Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Reader's Nook: "It Was Me All Along"

Have you ever read a book or someone's blog and feel like you know them? Like they're talking directly to you and somehow they're unaware you're best friends? That is totally, completely, in EVERY WAY, Andie Mitchell. How did I find her blog? I'm thinking about it and I really don't remember how I stumbled upon it. I do remember being obsessed with a blog about how a girl lost a significant amount of weight and fell in love with running. I had emailed the woman to ask her how she overcame her own mind and did it anyway. She never emailed me back, but her next post read, "I've been getting a lot of emails about how I lost the weight but I'm not gonna talk about that." I felt so crushed - like I was being personally attacked. Obviously that wasn't true and I was being overly sensitive, as I tend to be. In my desperate attempt to feel connection I somehow click-holed myself to Andie's blog. I'm so glad I did.

Andie is a lady. A living, breathing lady who has struggles just like everyone else. Her past is messy just like a lot of people's and when she wakes up her hair probably doesn't look good. I say this because she also happens to have lost 135 pounds on her own and I feel like that makes her superhuman. I think a lot of people feel like it makes her superhuman so I introduced her as awkwardly as possible for balance. Heh.

It Was Me All Along: Andie Mitchell - In her book she tells the story that brought her to where she is today. A latchkey kid who used food as her babysitter, she voices a lot of the pain I think anyone goes through when they struggle with being overweight. Her past was hard, and so many others are too, but eventually she learns to accept herself at any state, large or small. Her writing is effortlessly descriptive, especially when describing the food she ate, so you really get a sense of how vividly food has impacted her life. And I totally get that. Being overweight my entire life this book basically made me want to lay down under the floor. It brought up painful memories of being ridiculed at school, by family at times, in public, and it just makes you crumble a bit. In bringing her issues to light I feel like I've stepped into the light as well. It's so easy to hide.

Being overweight makes you feel like you're the only one, though everyone knows it's actually an epidemic. Half the country is overweight but WHERE DO THEY LIVE? No one sees these people! They all live in the same community in Montana or something because I seem to be the odd woman out. Reading about the things she's gone through forced me to remember what I've gone through - so many of the stories paralleled. It's kind of like getting cold water thrown in your face. You gasp for air like a fish out of water. It's a shock to unearth a painful past you've repressed with such "skill" for so long.

When I was finished reading the book (in a record day) I wanted to email Andie and just... friggin GUSH about how I think we should be friends, and what is her vitamin regimen, and does she enjoy watching You've Got Mail as much as I do? These are things I think about when I start to see someone with hazy, glittery lights around them. I mean I've wanted to know how many cups of water Beyoncé drinks a day for YEARS. I quickly realized what I was doing. When I start obsessively finding success stories I'm not motivating myself, I'm canonizing the person. I'm bronzing them. I... want them to do the work FOR me.

I've made it quite far in my life not doing that much hard work and thinking strength was making myself small, being comic relief, and focusing on pleasing my mom. That's gotten me here, with a person's weight to lose. I have to lose an amount of weight the size of a slightly overweight person. Saying that aloud makes me feel faint.

In the moment I was all, "I'M GONNA WRITE MY STORY. I'M GONNA WRITE IT SO PEOPLE KNOW MY PAIN AND THEN THEY'LL KNOW. THEY'LL KNOOOOW THE PAAAAIN." You start to glorify the pain and the past struggles. But I want to acknowledge that they happened, look at it firmly in the eye and say, "I see you, but you are not defining," and get to work. Hey, maybe one day I will write my own book on the mind warfare that is weight loss, but that day is far off. And that is okay. Now I focus on finding a different kind of strength, a will I thought did not exist.

Even if you haven't struggled with losing weight, this book just helps you remember that whatever struggles you've gone through, who you are at any point in your life is the person you're supposed to be right in that moment.  Messy or not, shit together or not, you're you. And you are amazing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Reader's Nook: Half-Read Reviews

Happy New Year!

