I Never Thought I Would a Write This

**Sorry for the typos – I wrote my post on the WordPress app, using the hunt and peck method, mostly, on my ipad, to fix Siri typos**

I am not writing for sympathy as much as for awareness. I know I lost “followers,” with my last post. This could offend others. But, I write for awareness. If you don’t want to be aware, I understand. Life is more comfortable when you can say something nice here or there and then live a full life. Checking in on your family may be all you can do, so you know about this and don’t want to read about it. I get it. I wish I didn’t :)

If you blog, you know Facebook doesn’t share a lot anymore. This was too long for Twitter, but I did want to share it. I once read (I would link if I could find it) that illnesses without a definite endpoint makes people uncomfortable. Things that don’t have a cure make them really anxious to be near.

Hell, I have them and they make me uncomfortable. Not just physically, either, but emotionally. I would rather have something that would end. People don’t bring dinner to people with an indefinite illness. Even families have to move on with their lives and ask you to take Uber or a Taxi, if you aren’t feeling well enough to drive. I understand because people shouldn’t put their lives on hold for something that will never end or could be years before a resolution takes shape.

However, while I wait on another final (and by final diagnosis, I mean even that first appointment since I’m still waiting. I thought it was the obvious thing – an injury, but I  am deteriorating faster than I can be treated. I am in pain that doesn’t match the “obvious.” I am frustrated, but healthcare is trial and error sometimes. Now that my doctors realize that something is not right, I get to wait. And wait some more. Fights of screaming in agony apparently didn’t tip them off.

Today was my first full day using a walker outside of my home. The first time I left the house with it and used it in the store, while my husband really did the shopping. I just needed to leave my prison… I mean house. We needed to pick up something for me to work on my own extra Physical Therapy.

It is already uncomfortable enough to have to use a walker (or wheelchair for some) when you’re young, so when the wife of a minister I respected saw me with my spouse, and she recognized me, did a double take while she was on her phone (so it’s not like I would have even waved hi to embarrass her) and hauled it back to the side of the store she came from it hurts. I am honestly not sure how I stopped my tears from flowing.

Every fear I had about using it came true. Will I ever attend a service again? People who know me could see me and be uncomfortable. Do I want to be the source of that? I try to discuss the lives of the people around me. I try to remember what they like, so I can tell them about a new movie I saw that will be coming out that will fit their interests or if their favorite author is releasing a book. I ask about their race times. Since my husband will be at work, I’ll sit alone. A walker isn’t a friend. I wish it were.

In a culture where health, wealth, beauty, athleticism, and things that are not conveyed by a walker, it makes me hesitant to use it. Yes, it can provide relief to certain body parts. But the emotional toll is huge. I can hurt physically or emotionally. Which is worse? I can’t change anyone’s perceptions. So, do I stay at home?

If I was older, it wouldn’t be so horrifying. It would be an accepted part of getting older. Instead, I’m a social pariah, despite my best attempts. I don’t want special treatment. I just want normal treatment. It’s hard to ignore walking aids, but it’s easy not to run away.

Faith and illness can be fragile, so don’t take any chances. Don’t be unnecessarily hurtful.

People who are horrified by my mere existence as a 27 year old using a walker probably don’t even remember for more than a few minute, but I’ll have to work really hard to forget it along with all of the other pain. I will work on on it, because it is part of getting well. However, I hope that I’ve never done most of the things that leave me crying, although I am sure I have. No one is perfect, but happy Public Service Announcement!

Categories: Uncategorized
Entitled to Compassion

These are my thoughts about telling women to be silent about their suffering without getting professional help to cope with the pain.

Empathy, understanding, love, kindness, goodness, friendship, and a listening ear should all start at the Church. They should come from Christians, firstly. And no matter how you live your life, telling women that talking about their pain without ever explaining if you got professional help is irresponsible. Maybe you read a GREAT book. I don’t know. But, you and Jesus did not work it out on your own.

Shaming women into silence by insinuating that you’re superior because don’t bother other people with your pain is wreckless. Not everyone has had the benefit of professional help to learn to cope. If you don’t have credentials to offer tips, then you might want to back off. I haven’t read a blog in awhile, but I received several upset text messages yesterday. Enough to break my silence.

There is science to back up Cogitative Behavioral Therapy, Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, and other therapies to deal with chronic illness and pain, in addition to treating the illnesses, when possible, but not everyone has the benefit of starting immediately, having transportation, or even realizing that they need help at first. Most of society and the majority of the medical doctors that I’ve seen have never suggested dealing with my pain from a psychological standpoint. It’s a broken healthcare system. So getting on a high horse is kind of… well… just a bitch move.

Some people don’t realize that, diagnoses are hard to find or someone has several issues, so it’s hard to figure out what is going on with the person. Sometimes people continue to develop more issues or their current health conditions leave them open to more problems. [See autoimmune disorders.] The average person with one of my conditions waits 5 years for a diagnoses, and during that time, they can suffer permanent damage to their spine. No matter what, those therapies are coping skills. But guess who is in the position to tell people what to do? Doctors. Guess who isn’t? A blogger. A blogger can talk about their coping skills, share links, do whatever the fuck they want, so someone in pain can find help, but by making other women in pain feel “less than” because they share their pain, they may be less likely to get help. Nothing is more off putting. Think about it.

