Adventures of the charmingly odd

What’s the Buzz #4: “But One Thousand Years Ain’t Enough to Tear Down Your Walls”

These posts used to be called “Coffee & GChat”, a weekly(ish) post on how I’m spending my time. That has now turned into “What’s the Buzz” posts! You can read the last one here. Mostly I ramble about the things I’m obsessed with lately.

Such as yesterday, I put my steam rollers in my hair for the first time in ages! (It’s hard to muster up the energy to look presentable when you’re on crutches. Paired with my every growing Besame Cosmetics make up collection, I was able to pull off a very vintage vibe last night.

Life

One goal I have right now is to really clean out all the JUNK I have. I’ve always been a collector, saving souvenirs from every experience that meant something to me. Or collecting things that go along with movies & books I love. As a result- I have so much stuff and I want to get rid of 90% of it. I live in such organized chaos and beloved clutter but I want to be more simplistic. I’ve sold some things on eBay, Etsy, and Poshmark but the app only service, Mercari, is by far the BEST. There are no fees, like eBay has, and there’s a lot of users which means I’ve already been able to sell a bunch of stuff. I might also just post some things on a page here on my blog in case any of you are interested. Or join Mercari- I 100% recommend it for selling things AND to find unique things you’ve been looking for. Use code “DMCDYQ” to get $2 towards your first purchase!

Roller Derby

0be6110c7fcaadb01ac8b60b08520b9fIt’s now been 3 1/2 weeks since I broke my leg at derby practice. Boy, let me tell you how much I am loathing these crutches. I hate not being able to walk AND carry things at the same time. I hate how much effort it is to do anything, especially shower or work. I’m also not sleeping well because I move around a lot in my sleep, which leads to me moving my foot, which causes a sharp pain up my leg and well, repeat that process a million times a night and see how exhausted you are the next day. There does seem to be more pain on the inside of my ankle (I broke my leg on the outside of my ankle) which leads me to believe I might have severely sprained something….which is not good. Ugh. I have an MRI on Thursday to see exactly what’s going on. I miss skating so much but my mind is having a constantly struggle of “Is roller derby worth all this pain, inconvenience, and losing money due to me not being able to work as much?” If I got 100% healthy again only to get hurt again skating, I would lose my mind. I have no idea what I’m going to do anymore. I did buy these hilarious stickers for my crutches though….

Reading

Honestly, I haven’t been reading much other than rereading “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes a LOT in the past couple of weeks. It’s one of those books that I’ve just kept in my bag and whenever I have free time I read a chapter or two. Something about this book really captivated me, providing comfort in how stressed out my personal life has been lately. Things with Steve are perfect, I assure you, but there are other things going on that is causing me so much anxiety and I’m having a hard time handling it. But this book makes me so happy <3. If you’ve read “Me Before You” and have any recommendations for books like it, please let me know! The closest books I can compare it to is “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger or all other books by Jojo Moyes.

Watching

The_white_queenI’m still not allowed to put any weight on my broken leg and I’m supposed to keep it elevated as much as possible, which means I’m watching a ton of television shows. So far I’ve caught up on season 2 of “Outlander”, all of “The Girlfriend Experience”, and all of “The White Queen” (thanks Starz on demand!). “The White Queen” was amazing and I highly recommend it to everyone. It’s based off of a series of books by Philippa Gregory called The Cousins’ War (The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter) and was done extraordinarily well. The acting, production quality, and writing are all superb. The leading actress, Rebecca Ferguson, is memorizing. She won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Miniseries for playing Queen Elizabeth on this show and her performance is a force to be reckon with.  If you’re a Game of Thrones fan but prefer to have more of a historical fiction feel than fantasy-you’ll absolutely love it. It’s along the same vein as Pillars of the Earth, another favorite of mine. What’s even BETTER is that Starz recently announced that they are in production for the sequel to “The White Queen”, titled “The White Princess” according to Entertainment Weekly. YAYAYAYAY!!!

