Life · mental health

Wtf Am I Supposed to Wear? (And Other Things That Keep Me Up at Night)

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Perhaps it’s due to all the excess stress at work recently, but I’ve been having difficulty sleeping, despite the fact that I’ve been crawling into bed by 9:00 every evening. Early this morning, at the wee hours of 4:30, I was wide awake again. I gave up a few hours later, once Merlin decided that those lumps underneath the covers (aka my feet) were deadly enemies that must be destroyed. Truthfully, I was somewhat grateful for the excuse to get out of bed, having exhausted my mind with a major issue that has been haunting me lately…

What the fuck am I supposed to wear now that I’m 30?

You can roll your eyes at me if you want (I know I probably would if I was reading this), but this is a legit concern that has been bothering me lately, along with a few other key 30-something related issues. Remember last year, when I was panicking and having a major existential crisis over turning thirty? I look back at it and chuckle a little bit, because it really was no big deal. I’m still me, chugging along, trying to figure out who I am and what the hell I’m doing with my life. (I’m beginning to suspect that I will continue to feel that way on and off throughout my life and that it has nothing to do with my age.) Nothing major happened. Well, except one thing. Despite the fact that my eating habits have remained the same and I exercise regularly, I’ve noticed some small, but noticeable changes in my body. My metabolism has slowed and I’ve gained a few pounds. Only a few pounds. No big deal, right? But that’s where you’re wrong. Considering my 20 year battle with body image and eating issues, I didn’t handle this particularly well at first. I admit that I almost relapsed, due to that stupid little voice in the back of my brain that likes to troll me and tell me that my weight and appearance are important and are tied to my worth as a human being. Fortunately, I’ve had some time to adjust to my new 30-year old body and was able to pull myself off the edge of another downward spiral. Phew.

But, there’s still one problem.

I’ve noticed recently that some of my clothing is a little snugger that it used to be. It makes sense, as much as I want to rebel against it. As someone who detests shopping for clothing, I’ve put off fixing my wardrobe for as long as possible. I’ve reached a point, however, where I’ve grown tired of trying to squeeze my slightly larger hips and ass into jeans that were skintight to begin with, so I’ve had to begin shopping for new clothes. *Cue second crisis*

During a recent excursion to Hell, I mean, the mall, I all but had a complete mental meltdown. There really is no better place for it, after all, with all those bright lights and hundreds of staring, obnoxious sales people. (Just picture it: Me lying on the floor of the mall, sobbing and pulling her hair out as a kiosk saleslady runs over and attempts to spray me with free perfume samples.) Even my failed attempts to shop online have led to the same frustrating, confusing conclusion that I don’t know how I’m supposed to dress anymore.

Body changes aside, I’m not the same person that I was in my twenties. I’m successful at my job and work in a professional office setting. I don’t go out as much as I used to anymore. When we do go out we hang out as more relaxed, casual places, rather than loud, stuffy bars and clubs. I actually care about being comfortable now. Suddenly, all the tight, short dresses and high heels in my closet feel completely out of place in my life. When I’m not at work, I typically wear jeans or yoga pants with something comfortable on top. I wear flat boots and converse sneakers. I’ve started wearing my glasses all the time. But what am I supposed to wear to work? What about when I’m going out? My jeans, nerdy t-shirts, and cardigans are fine for when I’m hanging out at the bookstore or coffee shop, but what about the rest of the time? I’ve been struggling for years to figure out how I’m supposed to dress in the semi-professional/business casual environment at work that still allows me to express who I am. But, honestly, I’m not even sure what I’m trying to express anymore. Places like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic are too old for me. Forever 21 is too young. So where am I supposed to buy my clothes? Why is there no store for people like me? They can call it “Leggings & Lace” or “Mid-Life Moxie.” “Wine and WTF is On My Shirt?” Even if they had these stores, I still probably wouldn’t know how to dress myself, considering I’ve never been particularly good at these things.

Not long ago I got brave and added purple streaks to my hair. It’s on the underside and there are few of them. You can hardly even see them unless my hair is up and there is good lighting. Still, I know they’re there and I like them. I like my slightly funky, rebellious hair, even if nobody else realizes it exists. (Especially Boyfriend, who is colorblind.) Is it okay for me to have purple-streaked hair now that I’m thirty? I don’t know. Do my nerdy tees and converse sneakers make me look like I’m trying to be younger than I am? Again, I don’t know. How do I figure out the balance between being comfortable, but still looking professional enough for work? I DON’T KNOW. All I know is that I have a closet full of clothing meant for my 20-something year old self that don’t feel like “me” anymore.

