Thursday, December 26, 2013

Disneyland 2013

I'm spending Christmas in San Diego this year and we decided to spend four days at Disneyland. While the trip tested my patience more than I ever would have imagined, it was also a lot of fun. Seeing the park all dolled up for the holidays was great and made it extra special.















I think I've had enough Disneyland for a lifetime.

You can see the whole album here.

Silence can be comforting


Sometimes you think people don't care, but then you realize there's just too much between you to ever go back to saying casual things. The happy birthdays and holiday wishes disappear and silence becomes the only safe option.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Stop being who you were and become who you are

“That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are.”
                                                                                                                       —Paulo Coehlo

Monday, December 9, 2013

For Women Who Are Difficult to Love

I stumbled across this video inspired by the poem "For Women Who Are Difficult to Love" and I love everything about it. The music, the imagery. It's lovely in every way.


For Women Who Are Difficult to Love
by Warsan Shire

You are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
forget you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?

closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
prettier
less volatile, less awake

but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave

you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.
Director, Producer : Andrea Cortes-Juarbe & Christine Mehr

The days drag on and the weeks fly by



I feel like I've lived a lifetime with every breath and yet I blinked and two years flew by.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Things do not change, we change



Have you ever taken a good hard look at your life and found it lacking? It's so easy to get caught up in the daily grind that we forget to focus on growing as people and fostering habits or hobbies that we love. Lately I've thought a lot about the kind of person I want to be and the type of life I want to have. Like most people I'm just not there yet, but there are five areas I've decided I'm gonna focus on. Because it's never too late to change for the better.

1. Get my sleep under control

I have always had horrible sleep habits. If I could stay up all night and sleep all day I would do so happily. I tend to sleep too much or not nearly enough and that's resulted in me always being tired. It's not a lot of fun.

2. Go to the gym

I've been complaining about not going to the gym for too long. I'm hoping to combine this with my waking up early plan.

3. Live with less

I love to buy stuff. Honestly, when I'm not working I'm either napping, shopping, or eating. There's more to life then pretty objects and I need to figure out how to budget and stop wasting my money on useless crap. It's not gonna be easy, but I'm planning to stop using shopping as a leisure activity right away.

4. Learn another language

Language has always been the hardest classes I've taken. I failed Spanish and French (twice!). But I really want to be bilingual. I think it's just a really good skill to have and I plan on trying again.

5. Take up some hobbies

I used to paint and be really creative but I've completely stopped. I want to try sewing again and maybe take up archery.

I know people talk a lot about how they want to change, but I'm hoping this blog post will help keep me accountable. And if you have any tips or suggestions then let me know! I'd also like to stop eating out as much but I'm gonna hold off on that one until sleeping and working out gets figured out. Baby steps as they say.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Current Obsession: Ms Mr

MS MR (pronounced Miz Mister) are a New York-based American duo consisting of vocalist Lizzy Plapinger and producer Max Hershenow. At least according to Wikipedia. But all that matters to me is their utter perfection.


Hurricane:



Think of You:



Fantasy:



Dark Doo Wop:



This album is currently the soundtrack of my life. I just can't get enough of it and I am dying to see them live. One day soon I hope!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I’m not sure which is worse: intense feeling, or the absence of it

I was on a date not that long ago when the conversation drifted into the potentially frightening territory of past lovers. I'm not even sure how we got on the subject, but it was probably my own doing since I seem to have a hard time not talking about other lovers or past dates while I'm actually on a date. It must be terribly annoying to the people around me but it's like I can't help myself. I believe in being open and honest and maybe part of me wants to keep people at a distance and I've found this technique to be pretty dang effective.

Too effective.

Anyways, at some point in the conversation my date mentioned a woman he had fallen head over heels with. He said from the moment he saw her he knew he was a goner. He used dramatic language and the imagery of a person opening up his chest and stomping around on his heart and it made me kinda sad. In part for him. He's not the first person to fall in love with the idea of something and I know firsthand what the sting of reality snapping into place can feel like. But as embarrassing as it sounds, I also felt a bit sad for myself.



