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 #3: “You & Me In British Racing Green”

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.

It’s been quite a LONG time since I’ve blogged-but isn’t that what happens when life gets in the way-you’re too busy living to record it all down. Lots of wonderful things have happened, such as kicking ASS in roller derby and working hard at a job I love. I’ve also been writing my novel, reading good books, and watching great television. So let’s get more into that, shall we?

Roller Derby

It’s been just short 4 months since I started skating and now I can’t picture my life without roller derby. Growing up the only sport I ever did was swim, since that’s the sport my parents did up until high school. I have exceptional form when swimming and I can surf some waves, but land sports? Get the fuck out of here. I have zero coordination and I hate being sweaty. When it comes to roller skating (quad skates, not roller blades), I’m still uncoordinated and I still hate being sweaty but when I’m skating I don’t notice those things anymore.

For the first solid month of practice, every time I stepped out on the rink I felt like I had Bambi legs. I was terrified of falling for the initial couple of minutes and then I’d get used to it and hesitantly get into the groove. Now I can throw my skates and pads on and dash out on the rink like it’s no big deal.

The first game of the season was on April 16th but I did not skate in it. I felt that I was not ready: I wasn’t a strong enough skater and I didn’t think I would be able to take hits. I’m glad I waited because one of my friends ended up getting hurt bad enough to stop the game completely while EMTs checked her out. Plus two other teammates tore their PCL and MCL during the game as well. I’ll talk more about this in a future post but in short I’m glad I was a referee instead of skating. My team’s next game isn’t until July and I know by then I’ll be ready to compete.

I even want to be a jammer <insert shocked emoji>. A jammer is typically the least wanted position but I love jamming so damn much. Here is a video better explaining what I’m talking about:

Roller Derby: The Basics of Flat Track Roller Derby

WFTDA 2012 Championship Highlight Reel

Reading

13096132_10206644038447263_4568007611649140769_nAfter binge reading nearly all of Jojo Moye’s books in the last couple of months, plus rereading  “Me Before You” and “After You”, I decided I needed a change of pace. Thankfully, my darling friend Sarah sent me “Furious Love” by by Sam Kashner & Nancy Schoenberger about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. As you all probably know by now, I’ll devour anything about old Hollywood. I love biographies/autobiographies but it’s hard to find well written ones that offer an unbiased view on the subject at hand. I’m about 50 pages in at this point and it’s already on my list of favorites. I haven’t read many books on Elizabeth Taylor so I was slightly surprised to learn that her health, sense of time, and love life was as sporadic as Marilyn Monroe. It’s sad for her as a human being but makes for highly entertaining reading.

Watching

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Guys. Have you watched “11/22/63” yet? HAVE YOU? It’s on Hulu only and if you don’t have a Hulu subscription the show is only 8 episodes long, which you can easily watch in the 30 Day free trial they offer. It’s based off of the book written by Stephen King about a man who travels back in time to try and stop the JFK assassination. James Franco plays the main character, Jake, and does an excellent job in the dramatic role. (See! He can be talented even when he’s not making penis jokes. Though I love when he does make penis jokes too.) Some of the show’s producers include Franco, King, and JJ Abrams so it’s no surprise the quality is outstanding. From the set and costume design to the writing and cinematography- everything is on the same level as an academy award winning movie. Think “Shawkshank Redemption”, which is no stretch since Frank Darabont’s film was also based on a King story.

And Then Some Housekeeping

Life is good lately. I saw my psychiatrist today for my monthly check in so she can refill my anxiety meds and for the first time in a long time nothing had to be changed. I don’t have any qualms about talking about my mental health online-it’s the same as any other chronic illness! It’s taken well over a year to finally find the right combination of medication that makes me feel balanced. It is never easy to do this because everybody reactions to chemicals in different ways and how one drug makes me feel is the complete opposite of how somebody else feels. For me, I have to take an Ambien to sleep or else I have terrible nightmares (which has been a reoccurring problem since childhood) along with a Klonopin at night. In the morning I take Pristq as a mood stabilizer with Cyclobenzaprine for my nerve pain. Xanax is always on hand for random anxiety attacks. People are so quick to tell me I need to “learn to relax” when they are told I have an anxiety disorder. You wouldn’t tell someone who had IBS or Arthritis to “do some yoga and your body will heal itself”. So I will shout it from the roof tops- thank god for science so I don’t have to have panic attacks when meeting new people or while driving!

It’s 11:30pm and I want to fit in a few more chapters of reading before bed, so I’ll end this now. If my intentions come to fruition you’ll be reading more blog posts by me soon enough!

XO Zoë

7 Things of Late

Hey guys!

Things have been full of busy life things lately, and I since I’m feeling under the weather & couch bound, I thought I’d give you guys an update!

1.) My new year’s resolution this year was to simple take care of myself. The last couple of years I hadn’t been doing that and I was not where I wanted to be mentally or physically. So I bit the bullet and went out on a quest to find doctors that I liked. Thankfully a friend referred me to an amazing psychiatrist (which is incredibly hard to find), who diagnosed me with an anxiety disorder (no surprise there). She put me on the correct cocktail of medications that actually lets me function like a normal person, such as sleep without nightmares & not have daily panic attacks. Most importantly, the nausea I had been feeling for over a year was due to stress and once I was not having attacks everyday, I stopped feeling sick all the time. Between that and the ability to not stress over every single detail in my life made an incredible difference. I’m able to focus on eating healthy and not just to curb my nauseousness.

Plus I’ve always had bad headaches, but they’ve increased in the past year so I saw a chiropractor, which did not help. However I did see an ENT who asked for a CAT scan of my sinuses and low and behold!- I have a severely deviated septum, a bone spur, and turbinate dysfunction. Meaning my nose is all crocked and the glands surrounding them are so swollen that they are putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on my face thus, sinus these migraines so bad I can’t see out of my right eye. I’m having surgery this Wednesday to correct all that nonsense which means weeks of recovery but years of no more migraines ahead of me.

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Things on my CRPS nerve disorder front are not going nearly as well. I’ve tried a few new pain management doctors since moving back to Jersey and none of them offer treatment I’ve agreed with. They want invasive procedures such as spinal cord stimulators and monthly epidurals to curb my nerve pain, which are not happening in my lifetime. They also refuse to refill my narcotics prescription, which I understand from a legal & medical conservative point of view. But now I’m currently on nothing for my nerve pain and sometimes it’s quite unbearable. But I have to get my nose surgery done before I can actually get anywhere for my nerves so blah blah blah. My health isn’t perfect but I’m much better than where I was five months ago!

2.) I love driving! Never in a million years did I ever think I would love driving! I’ve had my license for 2 months and 2 days now and I absolutely love it. I love my yellow mini cooper, Chuck, with my entire heart. When I told my mom this last month she replied with, “Good, then that car will take care of you.” I love that car and I love driving and I love how badass driving a manual transmission makes me feel. Sure, driving a stick shift is still frustrating at times, but I have to remind myself I have ONLY been driving for two months! And a stick nonetheless! Nobody masters a skill overnight. But I do love shifting gears and the sound of a revved up engine. And when random guys at gas stations and supermarkets remark on how badass I am for driving a manual coop, it does wonders for my confidence. I always thought I was too clumsy to learn how to drive (and had multiple people in my life tell me this for the last ten years) so being able to prove myself and them wrong feels amazing. Plus my car is way too cute for me to handle. <3

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3.) I turned 25 on April 25th, 2015! (gotta love numbers). I have had notoriously bad birthdays in my life, it kinda of felt like a curse. But Steve made sure I had the most wonderful of days. We drove into Manhattan to go to my favorite spots including breakfast at Zabar’s and a walk through Riverside Park.

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We also stopped at Tatyana Boutique, which has 40s & 50s inspired bombshell clothing for women of ALL SIZES. I walked in, told the gorgeous salesgirl (dressed as a pin up Little Mermaid) what I was looking for: a dress that covered my upper arms but showed off my ample cleavage and gave off a bombshell look. The girl’s eyes lit up and told me to wait in a dressing room. She brought me the most GORGEOUS dress and I looked like such a bombshell in it. It’s quite revealing so for my own sanity I won’t post a picture of the whole thing. But Steve certainly loved it <3

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He took me out to dinner to this stunning restaurant called 90 Acres. Even though we had dinner reservations, I asked to sit at the bar. My reasoning is that as soon as we walked into the place, I realized “Sabrina” with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart was playing behind the bar, a movie I love. Plus, the bartenders were super nerdy and awesome and we all had great conversation. By the time we were supposed to go to our table we just asked to stay where we were, and everything was perfect.

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4.) The day after my birthday we went to Six Flags Great Adventure to activate our season passes (kindly given to us by Steve’s best friend Dave for Christmas) and we rode all the best roller coasters. Steve hadn’t gone in a long time and I was able to tell him which ones were the best (Kingda Ka and El Toro) and though he questioned how I could have good taste in high thrill rides, afterwards he admitted I knew my shit. After all, I’ve gone skydiving before: I’m actually an adrenaline junkie, which not many would guess.

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5.) That Monday my sister Maya and I saw “The Age of Adaline” starring Blake Lively. (even though I want to hate her for breaking up ScarJo’s marriage to Ryan Reynolds, my Gossip Girl heart will always adore Ms. Lively.) The movie was amazing!!!! A complete fairy tale with elements of magic, romance, tragicness, and overall wonderfulness. Maya and I cried buckets and I can’t wait to buy it when it comes out.

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6.) I updated my Big Dipper tattoo! I didn’t like how the yellow originally healed; it was more of a brown than yellow. As much coworker Sarah described, it looked like a coffee stain hahaha. So I went back to Amanda to EvolvInk and told her I wanted some more color, and boy did she add some! Amanda is a wonderful artist and a great person to talk to while she tortures you slightly. I’m defiantly going back to her for all my future tattoos.

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7.) For my birthday Steve gave me a new lens for my DSLR, a 35 mm that’s supposed to be the best for taking astrophotography. He also gave me an astronomy laser pointer, which I really really wanted! *heart eyes*

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The past few nights the skies have been clear so here are the results of our efforts!

DSC_0946The Big Dipper

DSC_0932-1Another shot of The Big Dipper

DSC_0940-1If you click on the image to make it bigger, you can see we captured a satellite moving across the sky

So that’s basically what’s going on in my life recently. All this plus working at the animal hospital, which I love tremendously however emotionally draining at times. Life is good my friends. Life is so good.

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Coffee & Gchat: “It’s not. But it could be.”

Here are the things we would talk about over a cup of coffee while at Gchat at work! (catch up on last week’s post too!)

unnamedIt’s gotten extremely cold here on the East Coast, which means my CRPS is flaring up like crazy. I haven’t been able work on NaNoWriMo to be honest. Every time I sit down to write, my wrists and fingers are just not working properly. I spend all day writing at work and by the end of the day I’m just physically and emotionally drained from this stupid disorder.  Just this morning, a co-worker asked if I’m okay, because I just seem really down lately. Usually I’m good at pretending to be upbeat around people, I guess not so much right now.

In order to be translucent and honest on this blog as I set out to do, I want to write about all these things because this is what is on my mind most of the time.For the first year I only had CRPS in my left hand, from when I fell. But slowly it’s been spreading to my right hand, and once it got cold again it full on set in that hand. I’m susceptible to panic attacks, and I’ve been getting them much more frequently over this, because if I can’t use my hands then I can’t write and just, it’s a mess. I’m a mess. But isn’t everyone?

                                                    Currently Reading:81mj13UfBiL._SL1500_

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Boyd and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness‘ by John Kabat-Zinn. I read about this book on Erica D. House’s blog, and I trust her opinion immensely. I’ve bought books off her recommendation before and she’s always been spot on. She recommended this book particularly on her stress relief toolkit, and I am always looking for ways to lower my stress levels without medication. I’m only a few chapters in, but Mara is a lot more into it than I am. She bought it after I mentioned it, and we spent quite some time yesterday talking about it and if/how we’d implement the book’s ideas into our actual lives.

I’m enjoying the book because it’s an informative read without being too dense or feeling like a textbook. I’ll keep you guys updated on if I’m learning anything substantial from it.

 

Music Obsession:

 

I was in high school from 2004 to 2008, which means I came of age when MySpace was the biggest deal and Facebook was invite only. It also means the music I listened to was mainly bands like The All-American Rejects, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Panic! At the Disco. Even though I know those bands aren’t exactly “good music”, man I still love listening to them. Recently I got back into Fall Out Boy pretty heavily, using them as my soundtrack to get ready in the mornings. Their latest single is “Centuries”, which is so addicting and good music when feeling angry.

Tv Streaming: 

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Ever since HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’ came out, I’ve been wanting to watch it because Emily Mortimer is the female lead. You anime aficionados may know her as the English dubbed voice of Sophie in ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’. I met her after the press conference for Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ two years ago and I stopped her in the hallway saying how much I adored her in ‘Howl’s’ and she gave me a huge hug: my girl crush solidified for life.

‘The Newsroom’ is SO GOOD. After the opening scene in the pilot Steve was nodding, saying that this was going to be great. I was on the edge of my seat the entire episode, and teared up at the last scene before literally yelling out loud at the ending. We’ve since kept watching it, (including watching the pilot a second time because it’s THAT GOOD). The characters are phenomenal, and Aaron’s Sorkin’s writing is fucking brilliant, per usual. I wish I could just stay home this week and binge on this show curled up in bed.

From the Internet: 

524020_10150694902804528_824881969_nOne of my favorite things to do is read the archives from the New York Times: Modern Love section. On Sundays I buy the NY Times with a cup of coffee and read it curled up at Starbucks or on the couch while Steve watches football. I always read the Real Estate section first, then the Book Review, and then Sunday Styles which has the Modern Love column, before the rest of the paper. The stories are not always about romantic love, but often are. They offer insight in what it takes to maintain a real, long lasting relationship, and they don’t shield back from discussing the harder parts of life.

Have you guys read/watched/ or listened to any of these?

Zoe

Coffee & GChat: “Why Do You Get Dave Grohl?”

There will be a series of themed posts on this fancy new blog of mine, and one of them is “Coffee & GChat”. Named so because these are the things I would tell you if we were drinking coffee and talking over Gmail Chat at work like I do with Mara or my favorite cousin Kim. So, how are you! How was your weekend?

Steve and I had a crazy weekend: it went by in such a blur that I can’t believe I’m already sitting back at work on a Monday morning. The highlights including a puppy injury at 1 in the morning, brunch at an amazing new Pancake House, puppy puke in the couch, and a friend breaking her leg in the middle of the night Saturday resulting in us staying at a hospital until the early hours and most of Sunday.

It was a really bad break and not a fun experience at all, but the odd thing about bad stuff happening is that you learn a lot about the people involved in the situation. You quickly learn how people respond and act when faced with difficulty (Steve was amazing, unsurprisingly). I also learned a lot about myself. Most people who know me would assume that I wouldn’t react well in a medical emergency, especially since I don’t take well to blood/any injury more serious that a paper cut. But I guess wanting someone to not lose their shit over getting hurt over powered my queasy stomach. I know what it’s like to get hurt and  feeling lonely in a hospital, so I didn’t want that to happen to someone else.

marriedwitchcMovie Recommendation:

Over Halloween weekend I carried around a bunch of appropriately themed movies and had left them in my bag when I went to work that Monday. A co worker of mine loves old movies too and I let him borrow “I Married a Witch” (1942) since he’s a huge fan of Veronica Lake. He watched it with his granddaughter over the weekend and she loved it. Creating a new generation of classic movie lovers one kid at a time! It’s a very fun and sexy black & white flick and Lake is impossible not to fall for.

Currently Reading:

“Where the Heart Is” by Billie Letts. I first read this book when I was about 12 or 13 after seeing the movie starring Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd. It’s about a pregnant teenage girl from the south who’s baby daddy abandons her in a Wal-Mart in a strange town in the middle of a road trip. She has no family so she lives in the Wal-Mart until her baby is born and befriends the quirky townspeople. The characters and the story line are so familiar to me after re-reading it for ten years. It’s a simple story, but endearing and the movie was a great adaptation.

Music Obsession:

 I know a lot about movies and books but my knowledge of music is severely lacking. I was talking with Steve about the film ‘Gran Torino’ (2008, directed & starring the brilliant Clint Eastwood) and I mentioned the song from the movie Eastwood sings a part of.  He asked if I had ever listened to anything else by the artist who did the song and I said no and he was shocked. He quickly plugged his phone into his truck stereo and played me a bunch of songs by an artist named Jamie Cullum, which are all jazzy with lots of piano and covers of the Standards: aka my most favorite of all kinds of music. Tracks I enjoy the most are his covers of ‘Not While I’m Around’ from “Sweeny Todd” and ‘Pure Imagination’ from “Willy Wonka”.

Tv Streaming: 

If you have HBO or access to an HBO Go account, why are you NOT watching Sonic Highways by Dave Grohl?!? Grohl is a master storyteller and this 8 part series is a brilliant follow up to his documentary “Sound City” (2013), which was incredible. “Sonic Highways” is currently 4 episodes in and Steve & I are obsessed with it. The Foo Fighters (Grohl’s band for those of you uninformed) basically set out to record an album in 8 different cities, each song influenced by the people they meet and the city itself. The album is out today for $9.99 on Amazon or downloadable on iTunes. I share Peyton’s sentiment about Grohl in that episode from ‘One Tree Hill’.

From the Internet: 

You can win a typewriter from Tom Hanks’s personal collection by donating to a charity! My dream is to one day live in a house big enough (and make enough money) that I can collect typewriters and pay to have them restored, much like Hanks does. I currently have an Olivetti Lettera 32, but now I can try and win one of Hank’s!  Click here to donate & win

Have you guys read/watched/ or listened to any of these?

Zoe

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