Sleep Away Camp was weird.

I’m talking about the movie, not an actual sleep away camp. I mean, one time I was going to an all-girls camp and they had us walk through a cardboard box as a “rebirth” into womanhood so like, I’ve had some weird times but not as weird as Angela’s wheezing.

From Here:

First off, I actually had some fun with this movie. There are a lot of silly tidbits, the acting is uncomfortable but keeps the plot moving, and the deaths are honestly creative. But I’m not going to lie, the entire reason I wanted to watch this movie was because of the end.

Warning: Spoilers (fuck you)

When I was like 12 or something I loved watching VH1’s I love the 80s. One day while watching it they showed the most-famous clip of Angela, naked, holding a head in her hand. She did this with her horrifying wheeze. I fell in love. I needed to see this movie. Who is this chick? What is going on? Why does this chick have a dick? What the fuck?

As I grew to love horror I learned more about this movie but could never find it. No torrent, no download, it was never on Netflix. And then one day it came up on my suggested watch list on my Prime account. If you don’t think for a second I forced a poor, unsuspecting roommate to watch it with me you are seriously wrong. I had to finish it on my own but the amount of satisfaction just knowing I had finished it was immeasurable.

So like my cardboard rebirth, I thought this movie was made to explore the idea of gender v. sexuality. It’s pretty clunky but honestly I was shocked by it’s forward-thinking for the 80s by the fact that it depicted people within the LGBTQA community.

That being said, it didn’t really present the community in a positive way. Unfortunately Angela and the family are mentally-scared by the idea of her uncle being gay. So much so that her aunt decides that her nephew will be raised as her niece.  So her first encounter with gay people is negative. Then she (arguably a person from the trans community, albeit unwanted) is the murderer the whole time. Like, this is not a super progressive horror movie. It’s still kinda shitty. That being said, the scares and gore are a lot of fun.

I believe if you like horror, which a massive amount of humans apparently do, you should watch this movie. It has some neat camera work and their use of stereotypes is pretty fun (jocks, nerds, etc.) Just don’t expect to walk away feeling better about yourself or something. Like, take what you can from the movie, but don’t think it’ll teach you anything about race, sexuality, orientation or anything that you want. You just get to watch a pedophile die by gumbo.

Being Sad and Being OK About It

My friend @komahux drew this and it’s pretty much exactly me.

I restarted therapy lately (thank God) and they told me something that I kinda already knew but didn’t want to deal with. I am hella depressed, hello. At first I was worried, I wanted to figure out how to fix the problem, and my therapist stopped me and was like, “you’re super sad and that’s ok.” And it was the first time since being diagnosed with depression that I felt ok with it.

For most of the time being post-diagnosed I have wanted to be happy and positive to show myself and others that you don’t have to be a sad sack to be depressed. I wanted to be able to live with it, not in spite of it. But lately I have been beating myself up because I’m not happy, things are tough, and I’m tired. All. The. Time.

After talking to my therapist about it they helped me learn that I’m not always going to be my best self or the happiest human in the room. No matter what tough stuff happens and even though you have to work through it you don’t have to be happy about it.

And now I’m trying to learn how to take care of myself even when I’m not the person I want to be. So here is what I’m doing. I don’t know if it’ll help you out but maybe it will? And I figure that’s worth it.

1. Be ok in the moment
To combat my never-ending existential dread (which is forever encroaching and will someday envelop us all: fun fact) I try to enjoy a moment every day. Maybe I’m watching a really good YouTube, maybe I’m seriously in love with a plant I walk past, or maybe I did an adult thing and want to treat myself to something. I enjoy these little things while I can to distract myself from the unending march to the grave.

2.  Be nice to yourself
Sometimes you’ll be the only one that is nice to you. And I don’t mean you have to practice self care or sit in a tub with an artisanal bath bomb (you can though) but make sure you eat ok, get enough sleep, and you plan ahead as much as possible to be secure. Nothing fills me with more peace than when the bills are paid and there are groceries in the kitchen.

3. Plan when you can
As mentioned above you should really plan ahead when you can. It seems boring (and it is) but there are ways to make it more fun and it will give you some clarity in the long run. Honestly the only thing I do to “make planning fun” is buy a journal (usually from the 99 cent store) and stickers (also from the 99 cent store or Dollar Tree). It gives me enough drive to want to plan the things and then do the things that I actually do the things I need to do – usually.

