Friday, September 12, 2014

8 Albums That Shaped Me

Many bands and songs have influenced, comforted, and shaped me over the years, but there are few whole entire albums that have. There are few albums that I would listen to in their entirety growing up as a kid and then trying to deal with all the angstiness of my teenage years. Though these do not even begin to represent all the bands and genres of music that I love, these definitely had a strong impact on my life during the times that they came out.

1. Spice by The Spice Girls

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This was probably the first CD that I really ever had. I distinctly remember being 7 and putting this CD on and dancing on my bed in front of the mirror of my dresser and singing into my brush. The Spice Girls were (and still are) awesome and I will always have an admiration for them. I still love listening to them and watching Spice World. This album changed my little 7-year-old life. I like the messages of Girl Power they always sent. They were really all about empowering girls and women, and it was great.

2. No Strings Attached by N'Sync

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I was a huge Backstreet Boys fan until N'Sync came along because they are clearly better. Sorry to those of you on the BSB team, but come on.... Justin Timberlake. I think saying that I was obsessed with N'Sync would be an understatement. My walls were literally wallpapered with pictures of them from all the teenybopper magazines. You know...Bop, Teen Beat, Tiger Beat, and J-14. I watched all their specials and interviews and taped them so that I could re-watch them over and over. I knew the dance moves. I knew all the fun facts about them. I had to watch Model Behavior when it premiered on the Disney Channel. All the usual stuff that pre-teen girls do when it comes to their favorite band. I was shameless. But am I embarassed? NOPE. Still jammin' out to them in my car sometimes. :D I would probably let out the biggest girly squee if I ever heard that they were going to do a reunion show.

3. Britney by Britney Spears

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I loved Britney Spears since she first started out. I remember buying her first CD and loving it. I even went to see her concert on her very first tour. My mom took me and I remember we could've stayed and met her afterwards, but my mom wanted to leave and beat the traffic. I'm still not sure if I forgive her or not.

Anyway...this album in particular shaped me because it really helped to solidify my love for dancing. I used to come home from middle school, put this album on and dance the afternoon away in the family room. I'm A Slave 4 U is probably my favorite Britney song, and that was the big single from this album. I loved the video, I loved the beat, and I loved the VMA performance with the snake. I mean, she looked fucking awesome and HOT. I loved watching Britney perform, and yes...I know the Oops I Did It Again dance by heart. I love to dance and I think that watching Britney really brought more of that out in me.

4. The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem

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This is probably somewhat of a 180 from the other albums on the list so far. Eminem is vulgar, dirty, offensive, and controversial. And I don't mean controversial the way Britney's nude-colored VMA outfit was "controversial". I am really not sure why I fell so in love with Eminem's music. I always liked his style and the way he could rhyme things that you didn't think could rhyme. A lot of the time, his lyrics are like rapid fire and sometimes I'm in awe of it. While a lot of people may be against Eminem or are offended by his lyrics, I never was. I just thought it was fascinating the crazy scenarios he came up with. It's like reading or watching some sort of crazy horror story. I felt like he had a little bit of theatrics in his work, and I liked that as well. The Eminem Show almost made this list because that album came out when I really started getting into writing poetry, and I even tried writing some raps. That didn't really pan out well...

5. The Young and the Hopeless by Good Charlotte

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Ah, yes. Pop punk. It's like chicken soup to me. I hear it and I just feel better about life because it brings me back to simpler times...lol. I had a goth phase and then I had a scene phase and all throughout, Good Charlotte was my favorite band. I still love them and would totally go see them live if they didn't suck at the moment. I'm pretty sure they just broke up and didn't tell anyone. Lame.

Anyway...I'm not sure what caused me to latch onto them in particular. I guess it was their popularity on MTV. I used to watch music videos in the morning (you know, when MTV still played them) before school and I remember seeing the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous video and thinking they were kinda weird, but in a cool way. I really loved The Anthem. It's still probably one of my favorite songs by them. It's just fun. They were fun. And they actually had personalities that seemed silly. It always fascinates me how/why teenage girls in particular become obsessed with bands or singers, but once again, that happened to me with Good Charlotte. I had to see them every time they came to the area (probably a total of 6 times), I had all their posters on my wall, every t-shirt, and I owned every obscure song, cover songs, and different versions of their songs that existed. I also used to stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning when I had to be up for school at 6 just because Benji and Joel were hosting a show on MTV called All Things Rock. It was sort of like TRL for rock videos, but replace Carson Daly with Benji and Joel and take away all the screaming people. This was a similar obsession to N'Sync, but it was also a different kind. Around this time is when I was sort of depressed and in a weird stage in life and their music helped. I also had a crush on Benji...

6. Nirvana by Nirvana

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This isn't necessarily an album, but more of a compilation, but it had a HUGE impact on me. It's hard to hear the words of Kurt Cobain and NOT be intrigued. I remember Ashley got into them and she sort of introduced me. It was not really like anything I'd heard before. It was a lot of different emotions, and the music was heavier and dirtier in a way. It was grunge, which I never really heard before this. I liked it. I liked the weirdness of the lyrics that you sometimes had no idea what he was saying or talking about. They were almost cryptic sometimes. I remember getting the book of his journals when it was published. It was probably the weirdest thing I ever read. I have no idea what happened to it because I haven't seen it in about 8 years and it didn't turn up when I was packing up my stuff to move, either. Sorry, Kurt.

7. Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge by My Chemical Romance

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This album came out at probably the height of my "scenester" stage. I listened to it over and over and over again. I still think it's an awesome album. I always loved the drums on their songs, for some reason. My Chemical Romance was probably my favorite of this particular genre, whatever that genre may be. I also liked The Used, but My Chemical Romance just did it better. I was in a band with my cousin and a friend of mine when this album came out, and they influenced me a lot and I always love to learn their songs. I think we actually played I'm Not Okay (I Promise) during our practices sometimes.

8. Dear Wind by Page France

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I discovered Page France closer to my college years near the end of high school. I started getting more into indie stuff, as well as oldies and vintage music. I liked how different they sounded compared to anything else I heard before. I used to spend hours on iTunes searching for new music, and this was the stage in my life when I was doing this A LOT. That's how I found Page France, and that's how I found a lot of other bands that I currently like. I would go through chains of those suggested artists from one band's page to the next. It's a pretty decent way of finding new music fast. Page France actually became a new band called Cotton Jones a while back. They have a different sound, but it's still amazing and really inspiring. I fortunately got the chance to meet them when they did a tour while I was in college. It was awesome!

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Honorable Mentions:

Lightness by Peter And The Wolf
The Eminem Show by Eminem
Paranoid Cocoon by Cotton Jones
1 by The Beatles (Another compilation, but a great introduction to them for my younger self!)
The Best Party Ever by The Boy Least Likely To
The Used by The Used
Weezer (Green Album) by Weezer
Neon Ballroom by Silverchair
Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy by Mindless Self Indulgence
Fallen by Evanescence

So there you have it...a glimpse into the albums that shaped me into who I am today! What are yours?

*All photos found on Wikipedia

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pickin'

Last weekend, Chris and I were going to go raspberry picking. When I called the orchard we were going to, I realized that they didn't have raspberries available to pick that day. I decided I wanted to go there anyway since they had other things to pick. On the way, we got stuck in a lot of Labor Day traffic and since we were kind of near another local (and smaller) orchard, I made a quick decision to just go there instead. It turned out to be a great decision because they not only had raspberries to pick, but also blackberries! I'm not a HUGE fan of blackberries, but these ones were pretty good and I had never picked them before. I like when I get to pick something that I haven't picked before.

yellow gingham dress, gingham halter dress, modcloth dress, yellow modcloth dress, checkered dress, raspberry picking, german dress, grand canyon finale dress

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blackberries, raspberries, berry bush

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ModCloth recently had one of their crazy 70% off sales and this dress had been on my wishlist for a little while, so I decided to go for it. I'm glad I did, because I love it! I really liked the color and gingham pattern, the collar on the halter, and the fact that the halter collar is actually removable so I could just wear this strapless if I wanted to. I don't know why I would, though since the collar is a lot of what makes this dress awesome.

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I originally bought it wanting to style it in the fall, but I couldn't wait and I figured it should stand alone as an outfit instead of layering it with cardigans and tights. Also, the brand is German and that's awesome. I want to start learning German again, and I like that this dress has a sort of Oktoberfest feel to it. If I liked beer, I would wear this to a brewery or an Oktoberfest event at some point.

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My raspberries were only a dollar something, which is crazy to me. If you go to the grocery store and get a container smaller than the one I used to pick these, you'd pay about $4.99 for it. It's ridiculous. I really hope to someday have enough land to grow my own produce so I can have it fresh and not super expensive.

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Up next will be apples. I love going to the orchard and trying all kinds of different apple varieties. I can't wait to start baking apple and pumpkin things. Since it's the first time I that I have my own place, it will be the first time that I get to do holiday stuff on my own. We will get to decorate for Halloween and fall and get our own little Christmas tree. It's going to be really exciting! I think it'd be cool if my cousin and I started our own little traditions.

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Dress: Blutsgeschwister via ModCloth//Shoes: Dana Buchman//Belt: Thrifted//Lipstick: Flirt!
Well, I'm at my wit's end with the heat and humidity. I'm sorry to keep whining about it, but it's driving me nuts. It was so disgusting out and it makes it disgusting inside, especially since we don't have air conditioning on our first floor where the living room, kitchen, and dining room is. It's finally cooled down a little, and I'm just looking forward to the consistent cool days and crisp nights that the fall will bring.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Betty Rubble

This outfit makes me think of Betty Rubble, probably because of the blue and black mix. Anyway... It's September! Hooray! Summer is finally on the way out, though you wouldn't know it here because it's been in the 80s and humid for the last week or so. We had cooler days before that and I thought autumn was on its way, but then we got this heat wave. I wouldn't call it an Indian Summer since it's not even fall yet, but the phrase comes to mind.

