I’ve been down a lot over the last few years.

Let’s make it the last decade or so.

Things have been crazy, things have been hard, things have made me cry and scream and fight.

Blood, sweat and tears means way more to me now than ever before.

Because everything I have done has had some serious pieces of me poured into it. Bled into it.

I don’t take my work lightly, I put as much effort into it as I can. It’s not always perfect, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t care or that I didn’t try. Sometimes this doesn’t translate into an end product that everyone likes. Sometimes, people don’t give a shit.

When this is the case, we often feel down, malcontent, anxious and even miserable. Yet if I have learned from anything, the down, turns back up. The down is also a chance to turn things around and make something of significance to your own life!

Take the pain and frustration of a failure, or heartbreak or being frightened to tears, to find something about yourself.

Maybe it’s a chance to learn something new to make the “failure” better in the future. Perhaps it’s not even changing your work, but demanding respect and care from who you work for. Maybe it’s even realizing “bad” work atmospheres as they become visible and learning to get out when you can. Sometimes it’s learning how to make trustworthy friends and that you’re worth more than people treat you like.

Or maybe it’s time to learn a new language or a skill so you can market yourself, maybe just brush up on a set area. Learn a craft for your free time. Read a book you’ve not had time for.

The upside to falling down is that it can also shock your mind into realizing problems around you. When I was forced to resign from a second job in six months, I realized so clearly what I had felt in my gut. They were going with a company to do marketing and they were downsizing everywhere! It wasn’t me, it was the company making serious changes.Of which, I had ignored for weeks while I saw co-workers leave or conveniently retire. I ignored overheard phone calls, and being ghosted by my boss. Now I KNOW what to look for….and I know it wasn’t personal when several other people were also thrown under the bus.

I also have a much better understanding that just because somewhere looks like a good place to be on the outside, doesn’t mean it’s actually a candy center….often it’s toxic sludge.

So I urge you, if you are down, deep down, deep in the trenches….fight…fight for yourself and the ability to be better. Fight your way out and up and onward and I leave you with this song as a measure of hope.

Best,

Rebecca

 

The Upside of Down

musings

Being a Bookseller (As told by Merida from Brave)

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Old Firehouse Books

We start out all bright eyed and bushy-tailed, hopeful to save the world from a lack of reading!

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It all seems like fun and games, a world of endless possibilities and joy!

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Then we start to realize it’s not all fun and games.

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You realize there is a lot of work and practice that goes into becoming the excellent bookseller you were meant to be.

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You realize no one reads signs, in a bookstore, because…READING? (So you go home and do this.)

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You will think about food and eating way more than you thought possible (mostly because you are surrounded by delicious restaurants.)

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You’ll also try to eat between customers…. and look like a goober.

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Some days are less exciting than others. (Oh the culling!)

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While other days are brimming with excitement!


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Some days you can be a total dork and have way too much fun!

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At times you might…

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Harry Potter Party Crafts

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Harry Potter themes- Blog originally for Old Firehouse Books

Old Firehouse Books

If some of you attended our Harry Potter Halloween parties you purchased a lovely invitation from us with a darling wax seal on the envelope. This wax seal was made with a few hours some wax and an online stamp. Below is a video on how to do it yourself for your next event.

Here is the letter template I used:

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which I adjusted for each party depending on if it was for Adults or Children.

Here is our Hogwarts Express ticket PDF:

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Photos soon to come of this year’s shindig!

Best,

Rebecca Lee Robinson

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DIY Wands Tutorial

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A little piece I wrote for Old Firehouse Books Last Year!

Old Firehouse Books

At our Halloween parties we made WANDS and it was so easy and fun we thought we would share it with you!

  1. Start with a chopstick of any size! The larger ones look more like the ones from the movie, but small ones look darling too.wand1
  2. Use glue-stick glue to create textures and designs. I found glitter glue and it added a lot to the overall feel and look.
  3. wand2Paint whatever color you want after the glue has dried.wand4
  4. Add last touches of glitter and paint in layers until you get the look you want!wand3
  5. ENJOY!

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There are a ton of videos and blogs on this subject. But welcome to my take on the situation. I have only found a few things to be true when travelling and the rest to be crap.

I don’t put necklaces through straws so they don’t get tangled, because I only take one set of jewelry with me so I lessen the risk of losing something (or having it stolen). I don’t take much shampoo in little bottles because it’s far more logical to “buy it when you get there” and in small quantities.

Perhaps this sounds a little rugged and I know we have favorite hair products, BUT the reality is that one exploded bottle of shampoo or lotion in your suitcase can make a mess that’s way worse to deal with than messy hair. And unless you are going somewhere where you know they won’t sell cosmetics, then just buy something when you get there. You often can find better products in places like Europe, that will work better in the water/sun/humidity in that location.

For instance, a pharmacist in Rome noted how pasty I was, and insisted I buy some SPF50. “Blanca, blanca, come here” she told me and shoved the bottle in my hand with some tampons. This was the best sunscreen I have ever used and I wish I could find it here in the states! It didn’t cause me to break out, it was light and it worked to keep “blanca” from being “rosso”.

Travel Hacks No One Actually Tells You

Cruising, Ireland, musings, Photography, Travel

Did you know Dementors in Harry Potter are symbols for J.K. Rowling’s own struggle with depression? for me, they are the only analogy that makes sense to someone that has spent at least 15 years fighting those same monsters.

They come and go, sometimes I have the strength to fight, sometimes they overpower me. Sometimes I forget that they exist.

I have struggled with depression since I was about 12. That’s 13 years now…meaning I’ve been “depressed” longer than I’ve not been.

Yet, that’s only when I remember it getting bad enough that I thought my death might be a good option. Which is crummy that a 12 y/o would ever feel that way. Yet, at 12, even though you aren’t given the credit, we know more and feel more than the adults around us understand.

I would say my real depression started at age 9 or 10. 4th grade. When conflicts with members of my family hit a breaking point. And all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and listen to audio books. Compound this with constant and debilitating stomach aches. Splash on anxiety and I was starting to struggle with all the things a normal older child should be able to deal with.

Sadly, I didn’t always have a support system that could help me or reach me when I had attacks. Often, members of my own family could be Dementors.

This isn’t about the list of things that have made it hard to change my internal dialogue, but a list of things on how to fight the darkness that creeps steadily and sneakily into your chest when you’re busy trying to survive.

Yet, either I can fall down with the monster, into a dark hole. OR

OR I can fight it.

Because I have come too damn far to not.

It’s like getting to the final battle of Hogwarts and not showing up, you know you need to be there, but you forget to set your alarm…..

It’s easy to forget the alarm, but it’s a lot harder to make up for lost time on an already short existence on this blue marble.

Here are my tips on fighting off the Dementors…

  • Find little things
    • I love stupid animal videos and many hours have been spent laughing at dogs fall down stairs and cats run into walls. But who cares if it’s nonsense or silly, I can laugh. I can laugh and laugh and laugh and sometimes that is just the best feeling…remembering what it’s like to laugh.

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  • Remember what helps
    • make a list, or just think a few moments on what helps you feel better. Is it a hug from your partner or sister? How about chocolate chip cookies? Avoid co-dependence but try the little things to help. Remember if a poem helps you feel grounded, or a favorite book helps you feel alive.
  • Love
    • sometimes we can’t love ourselves, but we can love something else. When we share love, we can receive love and I believe if you love more and more, then you can’t stop loving everyone, especially yourself.
  • Be Healthy
    • many times, when I feel at my worst, it’s because I have been eating out too much, or not eating enough healthy things my body needs. This is a good chance to eat some salad, be mindful of foods you crave and maybe take a walk or a hike.

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  • Keep it simple
    • it’s easy, as a culture, to bury ourselves in To-Do lists. however, sometimes the list is a ridiculous set of standards that causes more harm then good. When you feel low, don’t worry about all the dishes or laundry, just enjoy little things. Embrace the crazy and be. DO WHAT YOU NEED TO FEEL BETTER.
    • The world will not end if you don’t clean the toilet TODAY
  • Do something for confidence
    • if you feel off inside, you’ll feel off outside. Not that anything may be wrong, but one may just need a boost. Maybe it’s a new haircut, or getting your nails done. Try a new perfume, or pull out those heels you never wear. Perhaps you just need a new toilet paper, but sometimes, the little things make a big difference.
  • Make a change
    • Change can be terrifying, but also liberating. Move some furniture around, paint a wall, sew something. Throw out old clothes, buy some new clothes, try a new blanket etc. New hobbies and other things can help a lot.
  • Reach out
    • talk to the people you trust and love to see how they are doing, Go get food or a drink. Be together, be friends, be loving
  • Meditate
    • This helps myself, and millions of others, find some sense in the storm that is their mind. In the internet age you can find thousands of videos, instructions and ideas to help with meditation. No need for it to be intimidating
  • Self-Care
    • Most importantly, practice self-care. Be loving, be kind and be patient. This life is hard and disappointing and no one makes it out alive….so sometimes we have to step back and care. Talk to people to get through the time, therapists and doctors may have some ideas to get you back on your feet.

Best,

Rebecce

musings