Brain Dump…I Guess?

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            This last week has been a lot and I am completely empty with ideas so I really don’t know what this blog post is going to contain. I really don’t, and for me that’s kind of odd, I like to know what I am going to be writing about at least a little bit before I am writing it. Here I am though, just typing away at a few sentences hoping that inspiration strikes me. 

            At one point I was going to do a series called ‘Self-Care Sunday’ when I first started the blog in 2018 but I never did because it never felt authentic. I felt like I was just going to be rehashing what everyone else was saying at the time. Then the pandemic happened and we all had to learn to take care of ourselves in a different way because we were all in some way locked down. I know that I have been feeling burnt out for months now but you can’t just stop, even when some days you just want to. 

            I have found myself organizing and reorganizing my life this last year or so and I think that’s just to stave off the feelings of overwhelming existential dread. I think that’s more what this post is going to be, just a dump of my brain at the moment and sometimes you just need that. 

            I don’t share a lot about my life, I have an about me post, but that’s about it. I am a really private person and always have been. I don’t open up unless someone proves to me I can trust them and unfortunately in my past there are plenty of examples of people who I trusted, got all of my information, all of my worries and my past, and proceeded to use it against me later. So I don’t open up as easy anymore to new people; which somedays is fine and somedays it’s super lonely. 

            I don’t even know if I will actually publish this, I just feel like I need to get something out today because I promised myself that I would get two posts out a week, but my brain is both moving at a million miles an hour but also making the dial up noise like we are trying to get on the internet in the 90’s and early 2000’s. If you have never heard that noise, lucky you, Google it and you will hear what we did for like 10-15 minutes trying to get on the internet. That stuff used to not be instant like it is now, God Bless Wi-Fi. I am a child of the 90’s, I was in fourth grade when the world stopped on 9/11, I graduated from high school in 2010; which doesn’t feel like long ago but they cancelled our ten year reunion last year because o COVID. Would I have gone? No, I didn’t enjoy high school. It was probably the darkest time of my life and I don’t look back on it fondly like some of my peers do. 

            This post doesn’t have a point, so if you want to, stop reading now and go on with your day because I don’t have anything profound to tell you. I don’t even have a thought in my head that’s worth really sharing, but I’m sitting here typing this out anyway. We have a local bakery here in Bentonville, well it’s in Centerton, called the Challalujah Bakery and they make amazing Challah bread and I am eating a pineapple scone from them at the moment and it’s bomb. So good. 

            If you really want to know how disjointed my thoughts are right now at this very moment I was just thinking about all the writing I need to get done and that fact that I wanted to finish my last two unfinished projects that I didn’t get to last year and I haven’t written much in either of them in months. In the last, we’ll say year, I have come up with five or six new projects that I am tossing around in my head all the time. I also have sequels and series to finish as well so in total I am, or will be, juggling like a dozen projects because I have so many ideas but not enough plot or time to write all of them at the moment. Some of them will just stay half on paper and half in my head for a while until I actually get an idea and that sparks me to finish the novel in a few months’ time. (Also my Word grammar corrected that and it gave me two options, I picked the wrong one; if you know which one it is why give me two options?) The last book I finished last year is a good example of that, I have something like 37 pages when I started writing it again (I started it in 2017 and pieced it until last year) and I wrote the other 110 pages in a few months because I got inspired and I could not stop writing it. I think I wrote like 25 pages in 11 days which for me is a really good page count. 

            More on writing, I guess, because that’s now what I feel like writing about. (ha ha, I know) My laptop is almost five years old, in late June it will be and it’s showing its age. I have already had my keyboard replaced once and I am out of warranty so the keys are starting to lose their letters, my tab key hasn’t been working right recently, and my battery is on its last legs, but I cannot get a rose gold MacBook anymore so there’s that. I don’t see it being able to be replaced any time soon, so I have to be nice to it until I can eventually get a new computer. 

            I think I need to stop now, I am rounding out on 1,000 words which is a lot. It’s like 7:15 in the morning and I have things that I need to do and that means that I need to step away from my laptop and go be a person for the day.

            I will be back mid-week with hopefully a much more profound and stitched together post, who knows with me though. 

            Until then though, stay happy, healthy, and safe.

            -MJ 

Animal Crossing Update

Hey, hey, it’s MJ, 

            Sorry this post is late, I kind of forgot that today was Wednesday so I am writing this at work, I am hoping that this gets posted today but it will for sure get posted tomorrow if I don’t have time to actually post it on Wednesday. It’ll be up eventually, I promise. 

            So Animal Crossing has been out a year now and my island will be one year old on the 26th. My best friend bought me the game for my last birthday and my island has grown a lot over the last year and I know I still have a lot to do on my island to make it exactly what I want it to be. 

            In my last Animal Crossing post I just showed my house, this time I am going to be showing some updated rooms and some of my outdoor spaces. They are not Pinterest worthy, not even close but it’s my island and I’ll do what I want on it. 

            I have been playing the game for a year now and participating in almost daily play still because I just really enjoy being on my island with my villagers. I don’t pay as much attention to them as I should because most of my time on my island is spent running around looking for things or trying to finish out my Critterpedia. 

            I actually put a bunch of pages in a journal for all of the museum categories that I have and that I am missing. I had a really stressful weekend one weekend and did it all on a Saturday because I needed to get my mind right, so I made lists. 

            Some of my fave outdoor spaces though, let’s start there. Some of these are finished some are more in progress because I need more materials or crafting patterns to actually complete them. 

My 50’s Diner

            This was an idea I had over a month ago, I still want to do more with it or potentially move it so I can expand it a little bit. It’s not finished yet, it’ll be finished eventually but that’s what ACNH is like, it’s never fully done and you can grow and evolve your island whenever and however you want to. 

My Tiny Library

            Another space on my island that isn’t finished yet. I have a lot of those spaces where I start a project and then realize to do the whole thing I need DIY recipes that I don’t actually have yet. It’s never fair. I just wish that there was some way to purchase seasonal DIY’s before they were suddenly gone. 

