Don't Box Me In Bro

I was facetiming with my seven-year-old nephew the other night. We were talking about the show he had just performed after a few weeks in theater camp, a thing I found particularly fun because I, too, was a theater kid. But he’s seven, so after a few minutes, he was kind of done talking about it. So I asked “What else is going on?” and he said, “Well… actually, is The Mr there, because I want to talk about a videogame.”

Me: I mean, yeah, he’s right here, but… you know I like videogames, too, right?

Him: Really??!?

Me: Yeah, dude! I play videogames all the time!

He was so pleasantly surprised that it was almost concerning, but also, I’m used to this reaction. From him it was because I’m a girl, and I don’t really think this is anything that has been necessarily said to him, as much as he just happens to be a part of a family in which only the boys are into videogames. I don’t think anyone actually said “Hey, kid, only boys do this,” but that’s all he’s known. And to his and his family’s credit, it’s not like he argued with me when I was like “girls can like video games too, you know?” Instead he thought about it and was like “Huh, I guess…. cool! So lemme tell you about War Robots. I’m a level 23!”

But most other times that I get the shocked reaction is because I’m a bookworm who works in a bookstore and therefore couldn’t possibly and absolutely should not be into video games. No way. There’s no way that I could simultaneously value the written word and the pixelated, silly world of games. NO! BECAUSE BOOKS! BOOKS ARE THE ONLY PURE FORM OF STORYTELLING. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE.

Guess what, I also watch some reality tv.


And I like folk music and classic rock and punk and even some heavy metal and yet I also played classical cello and french horn for 9 years.

I’m a writer and a bookworm who barely graduated high school by the skin of my teeth.

I am so much more than the one thing some people want me to be and I have multiple interests.

And I’m sure you are too, aren’t you?

Let’s all be like a surprise lady in a cake and bust out of our spongey, frosting-covered prisons! Tell me all of your contradictions in the comments.


This blog is able to remain ad-free because of the awesome community of Awkward Ambassadors on Patreon. If you’d like to become an Awkward Ambassador and receive special perks (like bonus content or pictures of my dogs), please click here. Thank you so much to Ellen W., Rachel P., Hanna B., Lena S., Sara O., Leah B., Maddie G., and Grace V.

Books and Bread and Leeks, Oh My! - Adventures in Homesteading

This blog post is dedicated to Ryan. He knows why.

Friends. I went full homesteader on Monday.

Okay, I didn’t exactly go out and get chickens or goats or cancel our electric bill and start pooping in a hole in our yard or anything, so maybe I didn’t go full homesteader, but I went pretty far. For me. And maybe only for me.

I woke up on Monday and I was READY. TO. GO.

First of all, I started organizing/purging my home library and it felt amazing. I started a LibraryThing account so that I could catalog all of my books.

Every. Single. One.

If you don’t know, I have a lot of books. Like… thousands. So far I’ve cataloged 361 of them. And that’s a little less than half of the ones I own on my “to-be-read” bookcase. The “read it and loved it” bookcase hasn’t been approached yet. That bookcase is significantly smaller than the TBR bookcase mainly because I take in a lot more than I can ever read, but also I give away a lot of books after I’ve read them.

Before you panic and you’re like “HOW CAN YOU SPEND THAT KIND OF MONEY?” don’t worry! I work in a bookshop and I get a lot of Advanced Reading Copies for free. But, I also buy a lot of books, because as anyone who loves books knows, they’re kind of an addiction, which I argue is a lot safer than meth, SO GET OFF MY NUTS, THE MR.

I forgot to take an actual picture, so I stole this from my  Instagram  story.

I forgot to take an actual picture, so I stole this from my Instagram story.

(Side note: I’m getting rid of a lot of books that I just know I’m never going to get to, and when I was trying to figure out what to do with them, I came up with some pretty good ideas, but one of them is a giveaway. I’m thinking I’ll do it when I reach 500 followers on Instagram, so go tell all of your friends to follow me so that you can maybe get a box of free books!)