Personally, if I don’t say something to my family about my symptoms, I tend to forget that I had the symptom. It’s how I cope. I’ve coped with pain from my Tourette’s symptoms like that – by simply forgetting until someone would see me – almost my whole life. I’ll still forget if someone doesn’t say something to me. I’m 27. I can write things down, but when things skyrocket to 12 out of 10 (yes, that’s real), I don’t write. I scream. Don’t worry. I’m not instagraming either, in case anyone was worried.

Sharing your story and the human experience is one thing. In fact, being a gifted writer with a story to share is amazing, but don’t undermine it with statements that are easily misconstrued, misleading, or hateful.

A lot of people function normally. They hold down jobs and use their blogs to raise awareness. They tell their friends about their conditions when the condition will affect their social activities. The end. Who has the right to stop or shame that? It is the prerogative of the person who writes and posts, but still… yuck.

Other people are homebound. Or maybe they work, but they don’t connect with other patients. Some people live in small cities where public transportation and large social activities are not available. Getting sick wasn’t in the plan, so no one decided “hey, I should move to a metro area with a great subway system and good doctors, so I can get around and meet other people!”

But just because someone wants to connect with other patients and tags an instagram photo #spoonie, it does not make them less of a person. It just makes them someone seeking community. I am confused about why anyone would need to belittle a person who wants to find that.

I have the third most common movement disorder in the United States, but I never met another person with Cervical Dystonia in person until I attended a conference in person. Now, I belong to a private facebook group. The group that helps me the most is not the cervical dystonia group, but rather a group of people who have all sorts of disorders (we call ourselves alphabet soup) where we can ask questions from people who have had arthritis for 20 years, or just share a funny story. There is connection there that I won’t ever find in my personal life.

Basically, anyone can write whatever they want, but I still don’t think they should…

Comments are closed because I don’t care about what a single person thinks today. I’m not a professional, but I sure do know a ton about suffering. Sorry for sharing. If that offends you, again, just move on. I’ll post puppy pictures or something about books in a few weeks. I have this “pain” problem.



Categories: Uncategorized
What I Read Last Month: April

What I Read April

I broke up the novels between contemporary and classic, as usual. If you scroll to the bottom, you can see the ones that I would say to definitely read, read if you have time, or skip all together.

The reviews are a lot shorter than normal. I had been trying to keep reviews on Goodreads as I went or typing them up here, but that didn’t happen this month. I just formatted and wrote “review.”

I’ll just go ahead and blame my busyness with the Summer reading challenge for the short reviews, but the truth is that I am forcing myself to smile as I type to get through the pain. This is my favorite post each month, even though it has lost its popularity. I guess I’ll at least be able to look back on it as a reading diary of sorts!


Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

Lady Almina and the Real Downton AbbeyRating: 4/5 Stars

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about life during the time period, as well as the house that inspired Downton Abbey. The fact that there is some Egyptian treasure hunting and the discovery of a very famous tomb didn’t hurt the story, either!

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
The Power of Habit Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

 Rating: 4/5 Stars

The beginning of this book was a little bit slow. I’m not sure if I read the information in another book or watched it in some type of documentary (I’ve never taken a psychology class), but it wasn’t new information. A few of the chapters were more about companies or organizations, but they were still interesting.

I really enjoyed the diagrams. At the beginning of the book, I could see more of how things like “keystone” habits have worked in my life before, rather than how to create them in my own life now. Fortunately, Duhigg included some emails from readers, plus the appendix had helpful information. Overall, the book was super interesting. I don’t read many “self help” or non fiction books, but I loved this.

Love in the Time of Cholera

love in the time of cholera

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I’m definitely not one to blush at a novel, but this one definitely centered heavily on the aspects of sex in the relationships between men and women, both married and unmarried. The descriptions weren’t graphic, but the writer really explored the implications of relationships where sex was the foundation and where sex wasn’t, and how they were different. Not my usual cup of tea.

This novel fulfills a requirement for my 50 “classic” books because it is older than 25 years, but I’m including it in contemporaries.

Everything Changes

everything changes

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This is an earlier Tropper novel. If you like his novels, I highly recommend it. He is great at juxtaposing heart-wrenching, dysfunctional family moments next to some laugh out loud scenes. He strikes a great balance. Also, I’ve kind of been reading his novels in reverse order that they were written, so I’ve noticed that he’s going more ambiguous with his endings as time goes on. I particularly liked the ending of this novel, not to give too much away.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

the girl who kicked the hornet's nest

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This was a long one, but I’m glad I finished all three novels. I liked the character development, although I would have liked to see some of the characters change a little bit for the better; however, too much change probably would not have been realistic.
The final novel brought the entire story full circle, which I really did not see happening!