Listening To

My brother is notorious for his fantastic taste in music. So when he recommends a band or brings home a new CD, everyone in my family gives it a shot. 99% of the time he’s correct. The newest band I love that he’s told me about is Yukon Blonde, a group of Canadian guys. Their song “1,000 Years” is currently on repeat for me.

Super catchy! Check out more about them on their website here.

 House Keeping

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I was interview by Melissa over on Talking Comics on how much Peggy Carter means to me! Here is the beginning of the interview:

MM: So, I’m interested in particular in fans who develop a special sort of personal connection to a fictional character. I’m not talking ‘favorites’, but a character who influences your life or experiences in some significant way. Do you have a connection like that?

ZG: Peggy Carter immediately captured me, before the first Captain America movie came out. So much so that I cosplayed as her at the movie premiere at San Diego Comic Con 2011.

MM: Why Peggy Carter?

ZG: The two obvious reasons are: she is from the WWII era, which is a specialty of mine and she looks like me. This is an example of where representation matters. I’ve always been bigger than a size 4, with broad shoulders and strong jaw, much like Peggy. I had never seen an actress with the same body type as me before.

The other reasons would be that she is an outsider in her field because she’s a woman, and what woman hasn’t felt like she’s being underestimated as a result of her gender? Also, she had a heart of gold, which I strive for.  She loved Steve Roger before his transformation, before he became Captain America.

Check out the rest of the interview here!

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What’s the Buzz #2: “There’s No Such Things as an Ass Cast”

These posts used to be called “Coffee & GChat”, a weekly(ish) post on how I’m spending my time. That has now turned into “What’s the Buzz” posts! You can read the last one here.

Roller Derby

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The CJ Roller Vixens! I’m the awkwardly tall one who didn’t realize everyone wore black except for her)

Since I started roller derby boot camp last month, it has now consumed my life in the best possible way! No doubt that it’s going to become a regular staple in my life so it’s only fair that it has it’s own category now. This Sunday marks my 6th and final week of boot camp with the Central Jersey Roller Vixens! After this practice I sign some papers, pay my first month of dues, and then I’m officially part of the team! Anyone who has known me either personally or online knows that roller derby has been a dream of mine for years. 4 years ago I even bought skates and gear and would practice in Central Park with the intention of trying out for New York City’s Gotham Girl’s Roller Derby team.

But then I fell and got hurt and saw countless doctors for years and sued the store I fell at and etc etc. However, last year I got my nerve pain under control and decided- fuck it! I’m not going to let this stupid disease hold me back. (Just two days ago my doctor told me flat out I should not be doing derby and I sheepishly shrugged and said, “Whatever, it means me happy so I won’t stop.”)

The only injury I’ve had since starting is falling pretty bad on my tailbone, bruising it on Valentine’s Day. It hurt so bad that I told Steve I couldn’t take my pants off sooooo that lingerie I bought would have to wait hahaha. It still is sore but bruised tailbones take 6-8 weeks to heal properly.

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Pan is wondering why I was wearing skates in the house instead of giving her treats

Last night I put my skates on in my house for the first time to practice some footwork. Maybe it was the close proximity of couches, but I was able to get the hang of skating backwards and transitioning stopping for the first time!! Roller derby is really scary so for someone like me (hellooooo anxiety disorder!) and I get very in my head during practice, which is the hardest part so far.

But every moment I don’t have skates on, I wish that I did. And if that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.

Reading

Since the last post, I’ve binge read two books that I was absolutely obsessed with. This hardly ever happens with two books in a row! And magically enough, they were both already on my kindle. I bought them about 6 months ago and then never got past the first couple of pages. The first one was “The Last Letter from Your Lover” by Jojo Moyes. This is the same author as “Me Before You” and “Me After You”, both of which I devoured in 4 days. When I realized I had another Moyes book already in my library, I decided to give it another shot-THANK GOD. “Last Letter” was heartbreaking in the best way. It took place in post WWII Europe and featured romance, sex, politics, social classes, and all that good stuff. One plot twist made me gasp out loud and talk to an empty room on how amazing this book was.

