Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday's Mixtape: Song I'm Thankful For.

Well, for some reason I can't upload pictures to this (I hate you too, Blogger..) post, but I'm going to go ahead anyway! 

With Thanksgiving's passing, I thought about everything that I'm thankful for. From the big to the small, to the significant and the insignificant - and music's always something I'm thankful for. It's a huge part of my day, every day. 

Without further ado:


1// Sharped Dressed Man by ZZ Top

You're probably giggling at this, or even shaking your head. Hell, you may not even know who they are (shame on you), but I'm fairly convinced that when I have a bad day, God turns on this song (or really, any of their hits) to let me know that everything will be okay. The song NEVER fails to put me in a good mood! 

2// Smiling Face by James Taylor

If you've kept up with the blog, even just a little, you know my L-O-V-E for JT! (the original JT, ladies..) This is my favorite song of his - well, this and "You've Got A Friend". Both mean different things to me - they're very personal songs. I love em.

3// More Than Anyone by Gavin Degraw

I'm passionate about his album, Chariot, even now 12 years later! (just saying that makes me feel old..) I probably couldn't tell you why (other than I love it) this album made such an impression on me, but this song is the icing on a fabulous cake album. It's perfection. Especially the acoustic version.

4// He Thinks He'll Keep Her by Mary Chapin Carpenter

It's taken me years, but I actually know what this song is about now..ha! It reminds me of my childhood and listening to MCC with my daddy. If you haven't spent time listening to Mary, you probably should. You won't regret it.

5// Landslide by ..well, I like the Dixie Chicks version best.

This song was originally sung by Stevie Nicks and her band, Fleetwood Mac - and it's great, great version - I just really have a connection with the Dixie Chicks version. It's from one of my absolute favorite childhood Christmas movies (JACK FROST!) and I've been hooked ever since!

..and well, a bonus:

6// Just Breathe by Pearl Jam

If you were to ask me who my top 5 favorite singers were, Eddie Vedder would be on that list. He'd probably be at the top, or close to it. This song gives me goose bumps, makes me cry and has been a great comfort in loss. It's one that I never get tired of..

And speaking of great singers..

Willie and his son, Lukas, do a damn good version of it too.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Book Review: "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes

Now, you're probably wondering "how does she have time to read all her memoirs AND a work of fiction? Simple..BOOKS ON CDS. They're genius. And life changing for someone who spends 1.5-2 hours in a car every day. (traffic is the worst)

Today's review is about a story called:

From the author's WEBSITE: 

"Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and he is not interested in exploring a new one.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, Lou sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart? 

First of all, this will probably contain spoilers - so read at your own risk.

Second, I chose this book because I liked the cover. Honest. I like the scroll writing and colors - it works for me. And then I read the synopsis on the back jacket, and was instantly hooked there too. So all around, it's a good book cover :)

The story itself introduces you to a woman who I would describe (as I see her in my head) as the modern day, Muggle version of Tonks. (if you don't know who that is, I can't help you..) She is unassuming, normal, and one who doesn't enjoy attention, but wears her eye popping clothes like armor. She lives a normal life with parents and friends and a boyfriend - until she loses her job (at a cafe..why does every heroine these days work in a cafe or book store?) and is forced into the world of unemployment. It started to feel a little too close to home at this point. Losing jobs, unassuming naturally, I was into it. Being my life story and all. Kidding.
The only job available ends up being a care taker position for a quadriplegic man. I won't continue to tell you exactly what happens in the above synopsis (you have to read for yourself!), but she is thrown into a whole new world. One where she has no idea what she's doing, but does it anyway out of a desire to take care of her family. With hard times upon them, she is the main breadwinner - at 26 - with her parents, younger sister and young nephew in the house besides.

Each day the job begins to be easier (only really from a job stand point), and her relationship with Will (the quadriplegic) grows. They find things in each other that they were never sure they needed. It may sound like a cheesy, done-and-redone love story - but I beg to differ. Moyes brings about characters, story lines and view points that I'm unclear myself on - including assisted suicide, questions of right and wrong, and marital affairs. Some are included in their love story, some are unfair additions to their lives - as it usually is in real life. You know, since life is tough and so you should get a helmet - that kind of thing.

