Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Right Amount is Best

It is quite rare to find a playlist with a story to go with it. 

I'm fully kidding. Every playlist has a story, but most people don't really feel the need to elaborate on it in the self-focused way I do because most people don't have as much time on their hands as I do. C'est la vie! 

Life is pretty busy, what with rereading Confessions of a Shopaholic for the eighth time and obsessing over the absolute mastery Sophie Kinsella has over the chick lit world. But, somehow, I find the time. 

Yes, this is another playlist blog post. I am truly sorry if you don't like these or music in general, but really, who doesn't like some sort of music? I'm all for sitting in stony silence as much as the next person, but you have to draw a line somewhere. 

I've actually had this playlist since around sophomore year, and it's been a constant. Every couple of months, I will rediscover it and it will be like anchoring myself in a year I am very proud of. Not the sophomore aspect, God no. That was a social trainwreck. But there are points of sophomore year I don't think I'll ever achieve again. I have no qualms about saying that I had an admirable work ethic that year that I will never get back to (but that's okay). Why was I happy to spend 8 hours perfecting a 2 page essay? Only Mother Nature knows now. 

I had not really discovered certain parts of myself then. I hadn't worn makeup yet, I still had long hair, I wore mismatched clothes that were too tight, and I probably wore bad deodorant. But I think there is something pure in not discovering anything about yourself yet, you know? You're still just floating around, content to spend decades on an essay and watch Price is Right. I never rushed to finish homework so I could binge Netflix like I do now. 

I don't think it's a bad thing to binge Netflix, obviously, but sometimes I wish I still had the mental capacity to slow down and be that horribly obnoxious sophomore again. She WAS horribly obnoxious, but she was also a little braver than I am now, she was a little less too faced, and she was content with literally everything. 

So when I listen to this playlist, it's like being in her head for a little while, and everything becomes simple, but not too simple. This playlist has aged with me because I have found new meaning in these songs that I didn't really connect with back then. Notice how I'm not trying to say that I am any less naive now as I was then, and that the understanding I have of these songs is deeper than the understanding I had when I was 15. I am just as naive, if not more so, and my understanding is just different now. 

I chose to name this playlist "Lagom", which is a very weird word to those of us who are not Swedish. Lagom is a Swedish word that, I think, describes these songs perfectly. It does not have an English (I accidentally typed 'elvish' the first time I wrote this! I'm sure it has an elvish equivalent; those elves think of everything) equivalent. It basically means, "not too much, not too little — just right". I'm not sure what you would apply this to practically — Soup? Candy? Things that aren't food? 

But I think this playlist is lagom, if you will. It, like me in sophomore year, didn't try to be something it wasn't. I mean, I did, but I didn't have my heart in it like in my later years! I kept my true self, though I didn't know who that was yet, close to my heart. See, in my later years, I let my true self kind of drift away. I kept it tethered on a rope, obviously, but with a rope that long, you can lose sight of the object at the end. 

I've been trying to find out who that person is again, because apparently, I had a better grasp of it in sophomore year than I do now. Junior and senior year entailed a little too much soul searching, if that's possible, and it made it harder. I was trying too hard, and now, I think I need to slow my roll. And I think this playlist helps.

As the Swedish proverb goes, "The right amount is best."

I do hope you like it, and that is does something for you. Maybe as background music to fall asleep with or take a bath to, or maybe as a series of sounds to dance to in your bedroom when the stars are out. I chose all of them for a reason, and I can't really remember why for a lot of them, but I'm glad sophomore me had great taste in music.  

Friday, May 29, 2015

Country music can be intense, but it's worth the trouble

I've gone through a lot of phases in my life. Living in a society that is changing much more frequently than past decades, growing up in this time comes with a lot of changes. Peer pressure is something that has always been relevant, but think about it. Hipsters: Is it cool to be mainstream, or is it cool to be anti-mainstream? Or, by choosing anti-mainstream, are you less cool than those people who go mainstream because it isn't mainstream any more?

Does the word "mainstream" remind you of trout going upstream, or is that just me?

We are in a highly judgmental society that reaches to our clothing choices, our book choices, or our music choices. I would mock girls reading Twilight even though I had been reading the same book joyously two months prior. Don't get me wrong, Twilight is a pretty bad book as far as its portrayal of a healthy relationship, but that wasn't why I was looking down on the book, you see? I mocked those girls to fit in with a larger group of people, mostly men. 2010 was honestly such a year for girl hate, let me be real. 