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The other book was “The Paying Guests” by Sarah Waters. I was tempted to buy all of Moyes’s other books but I told myself that I should at least give the books I have one more shot. “The Paying Guests” started out incredible slow, but not for lack of good writing. Waters’s style is very detailed, rich with descriptions of living in 1922. About 40 pages in, nothing exciting had happened yet. I honestly had to Google the book to see if it was worth finishing. I found out about the unexpected romance that was about to happen in the story, so I stayed on. Once the pacing picked up, I couldn’t put down the goddamn book. I sat for 5 hours Monday night finishing the nearly 600 page novel. If gothic thriller, lesbian romance, murder mystery is your thing- look no further!

Watching

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I finished catching up on Zooey Deschanel’s “New Girl” and then binge read 4 books. Last night was the first time I watched something all week and of course I decided to check out the Netflix Original “Love”. Created by Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin, it stars Gillian Jacobs and Rust as two down on their luck in love 30 somethings. The writing and originality of the characters immediately drew me in. I’m a fan of Apatow’s previous tv shows, especially Freaks and Geeks and I like seeing some of the same actors he’s worked with in the past show up here. Jacob’s character Mickey in an early episode takes Ambien and goes to weird midnight church meeting and it made me loyal to her Mickey for life. ( You may already know about my great love for Ambien despite the hallucinations I’ve had on it. Ever heard my drag racing story while on Ambien? Ask me about it sometime-it’s hilarious.) (I should also mention that I have a real prescription for Ambien from a real doctor for my anxiety induced insomnia.) The show is awesome-check it out!

Wishing

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Since started Roller Derby, I quickly realized that at some point soon I’m going to have to buy better skates. Better quality boots, better bearings and wheels, and overall better for safety and performance. My parents were awesome and got me the high end body gear from Triple 8 so all that’s left to upgrade are some quads! I have my eye on Riedell’s Wicked 265 Rival Skates (found here). SO badass!

And Then Some Housekeeping

 

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I launched a Patreon! I know it may sound silly, since I’m not an artist or musician or someone that produces more substantial material. But since launching my own account I’ve played with it more to find out how to approach it that’s best for me AND for people who may want to support me in my adventures! I figured out that I’m going to treat my Patreon and a platform to blog about my life in between Twitter and my blog.

Twitter is usually for spur of the moment musing and things I’m up to. My blog posts are usually much longer and detailed. Patreon will be daily mini blog posts (much shorter than here but longer than 140 characters) that feature pictures not on Instagram or Twitter! I’ve capped the rewards at $5+ a month because asking for more sounds ridiculous.

If you’re interested, please do check out my Patreon here! The money goes directly to paying my derby dues, to hosting my blog site, and paying for all the anxiety prescription drugs I’m currently on. (Seven! Seven a day!) So if you want to hear more about my daily crazy life, check it out!

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“Navigate the Stars to Bring Us Back Home.”

A year ago today I moved back to New Jersey from living in Manhattan, New York City for a few years. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always written about how Manhattan was my dream and once I moved there I would never, ever leave. But as you can read about in previous posts, it was not everything I had dreamed it would be.

I returned to Jersey on a sunny, beautiful Monday morning. I remember waiting in Penn Station with the last of my stuff and feeling like a failure that I didn’t “make it” in the city. Suddenly a massive overhead light & beams fell from the ceiling, nearly impaling the two college kids next to me. I took it as a sign that it was time for me to go home, New York and I were no longer getting along.

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(Thanks Facebook for the ironic reminders.)

I returned to my parent’s house broken, depressed, and completely lost. I had loved living on the Upper West Side and I loved my job at a cat hospital. But I was in the most toxic relationship (honestly, picture the worst relationship ever, and that’s the situation I was in). I needed to get away from that because no matter how much I loved New York City, it would not save me from the downward spiral I was slipping into.

I moved home and for a month I laid in bed watching movies, recovering, and feeling safe for what felt like the first time in years. I had the lowest self esteem, which comes from being in a relationship where your significant other constantly puts you down, telling you that you aren’t thin or pretty or grown up enough. I felt like nobody in the world could possibly love me.