The Secret Place

The Secret Place

Rating: 5/5 Stars

I absolutely loved this novel. I had read some more negative reviews, which is why I held off on the long novel. I did listen on audio, though. I started reading the series last summer and read a few and listened to a few. Generally, I loved to listen to the Irish narrators, however, I couldn’t wait for this to end from the narration standpoint. Since the novel is about the murder of a high school boy that takes place on the grounds of an all girls boarding school, the detectives interview a ton of teenagers. I’m sure French must have written the dialogue to mimic the way an Irish teenager would talk, but listening to an adult male mimic a teenage girl (mostly girls) for most of the 20 hours was frustrating and probably a poor choice for production. Still, the story was so good that I could get around that.

Plain Truth

Plain Truth

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This was my first Picoult novel. I was interested in it because it involved a mystery. Since I wanted to try one of her novels, I figured that I should chose one that had a plot that seemed like one I might pick no matter who the author was. Again, I listened to this on audio. Big Mistake. I’ve never really read any fiction with Amish characters, but I’ve seen a few TV shows. The narration was horribly annoying, and I imagine would have been slightly offensive to any Amish listeners. Hearing the narrator switch back and forth between the brash Pittsburgh lawyer and the overly-meek Amish girl and then her family was distracting. I guess that I just want to hear the story and prefer that the narrators keep their storybook voices for reading their own children to bed.


The American

the american

Rating: 3/5 Stars

This book wasn’t a horror novel like Turn of the Screw, but it definitely creeped me out a lot. It’s not for everyone; it’s especially not for people who are not specific Henry James fans.

The House of Mirth

The House of Mirth

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This novel was much more sad than I anticipated after reading Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, which was written later, though. I did love it, though.

The Moonstone

the moonstone

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I liked this novel for what it was. I thought it was an interesting glimpse into the Colonial world that was fascinated by all things “other,” to the point that they thought there were magical powers in diamonds, etc. The absolutely terrible detective work, if you could call it that, was funny. I did enjoy that like The Woman in White, this novel was also told in the past tense, but in chronological order, by observers of “the crime.” The second observer, though, who was obviously meant to make fun of the evangelical Christians of the day, was a bit over the top and got on my nerves. I almost put the novel down.

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

Mystery and Manners Occasional Prose

Rating: 4/5 Stars

If you are a Flannery O’Connor fan (or have to write a paper about anything she’s written), I highly recommend this book.

The King’s General

the king's general

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

While this novel did rely on some Gothic standards, it was not what I was expecting from du Maurier, after reading Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel. It is not much of a Gothic novel at all. It does tell the story of a little studied English Civil War, while the main character, who is paralyzed, flagrantly thumbs her nose at all social conventions. It is a tense story because you are always wondering if she is on the “right” side.

Sprig Muslin

Sprig Muslin

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Ehhhh. Not a great Heyer novel, like when I compare it to my favorites, but it didn’t actually make me angry for creating dumb female characters who were dependent on villainous male characters, either. Just below average.

Mary Anne

mary anne

Rating: 3/5 Stars

I found this du Maurier novel based on her great-great grandmother extremely interesting and a worthwhile read, even though the main character is entirely unsympathetic, in my opinion. Some people might find her determination to survive at all costs sympathetic; however, I think she got greedy. It was an interesting look at the English legal system and the role of women.

There was a particularly humorous and observant quote (I forgot to write it down and can’t find it anywhere) at the beginning of the novel made by the “child” version of Mary Anne, who sees men as weak creatures after watching her stepfather and younger brothers, yet realizing that even though they are much weaker than women, they hold the purse strings and run society.

read these

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Everything Changes [If you like Tropper novels.]

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose [If you like O’Connor or Literary Theory/Criticism.]

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

if you have time

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

The Secret Place
don't bother smaller

The American

Sprig Muslin


During May, I’ll be reading novels for Megan’s Summer Reading Challenge. You can read my picks here. I’ll probably be slowed down by a few lengthy and a few more paperbacks than normal, plus I anticipate even more pain this month than last. I tried to pick a few fun ones, but not everything on my list is my dream book. So, we’ll just have to see!

What I Read

You can read my past monthly round ups:

March 2015
February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014
And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!



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Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
Summer Reading Challenge from Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

Well, I finished the winter reading challenge in just one month, but I’m not feeling as confident about this summer reading challenge (thanks Kristen…) and also, I just had to put a bunch on hold at the library and they had a waitlist. Unfortunately, they also have to come from other counties. I even had to pick books based on what I had access too. Boo.

Summer Reading Challenge

This reading challenge is hosted by Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life. I really enjoyed participating in my first challenge because it pushed me to read some new books!

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.
The Pursuit of Love, Nancy Mitford [Paperback that I own and have been meaning to read.]

10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before. (Just go to a shelf and pick a book based on the cover, the title, whatever you want!)
Well, I’ll have to pick one out when I go to the library!

10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you’ve had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.)
The Black Album, Hanif Kureishi [I purchased this book in 2011 with every intention of reading it, but I only read the short story that was included at the end of the edition, so it’s time to read the actual novel! The edition I have is actually longer because it includes the short story.]

