Monday, August 31, 2015

week by week 5 & 6 // what do you mean I have a life now

I really don't want to be writing this blog post, fyi. I'd much rather be sleeping or reading my homework (just kidding) or watching Netflix. But I promised I would recap these past two weeks, because that's my job as a blogger.

I wish sleeping could be my job. I'm really good at that.

where did I leave you guys? I honestly can't remember. It was the week before going back to school, and a lot happened.

I went to an ice cream social and had massive throwbacks to when I was on student council and yearbook staff. *shudders and smiles simultaneously*

I saw my best friend for the first in what felt like forever (while in reality it was just 4ish months) and had many talks about life and the future and music and also went exploring and it was awesome.

I also discovered what a failtastic activity planner I am.

I went to our Bible Quizzing kick-off and ran into one of my professors which was probably one of the strangest experiences I've had recently.

I discovered that the best friends are the ones who are willing to call you at 11 o'clock at night to talk about your hyperactive thoughts and then isn't mad when you don't feel like talking. Mad props, you. You know who are you.

I did a lot of packing.

I went to the zoo and didn't die. I hurt, but I survived.

I got to see my freaking adorable niece and make faces at her and it was amazing.

And that was that week.

This latest week was an adventure I'd really prefer to not ever relive. I moved back to school, which involved moving boxes, moving furniture, moving from place to place...there was a lot of moving involved. I was very tired. I still am very tired. I know it was silly of me to think "Oh, once school starts up I'll be able to go to church regularly again..." but I really did hope that. However, I was so exhausted that I couldn't make it today. It's frustrating, but I know that if I went, I would be in so much pain or falling asleep so much that my attitude wouldn't be on worshipping God--it would be on how I was feeling. And if there's anything I've learned in the past year, it's that you can worship God any time, any place. He's not going to judge you if you're having church flat on your back on your couch.

At least, that's my opinion.

First two days of classes were okay. I will have an 8 o'clock class this week instead of at the 2:10 slot, but that works out perfectly so I can have a break to get up and walk around. I locked up so much the first day.

Fun story: I sat on some stairs Thursday night. I almost fell asleep and fell off the stairs. That would've been exciting.

I'm probably going to post pictures of our room soon, but it's not quiet all put together yet (I haven't braved the heights to put up the lights...scary.) so that'll be in a few days. Maybe. Life is fluid right now, as I'm sure all you college students get. You eat breakfast at 11 o'clock, you go for late night Walmart runs, you take naps whenever you's a good and strange life.

Lately, I've been enjoying Halsey and Bjork as my chill study music (and Jars of Clay too, now that I'm thinking about it.) I'm reading a few psychology books--I finished Challenger Deep. And now I need to reevaluate my life and write an eventual blog post about what I learned. I'm also reading The Midnight Thief and am compiling my October TBR. Mwahahahahahaha. My tv shows as of late has been Gravity Falls (as always) and Chuck. I've watched a season in like 3 days. No Teen Wolf, but pretty close. I'm also watching Spooksville which is silly and cute and pretty funny for a kid show. At least, I'm pretty sure it's a kids show (then again Gravity Falls is a kids show and season two has me like O.O)

what have you been up to lately? Are you surviving school, or have you even started yet? What are your recent obsessions/interests?

have a great weekend, guys!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

To All the Boys I've Loved Before // September TBR

it's been a crazy week.

very accurate description of my week. trust me

but I've had time to read. Yay! *happy dance* First day of classes was today, but I'm hoping I'll be able to keep this habit of a book a week. I know it's technically still August, but don't judge me, I'm a free spirit.

First thing I have to say about this book. The cover. Is so. Freaking gorgeous. I can't even. The second thing I have to say about this book is that the cover is way than the actual book itself. At least that's what I think.

And the fourth thing is that I freaking love Kitty.

I mean, it was okay. I didn't hate it. It was a good cozy blanket cotton candy fluff in your mouth book. There were just so many things about this book that bugged me out of my blanket and into my cold and uncomfortable writer's chair. I gave up seeing the cozy blanket ever again.

Well, not really. I found it again when I pulled out Challenger Deep. Now there's a book I could talk all day about!

ooh! Star Wars fruit snacks! It's midnight, my thought process is shot, and my roommate's enabling my fruit snack obsession. Focus, Ely, focus.

The hardest thing about this book was Lara Jean. I never got her. I never connected. I mean, I understood her as a girl, but not as a person with common sense. *SPOILER ALERT* Why on earth would you like two boys at two different points in your life, have them find out, then kiss the boy you don't like any more in front of the one you do you like...and then start dating the guy you don't like? To make the other dude jealous? To throw him off because he's acting lovesick...and he also dated your sister???