This year I resolve to stop resolving. Resolutely. No I do enjoy New Year's resolutions - going on forever without feeling you have the chance to start fresh makes life seem monotonous to me. I will get to those later though because I want to bring you two books that I did not finish! Amazing!

I am halfway through both of them and I have some very distinct thoughts on these two ladies words.

Yes, Please: Amy Poehler - I would just like to start out by saying Amy Poehler is a human just like the rest of us. That being said, she is superior to most humans I've met. The preface of this book made me cry. She writes stories of her life and doesn't apologize for the not-so-perfect parts. Even her divorce, which can dang near kill a person, it happened and now she's in love again and you're like, "WOW. I DON'T UNDERSTAND ALSO WHY AM I CRYING." She is an avid encourager of women throughout the book and truly believes that everyone has a voice that shouldn't be silenced. Ideas shouldn't be minimized. I laugh out loud a LOT - kind of like when I read Tina Fey's book. Amy also knows that her fans super endorse her and Tina's best friendship, which makes this book even BETTER. I own it so I'm taking my time through it, stopping to pick up other (young adult fiction) books along the way and coming back again. I'm so glad she wrote a book. I'm mainly glad she EXISTS to make the world better. Was that too much? Noooo.

Not That Kind of Girl: Lena Dunham - I'm so sorry guys this is about to be brutal. Actually if you don't want to read all of this just read Amy Poehler's review again just opposite. That's how much I hated this book. Here's the cool thing about Lena. She grew up with parents that let her stretch her creativity in all directions, in whatever way she liked. I am a fan of her tv show GIRLS even though it can get a privilege-y a lot, it's still relatable to girls in their 20's on some subjects. I truly enjoy how open she is with her life and her body and how she loves to advocate for women. Her book has those undertones there but it's hard to get through all the rambling to see that. There is a LOT of rambling.

The first section is about her sexual encounters and I was told that she reveals a sexual assault and tells how she copes, but I never made it that far. She talks about herself a LOT, an unnatural amount (it is a memoir but um...). It's all about her story and her experience and ultimately how everyone's story needs to be heard because everyone's story is important. I agree with this on some accounts, I also think that maybe she should have had more experiences where she... volunteered or something - or just THOUGHT about someone else before her. I dunno! Every single story comes back to her! And how she hates herself? Or something? I found myself saying "What was the point of this story again?" a lot. After I realized I didn't have to read it because it was Lena, or it was controversial, I decided to stop and I'm glad I did. It must be tiring to think about yourself that much.

What do you think? Am I being too harsh (probably)? I never want to be that person that criticizes a person and doesn't really know them but I mean... the book is written. Can't take it back, lady girl.

Obviously both are memoirs and even though Amy is talking about her life experiences I don't feel like I'm being punched in the face with them. I feel like I took the journey with her and at the end (er... the middle) we hugged and got a beer together. Lena's accosted me in an oddly aggressive way and I guess I wasn't expecting it. Props to both women for putting their stories to print and choosing to be vulnerable. Wifi high five!

Tell me your thoughts on both if you've read the whole thing! I've always wanted to start a book club that's just a cover for eating a lot. Except I would also want to read too. So I just described a normal book club didn't I. Right.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

{about} true beauty

It doesn't make sense to call ourselves ugly,
because we don't really see ourselves.
We don't watch ourselves sleeping
in bed, curled up and silent
with chests rising and falling
with our own rhythm.

We don't see ourselves reading a book,
eyes fluttering and glowing.
You don't see yourself looking at someone
with love and care inside your heart.

There's no mirror in your way
when you're laughing and smiling
and happiness is leaking out of you.
You would know exactly how bright
and beautiful you are if you saw yourself
in the moments where you are truly

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

An Open Letter to Anthropologie

I spent last Saturday with the loveliest Katherine and we went to Jeni's ice cream, died a little bit from its amazingness, endured a lot of bumpy train rides and went to Antrho as well. Having Katherine here made it the best day ever but I couldn't shake how out of place I felt in Anthropologie. I came home and furiously typed this crazy rant that I will share with you now. Also, I totally own that bedding in the picture above. I am part of the problem, I know. Argh. 