I know it's silly and self indulgent, but I want someone to feel that way about me.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Book Review: Into the Forest by Jean Hegland

Title: Into the Forest
Author: Jean Hegland
Genre: YA, Post-Apocalyptic

Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback
Publishing Date: September 1st 1998
Hardcover: 241pages

Stand Alone or series: Stand alone

For some reason this review was sitting in my drafts. It looks like I read this book back in 2011 and I can say I don't really remember much about it. The parts that stick out are the parts I didn't like so I guess there's that.

Summary:
Set in the near-future, Into the Forest is a powerfully imagined novel that focuses on the relationship between two teenage sisters living alone in their Northern California forest home.

Over 30 miles from the nearest town, and several miles away from their nearest neighbor, Nell and Eva struggle to survive as society begins to decay and collapse around them. No single event precedes society's fall. There is talk of a war overseas and upheaval in Congress, but it still comes as a shock when the electricity runs out and gas is nowhere to be found. The sisters consume the resources left in the house, waiting for the power to return. Their arrival into adulthood, however, forces them to reexamine their place in the world and their relationship to the land and each other.

Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale, Into the Forest is a mesmerizing and thought-provoking novel of hope and despair set in a frighteningly plausible near-future America.
Review:

This is a book about two sisters: Nell and Eva. Living 30 miles from town on the cusp of the forest, the sisters have always been close. Even as gas becomes scarce and electricity is now a thing of the past, the two sisters lives stay surprisingly the same. Clinging to the hope that all they have to do is wait the crisis out, Eva still practices her dancing everyday and Nell reads the encyclopedia in preparation for Harvard. In fact, if is wasn't for an old acquaintance showing up at their doorstep and the occasional food running out, the sisters could almost pretend nothing had changed. But no matter how much they try to ignore it, everything has changed. As the world slowly crumbles and they start to drift apart, the sister will have to face obstacles they never thought they would have to face. And though the forest was once something they usually ignored, now it may be their only hope for survival.

While this story takes place in an America that can no longer care for it's citizens, the real story is about Nell and her relationship with her sister as they come into adulthood. In fact, the entire apocalyptic aspect of the story is vague and unexplained. Nell, and therefore the reader, never find out why the country started falling apart in first place. There's simply no explanation for the cataclysm of the story at all. None of the characters can get any news and this really bothered me throughout the story. Even Nell, who is a bit obsessed with her computer at first, never gets any information about the world outside their woods. While Nell's reaction to the deterioration of her world was really well done, the lack of answers made the story seem implausible. While I think the attempt was to make the reader feel like this could happen for any reason, it just felt like laziness to me.

Beyond that, while the characters did annoy me I could understand their motivations. At least I thought I could until one scene in the book. I don't want to ruin the surprise for anyone, but it basically cheapened the experience for me. The idea of focusing on two sisters, rather then a couple, really appealed to me but the book strayed too far from that premise for shock value. I also refuse to believe that a woman who has never had a child can produce breastmilk or hunt a wild pig on the first try.

I do have to say I like Hegland's writing though. There was a quality about it that I really enjoyed. Overall the story just fell flat for me. I shouldn't be bored when reading about two teenagers surviving the end of the world as they knew it. I don't even know what else to say since I feel so apathetic about the whole thing. I've read some complaints that the book has too strong of a feminist message, but I didn't get that all.

Notable Quotes/ Parts:
It's strange, writing these first words, like leaning down into the musty stillness of a well and seeing my face peer up from the water--so small and from such an unfamiliar angle I'm startled to realize the reflection is my own. After all this time a pen feels stiff and awkward in my hand. And I have to admit that this notebook, with its wilderness of blank pages, seems almost more threat than gift--for what can I write here that it will not hurt to remember?

You could write about now, Eva said, about this time. This morning I was so certain I would use this notebook for studying that I had to work to keep from scoffing at her suggestion. But now I see she may be right. Every subject I think of--from economics to meteorology, from anatomy to geography to history--seems to circle around on itself, to lead me unavoidably back to now, to here, today.

