Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Music Favorites

2016 has really been a mixed bag. In some ways, it's been a really crappy year--I mean, we got off on a bad foot when Alan Rickman died last January (and I still can't talk about it without tearing up), and it definitely didn't earn any favors with election season. I lost some childhood icons this year, a couple of friends, and also a lot of faith in humanity. I've been boiling-point livid and overwhelmed in sadness. In other ways, though--my first summer off in years, a Portland/Seattle trip, making some new close friends, and absolutely loving my job--I've had one of the best years of my life. I've had days of radiant happiness, and most days an overall sense of contentment that I've never felt before. Maybe it's the Libra in me, but I tend toward thinking that balance is best--acknowledge the bad, but focus on the good. And in the spirit of the latter, I'm going to focus on the best new music in 2016 (at least in my opinion).

This is always my favorite post of the year--partially because I like being able to look back on what I listened to over the past 12 months and compare it to previous years' playlists, but also because I get to hear your recommendations. I love finding new artists & albums, so leave any good suggestions in the comments--whether they came out in 2016 like these, or they're old favorites that you can't stop listening to. Happy 2017!

Friday, December 23, 2016


Feeling: excited to see my family, but dreading the six-hour drive just a little bit.

Eating: mozzarella pearls and beef jerky. I am the picture of class.

Drinking: water. But I'm definitely making a cup of cinnamon tea before we leave.

Watching: I just started season 3 of Ripper Street! I'm obsessed. And I can't wait until Sherlock comes back January 1st!

Wearing: jeans, a turtleneck, and boots.

Reading: another Jennifer Macmahon novel. Big surprise, right?

Thinking about: asking Tyler if we can skip out a little early (he's working from home for a half day today) so that we have time to stop by Elle's Patisserie in Springfield.

Loving: having our apartment totally clean before we leave. There's just something about coming home to a clean place and not having to worry about doing anything at all.

Excited about: having a whole week off when we get back. I'm going to binge-watch so much British television, you guys.

Working on: reorganizing and cataloguing my books. It's out of control.

Listening to: Christmas music, mostly, with a little Warpaint and Lord Huron thrown in.

Worried about: the weather holding out until we get home. Freezing rain? Tornadoes? No thanks.

Hoping: you all have the most wonderful holiday.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Quiet and Calm

Comparison is the thief of joy, and I know this, but it's still hard sometimes. A lot of my friends are traveling pretty regularly, seeing things I've always wanted to see, and doing things I've always wanted to do. Some live in places I've always wanted to live.  I don't know if it's jealousy, exactly, because I'm happy and excited for them--I just sort of get mad at myself instead. Why haven't I figured out a way to make it work like they have? Why isn't my life that exciting? 

Friday, December 9, 2016

A Not-So-Little Holiday Playlist

I like to think that I'm pretty up-to-date with music--I love finding new songs, bands, and albums to listen to as soon as they emerge. That's not to say that I don't enjoy older stuff, too, though; Stevie Nicks, Patsy Cline, Nick Drake--there are a wide range of decades gracing my record shelves. The same mostly holds true for my taste in Christmas music. My preferences definitely lean more heavily toward the classics when it comes to the holidays, but I've been known to slip some N'Sync, Sufjan, and Civil Wars in there, too.  Over the last few years, I've been slowly working on my perfect holiday playlist, and I think I've almost got it. I thought I'd share it here in case you need some Christmas spirit in the next couple weeks before the holidays. Perfect for cookie making, tree trimming, wrapping presents, snuggling up with a mug of hot cocoa--whatever you fancy, really. Give it a listen--and let me know if there are any must-have songs I missed!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Happy Mail Day: Noon Design Shop

I love shopping for Christmas gifts--it's one of my very favorite things about the season, even if it can get a little stressful trying to find those perfect presents for everyone. I'm a true believer that it really is better to give than receive, but it's still nice to get a little something too! Last week, after an online present-purchasing binge, I was sorting through all the boxes that the mailman brought, and I found a gift box from Noon Design Shop. It was so sweet, and absolutely no-strings-attached. Even though they didn't ask me to do so, I just had to post about this gorgeous stuff, though. I mean, look at it! 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Columbia River Gorgeous: Ponytail Falls Trail Scenic Overlook

Warning: Photo-heavy

If there's one hike I always take people on in the Columbia River Gorge, even if we have limited time, it's the hike past  Ponytail Falls to the scenic overlook. Not only does it take you behind a waterfall, but if you keep climbing, it also takes you to one of my favorite views in the Gorge. 

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