Dear Anthropologie,

After frequenting your stores for some years now I've finally figured out my feelings towards you.

Those feelings being dislike. Gentle dislike.

Here in this detailed letter I will tell you why. This letter serves no purpose but to rant, and who doesn't love a good rant.

Let's start with your clothes. Your clothes make me feel like, at any given time, I'm coming from or going to Coachella as a VIP. They're sophisticated yet inherently bohemian, young and adventurous for the workplace yet an easy transition to dinner and drinks. Who can resist casually throwing out in conversation, "Oh I got this at ANTHRO." I think your clothes are fairly expensive, overly expensive, though many a size 2 girl gets a lot of your clothes on sale and loves it.

Which leads me to my next point. Why do you only carry tiny clothes? And then ALSO have a PETITE section of your website?! I have never actually WORN an article of clothing from your store because you refuse to carry plus sized clothing on principle it seems. I think it's against company policy. It's my fault I'm overweight right? Or at least that's how every sales associate makes me feel when I walk through your doors. I get stalked by the sales girls to make sure I'm not stealing but when I actually need help I get blown off. This has happened every time I walk in and I just realized the unnecessary stress it adds.

I do like your kitchen, home and office decor (mostly cuz they don't have to fit on my body), sometimes they're exclusive and it's cool to find trinkets and things. Though, do I REALLY need measuring spoons that look like vintage spoons? (umm yes I do. ugh.)  I've gotten great gifts, stationery, and books from you. Ah... your candles though. All the scents of your candles are way too  overpowering, like they're trying to FORCE my nostrils into liking being punched by a heady bouquet of flowers. I don't like any of the scents. I'm sorry (EVERYONE). And your accessories - 45 dollars for a HEADBAND?! Is it made of JESUS!?

Here's the thing. I WANT to love you! I want to be your biggest fan and buy all the things and live happily ever after in my overpriced, everything was bought on credit, but that's okay it looks vintage, home! It seems like something I should WANT to want, as a 20 something who thinks herself kind of cool. But I don't.

You perpetuate an elitist attitude. You have made your brand a status - good job - but you make me feel like I'm lacking something in my life, like I'm an inadequate person, not worthy of affording your goods, and like I don't fit the demographic. That's not cool and as a company you shouldn't think it's cool either.

So... gently? Eff off Anthro. I'm kinda done with you. I AnthroPOLOGIZE.

(Hah, also watch me be in there the next time I'm downtown, because I'm dumb.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Have you ever felt like if you lose control of a part of your life, you lose control of EVERY ASPECT of your life? Things beyond control are frustrating. You see them, almost like they're a tangible thing, yet you can do nothing to change its status. All you can do is keep living your life, but it's a stunted life. Like walking with a pronounced limp, you can function it's just not at 100%. That's been life for me for the past few months.

This is not to say I'm unhappy or stuck or whatever millennial words or phrases we love to use - QUARTER LIFE CRISIS - it's just how things are at the moment. I haven't read a good book, I haven't been to the gym, all I've been doing is getting from day to day so I can get from day to day. The lovely (and surprising) thing is I've never liked myself so much as I do now. I've never felt so comfortable in my own skin, sexy even sometimes (whaaat). But I know for my health, much has to be done and I haven't done that at all.

It's been an interesting summer we'll just say that.

All of my blog hiatuses start with a 'OMG HAAAY SO I WAS GOOONE FOR A WHIIIILE' but I'm not feeling that at the moment. I don't even know what to call it - the state I'm in, this lack of control, will be an on going thing, and I'm just now getting to a point where I can even write a good sentence. So here I am. Hello.

But! How are you? How was your summer? Is blogging even really a thing anymore? Can you recommend any good books for me to read cuz this reading dry spell is real. Also is anyone going to the Chicago Open House on the 18/19th? It looks stupid cool.

