There is a Disney movie playing inside of my brain at all times.

The other day, Fiancé was driving me to work with our dog, Gio, in the back seat. We take Gio with us because he loves the car rides and he can’t be trusted when there is butter somewhere in the house, which there almost always is. Anyway, it was one of those rare times when all three of us were just kind of sitting quietly, which for some people is fine, but for me, never lasts too long because I inevitably make myself start laughing, which is what happened right before this conversation:

Fiancé: What are you giggling at?

Me: Well, we’re just sitting here not talking, and I was thinking about scenes like that in movies where everyone is just kind of sitting quietly and then the camera pans from person to person and you hear what’s going on inside their head, you know?

Fiancé: Yeah…

Me: So I was thinking about what it would sound like if someone did that to us right now.

Fiancé: And?

Me: Well, it would go to Gio and he’d be all “OH MY GOD, THERE’S SNOW EVERYWHERE, LOOK AT THE SNOW! OH! WHAT’S THAT? DID YOU GUYS SEE THAT THING? HEY, YOUR FACE SMELLS GOOD. WAIT, TURN LEFT HERE, WE NEVER TURN LEFT HERE, I BET THERE’S SOMETHING FUN THAT WAY!” And then it would go to your head and it would be all “Numbers and math and what’s on my to-do list, blah, blah blah or whatever it is that you think about.”

Fiancé: Oh god… that’s what I sound like?

Me: Shush, we’re getting to the best one.

Fiancé: Right. What happens when we get to your head? Wait, let me guess…. Is it just the same as Gio’s?

Me: No. It would get to my head and it would just be “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOONNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEE FIGHTS LIKE GASTON, NO ONE’S RIGHT LIKE GASTON, NO ONE’S NECK IS INCREDIBLY THICK LIKE GASTON’S! I USE ANTLERS IN ALL OF MY DEEEECOOORRRAAAATTTTING–”

Fiancé:  Oh wow.

Me: And that’s when I started laughing. Except when you really think about it what would have happened when it got to my brain is that you would have heard me thinking about what was going on in everyone’s brain and then it would have been an endless loop of what we were all thinking, which is crazy.

Fiancé: Like a thought bubble inside of a thought bubble.

Me: Exactly!

And then we returned to silence for the rest of the ride because I’m pretty sure it was too early for him to risk encouraging me. Plus, he would be spurring me on only to unleash me upon my co-workers and our customers, so really he was just doing his part to help keep the town safe. He’s a good person.

In other news, I just saw Beauty and the Beast last night and I loved it so much!! Go see it and then tweet me. We’ll talk.

via GIPHY

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I WANT TO DO ALL THE THINGS or What I Think About When I Can’t Sleep

I have a friend who stays up all night thinking about every terrible thing she’s ever said or done in her life.

I tend to think about what I have left to do that I haven’t done. I worry myself into a frenzy about the fact that I’ll never accomplish it all. This is quite possibly because I want to do so many things. I want to write. I want to blog. I want to own a bookshop. I want to knit. I want to play more video games. I want to play more board games. I want to read more books. I want to hike more. I want to start a podcast. I want to volunteer at an animal shelter. I want to work with teens. I want to do yoga. I want to meditate. I want to bake. I want to throw grand parties. I want to travel.

I want to do all of these things, and the terrible thing is that there isn’t enough time or energy to go around. I know I simply cannot accomplish these things, but I try and tell myself that I can. I try and say “Wake up at 5 and read for one hour, then write for one hour, then do yoga, and then…” until all of a sudden I’m forgetting that I need sleep, and so waking up at 5 becomes difficult, and my daily routine that I’ve built is fucked from the start.

So how do I choose? How do I figure out what things I want to do more than ever?

The thing is, everyone always says that it’s hard to figure out what you want to do with your life. I always assume people are talking about careers when they say that and I always feel really lucky because I always knew that I wanted to own a bookshop, and maybe one day I still will. For now, being employed in one feels good enough. It’s now, though, that I’m realizing that I’m having a hard time narrowing down what it is that I want to do with the rest of my life. The parts when I’m not at work. The parts when I’m away from the bookshop. What do I do with that time? How do I parse it out? The options are endless. I have the books to read and the yarn to knit and the pantry is stocked with ingredients to turn into delicious treats. I have the laptop and the quick typing skills and the imagination to spin stories.

