Life · mental health · Uncategorized

Finding a Bright Spot (Or, a black-and-white one)

**Trigger warning: Depression, Suicidal Thoughts

In an earlier post I alluded to the fact that this year has been a challenging one. It feels silly to even say that. So many people have been struggling, for one reason or another, that it feels too obvious to even point out. (“Oh, you mean dealing with a pandemic, social unrest, and numerous political monstrosities has been a sucky time for you? No shit, Sherlock.”) So many people have had it worse than I have, too. Hence the reason every time I’ve tried to write the post I deleted it for fear of sounding whiny. It’s good to get things off your chest though, isn’t it? So here goes…

I haven’t shared much about my year, minus a few quarantine tips. Like everyone else, I started off this year hopeful and excited about what lay ahead: vacations booked, cons to attend, stories to write, etc. Then, in March, most things in North Carolina shut down due to the rapid spread of COVID throughout the state. I started working from home most days of the week, only going in to the office when absolutely necessary, and Boyfriend and I had to adjust to sharing the same space 24/7. Not to mention, his daughter was with us half the time, attending school remotely. The house, which was already on the small side, never felt more cramped and uncomfortable. Alas, we tried to make the best of it. Our Spring and Summer trips had to be cancelled. Every convention I had tickets for was postponed or became virtual. My in-person yoga and Pilates classes were cancelled. By the end of the first month, I was stir crazy and bored to tears, not having much to look forward to in the near future. But, we sill tried to make the best of it. By June, little had gotten better. Things were still closed, people were still getting sick, and I hadn’t had social interaction with anyone outside of the house or my team at work. I went from feeling stir-crazy and bored to lonely, to extremely lonely, to super anxious, to depressed. My insomnia went from being an occasional issue to a nightly problem. My appetite decreased and my exercise habits went up (a desperate attempt to maintain some semblance of control over something). I felt myself slipping further and further down into a pit of despair, self-loathing, and hopelessness that I eventually snapped.

Eventually I had to face the uncomfortable truth: I relapsed. Those who struggle with depression and anxiety often struggle with it on and off throughout their lives, like I have. Over the last 15+ years, however, even at my worst, I always knew that it could be worse. I’d seen rock bottom before, but at least I could always say I wasn’t that bad anymore. Until this summer. I found myself staring in the face of a full-blown relapse. Not just with my depression, but with my anxiety and eating disorder, as well. I was losing weight and became so obsessed with food again that meal times literally sent me into panic mode. I had no motivation, no desire to take care of myself, and my brain felt like it was “fuzzy” all the time. On more than one occasion I contacted the suicide hotline, desperate for someone to help me find a reason to keep wanting to live. My medicines had been changed multiple times and my psychiatrist almost checked me into the hospital on two occasions. It was bad. I was as low as I remembered being in the past 15 years. And I didn’t even care.

Fast forward a few months: I am much more stable now, thanks to the countless sessions with my therapist, psychiatrist, and regular doctors. It turns out that some of the medication I had been put on was making me suicidal. It’s a scary and unfortunate thing that happens sometimes. I’m still seeing my therapist, because things aren’t perfect by any means. I still have a lot of shit to work on and really need some less destructive coping mechanisms. I’m still working on my relationship with food and trying to evict my eating disorder. It’s been a slow (and often frustrating) process, but I’m getting there. I wish I could say I was proud of how far I’ve come over the last few months, but I’m not quite there yet. One day at a time.

One good thing has come out of this year that I am grateful for…

Meet Noddy. I adopted Noddy about two months ago and he’s been a huge help in keeping me focused on getting better. It’s been almost two years since my last dog, Beaker, passed away and my therapist told me that it might be time to finally move on. You know, she was right. Noddy is two years old, but he never had a home outside of the shelter, so he’s like a giant puppy. He’s been a lot of work, but we love him and he makes us all laugh. (The cats did not share these same feelings, however, when we brought him home. Fortunately, Merlin has finally warmed up to Noddy and they are slowly becoming friends.) If being forced to go back into therapy is what brought me Noddy, then maybe it’s not the worst year ever, after all.

food · Uncategorized

Repost: Love and Unrest

I was going to write a separate post regarding the protests on here, but instead I’ve decided to share the post I wrote on my other blog. My other blog is a bit different than this one, as it’s a food blog, but the context of the post still apply.


