty, but also full of love for her friends. I fell out of touch with what Amber Tamblyn was up to after the movies, only vaguely aware that she was still plenty active–but aware nonetheless. However, it wasn’t until college that she was fully on my radar again, when I discovered that she had written not one but two collections of poetry, her second having just been released. As excited as I was, though, they sat on my Amazon wishlist for years; I only just ordered my copy of Free Stallion, the first of her collections and the last to add to my shelves, last month. Still, from the moment I opened up Dark Sparkler, which I rushed to Barnes & Noble and specially asked if they had in stock shortly before I went to a reading in Boston, I was in love all over again.

Amber wasn’t just the actress to embody cool, punk-ish Tibby to me anymore. She was Amber Tamblyn, awe-inspiring poet. She was doing something that I admired and that I dreamed of doing myself. Finally encountering her work pulled me out of a writing slump of which I hadn’t realized the extent, and in the months following, I wrote and released my first chapbook. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading my way through her work once again and have since started on my second collection. You’d be hard pressed to convince me there wasn’t some correlation between the two.

Her work is intense, and her use of words is striking; she does not mince them. There may be fear there–is anyone truly fearless?–but she doesn’t let it stop her, whether it’s in telling a story of tragedy (as in a number of Dark Sparkler pieces) or making a political statement. While I believe everyone should try their hand at poetry, not everyone has the sense to use the medium quite like she does, with the perfect melding of adroitness, ferocity, and raw honesty. She tells her truth, whatever it is, and it resonates with me in a way that not all other poetry does. I can admire myriad other poets and other work, but that doesn’t mean that it hits me in the gut like hers does.

To be honest, there’s not much else for me to say. Amber Tamblyn’s work is something that makes me want to do better in my writing, to work harder and keep learning, in the hope that someday I can love my own words even a fraction as much as I do hers.

April 24, 2017

Project 365: Days 102-108

It’s Tuesday night as I put this post together, and I’ll be honest with you: I’m feeling cranky as hell. I just got my new tattoo done on Monday, and it’s in a very inconvenient spot for, well, functioning. I almost didn’t do this post on time because I was dreading trying to maneuver my arm just right, but here it is in all its–well, not quite glory. But you get what I mean.

Too Faced Peanut Butter and Honey Eyeshadow Palette102/365: I finally picked up the Too Faced Peanut Butter & Honey eyeshadow palette, and while I wasn’t terribly impressed at first, it has grown on me. I think the colors have had better pigmentation now that I’ve softened up the shadows a bit. Plus, it smells delicious, and the packaging is frickin’ adorable as heck.

Crayola crayons103/365: I spent a lot of time organizing random things last week, and my crayons were one of them. I got it into my head that they should be organized by color, so I made a bit of a rainbow in the boxes. I also have a smaller box of 24 that holds the grays, browns, and blacks.

sleeping Charles104/365: Sorry not sorry for all the cat photos throughout the weeks. He’s just so damn cute!

robin's egg blue BMW motorcycle105/365: Over the weekend, Dan bought himself a second bike–not this one–to use for parts on his everyday  bike. This is one of my favorites at the shop he goes to, though, and since I’d brought my camera with me, I had to get a photo because the color is just beautiful.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner and Free Stallion by Amber Tamblyn106/365: New books! I decided this was the perfect month to finish up my Amber Tamblyn poetry collection, and I finally treated myself to Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner as well. I loved The Scorpion King last year, so I’m excited to read this one asap.

Bikini Kill tattoo107/365: Admittedly a cheat photo. The entire middle of my Monday was spent sitting in a tattoo chair getting this done, so by the time I was finished I had hardly the energy to take a photo with my dSLR. Instead, you’ve got the cell phone pic of my newest tattoo after I took the wrapping off. I could say a million things about this piece, and in fact I plan to do a blog post on it in the next few weeks to tell you just how much it means to me.

Disney tsum tsums and X-Files Funko POP! figures108/365: And lastly, my growing collection of tsum tsums. Guys, I’ve gone deep into this hole. I’m more than a little obsessed. I even have a few non-plush tsum tsum goodies, like the Lip Smackers Cheshire Cat in the pile there, and also a Cheshire Cat keyring (from a blind bag), plus some stationery bobbles from the Target One Spot. I’m in love. Dan and I are even planning a trip to the Disney store at some point, which I can’t wait for!