Today is Christmas Day. I can't avoid that. We've crossed the days off the calendar much too conscientiously to be wrong about the date, however much we might wish we were. Today is Christmas Day, and Christmas Day is one more day to live through, one more day to be endured so that someday soon this time will be behind us.

By next Christmas this will all be over, and my sister and I will have regained the lives we are meant to live. The electricity will be back, the phones will work. Planes will fly above our clearing once again. In town there will be food in the stores and gas at the service stations. Long before next Christmas we will have indulged in everything we now lack and crave--soap and shampoo, toilet paper and milk, fresh fruit and meat. My computer will be running, Eva's CD player will be working. We'll be listening to the radio, reading the newspaper, using the Internet. Banks and schools and libraries will have reopened, and Eva and I will have left this house where we now live like shipwrecked orphans. She will be dancing with the corps of the San Francisco Ballet, I'll have finished my first semester at Harvard, and this wet, dark day the calendar has insisted we call Christmas will be long, long over.
Verdict:

My ultimate issue with this book was I didn't care for the characters. While the writing was lovely, it kind of felt like a chore to get through.

Rating: 5. Blah – essentially neutral

Monday, November 11, 2013

All your tomorrows start here

“She seems so cool, so focused, so quiet, yet her eyes remain fixed upon the horizon. You think you know all there is to know about her immediately upon meeting her, but everything you think you know is wrong. Passion flows through her like a river of blood. She only looked away for a moment, and the mask slipped, and you fell. All your tomorrows start here.”
                                                           — Neil Gaiman

Ghosts that broke my heart

"My heart wants roots. My mind wants wings. I cannot bear their bickerings."

It's funny how something that mattered so much to you can end up being nothing more than an interesting memory. The things that broke your heart over and over again start to fade into a whisper of emotion and eventually the situation becomes little more than a story you tell people. Something that once happened. You know, that one thing. I don't know how or why, but I ended up reading all of the posts surrounding my breakup with Ryan. Maybe it's because it's been two years. Maybe it's because I'm working the grave and the stillness of the night always speaks to things long gone. Either way, as I journeyed down the rabbit hole of old emotions I was pleasantly surprised.

I'm genuinely not that person anymore.

That Alana couldn't imagine a world without Ryan. She felt like her whole life was being ripped away from her and was sad, so very sad. The type of sadness that only comes around every once and a while. A deep sorrow that came from feeling lost and alone and utterly unloved.

I can't even imagine feeling that strongly about Ryan today. Not about a man who is so obviously wrong for the person I've become. Even though I can remember being that lost girl, I can no longer feel anything similar to it. It's completely and thoroughly gone. Just another story. That thing that happened.

Ironically it's the posts about the next person I had feelings for that still tug at my heart. Maybe it's because I still recognize that person. Yeah things have changed and my feelings have lessened, but there isn't an overwhelming feeling of closure or moving on like with Ryan. These wounds still ache. I may go weeks and even months without thinking about it, but when I do I still feel something. Anger, bitterness, longing. Those aren't the emotions of a person who has moved on. I can still see myself in those words and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Build Your Wings On The Way Down:
There are so many other things I allowed myself to forget. I'd forgotten that sometimes people can unassumingly creep into your life and then leave with all the grace of a tornado. I'd forgotten that sometimes your friends can be the only thing that makes life seem bearable, but they can also be the ones who hurt you the most. I'd forgotten how easy it is to fall a little bit in love with the idea of someone. And I'd forgotten how everything can change in the blink of an eye. Strangers become friends and sometimes friends become lovers, but far too often those same people end up being just another part of your past.

...Kurt Vonnegut said, “Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be.” Even though I've always looked inward when I read it, the sentiment works both ways. No matter how much you think someone is just running from the truth, there comes a time when that certainty isn't enough. When you just have to accept the pretense, no matter how much your heart screams for otherwise, because it simply hurts too much not to. I wish it wasn't so, but sometimes letting go is the bravest thing you can do.