I don’t know if this will help anyone out, or even help me out, honestly. But I hope it does and I hope all of you that lurk my page (oddly a large amount from Australia BTW) are doing all right.

The Nail Game

Lately life has been fucky to say the least. I’ve spent much of my free time job/house hunting, and the rest of the time I’m working at one of my two jobs. It’s been stressful, it’s been intense and I hope it is almost over. Because of this I don’t feel like I have a lot of control. Luckily I have found a way to take some control into my own hands. Or on my hands anyway.

As some of my friends know, I’m a big ol’ fan of nail art. The more ridiculous, the better. As my friends also know, I’m not great at it. I have for many years, tried and failed with stencils, stamps, freehand, and everything in between. As I’ve aged, however, I’ve definitely improved.

About a year ago I started following a nail vlog, Simply Nailogical. At the beginning I was using a terrible base coat, with equally awful nail polish, and top coat (or taco for my holosexuals). All from the DollarTree.

For the first few months I appreciated the ways Cristine showed you how to file and care for your nails. Despite the fact that I was working two jobs in food and my budget for nail care was $0 I did actually notice a change. My nails were getting stronger and my polish was only chipping on the second day of wear. Better than the first! Who knew wrapping the tip would help so much?

Since I’ve gotten a better job my nail game has improved. I now have a budget for my nail routine (it’s $25 every other month), I have a real base and fast-dry taco that doesn’t suck, and I’m slowly but surely learning how to prefect my manis more and more.

It isn’t a huge difference, and I seriously doubt it is something that will help my career or long term goals. But I think it is worth my time. It gives me confidence to know my nails are done. It also gives me about an hour to relax, meditate and improve a part of myself, albeit small. It also often convinces me to do more that improves my day. After nails I’ll usually study, read, or make plans with friends. It is, more often than not, a positive step toward something else.

So yes, I need another ridge-filler base coat and holo taco. Yes, I need that gray/purple shade. Yes, I know I have three others colors that are incredibly similar. No, I won’t stop buying nail oil dispensers. Back off.

Here is what I’m working with nowadays. It isn’t much but it is an improvement over what I used to have.



Eating Sauer Kraut (and my feelings) on New Year’s Day

It’s been a rough year. I tried dating which so far has entailed some rather awful coder bros and a boat-load of unsolicited weiners. I got an awesome, weird job. I creep on your social media for a living now. I have been blessed with absolutely beautiful friends and coworkers (like they have seen me at my worst and love me anyway). I moved to a beautiful home (which I was then promptly told I can’t stay in, more on that later), and I’m trying to survive and create a good life for myself. It’s been unfathomably hard, I’ve cried a lot, and I may be a patron crazy lady of Mountain View.

Because of this sudden need to relocate this week I decided I could use all the luck I could get. It is ancient Pa Dutch tradition to have sauer kraut on New Year’s Day for good luck. I had no idea how to find it in this strange land but I found it and I ate all of it.

My poor attempt at sauer kraut.

I called my mom in the grocery store and messaged her again when I got home to make sure I did everything right. I cut up an apple, strained the kraut, and boiled the fuck out of it. I also bought Bob Evan’s mashed potatoes because I can’t actually cook. It was delicious, it tasted like home, and I may or may not have fought back tears while I ate it. It was surprisingly grounding and comforting and I’m so glad I had it.

Having a meal that was so ingrained in my childhood reminded me of the absolutely amazing and supportive family that I have. I come from a woman that created masterpieces of writing, herbalism, and just a life from what most people would consider nothing. I have a wonderful aunt and uncle that have supported me and loved me when I needed it the most. And I have a wonderful cousin who has brought more laughter and joy into my world than I thought imaginable. He has also given me an amazing cousin-in-law (???) that has been incredibly patient and generous with her time and her love.

Despite the fact that I have had more panic attacks than I can count since Christmas (the day I was told I needed to move out in 30 days) I know I’ll be ok.

I guess I’m telling you this because I know there are probably 18 thousand people out there that are having just as scary (or scarier) of a time as me. In just the bay alone there are countless amounts of families that are homeless or living in conditions that are far from ideal. But we’re making it.