What on earth does using the internet to organize my books have to do with homesteading, you wonder? Good question! I don’t really know, but it felt domestic, so I’m including it. I also did laundry. Does that count as homesteading? Sure! Why not! HOMESTEADING CAN BE WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE!

Like… baking! Because I baked bread, mofos!! This one actually does feel homesteady because I made the bread not because I was bored and felt like making bread, but because we actually needed bread to make sandwiches for lunch for the week, and since the bread aisle at the grocery store gives me anxiety, I just said “screw it” and decided to make it myself, and you guys….

LOOK AT THIS BREAD.

I have to say, I made a peanut butter and banana sandwich (with a side of goldfish crackers, like an adult) with it the next day and it was maybe the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I’m never buying bread again.

In fact, I plan on never going to the grocery store again, you know why? Well, first of all, I can make bread now. Second of all, The Mr does the grocery shopping anyway, but third and most importantly of all, I PLANTED VEGETABLES. FROM SEED.

Last year we planted vegetables, and I’m going to say that it was a learning year. This year, we have charts! We have graphs! We have absolutely NO KALE! Things will be so much better.

This is just phase 1. At our height, we will have 87 plants started indoors and even more planted directly in the ground outside. I’m so excited.

This is just phase 1. At our height, we will have 87 plants started indoors and even more planted directly in the ground outside. I’m so excited.

Plus, this year, I’m planting in accordance with the phases of the moon, which I’m pretty sure makes me a witch now? I’m still waiting for my letter from Hogwarts, but this is like… Herbology 101, right? But with less screaming plant babies and more leeks. Also, for some reason I was feeling crazy and decided to plant Georgia Flame peppers, so… sorry, future me?

Anyway, all of this is to say that I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a little over a week, but I have a lot of books and bread and leeks to deal with.

But now I’m back, so yay! What have you been up to?

P.S. If you want to see even more photos of my homesteading adventures, go join the Awkward Ambassadors on Patreon! This blog is able to remain ad-free because of them. If you’d like to become an Awkward Ambassador and receive special perks (like exclusive vlogs or messages from my dog), please click here.

Cold feet.

So yesterday my friend texted me a picture of a book that we have both been really excited about reading and it finally just came out and THE EXCITEMENT LEVEL IS HIGH, FRIENDS.

But, because it's me, there is an issue.

IMG_0861.PNG

So APPARENTLY The Mr is annoyed because he buys really nice socks and I have always opted for really cute socks.

His are warm. Mine have narwhals on them.

His are fancy moisture-repelling socks. Mine all have holes in them. 

And when we got married I was all "Yay! Free socks!" 

He did not agree. 

Which brings us to our next marital dispute... 

I have a lot of books. 

IMG_0860.JPG
IMG_0859.JPG
IMG_0858.JPG

IN MY DEFENSE many of these are free because I am a bookseller and I get a lot of Advanced Reader Copies from publishers, BUT I also buy a lot of these books too. Especially if I read the ARC and then really loved it, so I want the author the get dollars and I'll buy it just to be a good fan. 

Which brings us to today.

My sock drawer is full of holey socks (insert divine joke here) and my hold shelf at the bookstore is overflowing. 

But what am I supposed to do? None of the fancy socks have narwhals on them... But my narwhal socks are no longer providing any level of warmth. 

If only I could convince the two sock companies to join forces! 

Dear Fancy Sock Makers,

I have been forced to buy your socks in order to continue my love of buying books. Normally, this would not be a problem. Your socks are fantastic in all ways but one: THERE ARE NO NARWHALS ON THEM. 

While I appreciate your ability to include a wide array of colors and stripes - even polka dots! Go you! - I am saddened by the lack of cute animal patterns. 

Must I really sacrifice my love of the Sea Unicorn in order to have warm feet? 

Of course, it's not just narwhals that I enjoy on my socks. Puppies, sloths, and giraffes are also always welcome, just in case someone on staff has an aversion to narwhals. Although, why would you hire such a monster? 