Astrological/Zodiac Garden.

            This is not going to be the permanent home of this feature on my island and it will get done some day, when I have all the celestial DIY’s I need but that will be no time soon because I need star fragments and DIY recipes but for some reason I feel like Celeste never visits my island and I miss her, she’s one of my favorites. I have seen some cool things with the celestial DIY’s on the internet and I want something cool of my own on my island.


Up Top Flower Garden

            For probably 10 months my island was covered in flowers, I mean I had flowers everywhere and I decided one day that I didn’t need all of those flowers everywhere, so i started to pull them up. This idea came from me using flowers in the colors I really liked to create a little contained flower garden. I still spend way too much time picking flowers/ digging them up after a rain storm and it rained on my island for like two days so I know when I log in tonight I am just going to have more flowers to pick. I will probably add more things beyond just the bench in here but for now I am happy with this one.


Greenhouse

            This was an idea I saw on Pinterest and I pretty much copied it because I was looking for ideas on what to add to my island and this was one of the ideas I really liked. I had a flower patch here at one point but I got rid of that when I stopped caring about crossbreeding flowers when I decided to get rid of 75% of my flowers. This is pretty much the one thing on my island that is like 99% done. I may use a simple panel to put on a door but I don’t know yet, I haven’t decided. I may expand this one as well and put a couch or bench in it so I can hang out there if I want to. Let’s be real. I want to live on my Animal Crossing island. 


House Updates

            I haven’t really changed much in my house, I have updated my living room, kitchen, and bedroom a little bit so I will show those again because looking back at my house from my last post. I have put more things in all of my rooms because I am still a trash goblin. Happy Home Academy tells me every week to have furniture all the same color and I don’t wanna so I wish they would stop telling me that.

            So that’s about a look my outdoor spaces, I wish there were a few quality of life updates that they would bring out but I don’t remember a single one at the moment. Maybe except a cart in the Able Sister, also being able to buy seasonal DIY’s that you are missing as the season ends. Like I didn’t get the Sakura bonsai tree recipe and I needed that for another DIY project so now I have to wait until next year to get it and that’s annoying. 

            I should find other games to play but let’s be honest with ourselves, i am like really bad at gaming because I get frustrated more than I should, I love playing games but I am more on the line of The Sims, Minecraft, and Animal Crossing, casual world building games because they aren’t as stressful as other more involved games and I don’t want to be angry when I game, I just want to enjoy myself. 

            Alright, well that’s it for me today. I will be back over the weekend with another post so until then I hope everyone stays happy and healthy.

            -MJ

Favorite Podcasts

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So I drive to work every morning and sometimes I just don’t want to listen to music so I plug my phone in to listen to podcasts and some I have been listening to for years, some have ended, and some are rather new finds in my life.

            I don’t listen as regularly as I used to but at the moment I am doing a deep dive and trying to catch up on a podcast that started in like 2016 and I found through Spotify late last year and have been listening to pretty consistently on my drive to and from work because I love it. 

            This is not a comprehensive list because there are some podcasts that I have listened to in the past that I no longer enjoy, does that mean that you can’t go out and find your own faves? No, but if you have a sense of humor like I do you might like some of these. 

            So what do I listen to when it comes to podcasts? 

The Jenna Julien Podcast: 

            This is one of those podcasts that is no longer still updating but there are so many episodes on the apple podcast app or the video podcast on YouTube. Jenna Marbles is still by far one of my favorite YouTubers and her podcast with her boyfriend Julien has made me laugh hysterically on more occasions than I can count. When I moved here I was in a lot of pain on my drive down and their podcast and laughing so hard was one of the only things that actually made my drive bearable. A few of my favorite episodes include any of their Shark Tank episodes, Snake Oil, Don’t Even Get Me Started, and quite a few others. 

Ask Iliza Anything:

            This is one of those podcasts that I need to catch back up on because Iliza Shlesinger is my favorite comedian. Her brand of comedy is right up my alley and I really like listening to her answer peoples questions while still having witty banter with her assistant and a guest if she has one. It will be a common theme on a lot of these podcasts that they are funny because I love a good funny podcast.

Welcome To Night Vale:

            I have been listening to this podcast since I was in college because I was on my college radio station and sometimes it felt like this. I love radio dramas and this one is not only long form but also amazingly well written. It’s fantastical and hilarious. I cannot give this podcast enough praise for pulling me in and not letting me go. I have listened to it all the way through at least three times and I now need to catch up again because I got into a funk listening to podcasts during 2020 where I didn’t. If you like weird, this podcast is for sure for you.

Good Morning Night Vale: 

            This is a behind the scenes look at Welcome To Night Vale by people who are on the show and I love seeing behind the scenes looks at things that I enjoy, so hearing people talk about this show is always fun. I for sure also need to catch up on this one as well but that will be eventually because I have so many podcasts to catch up on! 

Wizard and The Bruiser:

            This is the one that I just started a few months ago and I am already like 30 episodes in and it’s all geeky and stuff which I love. There are a lot of episodes about things that I don’t really know about, so to have a podcast telling me the histories of pop culture figures, comic book heroes, and everything else. It’s really fun to listen to and I find myself laughing out loud in the car to myself on the way to and from work. 

            There are for sure other podcasts I have listened to and I have enjoyed them but these are the ones that I am trying to catch up on at the moment. I would love to expand my podcast repertoire, and eventually I will but at the moment I wanted to just share a few here and now.

            There are so many podcasts out there, and I mean so many. I could never have a podcast because I would just ramble and vomit words out of my mouth, like I do here but less talking. I don’t even know what I would talk about, I do talk a lot but not much of it is productive. I will leave the podcasting up to the people who are good at it. 

            I will be back over the weekend with another post, so until then, I hope that everyone has a good rest of your week. Remember stay happy and healthy, make good choices, be a nice person, and most of all be you. 

