February 18th. I love it.

Hooray for Mardi Gras and a whole week off of school!

First up this week, porgs. I love it. If you haven’t seen the newest Star Wars movie, you should go now. One of my favorite parts of the movie were these funny looking creatures that were all over the planet that Luke was on. It’s like an alien bird thing. I went to the Disney Store and found a stuffed one for $10 so I had to buy it.

I love it.

Next up, birthday festivities. I love it. Thursday was my birthday and there was no end of celebration. On my actual birthday I went to dinner with Diana and Tiffany and then Tiffany and I saw Black Panther. So good. Friday I got ice cream with my favorite girls. Saturday I went to the Tulane baseball game and they won in walkoff fashion and today I went to the zoo with even more friends. So much fun. Year 28 is going to be fun.

I love it.

Finally, breaking a board. I love it. For my birthday at Tae Kwon Do, I got to break my “birthday board.” It’s as fun as it sounds. And I got to keep the board and everyone signed it.

I love it. It’s great. Everything’s great.

I love it.

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Once Upon a Bookshelf – Lily and Dunkin

Lily and DunkinLily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been putting off writing this review because I wanted to do it right.

Lily is a girl. Or at least, wants to be a girl. Her real name is Timmy and after struggling with her identity for as long as she remembers, she finally decides that she will be Lily full-time in 8th grade. Unfortunately, despite having support from her mother and sister, her father is not on board.

Dunkin is a boy. His real name is not actually Dunkin. It’s Norbert and he hates it. He’s just moved to Florida with his mom. He met Lily inadvertently when she burst out of her house in her mom’s dress and sandals and he thought she was pretty. Lily nicknamed him Dunkin because he’s obsessed with Dunkin donuts.

They spend the summer together, never really revealing the truth about themselves to each other. Dunkin finds himself in with the basketball team when school starts and his relationship with Timmy (she actually didn’t go through with being herself once school started) goes sour. Dunkin finally faces the truth of what brought him to Florida and Lily is tired of hiding.

Can they help each other embrace who they are?

***

Lily and Dunkin is one of those books that is unsuspecting on the surface but once you get into the guts of it, it will leave a profound influence on how you think of transgender kids and also kids with mental illnesses.

Gephart does a fantastic job of painting transgender teens and their struggles. Throughout the book, Lily knows who she is but is afraid to let her light shine. It also brings forth the realities of kids that are too afraid to come out as transgender. One of the most touching parts of the book is when Lily’s father (who refuses to accept that she is a girl) finally caves and lets Lily get the hormone blockers she needs (so she doesn’t go through puberty as a boy). Lily asks what changed his mind and he said that the psychiatrist they met with told him the figures of transgenders kids that commit suicide because they feel like they don’t belong.

Dunkin’s story, while less intense on the surface, is just as interesting. Throughout the book, he wonders about where his father is and wishes he were back home with his best friend Phineas. It’s not until the end of the book that you find out that Dunkin is actually bi-polar. His best friend Phineas is make-believe. His lack of medicating himself finds him in the hospital where the truth of his father’s death comes to light.

I can’t gush enough about this riveting story. It was so well written and pertinent to kids and adults today.

View all my reviews

Once Upon a Bookshelf – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good LifeThe Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think the only way to tell you about this book is to share some of my favorite bits of wisdom from Mark Manson.

1. Happiness requires struggle. It grows from problems. Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.

2. There is no such thing as a personal problem. If you have a problem, chances are someone else has it too.

3. Certainty is the enemy of growth. Nothing is certain until it happens and even then, it’s debatable.

4. Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.

5. Sometimes you think you want something but it turns out you don’t.

6. We don’t actually know what a positive or negative experience is.

View all my reviews

February 11th. I love it.

Despite the fact that I was home sick all week, there is still some love!

First up this week, “ER.” I love it. Like I said, I was sick so I managed to watch 2.5 seasons of “ER” in 7 days. Not bad work. It also made me realize that I will not be able to do anything productive at home (like homework) until I finish all 15 seasons. Challenge accepted.