But, this is about music, not Twilight. The similarities are few and far between at the surface level, but hold your hats, I have one more relatable analogy for you before we get into the meat and potatoes. 

I used to be a full-on country lover, who "hated" rap. Yes, I mocked Queen Nicki. I laughed along when someone called her "Nicki Mange". 

Had I even heard one of her songs? Nope. 

Then, I started fawning over boys in bow ties and started listening to Arctic Monkeys. Bye-bye, Shania Twain. (I still secretly loved you, but you know. Boys with coffee stains on their shirts who talked in iambic pentameter for some reason. So appealing.)

Then, like three agonizing years later, I woke up.

I really believe I'm not the only one in this; it was a beautiful thing. It is like an entire generation of shamed girls snapped out of it, dumped their frat boy lovers, and admitted they loved Nicki Minaj's pink hair. I, personally, am loving it. And by 'it', I mean the absence of the soul crushing need to impress other people by doing certain things while shunning others and mocking people while I was at it. 
As it is now, I would never in a million years say I hated an entire genre of music. Country, rap, indie, (hell, even techno), they are all such wide categories. Saying you hate rap/country/pop/etc is like saying, "Hello, my name is _____ and I'm a close-minded person" or, in my case, "Hi, my name is ____, and I work way too hard trying to impress that person over there who I've never talked to by listening to music they probably like because I have a hard time asserting myself as a human being who deserves to be respected."

All genres of music have taken their beating, especially rap (hello, racism), pop (hello, sexism), and country (hello, classism). In recent years, I have become a big and open fan of rap (female rappers are, in particular, bomb dot com) and pop. However, something I'm still having trouble opening up about is my liking of country music. Granted, a lot of popular country music now is not very good, and not to mention focuses on overused Old South values to appeal to the white population and Christian values to appeal to, frankly, a lot of people. However, saying that, country is a very diverse genre. Fresh-faced singers like Kacey Musgraves are attempting to change that image that has been building up over the years, and I'm really digging her as a person too. 

Women in country such as Martina McBride, the JaneDear Girls, Dolly Parton, the Dixie Chicks, and Reba McIntire have been such impacting role models on me becoming the person I am today. They sang about empowerment from way back in the 1950's, and I didn't realize how much listening to them as a girl made me more independent, more powerful, and more prideful, especially listening to them again recently. Women don't let other women listen to sexist music, and I'm going to follow that rule now as I lead you down the road of feminist and otherwise positive country music. I loved a lot of these songs a while ago, and I love them now. Granted, 98% of the country music I prefer is made by women, but I've always been that way. I can still appreciate Johnny Cash. 

The playlist I've made I believe features a range of sub genres, because sadly, not everyone loves the Steel Magnolias soundtrack (but they should). Though these are all country tracks, really the only similarity is that I like them. Some I like just the sound of, but some like "Devil Went Down To Georgia" remind me of people I care about very much, and I hope you can appreciate that. I hope you can see how diverse music can be, stop being such a Debbie Downer at parties, and maybe find a country song or two you can jam to. It's got a bad rap and rightfully so, but keep your mind open and you'll be surprised. 

If you would like to read more about country music at its odd, shifting place in society, a southern writer for xoJane did a wonderful article on the subject: 

And if I didn't convince you?:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Positive Morning Playlist + Life Tips?

I think I've accepted the fact that I would rather make a playlist than do almost anything else, except maybe watch "Clueless" and "13 Going on 30" while eating buttery red potatoes. (That is, of course, an ideal situation). Until that happens, which it probably won't (but actually, now that I think about it, that isn't a situation that's hard to create), I'll just stick to making playlists. 

Sometimes, you just have to get back to the basics. New bands nobody knows is always fun, but nostalgia is vastly underrated. Not the kind of nostalgia your grandma gets when she remembers segregated schools (*deep, reverberating sigh*), but the nice kind that traces back to days when you were achingly cheerful. I'm still achingly cheerful, but it's more annoying now that I'm not worried about seeming not emo. 2010 was weird, man.

Lately, I've been listening to this playlist in the morning; it makes me really happy, and that's crucial when you have to get up at least four hours before you would in the wild. Works best coupled with at least two obnoxious cats to bat at your toothbrush as you brush your teeth, but not necessary. Finish off with gummy vitamins (get out of my face with those huge, sad, unecessary pills), and you're bound to have a great day. 

I really do think the music you listen to impacts your mood, subconscious or otherwise, so if you want to be more positive, maybe Lana Del Rey isn't the best choice.  