            -MJ

Fitness Update: It’s all Hills and Valleys

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So here’s the deal, I was going really strong until December and then it got cold. I know that in my last post about my fitness journey I was so excited to keep going and I still am but winter hit me like a truck, maybe two trucks and I am just pulling myself out of that funk. 

            In my last post though I did talk about doing my 5K over Thanksgiving week and my goal was to do it in under an hour, I did, 59:49 and I was really proud of myself. I also did Flex It Pink’s Holiday Hustle 5K in December and my time was, brief pause while I find it in my 2020 Bullet Journal because I don’t remember it off the top of my head, 1:00:18. 

            I walked last weekend, four miles both days after taking three months off and let’s just say I was limping all week because my hip was killing me. By the time that you read this hopefully I will be going walking in the morning. I want to get back to my 3-4 5K length walks a week because I have a goal this year to walk a straight 10K. I signed up for a Yes.Fit race in January and I am working on that one now. It’s the Beauty and The Beast race which is 26.7 miles and I am like 30% done. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot but that was two workouts. I have already signed up for Gourdy’s Pumpkin Run in the fall and all three of the monthly 5K challenges that are associated with that (September to Remember, Rocktober!, and Novem-brr Dash) and I was so excited when they opened that race up over spring break. I know that I will sign up for Gobbles Free Range 5K when that opens up too, if they are going to do it this year. 

            Every journey has hills and valleys and I am not an aspiring fitness coach, I am not trying to be a fitness influencer but writing it down on my platform, my blog, it makes it feel more real. Like I need to and have to do it and that’s what I need. I need that accountability to keep myself going and I want to, I want to keep going but some days when your mental health (not an excuse) is fighting against you, you just have to stop and recognize that you have to be present with yourself, not just push through it with a workout. Don’t bury that stuff down deep and think that you can just do one thing and it makes it easier. Somedays, that is super true, you can help yourself out by doing a workout, meditating, and things like that but sometimes you just have to sit and be present with yourself and your issues before they spiral you down. As someone who spirals down in the spring, February and March, those are my tough months and I don’t know why but here I am in April (birthday month!) and I want to give myself a birthday present this year. I want to be better, I want to feel better, I want to look better, I want to be able to do cool things, I want to be able to wear whatever clothes I want without feeling terrible about myself, I want to love who I am both inside and out. The inside part took a long time, the outside part is taking even longer. 

            There are so many people online who want to be influencers, I am not here for that. I show y’all what I get in subscriptions, I share DIY’s and crafts, I share little pieces of me and that’s totally cool. Right now though I just need to share this. I need to get this all off my chest, I want to be motivated to be a better version of myself. So that next year on my (I can’t believe I am saying this) 30th birthday I can look back at year 29 and say that I did the best for myself, that I showed up for me. I don’t want to waste any more time than I already have but I need to be aware of my limits, I need to be aware of what I can and cannot do because I will do more damage than good if I ignore my body telling me that something is wrong or something hurts. 

            I am not out here telling you how to live your life, I would never try to do that because that’s not who I am. I probably won’t tag this one like I tag all my other posts, it may go on Twitter but at this moment I don’t know. I spend my time here being as authentic as possible because I don’t believe in putting on a front and a face for social media. That’s not how I roll, I just want to be me, a better version of me, and some days that’s difficult. 

            I want to do this post more regularly than every six months or so. I want to do check-ins with me as much as making it a blog post, so I’ll be back in June with another post like this one, hopefully I will have better news when it comes to my journey. I have days where I do amazing and other days where I do terribly but I think that my better days are starting to outweigh my terrible days, and at this point that’s all I can ask for. 

            So there it is, me as an authentic human with a real human being problem and a thing that I for sure need to work on as a person. My alarm is already set for 4:30 tomorrow morning because I like to walk early before work and then go deal with middle schoolers all day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

            I will be back mid-week with another post, even though I am not sure what it’s going to be yet. I have to consult the Bullet Journal and see what past me planned for current me to write about. So until then, have a great start to the week, and stay happy and healthy.

            -MJ 

A Cute Spring DIY

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So I love décor, that is literally not a secret if you have read my blog for any length of time. I enjoy making DIY projects and I love and I mean really love arranging flowers. I have done a number of arrangements for my mother, my grandmother when she was still alive, and myself as well. Some of my craftiness started in college, when you are in a sorority you just learn that you have to be crafty and creative. Though I feel like that just expanded my want and ability to craft, to be honest. 

            Like I said, I really enjoy flower arranging and I have done that for years now. The last one I did was for my mom at Christmas and I am super proud of that one. This project isn’t a flower arrangement though, it’s a door decoration. I have been seeing premade flower arrangements on floral hoops a lot lately and a lot of them are expensive. All and all I think mine was about $20 considering all of the flowers I bought but didn’t actually use. (I got them 40% or 50% off at Hobby Lobby) That’s the secret to buying flowers to make any sort of arrangement, wait until you can get them on sale at a craft store. The hoops I bought in a four pack from Amazon, I’ll link that here, it’s not affiliate coded or anything it’s just general information. 

            Let’s get into the DIY though:

Materials: 

            Flowers of your choice (pick colors or flowers that will look cool together, just walk around the fake flower aisles holding all of them, it’s fun.)

            Floral hoop (can be any metal or size, mine are 14” but you can do bigger or smaller depending on your space and desired use)

            Floral wire (I stole mine from my mom but you can buy it at pretty much any craft store)

            Pilers (just in general, own pliers) 

            Time (this took me probably 45 minutes to do so give yourself some time, listen to a podcast or some music and hang out.)

Steps (procedure, directions, whatever you want to call it):

1.   My first tip is usually, gather all the materials and that’s pretty much what it is. Make sure that you have everything that you need to make this project. It’s not like cooking so it’s not time sensitive but if you want to just get it done then you need to make sure you have all of your materials. 

2. I cut all of the flowers off that I think I wanted to use with my pliers, most fake flowers have a wire through them under the plastic and to get a nice clean cut you need to snip them. 

