Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Currently: Have I moved yet? How about now?

 photo ac54bae3-460d-4daa-ba89-624d24f4b111_zpseeb0f244.jpg

DREAMING ABOUT: Moving! You will see this theme throughout this entire update post. It is all about moving. Well, that and some general traveling. I move to Asheville, NC in less than two weeks, and I am STOKED. Hayley and I went up a week ago and scouted out places to live, and narrowed it down to three. We are making final decisions as we speak, and will apply before we head out to Seattle...

fields of cotton photo IMG_1183_zps3b868f1e.jpg
Cotton fields on the way home from Asheville, NC. Oh the south.

TRAVELING TO: So, yes. Seattle. Mom, Hayley and I are traveling to Seattle tomorrow for our cousins wedding! I am really excited, because there is no doubt that it will be gorgeous, and love filled. A bunch of our family (cousins and such) are all meeting there (some I haven't seen in 5 years or so) and so it shall be wonderful! I am lucky to have an amazing amazing family, and don't feel shame bragging about it! The wedding is on Saturday, and the rest of the time will just be laughing. all. the. time.

Midtown Music Festival photo IMG_1107_zpse4a9af26.jpgSister Love photo IMG_1108_zps956c001e.jpg
Pictures from the rainy mess that was Mid Town Music Festival in Atlanta back in September.

FIGURING OUT: The above mentioned apartment situation, how to pack all our shit into two cars (we def. will be taking another load of items back with us when we come home for Thanksgiving), I will be leaving Nigel (again, sigh) at home with my parents until Christmas, just to avoid the ridiculous pet deposits ($300 NON REFUNDABLE) in the beginning, so we have more money to get settled in. Also there is that whole, getting an job aspect, but who worries about things like that? PSH.

90s love photo IMG_1181_zpsb7705740.jpgBuffalo Chicken Tatchoes photo IMG_1109_zps2cd71406.jpg
Floral, combat like boots, and thick pastel socks. I will never leave the 90's. And Also, these are buffalo chicken TOTCHOS. Hayley got them in ATL and I learned that totchos are a thing...

READING: I just finished all the 'Divergent' Series (Yay for more YA literature!)(It's very Hunger Games esque, but in my opinion, better), and am currently reading the sequel to 'The Sparrow' called 'Children of God' which I am really excited about. The Sparrow was a book I would have never picked up on my own, but recommended to me a few years ago, and is an amazing story that deals with humanity, religion, and science fiction aspects. I hope the sequel lives up to it. Otherwise, I have picked up a compilation of poems and short stories curated by Nick Flynn, who I discovered through his collection of poems called 'Blind Huber' which is excellent.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I May Have Terrible Music Taste...

 photo cd5c8edf-a745-4e10-b53d-5ee189ab8303_zps20530963.jpg

I have contemplated for a while making a top 50 favorite albums list. I am a pretty avid list maker, and music has always been important to me. What was holding me back mostly was the fact that there are a metric shit ton of 'top 50 best albums EVERRRRR' lists. And that isn't what I wanted to make. I don't claim these are the best albums ever (frankly there are quite a few that I KNOW aren't good albums, and a lot are technically nothing special) but they are my favorite albums. The criteria I used included when I discovered them in my life, how much I played them, the fact that I don't have to skip a single song on any of them, if they live up to a listening currently, and simply the way they make me feel when I listen to them.

I had to give myself a few rules as well though. I ruled out recordings of musicals (sorry 'Spring Awakenings' and 'The Last 5 Years'), any album that is a 'best of' or 'greatest hits' (though Mariah Carey #1s was on pret t t y constant rotation there for a bit) and finally soundtracks or compilations which may have been the hardest, as Save the Last Dance, Romeo and Juliet, Once and Empire Records soundtracks all formed my youth in a pretty massive way.

So over a span of 5 posts, I give you, my top 50 favorite albums.


50. Devendra Banhart- Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
I received this CD during my senior year of college from my boyfriend at the time who knew it would be right up my alley. I had never heard of Banhart at this point, but was making frequent 2-3 hour drives to try and keep our long distance relationship moving right along. This CD still makes car rides all the more enjoyable. Lover, Sea horse, Samba Vexillographica

49. The Flaming Lips- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot
So, Just forget that this is a concept album. Now put it on in the background, or while driving cross country (you will see that 'driving cross country' is a constant theme to my favorite albums) and you will have perfect mood music. I will always associate this album with my first LONG road trip and our halfway point of Colorado. Not a one. I don't think I ever this to this album tracks as individual tracks. Ever.