I just don't get it.

Peter and Josh were pretty okay characters...I think there was a tiiiiiny bit of character development in Peter, while Josh progressed in the opposite direction. I fully admit liking Peter better. I thought he was going to be all arrogant and jerky, but while he obviously had several flaws, I can totally see why Lara Jean fell for him. Just not all the stuff she did before falling.

I also can't take him seriously because of Kavinsky in the Dream Thieves. Any one? Just me? Okay.

I have a big bone to pick with how Margot was portrayed. Yes, she was basically Lara Jean's role model (tho neither of them probably realized this) and her fall from that adoration needed to happen for Lara Jean to start her own decisions. I just think her 180 from nice, slightly bossy older sister to evil jerk was a bit drastic. Or maybe it was just Lara Jean's perception of her that changed, and I just didn't catch it because I didn't connect with her.

As I said above, I loved Kitty. I even loved Dr. Covey. Yay for fictional father's being loving and absent-minded and awesome. He reminded me a lot of Mr. Penderwick...and now that I think about it, Kitty is basically a brattier and bolder Batty.

Dude. This book is a weaker version of Penderwicks on Gardam Street without the homework drama...for teens! Mind blown.

I guess the last thing that bugged me was the over-descriptions. I don't need to know where Lara Jean got all her clothes. I get that she dresses in an artsy, hipster-but-really-cute Japanese style. It just jolted me out of the flow of the story even more. A lot of out of place descriptions do that to me. That was probably part of why I couldn't connect with Lara Jean. Her voice forced me out of the story. Weird.

Overall, this book is worth a shot. One time read for me, for sure. It might appeal to you, thought. It might be perfect for you. I don't know. Every reader is different, and who knows--maybe you like reading about Japanese webstores and really random Christmas stories about fruitcakes.

More power to you, man.

Have you read To All the Boys I've Loved Before? What did you think? How about that ending tho? *cringes for forever*

If you haven't read it, do you think you will?

Hope you guys have had a fantastic week, and I'll see you on Sunday for a double recap!

me packing my backpack

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

sick girl at school

school is back in session, guys! Yay for learning! (and boo for waking up early, bleh...)

since I am now surrounded by a few hundred more people than I ever was this summer, the culture shock is immense. I am just one of many. Not a lot of people know about my condition, and even if they do, not everyone knows just what that condition means.

and so, my fellow students, welcome to Fibromyalgia 101.

what is fibromyalgia?

defintion: a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas.


Pain: can be chronic, can occur at night, diffuse, sharp, or throbbing, in the muscles, abdomen, back, elbow, or neck, severe
Muscular: muscle tenderness, delayed onset muscle soreness, or muscle spasms
Sensory: pins and needles, sensitivity to cold, or sensitivity to pain
Sleep: difficulty falling asleep, sleep disturbances, or sleepiness
Whole body: fatigue, feeling tired, malaise, or nausea
Cognitive: forgetfulness or lack of concentration
Hand: sensation of coldness or tingling
Mood: mood swings or nervousness
Gastrointestinal: bloating or constipation
Psychological: anxiety or depression
Also common: acute episodes, headache, irritability, joint stiffness, painful menstruation, or tingling feet

treatment/cure: no cure so far. many people treat fibromyalgia with lyrica (pregabalin) or by diet and exercise.

fibromyaglia for me

mad props to you for getting through the nitty-gritty stats stuff. I almost fell asleep while writing it, so I don't know how you survived.

my symptoms are pretty standard: wide-spread, roving pain, achiness, fatigue, insomnia, increased appetite, bloating, inflammation...the list goes on. I don't think my BJHS is a symptom, because I've always been flexible, but fibro flare ups cause BJHS flares and visa versa. Inflammation, the gift that keeps on giving,

My biggest claim to fame is my muscle spasms/itch attacks. During a flare, my muscles tend to freak out and go spastic. It's kind of terrifying. The first time it happened, I thought I was having a seizure. My longest episode lasted an hour or so. The itching goes hand in hand. It's gotten so bad that the only way to keep my face from itching constantly was to rub it on the carpet. The terrible thing is that scratching the itch does absolutely nothing. The only way I've found to stop it is to numb the skin. Icepacks are my best friend.

Two other strange symptoms are my inability to feel regular temperature and my heightened senses. At times (especially during flares), I cannot tell what temperature I am or what the room feels like. Sometimes it's regular temperature and I feel like I'm running a fever. Other times everybody will complain about how hot it is and I'm happy as a bird. It is beyond weird.