I like a lot of different music, but lately I've been focusing on positive songs with jazz and/or R&B influences, and obviously, tropical songs are a constant. So, here's the playlist!:

To go along with this playlist, I thought I would talk a little about things I have adopted which have really helped me become a more positive, motivated, and self-fulfilling person! Last year was a very dark period for me, and I became very depressed; I had been so "on" all through high school, doing all the extra credit for things and basically giving up my entire soul whenever I did a project. As you can guess, being the energizer bunny couldn't keep up forever, and when I ran out of juice, it was like a sugar crash. At least, that's the best way I can explain it. I slept all the time, I didn't like talking to anyone, and doing homework physically nauseated me. I did it all, but my energy was quickly going into the negatives. There would be times when I would just sit and stare at the latch on the window or the corner of the coffee table; I didn't care to do anything, not even cry.

When finals were over, I realized I needed to do something. I watched movies I liked, I started dancing even when I didn't feel like it, and I blocked everything out except for the people I held dear. I read beautiful books, and I recharged myself. More importantly, I promised myself not to be the energizer bunny anymore. I am not a battery to be sucked dry, and neither are you. Give to others, but take just as much. Say no when you want, buy bright clothes, smile at people who look like they need it.  

Drink a lot of infused water.

Recharge yourself constantly. Literally all the time. When you feel mentally exhausted, pause and take a little time to do the things you enjoy. STAY ORGANIZED, because the less your brain has to worry about remembering everything, the better. Pick the most adorable planner there is. Write down everything. Make lists. Morning routine lists, night routine lists, dog petting lists. Listen to positive music a lot. Not everyone likes upbeat music, but cutting down on music that drags you down or gives negative vibes helps you help yourself. 

Eat food you like. Create eating habits that don't damage you mentally or make you unhappy. Eat a lot of veggies and fruit along with a lot of candy, regardless of whether you want to get fit or not. Keep yourself hydrated because a hydrated body is a happy one that can function, and be at its best. 

Watch chick flick comedies. Good ones like "13 Going on 30" (how many times have I mentioned that movie?) or "Sleepless in Seattle" (God, that movie is after my heart, I swear). 

Love yourself, endlessly. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Playlist Vol. 2

Hello everyone! Last year, I published a Christmas playlist, as you may remember. You thought I was done, hmm?

You were wrong.

I love holiday songs so much, I think they are an intrinsic part of who I am. I was born in December, so of course, I think hearing Christmas songs as a fetus had a lot to do with it. I'm not religious at all, so I gravitate towards Christmas songs that focus on family, Christmas trees, or obnoxiously jingling bells (that's not to say I don't enjoy a Drummer Boy or a Silent Night every once and a while). 

This new playlist may include ones from the previous year, but I will keep it to a bare minimum — 99% of these are new songs. However, to listen to the playlist(s) of last year, the link is added! 


2013 HOLIDAY PLAYLIST (Holiday-related)

2013 HOLIDAY PLAYLIST (Non-holiday-related) 

I really hope you like the new playlist (and that it is on Spotify for even easier listening, because we know how difficult youtube can me in general, least of all while you're trying to listen to music) 

OH! And as an added bonus, I added a playlist of songs I've been really enjoying this winter. This is similar to last time, but probably a lot shorter because I've been more obsessed with like one artist or song at a time and listen to them religiously instead of flitting about. 

2014 WINTER PLAYLIST (non-holiday)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

M.A.C's Limited Edition Collections Are Killing Me

You know, I thought it was bad when I couldn't get my hands on the Simpson collection. You know, the one that was totally all about Marge that sold out in a couple hours? 

I found out the hour after it was released that M.A.C had released a collection for Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I lost it. Literally, I've never freaked out more. I called my uncle, who, let me just say, is a true fan. He went to the midnight showing the first night it came out in 1975, so naturally, he was just as freaked out as I am. He doesn't wear makeup, but he appreciated it nonetheless. 

I immediately went online, thinking I could maybe at least get one of the nail polishes, perhaps even Bad Fairy? It was too much to hope for the lipsticks, especially FrankNFurter. I was right, FrankNFurter had sold out in thirty minutes after coming onto the site. Everything had sold out in under an hour. I would have killed a man for that pigment pot. 

That's right. I had missed it. 

The years span before me in a torturous void; full of Nightmoths and Ruby Woos, sure, and even a Russian Red here and there. 

But, no FrankNFurter. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What am I Loving Right Now?