48. Beastie Boys- License To Ill
Growing up in the MTV generation, I can still remember the first time I saw the video for 'Fight for you right'. Granted, it was a few years old already at the time, but it still left a mark. As I got older, I still mark the Beastie Boys as my first real introduction into rap, and it probably fostered my love of 90's hip hop and R&B. Girls, Brass Monkey, She's Crafty

47. Eels- Daisies of the Galaxy
I really don't remember when I got into this album. I know as of 9th grade, I had NEVER heard of the Eels, as he was the opening act for Fiona Apple, and in all my girl teen angst, I just wanted him to get off the fucking stage so I could hear Fiona. (Ms. Apple would finally take the stage, yell at the audience and cut a few songs short due to male heckling). My first memory of LIKING the Eels goes back to some 90s era teen rom-com, that used a brief snippet of Mr. E's Beautiful Blues. (I tried desperately this past 30 minutes to figure out WHICH 90's movie, I could have SWORN it was '10 Things I Hate About You', but can't find evidence of it at all). I Like Birds, Its A Motherfucker, Wooden Nickels

46. Fleetwood Mac- Rumours
Here is the first entry that is basically on every 'best of...' list. But listen, there is a reason. I didn't grow up with this album anymore than any other 28 year old who just randomly heard these songs in movies, oldies stations, etc. It was the realization that all these great songs, THEY ALL COME FROM ONE ALBUM. And No, it isn't a greatest hits compilation. That's just crazy talk. Never Going Back Again, Songbird, I Don't Want To Know

45. Violent Femmes- self titled
My So-Called Life. Claire Danes dancing to 'Blister In The Sun' out of pure happiness in an opening sequence. Hello Violent Femmes. Gone Daddy Gone, Kiss Off, Blister in the Sun.

44. Beck- The Information
The year after I graduated from college, I lived with one of my best friends from growing up. One of our favorite pastimes was to hold small parties, or larger holiday parties, but no matter what the exact occasion was, we always would throw on the DVD that accompanied 'The Information' CD (it contained the entire track listing from the CD, but with homemade videos Beck put together). Best. Background. Ever. (spoilers, a bear plays drums. And a little girl dances). Cellphones Dead, Nausea, Think I'm in Love.

43. Paul Simon- Graceland
I thinks its reasonable that my first experience with this album was of course 'You Can Call Me Al' because like I mentioned before, MTV kid right here. Later though, I realized the glorious nature of the rest of the album. What was that, you don't like Graceland? Oh, you're also a robot. I get it. Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, Graceland, Crazy Love

42. Dark Dark Dark- Wild go
I can't remember what first brought 'In Your Dreams' across my radar, but I fell in love with it immediately. And I am not one for female voices (this is one of nine albums on this list that features a female voice). I slowly listened to more and more of this album, when I wasn't listening to 'In Your Dreams' on repeat. Every time I've played this album since, it is always that moment of 'damn, I forgot how great this is'! Just stellar. In Your Dreams, Right Path, Say the Word.

41. Cake - Prolonging the Magic
Pick a Cake album, any album, and it is enjoyable start to finish.. This is def. one of those moments where I could have had the whole Cake catalog on this list. I decided upon this album in particular because it holds the most ties to memory. I am always brought back to my sophomore year of college, and all the people who were important to me at the time. Mexico, Satan in my Motor, Hem of Your Garment.

Friday, October 25, 2013

My kind of Karaoke Competition one where you don't have to experience the singing. Ever. At this point, I just assume you all have seen the Epic Lip-Sync off battles that Jimmy Fallon has hosted on his talk show. Oh, somehow you haven't? Well then, go ahead and watch the videos below first, the come back to me, and we'll continue this conversation:

 We first saw it happen when Actor John Krasinski (ME-OW) visited:

 The next time we got to enjoy the stylings of Joseph Gordon Levitt and Stephen Merchant:

Okay, Now that you are back with me, are these competitions (and men) not what dreams are made of? It got me thinking though...If I had to pick three songs to partake in an epic lip sync battle, what would they be? What would my strategy entail? John Krasinski NAILED it with all three of his songs, in my opinion, where as JGL lost me with 'Tiny Dancer' but WON THE SHOW with 'Super Bass' as his second choice.

I thought long and hard (on and off for 4 hours while driving back from Asheville this morning) and finally decided upon the set below. And yes, yes, of COURSE I'll explain why I decided each was a obvious wonderful choice. I will say though, that this was way harder than I expected. I easily narrowed it down to a top 10, but from there I went back and forth a good bit. I provided a playlist of the top 10, all the same.

1)'Always' - Bon Jovi: I knew I needed a throw back, and a throw back power ballad can never go wrong. I decided on this one because it isn't as popular, but I've known every word to this song since I was in 3rd grade. Just a little girl ( matter what my physical appearance suggested), on the school swing set, belting this song out with her best friend during recess. #truthballad

2)'B.O.B.' -Outkast: I believe it was the summer before entering my freshman year of college that my BFF4L and I decided we were going to learn every word to this ridiculous song. I got as far as the first verse, and really, for this competition that is enough. It seems you need to have a token 'rap' to throw in the mix, and where Ol' Dirty Bastard 'Got Your Money' was a close second, the ridiculous speed of this rap won me over, so I could show off my mad skillZ.