But in the past year I met the most incredible guy, Steve (which I won’t go into because I could talk about how amazing he is for days but then his friends would only tease him for it so I won’t.) But more importantly, I found myself back in Jersey more than I ever did in New York.

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In the past year I found a job that I hated and had the guts enough to quit on the spot. Then I found another amazing job working at an animal hospital that I’m in love with. I also learned how to drive which I NEVER THOUGHT WOULD HAPPEN IN A MILLION YEARS. But when your boyfriend lives 40 minutes away, a girl does what she has to do. Plus I bought my dream car (a bright yellow Mini Cooper) and learned how to drive a stick shift, WHICH I ALSO THOUHT WOULD NEVER EVER HAPPEN.

However, most importantly, I found my self worth. I slowly learned that I was worth it. That I didn’t have to be stick thin to be found attractive (my huge boobs and curvy butt are super hot, man). That just being was fucking enough. That took a lot of work, with myself, with a psychiatrist, and most importantly with Steve, to figure that out.

So in honor of this past year, I got a new tattoo week. It’s of the constellation Ursa Major, also known as the Big Dipper. The Big Dipper is one of the most well known constellation, and not even my favorite one (which is Andromeda), but it holds a lot of symbolism to me.

Growing up, the Big Dipper could always be seen right above my house. So as a kid I thought that no matter how far away I went, if I could see the Big Dipper, I could always find my way home. You can’t see the stars in New York City due to light pollution, and ever since I moved home, I’ve been able to truly dig deep into astronomy as a hobby, something I’ve always wanted.

On top of that, last weekend I saw “Finding Neverland” on Broadway and one of the songs, “Neverland” features the lyrics “

“Whenever I was frightened
If I ever felt alone
I’d turn to the night sky
And a star I call my own

Somewhere I could run to
Just across the Milky Way
If you’d like, I could take you
It’s just a light-year and a day

We could sail away tonight
On a sea of pure moonlight
We could navigate the stars
To bring us back home.”

I started bawling in the theater. The idea of following the stars to lead you home resonated so deeply with me. I knew I had to get the tattoo as soon as I could. So that Monday I went and got this:

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It’s on the back of my right arm, right above the the elbow. It’s gorgeous and I love it so, so much. Right now it’s in it’s ugly, peeling, healing phase so I’ll post a picture when it’s all pretty looking again. But I adore it, and it makes me happy.

I’ve never been happier in my life. Thank the stars a year ago I left what I thought I had always wanted and did what I was afraid to do most. I’ll forever be grateful I moved back home.

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Getaway Part I: The Drive Down

 So once upon a time, I fell and a result I now have this and so this happened. It was over a year of quite miserable things on top of dealing with a nerve disorder for life. So as soon as I was monetarily compensated for the accident, I planned a vacation as I had always wanted to, a gift to myself for all the shit I dealt with. After some research I found a place in Virginia called Primland that has an Observatory! It was a perfect destination for two amateur astronomers such as ourselves. I wouldn’t want to go with anyone other than Steve (because he knows how to pump gas, unlike most people in NJ because it’s illegal to pump your own gas here) so he was stuck coming with me.

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I was insistant on buying a real map to bring with us on our 8 hour road trip to Primland. I have a notoriously bad time with Google Maps or giving people directions in general so I bought a great big map and used it for most of the way. It came in great handy when we were sort of lost in the mountains with no cell service at one point.

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Steve’s main goal for this trip was eating as much delicious BBQ as possible. As we started to get hungry on the way down, I Googled best local BBQ and found a tiny hole in the way in Lexington, VA right near Washington & Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute called “Beame Up BBQ and Cafe”. It was owned by a man named Scottie and was apparently named to reference an old Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk goes, “Beam me up, Scotty. There’s no good BBQ on this planet.”

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Steve got a brisket sandwich while I ordered my first ever pulled pork sandwich. As a former vegetarian it was delicious but a bit overwhelming. Steve had his fair share of brisket over the course of the week, and he declares that this was still the best BBQ of it all. Scottie and Robin, as seen above, were extremely welcoming and Robin wouldn’t let us leave without trying her banana pudding she made herself and it was amazing.

