Mar 042021
 

In this latest “Anywhere But Here” episode, let’s travel back to 2018 when we strolled around the grounds of the Changdeokgung Palace and ooh’d and ahh’d at cherry blossoms & other lovely spring foliage. 

***

We woke up early on a Saturday morning and set off for some palace-touring. As I mentioned previously, our hotel was in a great location and we were able to walk to several of the Five Grand Palaces of Seoul! Probably would have been a faster/easier walk if we weren’t following Henry’s lead, but….as Henry said, “WE GOT THERE, DIDN’T WE?!”

Wow, tough guy.

I wanted to start with Gyeongbokdung Palace first but Henry was all, “my way or the highway” or some other Dad-ism, so we went to Changdeokgung Palace first. I know, it’s hard to keep the names straight! But the one that starts with a G is like, the most popular one I guess.

In hindsight though, our crazy walks are something I look back on now and laugh about. I miss it! We saw a lot of crazy shit this way and it reaffirmed that we definitely were better suited sans itinerary. As much as I loved the European adventures I went on as a kid with my family, it was so much better not to be tied down to a group agenda and panicking everyday because you’re close to missing bus call. For this trip, we had a list of things we wanted to do and we played it by ear. Sometimes we didn’t know what we were doing until after we woke up that morning! It was slightly stressful for me at times because I’m an undercover control freak, but I quickly learned to just go with it and maybe that’s why we managed to make it through our Korea pilgrimage with minimal fighting.

Donhwamun Gate, the largest of all palace gates. Get on Donhwamun’s level, other gates. 

According to Wiki, this Palace literally translates to “Prospering Virtue Palace.” It was the second palace to be established after Gyeongbokgung, which is the one I wanted to see first but that’s OK Henry, fuck up the chronological order!

The original palace was built between 1405-1412 but burnt down during the Japanese invasion in 1592 and again in 1623 but each time it was rebuilt, and the reconstruction remained true to its original form. It’s incredibly humbling and sobering to be walking around grounds filled with so much history and tragedy.

Chooch might have a future as a Walmart greeter, you guys.

We got there early enough that it wasn’t flooded with tourists yet. Look at the mountain peeking out back there! I believe that’s part of Mt. Bugaksan. One of the things I didn’t know about Korea until I started marinating in a KOREA 101 bath is that Korea is like, 70% mountains! And almost everywhere you go in Seoul, you can see them. It’s one of the things I loved so much about this city, that no matter how urban and cosmopolitan it feels in one direction, if you pivot another way, you’ve got a mountain looming over you, or a Palace’s ancient presence behind you. Seoul has everything. Seoul IS everything.

Injeongjeon Hall

This is the throne hall, where all The Big Events took place back in the day, like coronations and poisonings probably.

This is the inside of Injeongjeon Hall. I bet lots of scary people have mingled under those chandeliers.

And now please enjoy some gratuitous spring flower shots:

The spring buds were like celebs, man. There were some cherry blossoms that you couldn’t get anywhere near because of the throng of older people with their tripods and huge lenses.

It was so deserted in this area that I was afraid we weren’t supposed to be there. Those trees though.

I was so glad that Chooch got to experience all this history! He was really into it.

This was before ancient Korean spirits possessed Chooch and me and gave us the ability to lacerate Henry’s feelings with our hunger-driven words.

Because, we would never normally be mean to Henry.

Lol.

I had to go for my annual wellness test this morning at work, and when the lab tech was getting ready to take my blood pressure, he said, “Just think about things that make you happy.” And immediately, in my mind, I was walking the peaceful grounds of Changdeokgung again.

Mar 012021
 

Saturday was ok!

We have been slowly cleaning/purging our bedroom and suddenly Drew appeared on our bed and you need to know that this rarely happens because she’s very terrified of our room for some reason and only comes in a handful times a year, and only after long-jumping over the threshold. I guess my room must be haunted?! We did just get a new mattress and haven’t picked out a new frame yet so maybe the fact that the bed is lower to the ground appeals to her? Anyway, this was a super big deal!

Henry hung up the pinball marquee, as previously mentioned, and we went to Target for boring things like pillows. Later that night, I watched the last episode of It’s A Sin and it WAS A LOT. I have this weird, morbid obsession with the 1980s AIDS crisis – not in a YAY AIDS! way, but just because I guess I enjoy having my heart ripped out and feeling extremely frustrated and helpless that so many people suffered through it and that, big shocker, it became political. One of my favorite booktubers is from the UK and she mentioned this show a while back so I had been waiting for it to pop up on HBO.

It was SO GOOD. Heart-wrenching, yes, but shit—those characters felt like my actual friends. (Colin forever.) Anyway, when the last episode ended, I was so torn apart and desperate to hug Chooch so I ran upstairs to demand he hug me, but he was in the bathroom doing his nighttime facial routine so he slammed the door on me as he yelled, “WHAT?”

“I want a hug!” I cried, standing outside the bathroom.

“Oh my god,” I heard him gurgle as he splashed his face. Then we started arguing through the door because it was taking him too long to come out (like a whole minute but do you know me? I hate waiting!!) and then when he did, he gave me the most pathetic one-armed hug and mumbled, “You’re so annoying” and to be honest I didn’t even want the hug anymore because he made me wait!!!

Anyway, highly recommend It’s a Sin, even though the previews made it seem like Neil Patrick Harris had a much bigger role.

Sunday was OK. Henry and I went to one of the Asian markets first thing in the morning and I spent the whole time picking up various things and googling “Can squirrels eat [insert various things]?” We ended up getting them a bag of chestnuts and those have been going over well!

Then Henry went to pick up our latest Sugar Spell pre-order. This time, in honor of their second anniversary, they brought back 6 of their most popular, signature pints and at the last minute, I decided to skip this round because I am really trying hard to get back on my healthy eating kick (I’m still pretty fucking healthy but being home has me making some bad choices!) and also I sometimes feel guilty that we’re taking pints away from people who have less luck at beating the crowds. BUT! The next night, they also released some of their ICE CREAM PIES and I have never tried one of their ICE CREAM PIES so I was like, “Fuck it, get a pie, Henry” and that’s what he was doing while Chooch and I were choking on our sweat and tears during Level 10 of Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution and asking each other, “WHY DID WE DECIDE TO REVISIT THIS!?”

So Henry went to pick up the pie on Sunday and came home with a pint of Rocky Road too which is the one flavor I was really going to gun for if I had opted to order pints this time around.

“I bought this for myself,” Henry said, while Chooch and I laughed and grabbed spoons.

Anyway that pie—-to quote the great Uncle Jesse Katsopolis, “HAVE MERCY.”

Here’s Chooch matching another part of the house.

