My Reading List in 2017

I had big plans at the beginning of this year. I planned to go back to school, to teach myself calligraphy and knitting, to establish myself as a freelance writer.

Did any of this happen?


However, I did reach one goal. At the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to read more. When I was younger, I was a voracious reader. I basically read a book a day and it was magical. I lived at the bookstore and giddily marked book release dates on the calendar. Reading was my whole life! 

Well, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve stopped reading as much. I would love to blame this on my new responsibilities, like my job, my home, and my bills, but it really comes down to the fact that I’m just not as interested in reading as I used to be. When I get home from work, I prefer to sit on the couch and watch Netflix or goof around on my phone to reading. Reading is just not as magical as it used to be for me.

So, in 2017, I decided to dedicate more of my spare time to reading. I didn’t want to overload myself, so I set a very reasonable goal of reading 40 books by December 31, 2017. That’s a little more than three books a month. I could do that.

And guess what. I did it!

In 2017, I read 40 books. It’s the only one of my 2017 New Years resolutions I kept and I’m incredibly proud of myself.

Now, I know fifteen-year-old Emily would scoff at such a low number.

“Only 40 books?” she would say. “I can read that may in half the time.”

Well, fuck off teenager Emily. I set myself a goal and I achieved it, so you can take your elitist bullshit and shove it up your ass. 

And, guess what! I still managed to binge all the Netflix shows on my list. Talk about good time management! I was able to be a responsible adult, read more, and still be a lazy bum and watch Netflix for ten hours straight. 

In 2017, here’s what I read:

  1. The Troop – Nick Cutter 
  2. The Wendigo – Algernon Blackwood
  3. Cannibals of Candyland – Carlton Mellick III
  4. Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman
  5. Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger – Stephen King
  6. Dark Tower II: The Drawing of Three – Stephen King
  7. American Gods – Neil Gaiman
  8. Gumption – Nick Offerman
  9. Midnight Crossroad – Charlaine Harris
  10. Day Shift – Charlaine Harris
  11. Hannibal Rising – Thomas Harris
  12. Red Dragon – Thomas Harris
  13. Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
  14. Hannibal – Thomas Harris
  15. Off Season – Jack Ketchum
  16. Offspring – Jack Ketchum
  17. Red – Jack Ketchum
  18. Helter Skelter – Vincent Bugliosi
  19. Horns – Joe Hill
  20. 1984 – George Orwell
  21. It – Stephen King
  22. Treasure Island – robert Stevenson
  23. Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  24. Boneshaker – Cherie Priest
  25. My Friend Dahmer – Derf Backderf
  26. Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
  27. The Gothic – Nick Groom
  28. Supernatural Horror – H.P. Lovecraft
  29. Wicca: A Guide – Scott Cunningham
  30. Apt Pupil – Stephen King
  31. The Exorcist – William Blatty
  32. Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
  33. Welcome to Nightvale – Joseph Fink
  34. The Long Walk – Richard Bachman
  35. Stormfront – Jim Butcher
  36. Fool Moon – Jim Butcher
  37. Grave Peril – Jim Butcher
  38. The Beast Within – Edward Levy
  39. Thinner – Richard Bachman
  40. NOS4A2 – Joe Hill

In 2018, I’m thinking about aiming for 60.

Happy holidays, everyone!



The Art of the Collage

Do you remember making collages in elementary school? I remember making collages for everything. I cut up so many magazines to make collages for my favorite books, my favorite movies, things that made me smile, and so on. I honestly remember making collages for fun outside of school because I was a huge nerd, chopping up old catalogs and newspapers we had hanging around our house.

Now I did not keep a single collage I made when I was younger because I never really had any reason to. I may have hung a couple up in my room if I liked the pictures, but any time I cleaned up my room the collages were usually the first thing thrown into the recycling bin. Collages were fun to make, but useless to hang onto.

I would guess it’s been about fifteen years since I made a collage and suddenly, in the last few weeks, I’ve had a very strong urge to make a collage. What I want to make is a vision board, which is basically a collage, but with a purpose.

And I’m super excited about it.

vision board 1

Example! Mine’s probably going to be a little spookier, cuz I’m a spooky lady.

A vision board is a tool to help you visualize and focus on your life goals. You can use any type of surface you want, like a cork board, the front of your fridge, or even a Pinterest board. The only thing you have to do is put it somewhere where you can see it every day. A vision board is meant to remind you that you’re working toward something and to never give up.

