Monday, August 20, 2012

Poetry: Emily Dickinson

I do a lot of musical appreciation posts on this blog but so far no poetry appreciation. Probably because my musical knowledge is far more extensive than my poetry knowledge. Today's poet of choice is the classic, the one, the only: Emily Dickinson.

I started reading her poetry, like many others, because it was assigned in school. For me it was tenth grade and to be honest I was all the enthused with the idea of it (mind you, I wasn't enthused by a whole lot in tenth grade). But, looking back on that year it was probably one of my favourite reading assignments from that class, next to The Great Gatsby.

What I like about Dickinson's poetry is that she rights about big things in an eloquent and somewhat simple way. By "big things" I mean, death, and hope, and love lost. She writes about big ideas in a relatively small way and paints pictures with few words. Before we read Emily Dickinson I had never really grasped poetry or connected to it very much (perhaps due to my stubborn adolecent brain) but her poetry at least let me figure out what I like and what I would like to read and where to go from there.

One of the poems that stuck out to me most in my tenth grade english class was "Hope is the thing with feathers". I love a good extended metaphor and so this poem is right up my alley. Taking "hope", this huge unidentifiable idea, and comparing it to a simple bird. The way she makes the ambiguous idea of hope so familiar is kind of comforting to me.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Song recommendation: Have You Ever by Brandi Carlile

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Floridian Haul

I was in Florida visiting some family and since it's too hot to do anything in the outside world I did some shopping. Here's what I acquired. (There's a dress missing from this haul that I bought at anthropologie -on sale- because it was in the wash when I was taking this photos.)

sweater: Urban Outfitters ($54)

daydreamer tee: Urban Outfitters ($19)

trench: Forever 21 ($32)

knapsack: Urban Outfitters ($49)

loafers: Urban Outfitters ($29)

earrings: Anthropologie ($14)

headband: Anthropologie ($22)

Song recommendation: Live It With Love by Ingrid Michaelson

Friday, August 17, 2012

More Musical Appreciation: Ben Howard

This blog seems to be turning into a musical appreciation blog. I see nothing wrong with that. Today's artist of choice is the brilliant Ben Howard. I started listening to him about a month ago upon recommendation from tumblr (that seems to be the case lately). Now, I'm always up for some good old acoustic folk/rock but Ben Howard is something special. His voice is just so easy to listen to, it almost feels instantly nostalgic, like you've been listening to his songs all your life. Despite the fact that he's only released one studio album his songwriting is exceptionally mature and complex. Listening to his music just feels good. Like, close-your-eyes-and-sip-on-tea good music. To boot, Howard is an exceptional guitar player.

Naturally I've delved into the depths of YouTube to see what kind of covers I could find, only to be pleasantly over and over again. He covered the infamous 'Call Me Maybe' and completely turned it on its head and made it really enjoyable. It was almost unrecognizable until he uttered the words "I threw a wish in the well". He also gave Lana Del Rey's "Video Games" a whirl only to succeed yet again. I'm starting to think this man can do no wrong. I feel as though he's only just scratching the surface of his talent and that we can expect so much more from him in the future.

I would recommend his whole album "Every Kingdom" but specifically the song "Keep Your Head Up".

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer Reflections

After a week in Florida, I'm heading back home tomorrow for the last leg of the longest summer vacation ever. A break from school is always good but I think four months is just too long for me. I plan on taking some spring classes next year though so I'll have a slightly more reasonable summer. That's never something you would here my child-self complaining about but I'm just far too restless now to be able to handle for months of structureless living. I think it would be okay if I could have a job with some sort of regular schedule but alas I am floating in a sea of joblessness.

Though it's been a long summer, it's been a fairly good one. Traveling to France, spending quality time with friends (Wilmington adventures), completing quite a bit on my summer list of things. I'm especially happy that I spent a lot of time playing music. Whether it was piano, uke or guitar I did spend a lot of time learning new songs (and occasionally being brave enough to record them).

I've actually improved my guitar skills quite a bit over the last month or so (after finally getting my mum's old guitar fixed) and though I'm nowhere near pro I feel like I have at least a vague idea of what's going on. After spending a week away from guitar I'm itching to get back to it, so I think that's a sign that I'm going to have to buy my own when I get back to school. Something to annoy the floormates with, excellent!

The goal is to successfully record something on garageband, which I'm still int he process of figuring out. And perhaps I'll post it on here. Maybe.

song recommendation: Undertow by Sara Bareilles

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Do to lack of any internet yesterday I was unable to blog. So let this be known as BMOA, or Blog Most of August. Because this every day thing has sort of sucked this year. My apologies.