10 points: Read a book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014.
We Were Liars, E. Lockhart I don’t read many young adult novels, so I’m looking forward to this! [I put the audio and hardback on hold at the library. Both have long waitlists. Going to have to see which comes in first!]

15 points: Read a book by an author who is completely new to you.
Yes Please, Amy Pohler [I just picked this one up from the library on audio and was going to read it anyway! If We Were Liars doesn’t come in quick enough, I may move it up to the above category and read another novel because there are plenty of authors who would be new to me!]

15 points: Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.)
Home, Marilynne Robinson [I have had this one on audio, waiting to be listened to for awhile. Gilead was so much to process, so I was putting this off, even though I loved Gilead and I’ve had Robinson’s latest on hold forever at the library. So long that they added a “cancel if not fulfilled by” date…]

15 points: Read a book with “light” or “dark” in the title. (Or “lightness” or “darkness.”)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera [I have heard of this book a lot, but don’t know much about it, so no spoilers!]

20 points: Read a book with the name of a city, state or country in the title.
A Passage to India, E.M. Forester [I almost read this for the winter challenge – I forget the category. I have the Audible version waiting.]

20 points: Read a book with an animal on the cover.
The Civil Contract, Georgette Heyer [The Audible version that I has shows a person riding a horse on the cover.]

25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books.
Of course, I just finished the 5th book in the Dublin Muder Squad series, which would have fit perfectly… ahh…
Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1), Jacqueline Winspear [My mom read this book and recommended it. She let her best friend borrow her copy. I am trying to use up my paperback swap credits and just delete my account, so I grabbed a copy on there a few months ago. So, it’s sitting on my shelf!]

25 points: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long. — Submitted by winter finisher Kristen from See You in a Porridge.
The Way We Live Now, Anthony Trollope [I really have enjoyed most, if not all, of Trollope’s works, and this one has been on my TBR list for a long time. So, perfect chance! I snagged it on the cheap off of Audible using my how to save money on Audible versions of classic books, which you can read here.]

30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it’s worth the most points!)
Daniel Deronda, George Eliot [This is a LONG one… so I picked it up off of Audible.]

Happy reading!

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Categories: Reading
Reading Challenge Update {Vol. 3}

I’ve been taking some time for my health (not that it’s helping, but I think the pressure to write would make it worse), but I thought I could take time to update my reading challenges! [I did grab a “summer” picture from after I cut my hair last year to update my profile. Spring cleaning?]
Reading Challenge Update Vol 3

A few weeks ago, I updated my audiobook challenge, which I already surpassed. I’ve listened to a few more, but you can see which ones I had listened to here.

You can read my last update from last month here. I noted the changes below!

reading challenges update

For the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge, I’ve read 4 out of 12 books:

Dark Places: A Novel, Gillian Flynn
Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
Lady Chatterly’s Lover, DH Lawrence
Cousin Kate, Georgette Heyer
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson

That’s two more book since last month!

For reading 52 Books in 52 weeks, I surpassed the challenge. At the time of writing, I’ve read 62 books this year! Finished!

For the Audiobook challenge, I said that I would aim for 30-50 this year. So far, I’ve read/listened to 50 audiobooks. Finished!

For the I Love Library Books challenge, I am aiming to read at least 24 books from the library. So far, I’ve read 27 library books. My last update, I was only at 8 books. I’m definitely making progress because I FINISHED!

For my Classics Reading Membership Challenge, which I started on December 24, 2014, and gave myself 2 years to read 50 books, I’ve read 32! My anticipated list is here, but it is definitely subject to change!

So far, I’ve read:

The Awakening, Kate Chopin
Little Men, Louisa May Alcott
Daisy Miller, Henry James
Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell
The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Lady Chatterly’s Lover, DH Lawrence
Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
Adam Bede, George Eliot
I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Tales of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Convenient Marriage, Georgette Heyer
The House in Paris, Elizabeth Bowen
The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
Wessex Tales, Thomas Hardy
The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
The Professor, Charlotte Bronte
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
Cousin Kate, Georgette Heyer
The Woodlanders, Thomas Hardy
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, John le Carre
Venentia, Georgette Heyer
Charity Girl, Georgette Heyer
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
The American, Henry James
The House of Mirth, Edith Warton
The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins
Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor
The King’s General, Daphne Du Maurier
Sprig Muslin, Georgette Heyer

You can read a round up of a some of my reviews here! I’ll be updating again in a few months.

Finally, for this year’s Back to the Classics Challenge, I’ve read the following books for the following categories:

A 19th Century Classic — any book published between 1800 and 1899: The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins (1859).

A 20th Century Classic — any book published between 1900 and 1965. Just like last year, all books must have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify as a classic. The only exception is books that were published posthumously but written at least 50 years ago.): The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner (1929).

A Nonfiction Classic. A memoir, biography, essays, travel, this can be any nonfiction work that’s considered a classic, or a nonfiction work by a classic author: In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (1965).

A Classic in Translation. As in last year’s category, this can be any classic book originally written or a published in a language that is not your first language. Feel free to read it in its original form if you are comfortable reading in another language: Madam Bovary, Gustave Flaubert (1857).