Updating isn't necessarily a priority, but I'll try to sneak back over every once in a while to give you a book to read or a story about aaaabsolutely nothing, as I do.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Reader's Nook: Unconventional Love Stories

This week is about loooove. That was corny - apologies - but I think love stories are probably my favorite books to read. I don't tend to go for obvious love stories, I'm more about love conquering all in the end, ya know? Eleanor & Park, The Fault in Our Stars... Pretty sure this might be why I'm single. We'll discuss later.

By the way if you're ever looking for amazing book recommendations follow Casey's Pinterest page, she always pins good ones there!

Let's dive right into it.

The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston - a recommendation from the lovely Abbey Nova from Abby Goes Design Scouting. I've been reading Abbey's blog for a while and remember doing a specific search for "design blogs" (back when I thought reading design blogs and being "creative" all the time meant you were a real designer - oh how times have changed) and her blog popping up. I think that was 2010. She said, "If you have a thing for magic and love READ THIS!" and I was on my library's website within seconds. It does involve magic and mystery and wide open Welsh plains and love... conquering all. : ) It's hard to describe the book without giving away the book so I'll leave it at that. I think you'll like it!

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - I NEVER give in to bestseller recommendations because, um, GOLDFINCH. And I've always been very against "this is what's in right now DO/READ/EAT/WEAR THIS RIGHT NOW!" That's like a surefire way for me to do the opposite forever. The description of the book drew me in though and the story leaves you sobbing by the end (in a good way). I actually ordered 2 more bestsellers to read and review soon. Things are gettin' crazy y'all! Anyhoo, the story is about Louisa who becomes a caretaker for a quadriplegic man named Will. They form a unique friendship and weave a different kind of love story. UGH JUST READ IT ALREADY, DANG.

Have you found that when you read a really GOOD book you can't describe it to someone? I feel like I just told you to read these books but also told you nothing at all. I'm sorry! OH! I finally saw The Fault in Our Stars (affectionately shortened to TFIOS) in theaters and cried like a freakin BABY. Like wracking sobs, snot everywhere, massive headache afterwards because I lost 12 liters of fluid. Lord above will you go see it? So we can be sad/happy together? Mmkay thanks.

The Reader's Nook is a place I've carved out just for readers and to talk about my favorite books every week. If you have any suggestions on books to read or would like to submit a review email me at thebirdsfly{at}me{dot}com. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Great, Amazing, Wonderful, and Spectacular MONTH OF MAY

I'm just now getting around to writing the wonder that was my birthday because I just cleaned my room. This is relevant. I promise. Just bear with me.

I'm not one to dub a birthday other than what it is - A DAY. Friends on Facebook love to talk about their birthday month like it's an actual thing. It's not. It's not an actual thing you guys, but this month I did a LOT. Most of it was birthday related! It made no sense! I'm gonna tell you about it because a lot of it was really cool. By the way everyone who has a birthday in May happens to be really amazing. Coincidence? NO. IT IS NOT.

Warning: this post will be long and I apologize but there are some moments I just have to gush. And gush I will. Because I'm 28 now.

Can I put it in bullets? I wish my life were laid out in bullets. Goodness.

  • I got my hair did! in what's called Marley twists and they look preeeeeetty freakin' sweet. The girl who did them is/was crazy and I won't be seeing her again but I DID adventure all the way to Uptown and walked around in leggings (!!) and a t-shirt up and down Broadway. I couldn't make this up if I wanted to.
  • I saw Kate like... 3 times in a week and a half because a) she took me to Big Star for one of the best meals ever and a nice long chat about life and babies and Groundhog Day. B) her youngest, Alba, turned 1! And we had more tacos* about it, and c) I watched her oldest, Sofia, dance and definitely NOT dance in her tiny tots dance class at Hubbard Street. I could pretty much see Kate daily and have it be the best day ever every day. I value her friendship as gold. 
  • I'm gonna put periods on these bullet points because they are full sentences. CHECK IT.
  • I spent my birthday with my BFF forever, my momma. We got pedicures, and bought shoes, and I got my mussels and fries for dinner! There is no food picture because I was feeling classy (or maybe I ate them all too fast).
  • Downtown swanky sushi affairs happened. Okay 1 downtown swanky affair happened with some of the coolest co-workers (who don't know I never have anything new going on somehow). And after all the swank was swanked we went to Trader Joe's for pie. Yes. 