I just don’t have the time to chase all of these dreams.

But I think I’m starting to figure it out. I think I’m starting to realize that I just need to be structured and organized. I need to have priorities.

So here are the things I try and do every day:

I meditate. I read. I write. I work in a bookshop. I knit. I do yoga.

And then I have the things that I try and do on a weekly basis:

I bake. I blog. I read blogs. I submit at least one piece of writing to some publication somewhere. I play video games.

The rest? The rest I let myself do when I can. I work with a really great group of teens two Sundays out of every month and Fiance and I hike as often as possible. The traveling is something we’re trying to make sure we do semi-regularly, and the grand parties will happen when we have a house that can provide the space we want for things like that.

I’m trying to be easier on myself about these things. I am also planning my wedding on top of all this, after all, and it looks like that can be a time-consuming task (who knew?), but while I try and be easier on myself, I’m also trying to not let myself lose sight of these dreams and these passions. Maybe I fear waking up one day and realizing I never did so many things that I wanted to? I’m not sure, but all I know is that I never want to stop doing. I never want to stop creating. And I never want to be bored. There’s so much out there to learn and to do. So I’m doing my best to make something of this life of mine.

Anyway, that’s what I think about when I can’t sleep. What about you?

***

In related news, I’m still working on what I am affectionately calling “The Awkward Giraffe Project“, a thing I’m doing to help save the giraffes because THEY’RE DYING AND WE NEED THEM YOU GUYS. Here’s the deal: You donate to the Giraffe Conservation Society and I’ll crochet you a stuffed giraffe and mail it to your house. Read more details in this blog post. No, I don’t have a lot of time, but that’s not your concern. It might take me a little while to get you your giraffe, but you will get one. I promise. So just do the right thing and worry about the giraffes, not me and my time management skills, okay?

Now, tell me about your life. What’s new, friends?

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Current Obsession: A Pregnant Giraffe — Also new project and I need your help.

Okay, so I’m totally obsessed with this pregnant giraffe, April, right now. I’ve discussed my love for giraffes before on this blog. We have a lot in common: we’re both tall and gangly, we make goofy faces, and people are generally always happy to see us. Okay, maybe just the giraffes on that last one, but a girl can dream!

I logged onto YouTube last night and usually I just head straight to my subscriptions and don’t even look at the “top things that people are watching now and you should too” but then I saw a giraffe in one of the thumbnails.

It’s a livestream and she’s pregnant and she could give birth AT ANY MOMENT and I cannot stop watching! Last night, while Fiance was trying to fall asleep next to me, I just kept staring at the screen and whispering things to him like “Oh my god, Fiance, you can see the baby moving around in her belly!” or “Oh my god, Fiance, look!!! She’s eating.” … “Fiance, I can’t stop watching, SHE COULD BE IN LABOR ANY MINUTE NOW!”

It’s possible that last one was more of a shout. I’m pretty sure Fiance finds my voice to be a soothing lullaby, so he probably loved it.

Eventually I did fall asleep and when I woke up in a panic that I had missed the birth, it turns out that April was still just standing around being pregnant. That’s when I noticed that the video started streaming on February 24th, so… this could be a while. But in the meantime you can read terrifying statistics about giraffe births like this one: A baby giraffe is approximately 150 pounds and six feet tall when it is born. That is literally the size of me. THAT BABY IS ME-SIZED.

Anyway, all of this long-winded rambling is leading up to this: I’ve been thinking about doing a thing and it has to do with giraffes. Giraffes were just recently classified as a threatened species. There are less than 100,000 of them left in Africa, and that number has dropped by 40% in the past two decades alone. And I want to help. And I want you to help. Because have you ever been sad when you see a giraffe? No.

So, this brings me to my next point: I crochet a lot and I’ve been working on making crocheted giraffes and I want you to have them. I’ll have photos soon, but I want to get the ball rolling here. Here’s how it works: If you make a donation to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and send me a screenshot proving that you’ve done so, I will send you a crocheted giraffe.

Because there is about to be a new giraffe baby in our world, and he or she needs friends, you guys. So what do you say? Are you with me? I don’t care how much you donate. Just do what you can. And maybe spread the word and share this post, too?

Thanks, loves.

-Emelie

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It’s snowing and I’m happy.

Hello friends!!