A Classic by a Woman Author: The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton (1905).

A Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title. First name, last name, or both, it doesn’t matter, but it must have the name of a character. David Copperfield, The B rothers Karamazov, Don Quixote — something like that. It’s amazing how many books are named after people: Adam Bede, George Eliot (1859).

A Classic Novella — any work shorter than 250 pages.  The End of an Affair, Graham Greene (1951).

So, I added one more category. Seven down and five to go!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads or read short reviews of what I’ve read every month here!


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Categories: Reading Tags:
It’s That Time Again…

Well, in the past I used to write some extra blog posts to keep this thing going when my neck started to hurt a few weeks before the shots that I get for my neck every quarter.

That didn’t happen this time because I could barely keep up with my current posting schedule. I’ll be around, but due to the pain in my neck and shoulder, I don’t know that I’ll get to write much. I have limited energy, which was completely conserved during my December shots because I was bedridden. I still don’t have much energy to work with, but it will go to doctors appointments, helping my family help me, and dealing with all of the other life circumstances that accompany chronic pain and illness that people really don’t understand unless they have it or care for someone who does .

I hope you’ll you be back to read more in May when I can write again. Maybe I’ll get to throw a post or two up because blogging is a hobby that I truly enjoy. I have whole list lf ideas for posts, but even drafting something seems out of reach.

(Don’t worry: I’ll be keeping up with my “What I Read: April” post! It will probably be long because I’ll have plenty of time to listen to audiobooks.)


That’s all, folks!


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Categories: Uncategorized
Stitch Fix {Vol. 5}

I really loved my December Stitch Fix box. I kept the whole thing! So, I had my next box come a little sooner than my normal every other month. I only kept one thing from that box.
Stitch Fix (2)

After having a box come again so soon, I decided to push my next box (this one) off until the Spring weather. I’m glad that I waited. I also did a few things a little differently. [Forgive the really bad pictures. I am definitely not a fashion photographer!.]

  • I updated my size info. I noted at the bottom that stretchy skirts, like the maxi skirts that I would want, would need to be a size smaller. My medications are making me lose weight, so I’m back into old clothes, but I wasn’t ready to commit to a whole size smaller in my shirts on my size chart. Plus, I like comfy clothes?
  • On the main style page, I mentioned that my skin tone looks terrible in solid white, but good in yellow, since I didn’t sign up until last fall. I wanted to make sure I didn’t get any solid white shirts.
  • I completely filled out my style note with the colors I wanted, the items that I didn’t want (no more scarves, no shorts, etc.) and what I did want.
  • Finally I filled out my Stitch Fix Pinterest board with tons of outfits and just clothing that I liked. If I was on a clothing website and saw something I liked, I would just hit the Pinterest extension on my toolbar.

Here is what I received:

Bancroft: Shermineh Spiked Crescent Necklace ($28)



I really loved the arrow-like pendant necklace that I received two boxes ago. I wore it frequently throughout the colder weather with winter clothes. In fact, the day that this box arrived, I almost wore it, but it didn’t look right with my outfit, which felt more springy. I did mention that I prefer pendent necklaces, but this necklace is hardly any different than the one that I already have. If I could wear the arrow one, I could wear this. I kind of wanted something more delicate or with color.

Market & Sprice: Mati French Terry V-Neck Top ($48)

yellow shirt

I specifically asked for yellow, so it was nice to receive it. I’ve noticed that it’s in style this season, which is fortunate for me because I look good in it! This shirt is long and soft, which are both nice for me! Since I am kind of in between sizes, it was just a little bit large. It looked nice with a pair of plazzo pants and a solid navy maxi skirt, both of which I already had.

Brixon Ivy: Priya Abstract Floral Print Knit Back Tank ($48)

tank top

Again, this was just a little bit big. I’m not a huge fan of my arms, either, so I would need to wear it under a sweater. And, if I keep losing weight, it would only start to fall off during the summer. I really love the print of the front, though.

Loveappella: Woodland Scoop Neck Tee ($48)

front of shirt

back of shirtThis shirt was absolutely falling off of me. I could have wear it with some jean capris for the Spring, if I put a tank top under it – kind of like a tunic. I loved the color. However, the back is a little different… Stripes across my rear. However, I couldn’t see the shirt transitioning to the summer because it would totally cover up shorts.

Renee C: Gabe Maxi Skirt ($48)


My favorite part about Stitch Fix is that it does get me to try on clothes that I normally would not touch or try on. Like, over the winter, I got my favorite pair of jeans and a pair of skinny navy blue corduroy pants, both of which I would have passed right over at the store. I ended up wearing them a ton! Also, when I see horizontally striped skirts, I definitely never even consider them. I go straight for solids – and if the skirt only comes in a stripe, I wonder what is wrong with the people who made it and move on.