1) buying music from artists I like legally 

2) Gillian Anderson

3) Surpisingly upbeat horror movies

4) Parents listening to music on good headphones for the first time

5) Buying makeup everyone else raves about

6) Discussing parasitic life forms

7) Discussing parasitic alien life forms

8) Discussing aliens

9) Finding someone who can't escape to talk to about European history 

10) Listening to The Moldy Peaches

11) Complimenting people's pedicures

12) Homecoming week when all the candidates are selling donuts for $1

13) Blueberries

14) When my dog agrees to be held like an infant 

15) Water bottles

16) Telling white boys that complain about girls drinking pumpkin spice lattes that they are irrelevant

17) Tanya Davis 

18) The 'Flander's Mare'

19) Not being afraid to people you know that they're being problematic 

20) New Marie Antoinette biographies

21) Mona Lisa Vito

22) The original homegirl Hestia (get it?)

23) Moms disgustedly pointing out the patriarchy

24) Dads disgustedly pointing out the patriarchy 

25) My hair

26) Sylvia Plath's blatant exploration into sexuality 

27) Liberal David Beckam-esques

28) Freakishly long feet but not long enough to be disconcerting 

29) Girl toads that look offended when you pick them up

30) nails chipped from teething kittens

31) Molly Bancroft's Funky Little Mouth 

32) The Mumford & Sons aescetic  

33) Dark green flats with rose-gold tips (still searching)

34) Lavender belts with silver spikes (found) 

35) Stevie Nicks 

36) Dana's Tabu 

37) Knowing someone who got a picture with Sam Pepper and still regrets it 

38) Romancing the Stone, when Michael Douglas wasn't dying 

39) Making pet toys out of old underwear

40) House Hunters International 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Someone in the Kitchen, with the Candlestick

If you really think about it, the odds of you being murdered is actually higher than would be comfortable. 

Statistically, someone is murdered every 60 seconds. Of course, that's a rough estimation; there isn't a reporter out there making sure someone is killed every minute, I'm sure, but you get the gist. (Although wouldn't that make a fantastic serial killer? It would be like Zodiac all over again!)

I remember once, I was watching a movie, and something horrible happened to the main character. He asked, "why me?" and his girlfriend replied, "why not you?" It seemed callous and harsh at first glance, because it was, but to be honest, I think about it a lot. Whenever something bad happens to me and I feel like saying Why Me, I think of that horrible Lifetime movie. It applies to the whole murder thing, because, and I don't say this to disturb you, victims probably thought they were as special as you do. Don't get me wrong, I think I'm hella special, but there is something kind of peaceful in accepting the fact that you are just as eligible for being killed as everyone else (although becoming a killer yourself is one sure fire way to bump yourself up, because as far as I know, no one was keen on trying to murder Ted Bundy).

Honestly, there isn't anything stopping you from being murdered. Or choking on asparagus, or a number of other strange ways to die before your time. 

People usually take this two ways: they either freak out, or they get really morbid, trying to find the answer to life, and frankly, becoming a bit of a bore at parties. No one likes the person that responds to "yolo" with "go read Nietzsche, we are all going to die". 

Personally, for someone who is writing an unfortunate blog post about the statistical probability of being cut up into little bits and being thrown into the Seine, I have an incredibly na├»ve outlook on life. My advice is that until you're actually being locked into a basement by a man who looks a lot like the killer off of The Lovely Bones, I really wouldn't sweat it. Acknowledge the philosophy of Why Not Me (trust me, it's very handy in bad situations), then just tell yourself that it can't possibly happen to you. I mean, don't walk through a red-light district in Bangladesh at 2AM, but if you hear a noise coming from downstairs, just tell yourself it's just the dog getting a late night snack. Because, like, it probably is, right? 


So I guess the whole moral of the story is to reach for the moon (the moon in question being not killed, but can be applied to other situations), not worry about reaching for the moon, despite a lot of uneasy odds that you won't get to the moon, nor land among the stars. I don't know what the stars would be in this situation, because I'm puzzled as to what the runner up would be to not being murdered. Murdered gently, perhaps? Or choking on the asparagus, like I mentioned before? 

My brain hurts, it's too late for this.

(If you don't want to get killed but you find yourself in a sticky situation, like the basement one, take some clues from old horror movies or thrillers; in Silence of the Lambs, Katherine was seriously the genius of that whole movie, not Hannibal.)

And remember, if you actually do get murdered, just remember this blog post, smile fondly, and maybe mention it to your murderer beforehand as some food for thought. I'm sure he would like some light reading material to wind down after a long day.

Make yourself at home, little killer person. Sip some tea.

And think about what you've done.

...But at least you made that reporter guy's job easier.