3. I stripped all of the ends down to the wire and this for sure was what took me the longest because with thicker stems you have to take a portion of the plastic and then strip them in sections. Give yourself the time to do this carefully so you don’t accidently nip through the wire because then you may not be able to use that bloom.

4. This is the fun part, after you strip them then you just go to town putting them onto the hoop. It’s a lot of floral wire and thinking about what would look good where and trying to get everything secured to the hoop. I didn’t take any pictures of this portion because I was in the zone and when I get in the zone I forget that I should be taking pictures for the post. 

5. When you are happy with it, stop. I am serious, once you are happy with it and it looks good to you don’t add any more. I know that seems odd but don’t overdo it. I love a simple design on things like this. You can add more than I did, it is to your level of how you like it. If I make another one (which I plan to) I want to do more flowers and brighter colors but for a first attempt kind of thing I am really happy with it. 

6. Find a place to hang it, you can hang it on a ribbon or cord or you can just hang the hoop on a command strip. Mine at the moment is hanging on a command strip but I want to get it on a ribbon so I can change the positioning of the flowers. 

7. Enjoy. That’s it, just enjoy what you created. 

            It’s not a hard craft, it’s just gathering the materials and having the time to do it. You can buy stuff like this, I see that stuff everywhere but if you do it yourself you have control over the placement and the flowers that you want on it. I know that for some people they don’t want to do it themselves, they just want to buy it and that’s fine, roll with it. I personally like having control over things like this and now I have a cool thing to hang up in my apartment. 

            I will see y’all later in the week with another post. By the time this comes out it will be my last day of spring break so back to work tomorrow and I am excited to get back. I hope that everyone has a good start to the week though, stay happy and healthy and I’ll be back soon with another post! 

            -MJ

MJ’s 2021 Bullet Journal Update #1

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Last year I did this post every four months and I think it was just a lot so I am going to do three months this year and see how I feel about it. Maybe I am just grasping for content but I also want to do some different things this year. As I have said before this year, roll with me. 

            This year I themed my bullet journal like I did last year, (you can check those posts out if you want to 1,2,3) well not exactly the same this year is just straight up Disney things and maybe next year will be Marvel but I don’t know yet. I like theming but I also kind of want to go back to just making things that strike my fancy when it comes to my monthly journals but who knows. 

            I did all of my base pages for 2021 last year so all I have to do this year is the time consuming creative part and I have been meaning to do May since February but I just haven’t been in the mood, that is my goal for spring break; get May finished. 

            I am not going to show any of my lead up pages because those will end up in my ‘favorite pages of the year’ post. (you can see my faves from my 2018, 2019, and 2020 BuJo’s if you want to.) So I am just going to lead off with January. 

January: Alice in Wonderland

Cover: So I love the Cheshire Cat, I have a human in my life who I call the Cheshire Cat because of the grin so that will always have special significance to me. I feel like some of my covers are on the simple side and this for sure, while time consuming, is one of the more simple ones that I have done so far this year. (mind you I have only done until April so far)

Mood Tracker: Who doesn’t love the caterpillar and I was quite proud of the free hand I did to a reference photo of the caterpillar. I write a list out of themes for each month as well as what the habit tracker is going to be and I thought of about four for this month, originally it was going to be tea cups like the scene with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare but this made more sense in my brain. 

Last Page: I cannot draw people all that well, I really did try but Alice looks a little Tim Burton-esque if the live action movies would have been animated. I tried like really hard though and while it’s a lot I am still going to share it because there is a lot of art that isn’t great so I can add my depiction of Alice to it. 

February: Beauty and The Beast

Cover: It took me a good two and a half or three hours while watching old episodes of The Great British Baking Show to actually complete this and I did trace the figures because again, I am not good at drawing people, I try a lot but I have never gotten the hang of it. 

Mood Tracker: The rose, of course I had to do the iconic rose and as I turned it while I am writing this post I realized that I never filled in the 28th of the month so I had to do that real quick. I could not get though Beauty and The Beast month without putting the rose in multiple places and of course doing the mood tracker was right up my alley for this one. 

Last Page: It’s simple and I love the idea of just something really simple at the end of some of my months and I really like dandelions in the wind so I went with a really simple black ink drawing and a quote because the next pages are a lot so not having a bunch of colored pencil transfer was a goal of mine. 

March: Tangled

Cover: This took me forever to do but I am really happy with how it turned out, I tried y’all I tried but I am not great at depth perception in art, converging lines and all that. I love art, I am not half bad at it but I have been out of practice for a long time and my bullet journal proves that to me every month. 

Habit Tracker: The exploding sun is a theme throughout the movie and this was another tracker that I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do. Originally it was going to be lanterns but with those on the cover I figured that I didn’t want to be repetitive and so I went with this instead. 

Last Page: The tower, the beginning of the film and I really enjoyed doing this page and even the background because I wanted to do something fun and something that I knew was iconic to this movie. I was going to have Rapunzel’s hair cascading out of the window but I changed my mind because I thought that just the tower was cool enough to hold its own in this drawing.

            So that’s my Bullet Journal so far this year, I know that I have more pages and eventually I will have more to show you as the year goes on. Hopefully in June I will be making the second installment in this post series because I made a promise to myself last year that I would bullet journal all year again this year and that is a promise that I plan on keeping. 

            I will see everyone later in the week with another post so until then, I hope everyone has a good, safe, and healthy week! 

            -MJ

Some of My Favorite Funko Pops!

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So this week was one of those weeks that started out pretty okay, it was just running really slow. Then about mid-week and the rest of the week wasn’t so great or reasons that I cannot specify, but it isn’t not great, nothing for me personally but something that is going to affect me. I have been sitting in an anxiety attack for pretty much all of today which isn’t fun. I made like eight pages of lists in my writing notebook all about Animal Crossing because my brain needed to focus on something but I am for sure feeling a lot of stress in the pit of mt stomach. Normally February and March are my low months and I was hoping to avoid that as much as possible this year because things are going okay but this is just one of those things that will change things and it’s in my periphery at the moment. 