April 19, 2017

3 Reasons to Unhaul Your Bookshelves

Posted in Bookish by
Pink Bookcase

To tell the truth, it’s not often that I unhaul my books. I’m not into the idea that I’ll pay money for all these books, only to end up giving them away. Plus, I love books, and I feel guilty for not appreciating each and every one of them for the rest of my life.

The “unhaul” was a concept unknown to me until I dove into the rabbit hole of BookTube. Far more often you’ll see a regular book haul–usually monthly–but the unhaul is a rarer beast. (I think all book lovers are low-key hoarders, don’t you?) To first see one was both startling and refreshing because even though used bookshops exist, and even though I’ve gotten rid of some of my own before, those were mostly old college textbooks, and the concept of consciously giving up books that were maybe once loved was pretty unimaginable to me.

I think unless you’re a minimalist–and maybe even if you are–it can be emotionally draining to cull personal items, for any reason. Sometimes I’ll argue against it with Dan or myself, arguing that books can be decoration too or that I might read it again or sometimes that I haven’t actually read it at all yet. Once in a while, though, the necessity of cleaning out the space and letting go begins to form a seed in my brain, and while it can still take a few weeks or months to take the big step, it happens, and I start to feel a little bit better for it.

So if you’re feeling skeptical or anxious about unhauling your beloved books, what are some reasons you should?

You’re sending books to a new home. / Because if they’re sitting on your shelf unread or even without a passing glance in their direction most days, are they really getting all the love they deserve? Unhauling, especially by giving to a used bookstore or donating them to the library, can help your book find a new home and help someone else find an affordable copy of a book they maybe couldn’t have gotten before.

You’re making some pocket change. / A lot of used bookstores–if not all–will pay you for the books you bring in, so if you’d like to try your luck before donating to the library, it’s worth checking to see if your local used shop does this. If not, they might at least offer store credit or even an option between the two, making it worth a shot. If not, there’s also the option of selling used on Amazon, although that won’t clear your shelves quite as quickly.

You’re making room for new books! / When you start clearing out books from your shelves, you’re bound to start noticing gaps in your collection, which you’ll inevitably want to refill right away–which is great! In the process of sending your no-longer-needed books to a new home, you’ll be making way for new books in your own space. Everybody wins!

It can be a challenge to get started with your unhaul, much like the cliche of ripping off a Band-Aid, but just as they can both be painful, they’re also rewarding. So as you’re working on your spring cleaning this year, consider an unhaul. Maybe you don’t need one–but maybe you do.

April 17, 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish by
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

By now I’d be more surprised if you hadn’t read a review of Angie Thomas’s debut novel than if you had. This book has been a hot topic in the book community, with innumerable readers and reviewers singing its praises–and rightly so. This might just turn into another review in a whole sea of them, but I can’t help sharing how much I loved it.

The Hate U Give is about Starr Carter, a sixteen-year-old girl living two lives: one in her poor neighborhood and one at her prep school. When Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of a childhood friend at the hands of a cop, she comes face to face with the reactions of both communities and her own feelings of guilt, fear, and responsibility.

Undoubtedly this novel is timely; the story it tells and the way Thomas tells it are poignant, heartbreaking, and necessary. She explores the stark contrasts and surprising similarities between Starr’s two worlds and the way they collide right alongside her own frustration and confusion between the two, never quite feeling accepted and never quite knowing where she fits in. One of the most striking–if not surprising–differences is in the reactions of Starr’s two communities to the tragedy she witnesses and how those around her affect her decision whether or not to speak out as a witness.

One of my favorite aspects of the novel was Starr’s family and her relationship with them. I fell in love with every member of her family and their own love for each other, even if she doubted it herself at times. They’re not  perfect and they’re far from the nuclear model, but Thomas uses those things to craft some amazing depth to her characters, examining why they choose to do the things that don’t seem like the best choice, but in actuality feel like their only choice. She also created great variety in the characters she presents to readers, from a willfully ignorant girl who refuses to see her own prejudice to a boy who says dumb things to Starr but acknowledges and learns from his mistakes to a woman who isn’t quite the mother we’re made to think she is, for better or worse.

Honestly, I don’t know how this is her first novel. Angie Thomas shows incredible skill in storytelling. I can only look forward to more beautiful, heartwrenching books like this one from her. If you haven’t read this one yet, I can’t recommend it enough and hope you get the chance and make the choice to do so. The Hate U Give is an important story that the world needed right now, and I think Thomas was an amazing person to share it with us.