Well, aside from all this, I went on a bunch of walks, ate bibimbap made with oatmeal instead of rice (so…bibim….oatmeal? I don’t know the Korean for oatmeal and don’t feel like looking it up—OK fine I looked it up and it’s literally oatmeal lol) which was DELICIOUS thank you Henry and also Cheap Lazy Vegan, and then I watched the new Walking Dead which was “eh” until they showed Maggie and Glenn’s son Hershel and then I fucking lost my mind and also Negan looked like Henry at the end of the episode:

The Walking Dead season 10 episode 17 callbacks and talking points | The  Independent

I had been looking forward to this past weekend more than usual, not because we had anything planned, but because I took Monday off and the thought of three work-free days was just making me legit giddy. I’m sure it’s not just me, but work has been especially trying. It’s hard enough navigating things remotely but we have also been training a new person and it’s been a lot. I am so much better face-to-face than trying to share my screen from home and have all my jokes and sarcastic jabs bomb tragically.  I know that I’m getting burnt out and that I will find a way to recharge and bounce back, because I always do. And that starts with taking a day off! Which I knew I needed the other day when I completely lost my patience and temper and that rarely happens because Work Erin is a completely closed off and dialed back version of Real Erin, so my co-workers were actually shocked and said that they couldn’t imagine me being mad and when I laughingly relayed this later to Henry, he murmured, “Wow, they really don’t know you….lucky.”

Wow, thanks Henry.

Anyway, I was determined to just relax and be cool all weekend, and I think I succeeded because I can’t remember my heart racing at any point (aside from Jillian Michaels Time!).

Hopefully we won’t be getting any more snow for the season and we can start doing more outdoorsy things (I hate being outside during winter) especially since nearly all our bigger projects are finished (except for that fucking subway sign because now Henry is trying to figure out how he wants to hang it since it’s so massive, ugh). I just gotta get out of this fucking house.

Feb 242021
 

I used to be friends with this one broad who was SO UP IN MY RELATIONSHIP with Henry that it was kind of gross. And every holiday she’d be all, WHAT DID HENRY GET YOU – like bitch step off. Jesus. It was frustrating because Henry and I don’t *always* exchange gifts and she was giving me a complex about this, like he must not love me. But you know what that they say: better to have someone who does little things for you every day than big things on holidays – I think someone said that? Maybe?

Anyway, my point is that we don’t go all out for each other every Valentine’s Day, although some years are more inspired than others (like that ONE TIME I baked him a cake and will never let him forget it). This year, I did zilch for him, but LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL BANGLE HE GOT ME!

Full disclosure, he knew I wanted it and went through this whole rigmarole of measuring my hand before ordering it, lol. It felt like redemption though and here’s why: I love this jeweler (Martha Rotten) so much. I bought a doll-head ring from her probably about 8 years ago and it is sooooo chunky and eye-catching, and you know, totally my style. So then one time several years later, Henry and I went to Riot Fest in Chicago and she was a vendor there!! I got to gush to her face about how much I love her work and even pointed out the ring and yelled “I HAVE THIS ONE!” and she was like “OK cool story” but in a nice way and I was psychically pleading with Henry to let me buy something but this was back when we were less financially secure so Henry answered my silent pleas with silent LOOK of his own and I was like OK WE WILL BE BACK! but of course we never came back because wasn’t it enough that we drained our accounts for a three-day music festival in the mid-west, Erin? GOD!

But every once in awhile, I revisit her Etsy shop and drool over the new(-to-me) additions. When I saw this planchette bangle, I was like I WANT THIS and sent it to Henry.

It just arrived the other day and I am obsessed. I love big, heavy jewelry so much! (This is going to make Henry’s head explode because my actual Day Of Valentine’s present was a new FitBit but I freaked out because it was too big and I was uber-aware of it on my wrist so he took it back lol. I don’t want my FUNCTIONAL accessories to be clunky!!)

Ew, ignore my awful nail polish.

Also arriving on the same day as my bangle was the F21 clothes I got Chooch during their President’s Day sale. I mean, someday when we have places to go again, we’ll at least have lots of new clothes and accessories, because online shopping is like my pandemic sport.

Anyway! Last night, I was like, “Put on this shirt and stand in front of the door” because shit is SO EXCITING around these parts.

Actually these are just tigers probably BUT IT’S MY BLOG AND IF I WANT THEM TO BE BENGALS FOR THE SAKE OF A BLOG POST TITLE, THEN BLAH BLAH BLAH.

He’s just lucky I didn’t make him put on the tiger robe too….(why didn’t I make him put on the tiger robe too!?!??!).

Welp, that’s all for me (except that the latest news in the Kpop world is that G-Dragon and Jenny from Blackpink are dating OMFG!!!).

Feb 222021
 

Sometimes I make a conscious effort to not coat this Internet space with fan girl vom, but I have no control over that today because it’s SHINee’s comeback, their first one since Onew, Key, and Minho have been discharged from the military!

The 7th album is every synonym of a chefs kiss. My favorite song is either Body Rhythm or Kiss Kiss, but the first single Don’t Call Me is also PERFECTION – they all look and sound so good. Ugh that ubiquitous SHINee sound!

Most of you know that they’re my second favorite Korean group but honestly, if BIGBANG’s hiatus lasts any longer, they might end up eclipsing them at some point here.

JUST PUTTING THAT OUT THERE.

Actual clothes worn by SHINee! This is from the SM Town museum in Seoul.

I have felt like I’ve been on the receiving end of the warmest, most familiar hug while listening to this new album and I hope it’s always like that for me.

THIS SONG TOO THO ugh I can’t pick a favorite but this song has THAT SHINEE SOUND that makes me feel this intensely strong pull to South Korea. It’s seriously like the biggest crush I’ve ever had.

I get some low-key 1980s-era Genesis vibes from the instrumentals on this track which obvi makes me love it more.

Today when Henry came home from work, I screamed DID U WATCH THE SHINEE VIDEO and he was like “of course I did, duh” and I think it really says so much that he also is into Kpop comebacks, when he never gave a single shit or reacted at all to any of the new releases from the Warped Tour-esque bands I used to love.

Laugh all you want but Kpop changed my life for the better and – I don’t want to say “saved” because we weren’t like on the skids or anything, but it gave Henry and me something to BOTH LIKE AT THE SAME TIME. Omg a shared interest?!

I’m just so stoked on this new SHINee right now and I would really love to have a Kpop party to brainwash all of my friends with it. Ugh fuck you Covid. Winter sucks in general but a winter after a year of semi-isolation sucks the most. I’m going to have so many imaginary friends by the time we’re in the clear, maybe even enough to start my own girl group.

In other news, I was super hyper because of SHINee and pretending to puke down Henry’s shirt but when I grabbed his collar to tug it, my cold hands touched his skin and he reflexively turned and we banged heads and now I think I have a concussion for a super dumb reason. This is almost as bad as when I wanted to see how hard I would have to squeeze a Milk-Bone to break it and when it snapped, it sliced me in that weird turkey-chin part of the hand between the thumb and pointer finger and my mom was like YOU BETTER PRAY YOU DONT NEED STITCHES BC I AM NOT TAKING YOU TO THE HOSPITAL FOR THAT.

