It’s Just Another Manic Monday – Building a Ladder

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It’s Monday – the start of a new week. I don’t know why, but I feel so much extra pressure on Mondays. Like how productive I am today, sets the tone for the rest of the week. Today I’ve been semi-productive and considering that I didn’t sleep well last night, and I woke up with such horrible joint pain, I’m going to consider that a win. Today I am trying to #BuildALadder  – a term created by one of my favorite Youtubers, Martina (of Simon & Martina / Eat Your Kimchi). Martina has EDS and understands that the reality of chronic illnesses means that some days are better than others. Sometimes, you need to try harder to accomplish what you need to, or accept that you’re going to have to find victory in the small things, change plans, or adapt to however you might be feeling that day.

I love the idea because it’s a good way for me to remind myself that every day cannot be perfect. I might have twenty things written down on my to-do list for a particular day, and chronic illness might have other plans. To me, it’s about adapting to my reality – which is often fluid and that means I can’t always plan ahead. The idea of building a ladder helps to remind myself that every day is different and we have to find our victories where we can!

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You might see that we haven’t been posting very often lately. It’s primarily because we’re both in Grad School and we’ve had rather challenging semesters so far. For me, the biggest challenge has been my health. Trying to manage school demands in a body that doesn’t always seem to get the memo can be frustrating. There are days where the nerve/joint pain is so bad that typing is just too difficult. Or a migraine keeps me from getting anything done. Chronic fatigue and insomnia often mean that even the little things can be big challenges. When I can’t be as productive as I want (or need) to be, it frustrates me. It amplifies my anxiety as I start to worry if I’ll meet deadlines or ever get it all done. I worry that I’m not doing enough. I worry that I’ll never be able to.

I’m not writing this to try and make anyone feel sorry for me. I do my best to #BuildALadder and get through every day. But I wanted to explain why things might be a lot more quiet on the blog until the semester is over. I’m also writing this because going forward, I want to be more honest here with my reality.

I’ve always been a fan of the internet. I read blogs, I watch YouTube, and I’m on Instagram and Twitter way too much. But something that I find frustrating is the lengths to which people will go to try and make their lives seem completely perfect. I don’t find it relatable. I want real content – I don’t want people that only ever show the good stuff, while glossing over the harder bits. I can understand the appeal, but for me personally, I find that content like that ends up making me feel shitty. It makes me feel like I’ll never compare or stack up – that I’m just not good enough. I roll my eyes when I watch a YouTube video and someone is saying how they worry that their content is “too boring” because they showed real life bits. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows!! That’s okay!! More and more, I find myself drawn to people who have more of a balance between the nice stuff, and the “real” stuff. Those vlogs that you worry are too boring?? They’re probably my favorite!

My point (yes, I think I have one) is that I want to talk about my real life more on this blog. We started this site as a way to write about the different interests that we both have, and we enjoy doing that. But I want to expand our focus a bit more to include other things – real life things that matter to us just as much. In all honesty, it sort of frightens me to be transparent and talk about things like chronic illness – it makes me feel a bit vulnerable. But my life isn’t just books and TV – there’s a whole lot of other stuff in there too.

So long story short – be patient with us. We’re still around, just super busy right now. When this semester is over, we have a bunch of posts planned and we can’t wait to dive back in! For me, writing is a creative outlet that keeps me sane. I miss having the time to do it on my own terms! In the meantime, feel free to follow us on social media –

Tina – TWITTER, INSTAGRAM

Missy – TWITTER, INSTAGRAM

Oh, and if you like anything you’ve read here on our blog, you can always Buy Us a Coffee! 😉

and one more thing…. #SAVEODAAT!!!

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TBRs, Reading Goals, and Why I’m quitting it all.

*waves white flag*

I give up.

I give up, and I’m completely okay with it.

