Mr. Little Jeans: “Oh Sailor”

When you’re out there on your own, know there’s someone watching over you.

The above lyrics have been in my head for a few days. I find it incredibly comforting. Every time I hear the song “Oh Sailor” by Mr, Little Jeans, aka Norwegian singer Monica Birkenes, I feel a little better about life. The song features children’s voices stringing beautiful words together in a soft blend of pop and gnarled snyths.

I first became a fan of Mr. Little Jeans perform this past summer as part of L.A. area radio station KCRW’s free summer concert series. Aren’t free things the best?

Give “Oh Sailor,” “Good Mistake” and the cover of Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” and tell me what you think. I hope you become a fan too!

2014 books I read: 1-3

Divergent

One of my 24 Before 24 goals is to read at least 14 books. It seems like I’m on track for that goal, although I haven’t been strictly following this list of 14 Books to Read in 2014. So far I’ve knocked two of them off the list and read another that had been sitting on my bookshelf forever, but I hadn’t planned on reading any time soon.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
The dystopian novel about a teenage girl who doesn’t fit in and ends up a hero seemed to be right up my alley from the sound of it. But truth is, it just wasn’t for me. My two sisters, aunt and friends liked it. My mom and one of my other friends didn’t. The book is written well and it’s impressive for a first novel. I’m impressed by anyone who has written a book. It kept me interested, but I didn’t like the characters very much and the violence bothered me. This isn’t to say it wasn’t good, just not something I was into.

Stealing Buddha’s Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen
After reading Divergent, I wanted to read something I knew I would enjoy. Memoirs are my favorite types of books, and this one was just as good as any other I’ve read. The author treats each chapter like a short story almost. Not all memoirs are like that and I appreciated her way of story telling. I laughed, cried and learned a little more about the human experience from another person’s perspective.

Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch
I have mixed feelings about this book. As I said before, I’m impressed by anyone who has written a book. I never have and I would like to. Men and Dogs is one of those books that was enjoyable, but I wouldn’t recommend. It’s filled with drama and suspense, which is good in theory. The flawed characters were interesting and relatable. I loved some chapters and didn’t like others. Maybe I was expecting too much out of the characters. They made strange choices and weren’t always likeable, but they’re human beings. We’re all like that.

What have you been reading lately? Anthing you would recommend?

Music Monday: HAIM

HAIM

The Haim sisters know how to rock out and make famous friends. Based on that, I’d say they’re going to make it big soon. Hey, Harry Styles tweeted something like that about the sisters. Just the other day I noticed someone on Twitter said something about Este Haim’s bass face. It seems like that’s something of a meme now. Besides all that, they’re gorgeous talented Los Angeles natives who just got signed with Jay Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation.

I saw them perform at Coachella and in my opinion they are even better live. I wouldn’t have even known to listen to them, but my BF’s sister did. She knows all the cool things before they’re cool. I just thought I would pass the knowledge on.

Get listening. Care to read more? Here’s a SPIN article on the trio.

Image via Billboard.

My first Coachella experiencce

Coachella cuties

I had so much fun going to Coachella with my boyfriend and his sister this past weekend. We left on Friday afternoon and got back Monday. It was cool seeing some of my favorite bands with the biggest music nerds I know. We even saw a few celebrities! Jaden and Willow Smith along with Kylie and Kendall Jenner were standing behind us during Ellie Goulding’s set. That was pretty cool. It’s hard to pick a favorite moment or favorite band. Aloe Blacc, Solange, HAIM, Lorde, Frank Turner and Arcade Fire were all good.

Continue reading

The in-between time

quote

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurston

I love this quote. I read the book Their Eyes Were Watching God a few years ago for a college English class. To be honest, I didn’t love the book, but I have a feeling if I read it again I might feel differently. That’s what’s great about literature and life. As I grow up I find that I might not like the same things as before because I’m not entirely the same me as before.

I feel as if I’ve figured out what I want in life just a little bit more since the last time I wrote about growing up. My internships are helping with that.

Writing about this just reminded me of how this great professor I had in fall would talk about how the idea of finding out who you are and forming an identity is strange to her. After all, identity is not a static thing. There are aspects of it that can change over time. I wish I could express what she said as well as she did. Hopefully you get what I mean.

A while ago I put together this playlist centered around the idea of “in-between time.” Take it for whatever it means to you. For me, it means being in my 20s, trying to find out what kind of career I want, where I want to live, when to get married and other big things like that.

You can listen to the playlist above, or listen on your Spotify player by clicking here.

I’m going to leave you with one more quote because I love quotes.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” E. E. Cumings

Image via Terry Gotham.