This is the part where I'm gonna gush about the Kinfolk dinner for a few paragraphs. Okay, thanks. 

Kinfolk Chicago dinner. *exhales* I don't even have enough words to articulate how cool this was. I decided on a pure whim to buy a ticket to a thing I've never been and I'm so glad I did. I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda Jones, co-founder of Kinfolk, design role model of mine and Instagram queen, her husband, Cree, and her baby, Jane. The weird thing about blogging and Instagram is when you meet someone you admire you already know a TON about them right off the bat, and they know SQUAT about you. So I played it slightly dumb and asked her husband for his name and was like, "Ohhh your baby is cuuute what is her naaame?" while inwardly I'm like, "OMG IT'S CREE AND JANE, IT'S CREE AND JANE, HI CREE AND JANE - HIIIII!" Amanda is super sweet and loves Gilmore Girls. I tried to get her to come home with me but it didn't work. Not sure why.

The theme of the night was "The Spirit of the Sea" and the food was themed to match. Really, it was just a chance to mingle and network a bit - a thing I am not the best at. I did meet some pretty awesome people in the little 2 hour window, though. An architect, a billion event planners, a restaurant event assistant, art teachers - just the coolest people ever. And me. The only black girl there. I am my mother's daughter. Among the swirling mass of late 20's there were 2 (TWO) over 40 ladies there who were my absolute favorite. They found out where I worked and called me a celebrity. They do whatever they dang well please and go where ever they like and the intimidation of the 20-something hipster did not daunt them. I have made them my role models. Did I mention that was the coolest thing I've done in forever? THE COOLEST. Oh! and the cafe we had dinner at was right next to the Robie House built by Frank Lloyd Wright. No big deal. I had to tell myself to play it cool a LOT.

I'm pretty proud though, because through the whole thing I was myself. I didn't feel like I was trying to insert myself into the Hyde Park way of living. I can't compare myself to everyone else all the time. For one thing, it's tiring! There is a niche for me, exactly as I am, somewhere in this world, right? Yes. Back to the bullets.

  • I went on an architectural boat tour of the city with my most goodest friend, Anisha. It was cold and there were A LOT of pre-pubescant children but we survived. I also miss her face already.
  • I witnessed a homeless man try to attack someone with a tiny axe. It did not end well for the homeless man because the guy he attacked seemed like he knew Krav Maga. Pretty sure...
  • My niece graduated high school, and my whole entire family got to be there, which was GREAT. It's rare that we all get together. We went out to eat afterwards, it was just a really nice time. Also I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to enroll in the same university as Autumn - I'm just trying for some Financial Aid at the moment. Small hurdles! 
  • I had my first semi-surprise party! Yeah! I was supposed to meet up with a friend in Naperville and it ended up being my friend AND like 4 other friends, we got ice cream, and Starbucks, naturally, and they gave me a few presents! Seriously it was the sweetest thing. Also, I told my mom this and she cried (happy tears?!) like I told her she won the lottery. Can someone explain this to me?
Things I've learned a bit: it's kind of nice to be celebrated every once in a while. I like making a person feel like they matter, who doesn't want to feel like they matter in this ridiculous world? Buuut I also have little regard for myself or my well-being sometimes (all the time) so having someone say, "Hey! We like you and we're celebrating that," was actually uncomfortable. Stupid right? YEAH. I am very grateful for the people in my life, I feel so blessed and privileged, almost selfish, that I get to have them. 