I enjoy feeling like I’m a part of something. I love nerding out with a fandom, or engaging with a niche community that shares a similar interest. I’ll admit that as someone who works and goes to school from home, and who lives with chronic illness, I don’t often feel a part of much. The internet is my savior in that respect. I’ve always had a love for reading, and between blogs, Youtube and Instagram, I’ve been exposed to the massive and crazy world of Book bloggers, Booktube and Bookstagram. Their passion has often left me feeling equal parts inspired and inadequate. It’s what has inspired me to try and reach a higher reading goal and to make monthly TBRs. I thought I wanted to be a bigger part of that community.

Until I realized that I don’t.

Don’t get me wrong. There are great people within the online book world. There are important conversations being had and brilliant books that I’ve discovered through it. But there are negatives too. I find myself frequently feeling pressure to read more and to read faster. I find myself wanting to consume books simply for the sake of consuming it. Read-a-thons and TBR lists aren’t about savoring the books we enjoy, they’re about consumption and reaching impressive reading goals. Sure, some people simply read a lot, and read fast. I’m just not one of them. So I find myself feeling such pressure to try and keep up. I thought that trying to reach specific goals, and attempting to read a certain number of books every month would help me to prioritize reading as self-care, but through this I’ve learned how easy it is to turn something you might have once found enjoyable and therapeutic, into something that feels like a chore, and that is stress-inducing.

I don’t want the book community to destroy my love for reading.

I found that the pressure I put on myself to try and read longer/faster/more, was making me feel guilty for engaging in other things I enjoyed doing – like watching TV. I also found that I would feel like what I was reading wasn’t good enough. There’s a lot of discussion in the book community right now about what kind of content we are reading. While I get it, I found it left me feeling like I shouldn’t even be talking about the books I was reading or wanted to read, because maybe they weren’t valuable?

I can recognize the power and value of the online book community, but I have to say that trying to engage in it, has left me nearly hating an activity I have loved my entire life. When I was little, I was always getting in trouble for reading in the dark. I was heckled and harassed during school because I read during lunch… or on the bus…or during free periods. So I hoped that this online community would help me find cohorts who I could share my love of reading with. But the reality is that there is a dark side to everything. I’m not saying that everyone who participates in this community is bad – not at all! I’m just acknowledging that there are issues.

So I’m done. I want to find my way back to loving reading again. Reading truly for pleasure and fulfillment. Reading for myself. Maybe I’ll share it here, maybe I won’t. But done are the TBR’s and the reading goals. I think its the only way to save this relationship.

Clothing Low Buy – January 2019 Month One Review

Okay so a month or so ago, I announced that I intended to set out on a clothing “low-buy” for the whole of 2019. What does that mean? Well, it doesn’t mean that I’m giving up shopping for clothing entirely – but that I’m changing how I am shopping. I’m buying second hand, or from ethical shops (fair wages, environmental impacts, etc.) for most things (some exceptions, see the original post – linked above). Every month my intention is to review how my progress on this goal has gone and to share it here. Let’s get into month one. 🙂

Clothing Low-Buy – January 2019

-The first thing I did was go through all of the clothing I already own. I don’t really feel that I own too much, especially considering that I don’t actually have a closet, but through the process of decluttering, I filled up quite a large garbage bag and drastically freed up space in my t-shirt drawer. I went through bags and shoes too. I’ve never had a ton of either, but I was able to find a few that I no longer wanted. It also inspired me to go through all my beauty and skincare stuff – that was another experience entirely!!

Clothing donations – a few bits went to eBay, but everything here was donated.
This is literally just headbands. Over FIFTY headbands!! I can’t even wear freakin’ headbands!

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February 2019 TBR + January Recap

This is big. I think this might be the ONLY time ever, where I’ve been able to say the following: I READ MY ENTIRE TBR!!! Okay, so it was only four books – small fish for most of you out there, but I was trying to stay somewhere between aggressive and realistic when I put my January TBR together, and I did it! I read all four books and then some!