It’s snowing like crazy here in Connecticut today and Gio, Fiancé and I are in absolute heaven. The fact that I don’t have to go into work and that I’ve been pouring baileys into my coffee all morning (a snow day tradition in our household) might be contributing to this feeling of euphoria, but STOP JUDGING ME I’M GOING TO BUILD A SNOWMAN LATER.

I always love when it snows. I can tell it’s happened right when I wake up in the morning. Everything is quieter and there’s something different about the way the light comes in through the bedroom windows. I can also see snow falling from the sky, so that helps to clue me in, too.

Anyway, blog followers, I don’t really have a ton to say here this week, but I just wanted to pop on the blog and say hello. I have some cool ideas cooking up that I can’t wait to share with you. New projects to launch and whatnot, but they’re still simmering and not quite ready to be served, so I’ll just have to leave you in suspense until they are ready, but I’m excited about all of them, so I hope you are too!

If it’s snowing where you are, make sure you send me pictures! I love seeing what you’re all up to. Build a snowman. Build a whole scene of them! Give them swords and turn it into a battle! Make snow aliens! Construct a snow wedding! The possibilities are endless.

I’ll be posting our snow adventures on the social medias, so keep an eye out (links to my accounts are on the right!).

Remember to keep loving each other. Remember that I love you all.

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I cannot attend a march, but I can make hats.

I’m unable to attend one of the marches on Saturday, which breaks my heart, but I found out about The Pussyhat Project a few weeks back and I’ve been crocheting like mad ever since, because while I cannot attend a march, I can crochet. The idea is simple: Make a pink hat for people to wear while marching in support of women’s rights. Give these hats to someone who will be at the march and that person will distribute them. Hopefully this will create a sea of pink hats, which will look amazing. Also, they have cat ears, which is just a delightful feature that I am obsessed with. If you are attending a march and if you have the skills, there are patterns on the Pussyhat Project website that you can find and use at your leisure, and I highly encourage you to do so.

To all of you marching that day, know that I am with you in spirit. I wish I could be there for real, but I can’t. So fight the good fight and stand up for what you believe in and what we all deserve. Keep spreading the love and don’t let violence sway you. Remember: the best fights have been won through non-violence. We’re all angry, but let’s redirect that anger towards love and support of one another. When we lift each other up, we win. When we love each other, we win. Because love wins.

So, my sisters, let’s do this. Let’s get out there and make ourselves impossible to be ignored. I’ll be doing my part from a bookshop in a tiny town that day, but I’m hoping that the hats that have been made by myself and many others will be on your heads, and I hope that those heads will be held high.

Be safe, my loves, be warm, be strong, be peaceful, and rock on.

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Why I Write

I’ve never been one of those writers who writes because she has to. I always hear writers say that writing is like breathing for them. If they didn’t write, they’d suffocate and die.

I could easily live my life without writing. Because writing (for me) is hard work. It’s not the thing I do to survive, it’s a thing I struggle through and have to convince myself to sit down and do it. It’s not like breathing for me. I don’t simply sit down, inhale, and exhale beautiful prose. It’s not that easy.

And yet, I write anyway.

I write because I enjoy the process. Yes, it’s hard work, but it’s work that I enjoy. In the same way that people claim to enjoy running (those people are truly crazy, for the record), I enjoy writing. It’s my workout.

Do I enjoy waking up early in the morning just to write? No. Sleeping is much nicer than writing.

But do I feel better about myself when I do it? Yes.

I do not write to make money, although any writer would laugh at the obviousness of that statement.

I could stop writing right now and most people wouldn’t even notice.

And yet, I write anyway.

I write because it’s fun to create stories and play with words. I play with words like kids play with legos. I’m constantly putting them together and breaking them apart again only to reassemble them a few more times in a few different patterns.

I could say that I write because if I didn’t, my brain would never stop chattering, but my brain doesn’t stop chattering no matter what, so I’m not sure that’s true either. Writing might be feeding into that chatter instead of quieting it, if we’re all really being honest.

Which brings me to my next point: I write because it forces me to think. Writing keeps my brain moving and talking and turning things over. Reading does this, too, which is why one should never have one without the other. Reading is the cake to my writing coffee.

I do not write because otherwise I would die. I write because someone once gave me a book and I read it and I liked it, and then later I realized that someone wrote that book and I was impressed to the point of envy, so then I picked up a pen and a piece of paper and the rest is history.