            I needed a list kind of post today, it’s Saturday and this goes up on Sunday so that’s just where my headspace is at the moment. I’m a little foggy at the moment and sometimes my anxiety does that, I can’t focus on anything and it’s not fun but it is what it is and this me sharing it with you all at the moment. Spoiler alert: I took a break yesterday and now it’s Sunday morning and this post is going to go up at noon so there’s that. 

            I think that my first one was one of the Iron Man variants from Iron Man 3, I think, it could have been sooner than that. I know that my first was an Iron Man because I saw it at Barnes and Noble and decided to get it. I have been collecting since 2013 so as you can imagine I have a pretty large collection. I have many many more than I actually have at my house. I don’t have an actual count, well I do it’s 164 overall but because some were stolen from my old place and I am still a little salty about that because some of them are not replaceable or too expensive to replace. It’s been almost 4 years and I am still not over it because no one should feel the right to take things that don’t belong to them. 

            So here are just a few of my favorites! Let’s be real it’s most of the ones that I have in my apartment at the moment, the rest as in a box at my parent’s house. One day I will have all of them displayed somewhere but today is not that day. I have not only Pops! but Dorbz, Rock Candy, and a few other of their series that have come in subscription boxes that I used to get. I used to subscribe to their Marvel Collector Corps box and the Disney Treasures box until they gave those to other companies and I had to say goodbye. 

Rosie the Riveter: 

Excuse my grammar book.

            I got this one a few years ago and it was in my Anatomy of a Creative’s Desk post, some of these have been in that post as well. I have always loved the mystique and the power behind the figure of Rosie the Riveter.

Hulkbuster: 

            This was one of the really cool parts of Age of Ultron, which is not a bad movie but the Hulkbuster armor was for sure really cool. This was a Collector Corps exclusive and I got this box after I subscribed because they used to sell the older boxes that didn’t sell out and I really wanted this one. It used to sit on my desk when I still lived in Indiana and now it sits by my front door. 

Smaug (both of them):

            I love the golden one, I wanted it to eventually go on my desk at work so people would know when I was upset and that still might happen when I have a permanent desk. I got the second one so I would always have it at home. They both sit on the same bookcase and the golden one actually sits with all of my Tolkien books, my illustrated Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy is off the shelf at the moment flattening out another book that got all crinkled up in the move and then was lost for almost three years so it was a mess. 

Labyrinth: 

            I have all of them but Ludo and I have him in my Amazon cart and have since they came out, I don’t know why I never ordered him but eventually, right? I haven’t bought many Pops since I moved but it is what it is. The Jareth in white was a Hot Topic exclusive, I think. It’s my favorite movie so where is the shock that I have all of them except one. 

Horton:

            I think this Horton is actually technically a Dorbz XL but I love him so much, he’s just really cute. I know that I say that about a lot of things but he just looks so happy and I like having him in my living room. 

Sylvester and Tweety: 

            My mom’s nickname for me has always been Tweety so I knew that when these came out I needed them and again I was buying a lot more a few years ago when I still lived in Indiana, things have changed since then but I still like having them out because I smile everytime I see them. 

Groot: 

            Another Dorbz, well Dorbz XL, I think this was a con exclusive in like 2015 or 16 and it was at Barnes and Noble, I honestly can’t remember, I got it on sale and I had plans for where it was going to live but things changed and I moved here so it sits with my comic books because I cannot think of a better place for it to sit. 

Adipose: 

            I have a funny story about this one, one of my only Doctor Who Pops to actually survive because he wasn’t in the box that was taken, there is a book called The Adventures of Beekle the Unimaginary Friend and the main character looks like an Adipose with a crown on, he used to have a crown but that has been lost to the ages but I can’t see an Adipose without thinking of Beekle, that’s what happens when you work in an elementary school. 

Sailor Mars:

            I grew up on Sailor Moon that was one of the first anime that I ever saw and Mars was always my favorite, so when they came out with the Sailor Moon collection this was the one that I really wanted though I regret not getting the rest of them. 

My Desk Fellows:

            They are on a bookshelf right now because I needed more room on my desk for other things and less things to knock over and I talked about them in my Desk post so I am not going to really talk about them again besides the fact that I waited for the Coca-Cola one for like six months, totally worth it.

The Random Group:

            To be honest I didn’t want to take four individual pictures so what’s pictured?

Chewbacca, I got into Star Wars late with the new trilogy actually no matter how people felt about it, it was my gateway into enjoying Star Wars.

Stitch, Lilo & Stitch is one of those movies that I loved growing up, my Godfather took me to see it when it came out and he passed away in 2019 so whenever I see that movie I think of him so having Stitch out makes me think of him. (I can’t watch Moana without crying either because it came out less than a year after my grandmother died.)

The Eleventh Doctor: Another survivor even though I lost many of them, this one, the Adipose, my TARDIS, and maybe one or two others are actually still in my possession but the Eleventh Doctor is my favorite so of course I have to have him out. 

The Winter Soldier: This is the one from Civil War, I have two others and I pre-ordered one where he’s holding Captain America’s shield and I think that one comes out in May.

Porg: 

            To be honest the best thing to come out of the new Star Wars trilogy, I love it so much. I feel like I have been saying that about a lot of them but that’s (1) where my brain is at the moment and (2) true because these are the ones that I have displayed in my home. 

            I have over 100 of these between my apartment and a box in my parents basement so there would be no way for me to share all of them with y’all. This post has been on the books more than once but I never got around to writing it, I figured out last year that this was my blog and I could post what I wanted to so here is me, posting what I want to post. 

            I hope that everyone has a great start to the week and I will be back on Wednesday for another post. I think it will be my updated highlighter collection post but who knows at this point, there is no space in my brain at the moment for anything but lists so roll with me. 

            Seriously, I hope everyone has a good start to the week! Stay safe, stay healthy.

            -MJ  

Wall Décor Tour

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            It’s March, I think March of 2020 was like a week ago but here we are in March 2021 and I cannot believe that, but here we are no matter what. 