In this post, I said that my goal was to read 50 books in 2019. I also shared the four books that I hoped to read in January. I made it through all of them, plus some others that I picked up from the library. My local library is a rather small one, but I love that our county system allows you to request books (or other materials) from any library and have them sent to the library of your choosing. It’s $0.25 to have a book sent from anywhere in the county, to the library five minutes from my house. You can’t beat that! In an effort to be more frugal this year, I’ve been trying to utilize my library a bit more (I’m also no longer buying books on Amazon…or really, much of anything, but that’s a whole different story)! I’ve never had anything against the library, I just also love collecting books, so sometimes I need to curb my book buying a bit. 😉

In total, I read EIGHT books in January.

Here’s what I read:

  • Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
  • My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper
  • I’ll Be There For You – The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller
  • #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy
  • If They Come For Us by Fatimah Asghar
  • Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery (#2) by Jenny Colgan
  • Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery (#3) by Jenny Colgan

You can see my ratings for everything I read over on my Goodreads page (feel free to friend me over there!), but I think my favorite book this past month was Little Beach Street Bakery (the first over the two that follow in the series). I’ve learned in the past year or so, that I really enjoy chick lit – especially when set in England/UK/Europe. I’m realizing that there’s perhaps a bit of an escapism theme in the entertainment I’ve been enjoying, especially in recent years. With such a messy reality, who can really blame me?

Grad school started up again at the very end of the month, and I have to admit that I haven’t opened a book for pleasure in a few days, but I’m still trying to be hopeful that I can continue making time for personal reading goals despite everything else. I’m keeping it simple again this month with a four book TBR, but I’ve also got some holds from the library that I’m in queue for, so we’ll see what happens there (I’m number 33 in line for one particular book!).

February 2019 TBR

  • Betty White In person by Betty White
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
  • Perfect Timing by Jill Mansell
  • The Many Lives of Doctor Who by Richard Dinnick

Every book on this list is from my own personal collection, and has been sitting on my shelves for a bit, except for the Agatha Christie. I’ve always wanted to read her books and when I came across a whole bunch at the thrift store recently I picked them up for super cheap figuring it was worth the risk since it’d be cheaper than one single book new!

The Doctor Who book is a graphic novel / comic and Missy recently reviewed it if you’re interested. I figured it was perfect for my TBR this month since I was looking for light and simple to try and keep my reading momentum going!

I’d love to know what is on your TBR this month, and what you’ve loved reading in January! Lets talk about it in the comments! Of course, if you’ve ever got suggestions for me, I’m all ears!

Happy Reading!

In a 90s Kinda World, I’m Glad I’ve Got My (DVDs): Physical Media in a Digital Age

I’m a creature of habit. In most scenarios, I don’t like change. Change taunts my anxiety and makes me feel threatened, uncomfortable, and like I have lost whatever control or trust that I might have had. I love a good routine and dependability. Knowing that I can trust a certain aspect of my environment to be consistent is incredibly valuable to me. When I turn on the television at night, I take comfort in seeing The Golden Girls, or Frasier on my screen. Not only are they funny and entertaining, but they’ve become reliable aspects of my routine. I enjoy watching my sitcom reruns, but more than that, they keep me company late at night when I often struggle to find comfort, or sleep.

I’ve always had a pretty dysfunctional relationship with sleep – I remember as a kid closing my eyes and thinking, OK, if I fall asleep right now, I can get five hours of sleep before I have to get up for school. I got in trouble for reading in bed by the light coming through my window, or seeping in my room from another You’ll ruin your eyes!, my mom would scream. Check mate mom – I’ve worn glasses for years (though, I DON’T wear them for reading). I used to love going to sleepovers at my maternal grandmother’s house because she was a night owl. We’d watch I Love Lucy together, or The Golden Girls. We’d head to the grocery store at midnight, cruising around and stopping for DIY sandwiches in the car made from the deli and fresh bread we had bought. Sometimes I wonder if I’m not as much an insomniac as much as someone who just isn’t meant to ascribe to normal sleeping patterns. I’ve come to realize it’s sort of a family thing – my aunt, mother, and sister are all night owls. The difference being for them, is that they can all fall asleep quickly. Me on the other hand, not so much.

