Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Late Summer Spotify Playlist



Just a little taste of what I've been listening to lately. Late summer in Missouri is so weird, because you get teases of fall here and there, but not enough to really get your heart set on it. This playlist represents that pretty well--a few sneaks of fall staples like Iron & Wine and Nathaniel Rateliff, but still pretty dominated by infectious summer sounds. Hope it's a happy addition to your Wednesday!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Kansas City, Here We Come.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may already know this, but I have some rather big news to share (nope, not pregnant--sorry mom).

WE'RE MOVING TO KANSAS CITY!

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Yep, you read that right. If this all seems very sudden, it's because it is. We had talked about moving to KC a few times, but it was always in the "someday" sense. There's a better market for both of our jobs up there, Tyler has family in the area, and I've grown to love it more and more as we visited over the past few years. Recently, though, there have been aspects of my current job that have left me feeling very unhappy and ethically uneasy. After one particularly rough day that resulted in coming home in angry tears, I started looking at jobs in KC that require the licensure that I'll be sitting for in November. I found some great jobs, and even though I wasn't fully qualified yet, applied for them. My thought was, even if I don't get a call right away, they'll have my name and information for the future--and in the meantime, I feel some forward motion, like I'm doing something to put myself in a better position. I applied for four jobs.

I got four phone calls.

I got four interviews.

I got four job offers.


My mind was blown. I was anxious, panicky, and wondered what I had done. Then I was excited, and things started make sense. I talked with Tyler and some of my friends, made pro/con lists for each job. I ended up taking a lower-paying job that is still leaps above what I make now, and that will allow me to work less and have summers off. And I'm so excited.

Not everything has gone according to plan. Tyler was hopeful that his current job would transfer, since the company he works for here in Springfield has an office in Kansas City. We got word last week that his regional manager is not going to allow that to happen. So he'll be here until the end of September, which will mean a few weeks apart for us, and a job search for him as well. (If anyone knows of any good marketing jobs in the Kansas City area, send them my way!) We had a terrible time finding a place to live too--every house we had on our list was snatched up before we had a chance to look at them. We even got a text message the day we were driving up to look at one saying that it had rented that morning. We spent a good portion of Friday just driving around aimlessly though Waldo, looking for "For Rent" signs, and finally giving up and going back to Johnson County to look at apartments closer to where I'll be working. Ultimately, though, we found a place. It's pretty cookie-cutter, doesn't have much (read: any) character, and isn't actually available until about three weeks after I start my new jobs, but it's safe, close to family and my work, and it's got our name on it!

So today I'm feeling grateful. Grateful that my first-world problems aren't really problems, but inconveniences. I'm grateful that frustrations are temporary and that we have amazingly supportive family who will let me crash on their couch until we can move into our apartment. I'm grateful for the amazing friendships I've developed in Springfield, and that KC is only three hours away. I'm grateful for change, even when it's scary, and adventure, even when it's hard.

Kansas City, here we come.

Monday, August 17, 2015

National Thrift Shop Day!

Somebody hide Macklemore's keys, because today is National Thrift Shop Day (terrible joke, I know--but how else are you going to introduce a post like this, hm?). I've slacked quite a bit on my thrifting lately out of general busyness, but I've been known to come home with a few gems in my time. Sometimes these gems make it to the blog and other times, they're photographed and then sit in my Flickr account for six months or more (oops) like this one:

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Tyler calls them my Mork & Mindy overalls (and generally refuses to be seen in public with me while I'm wearing them); I call them awesome.

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To be honest, they aren't the most practical piece of clothing I own, but they very well may be one of the most fun...and I'm not the best thrifter on the planet. I have friends who are thrifting queens, and always manage to come out of the store with amazing pieces at amazing prices. Cases in point--I have a friend who seems like she finds Pendleton stuff ALL.THE.TIME. and once picked up a pair of Frye boots in an antique store. Of course they were her size, because she has the best luck ever. (You know who you are Danavee!). Another friend of mine thrifts the best outfits consistently and managed to snag a pair of Minnetonkas at the local DAV. I'm just not that lucky, but once in a while, I find something I really, really like. Maybe in honor of National Thrift Shop Day, I should hop back on the wagon and see if I can improve my luck. The perfect set of Pyrex may be waiting for me.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Pining for Fall

