Tag Archives: Reviews

Saturday Soundtrack – Brought to You By Summer Days that Remind You of Being Young and Invincible

21 Jul

Being post-punk myself, I am a sucker for a good post-punk revival sound. The fact that these guys are from New Zeland only makes me love them more.

The Young and Famous has been flitting across my background playlists for about two years, and it seemed like every time I lifted my head to see who sang a song I was really digging it was them. The feel of this song seems to sum up the exuberance of youth for me. Driving down the Pacific Coast highway with the windows down, staring at the clouds while your bff turns the volume up and starts singing behind the wheel, no ponytail holder, but not caring how tangled your hair gets because it just feels so good to feel young and alive and free.

For fans of Pinback, Passion Pit, The Temper Trap, and The Xx.

Young Blood” by The Naked and Famous on Passive Me Agressive You (2010)

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Intentionally February

5 Mar

image from thresca on tumblr

We’re two months into the year of living intentionally. January went well, and now it’s time to see how it went in February. I don’t want to bore you with the whole list of ways I want to be intentional this year, so let’s just talk about where things went right.

Moving into a season of greater spiritual and emotional intimacy with my husband.

This one is still going well, though I think this month that’s more due to effort on A’s part than mine. He’s been really on top of keeping boundaries up during tax season, and making the most of the time we have together at home. We’ve had more dates this month and more time out with friends than I can remember us ever having during a tax season February. February is usually the time in tax season where the end is still so far that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, but A and his co-workers have been going at it for so long that they’re burned out. February usually brings significant stress and tiredness on A’s part, stress and loneliness on mine, and an epic fight at some point during the month. Not this month! This month we’re comparatively doing well. I’m going to chalk it up to us both being more focused on keeping the intimacy going  during the lean times. Dreaming of our post-tax season vacation helps too.

Moving forward with the ministry God’s put in front of me.

I’ve made decisions this month about my time over the next year, and keeping out time sucks so I can focus in the upcoming months. So I’m calling this one a win.

Making the most of the relationships I have, and taking time to nurture them.

This month has seen many spontaneous lunches and get-togethers with girlfriends. I’ve baby-sat for good friends, and started working out with girlfriends, which helps with my next intentional goal:

Finding fun, creative ways to get together with friends that don’t revolve around food.

I joined a gym that three of my girlfriends belong to. Within the first week of joining, my unofficial life coach Dianne called me four times to see if I was going to class. Way to motivate, Deed!

Tackling some of the harder things on The List, especially the ones that scare me.

You know how I said I joined the gym? Yeah, the biggest reason was to take yoga. Twice a week. And I’m doing it. Yay!
Also, I’ve got A on board with my vision to redecorate the bedroom, and he’s even starting to set aside a little bit to help me do it. Double yay!

Having more people over for dinner, and not letting time/stress/money get in the way of my love of being a hostess.

Two dinners this month, one quite a random mix of people, both successful. This recipe is fab, by the way. Easy, tasty, and the leftovers were great thinly sliced over salad with the aoli as dressing the next night.

Finding ways beyond words to show people that I love them.

I’ve sent out several offers of help to friends who are hurting this month. As one who has been loved on in this way when I’ve been down, I know how much it means.

Buying locally as much as possible.

I just bought the first strawberries of the season, from California. I’ve been resisting the blueberries and raspberries and blackberries that have been popping up in the store because they were from Chile or Mexico. But last week, three baskets of California strawberries were $6. Um, done. Plus, did you know that Clover milk is native to Nor Cal? It is, so Clover eggs and butter is all that’s on our table.

Reading challenging, empowering, quality books instead of solely feeding my brain a mental fast food diet of chick-lit.

Unbroken
The Paris Wife
Working on The Time In Between at Katie’s suggestion.
Plus I opened a Goodreads account! Loving the bookish camaraderie.

Putting my health first and making the time to exercise.

Hey, did I mention I joined a gym? With friends? I did? Oh, sorry. Well, joining is only half the battle. Am I making the time to go? Let’s just say I have a standing date for Monday and Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings for the foreseeable future.

If you had a resolution or a word for 2012, how’s it going? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment or link to a blog post you’ve written on this below.

Saturday Soundtrack – Brought to You By Zen-like Dance Beats

3 Mar

When I was in high school, my color guard instructor came in to practice one day and said, “Girls, this is the best song I’ve ever heard. You’re going to freak out.” She popped The Next Best Thing‘s soundtrack into the cd player (high school, people. iPod was still in its first generation and nanos had just come out.) telling us how amazing Madonna looked in the movie as she did yoga to the song that would become our new warm up music. Ever since then, Boom Boom Ba by Métisse has been my companion whenever I feel like moving, dancing, working, or just plain feeling good. It’s the only song I’ve ever played over and over on repeat, and it was the first song A saw me dance to. I picked it for today’s Saturday Soundtrack because after a nine-year hiatus, today is the day I re-take up yoga. And just like Madonna, this song makes me want to stretch it out.