Which brings me back to my beloved sitcoms. I welcome their company every night because they’re so familiar. Often times, I find myself lying awake not simply due to insomnia, but because of painsomnia. My joints, nerve pain, or some other discomfort like to keep me awake at night. So having Rose Nylund, Roz Doyle, or even Lucy and Ethel to hang out with me is a nice comfort. But come October, I find myself at a loss because Hallmark likes to go crazy for Christmas and removes their overnight sitcom reruns in favor of their Christmas movies. So I surf around looking for other sitcoms to take comfort in. Luckily there isn’t much of a shortage, and I am grateful that multiple channels air them. During Christmaspalooza, I’m often watching The King of Queens, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, The New Adventures of Old Christine and others.

Christmas has come and gone, and generally, the start of January means that Hallmark goes back to their regularly scheduled programming. This year? Not quite. They’ve changed the schedule, eliminating shows, extending some and reducing others. This creature of comfort was not happy. But I’m not writing this just to bitch about how a television network messed up my routine (although, they did and I’m not gonna lie – I’m bitter about it), I’m writing this because it got me to thinking about a larger issue that has been on my mind a lot recently: digital vs. physical media.

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Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge + January TBR

Last year I ended up reading 38 books – surpassing my goal of 30 for the year. Despite not reading for long chunks of time (hello, grad school), I feel pleased with my progress and like I have successfully found *some* of my reading mojo again. Reading has always been a huge love of mine, but life and school have often gotten in the way of it over the years. This year, I’m stepping up that goal because I want to really focus on making reading not just something I make time for, but something that I consistently make time for.

I view reading as not just entertainment, or an educational tool, but also as a means of self care – a way of distracting me when perhaps I’m not feeling my best. Whenever I go through a period of time where I don’t pick up a book, I feel off – like some part of my routine is missing or unsatisfied. I can’t promise that I will read (for pleasure anyway) every single day, and I know that when school is back in full swing, there’s likely to be many days where I don’t pick up a book. But my hope is to try and read at least a little bit every single day!

In 2019, my Goodreads goal is to read 50 books.

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Hitting The Breaks on Fast Fashion: Going on a Clothing “Low-Buy” in 2019

I’m no Carrie Bradshaw, but I own a lot of clothing.


Of course, giving into the typical cliche, I also hate wearing a lot of what I own. It sits in a drawer year after year, but whenever I do a clothing clear out, there are always those pieces that despite never being worn, make their way back into my dresser. Because of my constant state of underwhelmed, I buy a lot of clothing throughout the year. Much of it is fast fashion, which I am drawn to due to style, sizing, and of course: cost.

I’m not alone in this, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends roughly $1700 a year on clothing. Yikes! While, I don’t think that my spending is quite that high, it’s still more than I’m comfortable with it being. Especially because when it comes down to it, I feel like I’m still where I started: feeling like I don’t really have anything to wear.

Of course, I have some favorite pieces, but I also find myself frequently feeling like I just don’t have *the right* piece, or like I have nothing to wear, when in reality, I probably have plenty. Fast Fashion has sucked me in – and while I absolutely see why it’s a problematic industry (environmental concerns and issues in regard to labor being top areas of concern), I also know why it’s been largely where I’ve shopped my entire life.

When I first starting buying clothing for myself, I wanted as much as I could get for the little bit of money I had to work with. I used to love this show on TV where they’d give someone $100 to find an entire outfit from whatever stores were in the mall – only, I used to scoff thinking how I could have done the same – easily with a third of that. Now that I’m older, I’m open to spending more, but I still struggle with my need and desire to be frugal. It’s hard for me to dish out for a pricier item knowing I could likely find a cheaper alternative. I’ll say it: I love Target and Old Navy! I’m not a fancy person by any means, and generally my style is all about comfort, so these places are perfect for me.