Feb 212021
 

I’m just sitting here relaxing on a Sunday evening and thought that instead of waiting until next week or never to talk about the weekend, why not just do it now even though the weekend is still alive? Because it’s actually been a pretty nice one for once! (I mean, I shouldn’t say “for once” – but during covid times, it’s basically just more of the same, minus the logging on for work.)

Saturday started off STRONG with Henry coming home with baked goods for 350 Bakery and sorry but I do not pause to take pictures of these sugary AM delights anymore. Then we walked to the post office and the library – Saturday traditions, I guess. After that, Chooch went to the Teen Center and Henry had to go to the Man Store and get Tools and Stuff so I hung out with the cats and squirrels and then decided to see how selfie-licious the Cure Corner actually is, because I’ve wanted for some time to have FOTO ZONES around my house and this just seems like it’s calling out for some vanity shots, yanno?

I’m just really feeling myself every time I sit in this chair! I’m so happy with this dumb corner. It reminds me of all the trendy cafes I’ve gone to  that has that ONE COVETED SPOT with the cool backdrop that you can never get anywhere close to because some dumb influencer with a fresh balayage got there when it opened and has since posted 87 pictures to her IG story but still REFUSES TO LEAVE.

Except now I can sit there whenever the hell I want, letting my gray hairs fly freely because fuck a salon during the pandemic.

I just wish I had someone bringing me a latte instead of having to make my own cuppa French press. Sigh.

That neon backlight, tho! It even makes *me* look decent!

I’m still collecting some more of my Cure memorabilia to add to the area (I think I already talked about this recently but I have no idea what is happening IRL as opposed to in my head, so…) but the one thing that I would really liked to add is a hidden speaker somewhere that starts playing random Cure songs when someone starts walking up the steps. Am I asking for too much? Henry?

Then a bunch of nothing happened while Henry went in the basement and worked on my Coney Island pin ball sign.

He gets really mad for some reason when I visit him in the basement to check on his progress. And when I ask him things like, “But how do you know how to do this stuff?” I guess someone REALLY paid attention in high school shop class!

Then Chooch and I did our Jillian workout and I spent the rest of the evening watching the Professor of Rock YouTube channel while Penelope snoozed next to me:

Professor of Rock has some really great videos about 80s music which is my cuppa…French press.  Henry was “taking a break” from sign-making for the night so he joined me in time to watch one about “In the Air Tonight” and what I wouldn’t give to go back in time and relive my cherry-popping experience of that jam. I have a visceral memory of what I imagine to be the first time I heard Genesis’ “Tonight Tonight Tonight” though, when I was probably 6? 7? and I still think about it every time I hear that song. It haunts me in the best ways.

This brings us to Sunday! I saw Janna for the first time in a year! Literally! The last time we saw each other was right before the pandemic when we went to the Hollywood Theater to see JoJo Rabbit. I know that people have still been hanging out with friends and family and vacationing and living their lives since all of this started and maybe I’m on erring on the side of EXTREME CAUTION but I just have not felt comfortable doing any of these things. And I know that Janna has also been taking the virus seriously, as well. But we decided that we would meet up for a masked walk through Jefferson Memorial and it was SO GOOD TO SEE HER! My throat was actually sore from talking so much! Look, no offense to Henry and Chooch but I AM SO TIRED OF ONLY HAVING THEM TO HANG OUT WITH.

And while I was gone, Henry sent me this:

!!!!!

It’s not done yet but this is basically what it will look like. He spent all weekend building the frame and drilling the holes for the marquee lights to sit in, and I’m just so delighted! He just primed the frame and then will paint it white tomorrow. The glass will be backlit by LEDs and then once the lightbulbs come from wherever he ordered them, it’ll be ready to hang in the kitchen and then he can start working (for the 769874545th time) on my Seoul subway sign.

Also, the marquee lights aren’t in there permanently – Henry just set them in there to show me that he finally finished the holes. Believe me, my Type A-ism will take over and I’ll have the last say in the way they’re arranged, lol.

Then we did some shopping and picked up Mandy’s Pizza for dinner.

Mandy’s is the best because they have an entire vegan menu in addition to their regular one and their vegan ham & cheese hoagie makes me feel like a kid looking out the window in the backseat of my Pappap’s car one night while we drove home from his favorite car dealership, Grabiak’s (my Pappap collected Corvettes and I think this is where he got them!?!), with “Tonight Tonight Tonight” playing on the radio. Either my aunt Susie or Sharon was also there and I just remember feeling so content. That’s what Mandy’s ham & cheese does for me, too.

Feb 192021
 

I honestly don’t think I ever even heard the word “foment” before until that former President, forever dingleberry Trump incited an insurrection and suddenly that was the word du jour on all the news channels.

Anyway. Just wanted an excuse to use that.

So here are some things, not necessarily five as we’re wont to do here on Fridays, because I’m feeling more in a freestyle mood if you know what I mean and if you do please tell me because I don’t know anymore.

I watched that Netflix documentary about the Cecil Hotel last week – it was good but I felt it was also kind of repetitive and while I wished there were more episodes exploring more of the dark history instead of just focusing on the Elisa Lam case, I also think that they could have accomplished the same thing in probably less. Does that even make sense or am I typing in circles again.

Numerous times while watching this, I had the thought that this is 100% the type of Roadside Shack of Doom that Henry has put us up in various times throughout the years. In fact, I’m convinced that if we had had to stay in LA at any point during our whirlwind trip to Coachella in 2004, we would have been walking the same blood-stained hallways that Richard Ramirez once roamed. I mean, the actual place he booked for us during that trip was a Knights Inn in San Bernardino that was also hooker housing (I talked to one of them when she came out of a neighboring room as I was petting a stray cat and she said, “Oh, there’s lots of cats around here – we feed them every day!”).

And let’s not forget that seedy Red Carpet Inn outside of Newark – I mean, THE CONNOTATION AND ALLUSION BEHIND “RED CARPET” IN THIS CONTEXT ALONE IS NAUSEATING.

This inspired me to go digging for that particular vacation journal because, can’t travel now so might as well live vicariously through past sojourns, right? A thing you need to know about me is that I have fucking journals all over the house. Like, tons of them. Like, if I ever became a former President, they’d have a good place to start with my library collection. Until you get to the later ones when I wasn’t yet aware of how problematic my “jokes” were. Y-I-K-E-S. Let’s just say I’ve had lots of years (and self-education) to, um, grow away from that.

While digging through a cedar trunk (Henry’s from the SERVICE!!!) of my self-penned tomes, I found the very first journal in my Vacation Series, which I must have started when I was 9ish?

I barged into Chooch’s room to read him this super adorable disclaimer but he interrupted me to guess, “does it say ‘caution: very uninteresting content’?” WOW JUST WOW guess I won’t be leaving him my hand-written vacation journal canon in my Will.