Good luck in the new year and hit your bitch up if you want a roommate that’ll sing to your cat in the morning.

Cleaning Out My Closet


So I went home a little less than a month ago and made a point to do a deep clean of my old closets (yes, I had two. Yes, they were walk-in closets. No, you can’t judge me.) Before I left for Pennsylvania I was offered a new, fancy office job. It seemed like the perfect time to get some office outfits from home and clear out some space in my mom’s house.

I was able to clear out most of my stuff out of my mother’s home but it was harder than I thought. First, I didn’t realize how much I had held onto over the years. At the end of the purge, I only kept about a suitcase and a half of my clothes. Most of it was for my new job but some of it was just stuff I couldn’t live without. The rest ended up being donated. It was about four trash bags worth of clothing along with two boxes of knick-knacks. While I had hoped for more of a solid clean out, I’m still impressed with my work.

I tell you this not to brag about my ability to donate (ok, maybe a little) but to share with you what I learned.

First off, I don’t need that much. While I don’t plan to become a stunning zero-waste or minimalist blog (even though I follow them all) I was pleased to know that I could live without all the things I thought I couldn’t live without. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and nervous, it might be time to clean out something in your world. It could be your car, purse, gym bag, closet, or your whole house. Whatever you decide, I assure you, it’ll feel awesome.

If you’re unsure if you should let it go, let it go. You will be amazed at what little you use on a daily basis. Since I moved to California I am amazed by what I need, what I live without, and what I’ve found I love. It’s not much. If your family is moving or they need to clean out the familial home, let them clean out your old bedroom. If it isn’t with you now, chances are you’ll never use it again.

Things don’t care, things are meant to be used. When I was in college we talked a lot about Indian Giving and how it was misconstrued in our culture (“our” being North American). Since I learned the true meaning I’ve been trying to live by the rule that if it’s collecting dust, it’s time for the object to go to a new owner. I find that those you give your possessions to are incredibly grateful and you’re happy to see the object go to good use. So go forth and purge!

Coffee Shop Etiquette

Not my affogato but still a damn fine affogato.

So I’ve been working in a coffee shop for a year now. I adore the people I work with, the customers, and the product I offer. I know what I do is actually a pretty important job and I do find it to be pretty rewarding. Yet, there are some things that drive me crazy. Here are a few things that I and my coworkers hate:

  1. If you ask someone to watch your stuff, be quick about it.

    Try to be back within five to ten minutes. Otherwise, the person you asked and the coffee house staff is already worried you left a pipe bomb or something sketchy.

  2. “Don’t be gross, Tammy.”

    Please for the love of God and all that is holy please clean up after your gross self. No one wants to touch your chewed gum, your straw, or your used napkins. We try to make cleaning up after yourself easy and quick. Please help us keep the place nice and comfortable. It also saves us a lot of time so we can focus more on making you a delicious cup of coffee!

  3. Tip us.

    Nothing, nothing annoys my coworker more than when people ask each other if they should tip us (usually in front of us like we don’t exist). Is there a tip jar? Is there a prompt upon signing? Then we would appreciate it. I understand you already paid for a $5 cup of coffee and it seems ridiculous to ask for a tip but we often depend on those tips to continue, y’know, living. A good night can be the difference between getting groceries or not.

  4. Take your phone conversation outside.

    Coffee shops are for coffee, conversation, and contemplation. Please take your conference call outside and come back in when you’re finished. Otherwise, you’re being hella distracting and annoying. Some people actually use the space to work on their consulting jobs or remote work, so yeah, it can actually be detrimental to the people around you.

  5. Don’t eat or drink stuff from other stores.

    The staff works really hard to make the environment comfortable. Your Thai takeout is ruining it. We work even harder to give you a quality product and a nice place to be. Please support us by keeping outside food outside and grabbing a cup and staying a while.

  6. It’s ok to camp out, but don’t spread out.

    We love studying in coffee shops, too! Stay awhile and if you’re funny or nice we might even give you a deal. If you want to come for a serious cram session we will encourage it. But please, please don’t take up four outlets, two tables, and three chairs. We will ask you to share and we won’t feel bad about it.