But, in the name of being a good sport, I try on everything that comes in my box. I was pleasantly surprised that this skirt was very flattering. I had even mentioned in my profile that my maxi skirts would need to be sized down, which they did. (I specifically pinned a ton of maxi skirts and asked for one because that fits my lifestyle the best right now). A larger size would not have been good! I was standing in the sunny part of my bedroom, though, and noticed that due to the light color, I could see right through it…


Kept: Market & Sprice: Mati French Terry V-Neck Top

yellow shirt

The next time, I would like to see the jewelry look more like the jewelry that I pinned on my board. However, I am sure it has to do with whatever they have in inventory, though. By my next box, in June, I would like to be more firmly in a size, so the clothes fit better. Over the winter, I kept a super cute tank, which I’ve worn under a cardigan, but was planning on wearing this summer. I hope it’s not lay flat to dry (I can’t remember…), so I can shrink it!

I know some people complain that the clothes are overpriced. I would not disagree for many of the items. However, one advantage is that when I schedule it for the start of a season, I find myself looking at clothes online/in the store, but waiting to purchase until after I see what I get in my box, in case something really awesome comes in it. Then, whatever I was looking at is usually on sale by the time I get my box, or if I’m not still interested, then I’ve saved myself from buying something I don’t love.

Also, I love the time that I was able to keep my whole box because everything in it was perfect, but if I find one thing, I think that’s successful. It’s just really fun to get the box and the yellow shirt that I kept is versatile, fits my lifestyle, and is not something that I’ve seen in stores (at least the ones that I shop at). I think Stitch Fix really nailed my lifestyle with this box, which they haven’t always done (like my last box), but even if everything fit perfectly, I just didn’t need each of the pieces!

If you’re interested in trying it out, you can use my referral link here! Don’t forget to fill out everything in your style profile and make your Pinterest board. I dabbled at it during the winter, but it was very generic. I tried to really fill it up this time and the stylist even mentioned it in her note. The only thing I would change would be more delicate jewelry for the spring!

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Categories: fashion Tags:
April Goals: Yeah, I Know…

April Goals
I know that I said that I used to hate posts about goals, but that was because I didn’t have any. I realized I was a person, even though I mostly stay in bed and all of my old goals are gone, so I still need some. They are like the little goals that could help me reach big goals, like having local friends or some semblance of normalcy in my life.

I’ve been working on organizing my papers, goals, and schedules, but because my health changes all of the time – I never know when a medication will stop working or I’ll have to start a new one, which will mean pain from going off the old one, or if my Botox will run out early – I don’t want to set unrealistic goals. I used to think that I could be a runner, but then I tried it and my neck hated it. What will be will be.

I found that cool printable to track if I do something every day. I tried my hardest to embed the pin, which seemed like a cool idea, but it didn’t work. Here is a clickable screenshot?

monthly goal tracker final


My goals for April include:

Wearing my Jawbone everyday: I don’t know how many steps I currently take, but I want to use the buzzing function to make sure that I at least get up to refill my water every 45 minutes or something. Once I get a baseline for how many steps I take, I can slowly increase.

Eat 3 meals a day:  I am on 2 medications that suppress my appetite. Unfortunately, this means headaches, hangry-ness, feeling (more) sick, and even generally horrible. While this wouldn’t seem problematic (weight loss!), it is. Plus Google is REALLY unhelpful. Fortunately, I belong to a great online support group and within 10 minutes, the lovely ladies had tons of suggestions. Some were more practical for me than others, due to certain mobility issues – I heated up some frozen soup the other day and spilled it on my hand, thanks to a tremor, which means that I spilled it on an area where I had a scar already, and have recut myself, gotten blisters, etc., – but I plan on sharing all of the ideas because when you try to search for help on getting enough meals/calories/food in when you’re on medications that make you not hungry, you don’t find helpful information. I rely a lot on my husband for preparing the things that I eat and several reminder systems, but I do have to make sure that I eat.

Average one nice thing a day for someone else: I wrote about how other people can be a good friend to people with chronic illness, but even though I might not have many local friends or be able to get out and see people, that doesn’t keep me from being a good friend or family member. Not every day is a good day, so I’m going for an average! Sending a card, a funny picture, calling my grandma, or whatever–it counts. I love to be remembered, so I want to make sure that I am remembering other people, too.

Fill out my gratitude journal (thank you to my grandmother for giving me one that I didn’t fill out almost every year and Emily for writing about her’s) everyday: and also working toward writing in a regular journal daily. I’ll be happy if I fill out my gratitude journal, but a regular one would be nice, too.

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Categories: Goals Tags:
What I Read Last Month: March

What I Read March
This month, in addition to sharing quick reviews, I thought I would add a quick “Definitely Read This, Skip This, and ‘If You Have Time'” list of the best and worst at the bottom. So, read all the way to the bottom!


 The Invention of Wings

The Invention of Wings

 Rating: 4/5 Stars

I absolutely loved this book. I can’t wait to read some further books about the real women who inspired the main characters of the novel. I had no idea that it was based on a true story when I started reading the novel, but I did know that the author resided in South Carolina!

Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir

Under Magnolia

 Rating 4/5 Stars

This review is a little longer, but I LOVED this memoir.