I love it.

Next up, getting my new belt. I love it. Last week I tested for my level 1 green belt in tae kwon do and I passed! The belt ceremony was on Wednesday so I am officially official. Everyone in my class is really excited that I get to start sparring now (they’re all black belts so I am freaking out). Wish me luck!

I love it.

Finally, homemade chili. I love it. I wanted to use my crockpot today so I spent (way too much) time on Pinterest and found a really healthy chili recipe. I’ve never actually made chili in a crockpot and I didn’t know if the recipe would be good but I’m actually really impressed with myself. I improvised a few things (and already have some suggestions from someone who didn’t even try any) so next time it will be even better.

I love it. It’s great. Everything’s great.

I love it.

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The Anxiety Cycle

This morning I woke up feeling icky. Icky, in this sense, meant that I had a headache and a stomachache that made getting out of bed really hard. That may seem like I was sick this morning I thought so too. So naturally I called off work, wrapped myself in my blankets, and went back to bed.

I woke up again around 11am and still had a pretty terrible headache. My stomach felt better but not perfect so I had breakfast and read my book. By the time that was done, my headache was gone, but my stomach was in knots. It was about this time that I realized I was not naturally sick, but I had started what I like to call “The Anxiety Cycle.”

My anxiety always starts off in harmless ways. I think I’m sick and obviously overthink it which doesn’t make it any better (I’m not going to say I’m a hypochondriac but I’m also tend to worry about minor things). Then, once I realize that medicine won’t make me feel better, I start to think it’s anxiety. Then I start trying to identify the problem. Am I worried about work I have to do? Am I worried about something social I have to do today?

After thinking of all of the reasons I’m anxious, I decide to do something about it. I work on things that are on my to-do list. I clean my house. I binge read a book.

And when that doesn’t work?

I realize that most of my anxiety is something I can’t recognize on a regular basis so I’m just going to have to live with it.

So here I am, stuck in the vicious Anxiety Cycle.

February 4th. I love it.

Got the feeling.

First up this week, pizza. I love it. I can’t remember the last time I made pizza at home but I did it today for the Super Bowl and it was delicious. Nothing fancy – just pepperoni and onion and guess what? I have enough for lunch for the next two days. Win!

I love it.

Next up, Racetrac iced coffee. I love it. I had to go to the West Bank yesterday and in order to stay awake while I was there, I got iced coffee from Racetrac (its like Sheetz). It might be my favorite iced coffee I get. And I got so much of it it basically lasted me all day.

I love it.

Finally, the Eagles winning the Super Bowl. Need I say more?

I love it. It’s great. Everything’s great.

I love it.

Introducing Me.

I am an expert planner. I have wicked OCD and anxiety and I fall somewhere on the Autism Spectrum. Pizza is my favorite food and I have it every Thursday. I played rugby in college. I used to work in professional sports and now I’m a teacher. My go-to drink is Mountain Dew. I’m right handed. I read a lot of books – 70 of them last year alone. I like to look for patterns in numbers and I love doing puzzles. I’m really good at playing Mad Gab. R2-D2 is my favorite Star Wars character. “Tangled” is my favorite movie. My dream vacation is being snowed in in a cabin on a mountain. I make sound effects for a lot of the things I do (especially during Tae Kwon Do). I still get carded at the movies. I wrote a book that’s available on Amazon. I am a good cook because I can read directions. I am a rule follower (and enforcer). I own my own organizing business (Organization by Carolyn Deas – OCD, LLC). I’m from Ohio but I live in Louisiana. I have a twin sister. I love B Movies. My dream job is to be a stay at home blogger. My first celebrity crush was John Travolta when I was 7 (“Grease” was my favorite). I am a star-gazer. I don’t understand how people can spell my name incorrectly. I have a slight video game addiction. I can’t share blankets while I’m sleeping. One of my cats plays fetch. My favorite song is “She’s Everything” by Brad Paisley. I don’t wear makeup because it makes my face itch. I’m having trouble thinking of more random fact so I’ll stop now.