I know I'm being terribly vague again, but its hard to admit you could be so wrong about someone. To say you fell for someone who didn't fall back. I don't know why, but when you put your trust in the wrong person you're the one who feels a little ashamed. Like there was something that could have been done differently. Some sign that you just needed to try harder to read. I think the first person you truly care for after a big breakup is the most special. There's something sacred about the affection that's formed out of the shattered pieces of your previous love and hopes. But while it may be the most surprising, and therefore the most touching, it's also the most delicate. All it takes is a little carelessness for it to fall right back apart. So here I am learning how to pick up the pieces once again and just trying to build my wings on the way down.
As much as it hurts my ego to admit it, I can recognize that person because I still am that person. The edges of my disappointment may have softened over time, but it's still there. And all the experiences I've had since then are somehow tied up in the mess of those emotions. Maybe one day I'll find the perfect thread in my heart to snip and I can rid myself of the tangled mess of my emotion, but until then I've just accepted that I'll have to live with certain ghosts.



With Ryan I traded comfort for the promise of something better. And later I traded something wonderful for something real. I wonder what I'll trade next.

Monday, September 16, 2013

If You Forget Me


I was introduced to Pablo Neruda in an international literature class I took and today is the perfect day for a revisit. Enjoy.


If You Forget Me 
I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

Pablo Neruda

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Another Goodbye

It's hard to say goodbye, but the buildup is even worse.



Every day that passes is a tragedy. The days fly by faster than you thought possible and each milestone is a warning about the moment you wish you could avoid. Every new goodbye brings the past back to the surface. Old memories and scars of ties long severed seem closer than before. Sad songs become a comfort and every new memory is bittersweet.

I really hate goodbyes.

Bryce and Zion Trip

Sometimes wonderful things are so close to you that you can't really see them. Whether it be a wonderful friendship or a giant natural wonder, it's often easier to think about what you don't have. I have the bad habit of sitting around and dreaming of expensive vacations, but I never think of the places that are just a short drive away. The canyons in southern Utah are the perfect example of this. When a friend of mine mentioned driving down to see Bryce and Zion canyon, I couldn't say no.

And what a lovely trip it was.

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While we had originally intended to only stay for one night, I had a leak in my brake line and the holiday made it impossible to get the part we needed until Tuesday. Even though it was really stressful and quite expensive to be stuck in St. George, it was nice to have the extra day. The canyons are more impressive than I could ever explain and there's something moving about feeling so small in the face of such sheer enormity.

Now I just need to see the Grand Canyon. Road trip anyone?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Review: Dust by Joan Frances Turner

Title: Dust
Author: Joan Frances Turner
Genre: Horror, Zombies, YA

Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Publishing Date: September 7th 2010
Hardback: 384 pages

Stand Alone or series: Book one of the Dust series

Summary:
Nine years ago, Jessie had a family. Now, she has a gang.

Nine years ago, Jessie was a vegetarian. Now, she eats very fresh meat.

Nine years ago, Jessie was in a car crash and died. Nine years ago, Jessie was human.

Now, she’s not.

After she was buried, Jessie awoke and tore through the earth to arise, reborn, as a zombie. Jessie’s gang is the Fly-by-Nights. She loves the ancient, skeletal Florian and his memories of time gone by. She’s in love with Joe, a maggot-infested corpse. They fight, hunt, dance together as one—something humans can never understand. There are dark places humans have learned to avoid, lest they run into the zombie gangs.

But now, Jessie and the Fly-by-Nights have seen new creatures in the woods—things not human and not zombie. A strange new illness has flamed up out of nowhere, causing the undeads to become more alive and the living to exist on the brink of death. As bits and pieces of the truth fall around Jessie, like the flesh off her bones, she’ll have to choose between looking away or staring down the madness—and hanging onto everything she has come to know as life…
Review:

"My right arm fell off today. Lucky for me, I'm left handed."