However I didn't have internet yesterday for an exciting reason, I spent my day at the Universal Studios park. A love Girls Day Out with my mum. What was great about this trip was that since we had been before we knew what rides we wanted to hit and what lines would be longer at what times. Of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was a must (we went during the morning and at night). After our wizarding adventures we made our way to the Jurassic Park ride, which was fantastic. My brother didn't come with us this time around but he had one request and that was to buy him a tube of miniature dinosaurs from the Jurassic Park store. My brother is sixteen years old, no shame there. Other high points of the day included eating Hard Rock Cafe's twisted mac and cheese, getting complimented on my dress by two different strangers (male and female), and riding the 4D Harry Potter ride with barely any line up.

I wasn't particularly looking forward to going to Florida before the trip but I am actually really enjoying myself. But really who couldn't be happy running around theme parks and shopping. I don't know what I had any hesitation in the first place. Oh right, the heat. However, the difficult breathing aside, Florida's alright this time around.

song recommendation: Spectrum (Calvin Harris Remix) by Florence + The Machine

Monday, August 13, 2012

Guilty Pleasure Television

If anything I am a professional watcher of television. Once I get into a new show there's no stopping me and I'll lock myself away from society until I finish the whole thing. Though I'm usually pretty shameless when it comes to what I watch there are those certain shows that you find yourself going "why am I even watching this" as you click next episode. 

Thus, is my struggle with Pretty Little Liars. Ever since I first saw an advertisement for the show on ABC Family I mocked it and hated on it simply on the premise that it was an ABC Family show about pretty, little, liars. Also it didn't help that the only people I knew that liked it were not exactly my favourite.

I pretty much wrote it off as a "never watch, like, ever" show when I first saw it, and frankly that opinion didn't change until a couple of weeks ago when I youtuber I really admire and with whom I share a large number of pop culture interests, talked about it on her channel. She didn't say it was the best show ever, but she also didn't say it was terrible. So, in attempts to fill the gaping void that Gossip Girl left in my heart, I decided to give it a try.

Conclusion: It's pretty bad. However, more than it is a bad show, it is an addicting one. And Aria's love interest is easy on the eyes. There are a total of two characters that I don't dislike. As the songwriter Sara Bareilles once said "something always brings me back to you, it never takes to long."

Song recommendation: Dusk by Wilsen

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Closing Ceremonies

There's something pretty spectacular about people coming together to take part in a worldwide celebration of athleticism and culture. I am not even an athletic person, aside from skiing on occasion, but I always feel myself drawn to watch the games. Partly national pride, partly world pride. World pride, is that a thing? It is now.

I'm currently watching the closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic Games with my family. The show is just fantastic so far, and a perfect wrap up to the games. I particularly loved their journey through British music history, because they have so much to show case (that Spice Girls reunion: A +++). Rio's introduction to their turn with the games is making me eager to for 2016. But it's strange because when I think about the next summer olympics my mind immediately jumps to "where will I be when I'm watching them in four years from now?". I'll have an undergrad degree under my belt (hopefully). I'll be twenty-three (OH GOD). Where will I be living? Will I have a significant other? That's another fantastic thing about the olympic games is it almost acts as a marker for  a stage in your life. For instance, I remember that during the Salt Lake City Olympics I was in grade three and I remember learning where Utah was on the map. There are many great things about the olympics but I see it as briefly claiming time as well as preserving it.

As the London Games come to a close I look forward to 2016 (and even before that, Sochi in 2014) and looking back on London and remember the summer of 2012.

Song recommendation: Bright Lights and Cityscapes by Sara Bareilles

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Some entirely unrelated thoughts to form a rambling blog post, because it's late and my computer is failing on me.

I started watching Pretty Little Liars last night. It is just as terrible as I expected but far more addicting than I anticipated. I will be watching more in the future. I'm using it to fill the sad void that gossip girl left behind when it went really down hill. Because let's be honest I really need another television show in my life. This time one with plenty of teen angst and back-stabbing bitchez with a capital 'z'.

I was in Savannah Georgia breifly and my friend told me that they were filming CBGB there. So basically I hung out with Stana Katic. That's how that works right? In related news, apparently Alan Rickman is getting old and fat according to the Savannah news.

I've decided I defintely need to buy myself a guitar when I get back to school. I've been practicing away with my mother's and I'm actually acquiring a bit of skill. Granted, I still don't know what I'm doing, but sound is coming out of the guitar that sounds not like death. I'm making progress. I also really enjoy it. My new room at school is going to be a bit of a mini studio because I'll actually be able to set up my piano, now that I know longer have a roommate. Throw in my guitar and ukulele and things are looking pretty great. Though that may give people the vibe that I actually know what I'm doing. They shall be deceived.