And perhaps the reason I keep writing is that I keep reading books that impress me to a point of – well, not envy anymore, but instead now it’s inspiration. Perhaps that is my driving force. I keep reading things that make me say “Oh man, that is good. I wonder if I can do that, too.” And then I’m off. I’m at my laptop or my notebook and words are coming out and I don’t even know how to keep up some days.

But then there are plenty of days where the activity doesn’t make it that far.

Because it’s easy for me to not write, too. It’s easy to read books and fill my day with other distractions. It’s easy to watch amazing movies and tv shows and play incredible video games. It’s easy to take up baking. It’s easy to not write.

And yet, I write anyway.

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Holy Crap This Thing Is Aweseome #4: My Writing Group Has a Book Now!

Hey blog followers!! BIG NEWS!!!

For the first time ever you can now purchase a thing in which my writing is printed and stuff!!! WHAT?!

It’s just two short little essays from me, but this is exciting because when I first moved to Stars Hollow, I was invited to join a very special group of writers who are all far more talented than I am, but they think I’m funny and they always give me great advice, so I’m keeping quiet about the fact that I totally don’t deserve to be in their presence. Seriously. This group has been meeting for over 30 years and has seen many writers come and go, but one thing is for sure: the level of talent here is baffling. To say that I’m honored to be a part of this is the understatement of my year.

Anyway, so we all decided to pool our money and put together an anthology of our work: nonamebookcover

Oh, how pretty… I love it.

And you can buy it from our local bookshop (to whom the collection is dedicated), The Hickory Stick Bookshop, by either clicking on the image or by clicking right here. Whichever you choose.

And I sincerely hope that you do buy it, not for the sake of reading my stuff, but for the sake of exposing yourself to the ridiculous amount of beauty that is everyone else’s work. Seriously. You will be baffled when you read it and you’ll want to read so much more.

Oh! Also, if you’re interested, we’re having a reading and a signing at The Hickory Stick Bookshop on Sunday, December 4th at 3pm! There will be refreshments and everything!

This is big, you guys. This feels good.

*This is an installment of the Holy Crap This Thing Is Awesome series in which I pick one thing that I am loving right now and I tell you all about it because I want more people to be aware of the existence of that person or thing. I do not get paid for these and I pick them purely based on my own interest in them. 

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The Great British Rollercoaster of Emotions

Fiancé was out of town this past weekend, and I actually did pretty okay. I managed to make food for myself and everything, so I was feeling super successful.

But then I got hit with the blues. I was sitting all alone in the house and feeling really sad because, you know, why not, right? So I decided to watch the Great British Baking Show because that show can only cheer people up. Seriously, the worst thing that ever happens is that someone’s ice cream gets taken out of a freezer too soon – AND THEN THEY ALL HELP EACH OTHER FIX IT BECAUSE BAKING MAKES YOU LOVE EVERYONE. (This is not a reference to being high, although that might also be true. I’m not sure.) Seriously, this is a competition show, but they’re all so nice to each other and then they eat cake. How could you possibly be upset by this? There’s not even any money at stake! It’s prize is just being called the best baker. I love it.

Anyway, I was all ready to cue up the only season that was available on Netflix when I discovered that IT WAS GONE. When did this happen? Why did it happen? WHAT THE F, NETFLIX? WHERE IS MY SOURCE OF JOY???

My sank deeper into my couch and my depression.

But then I found the PBS app on apple tv… and lo and behold THREE SEASONS WERE THERE. VICTORY WAS MINE.

Me: FIANCÉ.

Me: I HAVE ALL THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW

Me: ALL OF IT

Fiancé: How?

Me: I activated the PBS app on apple tv

Me: WHICH IS FREE.

Fiancé: O

Fiancé: M

Fiancé: G

Me: YEAH.

Me: ALL THREE SEASONS.

Me:ALL THREE

Fiancé: Don’t forget to go to work tomorrow.

Me: Boooooo.Why would you bring that up at a time like this?

And then the worst thing ever happened: They weren’t free, you guys. The PBS app had lulled me into a false sense of security. IT TRICKED ME.

Me: SON OF A BITCH I HAVE TO PAY FOR THESE EPISODES. I knew it was too good to be true…

Me: ….Can we donate $5 a month to PBS?