  7. Please be nice to the bathroom.

    I have seen some real gross shit (literally and figuratively) in coffee shop bathrooms. I don’t know what it is but I feel like they get a lot of abuse. So please, if you blow up the bathroom, clean up after yourself. I’m not asking you to deep clean the toilet but, like, don’t leave a murder scene behind you.

  8. Don’t be a dick.

    If you know me you know this is basically my golden rule. Baristas work way harder than you may think. If you’re nice to us we will be way more patient and accommodating than necessary.

    And Jesus Christ, don’t hit on us. Like ever. I know some baristas are ok with it (as long as we’re slow) but honestly, it is uncomfortable and can be scary (sometimes). I have had people ask me out and when I have politely declined they’ve continued coming in and pushing the subject. It can make people feel vulnerable and nervous. Trust me, I’ll be a lot more comfortable if you ask me out somewhere where I’m not contractually obligated to be nice to you.

What I do when I’m Homesick

Since I have moved away I have felt the worst of the worst of homesickness. I have spent whole days in bed. I have searched the entire Bay Area for food that reminds me of home and I have called my mom, at most, four times in one day. Moving away is rough. It’s scary, hard, and lonely. I can’t imagine I’m the only one that feels this way. For those that are going insane for homemade food or missing their family, here is what I do.

Just a few people I miss.

  1. Call Mom.
    Or your dad, or aunt, or whoever. Call your loved ones as much as you want. They will be happy to hear from you and will love to know what’s going on. They miss you as much as you miss them. So don’t be scared, they want to talk.
  2. Have a meal with friends.
    I am lucky to have my cousin and his lady about 20 minutes away from my house. We have meals together which has seriously kept me sane throughout the months. So if you have friends or family nearby, schedule regular meals with them. Having a good conversation and good food will help you recollect your thoughts and feel grounded.
    And if you are far away from loved ones find a place you feel comfortable. If that’s a coffee shop, bar, or restaurant great. Have a place to nourish your body while you shoot the shit with other people. You’ll be amazed how much better you feel after.
  3. Snuggle your blankie.
    If you have a toy or childhood security blanket with you, use it. I don’t care how silly it looks or feels I still cuddle my blankie when I’m feeling raw or sad. It reminds me of home and when I could relax with my family. It’s not the same but it’s pretty close.
  4. Get the best care package from your family.
    When my mom knows I’ve had a rough couple of days she will often surprise me with a care package. It always has my favorite local foods, knick-knacks, and products. It’s always a relief to see the package on my door. It reminds me that I will have a taste of home and, more importantly, my mom cares.
  5. Use the laundry detergent you used at home.
    Being able to smell like home or to wrap yourself in blankets that smell like your bed back home is extremely comforting. It will also make you do laundry on a regular basis which, y’know, you should do anyway.
  6. Make food your family makes.
    If you don’t know what to make or need some inspiration, here is what I make to remind me of home:
    Pesto and Shrimp Recipe
    Chicken and Dumplings Recipe
    You’ll need:
    Box of Bisquick
    2 to 4 pieces of chicken breast
    Olive oil
    One onion
    Chicken Stock
    What to do:
    Chop carrots, onions, and celery. Add veggies and chicken to the chicken stock in a large soup pot. Then add two teaspoons of olive oil with spices you like and garlic. While soup is coming to a boil make dumplings using butter, milk, and Bisquick. Use enough so it is sticky but solid. When the stock is boiling add dumplings and turn while they cook. Wait until they are completely cooked. Slice open chicken and dumplings to be sure. Once ready, enjoy!
    Pomegranate Green Tea
  7. Cry.
    You’re going to cry anyway so let it happen. It’s ok to cry, sob, and just be generally miserable for a little bit. As long as you pick yourself back up and keep going, go ahead and scream it out.
  8. Be social.
    I know, it sounds like the worst. It means you have to wear clothes and see hoomans. But trust me, it’s worth it. Go to a MeetUp, set up a drink with friends, or try to go somewhere new. You’ll never know what you’ll find.
  9. Watch your favorite movie(s)
    Whenever I’m feeling too homesick I watch one of my favorite movies before bed. It helps me relax and remember what I love about home. So turn on The Little Mermaid or Casa Blanca and snuggle with your teddy. You’ll feel more at ease in minutes.
  10. Take care of yourself.
    If that means going for a run, camping, or just having a bath, do you. Do what makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. By recharging your batteries you’ll remember the world isn’t falling apart around you and that everything is ok.
  11. Plan a visit home.
    If it is getting too rough to be away from home maybe it is time to visit the folks. If it is for the holidays or just because planning your trip is always a good way to lift your spirits. It will also help you organize some other aspects of your life because you have to plan ahead.
  12. Order and use native plants from your hometown.
    I adore using native plants when I’m homesick. My mother on a regular basis will send me sassafras soda and local plants for medicine. I love being able to use what I’ve had all my life even when I’m in a foreign land.
  13. Remember why you’re doing this.
    It’s been rough but I would do it all over again. I’m so glad I’m doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing. If you’re wondering if you should head home or call it a day, give it another week. There have been so many days where I thought I was done and then someone or something completely changed my mind. So remember why you’re here and see if you can make it better.