            I am super kitschy when it comes to art on my walls that I didn’t create, I love things on the walls though and I need to put more stuff up but I am waiting to move into a place that is larger than my apartment, like a house but that is just not in the card at the moment. Most of it I found at random stores; like Hobby Lobby, Target, and At Home. I know that there are probably thousands of people who have this same picture but that’s never really bothered me because it’s my style and while some it is unique I am still sometimes a basic white girl.

Llama(?) picture:

            It might be an alpaca and I really do want a black and white photo of an alpaca for my wall but again that will be eventually because I have not found one that I like on the internet or in a store to this point so eventually but not today. I found this one at At Home when I moved to Arkansas so it’s almost three years ago now and I really love seeing it every time I walk out of my bedroom. 

Quote 1:

            I also got this one at At Home and it’s on the wall directly across from my bedroom door so I see it literally every time I walk out of my bedroom and I love it, it just says ‘Don’t tell people your dream, show them’ and some days I need that affirmation.

Quote 2:

            This is in my office and it says ‘messy bun, getting stuff done’ I am a huge fan of typography in general and I found this also when I moved down here at Hobby Lobby and I have seen other people with the same sign. It doesn’t really matter if someone else has it because that’s how mass produced art works. 

London Skyline:

            I got this from Etsy several years ago, from a shop called artPause, in late 2016 because this came down from Indiana with me and I love it so much because London is one of the places that I desperately want to go. I wholeheartedly regret not going abroad in college, but here we are. The shop still exists so if you want to check it out go ahead because I really love the piece. I would for sure buy more art from Etsy because some of it so cool. 

            Small pause, I would put my diplomas here as well but there is some wall art that I won’t be sharing, my diplomas included and a poster or two that I have around my apartment because I don’t have to share everything.

Mask:

            My parents got this in New Orleans in 2015 and I love masks, my graduation party from high school was Mardi Gras themed and I have a bunch of masks tucked away in boxes all over the apartment and I have a few that I want to put up but they have to be shadow boxed and that hasn’t happened yet because I need help making the shadow boxes, this hung up in my room in Indiana as well and it is one of my favorites. I got one in New Orleans when I was there in 2017 that’s half metal scroll work and that one for sure will be up eventually but it really needs to have something around it that protects it.

            I have a few things around the apartment that are supposed to be on the wall but are on the floor because they are heavy and I cannot pound nails into the walls of my apartment so all of my honor cords, tassels, and graduation caps from undergrad will go up eventually but not now.

            Can we count things on my doors as wall décor? I’m going to anyway. I have a little banner on my office door and my bedroom door, the one on my bedroom door says ‘Follow your heart’ and it’s for sure for Valentine’s Day but it stays up all year except for Christmas and the one on my office door says ‘Heck yes’ and that also comes down at Christmas. I am working on one for my office closet door but that is a DIY kit from Target and I am going to be working on that at some point this week.

            I feel like I have more pieces but I don’t have to share all of them, some of them are my personal art, posters, and even my old cork octagons that used to hang above my desk, I moved my desk and they stayed so they are above the side piece that holds all of my book binders and things. I have a few prints from the Art Institute in Chicago but they need frames and that’s a project that I have asked my dad to help me with but that is an eventually thing.

            I have a lot of things on the wall, I used to have more including my Instagram pictures, an inspiration wall of quotes and stuff, and other things but that was in Indiana and times have changed since then. Décor is amazing and I really like some classy stuff and also some really not so much. I have things that need to be put up a London skyline that actually fell off the wall because it was too heavy for command strips, art that I have created, things that have been given to me, and other that I cannot hang at the moment, I will eventually but right now that’s not in the cards so what I have or now, will have to do. 

            Alright I will see everyone later in the week for another post so until then I hope that everyone has a great week!

            -MJ 

Books I’ve Read so Far in 2021 Part #1

            Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            Here we are in 2021 and here I am with my first batch of books I have read this year. I mentioned last year that I was going to read kind of differently this year and I want to break that down in this post so going forward it makes more sense because I am going to be reading some different things than I did last year and this year also I have increased my number read goal to 45 even though I for sure have also written 42 in various places but I am hoping to get 45 but if I only get 42 I won’t be all that upset. 

So what is my attempted reading book list this year? 

I am going to give you a list that comprises of 45 books so just bear with me. I own most of the books I plan on reading already so they are mostly already pulled from my collection and piled on the shelf in my office because why not. I am doing this to branch back out and not just read cozy mysteries this year, granted I will be reading a bunch of them because they are quick reads but I want to have a variety. 

-10 Classics (hopefully)

            I am not going to list them but it’s basically just a collection of classics I already have and throwing darts at the Barnes and Noble classics collection. 

-5 Historical Fiction

            I read a lot of pre-World War 1 English historical fiction and I haven’t picked one up since then so I plan on reading 5 historical fictions this year. 

-5 Sci-Fi or Fantasy

            I love sci-fi and fantasy but I haven’t been reading them lately so I have already picked five out of my collection and they are on the list.

-5 General Fiction 

            Just random books, they can be whatever genre of fiction that I kind of feel like but most of them are just regular books. 

-2 Memoir’s/ Autobiography’s 

            I like books about people written by the person it’s about, I read a few last year and I have had several in my collection for years and it’s time to give myself a reason to read them. 

-1 Non-Fiction

            It’s going to be education related because that’s kind of my life so I plan on finding one that interests me, I may have one or two so we’ll see when it comes to that. 

-2 Thrillers

            I like serial killers and true crime as much as the next person and I have some fictionalized versions of actual serial killers so I plan on reading them this year and I am both dreading and excited for it because I haven’t read a thriller in years. 

-15 Choice

            This is where the cozies will show up and just random books that I want to read because between all of the categories that I am putting myself under this year I still want to just read random things and have the flexibility to do that so 1/3 of the books are my choice. 