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At some point we drove past this abandoned general store and Steve insisted on turning around to take a photo of it. I was so creeped out that I insisted on staying in the car in case demons or ghosts or gypsies showed up.

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Below is the outcome of his photographic ventures and it’s quite stunning. (click image to see bigger, it’s worth it!)

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After a bit (a lot) more driving we finally exited interstate 81 onto route 8 which was one of the most insane roads we have ever been on. I wish I could have taken photos that would better convey how tight the turns and deep the dips in the road were. Many of them were on cliffs as well, to add to the adrenaline. We were laughing so hard at the absurdity of it. Steve swears he’s coming back down just to ride his motorcycle on it.

On the way to Primland is Lover’s Leap, a place I saw on my (real) map that I wanted to stop at. According to Virigina.org, “Legend has it that the son of a settler saw the twinkle in the eyes of the Chief’s daughter, Morning Flower, and was immediately love-struck. The couple began to meet secretly and their love continued to grow. The young man and Indian maiden were threatened and shunned. With the beautiful rock and wildflowers as their backdrop, they jumped into the wild blue yonder ensuring they would be together forever.” I liked how countless couples had stopped by over time and wrote their names on the rocks on the edge of the cliff. If we had had markers on us, we definitely would have added ours to the collection.

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After a very long day of driving, we finally made it to the property at Primland! It has 12,000 acres of gorgeous land right on the Blue Ridge mountains. To even get to the Lodge, the main building, we had to drive 6 miles for the entrance gate! Apparently Primland has an excess Honey Badger population. (or bears, or whatever.)

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And then we reached our home for the next couple of days:

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To be continued in future posts.

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All photos taken by either Zoë Gulliksen or Steven Shulze.

The Most Devoted of All Birds Nesters

I will not be posting for the rest of the week due to my staying at a treehouse! But have no fear, I will not leave you wanting. I would like to take a moment to give a shout out to my most devoted of all readers, who never fail to let everyone know I’ve talked about Steve.

Here’s to you Niko, Hefty, and Globert. Plus some of Steve thrown in for good measure.

 

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All photos taken by Andrew Yaniuk.

Zoe

The Things They Don’t Teach You at School

“I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.”

 Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones

They don’t teach you that your first kiss doesn’t have to perfect. They don’t teach you that when you’re sixteen and you get to third base for the first time, that it’s okay to feel bored by the whole thing. They don’t teach you that most people can’t be trusted and that just because someone is older than you, it doesn’t mean that they know better than you do.

They don’t teach you that it’s okay to not love someone that you did the day before. They don’t teach you how to protect yourself from getting hurt. They don’t teach you how to trust again once you were hurt.

They teach you how to recognize a heart attack but not a panic attack.

They don’t teach you how important it is to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. They don’t teach you that so much of what you’ll need to know can be found in movies, not textbooks. They don’t teach you to watch Spielberg or Coppola or Fincher or to read Pullman or Rowling or Martin.

 They don’t teach you how to pay bills or how to do your taxes or how to tell if the apartment you’re signing a lease for is a scam. They don’t teach you that a company that has an open bar from 9 to 5 probably isn’t actually a good place to work.

They don’t teach how to put your guard up. They don’t teach you how some songs will haunt you forever. They don’t teach how to handle all the emotions you feel. The Pythagorean Theorem has never helped me in my life, but if someone had taught me how to point out warning signs in a relationship, it would have saved years of heart break.

They don’t teach you how to put your guard down. They don’t teach you how to figure out what kind of sex you like, and how you like it, and that it’s okay to like it however you want. They don’t teach you that you don’t need other people but wanting people is okay. They don’t teach you that loving someone is just as scary as not being loved.

They don’t teach you how to be a good friend or a better girlfriend or a daughter someone can be proud of. They don’t teach you that not everyone has to like you.  They don’t teach you how to comfort your mind when your body is failing you. They don’t teach you that it’s okay to just stay home from work when you’re feeling mentally exhausted.

They don’t teach you how to breathe.
Or that standing in the snow is healing,
Or that just being held cures sadness.