I’m going shopping again this afternoon. Wish me luck.

 

Books · travel

Wanderlusting: Bookstores Around the World (Part 2)

It’s time for another round of overdue bookish wanderlust. 🙂

Libreria Acqua Alta (Venice, Italy) – The name literally translates to “bookstore of high water.” Due to the high rising waters in Venice, the shop owner decided to pile all of the shop’s merchandise into bathtubs, canoes, and various other types of waterproof containers so that the his precious books would not be destroyed. I imagine it’s quite difficult to actually find things this way, but I’d still love to check it out someday!

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El Ateneo Grand Splendid (Buenos Aires) – A bookstore in an old theater! Tell me this doesn’t look like a dreamy place to get lost for an afternoon.

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Parnassus Books (Nashville, Tennessee) – Definitely not the most visually stunning on my list of bookstores, but I’ve heard so many wonderful things about author Ann Patchett’s shop. They do lots of events showcasing well-known and local authors, carry a large selection of fiction and non-fiction titles, and even have a bookmobile that delivers books to the community. (I wish we had a mobile bookstore like that!)

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Need some more bookish wanderlusting? Check out Part 1!

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: The Hod King

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fearing an uprising, the Sphinx sends Senlin to investigate a plot that has taken hold in the ringdom of Pelphia. Alone in the city, Senlin infiltrates a bloody arena where hods battle for the public’s entertainment. But his investigation is quickly derailed by a gruesome crime and an unexpected reunion.

Posing as a noble lady and her handmaid, Voleta and Iren attempt to reach Marya, who is isolated by her fame. Edith, now captain of the Sphinx’s fierce flagship, joins forces with a fellow wakeman to investigate the disappearance of a beloved friend.

As Senlin and his crew become further dragged in to the conspiracies of the Tower, everything falls to one question: Who is The Hod King?

Every book in the Books of Babel series is completely different than the last, but, once again, Josiah Bancroft hits the nail right on the head. The structure of The Hod King is different than the previous two books. Each chunk of the book follows a different member of Senlin’s former crew and chronicles their misadventures in Pelphia.

I really appreciated the character development in The Arm of the Sphinx. This time around, the characters we’ve come to know and love throw some unexpected surprises at us. Of all the characters in the story, I think I was most impressed with Voleta in this book and how different she is now than she was when we first met her. Even Iren, who didn’t do much for me previously, has finally found a place in my heart now that we got to see things from her perspective.

Pelphia is quite strange. It’s definitely one of my favorite ringdoms we’ve gotten to experience so far, even though most of the people there are quite ghastly. Even after reading book three, I am still in awe of the incredibly unique and richly detailed world of the Tower that Bancroft has created. The story only gets better and better as it goes along and I already know that I never want it to end.

I want to say so much more about this book, but I don’t even know how to begin critiquing perfection.

Books · food · Life · travel

How YOU doin’?

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It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, so I thought it would be good to check in. I’ve been super busy lately with work, as this is our busiest time of the year. Between the extra hours worked and the stress of it all, I often come home and act like a giant slug in the evenings. Fortunately, we only have about two more weeks of this nonsense and then things should be returning to normal.

Despite the craziness at work, I’ve actually been feeling a lot better lately. I’ve been incorporating some alternate forms of medicine into my routine, plus more daylight hours means I have more capability to get outside and exercise. Winter is a rough time for people with depression, but fortunately I think I’m pulling myself back out of it again.

Boyfriend and I took an overnight trip to Raleigh this weekend for some exploring and shenanigans. The majority of the trip was spent consuming ridiculously delicious food (Morgan Street Food Hall is amazing!) and going to the Museum of Natural Science. Of course, we also paid a visit to one of my favorite independent bookstores, Quail Ridge Books.

 

What I’m currently reading:

Books · food · Life

How You Doin’?

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This have been rough lately. Two people that I know passed away last week, both somewhat unexpectedly. My heart aches for the families and people affected by the loss of both individuals. It’s a very discouraging feeling when you want to help someone who’s grieving, but there’s little you can do other than say “I’m here for you.”