Métisse blends the Irish and African influences band members Aida and Skully bring to the table for a perfectly balanced Soul/Electronica sound. This harmonious blend of sound and cultures inspired the name Metisse, which is the French word for ‘mixture.’  Somehow the music comes out as music that infuses me with energy and makes me swing my hips at the same time that it makes me feel inexplicably peaceful

My Fault, Métisse’s inaugural album was released in 2000, and they have had one other album since: Nomah’s Land (2007). Their website’s brief about page leaves fans with this simple teaser:

So, where do Métisse go from here? The important thing for Skully and Aida is always to do what they do best..make beautiful, intelligent and modern music that comes from the heart.”

As one who has had their beautiful, intelligent, modern music playing as the soundtrack to some of my best memories, I truly hope they continue to do what they do best.

For fans of Lamb, Imogen HeapJemFrou Frou, and Coldplay.

“Boom Boom Ba” by Métisse on My Fault (2000)

Hadley Hemingway Lives in The Paris Wife

29 Feb

After finishing Unbroken, I was hungry for another good book and didn’t want to take a gamble on the bookshelves. So I contacted my Bostonian Bookophile, who of course had a fount of suggestions. When The Paris Wife was among them, I knew it would be my next book, as I’d already had my eye on it for a while. And it was beautiful.

Paula McLain found a way to bring the first of Hemingway’s four wives back to life, giving her a beautiful, lyrical, melancholy voice. The story of a young woman who became intricately entwined with the budding career of one of America’s greatest literary talents only to see her marriage swallowed by the chaotic life of 1920’s bohemian Paris. Most of The Paris Wife is written as Hadley’s interior monologue, peppered with cut-scenes of Hemingway’s betrayals.

hadley and earnest hemingway, 1920. photo from kramblings

When inside Hadley’s head, her voice is rich, fluid, lyrical. When McLain moves into dialogue between Ernest and Hadley it’s as succinct and poignant as the dialogue Hemingway was known for. McLain makes the tragedy of broken promises and failed expectations lovely, and you can almost taste the bitterness of Hadley’s longing as she finds and loses the love of her life. Though I’m not much for sad endings, this book is supremely worth the read.

I underlined much of this book, as I’m a sucker for a clever turn of phrase. Here’s one of my favorite bits:

If you looked at the bicycles one way, they looked very solid, like sculpture, with afternoon light glinting cleanly off the chrome handlebars–one, two, three, all in a row. If you looked at them another way, you could see just how thin each kickstand was under the weight of the heavy frame, and how they were poised to fall like dominoes or the skeletons of elephants or like love itself. But when I noticed this, I kept it to myself because that, too, was part of the unwritten contract.

I really like 101 Book’s habit of including the first line of each book he reads in his review, so I’d like to do the same, with my own twist:

Opening line (Prologue): Though I often looked for one, I finally had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris.

Opening line (Chapter 1): The very first thing he does is fix me with those wonderfully brown eyes and say, “It’s possible I’m too drunk to judge, but you might have something there.”

Closing lines (Main book): He nodded yes, and I folded Ernest’s letter, creasing and squaring the edges until it seemed sturdy. I gave it to Bumby and together we waded out into the surf and let the boat go. It bobbed and dipped, words on water, and when the waves gradually took it, I only cried a very little, and then it was gone.

Closing lines (Epilogue): There was nothing Paul could possibly do for me except let me go – back to Paris and Pamplona and San Sebastian, back to Chicago when I was Hadley Richardson, a girl stepping off a train about to meet the man who would change her life. That girl, that impossibly lucky girl, needed nothing.

Saturday Soundtrack – Brought to You by The Queen of 90’s Rap

25 Feb

In honor of Black History Month, I’ll be featuring African-American artists who have helped shape the way we do music in America. Enjoy!

Queen Latifah has been on the music scene long before she appeared on the silver screen. She started beatboxing professionally in 1988 and put out her first album in 1989 at the age of nineteen. The 90’s were a huge decade for Latifah; she put out three albums and appeared in eleven films. She had a major role in the rise of women in rap, and combined a silky voice with hard-hitting beats. In 2002 she was brought to the forefront of popular media by starring in the film adaptation of Chicago. Since then she’s appeared in over 20 films, but music continued to be a huge part of her career, evidenced by her putting out three albums in the 2000’s and seeking out roles in which she could show her diverse talents.

I’ve admired Queen Latifah for a long time – she was one of the first strong, confidant, curvy celebrity figure I ever saw. She always struck me as a woman who is uncompromising, who knew how talented she was, and just waited for the rest of the world to get a clue.

For fans of Lauryn HillJanet Jackson, Nina Simone, and Etta James.

“Just Another Day” by Queen Latifah on Black Reign (1993)

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