And with that, we are introduced to Jessie. Jessie was a normal teenage girl who had the unfortunate pleasure of dying and coming back to life. After digging her way out of her grave and wandering around the nearby woods, Jessie is initiated into the Fly-by-Nights and makes a new life for herself amongst her new family. While Jessie comes to enjoy her new life, that would make for a very boring story so we get a front row seat as Jessie's world gets turned upside down by a mysterious illness and zombies who appear to becoming human again. As Jessie tries to uncover what is happening to the people around her, she has to come to terms with her past and decide what kind of future she wants for herself.

For me, Dust is the book equivalent of having eyes bigger than your stomach. While the idea of the story had a lot of promise, Turner wasn't able to quite pull it off. The first half of the story is held together by a mysterious illness, but the second half had a little trouble finding its footing. Actually, it had a lot of trouble.

The second half of the book consists of exactly the right people showing up exactly when they need to in order to tell Jessie, and the reader, exactly what they need to know. I take issue with this. Like, ALL THE ISSUES. I also have a huge problem with the way the story is moved forward by "dreams" Jessie has with another character in the book. This is just laziness on the part of the author. Period. I don't want to read about a character being told all the secrets of the universe. I want to be shown. And to do that, the author needs to come up with plausible scenarios where that can take place. Instead, Turner creates a place in the book where she can essentially write whatever the hell she wants in order to get the ending she thinks she needs. Unfortunately, these little dream conversations were longer than they needed to be so I found them to be extremely boring and would often skip whole sections of dialogue. Another frustration I had with these endless dream scenes was the ambiguity on the part of the author. The conversations were often tinged with science fiction answers that didn't answer anything at all.

And about that ending Turner worked so hard to force on her characters, no. Just no.

The true strength of this story was the first half. Turner did a good job of making Jessie likable and I wasn't shocked by the behavior of any of the character's in Jessie's gang. The majority of complaints I could find about this book was about the fighting and hunting scenes, but they didn't bother me. I will admit I skimmed most of the gory descriptions, but that's because one bloated maggot infested zombie feeding on the entails of a live deer is like any other. Turner was able to make the brutality of Jessie and her gang seem natural in a way that I was able to easily accept. The descriptions were similar to Hater but not as disgusting. (Probably because the majority of creatures being hunted were animals.) Jessie and her gang were the type of zombies I imagined Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies would have and I thought it worked well. It's really unfortunate the rest of the story didn't have the same appeal.

Notable Quotes/ Parts:
From Chapter Two:
Nine years ago, I was alive. Nine years ago, Jessica Anne Porter was fifteen and lived in a nice house in the very well-guarded town of Lepingville, an hour out of Chicago, and got okay grades and wanted to do something someday with animal rights. Her hair was auburn dyed something brighter, I forget what. I don’t see bright colors well anymore. She had a mother, father, a sister in her first year of college, a brother in his last—neither of them could wait to get out of the house, they barely spoke to her parents. And her parents barely spoke to each other. Then one day they were in a rare good mood and took her out to dinner, and then there was the Toyota ride home.

Dad took the back roads home, the scenic tour. You weren’t supposed to do that, you were supposed to stay on the main highway with the blindingly sulfurous roadside lights (the “environmental hazards,” as we called them, you never put it more directly than that, supposedly hated bright light) and the toll booths. Each booth had a FUNDING COMMUNITY SAFETY sign so you wouldn’t throw a tantrum as you forked over your money, a sentry bearing an emergency flamethrower. See? Safety. Suck on that, you suburban cheapskates. The small, cramped booths could serve as safe houses in a pinch, if a “hazard” somehow surprised you on the road. They had to let you in, that was the law. But my dad had paid four tolls in eighteen miles just to get to the restaurant and my mom complained the road lights gave her headaches and it was a pretty night and for once nobody was screaming at each other so why not take the old road, the long way home? Rest your eyes. Have a bit of peace and quiet.