That being loved can teach you how to love yourself.

That happiness can be found in money because it provides security and sweaters and coffee, but that happiness is mostly found on Sunday mornings
In front of a fireplace, with a good book, and someone next to you.

Zoe

To Kindle or Not To Kindle

About 5 years ago I was working at Barnes and Noble (I worked there for all 4 years of college) and my favorite part of the job was to buy back textbooks at the end of each semester. Sometimes we’d buy back these books that cost hundreds of dollars, but plenty of times we didn’t and the students would tell us to just throw them out or whatever because they never wanted to see that Biological Warfare of the Human Genome (or something equally horrifying) again. Anyway, I would take this discarded books and sell them to Amazon, sometimes for tons of money. (I don’t feel guilty, should I feel guilty?)

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Now, I had all this Amazon credit and I was sitting at the kitchen table in the breakfast nook of my aunt’s house on a river in Delaware, seriously contemplating for the 1st time if I should get a Kindle or not. I had the money, should I take the plunge?

My parents were big supporters of my getting a Kindle. Every summer when we would go to Hawaii, my suitcase was half filled with books to read on the beach after a morning of surfing. They were tired of paying extra baggage fees to account for my library.

But I was a snob! I was purveyor of the page! How could I ever abandon my bookstore and the smell of a brand new book? I ended up not getting one that summer, but for the last 5 years I’ve debated taking the plunge into the world of eBooks.

I had a soft introduction a couple years ago when I downloaded the ’50 Shades of Grey’ books onto the Kindle app on to my iPad. My excuse was that I was commuting on the train into Manhattan and I didn’t want everyone to know I was reading porn. But I hated reading stuff on my iPad: it was too big and bulky and I was too tempted to check the Internet instead of read.

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In the last couple of months, my reading has decreased significantly. By my house in New Jersey, there aren’t ANY bookstores which depresses the shit out of me. And I’m back in a small room (oh, the woes of moving back home in your mid twenties! Curse you, cliche romantic comedy scenario!) so I don’t have that much room to keep buying books. My grandfather built me huge bookshelves but they’re full and my floor is covered with stack and stacks of books. I just don’t have enough room.

Plus, these days I’m never home. I go to work and on the weekends I’m usually off doing stuff with Steve and I always forget to bring a book. And so, I came to the conclusion that perhaps, a Kindle would do me good. I mentioned it a lot on Twitter, and my friend Isabel told me she had a brand new Kindle, still in the plastic, that she would sell me for $20 if I wanted. I jumped at the chance!

Now, I’ve had it for a few weeks and I must admit: I really really like it. I basically love it.

Pros

1.) It’s so easy to see a book recommendation online and buy it instantly from Amazon. So good for me, so bad for my wallet.

2.) I’m finally using my library again! I’ve always hated using libraries because I never, ever remember to return books. I’ve single handled supported my local library with late fees all during middle school and high school. But with the Kindle, I can borrow eBooks from the library, without ever leaving my house. No late fees! Instant gratification! Plus, I still have my library account for the New York Public Library, so I can borrow books from them as well. (Sorry for mooching NYPL!)

3.) I can read books from NetGalley! So far I’ve been approved for a ton of books and I’m currently reading ‘The Magician’s Lie” by Greer Macallister, which I’m loving.

4.) I’ve read way more in the past few weeks that I have in ages. Which really, isn’t that the point?

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Cons

1.) If I really love a book, I can’t keep it on my shelf and I can’t underline my favorite quotes, which I do obsessively. However, I’m trying to combat this by making sure I buy hard copies of books by my favorite authors or books I had a strong feeling I’ll love.

2.) I look like one of those douches in the Amazon ads in the NY Times Book Review with a little black piece of plastic instead of a REAL BOOK. But I’ll get over it, I guess.

3.) Again, bad for my wallet. So bad for my wallet.

Conclusion: I admittedly love my Kindle and I’m going to use the hell out of it.

Do you bookish folk use a Kindle? Love it or hate it?

Zoe

A Side Note on Life

Hello guys!