Comfort movies

Cat and Bianca

Whenever I have a sick day and have some time to lounge around, I throw on a movie I’ve seen enough times to have it practically memorized. It’s a kind of comfort to me, similar to eating a favorite food or reading a book over again. The familiar is comfortable. Comfort movies are great for a few reasons. With most of mine, I have good memories of watching the movie before and I know it by heart.

Today I had the chance to stay home and watch one of my absolute favorite comfort movies, 10 Things I Hate About You. You see, yesterday morning I felt like I might be coming down with the flu and by the end of the day I  was positive. My whole body ached, I was hot and cold, my throat hurt, my head hurt, my ears and nose hurt. Although I don’t own a thermometer, I’m also pretty certain I had a fever. My mom and sister can vouch for me on that. I was talking nonsense and feeling warm when I got home. So, for all those reasons I decided to call in sick and take a day of rest. In fact, now it’s 11 at night and I should be in bed getting more rest. Eek!

This morning I thought as long as I’m home sick, I should put on a comfort movie. That’s what I think of certain movies as. Is that just me?

Well, 10 Things I Hate About You is one of those movies for me, so I popped it in the DVD player. I love every bit of it. My sister Mary and I used to watch it a lot when we were younger. I am trying to remember when we first  got into it. The movie came out in 1999. At that time I must have been about 8 years old. I’m sure I didn’t see it that young. I do remember one time when my sister and I were watching it and she kicked me out of the room for a scene in which the Stratford sisters talk about sex (shown above), which is odd really because a lot of the movie does. I might have been in junior high at that time.

Some of my other favorite comfort movies, especially for sick days, include Beauty and The Beast The Lion King, Newsies and The Holiday. What can I say? I’m still a kid at heart. My mom says that when I was about 2 years old I would watch Beauty and The Beast just about every day. When I was about 5 years old, that same scenario went for The Lion King. The day after I got in a bad car accident in which I totaled my car on the freeway (another story for another time) I watched The Lion King. That felt like a warm hug in a scary time.

Of course, then there’s comfort television too. That’s a whole other thing. Friends, Gilmore Girls and MASH are definitely on that list for me. My family has all of Friends and MASH on DVD.

It’s nice to revisit favorite characters, hear familiar quotes, see great scenes play out and– as lame as this sounds — know what is going to happen, but still love every minute.

Image via IMDB.

Work playlist

kitty singing

Monday, Monday.

How do you add some excitement to your day? Personally, I can’t get through the day without music. Well, of course I can, but why would I want to? New music can be especially exciting.

Music speaks to my soul. Whether I am happy, sad, angry, or need a lift in spirits, music is there for me.

Lately I’ve been listening to the same album over and over and over again. It’s just beginning to get old. When I say the same album I mean Beyoncé by Beyoncé and when I say lately I mean ever since it came out two months ago. It’s great and all, but I’m tired of just about everything else saved on my phone and admittedly getting tired of that too.

I was already planning on posting a work playlist on my blog today when someone on Twitter asked all her followers (of which I am included) what we listen to during work. It’s funny how the internet work like that. Also, when I say today I mean yesterday. I haven’t gone to bed yet, so it’s still Monday right? Right? It’s only 15 minutes after midnight in California and I was running around a lot today.

All this to say my boyfriend shared a new work playlist he made on Spotify with me last week and I got permission to share it here. It’s mellow, but there are some energetic tunes in there too. In Paul’s own words, “It goes from indie/electro to dance and then down to soul and mellow tracks.” I actually went back and got that quote from a text like a the weirdo I am.

My favorite songs on the playlist are by Wild Nothing, Blood Orange, AlunaGeorge, St. Vincent and Arcade Fire.

What about you? What do you like to listen to when you’re at work?

Image via Desenhart’s.

Throwback love songs

Sound Bites 2

Happy almost Valentine’s Day! Happy Galentine’s Day! I’m actually not doing anything for either day this year. Myself and everyone I know seem to be really busy lately. We hang out on other non-holidays, so it’s all good.

I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. It’s everywhere, am I right? Particularly, I’ve been thinking about romantic love and how my ideas of what that means have changed over the years. Whether you’ve been in love or not, I’m sure you can say the same.

Continue reading

14 books to read in 2014

sitting, reading

This year, I resolve to read more.

I say that every year. I truly think I do read more every year, but the thing is, that doesn’t always mean novels. At times it meant more newspapers or magazines. At this time in my life it means lot and lots of internet stuff. I’m following way too many blogs and Twitter accounts to ever keep up with. The Internet is a lovely place (also: weird, crazy, informative) and I’m having fun with it.

