Monday, February 1, 2016

Winter's Almost Over, Right? (aka What I Did in January)

I've done nothing but watch tv for two days and I finally have either iced the pain into submission or found the magical combination of pain meds, but either way I'm feeling antsy.  Here are some book reviews, neck updates, and other life things.

I read some books  (2 down, 48 to go)

Unabrow by Una LaMarche

This book was just ok. This is the third book I've read by a blogger that I really liked. All three of the books were strangely disappointing. It's like they try to cram all of their best blog posts into a memoir without enough new material. The funny parts are either less funny because I've read them before, or less funny because they've been edited.

I also don't think it's a good idea to include your early thirties in your memoir when you're currently in your early thirties.  It's probably a good idea to get some perspective first.  She was strangely negative towards childbirth and parenthood, with a couple of interruptions of "oh but just kidding it's great" before going back to talking about how terrible it is.  So basically the second half of this book made me think she needs therapy.  Or more therapy.  But the first half, mostly about her childhood, was really funny.  She has the perspective to be self-deprecating without being overly negative.

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

**This review contains some spoilers because I just couldn't say what I needed to without them.  I've tried to be as vague as possible, and the plot is fairly predictable so if you've read the first chapter you can probably guess the ending, but you may want to read the book first and then come back.  For non-spoiler purposes, I give this book 4 stars.**

Finch and Violet meet on top of the bell tower at school, both suicidal to different degrees, and develop a friendship based on that meeting.

I loved reading this book.  It's a young adult novel and so the plot is fairly obvious from the beginning, but I loved the characters.  They were detailed and unpredictable in ways that made them feel real.  The conflicts made sense and they were scary.  The author created some very strong feelings for her readers and those came through naturally.

This book deals with mental health in teenagers in a very real setting.  I think it would be an immensely helpful book for people who don't have much experience with depression, bipolar disorder, or suicide and want to have a better understanding of these issues.  It might be especially helpful to parents, teachers, or counselors.

BUT I think that the author romanticized suicide in a very dangerous way.  Throughout the book, one of the characters is fascinated with suicide.  He quotes suicide notes and statistics and talks about methods and famous suicides.  And this made sense as something that his character would do, and it was an important part of the book, but his fascination could be a problem for people who struggle with that themselves and I worry that it could trigger problems for them.

Then, one of the characters commits suicide.  The scenes surrounding that were fantastically well done.  They were emotional and raw and authentic.  But the remainder of the book went on to romanticize the suicide in a way that made me very uncomfortable.  I get that the author was trying to destigmatize suicide and mental health problems, but I'm not sure this was a good way to do it.  It almost felt like she was condoning it for that character, and she never created any sort of a hopeful future that could have happened.  I would think that anyone who relates to that character in an extreme way would be left with very little hope by the end of the book.

I watched some things

We watched Mad Max the other night and I thought it was great.  It was full of so many unusual ideas and almost the entire movie takes place as a high speed chase, yet they managed to have character development and an actual plot.  Super interesting.

A blogger I like recommended Reign and Baylee and I have been watching it together.  It's actually really good.  It's interesting and has fun characters and some very good actors in it.  It's done by CW, which I usually steer clear of, but they have a few shows that have surprised me.  The series is based on the life of Mary Queen of Scots and is at least partially historically accurate.  It's very fun and I highly recommend it.  FYI there is quite a bit of naked, so you probably don't want to sit down and watch it with your parents.  Also, one of the actors is Megan Follows who played Anne Shirley in the Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea series and she is fantastic.

I worked on my Etsy shop

Baylee and I started this creative endeavor on a whim a few years ago and haven't put much into it since then.  We've been getting a sale every few months, but nothing more.  Now is a good time to work on it and we've had three sales this month which, laughably, is a new record for us.  We have many new items planned in the future and we're hoping to turn it into a real business.  (It currently only counts as a hobby since it's costing us more than we're making, haha.)

We make things like this:
Turquoise giraffe

And this:
Sassy Cow

And sometimes this:
Valentine Card

If you're interested you can check it out:
And we have a facebook page:

I whined about my neck

My neck is not great.  It took about a week to recover from Christmas (traveling is always rough on it) and then I seemed to be getting better and then a few days ago everything went horribly wrong, like top ten bad neck days wrong, and I'm trying to sort that out currently.

My chiropractor is excellent.  It took me years to even go to one as I previously considered them in a similar realm to witch doctors (as in, I will definitely try it but only if immensely desperate) but I've discovered that it's very helpful in my situation (and very scientific and not at all hokey).  It does not help much with my pain but it does allow me to actually hold my neck and back correctly so that the problem doesn't get worse, and that is an amazing improvement.  I made an emergency visit to him on Friday, which made things somewhat better, then much worse, then better again and today I can stand up straight and look ahead, not at the floor.  It's the little things.

And...I have a brand new little niece!

My sister Leslie and her husband Kyle created this adorable little creature and I am immensely in love with her even though we have not yet met.  

This is Addalyn

It's such a strange thing watching my little sister grow up, get married, and have a baby.  There's a part of me that is entirely convinced that she is still and always will be the toddler who needs a hug during tag because she gets scared, the kid who obnoxiously follows me around when I have friends over, and the preteen who writes me sweet letters whenever we have a fight.  Instead, she's a strong, capable woman who knows what she wants in life and goes after it.  She's married to a man that I am getting to know and like more every time I see him (partly because I'm married to a guy a lot like him).  And now she added this tiny person to our family and I'm really really glad.

Sweet little Addalyn, I hope that you grow up to have your mom's sensitive heart and gorgeous bone structure, your dad's strong work ethic and calm temperament, and my ability to almost always get what I want out of my parents.  They won't stand a chance.


  1. This made me cry. We are very excited she has such wonderful family <3 also I'm sorry about your neck. Ugh. I just wish someone could figure it out for you!! :(

    Love you! Will see you soon! :)

    1. Making you cry wasn't my main goal, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pleased ;)

  2. Awwww, we are so lucky she has such wonderful family!

    I'm so sorry about
    Your neck :( wish we could just find someone to actually fix it!

    I love you!