Christmas is only a week away! I can’t believe this year is so close to being over, it’s certainly been one of the most exciting, difficult, and interesting years of my life. The first half was not fun in the least but the second half was quite amazing. I’m really excited to see what 2015 brings my way. =)

I’ve already finished my Christmas shopping but I’m still finding little things that I want to give to my family and friends. Mara already received her Christmas package in the mail and she loved it, which just makes me filled to the brim with happiness. The gift I was most excited to give her were these little gold earrings I found from Francesca’s that look exactly like Sailor Venus’s mask. I’ve tried finding an image of them online but I haven’t been able to. I’m sure if you tweet at her (her handle is @MegaMaraMon) she will send you a picture of them.

I’m also especially proud of what I got Steve for Christmas, of which I’ll definitely brag about after he opens his gifts. I often wish I was exceedingly wealthy, just so that every time I see something I know a friend will love, I could buy it for them and send it their way.

I just want to take a moment, and acknowledge how happy I am. For so long I was really unhappy. (Clinically depressed as the diagnoses went) And though my nerve disorder has only gotten worse, my mental health is a thousand times better than where I was mere months ago.

The root of this happiness is 100% due to the people in my life. While I loved living in New York City with every fiber of my being, I was not surrounded by the right people. (Except for working at the cat hospital, I had fantastic co-workers there and except for when I worked in as a tutor to the girl WHO LIVED ACROSS THE HALL FROM KEVIN BACON). But I was dating someone who just wasn’t good for me or to me. After being in a relationship like that, you easily appreciate people who are good.

So this holiday season I am grateful for my family, whom I am very close with. My siblings are two of my best friends and they make me laugh so unbelievably much. My brother quotes every James Franco/Seth Rogen movie with gusto and my sister, well, she is currently causing quite a stir that everyone appreciates. =)

I am grateful for Mara, who is the best friend I’ve ever had! This month is our two year BFF Anniversary and I wouldn’t have gotten through the past two years without her. She is hilarious and more intelligent than I am (which is a wonderful quality to have in a best friend) and she gives the best advice imaginable. Plus, who else would talk with me so excessively about sex in manga or quote LOTR aggressively at the drop of a hat?

I am grateful to Twitter! I am grateful to have a place online to send my happiness/frustration/sadness/random thoughts out into the void and have such wonderful people respond. I’ve met most of my favorite people off of Twitter and every day you guys never fail to make me smile. Thank you for venting along with me about movies, sharing your geeky posts, sending me otter pictures, and overall being amazing.

And most of all, I am grateful to Steve. I know there’s only so much I can write about him on here without you and him (and his friends who stalk this blog gleefully!) get tired of hearing about my relationship but screw you, it’s my blog, I can swoon if I want to!

You see, I’ve spent my whole life thinking there was a very good chance I would never marry. I hated the idea of being with someone who held me back, who didn’t make me happy. I dreaded waking up on my wedding day and worrying that I was making a mistake. In every relationship, I’ve always had this gut feeling, knowing that this guy was not the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

And that is a horrible feeling to live with.

But then this guy came along with his football watching and his motorcycle riding and knowing nothing about Star Wars and against all odds, he is without a doubt my other half. I love him. I tell him a hundred times a day and I sound like a broken record, but I’ve never been in love before and this is amazing! Now I get all the movies and the crappy songs and it’s wonderful. Being so wholly enamored by one person is quite amazing.

If you are reading this and you are in a relationship that you are unsure about, please take this as your sign from the Universe. If you are unhappy or feel that you are being treated poorly by your partner: LEAVE. I had to leave New York City to get away from mine and it was horrible and painful but I swear to god it was worth every moment. You deserve better, you deserve to be happy.

There is someone out there for you! Try Tinder, it worked out really well for me =P No matter how scary it seems, you can change the parts of your life that you don’t like. I am eternally grateful I did, and trust me, one day you will be too.

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Zoe

What Nora Said: “Everything is Copy”

I never really had role models growing up. I loved fictional characters, such as Dorothy in Frank L. Baum’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ and Lyra Silvertounge from ‘His Dark Materials’. But I never felt the need to look to someone else for advice until I was in my late teens, and even then I was grasping at matchsticks. Until I figured out who Nora Ephron was. For years she had been guiding me along my way and I didn’t even know it.