Now, if I make my vision board, I want it to be on a poster board. Something that I can easily hang near my bed and see everyday.

I know what you’re thinking, Daniel. Why do I even want to make a vision board?

Well, because I recently found some of my personal ‘to-do’ lists and I have had the same life goals for the past few years and have made zero progress on them. Zero, zilch, bagel. Nothing to show for these goals I’ve had since I was in high school.

It made me realize that something needed to change. After looking back over the last decade of my life, I realize my issue isn’t lack of skill or time. It’s lack of motivation. It’s because, after a long day of work, I come home, sit on the couch, and zone out watching Netflix. Yes, in the morning, when I first get up, I might think to myself, “Today’s the day! When I get home from work I’m going to do those amazing things I’ve wanted to do for years and it will be amazing!” But after eight hours in the office, all I can think about it relaxing. About grabbing a beer and chilling on the couch.

Well, hopefully, a vision board will change that.

Now I realize a vision board is a bit of a cheesy idea. It’s definitely something young white women on Pinterest do and they fill their board with cliche sayings like, “Go on more adventures” or “Love my husband more.” But you know what, I might be a white woman, but that doesn’t mean my vision board has to be useless. I am going to put concrete, tangible things on my vision board so that every day I wake up and the first thing I see is my to do list.

Wait…this is the most type-A thing I’ve ever done….Oh well, if the anxiety shoe fits.

Anyway, some things I’m going to include on my vision board/life to do list are:

  • Write a novel. I’ve literally had this as a personal goal since I was six and, in the past twenty-one years, I have written zero novels.
  • Become a certified cicerone. This is something I’ve been toying with since I started getting into craft beer. Not only would it basically certify me as a beer snob, it would also open doors to freelancing for craft beer magazines and marketing for small breweries. How cool would that be?
  • Run a half marathon. Literally been talking about this for a year now and all of my attempts to stay on a training schedule have fallen apart.
  • Go back to school. My current job offers an employee discount on college credits and, when I started, I told myself I would take advantage of that. Well, in total I’ve taken two classes. Been here almost five years.

That’s just the beginning, Daniel. I have so many things I want to put on my vision board and I’m excited to get started.

What would you put on your vision board, Daniel?



What will I regret in 2018?

Remember when we used to be timely with our posts, Daniel? I used to write my post Thursday morning, carefully proof read it, and then schedule it to post early Friday morning. Now, I’m lucky to have the post done by the middle of the day on Friday. Eventually, I’ll be routinely posting Friday night at 11:59 p.m.

Anyway, I enjoyed your post about your plan for 2017. I’ve also never been much of a New Year’s resolution person because why wait until January to start a new goal? I also feel like calling a goal a New Year’s resolution just sets you up for failure. How many people do you know who’ve actually followed through with their resolution? I can’t think of a single person in my life.

However, I do have some things I want to accomplish this year, but I don’t want to call them resolutions. Resolutions are something to give up on. Instead, I’ll think of it the way you did, Daniel. At this time next year, what will I regret not doing?

Well, for one, I finally want to write a novel. I have so many half-finished novels lying around and, this year, I want to finish one. This has literally been a goal of mine since I was 15 and I regret not doing it every single year.

I also want to look into self-publishing my novel. I’ve wanted to write books since I was little and now there are so many opportunities for me to do so without the struggle of finding a big name publisher.

I want to open an Etsy shop for my crochet pieces. Everytime I crochet anything the first thing people ask me is “Do you sell anything on Etsy?” My answer has always been no and when they ask me why I don’t have a very good reason. I think I’m just nervous to put myself out there. Well, time for that to change.

I want to read more books. I already read a lot, but I feel like I don’t make it a priority in my life anymore. There are so many books I’ve been meaning to read and there’s no time like the present.

I want to run a half marathon. I’ve run 5ks, 12ks, and Triathlons. Time to step it up a notch.

I want to earn my beer server certification. Now, I know this one seems a little random, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I graduated college. There is a test online that I can take and become a licensed cicerone, which is like a sommelier for beer. Why the heck not? I know a ton about beer already? Why not make it official?

I want to be more aggressive with my freelancing. I’ve been wanting to start freelancing on the side for a long, long time and, much like my Etsy store, I’ve been nervous to put myself out there. Time to change that!