And lo and behold, it takes great care in bringing out the question and thought process of: does God bring people into your life to change you or to change them? Which, I think is something we're never really going to be sure of until we ask him ourselves.

1// "You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible."

My parents are big proponents of "being a steward" - and being a good steward of your time is brought up when we have conversations about it. Doing everything to the best of your abilities and living well is two things we are called to do - whether you're a Christian or not. Whether you think you should or not. It's pure fact - you're called to do those things because that's being a decent human being. Not wasting something as precious as life..that's your calling.

2// “I hadn’t realized that music could unlock things in you, could transport you to somewhere even the composer hadn’t predicted. It left an imprint in the air around you, as if you carried its remnants with you when you went.” 

This quote really has nothing to do with the whole story, but since music is such a BIG part of who I am - I think it's a great depiction of the power of music. The power that it brings to life - to change it, to make it bigger, to smash it in one hundred pieces and glue it back together again.

3// “The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life--or at least, shoved up so hard against someone else's life that you might as well have your face pressed against their window--is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are. Or how you might seem to other people.”

Change is something we humans aren't good at. It's something we pretend to be good at - we tell people we "thrive" in it. There's growth in change. We're thrown into the unexpected, sometimes with force and we're not prepared. We're not prepared to thrive. We're not prepared to grow..but sometimes, we do. Sometimes it's so small that we don't even notice it until it happens two years later in a different time and a different place - and we're able to make a different decision. Moyes says change makes you "rethink your idea of who you are" - and I think she's right. But I think that's when you truly change - when you're forced to take a good, hard look at who you are and where you want to go from that point. And then you place one foot in front of the other and you do.

You should read it if you're into a great love story. Not some bull shit story about vampires and wolves and 50 shades of something. A story about a girl who has been kicked out of the life she knows for something and someone else, and develops a relationship with another human who has been kicked the same way. And sometimes, when you think you're changing someones life - when you're really making a difference, you become a whole new person. Someone you never thought you'd be, but need to be anyway..and that's the best thing someone can give you in this life. 


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

25 Before 26 Book Review: "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" by Caitlin Doughty

It's time to cross #10 off my list! It's called "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - & Other Lessons from the Crematory" by Caitlin Doughty.

And without further ado..

From the author's WEBSITE: 

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.
Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn’t know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like?”

I had two reasons for choosing this book:

1. Her name is Caitlin.
2. I'm terrified of death.

The first is an obvious thing. Like when you were a kid and you met someone with the same name as you - and you had that brief moment of "you can't be named Caitlin, MY name is Caitlin", but got quickly over it because it was more cool than anything.

The a tad bit more complicated I guess. I know that my Christian peers are probably reading my admission of being terrified of death and shaking their heads. We're not SUPPOSED to be scared to die, WE KNOW where WERE GOING. 

And so do I. I know I'll go to heaven. I just don't like the idea of dying. Of stopping mid-way through life. I'm terrified that I'll miss out on something. So..I chose this one. I chose to go ahead and read something that I may not like and maybe I was hoping it would change my mind..make the act, the finality, the eventuality of death..okay with me.

I think for the most part, it accomplished that. Doughty's book opened up a world that was unfamiliar, dark and "out of sight - out of mind" to me. She explained various rituals, situations and unfortunate circumstances with humor, realness and great story telling. I really enjoyed it.

Once I got past the story about Padma. But you'll have to read that one to find spoilers here.

1// "There is a reason why the newspaper obituary pages are littered with glamour shots, wedding pictures and portraits from long-ago debutante balls. We want people to remain forever in their prime like a beautiful rosy-cheeked Kate Winslet meeting Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic heaven decades after the ship had sunk."

I just like that image. And, like millions of others, that is one of my favorite parts of the movie. Her becoming the girl he fell in love with again..them meeting. We're all a little more romantic after watching that part..and it's where we all want to stay. Frozen in time, young, beautiful.

2// "For me, Mrs. Greyhound blew the truth of the matter wide open: Death should be known. Known as a difficult mental, physical, and emotional process, respected and feared for what it is."

We all want to be remembered. It's a common desire in this day and age. We want people to see, hear, feel, touch, taste us long after we're gone - because that means we never actually die - making the process a little easier. Caitlin's entire reasoning for writing this is to see that and raise you a little knowledge about death. That yes, being remembered is fine and dandy, but death is apart of life. It's what everyone comes to, and we shouldn't be afraid that we won't be remembered - we should be afraid that our lives will be consumed by the fear itself. 

3// "Death might appear to destroy the meaning in our lives, but in fact it is the very source of our creativity. As Kafka said, "The meaning of life is that it ends." Death is the engine that keeps us running, giving us the motivation to achieve, learn, love, and create."

Living forever isn't the point. Creating a life you enjoy, surrounded by people you enjoy even more - that's it. If we didn't have an end date, we'd become boring. We'd run out of things to enjoy, to do, or to see. (at this point, I'm tempted to say YOLO..but I won't.) When we have an end date, we become urgent. We feel more. We do things. We don't give in to fear.


You should read this if you're afraid of mortality, interested in death in different cultures (how they react, what they do to the bodies, etc), or you have a thing for the dark matters of life. It's fairly graphic at points, so be aware - but Caitlin's storytelling is honest, passionate, and full of interesting facts. I don't know if I 100% agree on some of her points (especially her thoughts on heaven and God), but I think it was a good book written by a great author. I enjoyed it!

10 down, 15 to go!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday's Mixtape 11/16/15

Imma be real REAL honest: I don't have anything to say.'s some throwback tunes for you to jam to. Because all this girl watched last night was:

And I'm not even the least bit embarrassed to tell you that..

1// All Or Nothing by O-Town

Did anyone else listen to these guys? I thought they were all so hot at the Eh. Ha! I can't get over the cheesiness of this song - but it's definitely one to belt out now and then.


This video is ridiculous. This song is ridiculous. This band? Who even knows what happened to this band? Are they still alive?

P.s. This one is for you Emily!

3// Hands Down by Dashboard Confessional

"My heart is yours to fill or burst, to break or buy, or wear as jewelry - which ever you prefer."


I feel like..and I hope my generation can agree with me - that this song was one that defined our generation in the mid-2000's. If not, you're wrong.

4// Blowin' Me Up With Her Love" by JC Chasez

If you ever wanted to know what I used to dance to while getting ready my freshman year of you go.

Also "the Black Album" by Jay-Z..but, that's a different story for another time.

5// Everywhere by Michelle Branch

I used to blast her album "Hotel Paper" like every day. I wish she still made music - I thought she was really talented!

Have a great evening!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fun Found Things Pt.1 - 11/15/2015

Part 1 - 11/11/2015

Hi! I hope your weekend was fabulous. Mine has been fairly relaxed and good. I wish it was a tad bit longer, but as someone who ends up working most weekends too - I'm just thankful for weekends.

Here's a few fun things I've found this week on the Internets:

1// THIS converted warehouse! It's officially the coolest door rooms I've ever seen.

2// WHY Harry Picked Ginny, Rather Than Hermione! I love this article. I love this partnership. I never thought from day one that Harry should have ended up with Hermione. That wasn't what he needed. The relationship between the two is proof (albeit only in fiction) that men and women CAN be just friends. 

3// THE FORCE is strong with this toddler! Listening to her sing the "Imperial March" is just about the cutest thing in the world. 

4// SCHMIDT is my spirit animal. He is, quite possibly, the best part of the show - aside from Nick Miller (obvs) and deserves ALL THE THINGS

No Schmidt, you're MY boo.

5// MORE BOOKS! I've only read 4 on this list (1, 11, 29 and 31) One and twenty nine being two of my favorite books ever! And well, obviously I have a lot of love for the Deathly Hallows - but I'd love to read what's on this list! I'll get a chance with "Unbroken" since it's on my list of memoirs before 26, so that's a start!

Have a great rest of your Sunday!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Thinking, feeling, eating..all those things.

My favorite picture from last weekend with my favorite small people. I wish I could spend today snuggling in bed watching tv with them - but real life calls! I have to work 11-4 today instead.

