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Adventures of the charmingly odd

2018 in Review: WTF


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?


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?)


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 

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


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:



 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:


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:


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.


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.



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