April 14, 2017

Project 365: Days 95-101

You guys, I made it! Even if I haven’t been in love with every single photo I’ve shared so far, I have been able to share over one hundred photos in a row! That’s almost a third of this entire project, and I honestly don’t know the last time I did something that consistently for so long. And as it turns out, I’m really happy with this week’s photos. I have a cool collection of angles and cropping, and I just enjoy all of the subjects I have to share with you this week. This feels like the first 365 post in a while where I wasn’t totally bummed by my progress, and it feels amazing.

95/365: I finally ran out of room on my one comics shelf on the big wall, so I decided to move them all to a small black Target bookcase in my office, which meant moving my little Wonder Woman collection over with it, plus Harley and my special edition of Ghost World that’s too tall to fit on the actual shelves.

96/365: It’s kind of weird to realize that last week I was making a cup a day of hot cocoa (topped with generous amounts of whipped cream of course), and now I’m hoping Dan will put my hammock up soon so I can start reading out in the yard again. Weather is weird you guys. (*whispers* the earth is dying…)

97/365: Just a peek at another piece of my office–I lucked out on a trip to Funspot (the spot for fun!) back in October and ended up with the 1500 tickets necessary to win this little lady. If you don’t know, Funspot is known as the world’s largest collection of classic (late 1970s to mid 1980s) arcade games. And every time I go, about half of them are out of order. In fact, last time they didn’t even have my beloved Addams Family pinball machine out.

Pioneer Valley Zine Fest 2017 table setup98/365: Saturday was zine fest day, the Pioneer Valley Zine Fest to be specific. It was my fourth year as a tabler, and to be honest I wish I had been more social, but it’s hard when you’re tabling by yourself sometimes. I actually didn’t even buy any zines; everything I left with was a trade. But it was a good time like always, and I finally sold out of a couple of things that have been sitting around my box for a while.

99/365: Sunday I spring cleaned the living room a little big, which meant opening the windows to air out the house. That made somebody a happy kitty all afternoon, and it was nice to get fresh air finally circulating through the house.

Yellow Kitchen with Pegboard Wall100/365: We (meaning Dan mostly) have made a lot of progress on the kitchen lately. You can probably imagine how much of a big deal that is to me since it’s one of my favorite and most used rooms in the house. As much as I adore yellow kitchens, I kept worrying it was going to be too much in ours after it was painted, but once that pegboard was put up and everything hung on it, the room really, truly looks like a kitchen for the first time since we moved in. It’s one of my favorite views as I walk through the house now.

Disney movies101/365: I’ve decided one of my goals for my twenty-sixth year is to grow my collection of Disney movies. Not all of the ones here are Disney, but certainly the majority of them are. I’ve already picked up a few used copies, and I’m keeping a running list in my bullet journal of some favorites I’d like to add. Really, I’ve gotten deep into Disney in general lately; if you’ve seen my tsum tsum updates in my Instagram story or any of my tweets about it, you know what I mean.

April 12, 2017

The Betty & Barney Hill Incident, Rte. 3, New Hampshire

Posted in Horror, Personal, Pop Culture by

On a cold, sunny day the weekend before the March 2017 Snowpocalypse, I trekked my way north with Dan and some friends to achieve a life goal that took me far longer than it should have to reach. Taking Interstate 93 north through Ashland, Plymouth, Woodstock, up to exit 33 to Lincoln. We pulled off onto Route 3 and drove for maybe five minutes, keeping our eyes peeled against the bright white of the snow–a stark contrast to all the brown we’d had at home up until the following Tuesday–for the Indian Head Resort.

Twice Dan almost stopped too early because there were two large signs for the resort (one mile ahead, half a mile ahead…), but we finally came to it and spotted the opening to the parking lot at the last minute. We pulled in, and my head whipped left and right as I looked for the green sign with white lettering marking the event my home state for over twenty years deemed historical: The Betty & Barney Hill Incident.

The short story is that Betty and Barney Hill, a New Hampshire couple, were driving home from a vacation to Canada when they spotted a bright light in the sky. Maybe it was a plane. Maybe it was a star. Jupiter was out that night, too. They continued driving for a while before finally pulling off the road and watching the bright light, which moved erratically, in ways a plane or any other known aircraft should move, before realizing it was coming down to meet them.

The first part of story was that they watched it for a while before growing scared, jumping back into their car, and driving away, continuing their journey home. But as they drove, they realized they suddenly couldn’t account for  about thirty-five miles of travel distance. They’d experienced missing time. The second part of the story only came later, after connecting with several members of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) and were put under hypnosis by a doctor to whom they were referred.

The second part of the story says they were abducted, tested, and returned to their car after, having their memories scrubbed to avoid the news getting out.