3)'Only Girl (In the World) - Rihanna: As far as the 'pop' standards go, this would be where I had the hardest time. I ruled out a few classics, feeling that I needed something a little newer (classics being before the year 2005, like all classics are classified). This song stood out over the few that were left simply because I pictured myself dropping to my knees during the chorus, begging the world to love me. It didn't take much to picture this, mind you, as I have done it at more than a few dance parties. Knee dropping emotion would also be why I saved it as my finale. Solid move, right?

Runners Up: 
'Call Your Girlfriend' -Robyn; 'P.Y.T. -Michael Jackson; 'Countdown' -Beyonce; 'Got Your Money' -O.D.B; 'Brand New Key' -Melanie; 'Don't Take It Personal' -Monica; 'Free Your Mind' -En Vogue.

So, what would be in your top three? I want at LEAST 15 minutes of thought put into this people. No whilly nilly work going on here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Get Your Act Together Martha

So, this isn't a cooking blog, and it never will be. But sometimes, just sometimes, I gotta share something. A recipe, or a link or an amazing looking food, or a brag about how awesome I made some sort of edible, you know just something.

 photo hollandaise-sauce_zpsdde65329.jpg
*Your Hollandaise is going to be darker than this one pictured. Thanks, Paprika!

This is a little bit of the how awesome, and little bit of the recipe. Basically, I wanted to make Hollandaise sauce (not a hard thing to accomplish) but a) most restaurants Hollandaise is shitty and b) all the recipes online are complete crap. ALL.OF.THEM. Not a one of them called for any for of spices, beyond one said 'cayenne' and another said 'white pepper'. I looked at about 15 recipes, and they all listed off the same ingredients: Egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, salt, pepper. Well folks, I'm here to tell you that is straight butter sauce you are drinking there. And though adding spices doesn't decrease the butter, it does makes it SEEM so much more like a real sauce.

So here you are, what I consider a real Hollandaise sauce. And, yes there are going to be no real measurements, but its spices, just add a little, and then add more. duh.

*4 egg yolks
*1.5 sticks of butter (salted)
*2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
*A few shakes of your favorite hot sauce (please don't let your favorite be Tabasco. Even Texas Pete is pushing it. Go out on a limb, there are so many better ones!)
*Black Pepper
*Onion Powder
*1 Teaspoon Ground Mustard

Melt butter in a sauce pan, and set aside to cool down just a tad bit
In a bowl separate out 4 egg yolks. DON'T WASTE THEM WHITES. Make yourself a side omelette. You know, a little something to smack that Hollandaise on AS SOON AS IT'S FINISHED.
Using an immersion blender, blend up those egg yolks. Slowly add in that lukewarm butter, and blend blend blend.
Add in your lemon juice, and spices. Start with just a few shakes of spice each, immersion, and then taste. Then most likely add more. Esp. in the Paprika field. A good Hollandaise has a shit ton of paprika. It just does. The only spice I would make sure you are careful about is the mustard. 1 tsp. should do ya. But then again, this is your sauce, do as you please.

...And that is it. Still a simple as shit recipe, but for some reason all the other sites want you to simply drink butter soup, which this time, I'm just not down with.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Adventures!: Hatchers pass Hike x2

Alaska Adventures

When I've gone a long stretch of not having any sort of adventures (ohhh summer 2013. LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE) I get all nostalgic like, and start dreaming of my old adventures. I thought since I was already dreamin' I should maybe articulate some of those thoughts into a new adventures post, because Sharing IS Caring.

So sit down churrin' and let me tell you of the times I hiked my favorite spot in Alaska, a magical place north of Anchorage named Hatchers Pass. *ohhhhh ahhhh*

 photo 203aeec4-33c5-4da2-9860-4240378adb8f_zpsff1aad2b.jpg
The first time I went hiking on Hatchers Pass was August of 2009. I wasn't even a year into living in Alaska, and had been down in Anchorage visiting other AmeriCorps VISTA members, as well as having my rad friends Matt and Krista up from the lower 48 to visit and explore with me. One of the Anchorage VISTAS was all about the hiking and suggested Hatchers Pass, which I had never heard of, but was totally game. A group of 8 of us headed out, and man it was magical. As I have learned from most Alaskan outdoor experiences, words usually don't do the justice that pictures can, so I present to you my first journey:

Hatchers Pass start photo DSCF2106_zps32638278.jpgmatt and Krista hike photo DSCF2109_zps90bb163f.jpg
The view from the trail head and The group as we begin our hike. For the first hike we headed out in EARLY August, and it couldn't have been better timing. The Fireweed was in full force, and everything was so green and lush it seemed like Dinosaurs should be behind each dome, and frolicking in the valleys. But, I kinda think that about Dinosaurs on EVERY hike I go on. SO WHAT, I want Dinosaur hikes. Doesn't everyone?
Hiking Hatchers Pass photo IMG_2193_zps9ca4c838.jpg
Hatchers pass august photo DSCF2156_zpse772f18f.jpgHatchers beauty photo DSCF2134_zps661cc569.jpg
At the end of the 'trail' (used VERY lightly), there is the most awesome, glowing, glacial lake. Doesn't it just look so inviting? It is ALSO cold. as. shit. but, it's a glacial lake, and you've now been hiking for 5 miles, and know you have 5 miles back. Basically, you HAVE to jump in. But because of the aforementioned 5 miles hike back it means you have to jump in sans clothes. It all makes sense in the end. I only use logic. 
Glacial Lakes photo DSCF2141_zps479cbbc8.jpgGlacial Swim photo DSCF2144_zpscaaf93c0.jpg
Shadow dancer photo IMG_2215_zps636a7bef.jpg

So, in the end, the trip was glorious, and I talked about the hike year after year. Finally, in August 2012 my sister came to visit me in Alaska, and we were down in the Anchorage area to see The Avett Brothers at the Alaska State Fair. I knew it was meant to be, and since I had another willing group of 6 or so people, we headed out to hike Hatchers Pass once more! (I want to note, that I know I keep saying Hatchers Pass, but the exact trail we hiked was the Reed Lakes Trail. for clarification purposes.)

 photo 6116f5c0-446e-490f-9304-c5540d847eca_zps5ca3e13c.jpg
Hatchers Pass August photo IMG_3963_zps45153cc4.jpg
There is definitely a different tone to these pictures than the last grouping. It was LATE August this time when we went, so it was significantly cooler than 3 years prior, plus it was just sort of an overcast gloomy day. In the end though, it was none-the-less magical.

(We still swam, I kinda said we HAD to, even though it was a little chilly to begin with. But COME ON, glacial lake swimming. It doesn't happen everyday. And I think I just like making people strip. *shrugs*)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Utilizing Time and Space

Description of Photo

I have exactly 5 weeks until I am officially living in Asheville, NC and I figured why not take the time that feels like FOREVER and work on some of my 30 before 30 items! After going through the list, I decided I could be actively working on these items over the next 5 weeks:

*Conversational French:
(This is actually part of my final 21-30 list I haven't posted yet, but I promise it is on there!) I have never been one to pick up languages with ease. In high school I took 3 years of French, and pretty much felt like I didn't learn a thing. In college, I fumbled around and finally was able to skip taking ANY languages by graduating with a Bachelors of Science degree instead of a Bachelors of arts degree. At any rate, as I get older I find myself wanting more and more to be able to at least be conversational in a language. I considered starting from scratch with Italian or German, but in the end, I realize I have retained more french that I would have ever thought.
While in Colorado over a month ago, I was introduced to a really neat program called 'Duo Lingo' and have really been enjoying it. You can go online and use it, or use it as an APP for your smartphone or tablet. My goal currently over the next month, is to work on completing a  lesson a day. Does this make me conversational? No, but I still have over a year to continue on this journey.

*Week Long Cleanse:
Besides the sugar binges I have become accustomed to this summer, I consider myself a pretty healthy eater. I eat WAY MORE than I should, but the things I eat usually are the healthy side of the scale. One thing I have never experienced though is a 'cleanse'. And I want to do it. I want to see what my body goes through. I am curious. So I have picked one. It is not a fully liquid cleanse. It is lots of greens, berries, and green tea. I will do it for a week. I start tomorrow. I will report my findings after. *salutes*

*Embroider a Classy/Badass Pillow:
It is not the act of embroidery that scares me, it if the choice of words. I have my 'go to' phrases: Bitches Ain't Shit, How you livin' biggie smalls, etc. But I want something new. and I haven't decided what. Look what ya did you little jerk? Write hard and Clear about what hurts? Bitchface? Stay at home Gypsy?

*Be a Size 10 Comfortably:
I don't want to talk about this summer. But Once again, I am exercising. and I am starting a yoga program. and I am walking to and from work. and GODDAMN IT weight for ONCE IN MY LIFE wont be a problem. I have some rage, you could say. I really just, in the end, want to prove it to myself, that I have the willpower, strength, etc to do this, but also not let it rule my life.

So there we are... my next 5 weeks. This is it. Really. I don't have friends or money.