Moving to California: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Part 3

Fuck. Now what?

I’ll be real, I have no idea. At the moment I am debating another move to beautiful Colorado or staying here and trying to figure out my next step. I realized that I’m at a point in my life where I can be whatever I want. I have no idea what that is, however, and it is terrifying. But I’m proud of what I’ve done and how far I’ve come. I didn’t expect this at all. I never really thought I would leave my hometown, let alone move across the country and try something completely different. And I have a feeling there are a few people who feel the same way I do. If you do here is what I’ve learned:

When I was sick I would buy myself ramen. I think it saved my life.
  1. Be nice to yourself because most people won’t be.
    Now there are good people out there but there are also plenty of shit bags. Take care of yourself and make your sanity and well-being your first priority. From there you will find the beauty in other humans. But first, take care of you.
    So this partly means eat well, exercise, get outside and all those other cute self-care things. But it also means be your own advocate. This is probably the hardest lesson I have had to learn (I’m still learning). In work, at home, and among friends always make sure you’re ok. Do you want a raise? Fucking ask for it. Dislike something a roommate is doing? Tell them. It won’t get better unless you do something.
  2. Have fun where you are.
    Even if you hate your job(s) try to have a good time. It makes the work and life way easier.

    You’ll be surprised what you may find.
  3. Explore the mundane.
    Try a different grocery store, gas station, post office, or laundromat. It’ll help you see more of your town and you may find a place you love. While exploring the neighborhood I work in I have found a wonderful Chinese herb shop that offers good quality dried herbs like lavender and hibiscus. It is now one of my favorite places to visit.
    so pretty
  4. Have a safe haven.
    While I was working two restaurant jobs my safe haven became a coffee shop down the road. It was where I could catch up on emails, write letters to my friends and loved ones, and just kind of take stock. If your safe haven is your apartment, bedroom, favorite coffee shop, or park just be sure to find a place you can relax.

    Since I decided to follow my interest in exploring new places I got to meet one of my favorite people, Ben Kissel!
  5. Follow hobbies and passions.
    It’ll keep you sane and may make your more social and excited to meet new people. Since moving to California I have met some amazing people in herbalism. I feel so lucky to have found them and hope to keep them as lifelong friends.
  6. Stay in touch.
    Staying in touch will keep you grounded and remind you that no matter where you are someone cares about you and wants you to be happy. There will be about two million times where you feel absolutely alone and worthless when you move away from your friends and family. It sucks but it is completely normal. Just give your mom a call. Or text your best friend. Or plan a trip with your old roommate to reunite.

    I promise it will get better. You will find friends, you will figure it out. You just have to keep going.

Moving to California: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Part 2

If you haven’t read part one yet, you should!

So after falling onto an air mattress and not moving for two days I began looking for work. I soon realized that while I loved living with my cousin and his lady, I needed my own space. Luckily I was able to find a barista job at a great coffeehouse after about two weeks. Along with that I got a second restaurant job so I could move out and support myself. It happened within the first three weeks and before I knew it I was able to find a place to call home as well.

The best fucking bed (I slept on an air mattress for six months before this upgrade).

Within the span of four (?) weeks I was able to move into a great home in East San Jose with a group of wonderful weirdos and a dog. There I have my own space, good friends, and enough time to figure out how to save money and look for a job that I love.

