23 things to make you smile. Right now.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I’ve been making more of an effort to spread cheer and optimism over there. I don’t really know what started this, but for some reason lately, I’ve been trying to broadcast happiness on a grand scale. Maybe it’s because the headlines lately have been exhaustingly sad and rageful. Or maybe it’s just because I like happy things and I honestly don’t think the world can have enough happiness. Either way, yesterday, I asked people on twitter to only tweet about the good stuff happening and using the hashtag, #HappyTweets. Now, I’m not a person with a ton of followers, so this didn’t take off quite as much as I’d hoped it would, but that’s okay. I still managed to tweet happy things, and I’m going to keep this going, even here on the blog.

So… in the event that you just need a reason to smile, here is a list of things to be happy about in spite of what the news tells us:

  1. Puppies. I tweeted about this yesterday, but how incredible is it that we live on a planet on which puppies exist? Puppies, possibly the cutest things ever, happen all the time. They’re just all around. And then, on top of them being cute, THEY LOVE EVERYONE. Have you ever met a puppy that didn’t want to snuggle or play? Many books have been written on the love that dogs give us, but I think puppies deserve an extra boost right now because we are so lucky to live in the same universe as them. Just soak that incredible fact in.
  2. Artists. Okay, so I’m also floored by just how amazing it is that we are living at a time when people like Jenny Lawson, Hank Green, J.K. Rowling, Hannah Hart, Ben Folds, Rainbow Rowell, etc. all create stuff that we get to enjoy and learn from. Every day, there are amazing artists of all types creating things that we just get to sit down and be like “THIS IS A THING I ENJOY” and then we get to walk away feeling inspired by those people and things they do. Especially now. Now we are in a time when content is just constantly available to us – and often for free. This brings me to the next thing…
  3. The Internet. Okay, I know: The Internet can be full of terrible people, but you know what? It’s also full of amazing people and amazing communities. Before the Internet, the only people available to you were just the ones physically surrounding you. If they weren’t into the same stuff you were, that was just the pits. Now? Now you get to go online and log onto some forum or social media account and say “HEY, I’M REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT FAKE LIZARDS MADE OF SAND AND WAX.” and someone else could be like, “OH MY GOD, ME TOO!!” and now you have a new friend who is in a totally different country. The Internet is an amazing place for people in search of community and friendships. I met the love of my life because of the Internet. I’m able to write and have a small group of readers because of the Internet. I’m currently listening to music because of the Internet. All the jerks out there? They are nothing in comparison to the awesomeness that I find on the Internet.
  4. Books. THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES OUT THERE TO READ. FAIRY TALES AND REALISTIC FICTION AND MURDER MYSTERIES AND SCI-FI AND HISTORY. IT’S ALL OUT THERE JUST WAITING FOR YOU. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?
  5. Flowers growing through cracks in the sidewalk. This doesn’t need any explanation. Tiny, delicate, beautiful things emerge and break through the toughest of materials. As cliche as it is, this metaphor is wonderful and we should all remind ourselves of it daily.
  6. Music. No matter your taste, music is out there for you to fall in love to and with. Perfectly timed melodies and beautiful lyrics come to us in all sorts of ways and we get to apply them to moments in our lives as though someone is building a soundtrack for us. I just love it.
  7. Coffee. 
  8. Your ideal weather. For me it’s 77 degrees and immediately following rain. I love rain, too, now that I’m thinking about it. Sure, weather can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but when it’s also kind of amazing. Just picture your perfect day, weather-wise.
  9. Details in architecture. This one comes from my bestbian, Leah. She loves walking around the city with her headphones in and just looking at buildings and trying to notice their unique details. She’s the best.
  10. Having a best friend. Many of us can think of our best friend(s). That person is someone who we can call whenever and just vent to. Best friends are the people who like you anyway. They’re the best.
  11. Riding trains. I’m sure many of us have different feelings about train travel, but there is something so very classic and, as Leah puts it, “British” about the experience. She and I love British things, so this is in our happy column.
  12. Good television. We are in an age of amazing television right now. Shows that are beautifully written and make us think. This is awesome. I, personally, love great dialogue. Great dialogue is great.
  13. Crawling into a made bed at the end of the day. Oh man, is there anything more relaxing?
  14. Wearing an outfit that you know you look really, really good in. Admit it. You know what outfit this is and it is the thing you feel best about yourself in. Because you are really ridiculously good looking in it and you can do anything in that outfit.
  15. Pajamas. Duh.
  16. Making other people smile. 
  17. Rivers, lakes, and oceans. Bodies of water always seem to make me happy. I don’t know why, but they’re lovely. I’ve always really liked that line from Pocahontas where she says “my favorite thing about rivers is that you can’t step in the same river twice.” That has always made me smile.
  18. I know I said puppies already, but let’s just give a shout out to all baby animals. Baby animals are just the best.
  19. Hugs. Good hugs are great. Even if you’re not a hugger, somewhere out there is a hug that you love. I believe in that.
  20. When everything is where it should be. I personally hate cleaning, but I love when everything is clean, so I force myself to go through the grueling process of getting it there because I know the reward is worth it.
  21. Checking off everything on your to-do list. I rarely get to do this every day, but man isn’t it awesome when it does happen? Yes. Yes it is.
  22. Live shows. In an age of digital everything, there is something even more amazing now about seeing something live. Last night, Fiance and I were lucky enough to see Ben Folds in concert and I’m still on Cloud 9.
  23. Love. This will be my last one, because ultimately, it is the most wonderful thing in the world and it is everywhere. Sometimes we struggle to see it clearly, but at the end of the day, when you’re feeling really crappy, I think it’s nice to remember that love is out there. Even if you’re not feeling it, I think it’s nice to know that it’s there. It’s nice to think about what you love and who loves you in spite of yourself. I think it’s nice to love yourself. It’s nice to remember that there is a puppy out there who will love you. Love, as a noun and a verb, is something that constantly amazes me. The fact that we are able to love and feel loved is something truly remarkable. Random acts of kindness are random acts of love and if you really sit back and think about it, isn’t that just the most lovely thing of all? I think it is.