That has been three unrelated topics and this concludes BEDA-poorly-2012.

Song recommendation: The Chain by Fleetwood Mac (I'm in a mood, a Fleetwood Mac mood)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Style Inspiration

I'm running on approximately three hours of sleep courtesy of an extravaganza at my friend's farm last night so this post is going to be brief.

As previously noted, I have been thinking about more about style, and specifically my personal style a lot more lately. Of course, behind everyone's style are those who inspire them (though style is certainly inspired exclusively by people) and I'd like to compile a list of my personal style icons, as follows.

Carey Mulligan is not only one of my favourite actresses but she also has impeccable street style. I feel like most celebrities (ugh, I hate using that term) can look great on the red carpet, because often their is a team behind them but when you see candids of Carey Mulligan she always seems like she's got it together. Even if it's just a simple maxi-skirt and tee with sandals she looks sharp.

Emma Stone, similarly, inspires my casual style. I've never been one for an elaborate wardrobe and Emma Stone does a lovely job of making simple look elegant. Not to mention her equally fashionable boyfriend, Andrew Garfield. A sharp looking couple they are.

Finally the ever-so-flawless Florence Welch of Florence and The Machine. I can't say that I dress like Florence, because that is untrue, but her wardrobe is unlike any other and her vintage shop style makes me want to see out special pieces to implement into my own style. She always looks fantastic whether she's performing or roaming the festival circuit. From watching a multitude of interviews I've found that she always has a story behind a piece and she can tell you exactly what drew her to it. She's inspiring in many ways but her fashion is undeniable.

Song recommendation: Strangeness and Charm by Florence and the Machine

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Recent Beauty Favourites

This is by no means a beauty blog, and I am nowhere close to a beauty guru, but I have become increasingly interested in products and clothes in recent months. So, this is going to be a good old fashion favourites post. Not for any particular month, but we just acquired a Sephora near where I live so a lot of these products were purchased within the past few months.

smashbox jet set waterproof eyeliner in the shade "midnight black"

perfume stick by Claude Dir in the fragrance "Cape of Good Hope" (purchased at Anthropologie)

 M.A.C. eyeshadow in the shade "kid"

M.A.C. blush in the shade "margin"

Korres lipstick in the shade "coral"

Song recommendation: Sea Lion Woman by Feist

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I went on photo adventures with some friends today at an abandoned mill and here are the results.

Song recommendation: What He Wrote by Laura Marling

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

San Francisco

Recently I have been reunited with my childhood love, Full House. I have very fond memories of sitting on this comfy chair with my friend, eating pizza pockets and watching Full House. Though I was only two years old when the show ended, thankfully it's aired ample reruns. To add to my San Fran kick, I watched Princess Diaries the other day which just solidified my feelings. I mean who wouldn't want to live in a refurbished firehouse.

My reunion with this show has also brought about a mild obsession with San Francisco and my idealization of it. I've been really keen on visiting the city (and other places in California) for a while now but the more I look into it the more I pre-fall-in-love with it. I certainly don't want to idealize it to the point of disappointment if/when I ever do visit but right now I'm just in a mild fan-girl phase. Can you fan-girl over a place? Perhaps it's because I have this unrealistic image of moving to San Fransico and pursuing photography in the real world and living in a refurbished firehouse. But hey, I've had worse ideas. I feel as though I'm nostalgic for a place I've never been (Paper Towns reference) and I'm not really sure why. But I do know that I have to get there to find out why.

Here's a picture of San Francisco that is not mine.

Song recommendation: San Francisco by Brett Dennen

Monday, August 6, 2012

Job Hunt

As the school year approaches (slower than I would like) it's time to start looking for jobs. Because, frankly, this whole being perpetually without monetary funds thing is getting old. Though I am a whole nineteen years old the job that I *hopefully* get for the school year will be my first real paying job. Which is exciting and a little scary, but mostly relieving. Relieving in that I'll finally have an official job on my resume so I can tell other future employers that I'm good at being employed. Also relieving to have the "first job" thing under my belt. Something to tell the grandkids about, you know. But why am I waiting this long to get a job? Not by choice, if that's what you're wondering. No, alas, I've been living under a visa in AMURICA for the past few years and it's not the kind of visa you can work with, unfortunately. But, that's life. Now I shall be employed! Hopefully.

I'm hoping to get a job at my favourite movie rental store and finally get to live out my Tibby Rollins Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants lifestyle. If that doesn't work out, I'll *likely* be able to get a paying job at my library because I've been volunteering at one this summer.

Now that the reality of job hunting is fast approaching I'm realizing that my ability to write a proper email has diminished drastically over the summer. This whole "being a responsible adult" thing is harder than it seems. I mean I'm going to to have to start house hunting in a month. In the real world. With real houses. And real questions like "is heating and electric included?"

I'm not feeling very prepared at the moment. How long will it take until I do?

Song recommendation: The Box by Johnny Flynn

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Major BEDA Upset: The Journey Continues

Last year's perfect BEDA success, was unfortunately ruined this year on no less then the SECOND DAY. I'm impressive, I know. But alas, I went to an amusement park for the day and I got back far later than I anticipated. Similarly on the third I went out and got back past midnight. A wild social life appeared! But I shall continue despite my shortcomings. (I might even try to do a couple extra posts to make up for the failure, no promises though.)

Onward then! Today I'd just like to make another artist appreciation post, this time in appreciation of the brilliant Laura Marling. I've only recently started listening to her music by recommendation of someone on tumblr (bless tumblr people). She's very much up my alley, music wise. Frankly, I don't know how I've gone this long without being obsessed. If you listen to music along the lines of Mumford & Sons or Brandi Carlile, you are doing yourself a disservice by not listening to Laura Marling. She has a very classic folk edge to her music with a bit of a contemporary spin. 

For a bit of history, Marling was once involved with the band Noah and the Whale, as well as touring with Mumford & Sons. She's already released her third studio album at the age of twenty-two. Her music is far beyond her years in it's maturity and she's already grown immensely as an artist if you compared her 2007 release (when she was just seventeen) to her most recent. 

If you are interested in giving her a listen, if you haven't already, here are a few recommendations:
  • My Friends (A Creature I Don't Know)
  • The Captain & the Hourglass (Alas I Cannot Swim)
  • Rambling Man (I Speak Because I Can)
  • Devil's Spoke (I Speak Because I Can)
  • Sophia (A Creature I Don't Know)
Enjoy the musical splendors!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Commence BEDA 2012

This time last year I started my first BEDA (or Blog Every Day August) adventure. Since last year was such a success I've decided to give it a second go-around. If anything my blogging is inconsistent, and BEDA helps me, rather, forces me, to "get er done" for lack of a better phrase. Writing has always been a useful tool for me I'm just horrible and actually making myself doing it. The fact that BEDA is a challenge just makes my subconscious ring with the words "You don't think I can do it I'LL PROVE YOU WRONG." So here's to a hopefully second round of BEDA, two years running!

Every post will contain a musical recommendation, as per usual. No tracking of books, films, or hiking though. There are pages for the books and films but as for the hiking it's pretty well impossible to hike in The South in August without dying. I might go on one or two but I don't think it's going to be very extensive.

Now that housekeeping is out of the way, today's topic is The End. Not the concept of impending doom or the last novel from A Series of Unfortunate Events, but a flash game I found on the internet recently (courtesy of Tumblr). Now, I'm not one for online gaming usually but this gem was just too good to pass up. It's based on this unique concept where at the end of every level you are asked a thoughtful philosophical or moral question which you must answer "yes" or "no" and then enter the respective door. I was hooked on the premise alone but it gets better. With each question that you answer the game maps your responses on a grid that lines you up next to other famous thinkers and icons. I'm less interested in the game-play (though it is very well designed) and more drawn towards the concept of the grid. It devices the cartesian plane into Mystic, Awakener, Crusader, and Truth-Teller with dots scattering the board of icons such as Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Amelia Earhart. I'm about half-way through the game, but as of right now it has me pinned in between Rosa Parks and Emmeline Pankhurst. I love it because you learn a little bit about yourself and GASP have to think a little bit before the end of each level. Two thumbs up.

Song of the day: Ships in the Night by Mat Kearny ft. Ingrid Michaelson (I've had this on repeat all day, shamelessly)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I shot a total of two rolls of film while on adventures in France and I'd thought I'd share some of those gems with the internet. The film got pretty washed out, I'm guessing via the airport x-ray scanners, but I could be wrong.
The remains of a bird on the steps of a cathedral. A wee bit morbid.

We went canoeing on the Vezère river in the Dordogne and it was fantastic. Several chateaux are built along the river so the scenery is ALRIGHT, I guess.
So much cheese to eat, so little time.

Shooting in dark cathedrals is hard but this chandelier came out perfectly. 
Light does cool things with stained glass windows.

And here we have the shopkeeper. It's a hard life.

Shakespeare & Co.

Musical recommendation: Mexico by The Staves

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

After the Fall: A Collection of Musical Recommendations

Apparently I'm really good at not blogging for extended periods of time. This is partially due to the fact that I was in France for two weeks (haul post to come) and partially because I'm a lazy fool. However in the the time that I haven't been blogging I've been buying and listening to a lot of new music including Norah Jones' new(ish) album Little Broken Hearts

Let me first say that I'm a long time Norah Jones fan ever since my mum bought Come Away With Me upon its release back in 2002. Jones has definitely come along way in ten years (OH GOD, I FEEL OLD) and Little Broken Hearts is a perfect example of her changing and maturing style. Produced by the infamous Danger Mouse (of Broken Bells and Gnarls Barkley) this album has a indescribable edge to it that hasn't existed in any of her previous work. I for one and am in love with it. It feels like this is everything her last release The Fall, was building up to. If you just want to dip your toes in before purchasing the whole album I suggest giving "Travelin' On" and "Say Goodbye" a listen. 

After seeing Ingrid Michaelson's show back in May I've decided to give her bandmates music a listen, and I wasn't disappointed in the least. Her two supporting ladies Bess Rogers and Allie Moss are completely able to stand on their own, despite their part-time job as back-up for Ms. Michaelson. Their style, as expected, can be compared to the likes of Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Barielles (the "female singer-songwriter" gang).  I'd recommend listening to Allie Moss' song "Melancholy Astronautic Man" and Bess Rogers' "Anchor". 

Lastly, The Temper Trap has recently released their self-titledsophomore album. I have to admit was a bit hesitant because they had success with Conditions (thanks partly to 500 Days of Summer) and I wasn't sure it's uniqueness could be revamped. I was wrong, I've been hooked by the first two singles I've heard off the album and look forward to buying the whole album, one I acquire dollars. Sidenote: money is the worst, especially when it comes to buying music when I get into buy all the things mode. If you're interested in expanding your Temper Trap library I recommend "Trembling Hands" and "Need Your Love".  

I don't think I need to put another song recommendation in this post do I? Nah. 

Additoinally, I've re-fallen in love with Florence + The Machine's Ceremonials. It was inevitable. *dances uncontrollably to Never Let Me Go*

Books read: 5? GOD I'M SO BAD AT THIS *stares at pile of started but unfinished books on bed-side table*
Hikes taken: 6 (unless you're counting all the unofficial hiking I did on vacation in France, if so, 83247238)
Films seen: 16ish

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cat Power Appreciation Post

Just lounging around with Cat Power's new single 'Ruin' on repeat and loving life. I know critics always use the phrase "eagerly anticipated" in regards to album releases but it's been six years since Cat Power released original content, so it's about time. But all good things take time to come into the world,  right? If 'Ruin' is any indicator of the rest of the album it's going to be a beauty. Just a few days ago I bought The Greatest for $6.00 the other day at my favourite record store, so I'm taking this as a sign from the musical gods that I was pushed back in the Cat Power direction for a reason. There's something about her style that can't be crammed into a genre and I'm just so excited to have her back in my musical radar. Also she cut all her hair off and it looks pro. I'm so used to the classic straight hair and fringe with her so it will take some getting used to.

This has been a brief but duly needed Chan Marshal appreciation post. You can listen to the lovely new single 'Ruin' here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On Style

Growing up and well into junior high and high school I always dressed the same. T-shirt, jeans, sneakers. Sometimes I would elaborate here and there but I never dared experiment, especially  in high school because once you try something different you're making a statement. Which, in high school, is a sign of self-confidence often confused for cockiness. I think the idea of experimenting with my wardrobe in fear of making a statement never appealed to me because I though people would see me as something different. But, really I didn't know what they saw me as in the first place so I was lost either way. For me it was just easiest to stick to the basics because there's never an easier choice than the one you don't have to make. (Riveting stuff, I know).

This is all to say that after starting my first year of university I still wasn't doing much to modify or experiment with my style, mainly because I didn't really have one to begin with. However, through out the year I was slowly figuring out what I wanted it to be. Through video bloggers and the magnificent tumblr, I was starting to piece together things that inspired me to find a small semblance of style. Sure, scrolling my dashboard wasn't a life-changing action but baby steps people, baby steps. Probably the biggest influence on my style this year has been school itself. My university has been a really great fit for me and I'm incredibly thankful for that. If you want to wear something ridiculous just to see if you like it people don't really care, in fact they embrace it. Where in high school I felt immediately judged when I wore something mildly deviating from my norm, my new environment encourages it. It might just have to do with the whole aging process but I feel like my relationship with style and fashion in the past year has been  give and take sort of thing. Wherein trying new stylistic choices gives me a little confidence boost and in turn that slight shift in self-esteem allows me to build my sense of style.

Now by no means have I had some sort of style reawakening but I am starting to figure out my own style which turns out is super helpful for other aspects of your life such as the aforementioned self-confidence. Not that I felt utterly insecure before but a little positive body image goes quite a long way.

I'm testing out the waters in Lookbook so look forward to that as the summer progresses.

this summer-
Books read: 4
Films seen: 13
Hikes taken: 5
I'm on Bloglovin now how exciting This might be an easier way to follow blogspot things, I don't really know.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Must-Have Albums: Road Trip Edition

With the summer season comes the desire to just get on the road and go places. The road trip has always been a big part of my summer break since I can remember, emphasizing my love for the journey, not just the destination. Especially in the case of road trips, a proper soundtrack can make or break the journey. I have compiled my top five albums for your traveling pleasure. So, put one arm on the windowsill and stare off into the horizon longingly and enjoy these five road tripping must-haves.

1. Room For Squares, John Mayer 2001
Mayer's debut studio album's acoustic roots make a perfect soundtrack to any country road traveling. This album was always a staple in my family's van right from it's release when I was 8 years old. If anything it's grown on me.
Favourite track: Why Georgia

2. Endless Summer, The Beach Boys 1974
This compilation of the Beach Boy's greatest hits is the quintessential summer album and appropriate for driving the winding California coast (or fantasizing about it while making a long trip to somewhere less desirable). There's something about the Beach Boy's ability to write an entire album while only talking about surfing, girls, and cars that's oddly charming and just what a simplistic summer album should be. Congrats Beach Boys because I don't think I'd let anyone slip with that writing approach. My copy of this album is on a CD that advertises the fact that it is a "compact disc" on  it, so take from that what you will. It is also important to note that while my classmates were choreographing dance moves to The Spice Girls I was listening to this album on my boom box. For better or worse The Beach Boys shaped many childhood summers.
Favourite track: Catch A Wave

3. Loverboy, Brett Dennen 2011
Thanks to a free Starbucks single I was introduced to the incredible song-writing of Brett Dennen. Though I'm a fan of essentially anything he puts out into the world, Loverboy is best listened to on the road. Filled with upbeat and genuinely lovely tracks, this album is perfect for lifting your spirits when the road trip gets dull (see also: traffic, grumpy siblings, lack of rest stops).
Favourite track: Sydney (I'll Come Running)

4. Everybody, Ingrid Michaelson 2009
Surprise, surprise, Allison picks an Ingrid Michaelson album for the road. But fan-girling aside this album is actually a perfect addition to any traveling soundtrack if for nothing else than it's acoustic-pop vibe. Tracks like 'Maybe' and 'Everybody' are easy to sing along to, and if your vehicles not into that there are a mix of less upbeat tracks to throw into the mix.
Favourite track: Mountain and the Sea

5. Wasteland Companion, M. Ward 2012
There are some people who just don't seem to belong in 2012 and M. Ward is one of those individuals. When he recently released the record NPR stated that it was meant to be played on a crackly radio, which I believe fits the road trip spirit perfectly. Not only is Ward's music the perfect style, but the lyrics tell a intriguing story while the melody paints the picture.
Favourite track: Me and My Shadow

This summer-
Books read: 3
Films seen: 11
Hikes taken: 4

Song recommendation: Love Lost by The Temper Trap

Monday, May 28, 2012

19th Birthday Haul

Though it's been a couple weeks since I turned 19, a couple of the gifts came in the mail so they took a little longer. I just wanted to take this post to highlight what I got.

I got these three books which I have been wanting for some time now. They are The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I've just finished Why We Broke up (review to come) but if you've read either of the other two, let me know what you thought! I'm especially excited to read Ransom Rigg's first novel because I think his photo-collecting habit is the coolest thing and the fact that he incorporated it into the story is so excellent.

I got these amazing sea foam crops from my mum. I've been wanting some pastel-coloured crops for a while and I love this colour.

Finally, I got this lovely necklace from family, and I just love it. I'm always a fan of simple jewelry so they definitely know my taste.

This summer-
Books read: 3
Hikes taken: 4
Films seen: 7

Song recommendation: Lie To Me by Sara Bareilles

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cinco de Mayo featuring Ingrid Michaelson

This past Saturday I turned 19 years old. Is that old? I feel like I should feel older, but then I came home from Atlanta yesterday and went over to my best friend's house to play Assassin's Creed. You can be the judge of my maturity growth I suppose.