Between my family and my roommates I am amazed with the immense love and support I have gotten along the way. If I am exhausted and ravenous my cousin and his girlfriend are more than happy to hear me bitch or make an amazing home-cooked meal. I am always enthusiastically welcomed home by my favorite roommate, Tucker (the dog). He is always ready to go for a walk to clear my head or snuggle on the couch. And the other roommates will always crack me up or give me great advice no matter how drained or vexed I am.

The most patient roommate ever.

I’m still at a massive cross-roads about what I’m going to do with myself. But I know I somehow fell into a wonderful support-base that I’m extremely lucky to have. Since moving here I have definitely become a more positive person. Even though I’m tired 99.99 percent of the time I’m more driven and confident than I ever thought I could be.

So, corny time 2018 but, if you want to take a chance let me be the person to tell you it’s time to take it. It will be hard, you will cry, you may be uncomfortable more often than you like but you will be better for it. There are still days where I want to run back home to Lancaster. There are countless moments where I miss my home and my friends. Fuck, I miss good pizza. But I’m so proud of myself and I cannot wait to see what I do next. I don’t know what I’m doing, man. No one does. So wish me luck!

Also here’s a few stunning things I’ve seen and experienced since I moved.


Moving to California: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Going away cake
The Road to San Jose
Going away cake
The best cake ever.
Almost half a year ago I (somewhat randomly ) decided to move to California. With my cousin, what I could fit in my tiny Yaris, and $3k in my pocket I headed west.
ORocking chairur first stop was a state park in Ohio where we pitched our tents in the night and passed out. I had never had such a trek in front of me and it surprised me how tired and excited I was at the same time. By about seven a.m. the next morning we had dressed, packed, and were back on the road.
Unfortunately the Midwest was a bit of a blur up until Mile-High Pie. There I had the most beautiful chocolate meringue pie that I’ve ever eaten. It was a massive slice of Heaven in a somewhat boring and bland trip. From there it got a little weird. 
We showed up in Salinas Kansas the next day. All was well and we were heading into town for an early breakfast. But as I was getting off the highway I was pulled over for going 40 in a 25-mile area. Luckily I was let off with a warning but not without this little gem.
Hi Hungry. I’m Amandad.
After the morning and about six hours of driving, we ended up in one of my favorite places in the entire world: Boulder, Colorado. There we met my friend’s boyfriend and his roommates. For the first time since I was in Pennsylvania we were able to relax with people we knew and in a place that almost felt like home. This was when I knew I was doing the right thing. The next day we walked and drove around the Rockies and appreciated all the majesty that was around us. This day also led to me realizing I’m a Disney princess (albeit the least-photogenic one).
Once down from the Rockies Harry and I took my first trip to a dispensary. It was like Disneyland for adults. Do you want weed-laced toffee? You got it! Do you want an indica tincture to drift off to sleep? Can do! It was insane. I spent the most I had spent on the whole trip there and made the rest of our time on the trip a lot funnier. Of course we waited until we finished driving for the night.
We left Colorado to go on with the trip to Wyoming. The cowboy state had way more to offer than I would have ever imagined. After going through a harrowing night of trying to find a place to stay for the night we got back on the road to see The Great Tetons. I had never seen anything so daunting and stunning. The mountain range was massive, stark, and absolutely beautiful.
Then there was Yellowstone. I know, I know Yellowstone is beautiful but like, Holy. Fuck. It is so beautiful. Like, I can’t even put the beauty into words. Just look at the pictures.
 After spending a few days in Yellowstone we began to mosey on home. We stopped off in Salt Lake City and the last night on the trip we spent in a small, desert town in Nevada.
This may have been the weirdest night of the trip. Now, if you know me, you know my favorite film genre is horror. With that my worst fear is cannibal hillbillies. So yeah, the latest The Hills Have Eyes hits close to home for me. So the desert is not my favorite. Like, fuck that place. So there we were, in the desert, with a tummy full of weed gummies, I’m finally calm and lightening strikes. With the thunder clapping I am officially in freak-out mode, shoving my entire tent into my car all the while loudly ranting about hicks that will eat our legs like corn on the cob. My cousin found this luckily funny. Harry calmly put all of our tents away while he asked me to put the fire out. From there we carefully drove down the mountain and slept in a tiny, murdery little room. After that, however, I was ready to get to California and relax.
Which I will tell you all about in my next blog post! 😀