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Nora wrote about everything that is important to me: relationships, insecurities, writing, movies, and New York City. As The New York Times said, “Nora Ephron can write about anything better than anybody else can write about anything.” And they were right. 

For the uninformed, Nora Ephron was a journalist, screenwriter, director, and fabulous cook. She wrote the screenplays for When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail as well as directing the last two.

When it was announced that Ephron had passed away on June 26th, 2012, I was overwhelmed by the news. I remember sitting at my brand new desk at my fancy new job in NoHo, New York City. I had only gotten there because she inspired me to. My favorite move was You’ve Got Mail and I moved to the Upper West Side solely because of that movie. My goals in life were centered around her work. Nora died of pneumonia, a complication resulting from acute myeloid leukemia, and only those closets to her knew she even had it. Up until her final weeks she was writing and working with her sister Delia, never wanting to stop.

713tRhOhrhL._UY250_The following year, a compilation of the best of the best of her work was published, titled ‘The Most of Nora Ephron’. It’s over 550 pages in a stunning hardback. Some people have a bible, I bring this book everywhere. When I moved from New York City back to Jersey, I mailed all my books home. But on my final train leaving Manhattan, it was this book I kept in my personal bag.

I have tweeted countless times: “All the answers in life, can be found in a Nora Ephron essay.” And so, one of the ongoing themed posts on this blog will be: “What Nora Said”. This first one is of her famous motto: “Everything is copy”.

Nora inherited this line from her mother, Pheobe, who told them this hoping they would learn that no matter what happened to you in life, it’s just material for your writing. When Nora was 7 months pregnant with her second child with her second husband, she found out he was cheating on her with the wife of the British Ambassador to the United States. Instead of calling it quits in life, she turned it into a novel titled Heartburn which was then turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. She yeah, she had something really fucked up happen to her, but she also turned it into phenomenal writing.

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Everything is copy. When something happens in my life, usually bad, I turn to this advice to settle my mind and look at the bigger picture. “You fell and wrecked your arm and now you’re going insane? Write about it.” “Get your heart broken by a philosophy major? Turn him into a detective and write about it.” “The man you love is living with the woman he used to love? Well you were already writing about it, you might as well accept irony and keep going at it.”

Basically, fuck the shitty situation and turn it into a brilliant novel. People only live for so long, but words in print are forever.

Zoe

What Next?

When I moved back to New Jersey in the spring, I spent a lot of time trying out meditation and reading about Buddhism. I am not one for religion, but I admired the ethics Buddhism taught.

There was one story in particular that really stuck with me:

om“The Buddha was sitting under a tree talking to his disciples when a man came and spit on his face. He wiped it off, and he asked the man, “What next? What do you want to say next?” The man was a little puzzled because he himself never expected that when you spit on somebody’s face, he will ask, “What next?” He had no such experience in his past. He had insulted people and they had become angry and they had reacted. Or if they were cowards and weaklings, they had smiled, trying to bribe the man. But Buddha was like neither, he was not angry nor in any way offended, nor in any way cowardly. But just matter-of-factly he said, “What next?” There was no reaction on his part.

“If you think on it deeply,” Buddha said to his companions, “he has spit on his own mind. I am not part of it, and I can see that this poor man must have something else to say because this is a way of saying something. Spitting is a way of saying something. There are moments when you feel that language is impotent: in deep love, in intense anger, in hate, in prayer. There are intense moments when language is impotent. Then you have to do something. When you are angry, intensely angry, you hit the person, you spit on him, you are saying something. I can understand him. He must have something more to say, that’s why I’m asking, “What next?” “

This story resonated with me more than any story I was taught in all my years at Catholic school. Simply put, it means: What others say to you and about you has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you. Of course, this lesson isn’t anything new. But anytime someone says something horrible to me online or in person or through the grapevine, I now react with a sense of calm that I haven’t before. Because now instead of taking things personally, I think “Okay, what next?”

Zoe

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