So that’s my list as of this very moment. It’s incomplete and constantly changing and being added to, but I invite you to write about what makes you happy in the comments. Tweet at me with happy things using #HappyTweets. Don’t let the crappy headlines win. Flood the world with joy whenever possible.

Ready? Go.

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Because I love her and she is amazing.

My best friend — my bestie, my bestbian, my maid of honor, my hero, etc. — is starting her first real lawyer job tomorrow.

via GIPHY

But wait. It gets better. She is not about to be one of those lawyers that everyone glares at because they’re evil or whatever. No. She’s gonna be one of those lawyers who actually makes lives better.

“What is she doing?”

Good question.

My bestbian is going to be working for a law firm that defends sexual assault victims. She’ll be doing legal research to help win cases against sexual abusers. SHE IS ON THE LIFE-SAVING TEAM, YOU GUYS. SHE IS BASICALLY A SUPERHERO NOW.

So, she starts on Monday and she is so excited and so terrified. This is her first real job after law school and it is undoubtedly going to not be filled with joy and wonder all of the time, but she gets to go home at the end of the day and say “Today I played a part in making someone’s life better,” and that is amazing and she is amazing and I am so full of love and adoration for this person who has been the Tina Fey to my Amy Poehler for the past ten years. She is my soul mate and I am in awe of her every single day.

So, will you all please just tweet at her and tell her how amazing she is and how incredible she will be at this job? She’s nervous. Because she cares. She cares so much and she is the best person for this job and I am so unbelievable proud of her. So here is her twitter handle: @MsLBrady

Flood her phone with messages of love and joy and inspiration! Go forth and virtually high-five her!

I love you, Bestbian.

 

via GIPHY

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Holy Crap This Thing is Awesome #1: Habitica

So I’ve been thinking about doing a blog post once a month to feature something that I’m really into at the moment. This could be a product or a blog or an app. Whatever. I don’t want to be paid for these or given free stuff for them (I mean, free stuff is great, but just because I get it doesn’t mean I’ll write about it), I just want to find stuff that I’m super into and tell the world about that stuff because that’s what you do when you like something: You share it.

If you don’t care at all or don’t want to know about this or hate these types of blog posts, please let me know. This blog is not about to become some marketing place. I’m honestly just trying to spread the word about things that I love. I’ve already done one of these about Litsy, in fact, but that was before I really had this whole “regularly scheduled” idea. Aside from these monthly posts, I’ll still be doing my regular weird and embarrassing stories. I would, of course, love your input and comments about what you’re into right now too! Let’s talk more to each other and share ideas and fun stuff!