Wishing you all the best,

Emelie

UPDATE: THEY RESPONDED

Hi Emelie,

Thank you so much for reaching out! I too love Narwhals, what an awesome idea :) I did share your feedback with our product team, we always appreciate customer feedback! I also want to make sure you've seen our Woodland Creature socks, they do have cute animals represented on them :) https://darntough.com/collections/womens-lifestyle/products/woodland-creatures-crew-light?variant=36489076295

Thanks for being on board with us and I hope you have an awesome weekend!

Thank you for choosing Darn Tough!

And for the record, I did NOT see those woodland socks before, but it's a good thing that they exist because now I can buy books again. 

Plus, I think we can all agree that if they do in fact add narwhals to their designs, I will be heralded as a True American Hero. 

You're welcome.

It's GIVEAWAY TIME!

Hi friends! First of all, a massive thank you to all of you for your lovely comments, emails, tweets, texts, hugs, etc. after my blog post on Friday. I can't say that I'm totally out of my rut yet, but your encouragement has helped me more than you can possibly imagine. I love you all so much.

And because I love you all so much, I wanted to do something fun.

So... I have a box of books. Books that I helped write, along with some really amazing writers that I know, and I want to send one to you.

Here's how this is going to work: The first ten people to go sign up to be an Awkward Ambassador on Patreon will receive an autographed copy of This One Has No Name. I don't care which tier you sign up for: $1 or $20 or anywhere in between. If you sign up, you're getting a book PLUS all the awesome perks you get on Patreon for being an Awkward Ambassador anyway!

Sound like fun? Great! Now GO AND BE AWKWARD, MY MINIONS! GO!!!!

P.S. My dogs are GREAT models.

via GIPHY


This blog is able to remain ad-free because of the awesome community of Awkward Ambassadors on Patreon. If you’d like to become an Awkward Ambassador and receive special perks (like exclusive vlogs or messages from my dog), please click here.

A Birthday Giveaway!

It's my birthday today! Yay!

 

via GIPHY

Not only is the universe providing an awesome solar eclipse, but while the world has been seemingly crappy lately, I've found myself refusing to give up on optimism. Because that's how we let the crappy things win.

One thing that I'm especially thankful for is all of you, which is why I'm doing a giveaway for my birthday! The prize? A box of some of my favorite books shipped to you with a personal note from me telling you why I loved them and I hope you will, too!

Here's what you have to do to enter:

Leave a comment down below telling me three things that you still love about this world. 

That's it. Just tell me three things that make you happy. Do so before 11:59pm (EST) tonight and then tomorrow morning I will announce the winner, which will be randomly selected from the comments below.

Ready? GO!

This contest is now closed (but keep commenting with happy thoughts!). Congrats to Merima for the win! 


This blog is able to remain ad-free because of the awesome community of Awkward Ambassadors on Patreon. If you’d like to become an Awkward Ambassador and receive special perks (like exclusive vlogs or messages from my dog), please click here.

Growing up does not have to be boring.

I am an adult, for all intents and purposes. Legally, I'm considered an adult by age alone. I can fight for our country if I want to. I can drink. I make responsible financial decisions and I'm responsible for the life of another being. People depend on me for things. But I'm also still really into having fun. Fiancé and I play videogames and board games. I read children's books and young adult books and sci-fi and all sorts of stuff like that. I buy nerdy t-shirts and think cartoons are great.

Basically, I still indulge in what some would call "childish" things. In fact, I don't just indulge in these things, but I'm openly enthusiastic about them. These are not closet hobbies. These are part of my character.

And whenever these things come up around certain people, I get these... looks. Sometimes they are looks that say, "You're such an adorable human being for your childish ways," and sometimes they say, "Okay, but seriously. When is this going to stop? When are you going to grow up already?"

And the answer to that second one is this: I already have and I constantly am.

My childlike (there is a difference, by the way, between "childish" and "childlike" and I prefer the latter) ways are things that I don't want to lose. They are the qualities that I like best about myself.