It was two miles from the county line, where the former industrial park gave way to beachy dune grass and rows of half-built condos sat empty along the roadside, silhouetted in weirdly dim, soft white road lights. The old-fashioned kind. This was after they finally passed the moratorium on residential building in rural areas, the one the developers held up as long as they could, until the “hazards” somehow got into that gated community near the Taltree Preserve; whose woods, fields and ex-farmlands these are, even they then managed to figure out. Nothing hazardous that night, though, just the dark sky and the low fuzzy whiteness and everything peaceful and sleepy until suddenly there were two blinding headlights bearing down on us from the wrong side of the road, howling brakes and screaming and then, like the lost breath from a hard stomach punch, everything gathered into a fist and struck, and then stopped.

I remember a pickup truck, yellow, gone faded saffron under the road lights. And a woman’s voice, not my mother’s, moaning over and over like some nauseated prayer while I lay on the pavement dying, Oh Christ, oh God, oh Christ oh Christ oh Christ oh my God and I thought, Lady, it’s a little late for that now isn’t it? Her voice was washed out, staticky with the buzz of a million angry flies eating her up, and the buzzing became louder and louder and there were new flashing lights, red ones, but it was too late, I was all eaten up, and I closed my eyes and fell asleep for a long time.

Then, days or weeks or months after the funeral, I woke up.
Verdict:

While I stayed up till 2 am to finish this story, I can't help but be disappointed. The story seemed to slowly lose focus and unravel. It reads like a novel where the author lost direction. Like Turner had this really interesting idea, but didn't know how to make it come to life. While the details were well done, e.g. the descriptions of corpses and the idea of bonding even as a zombie, the larger picture is where Turner lost me. Turner created a world without first developing any parameters to that world and it shows. The ending seemed more like a desperate effort to make it all make sense and for me it just fell flat. This book doesn't consider what it means to be "living" or seem aware of any of the ways Turner could have dug a little deeper into what it means to truly be human. And that's a shame.

Maybe a first person perspective is just too hard to do with zombies. The short story “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Ayala Dawn Johnson (Zombies vs Unicorns) is still the best I've come across. Maybe I can just beg Johnson to write a full length book.

Rating: 4. Bad, but for some reason I still needed to know what happens in the end

Monday, August 19, 2013

Songs for the End of Summer


This summer hasn't really felt like summer to me. Maybe it's because the sun has been shyer than usual. Even though it's been hot, too many of our days have been overcast. Or maybe it's because I work too much and forget to enjoy the warm weather while it's here. Either way, school starts next week so it's time to prepare myself for the craziness and joy fall always is. And what better way is there to do that but with some kick ass music?

All of these songs sound like the end of summer to me. I've noticed a lot of them have an electronic sound which is interesting.

Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey:



Almost all of Lana Del Rey's music sounds like the end of summer to me. It has the slow and hazy quality about it that reminds me of long days and longer nights.

Young Blood by The Naked and Famous:



This song just sounds nostalgic. It makes me want to go on long drives and stay up too late.

Summer’s Gone by The Kinks:



Name really says it all doesn't it?

True Affection by The Blow:




True Loves by Hooray for Earth:



I've shared this song before, but it's just too perfect.

Heartbeats by The Knife:



I came across this song on Pandora and I just adore it.

Pompeii by Bastille:



Anything Could Happen by Ellie Goulding:



This is the perfect song to transition into fall. It just sounds like wonderful things are around the corner.

So goodbye summer. Hello fall...


Hello Stranger

Can the year really be almost over? A slow panic overcomes me when I think about all the things I haven't yet begun to do, but there's also a creeping satisfaction when I think about all the things I have. Either way, I still can't believe summer is already over. The days drag on but the weeks fly by.

I know it's been a long time since I posted anything, but I've been busy living. What no one tells you about the old adage "work hard, play harder" is that you will be exhausted. I've gotten so used to being on the go that I'm trying to relearn how to just sit and be still again.