I want to teach myself calligraphy and hand lettering. I’ve always been attracted to words and  I want to turn my words into art. There are so many free tutorials online so there’s honestly nothing standing in my way.

It’s easy for things that you really want to do to end up on the back burner, isn’t it? Well time for that to change. 


My Quarter Life Crisis

I am a firm believer that brevity is the soul of wit. Most of my writing is short, sweet, and to the point. However, last week’s was a little too short even in my opinion because I didn’t write anything. Technically, I did end up writing something, but I completely missed the deadline therefore I will accept my punishment. I will use my wit to slay brevity and write a post that is 1,800 words or more.

Here we go.

Happy Birthday to Me

To write a long piece you have to pick a big topic and the biggest topic on my mind right now is my age. I turned 25 on Tuesday and have been joking with my coworkers for the last month that I have to gear up for my “quarter life crisis.” Of course it’s silly to think that I was going to have some type of crisis after turning 25. Nothing would change. I would feel exactly the same as I did when I was 24 and even if I was suddenly hit with this gut feeling that something needed to change, I’m young enough that it wouldn’t be entirely impossible. Quarter life crisis, what a silly idea!

Then my birthday actually came around and maybe it wasn’t such a silly idea anymore.

I wouldn’t call it a “crisis” by any means. I didn’t panic or feel trapped or scared, but I did realize that maybe it was time to start thinking about what I wanted to change in my life and where I wanted to go. It was the same level of consideration one would give to a New Year’s resolution, so don’t think I’m about to go out, buy a speed boat, and start dating people ten years younger than me. I don’t have the money for a speed boat and dating 15 year olds isn’t the best idea.

Speaking of New Year’s resolutions, I think it was a combination of turning 25 and my newfound obsession with social media celebrity, Big Cat Derek, that prompted this change. Big Cat Derek is the operations manager for the Center for Animal Rescue and Education (CARE) down in Texas and he regularly posts photos and videos of the tigers, lions, leopards, cougars, and bob cats that live at the Center. In one of his videos he was asked what his New Year’s resolution was and he said something along the lines of “I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. If I want to change something about myself, I just do it.”

His attitude about life is just one of the many reasons I am so obsessed with his social media accounts. That and the adorable noises big cats make.

Big Cat Derek’s statement, coupled with my already existing thoughts about turning 25, spurred me to really start thinking about my goals over the next year. Like I said, this is far from a crisis though so maybe a better way to describe this would be my “Year-Long Birthday Celebration.”

Let’s kick off my 25th year on this planet right.

The Plan

I’m a project manager at heart and by trade. Despite the fact my working title is science writer, I actually do a lot more than writing. I manage websites, coordinate meetings with clients, help plan events, and more. To do so much you need to be organized, which means you need a plan.

I love making plans. I adore spreadsheets, checklists, white boards, and anything else that helps you keep your thoughts in order. So of course I had to make a plan for my Year-Long Birthday Celebration.

The first step in making a plan is identifying your goals. More often than not goals aren’t measurable or actually tangible, they’re more abstract ideas that you would like to make a reality.

My goals for my 25th year are:

Be happier.

I like to think of myself as a happy person. I have a job I love, I’m happily married, I have friends I adore, and I’m financially stable. When I say I want to be happier, what I mean is be happier day-to-day. I want to easily bounce back from stressful days at work, arguments with my husband, or hard financial decisions. Carrying that stuff around with me for days can be exhausting and it’s time to change.

Be healthier.

I would not consider myself a healthy person. Yes, I run three times a week, but there’s more to being healthy than just exercise. I run, but I also skip meals, drink too much coffee, stay up too late, and go to work despite feeling sick. This is something I definitely need to work on and it will help me achieve goal one. Being happy means being healthy.

Be more ambitious.

Ever since I graduated from college I haven’t been as ambitious as I used to be. I kicked ass during my last semester of college, handling a full course load, working part-time, interning with the university communications department, and helping lead an on-campus club. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive and that you can challenge yourself without killing yourself. I want to be more ambitious this coming year, but not at the expense of goals one or two. I’ll need to work on that.

So there’s my motto for the coming year: Be happier. Be healthier. Be more ambitious.

Now, after you figure out your goals next is your actual tactics. Tactics are the measurable parts of your plan, the tangible accomplishments. I can measure my happiness or my ambition, but I can measure the steps I take to get there.