Fiancé: Can we write it off on our taxes?

Me: Yes. (It should be noted that I did absolutely zero looking into that fact. For all I know, this was not a tax-deductable thing, but at that moment, nothing was going to stop me. Oh, and upon further research, yes, it turns out that we can. I think. I don’t really know how that stuff works.) And I can watch GBBO, which means I can stop texting you and bothering you while you’re hanging out with your friends.

Fiancé: Sure.

See, friends, it’s all about making offers they simply cannot refuse.

via GIPHY

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I love you.

fullsizerender

I let myself be sad and angry yesterday. I let myself cry at work and sink into a deep depression. I let myself sigh heavily and shuffle about in a daze. And I let myself get scared.

I gave myself one day.

But I’m not giving into that.

I have grown up believing that good conquers evil and that Love conquers all things, and it’s easy to lose hope in that sometimes and to believe that everything is terrible and that I should start hating and stop loving some people, but that’s how things get broken. And that’s how things stay broken.

Nothing was ever fixed with hatred. Things are fixed through love and understanding, and it’s usually not easy to love when things are badly broken.

But today, I want you know that I love you. If you’re feeling scared and alone, I love you. If you, like me, are worried about your rights and the rights of those you care about, I love you. Even if you voted for him, I love you.

Today I’m committing myself to loving more fiercely than ever before. I will smile in the face of anger and I am going to live a more intentionally loving and kind life.

This means having tougher, but kinder conversations. This means trying to gain understanding instead of shouting about how right I am. This means admitting that I’m wrong sometimes. This means choosing to not pick a side until I’ve done more research and it means knowing an accepting that not every person on each side is the same. This means standing up for what I believe in, not matter the cost.

Yesterday I was scared and I was sad and I was angry.

Today and tomorrow and every day after that, I’m choosing love instead.

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Holy Crap This Thing Is Awesome #3: Stress and Joy with Sabrina

Earlier today, after wrapping up my NaNoWriMo word count for the day, I rewarded myself with some time to catch up on some of my favorite YouTubers.

If you watch the vlogbrothers channel, you know that Hank just had a baby and is on paternity leave (yay fatherhood!), so on Fridays, his usual videos are being taken over by the lovely Sabrina from Nerdy and Quirky, and her debut video in this slot was AMAZING.

I’ll let you take a moment and watch it right now. In fact, I’ll join you.

 

I love everything about this.

Yes, stress can be a bad thing, but… what I love about Sabrina’s point is that stress, like fat, comes in good and bad forms.

I am the type of person who performs well when time is of the essence. For example, I’ve set a goal for myself to write a blog post every Friday, and I’m holding myself to that goal while also trying to attempt NaNoWriMo, while still working a full time job, and working with teens twice a month for a few hours at a time and planning a wedding and saving up to buy a house (or maybe build one) and taking care of a really smart and active dog and reading more and trying to also spread joy and happiness and good vibes in one of the undoubtedly negative periods of our country’s recent history. And then there are all the shows on Netflix to catch up on. It’s exhausting.

But Sabrina made me realize that if I was doing none of these things, if I was just sitting around and drinking coffee and working on nothing, I would feel no reward. I would get none of the joy that blogging and noveling and bookselling and the wedding planning and everything else brings me.

Good things take work to create, but it’s good work. It’s fulfilling work — and when you’ve worked really hard to get something good, that thing feels so much better.

I’m so glad that I watched this video today and was reminded that some forms of stress are worth having. They are the fires under our asses to get us moving towards the joy in our lives.

So the next time that you’re sitting at your desk, wanting to tear your hair out because STUFF ISN’T HOW YOU WANT IT RIGHT NOW, just take a moment and remind yourself why you sat down there in the first place and try to smile even though your blood pressure is rising. Think about what it is you’re working towards and why this will all be so worth it.

And remember, you can do it. I believe in you.

Speaking of which, what are you working on that’s a source of good stress in your life? Tell me about your happy projects in the comments and let’s support each other through it all!

Spread joy, everyone.

*This is an installment of the Holy Crap This Thing Is Awesome series in which I pick one thing that I am loving right now and I tell you all about it because I want more people to be aware of the existence of that person or thing. I do not get paid for these and I pick them purely based on my own interest in them. 

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