Sunday, August 29, 2010

Soothing a Savage Heart

Even though it is my most repeated comment, I will say it again - this has been one hell of a week, and I'm behind on making my weekly song pick. I've been super busy at work and haven't had a lot of time to listen to all of my new music and pick out favorite songs. However, I still have a couple that have been on my mind this week.
Brandi Carlile - Hiding My Heart

Whenever I'm having a day that I really don't want to face, I shuffle Brandi Carlile on my iPod. Her songs are always so beautiful and calming. It always seems like I can find some sort of answer or comfort in the lyrics and for that I am always grateful.

Grant Lee Phillips - Boys Don't Cry

I always loved Grant Lee Phillips on Gilmore Girls, but I didn't have any of his albums. While scanning through the $5 albums on Amazon, I came across Nineteeneighties and was completely hooked. I'm a big fan of both the 80's and super awesome covers, so it felt like this one was made for me. Even more, I rarely enjoy anyone covering a Cure song (because who could really top Robert Smith), but I love this cover. I'm definitely interested in listening to a lot more of Grant Lee Phillips.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

80s Movie Marathon

80's movies remind me of my childhood and make me feel great, so when I wasn't feeling well, I filled the DVD player and went to town.  This was a difficult list to create, but the following are my 10 essential 80's movies:
  1. Pretty in Pink
  2. The Breakfast Club
  3. Sixteen Candles
  4. Some Kind of Wonderful
  5. Better off Dead
  6. Valley Girl
  7. Weird Science
  8. The Lost Boys
  9. Ferris Beuller's Day Off
  10. Say Anything
This list feels incomplete. I could come up with another 20 essential movies. Honorable mention to movies like Teen Witch, Adventures in Babysitting, Back to the Future, St. Elmo's Fire, Just One of the Guys, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, The Goonies, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Heathers.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Take Me Back to My Teen Angst

I’ve been listening to Pearl Jam all weekend, which immediately takes me back to 1994. It was my freshman year of high school. Reality Bites, Singles, and The Crow were my favorite movies. My bedroom walls were plastered with photos of Eddie Vedder and Ethan Hawke. I was devoted to The X-Files and My So-Called Life. I wore flannel and combat boots and thought that I was so freakin’ cool. Actually, come to think of it, I still love all of those things.Good times, good times.

Pearl Jam – Porch

Nirvana – In Bloom

Friday, August 13, 2010


I am all about the details this week. I’m off of my television habit for the week and suddenly everything seems exponentially more interesting. My picks this week are emotional and they both capture these absolutely beautiful moments with all the little details.

Peter Bjorn & John – Paris 2004

I saw Peter Bjorn & John open for Depeche Mode. Well, I sorta heard them, but I was way more excited that David Gahan would be walking out on that stage. Peter Bjorn & John, I am really sorry that I didn’t pay more attention.

Local Natives – Airplanes

This is a thoughtful song with some beautiful imagery. Writing is so much more amazing when the writer is being the most real. The images might not be identical to mine, but I can definitely understand a want to know my ancestors.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fools and Playground Brawls

I’m annoyed at just how slack I have been about writing about my music picks each week. I never have an issue picking out the songs but finding the time is sometimes near impossible – even to write a few, silly lines about my song picks. Ahhhh life.

Lawrence ArabiaLook Like a Fool

Two weeks later and I’m still enjoying Lawrence Arabia. The first few lines of this song crack me up and make me remember a few times when I wanted something so bad that I was more than willing to play the fool.

I’m going to try to see her tonight, even though I am going to look like a fool. Because I’m gonna drink until the reasons it seems like a bad idea all crawl off and they disappear into a cave.

The Black Keys – Tighten Up

All of the hype around Brothers made me want to steer clear of The Black Keys, but something made me really curious about them and I finally gave in and listened. I kind of love them, which is just the irony I need to bring me back to reality and out of my delusion of music snobbery. The Black Keys are pretty badass. I love that their sound is a bit of a kickback to the 60’s with a funkier twist. The video for this song alone was enough to sell me on the band. Nothing is better than a love affair with a playground brawl and donuts.

How I Took Myself on Vacation.

I was really nervous about taking myself on vacation alone, but it made me more confident and trust that I can take care of myself.
How I did it: There wasn't any one thing that I did to make this happen, but I'm always wishing that I could travel and visit different places. I've always been scared to travel alone and have never been very good at asking other people to go do things. When I visited New York a few months back, I fell in love with the city. I wanted to be able to hang out there for a weekend doing whatever I wanted.
To feel safer, I did a lot of research about all the places I wanted to visit. I tried to make smart choices when travelling around the city (no subway at night, I'm way too Midwestern and I'd never be able to hide it!).

Lessons & tips: Just go for it. My brain was filled with reasons why I shouldn’t go and insecurities, but when you really want to do something, you deal with all of that.

Also, New York was a great choice. It was a city where it wasn't so obvious that I was travelling alone. I felt less self-conscious. I'm sure that if I went to some touristy place where everyone was in big groups, I would have felt weird. However, there's nothing quite like being able to do your vacation your own way.
Resources: For this one, I have to say that I just had to be brave and jump in. My family and friends were incredibly supportive and were there for me. The whole situation helped me to build confidence in myself.

See more progress on: Take myself on a fun vacation.

How to Spend a Weekend in New York City

It was exciting, fun, and somewhat overwhelming to get lost in one of the most interesting cities in the world. Mostly, I want to know when can I go again.

How I did it: In April, I visited New York City with my sister and completely fell in love with the city. I was so bummed out when we had to leave, so I made plans to go back a few months later. I read articles on Wikipedia and also read a few travel books about the area, so I would know the different boroughs of the city and know how things functioned. I researched a lot of information on the internet (especially to find a hotel) and even created a Google Map Layer for my phone that had everything that I thought looked interesting. Other than lots of research, reading, and reservations, the trip was easy to plan and very, very exciting once I was there.

Most people probably wouldn’t think it, but it was a great city to travel to alone because it was so easy to blend in without drawing too much attention to myself. I also met a lot of really interesting people while I was there and was able to overcome some of my fears (like riding the subway alone).

Lessons & tips:
  • Bring good walking shoes. Both times in the city I ended up with blisters and sore feet.
  • Bring an umbrella. When it rains in New York, it’s kind of crazy on the streets. My shoes got completely soaked, and walking 20 blocks in drenched shoes isn’t that fun. 
  • Bring a phone with a GPS map. I can’t tell you how many places that I went into and then ended up having to exit on different streets. It’s easier to get lost than you think. The buildings are so tall and non-descript from street level. 
  • Learn the layout of the city before you get there. it will save you a lot of time trying to figure out where everything is when you get there. 
  • Go with an open mind. New York is one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the United States, so be prepared to try something new.
  • Google and Wikipedia 
  • The Library Hotel (a great place to stay, everyone was so helpful, and it was in a perfect location) 
  • Eyewitness Travel Guide's New York City (it was a fantastic, quick reference) 
  • My Droid (I was so thankful for the interactive maps and constant internet) 

See more progress on: Spend a weekend exploring New York City.