Eventually, I did find the specific journal I was looking for and was reminded of how mentally unstable and self-loathing I was back in 2004 when Henry and I took that California trip – I was apparently VERY AWARE of the girth of my arms and fixated on it to the point that it ruined the entire vacation for me and probably made Henry reconsider his choices. I’m still very neurotic and self-conscious but I think I have gotten A LITTLE better over the years!?

Yikes.

My mom asked me if I want these torch lights that she salvaged from my grandparents’ house because she feels that it would really complete my decor, lol. Yes I want them! However, after going back and looking at pictures of them when they were still hanging in saluting stasis in my Pappap’s goth hallway (which, ironically, was blood-red carpeted), I’m now remembering how gigantic these suckers are and wondering where I would put them, plus there’s the whole electrical side of it to consider (Henry reminded me 87 times during this discussion that we do not own this house and while he has his electrician-guy background, he doesn’t want to be doing electrical work on a house that he does not own). UGHHHH. What to do!? I  guess I will take them and store them and hope that one day I will wake up and think, “This is the day we start actively house-hunting.” I dunno why I’m being so lazy about this. (I mean, I do know – it’s because we don’t want to be limited to where we can buy a house while Chooch is in school, but still, I have to wonder how much of that is just an excuse because I’m such a fucking weirdo when it comes to change.)

(Hopefully Chooch, the Zillow Prince, doesn’t read that last line and take that as his cue to start sending me house listings again lol.)

Back to my vacation journals. The one with the Coachella recount also had the tail end of our weekend 2003 road trip to Lancaster, PA which was supposed to be my consolation prize for Henry ruining my birthday trip to Boston/Salem by getting the flu (according to my journal, we had to abandon our Salem itinerary halfway through the day and go back to the hotel because Henry thought he was having a heart attack and knowing me, because you know, I am me, I’m sure I verbally eviscerated him the entire car ride back for ruining my day. Anyway!!! I know certain reader(s) enjoy being taught shit by Henry, so here’s a little lesson that he taught  me at 8:43PM on August 8th, 2003:

Truck drivers used to “swap” toll tickets so their toll would be cheaper but then they got caught, which is why the rest areas usually have two different ways to get in so that the traffic doesn’t cross or something. [Now that I’m typing this based on what I wrote in my vacation journal, it doesn’t make sense so I’m sure I was only half-assedly listening.] Anyway, those shady-ass truckers got busted because of the discrepancy in time on the turnpike tickets. Quotes Henry, “It made it look like it only took them an hour to drive 300 miles. Hahahaha!” According to my journal, I laughed really loudly and mockingly so I basically haven’t changed at all. Sorry, Hank.

Drew likes to sit on the mantle, much to my chagrin, and here she is bird-watching with Trudy. Please note that after this morning, Trudy no longer is wearing the matador-red tiger robe because it was bringing out the bull in Drew’s sister Penelope, and I’ll tell you what, little gets the blood pumping quite like the sound of a mannequin hitting the floor behind you in an otherwise ghostly-quiet house while you’re concentrating on work.

I’ve started to slowly add things to the wall adjacent to the Cure Corner – when I say I have a lot of Cure memorabilia, I mean that I have so much that I have actually been uncovering prints and posters that I had no idea I had, or even when/where they came from. So yeah–I could decorate an entire house with just the stuff that I’ve collected since, when, like 1999 I guess.  But right now, I started with these three smaller things: a sketch of Robert from the artist EsQui, the picture of me meeting Robert OMG kill me, and — bear with me — this cute 3D cockatoo art that I bought from some store based in Amsterdam when it came to me late one night (when alllllll the best/stupidest ideas visit me) that I needed something cockatoo-related in that area because if you didn’t know, Like Cockatoos is in my Top 10 favorite songs by the Cure.

Henry was shining his phone’s flashlight at this corner for me while I took pictures because it’s shrouded by a moody pink light up there 24:7 (actually more like 18:7 because we have the light on a timer lol). As soon as it’s OK to have parties again, I’m going to insist that all of my friends take turns sitting here so I can take their pictures. Maybe this could be like a polaroid zone.

Here’s me: how can I effectively turn my home into a functioning modern art exhibit or at the very least, an Instagram-trendy cafe but without the baristas. This has been my dream for quite some time but ever since Corey, Kara, and I visited this one abandoned house-cum-art installation a few years back, I was like THIS IS FOR ME. More secret passages and fireplace-crawl spaces!

OK, maybe I will consider buying a house sooner rather than later, before my friends are too old and feeble to army-crawl in between walls in order to access the bathroom-slash-movie theater that only plays silent, vintage porn.

Feb 082021
 

Toasty Tempers

Over the weekend Chooch happened to be watching me make toast and legit SCREAMED, “omg ew you put butter and jelly TOGETHER?!” like this was a crime?! And he had never known this was a combination that existed in the world?! So of course we engaged in verbal fisticuffs, as we are wont to argue over EVERYTHING these days (yay pandemic) and then Henry chimed in to defend my toast choices but also to add that he usually skips the butter-lube and goes straight for the jelly, which…OK fine, I guess but why tho.

I actually felt really self-conscious about it this morning (the joys of being a mom to a teenager) and GOOGLED to see if I had once again been led astray by my family during my formative years but NO, THIS IS NORMAL (at least in some countries), of course it is, so thanks for making me doubt my toast dressings, son. Also, it’s cool that it took him 14 years to notice how I eat my toast. I mean, all those breakfasts we had at greasy spoon diners during road trips, and he never once saw me liberally slather up some toast with butter and jelly?

(To whom it may concern: my butter/jelly ratio is definitely 80:20 in favor of vegan butter because it’s so stupidly good.)

This has been Toast Talk with Oh Honestly Erin.

Side note: I posted this on Instagram and it inspired the most interaction my stupid IG feed ever has which is both hilarious and also not surprising at all. Usually I ask a question and it wafts off into the ether with no response but apparently people have opinions on toast!

Oh wait another side note: I had a vivid flashback to my sordid jelly-thieving past, where I would cup as many little jelly packets into my sweaty child palm before leaving Denny’s and shove them in my coat pocket and then naturally forget about them because I wasn’t a fucking box car kid looking to store up some future sustenance when the cans of sardines ran out. Anyway, when I say I forgot about them, I REALLY forgot about them because they loitered so long in my coat that they eventually exploded and formed a giant cross-bred jelly brain in the pocket. I was never able to wear that coat again and IT WAS SO NICE!

Robe Rage

Penelope and I had big words because ever since I put this tiger robe on Trudy, Penelope is acting like she’s a goddamn bull and Trudy’s the matador. She keeps jumping and hanging off the robe (OK, so Trudy isn’t the best matador) and it’s making me lose my mind! I don’t want to have to de-robe Trudy, I just want Penelope to stop! So now I sound like Blake & Haley next door screaming at their devil kids, and the recipient of MY screams is just as unresponsive and RUDE as those kids.

We have never had an issue with either cat fucking with Trudy, not even when she’s fully dressed as a Xmas tree, but this robe is taunting Penelope in a big way.