And even if you think I am just a kid in an adult's body, what is so wrong with taking a page out of their book? Kids are happy (for the most part) and they're honest. Kids are open to new ideas and they are imaginative. Kids have fun. Who ever decided that we ought to stop doing that just because a few years have passed?

So yeah, I'm growing up, but I'm still making life a fun game for myself. Cleaning the house? It's a game. I earn points. Paying taxes? My friends and I get together for a tax party and get through it as a group with fun music and alcohol (which is not for children). Voting? If we are able, We make it a group event and we celebrate afterwards.

Because life should be fun, no matter how old you are. Fun shouldn't be a special occasion, it should be a constant priority, and advancing in age shouldn't mean decreasing the amount of fun you have. In fact, it should be quite the opposite. Your job should be fun. Your friends should be fun. Your relationships should be fun.

And you know what? You're an adult. You get to decide whatever  you want to do with your life, right? So why wouldn't you choose fun?

23 things to make you smile. Right now.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I've been making more of an effort to spread cheer and optimism over there. I don't really know what started this, but for some reason lately, I've been trying to broadcast happiness on a grand scale. Maybe it's because the headlines lately have been exhaustingly sad and rageful. Or maybe it's just because I like happy things and I honestly don't think the world can have enough happiness. Either way, yesterday, I asked people on twitter to only tweet about the good stuff happening and using the hashtag, #HappyTweets. Now, I'm not a person with a ton of followers, so this didn't take off quite as much as I'd hoped it would, but that's okay. I still managed to tweet happy things, and I'm going to keep this going, even here on the blog. So... in the event that you just need a reason to smile, here is a list of things to be happy about in spite of what the news tells us:

  1. Puppies. I tweeted about this yesterday, but how incredible is it that we live on a planet on which puppies exist? Puppies, possibly the cutest things ever, happen all the time. They're just all around. And then, on top of them being cute, THEY LOVE EVERYONE. Have you ever met a puppy that didn't want to snuggle or play? Many books have been written on the love that dogs give us, but I think puppies deserve an extra boost right now because we are so lucky to live in the same universe as them. Just soak that incredible fact in.
  2. Artists. Okay, so I'm also floored by just how amazing it is that we are living at a time when people like Jenny Lawson, Hank Green, J.K. Rowling, Hannah Hart, Ben Folds, Rainbow Rowell, etc. all create stuff that we get to enjoy and learn from. Every day, there are amazing artists of all types creating things that we just get to sit down and be like "THIS IS A THING I ENJOY" and then we get to walk away feeling inspired by those people and things they do. Especially now. Now we are in a time when content is just constantly available to us - and often for free. This brings me to the next thing...
  3. The Internet. Okay, I know: The Internet can be full of terrible people, but you know what? It's also full of amazing people and amazing communities. Before the Internet, the only people available to you were just the ones physically surrounding you. If they weren't into the same stuff you were, that was just the pits. Now? Now you get to go online and log onto some forum or social media account and say "HEY, I'M REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT FAKE LIZARDS MADE OF SAND AND WAX." and someone else could be like, "OH MY GOD, ME TOO!!" and now you have a new friend who is in a totally different country. The Internet is an amazing place for people in search of community and friendships. I met the love of my life because of the Internet. I'm able to write and have a small group of readers because of the Internet. I'm currently listening to music because of the Internet. All the jerks out there? They are nothing in comparison to the awesomeness that I find on the Internet.
  4. Books. THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES OUT THERE TO READ. FAIRY TALES AND REALISTIC FICTION AND MURDER MYSTERIES AND SCI-FI AND HISTORY. IT'S ALL OUT THERE JUST WAITING FOR YOU. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?
  5. Flowers growing through cracks in the sidewalk. This doesn't need any explanation. Tiny, delicate, beautiful things emerge and break through the toughest of materials. As cliche as it is, this metaphor is wonderful and we should all remind ourselves of it daily.
  6. Music. No matter your taste, music is out there for you to fall in love to and with. Perfectly timed melodies and beautiful lyrics come to us in all sorts of ways and we get to apply them to moments in our lives as though someone is building a soundtrack for us. I just love it.
  7. Coffee. 
  8. Your ideal weather. For me it's 77 degrees and immediately following rain. I love rain, too, now that I'm thinking about it. Sure, weather can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but when it's also kind of amazing. Just picture your perfect day, weather-wise.
  9. Details in architecture. This one comes from my bestbian, Leah. She loves walking around the city with her headphones in and just looking at buildings and trying to notice their unique details. She's the best.
  10. Having a best friend. Many of us can think of our best friend(s). That person is someone who we can call whenever and just vent to. Best friends are the people who like you anyway. They're the best.
  11. Riding trains. I'm sure many of us have different feelings about train travel, but there is something so very classic and, as Leah puts it, "British" about the experience. She and I love British things, so this is in our happy column.
  12. Good television. We are in an age of amazing television right now. Shows that are beautifully written and make us think. This is awesome. I, personally, love great dialogue. Great dialogue is great.
  13. Crawling into a made bed at the end of the day. Oh man, is there anything more relaxing?
  14. Wearing an outfit that you know you look really, really good in. Admit it. You know what outfit this is and it is the thing you feel best about yourself in. Because you are really ridiculously good looking in it and you can do anything in that outfit.
  15. Pajamas. Duh.
  16. Making other people smile. 
  17. Rivers, lakes, and oceans. Bodies of water always seem to make me happy. I don't know why, but they're lovely. I've always really liked that line from Pocahontas where she says "my favorite thing about rivers is that you can't step in the same river twice." That has always made me smile.
  18. I know I said puppies already, but let's just give a shout out to all baby animals. Baby animals are just the best.
  19. Hugs. Good hugs are great. Even if you're not a hugger, somewhere out there is a hug that you love. I believe in that.
  20. When everything is where it should be. I personally hate cleaning, but I love when everything is clean, so I force myself to go through the grueling process of getting it there because I know the reward is worth it.
  21. Checking off everything on your to-do list. I rarely get to do this every day, but man isn't it awesome when it does happen? Yes. Yes it is.
  22. Live shows. In an age of digital everything, there is something even more amazing now about seeing something live. Last night, Fiance and I were lucky enough to see Ben Folds in concert and I'm still on Cloud 9.
  23. Love. This will be my last one, because ultimately, it is the most wonderful thing in the world and it is everywhere. Sometimes we struggle to see it clearly, but at the end of the day, when you're feeling really crappy, I think it's nice to remember that love is out there. Even if you're not feeling it, I think it's nice to know that it's there. It's nice to think about what you love and who loves you in spite of yourself. I think it's nice to love yourself. It's nice to remember that there is a puppy out there who will love you. Love, as a noun and a verb, is something that constantly amazes me. The fact that we are able to love and feel loved is something truly remarkable. Random acts of kindness are random acts of love and if you really sit back and think about it, isn't that just the most lovely thing of all? I think it is.

So that's my list as of this very moment. It's incomplete and constantly changing and being added to, but I invite you to write about what makes you happy in the comments. Tweet at me with happy things using #HappyTweets. Don't let the crappy headlines win. Flood the world with joy whenever possible.

Ready? Go.

TO THE ROOF!

This week Fiancé and I discovered the joys of furniture assembly and arrangement as a couple. There was a whole lot of "No, really, the couch should go here," followed by "Oh my god, you were so right, this is all wrong, let's put it back the way it was," and then "That looks awful, doesn't it? Maybe we should just put it all on the roof and call it a day?" The biggest issue is that we live in 200-year-old tiny farm house with tiny rooms and crooked walls and we bought a bunch of modern-sized furniture from Ikea that doesn't fit in said tiny farm house with tiny rooms and crooked walls. Plus, we have double the amount of stuff now that we're living together. So, I'm suggesting we put stuff on the roof.

Fiancé: You mean the attic?

Me: What? No! It's haunted up there. I mean the roof.

Fiancé: Why?

Me: Because we have too much furniture right now.

