Adventures of the charmingly odd

My Anxiety & PTSD is Attacking My Immune System

In June 2013 I fell on an escalator in a Best Buy by Lincoln Center in New York City. I hit my left arm and slip down the one story escalator to the next floor. An ambulance was called, even though I begged them not to. I briefly lost my eyesight from the pain and the public mortification.

Months and years passed with endless doctor specialists and procedures and medications pumped into my body. Nobody could figure out why my body was in so much crippling pain and why it continued to get worse. I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), which was an easy answer to explain the pain that didn’t show up on any MRIs, X-rays, or blood tests.

During this time I was dating an abusive ex boyfriend 8 years older than me, as explained in a previous post “April Told Me to Write”. In April 2014 I finally escaped him, moved back to New Jersey, and in July 2014 met Steve – with whom I live at the beach with in Asbury Park, NJ and have never felt so loved and safe with him in my entire life ❤️

However, in October 2017, a pain management doctor told me that I did not have CRPS, but Fibromyalgia. All due to an old injury to my neck that could have only happened by a direct blow to my neck – not a fall on an escalator. In the ERB after that incident my neck and back were cleared multi times as being uninjured.

This news in Oct 2017 forced me to deal with a lot of emotional pain I had suppressed for the past four years. I thought I had left that monster ex boyfriend behind for good, and here he was still fucking hurting me every day.

Now 16 months later, therapy and medical procedures and even more toxic medication are my every day to cope with the crippling migraines and neck pain that seems to be getting steadily worse. I was started to relapse into a dark depression, a level of which I had never experienced before.

The pain had gotten so bad that I suddenly became overcome with this cripple fear that this was going to be the norm of my everyday life for the rest of my life. And I didn’t know how to handle that grief.

Thank god Steve’s cousin, Kim, had previously reached out to me around Christmas sharing with me her own horrid experiences. Her journey was similar to mine- debilitating pain and daily migraines. Her life was saved two years ago by a Dr. Perry Nicholson in north New Jersey. He didn’t take insurance and his methods were holistic and different, but very popular in Europe.

I was desperate and made an appointment.

Yesterday, February 26th 2019, Kim was kind enough to accompany me to my 1st appointment to see Dr. Perry. As the neurotic, insanely organized writing major I am, I came with a stack of every piece of medical history documented in chronological order and highlighted to the T.

Dr. Perry was amused and appreciative of my documents but wanted to focus on a few simple questions first and examine me. I explained the debilitating migraines and the neck pain. I explained how I was diagnosed first with CRPS and then Fibromyalgia and the fall on the escalator but also at some point I was strangled by an ex boyfriend.

Dr. Perry paused and looked me in the eye and asked if the strangulation came before the fall. I said yes, about four months prior. But I explained that I didn’t feel the extreme pain until the fall on the escalator.

Dr. Perry explained my brain suppressed the pain & emotional trauma of that day until it was all triggered by the fall on the escalator.

It was then Dr. Perry examined all the muscles in my neck and found that I don’t have Fibromyalgia at all, that I just have a complete lack of muscle strength in all areas of my neck.

The reason for this was because:

In order for my brain to process the traumatic event of having an ex military man shove his thumbs into my mouth, choke me, and pin me into the couch of his apartment – in order to survive this fucking event – my brain decided to just turn off the immune system in my neck so that I would never have to experience that same pain ever again.

It was a defensive mechanism.

And although 6 six years have passed since this event and I live an incredibly wonderful life without any toxic people in my life and am only surrounded in my life with love and support, my brain still has not gotten over that event, and all the emotional abuse I received from that monster.

And in turn, my nerves (especially the crucial Vargas nerve) and my organs were so inflamed and my body fucking was shot from not being able to deal with my anxiety disorder and depression for all of these years.

Dr. Perry evaluated the rest of my body, did infrared laser therapy, and placed amino neurofrequency therapy disks on key parts of my nervous system to help jump start my body to begin working properly again. He also gave me a list of herbal supplements to start taking, with the main goal to lower the high levels of cortisol in my body.

For when your body is in a state of panic for fucking years, your body over produces cortisol hormones and that starts shutting down your goddamn body.

This all sounded so foreign and a lot to take in for me. So I did what I normally do in any crisis: I went straight to Barnes and Noble afterwards and spent a few hours doing research. And I did find a lot of books backing up what Dr. Perry had told me:

My past trauma, years of anxiety and stress, and current constant state of panic were the single cause of how much physical pain I was in.

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) plays a significant role in our emotional and physiological responses to stress and trauma. The ANS is understood to have two primary systems: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is associated with the fight or flight response and the release of cortisol throughout the bloodstream. The parasympathetic nervous system puts the brakes on the sympathetic nervous system, so the body stops releasing stress chemicals and shifts toward relaxation, digestion, and regeneration. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are meant to work in a rhythmic alternation that supports healthy digestion, sleep, and immune system functioning. – Dr. Arielle Schwartz, The Neurobiology of Trauma (2016)

 

One of the books I purchased is the New York Times Bestseller, “The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel Van De Kolk, which can be found on Amazon here.

It’s amazing to me that the dozens and dozens of pain management doctors I have seen in the last 6 years, all of whom knew that I also had General Anxiety Disorder and a history of an abusive relationship, never once thought to mention to me that hey, “perhaps you are approaching your anxiety and stress the wrong way. Maybe by internalizing it because you want to fit the standard of a ‘normal, functioning’ human being is actually physically killing you by ruining your immune system.”

My spleen was enlarged, I’ve had IBS for years, I am unable to sleep without Ambien, I have chronic fatigue, my body cannot digest protein, I experience full body pain, etc etc etc. All because of what – is honestly hard to admit – PTSD.

So we shall see. I will continue to see Dr. Perry for physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in my neck and will start seeing a therapist again to better deal with my obviously insane level of anxiety.

This all makes sense to me, deep down in my soul though. For the last six years I’ve been taking an insane amount of anxiety, nerve pain, migraine prevention, muscle relaxing medication on top of invasive procedures – all to treat the systems of an inflamed body due to my mental health.

This isn’t the end of the healing process, but I think I’ve finally found the map to lead me down the right yellow brick road to get me back to Kansas.

 

 

Above & Beyond For A Letter

Today has been been a day and it’s only 1pm. A good day though! A little whirlwind of rushing around with the intention of accomplishing something good for once.

This morning I was on a quest to put the finishing touches on an important letter together to then be mailed out to Hawaii in order to be delivered by Thursday. A few weeks ago I started an account on Fiverr, where on which I’m offering to type up a letter for you.

Here is a love letter from Humphrey Bogart

The way it works is that someone emails me a letter they’ve written – to a lover, a friend, a parent, a teacher – and then I type it up on my vintage Olivetti Lettera 32 typewriter from the 1960s. I use lightweight parchment paper with a logo of the printing company as well as air mail vintage style envelopes accompanied with either old school themed stamps or unique ones that fit the specific customer. I also top it off with a wax seal!

The rose wax seal can be done in a multitude of colors

Any friends that have received correspondence from me would know the great lengths I put into my letter writing. It made sense to start offering this service online. There might be people out there that would want to send their loved one a letter such as this but don’t have the tools nor the time to do so.

So far I’ve had a handful of clients, but my latest one was by far my favorite. It was my highest paying job because the letter was six pages long, but more important was the content of the letter. This client took a couple of weeks to finish his letter, sending me pages here and there. Last night he send me last pieces and I stayed up until midnight typing it up to perfection.

I didn’t take into consideration however, that his long letter wouldn’t fit into the small airmail envelopes I have at home. So this morning I called every stationary store, Target, Staples, you name it – looking for a larger version of the envelopes I use but nobody had them in stock. Luckily an arts & crafts store about 40 minutes south of where I live had something similar. Armed with a list of post offices on the way, I jumped into my yellow Mini Cooper and took off.

In the end I made it to the craft store, brought my typewriter with me in my car, finished up the letter in the parking lot of the post office down there, and paid to have it 2 day shipped to Hawaii.

It was worth every moment of my time. Letters are things people keep for their whole lives: tucked away in nightstands or shoeboxes, saved to look at in the middle of moving or later on in life. All the little embellishments and extra care put into each letter I send out, for a friend or client, deserves the upmost affection.

If you’re interested in having a letter of yours done up in the same way, please don’t hesitate to email me at zoe@bookishbelle.com or place an order on my Fiverr page. (Directly would be better though, because then a 20% fee won’t be taken out 😅)

 

2018 in Review: WTF

Whew.

2018 was a hazy blur of a year for me. I spent most of it sort of wallowing that I was wasting so much time being physically sick as well as dealing with the lowest bout of depression I’ve had in years. However, in the last few weeks I’ve been able to reflect on everything that has happened and realize that though I was in pain and often sad, I also had very high highs to accompany those lowest of the low moments.

The best parts of 2018, and my life in general, were the days where I got to spend it at the beach with my boyfriend Steve and our two dogs. We are very fortunate to live less than a mile from the ocean and it does wonders for the soul. 

photo by Zoe Gulliksen

But, here is a little recap for posterity’s sake. I mean, that’s what blogs and diaries are for, right?

Personal

In fall of 2017 I had found out that the nerve disorder I have, Fibromyalgia, was not caused by a fall on an escalator in 2013 as I’ve always believed- but from a neck injury caused by an abusive ex boyfriend. I had long buried all my memories of that piece of shit human, but this diagnosis caused a lot of mental stress, most of all anger, that the pain I feel on a daily basis is his fucking fault.

I also learned that this ex of mine, Pietro Filipponi, had recently raped a young woman named April. This broke my heart & infuriated me, which is why I wrote the blog post “April Told Me to Write” on January 25th, 2018. It was terrifying and liberating to finally admit all the abuse I had received from this sociopath.  

The unexpected result of that post was that nearly a dozen woman have reached out to me in the last 12 months since that post was published. They filled my inbox with stories of assault, abuse, theft, and other unimaginable damage. Young women who had met Filipponi recently on Tinder and Googled him after they began dating him. Plus men who had witnessed him stealing from bars in Lower Manhattan or attempting to assault their female friends.

As cathartic and empowering it was to form a bond, this Girl Gang of sorts with these women who had been hurt by him – it was also left me emotionally drained. It made me feel incredibly guilty that I had not said anything when I finally was able to escape him in April 2014. That because I did nothing, said nothing, all of these people were hurt. This notion (along with having an abusive, unstable, maniac of a boss) sent me into a depression that lasted from February to July.

But another blog post in the upcoming weeks will focus more on the follow up to that now notorious blog post.

In July I started seeing a therapist and had my psychiatrist change my anti depressants. I found a new job in October at a medical spa not far from my home and I fucking love it. My type A personality thrives in the organization and endless Excel sheets. I have so much self pride in helping to run a medical office.

Steve has also proved countless times that he is indeed the perfect partner for me and I couldn’t have dreamed of a better person to spend the rest of my life with. (We aren’t getting engaged/married at this point basically to just annoy everyone around us hahaha. We have a house, are secure in our relationship, and don’t want kids. What’s the big deal?)

Music

Holy crap I saw SO MUCH LIVE MUSIC THIS YEAR! Even while I was depressed, I went to a ridiculous amount of music concerts in 2018. Mostly because it took zero effort- everything was within 1 square mile of my house. As a homebody, it’s hard for me to want to do anything that involved leaving my house and being in a crowd of people.

There’s too many shows to list them all but the highlights are:

Seeing The Gaslight Anthem on their reunion tour three nights in a row down the street at the historic venue, The Stone Pony.  The first concert Steve and I ever went to together was a Gaslight show in September 2014 and it has been the band that we have bonded over the most. All 3 nights we shoved our way right up to the front of the stage and it was a mosh pit of craziness that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. 

photo by Pat Gilrane Photo (@njpatg)

I also saw the Queen tribute band, Almost Queen, three times this year! Since I can’t see Freddie Mercury live (RIP<3), this band is a remarkable second choice. I plan on seeing them again this February. As a life long Queen fan, seeing this band is much better money spent than seeing that infuriating movie that came out recently. (I could rant for hours on how inaccurate and horrible Bohemian Rhapsody was.) 

photo from AlmostQueen.com 

This was year of 3! I also saw the lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem, Brian Fallon, perform solo shows three times in 2018 (I can be obsessive, I know). The best of the 3 was the show at The Count Basie Theater that happened to fall on Steve’s birthday! It was one of the best shows of my lifetime. Fallon played stripped down version of Gaslight songs as well as songs from his solo albums.

But most of all he played an old Gaslight song “She Loves You” that I had never heard live before and never thought I would ever get the chance to because it was on a b-sides album. As soon as he played the first notes on the piano, I burst into tears like a lunatic. Plus a couple of weeks later my younger brother was able to see the same show out in California, and it meant a lot to us to be able to experience the same tour of one of our favorite musicians.

photo by Russ DeSantis for the Asbury Park Press

In September, the first annual Sear.Hear.Now music festival on the beach was held in our city, Asbury Park. Steve and I aren’t “musical festival” people so we opted to get tickets to an after party show at The Stone Pony the Saturday of the festival. This happened to be one of the greatest decisions we could have ever fucking made. Instead of paying a ton of money to stand is a packed crowd far from a stage, the headliners of the festival showed up as this tiny venue and all jammed together at midnight!

Steve nearly shit himself when Jack Johnson showed up on stage to play a few songs with The Preservation Hall jazz band. Then Brandi Carlile showed up to sing a few duets with The Tangiers Blues Band, which I also sobbed through, hahaha. Carlile’s music means so much to me and I felt honored to be able to see her perform live in such close proximity. (We’ve seen her once before, at Radio City Music Hall in NYC but that was a much different experience.) It was just an unforgettable night and will top our list of best shows we will ever see.

Brandi Carlile on stage with The Tangiers Blues Band, photo by Zoe Gulliksen
Photo: Noah K. Murray

Podcasts

In the first few weeks of 2018, New Jersey was hit with quite a few snowstorms. For the first storm, I remember layering up and realizing I was going to be shoveling snow for the next 8 hours so I needed something to keep me busy. The only podcasts I had listened to before this point was “Guys We Fucked” by Corrine Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson and “The Bailey Jay Show” with Bailey Jay and Matthew Terhune.

Thus, with a shovel in hand and the longest driveway full of snow up to my waist, I began my descent into the world of True Crime Podcasts. Like most, I started with the first season of Serial. Then S-Town. And a few others.

But then, My Favorite Murder.

Oh how I wish I could brag that I was a Murderino since Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark began their podcast in 2016, but I did devour every single episode published within weeks. I couldn’t get enough. They are still my favorite women to listen to twice a week and being a fan has truly made an impact on my life. I’m now part of several fan groups on Facebook: NJ Murderinos, Monmouth County Murderinos, etc and my personal favorite- Witcherinos (for the witches who also enjoy discussing true crime hahaha)

Once I was caught up with MFM, I tore through every series I could get my hands on: Hollywood & Crime, Dirty John, Dr. Death, Homecoming, The Teacher’s Pet, Up and Vanished, Unobscured, and more. I did listen to non-murder type of shows like The NYTimes’s Modern Love and The Jenna & Julien Podcast.

The thing is, I was so anxious and depressed that I couldn’t sit still long enough to read. My entire life I’ve been notorious for continuously having my nose in a book but in 2018 I was lucky if I got through 10 novels. Podcasts became my constant companion: I never had to be alone with my thoughts. Good or bad, it was a coping method that kept me sane. 

My mom and Steve began to get slightly worried though. Why this sudden obsession with something so horribly morbid? I eventually brought it up to my therapist, who said:

I mean, he wasn’t wrong.

Listening to stories about murder and mystery was so compelling, so fascinating, that they were able to keep my attention and distract me from my own demons. I’m going to make a conscious effort to go back to reading more in 2019. But I for sure will not give up my murder podcasts, goddamnit!

Major Events

I got to meet one of my favorite authors! Jojo Moyes who wrote “Me Before You”, came out with the third book in the series: “Still Me” in February. To kick off her book tour, the first book signing was at the Barnes and Nobles in New York City that I used to work at! It was so meaningful to meet a writer whose work has brought me comfort. Plus getting to meet her during a period this year when hardly anything made me excited. A few weeks later I finally got my bumblebee tattoo as a homage to one of her books as well as my yellow Mini Cooper (the other love of my life<3).

my bee tattoo done by Karissa Anne at Ninth Wave Tattoo, Asbury Park NJ


Something else I did in the midst of being depressed was get my nose pierced on a whim – which I actually fucking love and see myself with it for the rest of my life.

photo by Steven Shulze

But the biggest thing I did this year was RESCUE A DOG ON A WHIM.

Steve told me over and over again that a dog would not magically make me happy. But when your brain is chemically unbalanced, you’re willing to do anything to chase that sense of happiness again. Including getting a fucking dog. I mean, Carrie Fischer had her therapy french bulldog Gary. Why wouldn’t that work for me too?

Oh honey.

French Bulldog are fucking expensive and the breed is so sought after that they are never available from a rescue organization. But some backyard breeder on CraigsList in south Jersey was getting rid of his dogs because he was relocating to California. On a random Wednesday in June I told Steve I was going to come home with a dog. He said he would never tell me no, but he thought I should wait until I was feeling more myself. Psssh, reasonability was not my forte during this time.

photo by Zoe Gulliksen

So I met some random ass dude at a PetSmart parking lot, forked over $400 bucks, and came home with this sweet, crazy as fuck, cute Frenchie. Steve and I tried for weeks to find a suitable name for him, but he’s so goofy and clumsy and weird that I called him Bug and it just stuck.

And so my internet followers have been graced with this silly face ever since.

photo by Zoe Gulliksen

A dog did not fucking fix my depression, only hard work and new antidepressants did. But it certainly didn’t hurt =)

Overall, 2018 really kicked my ass. My fibromyalgia pain was the worst it had ever been, I had a migraine every other week, and I was just done. But Steve was there for every meltdown, for every day I spent curled up in bed from my whole body being in pain. He made me feel loved when I was certain that I was unlovable.

Getting professional medical help, changing jobs, and putting in the hard work on myself helped to close out 2018 on a very positive note. I’m no where near being physically better but I’m in a MUCH better mental place.

In 2019 my main goal is to take active steps towards my health. I’m in pain every day and that is no way to live a full life. So goodbye forever to 2018, a messy but adventurous year and onwards to healthier things!

photo by Zoe Gulliksen


“Most of the Sparks Are Just Sweet Little Cherry Bombs”

Hello hello!

Tuesdays are my day off and I’m going to plan having that as my update day of the week. 

Last week was rough but I still managed to do a lot, in spite of the migraine I was stuck in bed with all day Tuesday. I’ve lost so much of 2018 to migraines and staying in bed because of Fibromyalgia pain.

The one I had last week left a lingering dull ache behind my eyes until I woke up to no pain for once today! That’s a huge deal in my world these days. But even with the headache all week I still managed to check out a bunch of stuff, especially music. 

Wednesday Steve and I went to one of the local venues in Asbury Park, The House of Independents, to see Brian Fallon perform as a thank you to members of Brookdale 90.5 The Night, a local college radio station. Fallon is a local and the lead singer of the miraculous band The Gaslight Anthem. I’ve half jokingly mentioned before online that I only listen to ‘Gaslight’ and ‘Queen’ and it’s not exactly an exaggeration. Fallon is playing at another venue in New Jersey in December and including that show, Steve and Iwill have seen him play 6 shows this year (three of them were 3 shows in a row that Gaslight did as part of their reunion tour this past summer at The Stone Pony right in town). 

Fallon played a short acoustic set, mostly from his newest solo album “Sleepwalkers”. Below is a video from his first solo album “Painkillers” and most of this was shot in Asbury!


Sunday early afternoon another New Jersey native, Cranston Dean, was playing at a place at the boardwalk called Langosta Lounge. I had yet to see him live before, but Steve and my parents have and they are all big fans. It was so lovely to sit and have lunch with the ocean on one side and live music on the other. Dean is slightly gritty singer songwriter, very talented, and put on a great set!

Then Sunday night my dad didn’t get out of work on time to go see a show at House of Independents with my mom and she asked if I wanted to tag along. I’m such a homebody and leaving my house isn’t at the top of my To Do List, but living in Asbury has changed that for me. In a city that’s only one square mile, there’s 3 major concert venues and a ton of little famous bars that musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, The Clash, and more.With everything so close, I’m much more open to seeing live music than I’ve ever had been before.

The musician my mom had bought tickets for was Allen Stone, from Washington State. Stone is this kooky, hippie, goofy guy with a fucking knack for soul. I was really impressed by his vocal range and how vulnerable he was during his performance. It’s also really funny that my filipino mom is such a huge fan of his hahah. She even bought a signed poster afterwards!

Otherwise I’m just working a lot at my new job I started at in October, which I love tremendously. I’m also currently reading “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark” by Michelle McNamara for the Murderino Book Club I’m a part of. A real, in person, bring an appetizer of a bottle of wine, hang out with strangers you’ve never met before, book club

I go see live music multiple times a week? I love my job? I do things with people not on the Internet?

Things are certainly changing around here. 

Full Moon March Giveaway

Tonight, Thursday, is the first of two full moons this month. What better way to celebrate than to do a giveaway with 3 of my favorite companies!

Necklace from Ophelia Moon

I met Ophelia Moon at a local holiday bazar at the Asbury Park Convention Center. I fell in love with a necklace and I’m so excited to be able to giveaway one to a lucky reader! Here is their shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/opheliamoonjewelry

 

 

 Candle & Shower Melts from Houss Freya

I came across Houss Freya’s goods at a local witchery shop in town. The shower melts are to die for because who the hell has time to take a bath to use a bath bomb these days?! Not me. Once I posted about my melts on Instagram, a bunch of my friends placed orders and have also fallen in love with these incredibly well made products. The candles even come with crystals! Here is the link to her shop as well: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HoussFreya

 

Below are all the ways that you can enter to win all of these wonderful things!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

“Trust the Process”

Doing the daily grind, nothing too exciting (just yet) but here are a few random things:

Life

Last week I was run over the sick bus. I haven’t gotten bronchitis in years but suddenly I couldn’t breathe and I went to the doctor right away. It kicked my ass so hard for a full 7 days and I’m just now starting to feel like a human being again. Good vibes to everyone out there fighting this brutal flu plague going on right now!

While I was sick I couldn’t go to yoga and I’m actually pleased how much I hated NOT going. I went for the first time last night since feeling better and it’s just so good for my soul. Its a workout and mental therapy all wrapped up in one hippie package.

Steve and I play the “What would we do if we won the lottery” game all the time. (How else does one not get lost in the mundane daily grind of adult life?) I would get my beloved Mini Cooper restored to pristine condition, buy a vintage Austin Mini Cooper, and then buy a vintage Porsche. But other than cars- I would spend all of my time and money taking care of myself.

I would do yoga four hours a day, go see every single goddamn doctor to figure out how the hell to treat my nerve damage, eat organic healthy foods, etc. I just want the time and money to take care of myself.

Reading

I feel like I’m currently reading every single book in my house. My mind has been very restless and as a result I’ll read a few chapters of one book and then move on to a few others. I end up carrying 3 books plus my kindle in my bag because I won’t know what mood I’ll be in to read. But the main titles are:

  • “One Thousand White Women” by Jim Fergus
  • “Witch: Unleased. Untamed. Unapologetic.” by Lisa Lister
  • “A Witch Alone” by Marian Green
  • “Chakras For Beginners” by David Pond

With the exception of the first novel (which is historical fiction), I’m still very focused on my witchcraft studies.

 

Watching

When I was sick last week, I needed full on guilty pleasure trash tv – which is funny because I never watch this stuff! But I’ve always followed nerdy girl Adrienne Curry online and her Instagram inspired me to check out the very first season of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ from 2003 that she won. I binged that and then just kept watching onto the next season. It would have been so easy to keep watching but I want to focus on consuming quality media. So yesterday I started ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ (LATE TO THE PARTY I KNOW). It’s amazing (duh) and I can’t wait to continue watching it.

 

Listening To

Even though I live in the musical capital of New Jersey, Asbury Park, I don’t know that much about music. My passions have always been books and movies where as my music tastes are influenced heavily by my parents. My go to’s are singer song writers of the 70s (Fleetwood Mac & James Taylor), Amy Winehouse, and Queen. BUT my favorite band would have to be Gaslight Anthem because I relate to their angsty rock plus they started in college at Rutgers, where I also graduated from.

Their lead singer Brian Fallon just released a new album and its on constant repeat in our house right now. He’s coming to play a bunch of shows nearby this summer and we are planning on going to ALL OF THEM.

 

Things otherwise are in the middle of a big change and I can’t wait to announce them soon!

The Books I Read in 2017

This was the first year that I kept track of all the books that I read all year. This was inspired by GoodRead’s yearly challenge. I took a shot in the dark and aimed for 40 books. I ended up reading 35- just short of 5, but I don’t feel any disappointment. (One of the books I even read twice but I’m not counting that one.) Some of those books were extremely long! And I lived a lot of life this year! I also started a bunch of books but put them down a few chapters in. But here are the books I did finish in 2017. My favorites have an asterisk next to them:

 

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by  Marie Kondō (224 pages)
  2. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifest  by Chuck Klosterman (272 pages)

  3. *Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (432 pages)

  4. *The Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio (402 pages)

  5. Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner (400 pages)

  6. The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams (432 pages)
  7. Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín (272 pages)

  8. *The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay (336 pages)

  9. *The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5) by Diana Gabaldon (1,456 pages)

  10. Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho (273 pages)

  11. *11/22/63 by Stephen King (849 pages)
  12. She Made Me Laugh: My Friend Nora Ephron by Richard Cohen (320 pages)

  13. My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind by Scott Stossel (416 pages)

  14. Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison (355 pages)

  15. After the War Is Over: A Novel  by Jennifer Robson (384 pages)

  16. Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century by Sam Kashner, Nancy Schoenberger (544 pages)

  17. The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin (473 pages)

  18. Before the Rain Falls by Camille Di Maio (334 pages)

  19. Kitchen Table Tarot: Pull Up a Chair, Shuffle the Cards, and Let’s Talk Tarot by Melissa Cynova (271 pages)

  20. When the World Was Young by Elizabeth Gaffney (298 pages)

  21. A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams (336 pages)

  22. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (435 pages)

  23. *The Witches of New York by Ami McKay (320 pages)

  24. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (564 pages)

  25. *The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure (371 pages)

  26. Moonlight over Paris by Jennifer Robson (352 pages)

  27. The Address by Fiona Davis (354 pages)

  28. *A Column of Fire by Ken Follett (928 pages)

  29. *La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust #1) by Philip Pullman (464 pages)

  30. Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (366 pages)

  31. F*cked: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed by Corinne Fisher, Krystyna Hutchinson (256)

  32. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks (416 pages)

  33. Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I by Hazel Gaynor (384 pages)

  34. The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe (448 pages)

  35. The Clothes Make the Girl (Look Fat)?: Adventures and Agonies in Fashion by Brittany Gibbons (240 pages)

Total number of pages read: 14,977

That’s not bad at all! I like that I mostly stuck with WWII pieces with the odd one thrown in. For 2018 I have set my goal to 50 books! Maybe this motivate me to step up my reading habits and totally conquer it this year.

 

Blog Overhaul

Hello everyone!

In the last couple of months things have crazy on my end, and as a result my blog was entirely forgotten. As a result I did not do proper maintenance resulting in a system restart and all of my posts from the last 9 years was lost.

I’m actually not upset about this fact. It is not often that we get a fresh start on the Internet, and while funny things show up when you Google me, I love that now my blog has been wiped clean.

Watch this space as I build my blog from the bones back up. Nearly a decade has passed since I started blogging and tweeting, but I’m still the same goofy 18 year old at heart. Talk to you soon!<3