Truly though, I used to read more books, or at least it seems as if I used to read more. So this year, I’m holding myself accountable.  There are too many unread books in my room and on my mental to-read list that I don’t want to keep ignoring. I want to cultivate my love for reading and not let it fizzle out. For that reason, I chose only books that I’m pretty sure I’ll love and not (just) forcing myself to read books that I think I should be reading.

There’s talk going around about how 2014 should be the year of reading women. I’ve seen tweets with the hashtag #readwomen2014 and talks about how in 2013, people mainly read books by men. The Critical Flame, A journal of literature and culture, plans to “dedicate one year of its review coverage wholly to women writers and writers of color.” While I think that is great and necessary, I don’t entirely plan on doing that myself. That must sound very hypocritical of me. What I mean is, I didn’t think about that while coming up with this list. Only one happens to be by a man and there are books written by women of color in the list. What these books all have in common is that they have been on my mental to-read list for at least a month.

Books to read

The books:

Non-fiction

1. A Writer’s Journey – Christopher Vogler
I’ve been reading this off and on for almost half my life. It was one of my dad’s favorite books. I realized recently that maybe I just don’t want to read it all because then it will be done, but I could always read it over and over.

2. War, Women and the News – Catherine Gourley
My grandma let me borrow this one. It takes place from the period of the Great Depression to shortly after World War II. This book is easy enough for children to read and still engaging enough for any reader.

3. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption – Laura Hillenbrand
My mom has recommended I read this before. Now that a movie adaption is coming out, I feel like there’s a deadline to reach.

4. Rookie Yearbook Two -Tavi Gevinson
I’m happy to report that I bought Rookie Yearbook Two last weekend. Even though I’m sure pretty much everything in the book is on the Rookie website too, it was still totally worth it to get the book. The collages and photos are beautiful. Besides that, it’s just always nice to have a physical copy and to support a great organization.

5. Feminism Is For Everybody – Bell Hooks
This book was recommended by a friend whose opinion I highly value. Also, I read part of her book Class Matters and it was amazing, but this seems like a better starting point.

6. Stealing Buddha’s Dinner – Bich Minh Nguyen
This is another I’m currently reading. It’s a very well-written memoir. The author knows how to bring her stories and characters to life.

7. Bossypants – Tina Fey
It came out three years ago and I have yet to read it. I might get the audio book of this and any other comedy books because I want to hear them in the author’s voice. Does that still count as reading?

8. Amy Poehler’s book (fall release)
The publisher said in a statement that the book is a “an illustrated, nonlinear diary full of humor and honesty and brimming with true stories, fictional anecdotes and life lessons.” I love Amy Poehler, so of course I’m going to read it.

9. Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation – Aisha Tyler
I’m loving Aisha Tyler’s Girl on Guy podcast, so I’m guessing I will love her memoir too.

10. Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps – Kelly Williams Brown
The title alone makes me want to buy the book. Good work to whoever thought that up. I’m also enjoying the blog from whence it started.

 

Fiction

11. Divergent – Veronica Roth
Everyone is talking about this series now. It’s the next Hunger Games, I guess? But apparently not as violent? I never read Hunger Games either, but I’m ready to give this one a try.

12. Sisterland – Curtis Sittenfeld
I ordered this in September when a few of my friends agreed we would have a book club. Then school started and I focused on assigned reading instead.

13. The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri
I’ve read and loved Unaccustomed Earth, The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. I pre-ordered this one back in September and then got caught up in school work.

14. Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
This book was chosen as Tumblr’s first book club selection. It’s a YA book centered around sisters and fandom. Sounds good to me!

You may have noticed that only 4 out of the 14 books I plan to read in 2014 are fiction. I do love fiction. It just so happens that when I came up with a list of what books I’m excited about reading this year, the non-fiction list ended up longer.

Well, here’s to reading more print in 2014. I’m sure other books will come up and I might end up dropping some of these on the list, but this is my list, for now.

MMM…Monday

I guess I’m feeling the letter “M” today. The first thing I listed to today was M83’s Saturday = Youth. It’s just absolutely perfect for a lazy weekend soundtrack. It practically says that in the name. When I wanted more sound later on I lazily scrolled down my boyfriend’s iTunes library until Memory Cassette caught my eye. He put most of the songs from Call & Response on mix CDs when we first started dating, therefore that album will always hold a special place in my heart. Mexican Institute of Sound was next. rad. I saw them live two Halloweens ago at the KCRW Halloween Ball. Although I only understand every tenth word, I love listening to music in Spanish. Some people think that’s weird. If you’re like me, just ignore the haters.

Happy Monday, friends!