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Every year I have inner turmoil about doing fall things too early. Can you be religious about a season? I feel like that's borderline how I am...or maybe I just like a little tradition. I have these sort of rules about fall. I can't watch Hocus Pocus until October. I can't go apple picking until it's officially fall, though I like to hold out for October for that too. I don't know why. It just doesn't feel right to be drinking a pumpkin latte (Sorry, Dunkin) or watching Halloween movies when it's 80 degrees out.

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I've already been trying to plan some fall trips, but I haven't been too successful. I just know that I'm going to Vermont at some point. I was trying to find some other towns besides Salem that are good for Halloween but there didn't seem to be too much. Maybe Sleepy Hollow? I'm not sure.

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I need some new fall goals. One of them is definitely to dye my hair dark again. Another is to have a Halloween party, which I'm already planning. I'm not sure what else there is to do that I haven't done yet. I'm turning 25, but I have no idea if anyone is planning anything. Gahhh. A quarter of a century old! It's kind of a big deal (to me, anyway). I want it to be special. I love to be surprised, so that's why I try to leave it to other people but it doesn't tend to work out that way. Womp womp. I know that some people hate birthdays or don't care about them, but I love them. I love my birthday and I don't think I'll ever hate it because I'm getting older. They're just so fun!

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Top: Forever 21//Skirt: Funhouse NYC//Shoes: Payless//Lipstick: Cargo Cosmetics
I'm a week into my fall classes, and I'm really enjoying them! I've been getting to read some good books. My favorite so far is I Am The Cheese. It's an older book, but it's really great. I couldn't stop reading it. The end is sort of ambiguous and it makes you think and draw conclusions, but I think that is part of what makes a good book - it keeps you thinking about it even after you've finished reading it.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Quick Pics

As you saw in my last post, the beginning of August started off with a nice day trip to Newport. We went to a handful of shops that had a bunch of fun nautical stuff in them. There was one store in particular where I just wanted everything, but their throw pillows were $80, so there was no way I was getting anything in there. We ended up using some of the credit that Chris has for Restaurant.com towards a hibachi dinner at a restaurant near Newport on our way home. It was really good!

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It was my Grandma's birthday this month, and it was requested that I make the cake. I had no idea how to decorate it, but then I settled on something simple - the Italian flag! I also had a relaxing pool day to celebrate the end of my summer semester and drank sweet tea while I laid in the sun. It was great, although it was probably the last pool day of the season since it will probably be closed soon.

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I was at work when I heard that Robin Williams had passed away. I had to keep my composure because I didn't want to cry in front of my coworkers and patrons. I went to the bathroom to let a little out, but once my shift was done I got in my car and cried all the way home as I listened to songs from Aladdin. I am still so sad that he is gone. I wish I could have had the opportunity to meet him because he seems to have been such a kind, gentle, generous, amazing, compassionate, and beautiful human being. I've heard nothing but good things about him. I don't think a celebrity death has ever affected me the way his did. It's odd to feel so much for someone you have never met and not really realize how much he has touched your life through his work. It's like he was always there while I was growing up, and it felt like he would be around forever. He had some really amazing movies and played great parts and I love that he could do comedy, drama, and suspense. I think what really gets to me is how someone who seems so upbeat, jolly, funny, and happy could have been going through such suffering on the inside. You never know what's truly going on with someone, and that's a little scary. I can't believe he is gone.

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On a lighter note, my friend's family had their annual luau this month. They always have a ton of food and a fire at night and there's always a point in the evening where everyone at the luau sings Bohemian Rhapsody together. It's always a good time.

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There's a local theater that has movies all day for $5.50 every Tuesday, so Chris and I decided to do a double feature one Tuesday night and get the giant bucket of popcorn for it (free refill included!). We saw Guardians of the Galaxy because he really wanted me to see it. I wasn't that into it, though it had some funny parts. I only really liked the part when Groot dances. I think Groot was my favorite. We also saw Let's Be Cops because we both love New Girl and the movie stars the actors who play Nick and Coach. We both really enjoyed that one because while it was a comedy, it also had a little suspense added in. It wasn't just another dumb comedy. So many movies came out this month that I want to see. I still have to see The Giver even though it looks a lot different from the book, and I want to see the new Sin City as well.

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In other news, I got a new hat, have been enjoying making myself healthy dinners like grilled chicken salad, and also enjoying treats like my mom's pepperoni bread when I visit my parents. She makes the best pepperoni bread that you will ever have. I know a lot of people say this about their family's cooking, but this is serious business. I have never tasted another pepperoni bread as good as hers.

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Yesterday I wanted to go raspberry picking, but the orchard that I planned to go to ended up not having raspberry picking. I still wanted to go to the orchard, so we headed there anyway. On the way, we ran into a lot of traffic since it's Labor Day weekend so we decided to go to an orchard that was smaller, but closer instead. Well, they ended up having raspberries AND blackberries to pick so we picked some of those. :) I wore one of the dresses I recently got from ModCloth since it reminds me of farms and orchards.

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I'm glad that I was pleasantly surprised with some berries because those are what I look forward to picking in the summer! Now that the summer is coming to an end, I'm excited for apple picking. I think I definitely need to go a couple of times this year. I usually only go once, but I'd like to try the different varieties that are available at the different times of the season. Fresh fruit is always the best! :)