The question is, what steps should I take? I guess it all depends on what makes me happy, healthy, and ambitious.

The Things that Make Me Happy

Lots of things make me happy: reading, writing, crocheting, baking, running. playing video games, and more. However, what I want to focus on is being a happier person in general, not just how to make myself happy for an hour or two. So I have to think bigger, broader. I have to think of things like:

Stop relying on others for the things you want.

Like I said in my post about how being selfish can be selfless, sometimes you have to put yourself first. You can’t be happy if you give all of your happiness to other people. I can talk the talk when it comes to being selfish, but I just can’t seem to walk the walk. What I want to work on this year is doing more things for myself instead of waiting for people to give me things, if that makes sense. To put it in super simple terms if I want some candy, I’m going to go buy myself some candy instead of waiting for someone to decide I deserve candy. I need to start treating myself like I want to be treated.

Be more positive about my life.

It’s okay to complain about your life. If anyone ever tries to tell you to stop complaining or tries to make you feel bad by saying other people have it worse than you, you tell that person to go fuck themselves. Everyone has problems and they all suck. On the other hand being down about your life all the time can be draining and keep you from enjoying the good moments. I want to be a happier person overall so over the next year I’m going to be more mindful of how often I complain. Happier thoughts mean a happier person.

Spoil my friends and family more.

I’ve always been a giver. I like to spoil people and make them feel appreciated, but in the last few years I’ve kind of let that habit slide a bit. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own life and miss birthdays or anniversaries or just forget to show someone you care once in awhile. So I’ve decided over the next year I’m going to be more proactive about making the special people in my life feel special.

The Things that Make Me Healthier

Most people when they come up with the idea to be healthier immediately jump to exercising. I, however, already exercise on a fairly regular basis, so what can I do to be healthier? Maybe things like:

Drink more water during the day and less coffee.

Being dehydrated sucks and it makes functioning throughout the day difficult. Time to start drinking more water.

Go to bed earlier.

I haven’t had a regular bedtime since elementary school and I miss it. I want to feel well rested again.

Eat healthier and more often.

I need to stop skipping meals and eat healthier meals when I do eat. Having a donut for breakfast is okay once in awhile, but man I fall back on that option more than I care to admit.

Expand your exercise routine.

I like to run, but there’s more to the exercising world than running. I want to start lifting weights and trying different types of cardio and now’s the time to start exploring.

The Things that Make Me More Ambitious

As I said earlier being busy doesn’t equal being ambitious. Being ambitious means challenging yourself to go farther and believing that there are better things out there for you, you just have to keep looking. I want to be more ambitious about my career, about my health, and about my life in general. So to feel more ambitious I am going to:

Set running goals for myself.

Right now I can run about 5 miles without stopping. I’d like to continue to push myself and see how far I can go. Who knows, maybe there’s a marathon in my future.

Craft more.

Making things, whether it be crochet, origami, or painting, is a surefire way to feel more productive and maybe spur your creative juices.

Less time online, more time reading.

I waste way too much time on Facebook, Reddit, and Tumblr. I’d like to read more and all the time I waste on the internet would be better spent finishing my reading list.

Try more baking recipes.

I used to hate baking when I was younger. Now that I’m older I find baking to be relaxing and very productive. It falls into the same category as crafting more. It just makes you feel productive.

Look for more avenues to continue my education.

As I said I’m happy with my job, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more out there for me. There are so many doors left for me to open and one way to begin opening doors is to continue my education. And there’s no better time to start than now. I don’t have any children and I work for a university that will give me a tuition discount. Better get on this now before it’s too late!

So there you go, those are my goals for my 25th year on this planet. I’ve spent a quarter of a century on this planet and would like to make some changes now before I’m halfway through this century and actually have a midlife crisis. It’s hard to suddenly realize you want things to change if you’ve been addressing your wants all along. Who knows, maybe I’ll do a Year-Long Birthday Celebration plan every year. Then again, I don’t need to use my birthday as an excuse to make changes so maybe this plan with turn into a living document that changes and updates with me. My own personal constitution.

Wow! Where in the world did my train of thought go? See? This is why I enjoy brief posts, this one turned into a ramble pretty quickly. I started out beautiful a poetic and ended up blabbering about baking an exercise. But there you go Daniel, I used my wit to slay brevity and ended up well over the requested 1,800.

Enjoy reading this 2,000 word post.