When my mother asks me what I want for my birthday I usually have no idea but this year I knew months in advance. It just so happened that Ingrid Michaelson was playing in ATL on Cinco de Mayo (for only $20.00, what's that all about?!) so naturally I asked for tickets. Now, I could write a whole blog post about my love for Ingrid Michaelson and her lovely music but alas, I've already done that. Let me just say that she did not disappoint and she and her band put on a brilliant show. Her band mates were all lovely and talented (not surprisingly), as was the opening act, Scars on 45.

Aside from being a great musician she also doubles as a stand up comedian so that was great. She treated us to an anecdote about her experience having to lip-sync for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. She informed us that she was all dolled up (apparently with hair extensions: there was a long rant about how she felt somehow connected to the woman who's hair she was wearing) and stuck on a float that advertised Hamburger Helper. Additionally, there were some fans in the audience who made a poster that said "Do it Us Now" in reference to her song titled "Do It Now". She promptly pulled the sign up on stage and proceeded to reword the lyrics of her song to fit the sign.

We had great seats so I got a few good pictures.

My favourite tracks from her new album Human Again include "This is War", "Always You" and "Blood Brothers".

I'm going to make a separate post as a sort of "birthday haul" type thing, because as well as tickets for this concert I got a few books and a couple articles of clothing. I'm just waiting for one of the pieces of clothing to come in the mail. So look forward to that~

Books read: 1 
Films seen: 3 (and a half, I have to finish watching Naked Gun with my brother)
Hikes taken: 1
Song Recommendation: Say Goodbye by Norah Jones (Her new album Little Broken Hearts is quite a gem you should just listen to the whole thing) 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Belated Notes on Hiking Adventures

This past weekend I went on my first official hike of the summer. I live near the Appalachian Mountains so I like to take advantage of the trails in the brief time when I'm back from uni and before the Southern heat really sets in. I am a fan of adventuring but my desire to adventure decreases as the temperature increases. It's a problem (and it may or may not be connected to my Canadian roots). I'm not built for smoldering heat.

April, however, is a beautiful time to take to the trails. Here's photographic evidence.

It was quite a shock to be come from Atlantic Canada back to the South. Not because of the temperature, I expected that, but because it's so green! Plants hadn't even started thinking about blooming when I left school a couple weeks ago, but here it's already done.

Books read: 1
Films seen: 3
Hikes taken: 1
Song Recommendation: Hollywood by Marina & The Diamonds

Friday, May 4, 2012

Never Let Me Go: Book & Movie

My first read of the summer was Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. I will admit that I had not heard of the book until I found out there was going to be a movie. However, I did hold out seeing the film until I read the book. I honestly didn't know much about the book before diving in and reading it, and I kind of liked it like that, because after reading it I still find it very hard to summarize the gist of the book in a few sentences. Essentially what you need to know is that it's a dystopian book (though not set in future years, but in the 1970s-90s)  that focuses on three characters and their lives from a seemingly normal English boarding school all the way to their late twenties where they find each other again. This novel is narrated by the protagonist, Kathy, who addresses in the first sentence of the novel that she is a carer (though the reader may not understand the complications of what it means to be such a thing at that point).

What is unique about Ishiguro's approach to story-telling is that he addresses facts in the story in a subtle way. He doesn't come out and say "Kathy is a carer and this is what a carer does". He builds this dystopian world around familiar things and then adds in the fictional elements seamlessly. The fictional world of Never Let Me Go is not too far off from our own but it is the eery differences that make the story so interesting. Ishiguro writes in a way that gives his readers some credit to their inferential ability. It is also very important that Kathy narrate the story I feel, because she is such an introverted character that when she explains her story she tacks on all her thoughts and what she was feeling at the time (as well as what she presumes others were feeling). Though Kathy is not necessarily an identifiable character she provides an excellent and unique lens into this world. As for the film Carey Mulligan does a perfect job at portraying Kathy on screen. Yes, I am a huge fan of Carey Mulligan's previous work, but I promise that I'm not biased just because of that.

The book is broken up into three parts and the film follows suit accordingly. What the film captures that was less apparent in the book is the personality of the characters. Because Kathy narrates the story she tends to list the emotions of her friends Tommy and Ruth rather than identifying with them. The changing relationships amongst the three of them in the film was a lot easier to grasp, but of course that's the nature of film.

Over all I enjoyed both the novel and it's film adaptation. With a cast of Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, and Keira Knightley you can't really go wrong. I'm considering reading Remains of the Day after getting used to and ultimately really enjoying Ishiguro's writing style.

this summer-
Books read: 1
Films seen: 3
Hikes taken: 1
Song recommendation: Anna- Charlotte Gainsbourg

Thursday, May 3, 2012

For Lovers Only: A Review

Recently I've been on a bit of a Castle binge, if you will. I started watching the show casually* last year and thought it was kind of cute and an easy watch compared to my other regular shows (see: Fringe and an emotional Lost rewatch). I  got my roommate into it this past season and she really loved it which ultimately got me more excited about watching it. Ultimately it made Mondays a lot more bearable. All this to say that along with my recent obsession with the show, I have taken a liking to the cast so with that I decided to watch Stana Katic's recent independent film by the Polish Brothers, For Lovers Only.