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Oh man, is it fall yet? This is the first year where summer has really felt like a chore. Maybe it's the 90+ degree heat wave that we've had for what seems like forever, but I'm ready for flannel and sweaters and pumpkin everything. Fall has always been my favorite season (I'm an October baby, so maybe that has something to do with it) but I'm looking forward to it this year more than ever. Thankfully it's just around the corner so I'll be photographing leaves and drinking cocoa in no time.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Vinyl Love // The Bones of What You Believe

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The Bones of What You Believe by Chvrches

In three words: complex, energizing, mesmerizing

Favorite tracks: The Mother We Share, Gun, Recover


This is one of those albums that can be my go-to for most any mood. If I need a pick-me-up or to mellow out, it somehow manages to do both. It's also one of the few albums that my husband and I both agree is awesome. (You might say we have slightly different tastes in music...) Since Chvrches' sophomore album is due next month, I figured that this would be a perfect time to highlight The Bones of What You Believe. You can hear "Leave a Trace" from their upcoming album "Every Open Eye" in the video below.




Thursday, August 6, 2015

Crystal Bridges

Yesterday I wrote a bit about the first part of a little family trip to Arkansas. After spending the day in Eureka Springs, we drove to Bentonville to spend the night (I will forever be an Air B&B fan after this trip!). The next day, we went to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. As it turns out, my stepdad is kind of a big art buff, and even used to be an artist himself in his younger years (maybe I can get him to give me lessons!). I was a little blown away by how wonderful it was--there were a handful of pieces that I could have literally spent all day staring at. I even came face to face with a painting by my all-time favorite artist, Andrew Wyeth. It was an amazing stop, and if you're ever in the Bentonville area, it is definitely worth a visit! Here's a sampling of our day.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Day in Eureka Springs

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Eureka Springs is a magical little town. Living only an hour and a half away, you would think I would have figured that out long ago, but it wasn't until this last year that I visited for the first time with Tyler (well, with the exception of a ghost tour at the Crescent Hotel when we were dating). A few weeks ago, we went back and brought my family along.

Eureka Springs successfully bucks nearly every stereotype you can come up with for Arkansas. It's a liberal art community, with gorgeous, well-preserved old buildings nestled in rolling hills. There are musicians playing on the street corners, and you can wander in and out of local stores and art galleries for hours....which we did.

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We also ate amazing food and picked up some fudge from a local shop (it's a good thing we don't live down there!).

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When we finally felt like we could barely walk another step, we drove up to the crown jewel of Eureka Springs--the Crescent Hotel. There really aren't words to describe how beautiful this place is, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Crescent Family

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Isn't it gorgeous? My stepdad immediately walked in and made reservations for his and my mom's anniversary in the spring.

I've fallen head over heels for Eureka Springs. I see many many many more trips in our future!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Go Set a Watchman

Go Set a Watchman

This post contains some spoilers.

Before I get started, I want to quickly address the controversy surrounding Go Set a Watchman. There has been a lot of back and forth since the book was announced, with some readers desperate to get their hands on a copy, and others refusing to read it. I fall in to the former category. I understand the arguments against reading GSAW--that Harper Lee may be being taken advantage of, that the book may have been published against her will, that this is a money-grab on the part of her publisher--and believe that it's possible there is some merit to these arguments. However, it comes down to two issues for me: (1) We don't know what Ms. Lee's current wishes are, or what her present state of mind is, and there are conflicting accounts of both of these things, from apparently credible sources. Her inner circle is notoriously zip-lipped, much to their credit. (2) At one point, Harper Lee wanted this book published. The was the story for she initially conceptualized, and the manuscript she submitted for publication. To Kill a Mockingbird was born from the rewriting of this book, but we know at one point, that she wanted this book to be seen by the masses.

Okay, on to the book itself!

It's fairly clear from reading the book that it would not have been a stand-alone hit or breakthrough novel. Much of what it has to offer relies on the reader being familiar with the world of TKaM's Maycomb, and already invested in its characters (particularly Atticus). Though it was written prior to Mockingbird, it really does serve best as a sequel (even though some of the details don't quite align). It does seem choppy and not fully fleshed-out, but in some ways actually seems to have more depth, complexity, and nuance.