Unless you live in a cave underground, I’m sure you all know what’s been happening lately. The murder of George Floyd. The protests. The riots. All over the world people are fighting for equality and against racism and police brutality. There is so much heaviness, sadness, and anger that I just don’t know what to say. Every time I read another headline in the news I can’t help but ask myself “How did we get here? How did we let it get this bad?” While I don’t consider myself racist by any means, it’s hard not to feel guilty for all the injustice that has happened in this country for hundreds of years now.

It is not okay.

I’ve been doing my own part in helping to spread awareness of the issue, donating money, and speaking out whenever I can. You don’t have to be in the middle of the protests to take part in the action. (If you aren’t sure how, click here for some ideas.) It’s been mentally draining, to say the least, because no matter what I do it feels like it will never be enough.

I took the day off work on Friday to get some things done at home and to try to relax. As I often do during stressful times, I decided to bake something. I had some frozen berries hanging around in the freezer, so I pulled them out and decided to make scones. The recipe I used came from The Curious Chickpea. It’s a simple, yet reliable one. The only differences I made to the recipe was that I used both raspberries and blueberries and created a beet glaze to drizzle over the top. The flavor of the beet powder didn’t come through too much, but it did add a beautiful color to the finished product.

Baking always gives me a sense of peace and happiness, which is why it is one of my favorite hobbies. Every time I step into the kitchen to bake something I pour a lot of love into whatever I’m making. I know plenty of you can relate.

Can you imagine what kind of world we could live in, how much better off we would be, if we all poured that same love and energy into supporting others?


Books · Life · Uncategorized

This is Halloween

Happy Halloween!!!

The best day of the year is finally here! I don’t have a long post today, but I just wanted to share a pic of my costume from the party we attended over the weekend. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. 🙂

Crowley (An angel who did not so much fall as saunter vaguely downwards)

What are you all doing to celebrate Halloween? Did you dress up this year? I can’t wait to see the costumes you guys post! Whatever you’re doing today, I hope you have a most spooktacular time and eat lots of candy.

Books · Life · Uncategorized

BookCon 2018

After three days of exploring the streets of New York City, I am finally back home in Charlotte. Honestly, I’m a little sad about this. I had such a good time this past weekend that I wasn’t quite ready to leave yet. There were so many more places I wanted to check it, so much food I wanted to eat! It’s okay though, because that means that I’ll just have more things to discover when I return next year.

I arrived in the city on Saturday and spent the day at the museum, plus doing some wandering around. I found some fantastic food places to check out, not just on Saturday, but the entire time I was there. My favorite food places were Gotham West Market (which is like a fancier version of a food court, with options like tacos, ramen, and dessert waffles), Bibble & Sip (a bakery that makes French pastries with Asian flair), and Rustic Table. I tried so many amazing food options while I was there. I forgot how much better the food is up there than it is in Charlotte!

Sunday was reserved for BookCon. I got there early so that I could attend one of the first panels of the day. (There were so many panels that sounded interesting. It was hard to pick only a few.) Just walking into the convention center gave me a rush of giddy excitement. It was easy to feel and see the excitement of everyone around me, too. It was an awesome feeling, just being around others who love and appreciate books on the same level that I do. I was finally among my people!

The first panel I attended, We Need Diverse Books, was my favorite. Authors Dhonielle Clayton, Tomi Adeyemi, Tracey Baptiste, Zoraida Córdova, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rebecca Roanhose spoke about their own works and what diversity means within the magical worlds they created. From the standpoint of both a reader and a writer, I gained a lot from the panel and really enjoyed it.

In addition to the panels there was an autographing floor, booth after both of books and bookish merch for sale, giveaways, and workshops. I returnef to the air b&b that afternoon with a pretty sweet haul. Next year I’m just bringing an empty suitcase with me to fill with books!