Woo! Bring on 28. 

*I truly believe the world's problems can be solved over tacos. That is all.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Reader's Nook: Summer Reads pt. 1

*imagine me wearing a sweater vest and a tie with my hair very slicked down*

Thank you for joining us this week on WFMT's The Reader's Nook. This week we'll be talking about a collection of short stories that prove to be an anecdote for the soul and a post/pre-apocalyptic novel about a girl named Prenna. This week's special guest is book editor and connoisseur, Abby Mallett. Let's get started.

*classical music plays*

I'm not sure if you guys know this but it is my goal to be best friends with the dude that does all the super fast monotone intros to the classical music and features on WFMT. And then also get to do an intro to This American Life on WBEZ. If I had a podcast that would be my intro every week and somehow find a way to get Reggie Watts to be a guest star every week... all while coercing him to love me. THESE ARE THINGS I THINK ABOUT.

Let's get into it!

I've been on such a good book streak lately! For me book reading comes in waves, I'll read like 7 at a time and then read NOTHING for a month, which makes me so sad. During that time I'm browsing websites and looking to see if my favorite authors have published anything lately. So I kind of have a lull coming up since 2 of the books I requested to read... have not yet been published. Yeah. I am that lady. Tis fantastic. These two books below are perfect for light summer reading. One is short and just the right amount of intense and the other you'll be laughing so hard people WILL stare at you. Perfect for a day at the park or the beach (to which I never go) or anywhere that involves a cold drink.

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares - This would be the Ann Brashares who wrote the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. We're gonna pause here for a second so I can say unabashedly that the Sisterhood series is among my favorite books in the world. I know. I KNOW what I just did to myself but I just loved that they were best friends, more like sisters! My siblings are so far apart in age and I have never had a best friend (do you know how many posts I've started lamenting over that very fact? a LOT. The answer is a LOT) and I just... love the series. I digress. The Here and Now is about Prenna who lives in the year 2096 and the world is falling apart because mosquitoes carry deadly disease through the transmission of blood. They find a way back to 2014 to change the course of history but they can't get close to anyone. It's a short read but a really good one. Another one read in just a day.

One More Thing by B.J. Novak - EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK. This was one of those books I browsed and found at the library and I'm so glad I skipped the Goldfinch* and picked this one up. I loved B.J. Novak on The Office and also love that he's best friends with MY best friend Mindy Kaling. Obviously, it's a collection of short stories, but they're so, so hilarious. Like crying silently, shoulders shaking in a Starbucks hilarious. Stories like the tortoise and the hare rematch, after the hare has gone to therapy and taken up yoga and really found himself, or the guy who invented the calendar, originally with 40 days and 25 months, but couldn't make it through the rest of the months after December. I'm not even finished with the book yet and I know I will buy it to sit alongside Tina Fey's and Mindy Kaling's book, so they can talk and stuff. You know.

*WHO does The Goldfinch think it is?! It's 1295 pages long! And people are reading it because EVERYONE ELSE IS. Even I know that I'm gonna get super effin bored reading 1295 pages of WHATEVER. If I end up devoting my life to reading this book and my entire life isn't drastically transformed at the end I'm gonna call up SOME authority.

By the way I will be recapping my birthday WEEK next week. Every day this week, including my birthday yesterday, has been (and will be) super interesting. It'll be a party! With words.

The Reader's Nook is a place I've carved out just for readers and to talk about my favorite books every week. If you have any suggestions on books to read or would like to submit a review email me at thebirdsfly{at}me{dot}com. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Reader's Nook

The world's most beautiful scarf and a copy of Alice in Wonderland from Anthro
I have always been a reader, I honestly think it's genetic. My mom forced me into early reading by reading me lots and lots of books, and skipping ahead to figure out what was happening leaving poor me to wait until she read it to me. I was into chapter books by 5. Books are a way of escaping for me. I can immediately be transported into a world of magic and love and travel without having to leave my living room. Books also can't talk back to you, or interrupt you and ask, "What are you reading?!" (That is the absolute WORST thing to ask an avid reader - would you stop and ask a football player exactly what he's doing in the middle of a play? Exactly.)