I will say that it started off a little bit slow, but as Mayes’s life story progressed, or rather, she delved further back into her memories, the book became more interesting. While she grew up in an entirely different era from me, it still resonated with me because I lived in a small Southern town, went to a small Southern college, and where I studied English. Like Mayes, I having a deep sense of place, which is also very prominent in Southern literature, is important in my life. I have a love for the South, yet, like her, I still have to reconcile things that I don’t like with the strange sense of belonging I feel.

The memoir had some humorous antidotes about being in the South during a period of great change, attending a women’s college, and her thoughts on life, which tempered nicely with the heartbreaking parts of her family life. I think that if there was too much humor or too much heartbreak, the memoir would not have struck such a chord with me.

Finally, wait for the “Coda” at the end. The summary; the epilogue; the final thoughts. They make the entire memoir crystallize and touch your heart – regardless of where you live. They are thoughts on life and the human experience, but specifically Mayes’s experiences. This is a memoir that will stay with me, much in the same way that Bastard Out of Carolina (although it is more of a autobiographical novel) will.

[I listened to a version narrated by the author.]

The Book of Joe

the book of joe

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Ugly tears. Loved this. Like all of the Tropper novels that I’ve read, it’s about a dysfunctional family. In this case, it’s about a man’s dysfunctional family that extended to a dysfunctional relationship with his entire hometown. And family is extended from biological and family by marriage to family that is chosen – friends.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

as you wish

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This is a must-read for any fan of The Princess Bride movie. Also, I know basically nothing about making movies, so it was also interesting from that standpoint. I won’t give anything away, but to get you interested: Did you know that Collin Firth was almost Westly?!

[I listened to the audio version, which I think added a lot to the story because the individual actors, directors, etc., read their quotes!]

Still Alice

still alice

Rating: 5/5 Stars

I cried some ugly tears as I read this novel, but it was well worth the read. There are people who suffer with this every single day. I loved that the story was told from the perspective of the woman who developed early onset Alzheimer’s. Genova’s writing style helped to reinforce just a tiny portion of what it would be like to live in a world of forgetfulness and repetition. It’s a heartbreaking story, but ultimately a story of love. I HIGHLY recommend this novel!

[I listened to a version narrated by the author.]

One Plus One

one plus one

Rating: 4/5 Stars

One Plus One is a heartwarming story that shows Moyes amazing talent as a versatile writer. None of her books “feel” the same, but they’re all great! I teared up. I laughed. I found myself cheering along. I found myself depressed when the characters were depressed. It was an all around engrossing novel with relatable characters.

Into the Tangle of Friendship : A Memoir of the Things That Matter

into the tangle of friendship

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Loved this. Friendship is something that is so near and dear to my heart. Kephart beautifully addressed so many different angles of friendship. I highly recommend it, especially if friendships are on your mind.

Never Let Me Go

never let me go

Rating: 3/5 Stars

I’m glad I read it, but I wouldn’t rush to read it, if I to do it over again. The story was a fairly predictable dystopian/sci-fi novel about medical advancements. Who has a soul? Who doesn’t? All the typical ethical questions and a little love story. The end.

As of 3/23/15, the Kindle edition was on sale for $2.99.

The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession

the bookman's tale

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I read Lovett’s second novel first. It was ok. I really preferred this novel to his second novel. Not only did I love the love story that unfolds from the main characters past (I’m not giving anything away!), but the mystery, conspiracy, and sense of danger lurking around the corner was super cool.

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue The Untold History of English

Rating: 2/5 Stars

The title was pretty misleading. If you have no background in the history of the English language you will be utterly lost. I haven’t looked at foreign languages in awhile, so I struggled a bit, too. Mostly, it seemed like McWhorter just picked some things he disagreed with from the linguist community at large and wrote a book to refute them, which is his right, but to title it “The Untold History of English,” is misleading. He threw in a dirty joke here or there to keep it light, but overall, it isn’t a book I’d pick up for fun reading again.

classicsThe Woman in White

The Woman in White

 3/5 Stars

“Crime” novels from the 19th Century are so fascinating. Seriously. No forensics, no problems! I’m glad that I read it, because I can appreciate it for what it was during the time period. The story is told after the “crime,” from the point of view of multiple narrators and witnesses, which, honestly, I didn’t realize was a technique used so long ago! However, there are a lot more fascinating novels out there.

The Professor


 Rating 3/5 Stars

This novel reminded me a lot of Charlotte Bronte’s Villette, although it was told from the male’s perspective and had a slightly happier ending.

In Cold Blood

in cold blood

Rating: 5/5 stars

Wow. I loved this story. I love crime novels, but this was a whole new level. Even though it should have felt dated because the crime took place so long ago, it didn’t. I loved how Capote interspersed the stories of the killers with the story of the search, which I usually hate.
I think I found the story of the lives of killers more interesting because I knew they were real people. I also found the murders more heartbreaking, though, because they were real people. It was also an interesting look at life in the rural midwest during the time period.
After reading In Cold Blood, I could recall many instances from more modern novels that were likely very influenced by In Cold Blood. So, if you love crime novels (or even TV shows), this would be great for you!