            Alright on from that, I will probably keep a count of how many I’ve read this year in each section and put that at the bottom just to keep me accountable to it because it’s me and if I don’t I will just read whatever I want all year and all of those classics will just go back in the shelves and I don’t want to do that. 

            Let’s be real though, of course my first book of the year was a cozy though so we are just going to roll into that. 

Eaves of Destruction by Kate Carlisle

            Shannon Hammer as always is amazing and I love the series, I am going to do a suggested cozies post at some point soon so you know if you haven’t been following along you can just see what I enjoy reading. This one had so many twists and turns and I could feel the insanity of the person who actually committed the crimes. I loved the introduction of the character of Amanda, another woodworker and that’s again really cool because ladies doing carpentry is always a win in my book. I had to look up what an orangery actually looks like and I love them. I want a sun room made of glass on my house when I grow up. I still love the continued world building and I can’t wait to dive into the next one but I am going to hold off and read something else from my list first. 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

            So I grew up with the Disney versions of this book and my goal is still 10 classics this year and so this was my first. I actually really enjoyed it, I know it’s a lot, it’s very fanciful and it’s supposed to be that way. Someone I knew in high school called it a Victorian Acid Trip and I have never done acid but I can understand what they meant because the movie is very trippy. It’s just a really interesting book because it’s taking something that I have only seen in animated and live action films but reading something so familiar but also reading Through The Looking-Glass it was much different than the movie and I thought that was pretty cool. I really enjoyed it and it wasn’t a hard read, I read it in two days and for me that’s about average overall for my book read time when I actually get a chance to sit down and read. This book, if you like the movie, you should read because it’s the original classic that has become so familiar over the years to so many audiences. 

Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding 

            Guess who didn’t know that this book was originally published in the 90’s, me, I had no idea. I saw the movie years ago, I think I might own it or I just watched it on the internet; honestly I cannot remember. I am a single human being approaching 30 and I am in that bubble where so many of my friends are getting married and having babies so I understood a lot of the feelings in this novel. Times have not changed much to be honest. I read it in pretty much two days because it was based around the premise of a diary so it was easy to read and digest and having seen the movie first I knew kind of what to expect but it was rather funny at parts and gave me a new take on really what we say we are going to resolve in the new year every year. I might read the other Bridget Jones novels at some point because let’s face it, I have been proven over and over again to love funny books. 

West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan 

            So I have read a few books about authors from this time period including The Paris Wife and I really like reading about early 20th century authors that we consider to be masters of the written word today. Truth be told though, I have never read any of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s actual books. I am planning on it eventually but I have never gotten around to reading any of them, even The Great Gatsby which is one of those books that so many people have read and look at you funny when you haven’t read it or at least seen the movie. I find the lives of creative people of the past fascinating and that includes authors, artists, and actors because even if it’s fiction it gives such a perspective on a real person no matter the fictional underpinnings. It was a long read but it kept me interested and that’s really all that matters. I cannot tell you how long this book has been in my collection and if you like reading about people who write, this is a good one to do that with. 

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

            I mean I watched the mini-series on Amazon Prime when it came out and I even wrote a blog post on it all that time ago. You can read it if you like. I loved the book, the show did it justice which sometimes is not the case. Though the book was also different from the series in some regards but it still read like a film and I couldn’t put it down. It’s separated into days unlike many books that are separated into chapters and it has so many story lines that finally come together at the end and it’s fantastic. Because there is a series (and I am watching it again because I can) I can see each character clearly in my head by their series counterparts and the casting was amazing because it just fit as I read the book. I feel like I am disjointed on this one but I still love the idea of a flaming Bentley blasting Queen racing toward the end of the world. 

A Wrench in the Works by Kate Carlisle

            Second cozy mystery of the year because I needed a break for all of the rest of the stuff I was reading. It was a really quick read, it only took me two days in like two hour and a half long blocks because that’s just how my day works. It was a good book and it kept me turning pages, it was really good, though I have not read a book by Kate Carlisle that I haven’t liked. This one was really fast paced and I loved meeting Chloe, Shannon’s sister, for the first time in the series after hearing about her through several books now. Whitney, that character, grinds all of my gears because she reminds me of people that I went to high school and even college with. I went to a university in my home town and a lot of the students would call people from town “townies” and there was also this connotation that they were better than the people who lived in town and that bothered me quite a bit. So that theme throughout the series is sure a true problem and I get it. 

Esperanza Rising by Pan Munoz Ryan

            I read this with the sixth graders I work with, it was one of those books that I heard of but had never actually read but I did and as a coming of age book and a learning who you are kind of book for middle schoolers, it’s great. It’s really impactful in so many ways and seeing it through the lens of being an adult but also reading what kids had to say about it was fascinating to me. It is a quick read but if you have a middle school aged kid in your life, it’s worth the read. I did volley back and forth on whether or not to put this one on the list but this list is all the books I have read in 2021 so that means that it goes on the list! Also with this group I am going to get to read Tuck Everlasting and I’ve never read that one either so look forward to that eventually. 

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

            I normally don’t get super excited for books but Erin Morgenstern writes amazing books I cannot describe them in words but The Night Circus is my favorite book and being able to read another one of her works (finally after it sat on my shelf for a while) was like coming home. There are no words for how good this book was, all of the threads coming together and creating what I would describe as a literary masterpiece. I have so many words but no words at all, it was more sweet than bitter which I loved and the symbolism throughout had me turning pages faster than I could read and actually process them but I couldn’t stop. I want to read it again already and I just finished it, I also put it down for like a week and a half but that was an accident and I wish I hadn’t. It is so vivid I could see it in my brain, it was like watching a movie that I didn’t want to end. It’s fanciful, fairy tale-esque, and just down right amazing, (I feel like I say that a bunch but it’s true), I cannot describe how this book made me feel, I have no words even though I have so many that I want to say but none of them would accurately articulate how good this book was. I want to go to the Harbor, I want to get lost in stories, and feel like I am surrounded by magic. If I did long form book reviews this would be at the top of my list but I just don’t do that no matter how much I would like to. I will leave you with this, and Fate fell in love with Time. (How cool is that?!)