I moved Trudy to a more compact spot, thinking it would be less tempting to Penelope if Trudy wasn’t taunting her from the middle of the room, but NOPE I still caught her dangling from the robe this morning and I was like YOU ARE LUCKY YOU ARE A CAT AND NOT A CHILD BECAUSE I AM UNABLE TO EVER BE ANGRY AT ANIMALS! UGH!!

The Who?-aneers

OK you guys know that I go out of my way to not know about football but I still at least know some shit, like which players are rapists, some position names, which teams are cheaters, which players made cameos in Back to the Beach…you know, the important shit. Also, I am Team That ‘Take A Knee’ Guy forever.

And yes it’s true that if the Steelers aren’t in the Superbowl, then I can pretty much guarantee that I won’t ever know which teams are playing and the only reason I mention the Steelers isn’t because I’m a fan because they’re the team I hate the most but it’s because I live in Pittsburgh and I would have to move to a bunker and eat Velveeta and canned pears for several months in order to ignore talk about the Steelers going to the Superbowl (I mean there’s a song for that shit and everything).

So, the moral of my story is that when I received a news alert Sunday to tell me who won the Superbowl, I should have recognized the name of the team because I’m not some ignorant stooge. But you guys, I have literally NEVER heard of the Buccaneers. To the point where I actually thought the it was typo, or maybe there is some minor league Superbowl that happens at the same time and this was the baby farm team that won Superbowl Jr?

But Henry confirmed that no, the news alert was right. The Buccaneers are a team and they are from Tampa Bay.

Oh, so maybe they’re a newer team then, like how the Tampa Bay Lightning are still kind of new-ish in the NHL?

“Yeah sure,” Henry said, “if you consider a team that was formed in 1979 ‘new’.”

“TOM BRADY IS ON THAT TEAM??” I cried, reading another news alert. “SINCE WHEN?” because again, I know some shit about football, just apparently expired facts.

“Uh, yeah,” Henry mumbled, clearly more invested in whatever ‘people falling down’ Reddit thread had him drooling mindlessly onto his phone. “Since this season.”

Well no wonder why they won! Isn’t he a cheater?! Cheaters always win. (Not that I would know…)

Anyway, I looked up Buccaneers info for myself though because Henry’s mansplainin’ game usually leaves something to be desired, and they were actually formed in 1976 not 1979!! So I had to tweet a correction before more manlier mansplainers took action against my FOOTBALL IGNORANCE. Then I woke Henry to yell at him for giving me the wrong information and he was like, “I didn’t say 1979, I said 1976” and NO HE DID NOT so then we had an actual argument over what date Henry actually said, thanks Buccaneers?!

Chooch, overhearing this Buccaneer brouhaha, chimed in to say, “I’m actually surprised that the Chiefs lost. They had a much better season.” Noticing my incredulous WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU look, Chooch added, “Oh, I looked it up before I bet.”

Like, le duh.

Feb 062021
 

Wow hi here I am on another thrilling [insert literally any day] with an update of no value or importance.

Earlier this week, I was reading Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (review/ thoughts will come later!) and for as short as the book was, two separate coincidences happened. There is another word I’m looking for too for what these things are and I can’t think of it…not idiosyncrasies…it will come to me at 3:00am probably.

Anyway, during one of my reading seshes, I had Depeche Mode playing gently in the background & just as I read the line gripping the steering wheel, not only was the song Behind the Wheel playing, but Dave Gahan was singing the verse “I’d rather not be the one behind the wheel.”

Then I picked the book back up one night right after Chooch & I finished our nightly exercise session with Jillian Michaels, when the character of “Omar” was introduced:

Which is whatever, except that I hadn’t turned off Jillian and it had gone to the next workout. Right as I read the name Omar, Jillian said Omar because she was talking to one of her Body Revolution people named OMAR.

I mean that’s kind of weird right because Omar isn’t like, I dunno, John.

SYNCRONICITY. That is the word I was thinking of: when you hear & read the same word at the same time.

To add to that, this morning I was listening to an audio book while helping Henry package greeting cards and one of the characters was called Gudman AND THAT WAS ALSO THE LAST NAME ON ONE OF THIS MORNING’S ORDERS.

Love that. Adds absolutely no value to my life but it sure is creepy good fun!

Feb 042021
 

In this week’s episode of “Remember When We Used to Leave the House,” I would like to revisit the time we surprised Chooch with a trip to Disney World for his 10th birthday, because I could use all the magic I can get right now, even if it means copying and pasting a blog post about the Magic Kingdom from 2016. I am…well, I’m depressed, you guys. But hey, aren’t we all.

****

The last time I was at Disney World, I was 10 years old and barely remember anything other than being a permed dork who hounded characters for their autographs while my dad spent the entire time singing “Yo ho yo ho a pirate’s life for me” thanks to one spin on Pirates of the Caribbean.

What I learned is that 26 years later, Pirates of the Caribbean is way more awesome than it was in 1990 and dorky kids are still chasing characters for autographs except that now you need to get a fucking Fast Pass for that shit unless you want to spend half your day waiting in inexplicably long queues for some kid in a costume to forge the signature of an animated character.

And my kid was one of those dorks.


He only wanted to meet Chip and Dale though because he saw a picture of me meeting them in 1984 and he is like obsessed with being just like me because I’m fucking fantastic.


The line was really short because who even cares about Chip & Dale anymore I guess now that all these horribly animated, newfangled characters are on the scene, but there were two high school graduates a few people in front of us who totally monopolized C&D’s time and had them signing like 69 different things including their idiotic graduation caps and then had unlimited photos taken and then danced with them and finally C&D’s handler was like “OK the Stars have to take their break now” so the girls got to SKIP OFF INTO THE SUNSET with them while the rest of us normal people in line with their age-appropriate CHILDREN stood there in disbelief and then the grandma in front of us was screaming at her granddaughter who appeared to be 12 or 13 for having teh audacity to WANDER OFF after she was told to SIT ON THE BENCH OVER THERE and the granddaughter was all, “I WAS SITTING ON THE BENCH” and the mom very quietly said, “OK guys, drop it” but grandma just kept railing on granddaughter and then granddaugter was ugly crying.

I wanted to leave but Chooch was like ITS MY DYING WISH and Henry was like STOP RUINING HIS BIRTHDAY so we continued to wait.

When it was the people’s turn in front of us, I was impressed by granddaughter’s ability to turn off the tears in time to jump in with Chip, Dale, her mom and little brother while smiling brightly for the photographer. What a nice big FUCK YOU to grandma. That old hag ain’t gon’ ruin no granddaughter’s day.

Meanwhile, Chooch whined about not having an autograph book so I dug out a receipt for him to have them sign, hahahaha.  #DisneyN00bs

But when it was his turn, their handler was like “the fuck is this?” and gave Chip and Dale two pieces of actual paper to sign for Chooch. It was pretty embarrassing but I was like “The answer is still no” when Chooch asked again for an autograph book.