(That worked out well.)

Along with the official marker on Route 3, there’s a little gas station and convenience store that serves as something of a makeshift memorial. it features a plastic-covered painting on the outer wall at the front of the store. Inside, among the candy, chips, and beer, are newspaper clippings, summaries of incidents in other states and countries, photos, and a bulletin board devoted purely to the Hills’ experience.

Despite everything being so small and looking underwhelming, the entire experience was thrilling for me. When I was a little girl, I got a book from Borders that had a blurb about the Hills in it and I was floored to find out that they were from New Hampshire–that’s where I lived! It was unbelievable to me at the time that something so exciting could have occurred so close by little ol’ me.

I would often spend evenings outside, sometimes alone and sometimes with my dad, watching the skies for a hint of something strange. Usually it was just an airplane or a blimp or even a hot air balloon once, but my faith in what’s out there has never once wavered. On long drives home late at night, it’s not uncommon for my head to snap up and my body to move with the sky to keep the best view on something I’ve seen. I almost always end up seeing the blinking lights of a plane or checking the sky map on my phone to determine it’s a planet, but once or twice I lost sight of a bright light in the sky before I could be quite sure.

Visiting this little monument to the strange and unusual has fanned the tiny flame that was already in me to do some investigating this year, even if it just means camping up in the mountains or visiting other strange places in New England. Maybe I’ll never have the chance to see something obvious in the sky, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop looking.

the simpsons keep watching the skies

April 10, 2017

Unspoken: A Poem

Posted in Writer Life, Writing by

Two teen girls
in ragged band tees and flared blue jeans
practice kickflips
on the middle school blacktop.
Their faces flush
pink in the summer heat as
they pass glances across the asphalt,
and their skin gleams with sweat.
They can’t hold the words yet for what’s happening;
it’ll be too late by the time they can.

Two teen girls
curl back to back in one’s bed
as they whisper
across the cavernous darkness.
One tells about her virginity
One squirms to listen.
They inch closer and pretend not to notice.

Two teen girls
don’t say goodbye when
they walk away,
leaving the pieces of themselves
in the footsteps already washing away
in the rain
like tears.

Two teen girls are nowhere to be seen.

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April 7, 2017

Project 365: Days 88-94

I’m kind of having a rough week in general right now, but at least I’m content with my photos, even the ones that I kind of hated when I first took them. To be honest, though, it’s been nearly one hundred days of this project, and I don’t necessarily feel any better at photography. I don’t feel like I know anything more than when I started or have any better eye for what I’m doing. Maybe I need to find an online class or something to push me in a different direction? I don’t know. But it’s frustrating, and I guess it’s a week of evaluating where I’m at with this.

88/365: The three things I’ve been trying to focus on lately: my bullet journal, my new poetry project, and my daily to dos. I still don’t necessarily have a routine (although my new workouts tend to occur at the same time each day–the time when I start to get bored and restless), but it’s good to at least have a focus each day.

Bacon-Cheddar Scones89/365: I don’t often makes scones, but when I do, they’re almost always bacon and cheddar. This recipe was from The Joy of Cooking, as most of mine have been lately, but I think I’ll add a little more cream next time. I think my dough is always even crumblier than it’s supposed to be, which is a feat, so maybe another tablespoon or two will help.

Poetry and Typewriter90/365: So you might already have the idea that I love poetry, and it’s true! But I am also forgetful, so the only photo I got for this day was the one for Monday’s blog post. These things happen, and I am happy with how it came out, so it’s not like I’m considering it a loss.

Black Cat91/365: My favorite model, of course. Is there anything better than a cat sleeping in your spot in bed? I think not.

Floral Doc Marten Boots92/365: Another forgetful day, I rushed to take this one before the sun was totally gone for the night. At first, I really didn’t like this photo and was frustrated, but the more I look at it, the cooler I think it is. It has a very vintage look to it, which I guess goes well with the ’90s-style boots.

Poetry Books93/365: Another of my poetry collection, just to emphasize the fact that it’s National Poetry Month! I’ve been rereading through my two Amber Tamblyn collections lately and recommending them to everyone. They’re just some of the best on my shelf honestly.

Tsum Tsums Collection94/365: Over the weekend I expanded my little tsum tsum family with R2-D2 and Leia. As it turned out, they were on sale, so I could have grabbed a couple of more. Kicking myself. The funny thing is that I have an unintentional blue/white/gray theme going on with my collection. I’ll almost be a little sad when I get someone who doesn’t match.

April 5, 2017