The hypersensitivity to light, noises, and touch is due to my hyperalgesia (heightened sense of pain). My brain is takes too much in and then says it's bad. I basically turn into a quivering mess. The fourth of July was hard. I like staying inside where the sun can't find me and blind me and hurt my skin (i'm literally a vampire). Crowds affect me more than usual. I'm not giving up my concerts, though. I will persevere for that.

what do I feel like on the rough days? Imagine you're just a skeleton. Your bones are coated with this burning gel that shifts from one bone to the next or sometimes just oozes all over. Your feet ache. Your hips ache. Your right shoulder ESPECIALLY aches. Couple everything with an almost migraine, a stomach ache, and a bout of depression and you've got how I feel approximately every five days. And that's on drugs. Not on a flare.

You don't want to think about that. Getting out of bed at that point is hard enough.

You guys know the story of how I got sick, or at least you know enough to get by. I'm controlling my condition with physical therapy and diet, as well as taking supplements. I still have pain, but it's not as bad. I can do so much more. I almost break down when I think about how normal I feel. My PT put it this way: "You're basically at the level of an average person's ability--you just need to be more careful and more aware than they ever will be." And she is so right.

fibromyalgia to you

so what does all this gobbledegook mean to you? Honestly, not much. Most people don't notice I'm sick, and that's fine. If I needed help/sympathy, I'd let you know. But there are a few things I'd like you all to be aware of.

x. fibro affects my moods

last semester I started out as a very happy, social person. I ended last semester as a very unhappy, sick, broken, and anti-social person. I am depressed at times. I fully admit this. I am also very anxious--about my health, about walking, about food, about friends... I am not angry or mad at you if I seem like I am in a bad mood. I'm just dealing with a lot in my head and I need you to understand that. I also spend a lot of time by myself. As selfish as this sounds, this is pretty much a need for me. Because I am so exhausted, my social energy drains out quickly. I sat with friends at lunch for an hour or so today. I then needed three hours by myself before I felt like talking to the next person. So i'm sorry if you want me to do all the things. Sometimes I just need me time.

x. my immune system is tired

Fatigue is still a daily thing for me. My immune system is working overtime, and I can't risk getting sick because a simple cold has the ability to knock me out on the couch for 2 weeks at least. If I spend prolonged time with you, I would appreciate you letting me know if you are coming down with something, feeling under the weather, already sick, or recovering from even just a teeny weeny cold. Please please please please. I may not get sick, but I can't take that chance. You alerting me allows me to up my supplements to keep the bug and the couch away.

me when people cough in my face

x. i am slow

Remember that careful thing? Yeah. No running for me. I am clumsier than the average person. I sometimes need to walk carefully or I might collide with a wall or the carpet or a stranger. I also have what's called fibro fog, especially when I am in the middle of a flare. My brain just doesn't work, to put it in a strictly non-sciencey nutshell. It takes me some time to find the right word, or for me to understand something, or for me to make up my mind. Just be merciful--to everyone, not just people experiencing fibromyalgia. We all have our sucky moments. And sometimes all it takes is someone being merciful to turn things around.

x. i miss cheese.

please please don't ask me out for ice cream. I might cry.

x. i am still human

I might have a mysterious condition that more people have than you'd imagine, but I'll still just a 19 year old girl. Don't feel like you need to baby me. If something's too much, I will let you know. I am not above making people carry my backpack. Kendal knows this all too well. My favourite part about this illness is that I know  I can live with it. I'm not normal, but I fake it pretty well. And if you can fake it too...well, it adds to the facade.

so that's that! You all are Fibromyalgia 101 veterans now! Way to be! Seriously, it means a lot to me that you took the time and scrolling energy to read this. If you ever have questions about fibro, or even celiac or BJHS, do not hesitate to ask. My head might spin around, and I'm not an expert quite yet, but this is an unending course in my life, and my goal is to understand it as much as I can.

I hope you have something your life you feel this strongly about too. Just not a chronic illness, I hope! I wouldn't wish that on anyone!

see you guys on Thursday!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

september is coming // TBR

this is a post long in the making. Like, I was supposed to write it three days ago...and then I couldn't get to the library, no matter how I tried. And it's a bit difficult to write a TBR post when you don't actually have the books making up your TBR.

As I've said before, I'm going to try my hardest to stay on schedule during this semester. Part of that schedule is regular reviews. I know, the idea of me doing reviews on a weekly basis is probably cause of panic that the world is ending, but don't  go running to your bunkers quite yet. I'm excited to have a schedule to keep me true to the blogosphere, and by including reviews, it allows me to keep up with my reading, something I definitely slacked off on last semester. My hope and goal is to publish a book review every Thursday (or Friday, depending on how long the book is), complete with artsy pictures and hilarious gifs.