[Pandemic Erin is here to say that I still have these dumb autographs in my eyeball purse & he has not once asked about about it, shows how much he actually cared about them.]

There was no way we were wasting anymore time standing in line for this shit.

I probably would have made a concession for Pluto though. Does anyone still even care about Pluto? He was always my favorite. The first time I went to Disney, I was 4 and my DAD wouldn’t let me bring my favorite stuffed animal in the entire world with me, so my Pappap was all, “Haha we’ll show him” and proceeded to buy me any Disney plush I wanted  while we were there because he was the best man to ever exist. Anyway, the Pluto one was my favorite.

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I started to tell Henry this story and he sighed, “You’ve told me this story so many times” with an eye roll. Rude!!

My Pappap gave me the greatest childhood ever and if I can give Chooch even a tiny glimmer of that, I’ll feel like I made my Pappap proud.

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It’s a Small World is one of the few rides there that I have any sliver of memory of. Funnily, I remember more from my first trip there than the last trip when I was 10; this is likely due to the rage black outs since my brother Ryan was around by then and I was still extremely butt-hurt over the fact that I wasn’t an only child anymore.

OH THE PERILS OF BEING ERIN RACHELLE KELLY.

I really felt that this ride held up. It made me giddy.

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Even Henry was choking back a smile or two. Hard to imagine, I know.

The ride that didn’t hold up in my mind was Big Thunder Mountain. I was just OK.

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All three of us agreed that Space Mountain was the best though! It wasn’t anything like I remembered.

Mid-afternoon, we were strolling about, probably with linked arms because you know how we stroll, when someone started shouting “Riley! Riley!” In case you didn’t know, that’s Chooch’s actual name that he goes by pretty much just in school and nowhere else, lol. Turns out, it was his friend from school! He was there with his grandma, and they had lost his parents, so the grandma asked Henry if he would please call her daughter so they could be reunited.

So Henry did that and I can’t believe that lady even answered because I NEVER ANSWER MY PHONE IF I DON’T RECOGNIZE THE NUMBER and it’s weird to me that people actually will answer EVEN IF IT’S A 1-800 NUMBER!!! Anyway, Henry explained the sitch and said, “You know what’s funny is that my son actually goes to school with your son” and then it turned out that she was standing not too far away from us….

…IN FRONT OF IT’S A SMALL WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She said to Henry, “Wow, it really is a small world after all.”

And that was our super-touching Disney moment.

I think the lowest point of the day was when this family of fuckers blatantly cut in front of us in line for Pirates of the Caribbean and I couldn’t even believe the audacity. Not only did they cut in front of us, but also a lady who was with her HANDICAPPED MOTHER. I was so outraged by this and Henry was like, “Please don’t.” So instead, I just stared at them non-stop and made loud, passive-aggressive statements about people being rude motherfuckers and Henry just sighed deeply as a new wrinkle etched itself under his right eye.

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Here’s a picture I took of them afterward in order to SHAME THEM on the Internet. (The guy with the stroller and blue balls balloons was not a part of their rude family so he can remain shame-free in this matter.

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Other things to note:

  • Haunted Mansion was way better than I ever remembered
    • So was Splash Mountain
      • My favorite part of this ride was when some dickhead served as a placeholder in line and then suddenly, his entire family came barreling through the line to join him, we’re talking a good 12 additional people! I was so livid about this because HELLO THAT IS NOT THE PROPER WAY TO STAND IN LINE, but then as we were nearing the front of the line, it was nearly those assholes’ turn to ride, when one of the Disney broads called out, “Is there a party of two?” and as luck would have it, Henry was too scared to ride this one so YES, MA’AM THERE IS A PARTY OF TWO! Chooch and I got to jump ahead of those pushy assholes. WHO’S LAUGHING NOW!?
        • My least favorite part of this was standing in line sandwiched between two families of tiny Elsas, UGH to the max. I am so glad my child isn’t into that shit.
  • Even in April, it looks like every single person in the country has descended upon Lake Buena Vista, but the lines for the actual rides were extremely reasonable, except for:
    • The 7 Dwarfs Mine Ride, which we got tricked into waiting for a good 90 minutes even though the sign said THIRTY-FIVE MINUTES. And friends, it was not worth it.
      • However, what was worth it was that Henry had to ride with some dad, who said something to him immediately after sitting next to him, and that something made Henry laugh very hard, but he very conveniently “couldn’t remember what it was” when Chooch and I interrogated him afterward.
    • Peter Pan’s Flight, which was always over 75 minutes every time I checked, but then we waited until the parade was happening and literally walked right on.
  • Decent vegetarian options, especially at Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn — their veggie rice bowl was a motherfucking dream come true for this meatless mouth.
  • The stupid Little Mermaid ride made my heart melt a little bit. I forgot how much I used to love that dumb movie. I even bought the soundtrack (ON CASSETTE) from the Scholastic book order in 4th or 5th grade, doesn’t really matter, I was a fucking dork in both grades. Listening to all of the completely off-base names Chooch was coming up when when he was trying to remember “Ursula” may have been my favorite part of the day. One of them had approximately 8 syllables and the only thing he had right was that it started with a U.
    • Pretty sure Henry slept on this ride.
    • There was absolutely no line.
  • We almost accidentally got in line for some story time with Belle attraction which turns out is literally having Belle read you a story. Nope.
  • I fucking hate strollers. There were soooooo many strollers. EVERY WHERE. STROLLERS HERE AND THERE. Boooooooooo, babies!
  • We had a Dole Whip and I guess I don’t really get the mania over those because I know I have soft serve here in Pittsburgh that tastes pretty much exactly the same…what am I missing!? I actually didn’t even finish mine, but gave it to Henry who had given his to Chooch who had spilled him approximately .0005 seconds after Henry handed it to him. The circle of Dole Whip.
  • The monorail is decidedly NOT as fun as I remembered it to be.
    • We took it back to the parking lot that night, and it was mayhem. We didn’t get to sit with Henry, and Chooch said, “I feel bad for daddy. He’s sitting next to some Duck Dynasty guy.” I didn’t get to see though because there were people standing in between us. I told Henry about it later and he said, “I don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about. I was sitting next to a lady.”

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When Henry wouldn’t ride the Barnstormer with us. :( ALSO, HE’S TOTALLY LOOKING AT THAT BROAD.

Overall, I’m glad we went when we did because it turned out to be far less stressful and intimidating than I had imagined it to be. No one got lost (although Chooch and I did leave Henry once by the carousel and then “forgot” to come back) and we didn’t even really spend as much money there as I thought we would. I’m trying to remember if we fought at all and I think that we probably did at some point, but clearly it wasn’t major enough for me to immediately blog about right after unfriending Henry on Facebook.

Henry’s thoughts: I liked Space Mountain. I liked the Haunted Mansion. I would say the park was pretty people-friendly, easy to move around.* It was too expensive.