I’m going to call this series the “Holy Crap This Thing is Awesome and I Want People To Know How Awesome It Is” Series. Or maybe it needs a shorter title. Story of my life. Maybe just “Holy Crap This Thing Is Awesome.” Is that better? Tell me in the comments.

Anyway… on to the thing!

Habitica

habitica Habitica is a to-do list app/website that I am in love with because it is for people like me: nerds who want everything to be fun.

I am a fan of fun. Laundry is not fun. Cleaning the toilet is not fun. But when you are a level 7 warrior who earns points for cleaning the toilet so that you can level up and battle monsters via doing laundry and washing dishes, you become a toilet cleaning MACHINE. This app has motivated me like nothing else before.

I am a big fan of rewards for getting stuff done. I often tell myself that I’m not allowed to read or watch tv or play videogames until I’ve done something productive that I’m not in the mood to do. This app kind of takes care of that. Now, instead of saying “Emelie, clean the bathroom and then you’re allowed to watch an episode of Jane the Virgin (OH MY GOD THAT SHOW),” I can say “Emelie, accomplish enough stuff on your to-do list to level up and feed your zombie wolf and then you can watch Jane the Virgin.”

It. Is. Wonderful.

Also, these graphics! Oh my gosh, they’re so great! They bring me back to the 8-bit days of yore and I love them.

Oh! And you can team up with your friends and build a party and go on quests to battle monsters and conquer the lands of productivity! It’s amazing! So then you’re also holding your friends accountable and they’re holding you accountable and you’re all adulting in a way that you can’t even handle because no one told you it would be this fun.

Habitica, you’ve revolutionized my life. I love you. Thank you for making cleaning the toilet fun.

So, what are you super into right now? What thing do you think is awesome? Talk about it in the comments!

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A festival based on the town that is based on my town is happening in my town.

It’s no secret that I’m a Gilmore Girls fan. It’s also not a huge secret that I live in the town that is the inspiration for the show’s setting, Stars Hollow.

And now, as I’m sure you’ve heard, there is going to be a freaking Gilmore Girls Fan Festival in my freaking town. Where I live. MY DREAMS ARE COMING TRUE.

So now my little town is going to have to deal with a lot more people like me. Poor, poor town… But there’s going to be so much, coffee, a knit-a-thon, CAST MEMBERS, and – oh yeah: THEY’RE BUYING OUR TOWN A GAZEBO BECAUSE IT’S THE ONE THING WE DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE.

Guys. Seriously. I’m freaking out here.

FREAKING. OUT.

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Reflections on Romance… WITH KNIVES!

I think you can tell a lot about a couple from the way they shop for stuff in their home. You learn about who is practical and who is…not.

I am very concerned with things looking cute.

Fiance is very concerned with things working properly and looking nice.

This is most evident in our selection of kitchen equipment. If there are faces on it, or cute animals involved (as long as they’re not the meal itself), I am totally on board. Fun colors?! Count me in! In fact, before Fiance moved in with all of his fancy, functional stuff, almost everything in my home was brightly colored and had silly faces. My spatulas look like pigs. My knives are alarmingly bright. Fiance’s are all dull and silver. Well, they’re actually not dull at all. His knives are frighteningly sharp, but you know what I mean. They don’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, which I guess is a good thing if we were to be robbed. The last thing you want is for someone to break into your home and then you pull a knife out to defend yourself and the intruder is all “Aw, well that’s just adorable.” Then again, maybe you do. Maybe this is how we can find peace in the world. Through cute knives.

Fiance? He’s all “Well, sure, the knives do all look like cartoon farm animals, but do they cut stuff?”

WHO CARES, FIANCE! LOOK AT HOW HAPPY THEY ARE! They double as knives AND PUPPETS!

And that’s how I get things taken away from me and quietly escorted out of stores…

 

So yes, I think you can tell a lot about a couple from the way they shop for stuff in their home, but I think what’s even more interesting is that the Fiance and I are completely inverted when it comes to our selection in romantic partners. After all, I picked the practical one, and he picked the cartoon character with googley eyes…

And we’re both equally dangerous.

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TO THE ROOF!

This week Fiancé and I discovered the joys of furniture assembly and arrangement as a couple. There was a whole lot of “No, really, the couch should go here,” followed by “Oh my god, you were so right, this is all wrong, let’s put it back the way it was,” and then “That looks awful, doesn’t it? Maybe we should just put it all on the roof and call it a day?”