The highlight of my day was when I got to meet one of my favorite authors, V.E. Schwab! She was so lovely! Not only did I get to meet her, but I got a signed copy of the ARC for City of Ghosts! You guys can’t even imagine how excited I was. (I also feel compelled to add that I did not act like a complete goober or say anything awkward when I met her. Yay.)

BookCon was even better than I hoped it would be. Next year I plan on attending both days, so I can check out more of the panels and take advantage of more author meet-and-greets. It was so nice to be surrounded by other bloggers, readers, and writers. I loved every second of it.

I came back home Monday evening, but not before making one last stop at a place I’ve always wanted to visit…

The Strand. The perfect ending to a perfect trip.

Life · mental health · Uncategorized



Yesterday I was feeling super anxious about something, which manifested in the form of bitterness and anger. Anger is a common symptom of anxiety for me, one that I don’t really know how to cope with. I wrote an entire blog post about it yesterday, with magically got erased. Believe it or not, this didn’t do much in terms of making me feel any less rage-y. 😒

Today, my brain has decided to take all that leftover anger and anxiousness and turn it inward. I can no longer be mad about the event that was plaguing me yesterday, so today I’m just mad at myself. Again, this is a common occurrence for me. My brain loves to find any and every excuse to tell me that I’m not good enough, creating further anger.

Me: “I no longer feel close to most of the friends I used to have.”

Brain: “Why would anybody want to be friends with you? You’re a terrible friend.”

Me: *makes suggestion that gets ignored or scoffed at*

Brain: “Why would anybody listen to you? Your ideas and suggestions aren’t good enough.”

Me: “I wonder if I’ll ever finish writing this book.”

Brain: “You won’t. You’re a terrible writer and nobody wants to read your story anyway.”

Me: *feels crappy about my body*

Brain: “Why should you feel good? You’re not skinny enough or pretty enough.”

Me: *feels stupid around Boyfriend and his family*

Brain: “You are stupid, what do you expect?”

Etc. etc. etc.

I could fill up an entire post with the bullshit that’s playing out in my head today, but I’ll spare you. I spend a great deal of time telling myself that I’m not good enough and look for others to make me feel validated as a human being. Which is stupid, because I know that I’m not supposed to do that. As part of recovery, I’m supposed to remind myself that I am good enough, that I’m perfect just the way I am. I’m supposed to tell anyone who says otherwise to go fuck themselves. I’m not supposed to care what others think about me, period. Sometimes I’m great at remembering all of this and it’s not an issue. Then, there are days like yesterday where my anxiety sneaks in and attacks from all angles, making it virtually impossible to think rationally.

I’m not sure where I intended to go with this post. I guess I’m just sharing my frustration. I wish this was ending on a more uplifting note, but it is what it is. I know some of you out there can relate and can use the reminder that they aren’t the only ones who deal with this kind of stuff.

As always, thank you for listening. ❤

Life · Uncategorized

Traveling Solo


I don’t know what the weather is like where all of you live, but it’s COLD here this week. The temps have dropped to the teens and 20s, which is pretty low for Charlotte. People keep pointing out that I’m from New Jersey. “Shouldn’t you be used to this?” I don’t care where I am from, 20 degrees is still freaking cold. Plus, I’ve been living down South for approximately 11 years now and I have gone a bit soft. I will, however, still walk around complaining that they’re cancelling school because it’s cold. In my day we whippersnappers went to the school even if there was 3 feet of snow. And we walked to the bus stop. Kids these days. They don’t know how easy they have it. *angrily waves cane above my head*

I’ve been thinking about travel recently, which really has nothing to do with the weather (although I do kind of wish I was anywhere but here somewhere warmer right now). The company I work for is pretty generous with the amount of PTO that we are given each year. I’ve been at the company for almost 2 years now and, with the exception of the Canada trip last summer, I’ve used most of my days off just hanging out at home. I would really like to start doing things with my time off, rather than just be a hermit. This is where it gets tricky though.