Chooch’s thoughts: It was way more than I expected. I thought it was just going to be like a couple of rides, a couple of food places, and just. But then when I went there, I saw a FANTASY. It was AWESOME. There was so much to do. There was a lot of rides. But Big Thunder Mountain wasn’t as fun as mommy remembered it so that was a big bummer**. That’s it.

 

*DISAGREE. SEE: STROLLERS.

**I must have bitched about this more than I remembered that day.

****

My first day back at work last week, I was telling my co-worker Carrie about Disney and how, while it was a fun experience, Henry and I probably won’t ever go back.

“No, you’ll go again. You’ll have to take your grandkid, Emarosa!”

Touché, Carrie!

Jan 312021
 

Can I do some humble-bragging for a second? December-February is our busiest season at the Greeting Card Factory here in our Brookline shack, and while it can be stressful since Henry and I both have day jobs as well and printing-assembling-packaging orders usually takes us until 11PM every night, getting great reviews makes it all 100x more worthwhile. I LOVE making people happy and we both put a lot of care, effort, and consideration with the shop, from the design of the cards to the quality of the supplies we use all the way down to the carefully packaged final product.

Granted – we’re humans and not perfect, mistakes are made from time to time (the worst being the time Henry mixed up a Kpop card order with a serial killer card and that my friends is how the separate, much less bloody Hello Hanguk Kpop card shop was born as a…subsidiary? of non compos cards lol.

The absolute WORST part of selling online is the shipping process. The USPS makes me so fucking nervous. The amount of times they have lost our cards in the mail is absurd and don’t even get started on international mailing!

But man, when we get good feedback? It makes me feel like I am BLOOMING. And I always want to rub it in the faces of my friends who are like “lol ok you and your ‘card shop’.”

(My favorite though was 2 years ago when I made a card from our department to give to the director and passed it around for everyone to sign. One of my coworkers came over and asked me where I had it made. “….I made it…” I said, like duh? She gasped and said, “omg you should sell cards on Etsy or something!” And I was like, “…I do?” Lol.)

Anyway, here is some recent feedback I received that just REALLY made me feel so grateful to have such awesome customers!

This Valentine’s season has been our best one yet (almost 300 orders in January alone!) and I just feel so grateful to be able to supply such a niche item to so many cool people, while also helping to keep snail mail alive. Send more correspondence, people! Everyone deserves a break from bills and circulars!

Anyway, please visit non compos cards where you can find anything from serial killers to cult leaders to Golden Girls to vintage porn stars to The Cure.#

And Hello Hanguk for your Kpop needs!

Jan 292021
 

I’m really struggling here. I love writing in this space so much but it’s hard when there is nothing to say because there is nothing to do. (Side note: not whining, happy to stay home and do my part in not spreading Covid, but you know what I mean!)

So for today I thought it would fun(-ish?) to do a picture or three every hour throughout the day. I mean, I’ll mostly be chained to my desk working, but maybe it will give me inspiration to look out the back porch windows or something. Maybe HNC will be doing something exciting in the backyard. You never know!

So to start, here are some pre-8AM photos of my breakfast adventures. I used to just be a bowl of cereal type of bitch, but since the kitchen isn’t a junkyard anymore, I sort of cook now! (I mean, barely.)

My breakfast is always a mix of vegan/vegetarian stuffs. Almost always some type of egg beaters, vegan cheese, vegan deli meats, sometimes spinach but I couldn’t find it today (Henry?????), and toast. Note: the I Can’t Believe It’s Butter brand of vegan butter is SO FUCKING FOOD.

My ritual is telling Echo to play some type of 80s new wave mix or the Genesis “Invisible Touch” album while I’m breakfasting and cleaning up. It’s my go-to comfort album!

Now that Henry has a place to put all of our card-making supplies, I have a dining room table to eat at again!

8:00AM hour:

Time to feed the squirrels!

HNC was leaving for work when I was laying out the peanuts on the windowsill, so much for catching him doing interesting things outside today lol.

I like to have at least 1000 steps before I sit down to work at 9 so I usually spend my 8 o’clock hour either doing walking workouts or jogging in place while watching booktube or Kpop videos. My life is rich! Today I’m watching some “upcoming 2021 thrillers” round ups.

Mr. Grey Guy is the bistro’s first patron this morning!

Obligatory Chooch Check-In before I log on to work. He’s playing Minecraft in between classes. How thrilling. Also that lighter on his desk isn’t for his smoking habit, but his candle addiction.

9:00AM hour:

Time to chug water and work all day! Actually, I just sip water when I drink from a glass in lieu of my jug.

10:00am hour:

I was about to say I haven’t cried yet but that’s not true because there was a segment on the news interviewing young widows who lost their husbands to Covid and I immediately called Henry and begged him not to die. I hate that he still has to go to work but at least he’s largely working alone at his job. Sigh.

Speaking of Covid, we always get Chooch some type of Frozen or Disney Princess shit for Xmas to piss him off. This past Xmas he got Frozen hand sanitizer in his stocking:

11:00AM hour:

Chooch made cookies last night & I’m trying not to eat them all so I’m making coffee instead god help me.

Action shot of Chooch eating a cookie while making lunch in my 2005 Coachella hoodie which he has co-opted into his wardrobe.

NOON HOUR:

Chooch was added to some spam/scam group message and just CANT HELP HIMSELF. Some guy included in this group actually called Chooch yesterday and threatened to turn him in lol good job Chooch.

They both lay under the church pew all day because the heat vent is there lol.

Also I had soup for lunch and it was ugly so I didn’t take a picture.

1:00PM HOUR:

I HAVE WAITED FIVE YEARS FOR THIS. BOUGHT IT. SO STOKED.

Drew approves.

2:00PM HOUR:

I bought chooch this Keith Haring Swatch for getting good grades bc he loves Keith Haring.

C: Why do you want this picture

M: because I’m posting a picture every hour on my blog.

C: wow. That’s really interesting. I’m glad I asked.

3:00PM HOUR:

OMG GET DOWN.

4:00PM HOUR:

Hello? IT’S FOR YOU.

5:00PM HOUR:

It’s Valentine Time! Well I technically have 30 minutes left at my day job then I can help. Henry is on his own for now lol (which he’s used to!).

Vegan egg salad & sides from Zenith! Picnic vibes.

6:00PM HOUR:

Needed steps so I walked to the teen center to meet Chooch (he goes twice a week – they have tight Covid regulations and every one wears a mask) and that was dumb because now I can’t feel my hands.

7:00PM HOUR:

Getting in some pages before it’s time to exercise!

8:00PM HOUR:

Starting phase 2 of Body Revolution! Love Jillian so much.

9:00PM HOUR:

Back at it!

10:00PM HOUR:

Time to start winding down, according to my FitBit!

Korean practice time!

Chooch is going through a box of Henry’s grandma’s recipe collection, some of which are cut out of magazines so that’s fun.