THINKING ABOUT: Going to work (boo), the future (also boo..but pretty much yay), cheeseburgers (always) and about a hundred other things. My mind is always, always going and thinking about 23489 things at once. I don't fall asleep well, if you're wondering.

THANKFUL FOR: The quiet and safety of my apartment. Some days (most days) it's hard for me to be out and about and "on" (any introverts out there?!) so it's nice to come home to the quiet to recharge. And then go out the next day and do it all over again..which makes me tired thinking about it. #thatadultlife

FEELING: Pretty worn out, actually. It's been a long week, and while I'm thankful it's over and the weekend - it's never enough time to completely recharge. Am I right? BUT the flip side is never having a few days between work days - which I've also done, so I'm thankful for weekends. I promise, mom!

EATING: Chunky peanut butter on a plain bagel - super original, right? I'm not feeling so hot, so I'm not going to go overboard on food today. Good plan, right?

LISTENING TO: Well, like many girls my age, I've been listening to "Hello" on REPEAT (no joke, I went for a three mile run the other day and listened to it for the first two..oops!) but I've also been digging:

"Alive" by Sia. This little girl is my spirit animal this week - or what I wish it would have been. But how rockstar is she? Totally kick ass and I love it. Sia is coming out with an album called "This is Acting" - where she's taken songs that other artists have passed on and sung them herself! "Alive" was actually written with Adele for her upcoming album, but she passed..and I really don't think she would have done it the justice that Sia did. This is my new anthem, y'all. 

WATCHING: I chose a new movie to watch this week, The Immatation Game - I haven't watched it yet, but it was very popular when it came out. I'm interested. Hopefully it's good. This weekend I've watched "Two Night Stand" and "This Is Where I Leave You". Both good in their own ways. I love "Two Night Stand" because of this guy:

I think Miles is not only SUPER attractive, charming and real - but he's a fabulous actor. Have you seen "Whiplash" yet? I'm sure you have, and you know exactly what I'm talking about. The movie was a complete beating, but so very well acted.
And "This Is Where I Leave You" surprised me when I saw it. It also has a fabulous cast and is charming. It's also very sad and forces you to wonder what you would do in certain situations if they were presented to you.

I'd recommend both. Maybe not to everyone I know, but imdb that shit and watch them. You won't regret it.

READING: I'm still doing my "25 Before 26" Memiors - and right now I'm in the midst of Tim Tebow's memoir, "Through My Eyes". I know you're all secretly judging me for liking Timmy, but I I don't really care whatcha think. I'll be posting the review soon, so I won't say anything else about it!

LOVING: I can't stop talking about my new turtleneck from the Gap. I can't find it on their website for some reason..? But here it is..

ISN'T IT THE BEST?! It's fake cable knit - so it's more like a really soft, comfortable sweatshirt material. I can't wait until Texas decides that it's winter so I can wear the hell out of it this winter! If you see me wearing anything else, I'd worry about me. 

Just kidding.

Hope you have a great rest of your Saturday!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Mixtape Mondays: Nov 2, 2015

Can you believe that this year is almost over already? I can't. It really feels like January just happened. 

Today's tape is all about fall - so go getcha basic bitch white girl pumpkin spice latte or whatever you white girls drink, wear your comfiest pi's and chill. 

1// The Age of Worry by John Mayer

I love this album. Ol' Johnny boy did everything right in this one. Favorite lines?

Don't be scared to walk alone
Don't be scared to like it
There's no time that you must be home
So sleep where your darkness falls

Don't be scared to like it, y'all.

2// Mykonos by Fleet Foxes

You know, I feel like this isn't my normal type of jam..I don't know why..but I like it. I like it a lot. Whatever they're doing in this song, I hope they keep doing it.

3// Mess is Mine by Vance Joy

Well. This is a weird video.

And this song in person? Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.

4// Shake It Off by Ryan Adams


5// Heartbeats by Jose Gonzales

I found this song because of the "Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (AMAZING soundtrack and a really wonderful movie!) movie and I can't stop listening to it. 

Go listen to that soundtrack now. You'll thank me.