            Well that’s it for part one and below I put a counter of all the genres that I plan on reading this year so you can follow along. I was hoping to get ten books read in January and February and I was on track for that and then things changed so here’s hoping that I get more read in March and April, I think I am going to do every two months this year instead, like I did the last several months of last year just because I don’t want these posts to be TL:DR kind of posts. (My next book is my first thriller of the year so look forward to hearing how I feel about that one.)

            I hope that everyone has a good start to the week and I will be back mid-week with another post!

            -MJ

Let’s keep track shall we?:

Classics:  1/10

Historical Fiction:  1/5

Sci-Fi/Fantasy:  2/5

General Fiction:  1/5

Memoirs/Autobiographies:  /2

Non-Fiction:  /1

Thrillers:  /2

Free Choice:  2/15

Anatomy of a Creative’s Desk

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I feel like I am on a hamster wheel and I kind of want to get off but there is no place to do that without causing great bodily harm. I know that we are already at the end of month one of 2021 and I feel like my stress level is just through the roof at the moment. I considered just taking today off and just rolling with it, really taking this week off and coming back next weekend but I am nothing if I am not a glutton for punishment. 

            I was watching Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith earlier and it occurred to me that I have never actually seen the movie, only the memes all over the internet. I knew what was going to happen but it is what it is. I got into the Star Wars game like super late because as a younger human I just wasn’t into it but I am now and better late than never right? 

            I have no idea how to open this post and I feel like I am rambling, I am one of those people who will talk and talk until someone tells me to shut up. I spend a lot of my time by myself so actually being able to talk to people means that I will talk and talk. My dad tells me all the time that my talking is the reason they named me Mary, after my grandmother, who also had the gift of gab. 

            My post is not about any of this but at the moment my brain is so scattered this post may be a post with no point, my downstairs neighbors have been fighting again and that very much disrupts my very quiet existence up here, I shouldn’t dwell on it but I do because I don’t like when people argue it makes me anxious. 

            What is this post really about you may ask? Well it’s in the title, I have had a number of desk set ups over the years, if I have any on my computer I will share them as well but I consider myself to be a pretty creative human on most days, some days I look at everything on my desk and just feel absolutely brain dead because I can’t produce anything productive. 

            My desk, my office really is a safe haven to me because it’s my space to work, to creative, and to be me without pretenses. I write a lot, I like art even though I am not great at it, and I really enjoy reading. If I could have an study, a library, and an art studio in a house someday no one would ever see me again; I would be a little more reclusive than I already am. 

            What’s on my desk though? 

            Notebooks, all sorts of notebooks, my bullet journal, my writing notebook, my writing prompt notebook, my outline and idea notebook, and sometimes just a writing notebook that I hand write in but that’s in my work bag so it’s not in here at the moment.

            Pens and things, all sorts of pens and things, markers, fine line sharpies, highlighters, and even some pencils for all of the things that I work on. They are mostly for my bullet journal but I use them for other things as well. 

            Assorted figurines, they are mostly Funko Pops!, eventually I will be doing a highlight reel of my collection but that’s an eventually plan when I have my whole collection at my place of residence. Except the ones that were stolen from my last apartment, I still miss all of my Doctor Who Pops that were lost which was most of them and some pretty expensive rare ones that were exclusives and someone took them. I hope that person rots in hell. One my desk though I have two of the characters from Funko’s original collection of Wetmore Forest which are Snuggletooth and Butterhorn, I love them both. I also have Rosie the Riveter and the Coca-Cola bear because I love the polar bears in their commercials. I also have a small Beanie Baby giraffe that was a present from my best friend a few years ago. I used to have more figurines on my desk but things have changed. 

            Random things, stapler, tape, sticky notes, lotions, white out, wireless ear buds, my backup hard drive, drinks, sometimes plates because I pretty much live at my desk. I also have a grammar book which I should look at more often as well as my address book because I still write cards to people. 

            My computers, I use my laptop every day, that’s what I do all of my work on. I have my iMac out because I use Photoshop on it, it’s so old I cannot update it anymore but it still has Photoshop so I still use it for that. Yes I am a Mac person, I have been since like 2007 with my first Macbook. 

            Things that are sometimes one my desk but aren’t at the moment:

            A book, usually the one I am reading or just finished.

            My phone, I’m using it to take the picture.

            Things for whatever I am writing a blog post about, ISPY stuff, makeup and skincare, books, random stuff, and anything that I am using that I know I need to remember to put in the post. 

            Binders, for whatever book I am working on but they live in the bookcase next to my desk most of the time. 

            More computer and electronic cords than I know what to do with but need. 

My very small desk, or at least part of it my senior year of college so this is late 2013 because I had Christmas stuff on the desk.
This is circa early 2016 so this was when I was still in Indiana right before I started my Master’s so I have no idea what was on the screen but I was watching a lot of YouTube at the time, I still do.
This was my original set-up when I moved to Arkansas so February-March 2018.
This was my second set-up at my old apartment and that was late 2018 or early 2019, more Christmas stuff there so it’s gotta be Christmas 2018 because I was only in that apartment for one Christmas.

            In hindsight I wish that I had taken more pictures of my set up over the years with how much it’s changed in my memory, I will put a few through this post because it’s a trip down memory lane for me, all the way back to college. I really do wish I had a picture of my old school desk from when I was in high school and I might somewhere but who knows where in my archives that could even be. I have gotten rid of so many photos over the years but even looking back to some of the ones on my computer from 2013 I realized most of the books in the bookcase I had at that time I don’t own anymore which is such a weird feeling knowing how many books I have donated over the years but that’s not what this post is about. 

            This post was more for me than anything else but I like showing small snippets of my life here I need to be more open but only to my comfort level at this point. 

            I will see everyone mid-week with a post that I haven’t decided on yet so that should be fun but until then I hope everyone has a good start to the week and a good start to February. 

            -MJ