At work I'm always finding a corner of somewhere to sit and read while on break. It's a real feat since I work with 110 people always in my face, so you'll find me in hallways and stairwells reading silently. Most people really don't get it - I get so many questions like, "Have you always liked to read?" and, "How many books do you read in a month?" or, "I should really start reading more..." I think the long short of it is I've made a discipline of reading just like avid runners make a discipline of running. I can't brush my teeth after every meal all the time but somehow I find time to read 5 to 7 books a month. If I could fashion some sort of headgear/page-turner I would probably take up running. Audiobooks are a little bit of an oxymoron to me and don't get me started with electronic books. What's the point of reading if you can't hold the weight of a book in your hand or hear the pages turn?! Ugh. I'm a book snob.

I figure I read SO MUCH and I truly do enjoy it that I would unveil a new section here on this small space I call home: welcome to The Reader's Nook.

Every week or so I'll update on what I've been reading, what I think you should read RIGHT NOW, and my all time favorite book I basically read every year. Plus a list of classics to have in your arsenal. I really could talk about books all day. Why don't I work in a library again? Oh right, more school. *hangs head*

Today I'll just start with the two books I just finished reading. Both YA fiction. Because my name is Abby and that's my M.O.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira - I just finished reading this today and it was one of the most melancholy books I've read in a while. It's a well written, emotional journey of a girl named Laurel who just lost her sister. The story is told through a series of letters to her favorite people, now deceased. People like Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Amelia Earhart and Judy Garland. It progresses through stages of grief paired with the awkwardness of growing up and going to high school for the first time. In the end she finds pieces of herself that never left and learns to live her own life. I had to watch cartoons afterwards to feel better.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender - I will probably buy this book sometime soon. I read it in a record ONE DAY, which only my mother does usually, but I couldn't put it down. It's the right combination of love, magic, strangeness and triumph. It explores every aspect of love and loss - also the main character, Ava, has wings. Literal wings. If you like getting lost in the magic of a book this is a good one.

OKAY LONGEST POST EVER. Gosh. I'll try to keep these up and I'm pretty sure I will never run out of things to talk about. I'm kind of excited to share stuff I love with you guys.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SLW: Guest Post - Casey

We haven't had a guest poster on here in quite awhile! Meet my awesome friend Casey - I met her while at Olivet and it took me forever to figure out if she was mad at me or not. She is reserved at first glance but one of the coolest people I've ever met. I'm so happy to have gotten to know her over the years because as it turns out we MIGHT be the same person. From the Young Adult fiction novels to her intense love of crafts and blogs, she's pretty much amazing. 

I asked Casey to guest on here a couple months ago, being a fellow single lady, I asked her to write whatever she wanted about single life or not. And she didn't say no... but she also didn't quite say yes, but she finally emailed me. I'm so happy to have her post here today!


When Abby asked me to write a guest post for SLW, I almost wondered if she had asked the wrong person. Like Abby recently shared, I never have anything to say when people ask me, "What's new with you?" Therefore, I feel like I had NOTHING to write about. I figured I'd give it a shot though. 

As a single lady, I read A LOT of blogs. Therefore, I decided to pull an idea from one of my favorite blogs, Sometimes Sweet. I’ve been borderline obsessed with blogs since I was in college, and Danielle Hampton’s blog was one of the first ones I remember reading. To give you an idea of how obsessed I was (read: still am), I gave up blogs for lent one year in college because I was spending entirely too much time reading them. It was bad. Anyways, Danielle writes a “Currently” post from time to time, where she talks about different things she’s enjoying in her life. Here’s my attempt at a Currently post…