Well I have to rejoin the Valentine assembly line so peace out. This was…mildly fun. Well, not fun, but…

Jan 282021
 

Hello, this is a post for my fellow book worms! I’ve had several people (like, 2, but that’s enough for me!) ask me to do a post about my favorite Booktubers and I think that’s a great idea! When I started 2020 with a resolution to read more, I honestly felt a little lost because I hadn’t been a constant reader in quite some time – I had no idea where to start! What were the “hot books” that everyone else was reading? I DIDN’T KNOW!

But the impetus to me wanting to start reading regularly again was actually a video I had watched at the beginning of January 2020 from one of my favorite expats in Korea. She had a video where she talked about her recent reads, which inspired me and also made me think that I should turn to YouTube for more recommendations and let me tell you – game changer. Not only did I find a bunch of really fun personalities, but I also found myself reading books that I probably NEVER would have picked up based on cover/genre/synopsis alone.

In fact, most of my favorites from 2020 came from these YouTubers! I really attribute Booktube with getting me EXCITED to read again. It reminded me how much fun it can be, and between  that and the whole process of requesting books from the library has made reading feel more like a game, if that makes sense.

So without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite Booktubers that really upped my literary game and kept me sane in 2020.

Paperback Dreams

My all-time favorite. Kat is probably the first Booktuber that made me REALLY ENTERTAINED and excited to start a TBR (to be read) list. She is so full of life, hilarious, and also just the right amount of cynical. Our reading tastes are very similar and sometimes her dad Larry makes cameo appearances in her horror book review videos, and he is THE CUTEST DAD. Kat is just a fucking joy. (She is also the reason I read Devil All the Time, bless her FUCKING HEART.)

Bowties & Books

Jesse not only will make you broaden your reading horizons with their POC recommendations & thoughtful social commentary, but their fashion sense will brighten your day. Jesse’s reviews are also SO INTELLIGENT, unlike mine that are like “I liked that book.” I can’t stress how much I love their videos and Instagram!

Books and Lala

Is Kayla the Queen of Booktube? POSSIBLY. She has some of the most creative content, and her themed-TBRs are so much fun! My reading style doesn’t always mesh with hers (I have legit HATED a lot of her faves *cough*Catherine House*cough*) but her personality and cameos from  her husband and son keep me coming back for me. She genuinely seems like someone I would hang out with in real life and actually get along with.

Also, I found out about Beartown and We Ride Upon Sticks from her channel and those were my TOP TWO books of 2020!

Alsox2, I’m fucking OBSESSED with her hair.

Read With Cindy

Cindy is not here to play (except when she is). Her biting commentary and hysterical book reviews are my favorite things after particularly stressful work days. Especially when she talks about books while cooking! It’s like hanging out with your BFF.

SavidgeReads

I love Simon so much! He is super literary (no YA trash on this channel, no shade – I love some YA trash every now and then!) and I was afraid that maybe his recs would be too high-brow for me, but he made me remember that I once had a brain and actually used to use it, so with his help, I took baby-steps out of my comfort zone and started to pick up more contemporary and literary fiction. It was through him (and the soon-to-mentioned Jen Campbell!)  that I fell in love with Evie Wyld. And I promise you that I probably never would have even given “Girl, Woman, Other” a second glance, let alone read and LOVE, if it weren’t for his rave reviews.

Simon also interviews authors, and he asks all the thoughtful, smart questions that I would never consider to ask, sigh. But, reading the books he gushes about makes me feel like a more functioning part of society, that’s for sure.

A Sunny Book Nook

I only just found Sunny several weeks ago and I’m so happy because we have similar book types. I also love her makeup! She doesn’t have very many subscribers yet so do her a solid and subscribe for reading vlogs and really thoughtful themed recommendations!

Monica Kim

No, you don’t even understand how adorable and ethereal Monica Kim is. I started watching her channel last spring when I was on the prowl for books to read during Asian Read-a-Thon but then I subscribed immediately after realizing I was watching the channel of a pastel princess. She is seriously a breath of fresh air!

Jen Campbell

My fellow people of Earth, Jen Campbell is a fucking TREASURE. An award-winning author in her own right, a captivating book reviewer, an expert on fairy tales and disfigurement representation, but above all: a calming voice in what has felt like an echo chamber of angry screaming about having to wear masks and stolen elections. Like Simon, I have walked away from her videos with so many exciting book recs, one of my favorites being the Frieda Klein thriller series!

Noelle Gallagher

Full disclosure – I was not a big fan of this channel at first, for a dumb reason: Noelle reminded me a bit of someone I worked with way back in 1998 at Olan Mills. But! We have very similar tastes in books and before I knew it, I was watching her videos straight to the end, nodding in agreement and shouting, “I HATED THAT BOOK TOO!” to my cats, who were just like, “That’s cool, we can’t read, so…”

Getting Hygge With It

April is such a sweet person and maybe this is biased but she reminds me a lot of my good friend Lisa. A few months ago, she took a break from vlogging because she had been hate comments and it made me so fucking angry because she is genuinely such a sweet presence on YouTube. I don’t understand what people get out of leaving shitty comments on the Internet. Anyway, I’m glad she came back because I get so many excellent thriller recommendations from her! Also, she was one of the first Booktubers I subscribed to.

***

Well, that’s my top 10 list! Maybe you’ll find one you like from this list, and please let me know if you have any of your own favorite Booktubers!

Jan 202021
 

Joe Biden Inauguration: Biden sworn-in as president; live updates

OK lookie here, I’m not so naïve that I believe everything is going to be rainbows and lollipops from here on out, but I’m also (somehow) not jaded enough to think that today doesn’t signify the beginning of a new, hopeful, INCLUSIVE chapter for America. I’m ready to move forward while NEVER FORGETTING the shit that happened over the last 4 years specifically and the people who let it happen. The Biden Administration has their work cut out for them, but so do the rest of us. Let’s do our part! KEEP FIGHTING RACISM!

Kamala Harris is sworn in as Vice-President by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband U.S. Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff holds the Bible during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th US President on January 20, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

Congratulations President Biden and Vice President Harris! Looking forward to not having my pulse race every time I hear your voices!

Kamala Harris' inauguration outfit features black designers

I am literally too giddy to write anything more substantial. I have champagne left over from NYE – MIGHT ME POUR ME’SELF A SMALL GLASS?

P.S. Lady Gaga’s dress and performance, tho! So good!

Jan 172021
 

Henry changed the lightbulb in our bedroom church lamp and it’s a real mood changer. I might have to fall asleep to the Black Bible tonight to really get the full effect, though.

That’s really all I came here to say. It’s been a very sleepy, boring Sunday. I had an orange & honey latte from Reginald’s, read a lot, rage-watched some news (the latest footage of those derelict Jim-bobs storming the Capitol should be made into a STAY IN SCHOOL, KIDS psa, seriously, so embarrassing), argued with Chooch, and went for a walk. Now I’m about to help Henry make some Valentines. (Maybe–he doesn’t always “need” my help, so he says.)

I hope everyone is having a nice Sunday. (Or whatever day it is when you read this.)