On top of such heavy news, the weight of my own personal issues have been dragging me down quite a bit. My mood has been pretty low lately – the familiar feelings of loneliness, anger, and insecurity brought on by depression settling in the cracks that they had temporarily vacated. As always, my eating disorder likes to sneak appearances in, as well, particularly when (or because) I’m already down. Every morning he rears his ugly little face out from the folds within my closet, or at the edge of the mirror, and whispers nasty things in my ear that make me feel horrible about my appearance and my worth as a human being.

*sigh*

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It hasn’t all been bad, I guess. I went to cat yoga a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I plan on going back either this week or next and incorporating it into my regular repertoire. I’ve also been working on a new routine for a dance show that’s coming up soon and planning for my solo Spring/Summer trips. Of course, I’ve also been playing around in the kitchen, experimenting with new foods and recipes. There have been multiple trips to the Asian market recently, so I could find new ingredients to play with and to feed my obsession with steamed buns and mochi ice cream.

What I’m Reading:

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How YOU doin’ this week? What are you currently reading or working on?

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft

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The Tower of Babel is proving to be as difficult to reenter as it was to break out of. Forced into a life of piracy, Senlin and his eclectic crew are struggling to survive aboard their stolen airship as the hunt to rescue Senlin’s lost wife continues.
Hopeless and desolate, they turn to a legend of the Tower, the mysterious Sphinx. But help from the Sphinx never comes cheaply, and as Senlin knows, debts aren’t always what they seem in the Tower of Babel.
Time is running out, and now Senlin must choose between his friends, his freedom, and his wife.
Does anyone truly escape the Tower?

Allow me to start off this review with a confession: I almost didn’t pick this book up. I enjoyed Senlin Ascends when I read it last year, but I couldn’t decide if I liked it enough to rush to read the second book. After seeing all the glittering reviews of the third book, The Hod King, recently, I realized that I might be missing out on something.

I was.

The Sphinx’s Arm has a different feel to it than the first book. It’s faster paced, grittier, and a bit more complex. (As if the Tower needed to be more complex!) Senlin and his friends aren’t just on the lam anymore; they’re pirates! They’re still trying to find Senlin’s wife, all while trying to avoid detection by Commissioner Pound. Everywhere they turn, the Tower, with all it’s political corruption and steampunk wonders, is doing its best to thwart them.

The story is rich with amazing (and sometimes terrible) characters, both new and old. The relationship  between Senlin and his crew has deepens and grows more complex with every misadventure they get themselves tangled in. Despite all their flaws and demons, the camaraderie between them is admirable. Senlin is quite different than he was in the first book. He’s not just the lost, desperate tourist searching for his wife anymore. He’s a leader and a friend, trying to do best by his crew. He’s smarter, bolder, and, although he fumbles a lot, you can’t help but love him. I really enjoyed the new characters introduced, as well, especially the mysterious Spinx and his lackey, Byron.

I want to share all the other details I loved about this book, but I don’t want to give too much away. I know we’re only two months into the year, but I already predict that this will be one of the best books I read in 2019.

*Potential spoiler*  (Was anyone else really hoping the Sphinx was actually going to be a spoon?)

Blogging · Books

Where’s that Damned Ball?

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One of the things I always envy about other bloggers is how they always seem to be able to keep track of things. Weekly memes, tags, comments, and, of course, their blogiversaries. I’ve totally dropped the ball this year. I dropped it and then it rolled away and is probably in the middle of the highway somewhere. I’ve been waiting to do my two-year blogiversary post because I thought the date wasn’t until the end of February. Welp, it turns out I was a bit off…by a month. Apparently my blogiversary was back in January and I totally missed it.

Oops. 😛

In honor of my belated blog anniversary, I’m not going to toot my own horn or anything. I’m not going to talk about my blogging or writing achievements, how many followers I have, or blog awards I’ve gotten. Instead, I’m going to say thank you. Thank you to all my readers – the ones who comment on my posts and the ones who silently lurk. Blogging is fun because I get to talk about books and other things that I love, but none of it would quite be the same without you guys. I’ve met some truly awesome people through this blog, people who I have come to consider friends. Thank you for all that you guys are doing in the blogging community. Even if I don’t always leave comments, I love reading your posts and seeing what you guys are doing with your own blogs. The book blogging community is such a fun, creative, and embracing place and I am incredibly happy to be a part of it.

Here’s to another year of blogging, for myself and all of you. ❤