The biggest issue is that we live in 200-year-old tiny farm house with tiny rooms and crooked walls and we bought a bunch of modern-sized furniture from Ikea that doesn’t fit in said tiny farm house with tiny rooms and crooked walls. Plus, we have double the amount of stuff now that we’re living together. So, I’m suggesting we put stuff on the roof.

Fiancé: You mean the attic?

Me: What? No! It’s haunted up there. I mean the roof.

Fiancé: Why?

Me: Because we have too much furniture right now.

Fiancé: So you want to put it on the roof?

Me: Yes.

Fiancé: How are you going to get to the roof?

Me: A ladder. Or magic?

Fiancé: What furniture is going up there?

Me: At least some chairs. We have too many chairs.

Fiancé: Oh, like the designer chair you got from your sister?

Me: NO! I love that chair!

Fiancé: I have a feeling that you just mean my furniture.

Me: You said it, not me.

Fiancé: I think we can put the shoe trunk on the roof. I hate that thing. It’s dangerous, it smells weird, and it’s impossible to find any of our shoes in there.

Me: I agree. That furniture plan did not work out. It’s going on the roof.

Fiancé: Great. Except… It has all of our shoes in it. I don’t want to go up on the roof without any shoes.

Me: TOO BAD IT’S ALREADY DECIDED I’M GETTING THE LADDER!

Cohabitation is going really well, you guys.

***

In other news, I wrote a piece about Book Guilt and it’s over on Books, Ink’s Hamlet Hub. Go check it out, but only if you want to!

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I have the house to myself which means I’m kind of unstoppable.

Fiance is out of town this weekend because his brother is a superhero who is competing in an Ironman competition. Sadly, this does not mean that he is going to put on a metal suit and fly around with gobs of money and snarkiness, but apparently it means that he’s running, biking, and swimming a lot for about twelve hours.

I have to stay home because of work, but I’m kind of okay with it after having been LIED TO about the nature of this event. Fiance says I was never lied to. I think that they should have come up with a different name for the competition because it is by nature A LIE. Fiance says that the name has nothing to do with Tony Stark and I think that’s copyright infringement. Tony Stark is Ironman (spoiler alert?), therefore the contest cannot be Ironman, right? We should sue. Or maybe Tony Stark should sue. Can anyone sue for this? And while we’re on it, are women named Sue upset that their name brings such doom? Have they tried forming a group and suing for the right to take their names back? Is this a possibility? I need to talk to a lawyer. What was I talking about again? Oh right: Fiance is out of town.

Usually this would mean that I spiral into a weird corner of sadness and anxiety, but for some reason I’m kind of letting myself enjoy the time alone. Maybe it’s because we actually live together now and this alone time thing hasn’t happened in a while.

Maybe it’s because he went grocery shopping for me before he left and bought me all my favorite foods – all cheese-based, of course.

Or maybe I’m finally stabilizing and becoming a capable adult…. HA! Good one, me… Good one…

Gio, however, is not taking it as well, as evidenced by a series of texts I shared with Fiance this morning:

Me: He’s so grumpy with me today.

IMG_5417

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiance: Are you sure he isn’t mad at me?

Me: For leaving? Oh definitely.

Fiance: He shouldn’t be so mad because he has half of the bed all to himself.

Me: Literally happening RIGHT NOW. IMG_5418

 

 

 

 

 

 

So… That’s happening. This is my life. It’s filled with cheese and grumpy dogs and video games and books. It’s really not that different from when Fiance is home, actually… All it’s really missing is logic and basic fire safety.

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Do you Litsy? You should Litsy.

If you don’t love books, this will not matter to you at all. If you do love books, read on.

There’s this newish app that I’m in love with recently and you should know that I’m in no way being asked to or bribed to talk about it. I just love it that much.

Because it’s social media for book lovers. And it’s not GoodReads (which I don’t use for many reasons). As many of you know, I’m a bookseller and I love talking about books, but I usually don’t do so here because that’s not what this blog is typically about. This is the exception. This is where I blur the lines between my goofy Internet self and my let-me-tell-you-what-I’m-reading-because-BOOKS! self.
It’s Litsy.