Cousin Kate

cousin kate

Rating: 3/5 Stars

I can see why this was Heyer’s only Gothic novel. It was an interesting mix of Rebecca and The Castle of Ontranto. All the Gothic elements were there, so it would be great for teaching, if you wanted to be like “THIS IS EVERYTHING A GOTHIC NOVEL IS. SHE DIDN’T LEAVE A SINGLE THING OUT.”

The Woodlanders

the woodlanders

Rating: 4/5 Stars

As usual, this is a tale of people who marry each other, but figure out that they wish that they were married to other people. Little things from the past, which seemed meaningless at the time, actually set in chain a whole course of actions that ruin people’s lives. Sad, depressing, and if they could have just gotten divorces, the novel wouldn’t have even needed to be written.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

tinker tailor soldier spy

Rating: 3/5 Stars

This novel was a little confusing. Amazon says that it’s the 5th novel of a series. Goodreads says that it’s the first of a trilogy. I chose this novel, of course, because it was made into a movie. I was able to understand it more than the average reader, probably, because of my work experience in the intelligence community. If I didn’t have prior work experience, I might have been completely lost.



Rating: 4/5 Stars

I’m glad that I took the time to read this one! In typical Heyer fashion, it’s about a beautiful woman who considers herself beyond marriageable age, but then forms a close friendship – probably too close for the time period – with a man who is known for being a womanizer. I found this one funny and entertaining.

Charity Girl

charity girl

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Honestly, this novel felt more like a short story. While it was too long for a single sitting, it definitely didn’t feel as complex as most novels. The characters were funny, but not many were well developed. I feel like Heyer missed a chance to give more dimensions to the main characters, especially Charity!

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

the heart is a lonely hunter

Rating: 4/5

I really enjoyed this novel. Mostly, I picked this up because when I graduated, my professors gave us a list of their favorite novels, and my Southern Lit professor included this. It felt a little bit like an extended O’Connor novel, but different, of course. If you like Southern Literature that takes place in the rural South during the 1930’s or so, I would recommend this novel.

 read these

The Invention of Wings

In Cold Blood

One Plus One

Still Alice

if you have time

The Book of Joe

Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir

don't bother smaller

The Professor

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English

What I Read

You can read my past monthly round ups:

February 2015
January 2015

December 2014

November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links that helps defray the cost of running the blog.

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!


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Moving Audiobook CDs to Mobile Devices

Moving Audiobook CDs to Mobile Devices
moving audiobooks

If you are like me and love audiobooks, you may have discovered how great it is to have them be portable. I love Audible because they automatically download to my iPad, plus I can increase the speed up to two times the regular speed. However, I read so many books (you can read how to get classic books on the cheap and apply the same principle to other books, too), that sometimes I just need to get audiobook cds to put them onto my iPad. You can pick them up with 2 credits on paperbackswap.com or lots of other places. I would love if I could fit them on my phone, but it’s really full! So, you’ll be able to see at the bottom how I manage my iPad because it’s also kind of full, too!

Step One: Import CDs

01 white oleander import FINAL

Even if you are importing a bunch of cds from one box, they won’t always be consistently titled with the author or album. Some might be missing the information all together. Some are consistent in how they name the tacks, but others are not. I used to care and make the titles all match the albums, like 01a, 01b, and so on, but then I realized later that I could just sort by date added, so I let that go to save time.

You can give every album same title and a different disc name or you can name them things like White Oleander [Disc 01], White Oleander [Disc 02], and so forth. Again, that’s personal preference.

021 white oleander rename FINAL


Create a Playlist: By Artist or Album

If you have multiple books by a single author, you may want to sort by album, or you can do this anyway.

white oleander create smart playlist FINAL

Personally, I name all of my audiobooks “Audiobook – Name” for consistency purposes. It makes them easier to find, plus keeps them out of my music playlists.

04 white oleander rename playlist FINAL

After naming the smart list that I created, I sort by date added, so that the first track or the first album is first and down the line, then copy to play order. This can be accomplished by sorting, right clicking on the playlist on the lefthand side bar, and clicking “copy to play order.” This is important so that you listen to the book in order!

Creating Podcasts:

This is what will allow you to speed up your playing speed! I select everything in the smartplaylist and change it from music to podcast! You cannot listen at a faster speed in iTunes, but you can on an iPhone or iPad. My example will be on my iPad because my iPhone is full of pictures, but I’m too lazy to move them. Playlists are important if your device is nearing full/you have more audiobooks than your device can hold.

05 white oleander change to podcast FINAL

If your device is nearly full, instead of syncing all podcasts, just check sync “selected playlists.” Then you can check the ones you want to listen to next and that will fit on your device!

06 white oleander sync playlists FINAL

When you use Podcasts, you can change the playspeed and sleeptimers. Also, don’t forget to play your book through the playlist!

change play speed

I think the best part about putting it on a portable device is that I can move it around the house with me, plus, I can play it in the car or use headphones. I don’t have an auxiliary cord in my car, so I use one of those cool cassette adapters. It works great!

Do you like audiobooks?  Do you prefer e-readers? Paperback?

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads here!

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