And this week is no different.

Except for the artsy pictures. I'm too tired to dig my camera out of my packed belongings. Sue me for being lazy. (just kidding. I slept and realized I can use my iphone. Genius.)

1// Long Lankin, by Lindsey Barraclough. 455 pages. 2012

This book is a random shelf pick, mostly because the spine is quite beautiful and the cover is eerie. In summary of the book jacket, two sisters are sent away from London to spend some time with their great-aunt, who is less than happy to see them. What they don't know is that the last time two girls visited Guerdon Hall, their great-aunt's life was destroyed, and history is about to repeat itself. Deep in the mysterious depths of the village is a dark secret that the girls and their new friends must uncover--or this story will end just like it did before.

I expect it to be creepy (and I'm hoping it's just low-key creepy because I'm not the hugest fan of suspenseful and creepy books), but it sparked some interest in me. I'm a lover of mystery, so I think this book (455 pages of glorious print!!) will sate that desire in me. Just probably won't be able to read at night. Or sleep. *crosses fingers*

2// Midnight Thief, by Livia Blackburne. 376 pages. 2014

I've heard good things about this book. Strong, sassy female protagonist with light fingers, revenge-filled Palace Knight, secrets and thievery...I'm all about that. The cover isn't a favourite of mine, because it doesn't make much sense to the story from my uneducated point of view. (it's like--BAM! Lion face in yo face! Only blue!) I hope it'll make more sense after I delve into the story.

I haven't read fantasy in a while (or good fantasy, that is). I pray this book won't be as dry as the last attempt at fantasy I tried. So far, it looks to have an interest, albeit not too out of the ordinary plot, with characters with very nice names. Kyra and Tristam. And apparently there are assassins. A whole guild of them. I'm a sucker for assassins. As long as they aren't too angsty.

3// To All the Boys I've Loved Before, by Jenny Han. 355 pages. 2014

It's funny that I'm reading this before I read The Summer I Turned Pretty, because I've been meaning to read that book for ages. Saw this on the current YA shelf, knew there were mixed reviews about it, and didn't even notice it was the same author until I got home. Also, I think the cover is quite pretty. (yes, I judge pretty much every book I read by its cover. Don't judge me.)

So far, I'm not a huge fan of the MC's name. Lara by itself is lovely; I'm just not a fan of double first names. Lara Jean is a mouthful that does not flow well. The idea of secret love letters going missing is terrifying and amusing at the same time. I've had enough diaries to be paranoid about losing one and it falling into the wrong hands (not that there are love letters in them--ew--I just don't know people knowing my inmost thoughts...which TOTALLY explains why I have this blog.) What I don't get is it must be someone who had access to her room, right? She keeps the hatbox in her room (unless she carries it around, and then I think she deserves to have it stolen...), so she had to at least be friends with the instigator. Because who would let someone they dislike into their room? Maybe I'm just reading too much into this...
irony, much?

4// White Space, by Ilsa J. Bick. 551 pages. 2014

Another random pic. I actually grabbed the sequel first, and since I'm not a big fan of confusion, I figured I should read these beautiful books in order. The black birds on the front make me think of the Raven Boys, and I'm thinking this book will be of the same sort with a strange twist. If the cover hadn't sold me, the book blurb definite would've. Also, can I just say that I'm realizing my latest love in covers is white? 4 out of the six books I got today where white-covered. I just think it looks so pretty... This is another hardback I wouldn't mind possessing--the font on the spine is quite gorgeous.

The protagonist is a writer--a writer with some strange mental experiences going on in her life. Somehow, she writes a story someone else wrote years ago--a story she's never seen before. Had she accidentally stumbled into the mind of the dead writer? Or has she walked into something even stranger? The last paragraph of the blurb fascinates me and makes me beyond excited to read this book: "The question then becomes: is she real? Are the others? Or are they just characters who have fallen between the lines into White Space--and can they escape before someone pens their end?"

Can I just say--YES!? Love love love this plot idea. Really hope it's as enjoyable as I think it's gonna be. Plus...551 pages. Hallelujah.

yay! I think this is a pretty decent TBR list for September. I have a few other books I'm going to read for pleasure, but if I like them enough to make the effort for a review, I'll definitely do so. If you have any recs for next month (or for pleasure reading, mwahahahahaha) comment below! I'm in great need for good books--especially current ones! (but good oldies are greatly appreciated as well.)

Are you a fan of extensive yearly TBRs or bite-sized monthly ones? Huge TBRs intimidate me--and my library dislikes them as well.

Peace out!