Basically it’s as if Instagram and GoodReads met one night at some bookish photography thing and then that turned into drinks, which turned into a few dates, which turned into trading book recommendations via photographs, which became their relationship, and then all of that eventually led to a baby app that grew up to become it’s very own awesome individual app that we should all be hanging out with.

And it’s so wonderful, you guys. Every morning I wake up and I check through my various social media feeds, and by far, my favorite one is Litsy. I get all sorts of reading recommendations from people who love books. I’m following authors and seeing what they’re reading. I’m mIMG_5225eeting other really bookish people on the Internet and my to-be-read list is overloaded in the best way possible. On top of that, there’s this fun little game aspect to it: You can track your reading and gain “Litfluence” points based on how much you’re reading and how many people are adding books to their stacks because of your reviews. So if you’re into stats and improving your score, this feature is delightful.

Currently this app is only available for iOS devices, but hopefully that will be changing soon so that we can all participate in this bookish glory together. But you should totally get on this if you can and follow me over there for book stuff! In fact, let me get you started with some of my favorite accounts:

Mine: @AwkwardlyAlive

Liberty Hardy: @Liberty (You will  never read as much as her. Accept this and then read whatever she tells you to.)

Amy Stewart: @AmyStewart (As in the author of Girl Waits With Gun, which is SO GOOD!)

Rebecca Schinsky: @RebeccaSchinsky (Fabulously smart)

K.D. Winchester: @kdwinchester (She reads the most interesting things!!) 

So go and download this app, follow me and all these lovely readers, and let’s start chatting about books! BECAUSE BOOKS!

 

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One year from today.

One year from today I will have a husband.

I will be a wife.

Fiancé and I went to our ceremony site today and had a picnic to celebrate our “pre-anniversary”. I had a migraine, but I didn’t care. He had a lot of work to do, but he pushed it away, all so that we could go and sit and be with each other in the place where one year from today we will be promising to love each other for the rest of our lives.

Which is insane. And awesome.

And now I’m back in bed, having just taken two more pills to make this pain go away and he’s back at his computer making sure that emails get sent. But that’s besides the point.

Because one year from today we will be dancing and drinking and clinking glasses and eating cake and I hopefully won’t have a migraine, and he definitely will not be working.

One year from today.

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My identity (or lack of one?) as a writer.

I’ve been in an interesting stage with my writing lately. Even though I’ve been doing this blog for a few years now, I’ve always seen myself as a potential novelist. I just wanted a way to exercise my writing brain and to use my sense of humor along the way, so I though this blog would be fun.

I’ve completed a first draft and a first round of edits on a novel, and I’m really proud of that, but I’m starting to wonder if that’s the route I really want to take.

I really enjoy personal essay. It’s an incredibly fun thing to work with and it’s a great way to explore that whole “write what you know” concept – or in some cases what you don’t know.

But it’s also so damn personal. And what if I write something now that I’m going to regret later? What if I choose to rant about gun control or women’s rights and I end up looking back on it and saying “Crap, that wasn’t what I should have said.”

Maybe that’s not the attitude to have. After all, if you constantly live in fear of regret, you never do anything, right?

And maybe this just means that I need to set up rules for myself.

So that’s what I’m doing. Here are my rules for writing:

  1. Never write anything that will hurt someone else’s feelings. Or at least, never intentionally do so. Obviously I can’t avoid everyone’s hot buttons, but if I can foresee someone getting hurt, I will try and do my best to back away. Basically: only make fun of myself.
  2. Avoid major political or social issues as much as possible. This isn’t to say that I’ll remain completely neutral on subjects, and I might allude to my feelings, but I’ll probably never write an essay about why a certain candidate is amazing or terrible. I’m not smart enough to tackle that shit.
  3. Be honest. I think this is one of the most important ones. I don’t want to be fake with my writing. I don’t want to try and adopt a personality because I think it’s what everyone wants to read. I want to be me, and if some people find that interesting, then yay. If they don’t, at least I didn’t lost myself or lie about who I am in the process.

And I think that’s all I need for right now. Those are my three things that I will check in on before publishing anything.

And lastly, I’m going to start trying to submit my content to places. While I edit my novel, I want to start actually working on getting published in other ways. I want to start receiving rejection letters and maybe even some yesses.

If anyone has any tips or knows of a place where I should start submitting, I’d really love to hear what you have to say. We’re all in this together, right?

Here’s to the writing life.

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