I'm always looking for new independent or lesser-known films to watch and so when I found out Stana Katic was in this I couldn't pass it up. The filmmakers took a very minimalist approach to production. The Polish brothers sort of split up the work where Mark Polish stars opposite Katic as the male lead, and his twin Michael wrote and directed. The two brothers collaboratively produced the film. To add to the simplicity of the production the film was in black and white, excluding one scene at the end, making for a very specific and nostalgic visual experience.

The basic storyline is a simple one. Two past lovers meet each other again in Paris after they have both moved on and married. For Lovers Only is the story of rekindling their love and what that means for each of them.

Where For Lovers Only may lack a complicated plot or copious dialogue it makes up for in exceptional story-telling. This story-telling would not have been possible without the variety of camera techniques that were essential to this film style. One of my favourite lines from this film is when Yves (Mark Polish), a photographer and journalist, is taking pictures of Sophia (Stana Katic) and he says "love me in focus". To me that really captured the essence of the film in one moment.

I highly recommend it if you're interested in independent film (or if you're looking to get into that world). Along with a beautiful story there is also the added treat of beautiful cinematography of French landscapes.

*Casual television watching for me is rare and usually results in either latching on to it full time, or never watching it again.

Books read: 1
Films seen: 2
Hikes taken: 1
(since April 20, 2012)

Song Recommendation: I Found You- Alabama Shakes

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Few Questions

Because I haven't blogged hardcore in quite some time I found this list of fun and interesting questions on the wonderful source for all that is weird (yes, tumblr) to get me back into the swing of things. 

Mental/personal attributes you find particularly alluring? I'm sure it's been said a million times but humour means a lot to me. People who laugh at the same dumb things as me are good.
Name a book that changed your life. The Fault in Our Stars. Enough said. If you haven't read it, do that now. 
Detail your personal feelings about public transit and share a story involving a mode of public transportation. I am pro-public transit for sure. I live in two very different towns/cities throughout the year, depending on if I'm in school or not. One of which is very small and very walkable the other of which is really spread out and requires a vehicle to get anywhere. Neither of these places have any sort of public transport, which is fine when I'm in the small town but not so great when I'm away from school. As for a story involving public transport I took the chunnel (channel/tunnel- it's a word) from Paris to London last year and that was pretty excellent. End of story.
Where was the first place you were allowed to walk to/go to without adult supervision? School. It was literally across the street. As in, my house and my school were neighbours and the only thing separating the buildings was a street. 
Have you ever played ‘the floor is lava” game? What would my childhood have been without it. 

Were you a proponent of the pillow fort or the blanket tent? I like to construct a structure combining a little bit of both techniques. 
Best time you ever had in a natural (i.e. outside an urban area) setting? Walking to the Bay of Fundy with my two best friends from uni. It's beautiful anyway but when you walk 15k to get there it's a lot more rewarding. 
What is the worst thing about living in these times? When people try to distinguish them as "these times" as if we have something inherently different from the people in "those times".
Who and what do you love? Family, friends, my dog, and good stories.

Books read: 0 (almost done Never Let Me Go, review to come)
Hikes taken: 0 (I'm hiking a place called Rainbow Falls this weekend, pictures to come)
Films seen: 0 (For Lovers Only is currently downloading on iTunes!)
Song recommendation: Landline (feat. Ingrid Michaelson) by Greg Laswell

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Back in Business

That's right, this blog is back bitches. Let the summer productivity begin.
Instead of doing BEDA I've decided to modify it to my liking. Introducing, BALTS, Blog A Lot This Summer. Not as catchy granted, but more my style. 

I am aware that there has been a significant hiatus in this little blog but I have been writing in other outlets. Keeping myself busy by writing film reviews for my university's paper. I'm a published author *breaks out the champagne*. 

With this new BALTS project, along with blogging more I will also be tracking some other aspects of my life at the end of every post as follows:

  • Books read this summer (I don't want to give myself a numbered goal but I have a list of around 30 books to be read)
  • Hikes taken (I'm back living near the Appalachian mountains for the summer and I want to take advantage of my surroundings) 
  • Films seen (this includes both in theaters and on dvd/tv, as long as I haven't seen it previously)
I look forward to rekindling my blogging spirit. 

Good night all.