In short, it emotionally wrecked me. I finished it over a week ago, and it's taken me nearly that long to process it enough to form a coherent post. It was well after midnight when I turned to the last page (which probably didn't help my emotional state--I usually have a granny bedtime) and I just lay there in bed, thoughts racing. Briefly summarized, our beloved Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird returns from New York to her childhood Maycomb. In some ways sheltered from racial tensions in a more progressive city, she finds herself in a town changed, and simmering with veiled conflict. The novel itself reflects this slow boil in pace, with the first 80-90 pages consisting mainly of Scout reliving her childhood and reflecting on surface-level changes of Maycomb. When she finds pro-segregation propaganda with her father's newspaper, she finds out that he's part of a racist "citizen's council" and the KKK. What follows is a series of confrontations and an ending that feels anything but resolved and hopeful.

While Go Set a Watchman appears to be primarily about race relations on the surface, like To Kill a Mockingbird, it more accurately uses issues of race to tell the larger story of innocence lost. GSaW explores racial issues, but it also explores how those issues affect our relationships. How do we cope when we realize our heroes are flawed? How do we react when we find them on the other side of a moral argument? It's so easy to vilify those who believe differently (particularly on issues that we feel should be so clear-cut), but what do you do when the person who believes differently is the father you have always idolized, who has always been kind, upright, and just? We're forced to grapple with this with Atticus, the hero figure of TKaM. He's a card-carrying racist, so does that discount everything good he has done throughout his life? Are all of his actions stained? Or is he a generally good person who is severely misguided and dead wrong on this particular issue? Does the fact that it's an issue of human dignity make a difference in our evaluation?

To be honest, I had heard that this book might make me hate Atticus, but it didn't. It made him human. After reading this, I looked back at Mockingbird, and his character almost seemed too simple, too good, too god-like. In Watchman, I didn't hate him, but I did feel sorry for him. He seemed ignorant, and a little small. I even maybe connected with him a little bit, as strange as that is to say--and certainly not because of his racism, but because his racism made him imperfect, and accessible. The Atticus of Mockingbird is the man you wished was your father; the Atticus of Watchman is your father...and your mother, your grandparents, your friends, your pastor. If it hasn't happened already, at some point, we will be disappointed and disillusioned with the heroes of our childhood, perhaps (and hopefully) not over issues of race, but over some other moral disagreement or issue. We will realize that our heroes aren't simply clones of ourselves, with the exact same beliefs and values. With Watchman, we walk through this process with Scout and feel the frustration, disbelief, anger, and profound sadness. It's heartbreaking, and strangely liberating.

There's no clear resolution to the story. Relationships are strained, but preserved. However, there are still conflicting ideologies. Scout does not cause Atticus to see the errors of his beliefs, he does not renounce his racism and join the NAACP. He simply expresses his pride that Scout has become her own woman, and formed her own opinions. So we're forced to live in the tension, to wrestle with the cognitive dissonance, to be okay without a happy ending. And isn't that so much like reality? Everyone we love is not going to agree with us all of the time, and we have to decide whether that means we can no longer love them. We have to try to figure out which differences are worth severing a relationship over, and which ones are not. And we have to decide how to live with those differences should we determine they aren't.

I would love (love love!) to hear your thoughts on Go Set a Watchman and the issues it raises. (Also let me know if this type of thing is something you'd like to see more of, and if you'd like to read along. Maybe we can start an online book club?)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Well hey there.

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It's crazy to think that over half a year has gone by since I posted last. I have missed this little space more than I could say. I feel like the majority of the past few months was just books, papers, and cramming for exams, but when I look back through Instagram, it turns out I did a lot of living, too. I made new friends, reconnected with old ones, went to parties, and even took some day trips here and there. I guess, when it came down to it, I was too busy living life to stop and write about it...and I'm okay with that. I am certainly glad to be back, though, and while I still have one big nasty terrifying certification exam left to pass this fall, I will be posting regularly again. I'll need something to keep me sane, after all. A big huge thanks to all of you who stuck around through the silence. I owe you a giant hug and a cup of coffee! <3

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