While I've met some wonderful people and gotten into more than my share of shenanigans, I feel like I've lost some sense of balance in my daily life. I spend too much time working and not enough time reading. I've stopped cooking for most of my meals and I can't even remember the last time I was at the gym. I am not okay with this. Since blogging helped me be accountable for my choices before, I'm hoping I can use it as a motivational tool once again.

So I guess this is my tentative return to blogging. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cafe Rio Chicken (in a Crock Pot)

Cafe Rio is a Mexican chain out here in Utah and it is seriously delicious. I've mentioned the restaurant before, but you seriously can't beat their smothered burritos. Yum.

While I don't think this recipe tastes anything like Cafe Rio's shredded chicken, it is still really really good. It is one of my go to recipes and I love using the leftovers for baked taquitos and little taco salad appetizers in baked wonton wrappers (along the lines of this).

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Cafe Rio Chicken (in a Crock Pot)


Ingredients:

2 lbs chicken breasts ( I use boneless)
1/2 cup zesty italian dressing
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 pkt ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup of water
1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin

Directions:

1. Place chicken in a crock pot.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken.

3. Cook on High 5-6 hours OR on Low 8 hours.

4. Remove chicken from crock pot and shred. Add the chicken to the crock pot and combine with the liquid left in the crock pot. You want the chicken nice and moist.

5. Serve in tacos, burritos, salad, quesadillas, etc. I got two meals from this. I did tacos with some and quesadillas another time with the leftovers. This meat freezes well.

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Source: Real Mom Kitchen

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Random Musings


There was a time when I wasn't busy all the time.

I forget what that time was like.

I'm slowly settling into my new job and the new semester. My new car finally feels like mine and my new house is starting to feel like a home. All the shiny newness has worn slightly off, but I haven't had the time to enjoy it. I have a new recipe I want to share but I don't get home early enough to photograph it. And while it may sound like I'm complaining, I'm actually really happy. I don't have the time to be lonely or upset about things that don't ultimately matter.

Sometimes keeping up the pace takes so much concentration your worries fall by the wayside.

It's only nine but I think I'll go to bed. Hopefully I'll find some sun on Saturday so I can snap some pictures. I think we could all use a little sun.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Give up the shit that weighs you down

Sometimes there's nothing left to do but let things go.

And I don't say this as if it's easy. I realize how incredibly hard it can be to clear out the ghosts that haunt your thoughts. How you can hold onto something for so long, that it becomes a strange comfort. I know first hand how pride can become a bitter mistress, but eventually there will come a day when you just can't hold on anymore. The extra weight becomes unwieldy and you realize you're no longer sure why you cared so much in the first place.

The other day I started laughing out loud in the car when I realized I'd finally let go of the hope of something that was never gonna happen. Then this song came on, highlighting how funny life can be, and I sang my heart out.

Some days everything is perfectly okay.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Time to slow down


Instead of writing letters I'll never send I'm gonna take a bath and read a book. It seems like I spend all my time working or going out and I'm starting to feel like I tell people about myself more than I actually am myself. I'm going to change that.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Goodbye 2012

Ah it's time for the obligatory end of the year post! 2012 was a year of changes. As I've gotten more settled into my new life, I've learned so many things about myself it'd be impossible to ever put it into words. This year has been full of more living than any other year of my life and I'm incredibly thankful for the wonderful people that have made this year the amazing ride it was.

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Santigold at In The Venue, Salt Lake City
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I've been to more concerts this year than I have ever in my life. I saw The Naked and Famous, Cake, The Black Keys, The Arctic Monkeys, Santigold, Charlie XCX, The XX, John Talbot, Pink, Brad Paisley, Enrique Iglesias, Calvin Harris, and The Wanted (well kind of). And that's not counting the local bands I saw. I also had the pleasure of seeing Wicked, Thunder From Down Under, and Cirque du Soleil. I finally went to the East Coast and I had more fun in Vegas than I probably should have.

I lost some good friends but I also started a new job where I've met some of the coolest people I know. How 2013 will compete with this last year is beyond me. But I look forward to the ride.

Happy New Year!