I’ve been on plenty of vacations throughout my life, but all of them have been with family. Any trips I’ve taken by myself were trips to go visit family or friends in Florida. I don’t have a ton of money, but I do realize that there are lots of places I can go and things I can do that won’t break the bank. Even if I can find affordable things to do, I admit that I am still intimidated. My anxiety can make traveling stressful to begin with and, truthfully, I don’t know if that will be worsened if I am traveling alone. For all I know, it could actually be a really liberating experience for me and I could love it. (I could end up running through the streets, flashing my tits during Mardi Gras, yelling “I’m free!” You never know.)


Part of me feels like I might enjoy some solo travel. I am a pretty introverted person. I like my alone time and I like being able to find quiet activities. If I take a trip by myself I can get a massage, wander around a bookstore for 5 hours, or sit in a cafe and just relax until my heart is content. (No more climbing mountains or crying in the middle of glaciers, thankyouverymuch.) I’ve been thinking about attending BookCon in June. I don’t really know what you do there, but it sounds like something I might enjoy. Plus, I am not entirely unfamiliar with NYC, given how often I used to visit when I was growing up. I haven’t been to NYC in probably 9-10 years and I would love to go check out some places that I’ve never had the chance to visit.

Buuuut (here comes the anxiety creeping in) what if going by myself is scary? What if I get lost or mugged or something else terrible happens? Or what if I just hate being by myself and feel awkward the entire time? What if the zombie apocalypse finally happens and I get stuck in NYC with no escape plan? At least if you’re in your own home you have a slight advantage over the zombies. Should I carry a small machine gun with me in the event of the zombie apocalypse? Do they even make tiny machine guns? There’s a lot to consider.

What are your thoughts on solo travel? Have you done much of it? Is it something that you’ve generally enjoyed or was it weird? I’d love to hear about some of your experiences. 

Life · Uncategorized

Meet Merlin 

I would like to introduce you guys to my new kitty baby, Merlin. I adopted him this weekend from the Humane Society. (This was the Christmas present from my boyfriend that I hinted at earlier.) He’s 8 months old and I fell in love with him pretty much instantly. His name was Nash, but I’ve decided to call him Merlin instead. 

Yesterday was his first day in his new home. I’d say he’s adjusting well. 😊

Life · Uncategorized

…And to All a Good Night

Greetings! I hope you all had a merry and most enjoyable holiday. Or at least a generic, non-shitty Monday. After all my griping and worrying, I am happy to report that I not only survived Christmas, but I actually managed to have a good time.

I survived both dinners with the boyfriend’s family. Fortunately, no meat was flung in anger, which means that I will probably be invited back next year. (Disclaimer: I call this “fortunate,” but I feel like the only ones who are benefiting here are my boyfriend’s family. Just imagine the story I could have shared with you all if I actually had thrown a rib roast or ham across the room. *sigh* I’ll do better for you guys next time, I promise.)

We opened presents with my boyfriend’s daughter on Christmas Eve. Lots of books and Harry Potter-themed gifts were exchanged at out house. The animals also received presents and lots of treats.

Here’s a shot of Beaker, all worn out from playing with his new toys, and Ash, trying to disguise himself as a present:

One of my favorite gifts I received was from my mother. She took several years worth of home movies and had them converted from VHS tapes onto DVDs for my siblings and I. I watched a few of them last night and really enjoyed myself. It’s nice to be reminded of forgotten times and relive happy childhood memories. There were some nice scenes of me sleeping/farting, taking a bath, and attempting to eat a plastic bag out of the garbage can. I was so much more sophisticated back then. I also learned that when I was 3-4 my voice sounded like that of an 80 year old woman with emphysema. I’m really glad I grew out of that phase. Or maybe I didn’t and everybody has been shielding me from the truth for all these years? (This is bothering me. I feel like I need to investigate further.)

There’s another exciting present that I received from my boyfriend that I can’t wait to share with you guys, but it’s not quite time yet. Anyone want to guess what it is? Hint: No, I didn’t get engaged and I don’t have a bun in the oven. There are brownies in the oven at the moment though, which, to me, is even better than having a bun in your oven.