Reading: I started reading/listening to To Kill a Mockingbird, via an audio book, on my drive to and from work. I live about 20 minutes from the school I work at so I always try to get an audio book from the library to enjoy on my short commute. Go ahead and shun me now, but I have never read To Kill a Mockingbird. For years, my mom has tried to get me to read it, saying that I would love it, but somehow it just slipped through the cracks. Anyways, I requested it from the library, but the 7th disc ended up being so scratched that it wouldn’t play. I didn’t want to wait to request another copy of the audio book so I’ve been reading the physical book. I’ve also been listening to The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow, via an audio book, on my commute to work now. And I recently borrowed Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan from the library. I have yet to start that one. I’m not usually one to read multiple books at a time, but lately I’ve been juggling 2-3 books at a time. Things are getting wild over here!

Eating: Cinnamon Toast Crunch…in a rather large bowl. I can never get enough of that stuff. I go through phases with cereal. I’ve enjoyed large quantities of Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, Life, Frosted Mini Wheats, etc. For the most part, I literally eat nothing other than cereal during those phases…and I love it. Also, sunflower seeds are one of my main food groups.

Thinking about: Summer. One of the major perks of working in a school is the schedule a.k.a. summers off. I have a big trip planned this summer and I.AM.EXCITED. My friend and I are going to DC, NYC and Boston. I will be crossing quite a few things off of my unofficial bucket list, as well as my 26 Before 27 list. Man, oh man. Did I explain how excited I am? We are planning to visit The Today Show, which is basically my main goal in life. Ed Sheeran will be playing for The Today Show’s summer concert series while we’re there. (Insert heart eyes emoji here). We’re going to try for Jimmy Fallon and/or SNL tickets too. There will be food. There will be fun. I’m tempted to countdown with a paper chain.   

Listening: Podcasts. Recently, a friend reminded me about the wonderful world of podcasts. Comedy Bang Bang is my current favorite. The other night I was trying to fall asleep while listening to it and one of the guests was Amy Poehler. Basically, I laughed myself to sleep. It was grand. They were rapping about butter. Enough said. As far as music, my playlist is always all over the place. Currently, it includes: Ed Sheeran, Manchester Orchestra, Jake Bugg, Talk Dirty to Me by Jason Derulo, Do You Want to Build a Snowman by Princess Anna, etc. I had to throw those specific songs in there if I’m being 100% honest in this post.

Watching: This is a silly question. The answer is always Gilmore Girls. I have a running list of shows that I want to watch, but somehow I always end up engrossed by one of Lorelai and Rory’s long-winded conversations. Those two, I love them. I used to pick a random season when I was in the mood to watch, but I’ve preferred watching from start to finish over the last few years. If only I could tell you how many times I’ve watched the entire series. Honestly, I wish I knew the number. Also, if you’ve read any of Abby’s amazing live tweets related to Gilmore Girls, you’d notice that I’ve favorited 99% of them. I would also be watching Parenthood, but the season just ended. There were tears, lots of tears. For some balance, I’ve been watching The Mindy Project too, which always provides me with a good laugh. 

Loving: Excuse me while I get a little sentimental, but I love my friends. This really isn’t anything new, but I’ve just had some good moments with my pals lately. Most of these moments have been so simple too. Conversations over coffee. A quick phone call after work. Running errands with a friend. I’m just very thankful.

Well, that’s it. There’s your peek into what’s going on in the life of your average single lady. A big thank you to Abby for asking me to write a guest post and putting me waaayyyy outside of my comfort zone.


THAT ROAD TRIP THO! AAARRRGH I wish summer break was still a thing. And Gilmore Girls - ugh, Gilmore Girls *clutches heart.* I love the "reading, loving, watching" posts - it's a good way to catch up and actually gives you a little perspective on what you might call "nothing." Someone's "nothing" is someone else's amazing adventure. Also I totally want to listen to podcasts now!

I am always up for a guest post - thoughts on single hood from a married standpoint, advice, recipes for one (or recipes for 2 that I will eat alone and not tell anyone) ANYTHING! Email me at thebirdsfly{at}me{dot}com.



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