There’s also the issue of sizing.A study in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education found that the average American woman is a size 16-18. This might be the only instance in which I can say that I’ve average. I actually do not find this statistic surprising at all. Real women are largely underrepresented in the world of fashion – that is if they’re represented at all. The issue for me, comes from the fact that despite this statistic, women of this size (and above) are largely still corralled to the back corners of the fashion world – that is, if stores carry our size at all. Often, we’re forced to shop online. There are plenty of stores that will take my money, but which would rather I didn’t come in and shop (but perhaps this is a rant for a different day).

 Between sizing and cost, I have come to appreciate fast fashion as a means of finding clothing that works for me and my budget. Fast fashion also feels more accessible. It’s everywhere. So I totally understand and get the appeal of fast fashion, and the desire to shop for clothing continually, despite whatever might be piling up in my wardrobe at home. We live in a society where we are meant to desire new and more on a constant basis, and I’m definitely guilty of this. I love shopping!! However, I’d be lying if I said that every new piece of clothing I brought home helped to fill some void. I find myself frequently justifying new purchases saying that I don’t have a shirt like that in that specific color, but then the reality is that I’ve got plenty of items which I’ve only worn once – or never at all.

Like many others, I often go through my clothing to weed out what I no longer want. Pieces become too big or too small, or perhaps are no longer our taste. We don’t like the way a particular piece looks on us, or the fabric texture drives us mad (looking at you LuLaRoe). According to The Atlantic, Americans send roughly 10.5 million tons of clothing to landfills every year. I don’t know about you, but I find this statistic to be incredibly disturbing. Personally, I very rarely throw a piece of clothing away, but this statistic still stands out to me, and I know that despite my best efforts, that much of what I donate could still be ending up in a landfill at some point. Clothing wears out sometimes, or gets damaged beyond repair – but 10.5 million tons every single year?? I think that points to a much larger issue than durability.

As I sift through the emails for $5 Pajama pants, free shipping, and 60% entire stores – all telling me I NEED the clothing they’re selling, I’ve been thinking. Honestly, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of clothing that I have – particularly because I likely only have an interest in wearing half of it. I hoard things I feel attached to, but which I’ll likely never wear again. I buy clothing when I feel bummed, or like I need some sort of pick-me-up. Of course, sometimes its that I’m drawn to a style I don’t have, or an item that is limited edition. Whatever my reasons for shopping, it’s got me feeling guilty. On a micro level, at the end of the day, I just don’t feel satisfied with my spending habits when it comes to clothing. After all the shopping I do, I still find myself feeling unhappy with my wardrobe, or like I have “nothing to wear”. On a more larger level, I think its much more complicated – there are ethical, and environmental ramifications for this fast fashion industry, and I’m not sure I feel okay being a part of that.

Which is why I am going on a clothing “low buy” for 2019.

A LOW-BUY?? Why am I not going on a no-buy??

I don’t intend to stop clothing shopping 100%. I don’t see that as realistic or maintainable in the long run, and I feel that after a no-buy period, I may just continue my habits without any changes. A low buy however, means that I will still be buying clothing, but that I’m going to be drastically changing my clothing buying habits.

Here’s the plan:

  • I will not be shopping for new clothing online or in traditional stores*
  • I will only be shopping second hand for clothing.
  • I will do regular clothing inventories to see if I’ve got items I no longer want – which I can then resell or donate.
  • I will track my clothing spending for 2019.
  • If I deviate from this plan at all, I will disclose that here!

*The exception here would be for underwear, bras, socks, and leggings.

I hope that doing this is a learning experience for me. I want to be more conscious of my consumption, and try to make more mindful purchases! I will be documenting my journey in 2019 here on the blog as both a means of “checking in” on myself, as well as sharing my experience with others, so you can expect regular posts. If you have any ideas, questions, or suggestions, please leave a comment.