Fiancé: So you want to put it on the roof?

Me: Yes.

Fiancé: How are you going to get to the roof?

Me: A ladder. Or magic?

Fiancé: What furniture is going up there?

Me: At least some chairs. We have too many chairs.

Fiancé: Oh, like the designer chair you got from your sister?

Me: NO! I love that chair!

Fiancé: I have a feeling that you just mean my furniture.

Me: You said it, not me.

Fiancé: I think we can put the shoe trunk on the roof. I hate that thing. It's dangerous, it smells weird, and it's impossible to find any of our shoes in there.

Me: I agree. That furniture plan did not work out. It's going on the roof.

Fiancé: Great. Except... It has all of our shoes in it. I don't want to go up on the roof without any shoes.

Me: TOO BAD IT'S ALREADY DECIDED I'M GETTING THE LADDER!

Cohabitation is going really well, you guys.

***

In other news, I wrote a piece about Book Guilt and it's over on Books, Ink's Hamlet Hub. Go check it out, but only if you want to!

Do you Litsy? You should Litsy.

If you don't love books, this will not matter to you at all. If you do love books, read on. There's this newish app that I'm in love with recently and you should know that I'm in no way being asked to or bribed to talk about it. I just love it that much.

Because it's social media for book lovers. And it's not GoodReads (which I don't use for many reasons). As many of you know, I'm a bookseller and I love talking about books, but I usually don't do so here because that's not what this blog is typically about. This is the exception. This is where I blur the lines between my goofy Internet self and my let-me-tell-you-what-I'm-reading-because-BOOKS! self. It's Litsy.

Basically it's as if Instagram and GoodReads met one night at some bookish photography thing and then that turned into drinks, which turned into a few dates, which turned into trading book recommendations via photographs, which became their relationship, and then all of that eventually led to a baby app that grew up to become it's very own awesome individual app that we should all be hanging out with.

And it's so wonderful, you guys. Every morning I wake up and I check through my various social media feeds, and by far, my favorite one is Litsy. I get all sorts of reading recommendations from people who love books. I'm following authors and seeing what they're reading. I'm mIMG_5225eeting other really bookish people on the Internet and my to-be-read list is overloaded in the best way possible. On top of that, there's this fun little game aspect to it: You can track your reading and gain "Litfluence" points based on how much you're reading and how many people are adding books to their stacks because of your reviews. So if you're into stats and improving your score, this feature is delightful.

Currently this app is only available for iOS devices, but hopefully that will be changing soon so that we can all participate in this bookish glory together. But you should totally get on this if you can and follow me over there for book stuff! In fact, let me get you started with some of my favorite accounts:

Mine: @AwkwardlyAlive

Liberty Hardy: @Liberty (You will  never read as much as her. Accept this and then read whatever she tells you to.)

Amy Stewart: @AmyStewart (As in the author of Girl Waits With Gun, which is SO GOOD!)

Rebecca Schinsky: @RebeccaSchinsky (Fabulously smart)

K.D. Winchester: @kdwinchester (She reads the most interesting things!!) 

So go and download this app, follow me and all these lovely readers, and let's start chatting about books! BECAUSE BOOKS!

 

My friends think quite highly of me. Obviously.

A conversation I just had with a friend who we will call "Turtles McGee": Me: Is it weird if I go see Rosewater by myself?

Turtles McGee: I think that'd be pretty cool.

Me: Except my theater isn't playing it. :(

Turtles McGee: Well...it'd be weird to sit in the movie theatre alone pretending you're watching Rosewater.

Me: Um... that would be awesome. Let's be real. You know you would want to know more about that person.

Turtles McGee: I'd want to know what they thought of Rosewater.... and yeah, I'd probably get a cup of coffee with them.

Me: I'm just picturing myself sitting in an empty theater, staring at the blank screen for 2 hours and going through a wide range of emotions while eating popcorn.

Turtles McGee: That...actually sounds pretty standard for you.

***

In other news... there's a new Page Break episode. Watch it here: