Monday, September 22, 2014

Love Letter to a Song

Love Letter to a Song is a new series I'm super excited about! Music is a powerful thing and I have no end of songs that can instantly transport me back to a specific moment in time. Sort of like a musical time machine! In this series, I will pick one of my favorite songs/albums and explain why I love it so much and what it reminds me of! Simple as that! Read on & enjoy! 

In 2008, I went through one of the worst break-ups of my life. Maybe THE worst breakup. I lost about 15 pounds, cut my hair super short and stayed up late watching TV & movies because I couldn't sleep at night. I threw myself into my work. I wrote some of my best depressing, emo poetry. I had a lot of time on my hands to contemplate my eternal loneliness. Hello drama queen, party of one! Am I painting a picture for you?

During this time I listened to a lot of music. I found some of my all-time bands during this point in my life and re-discovered some of my old favorites. One weekend my mom came to visit and I bought a copy of Rilo Kiley's 2002 album, The Execution of All Things. This album spoke to my broken heart and soothed my aching soul. This album was upbeat, yet sad (dance music for the depressed) and one song in particular became the anthem for my breakup.

Sometimes in the morning I am petrified and can't move
Awake but cannot open my eyes
And the weight is crushing down on my lungs I know I can't breathe
And hope someone will save me this time
And your mother's still calling you insane and high
Swearing it's different this time
And you tell her to give in to the demons that possess her
And that God never blessed her insides
Then you hang up the phone and feel badly for upsetting things
And crawl back into bed to dream of a time
When your heart was open wide and you loved things just because
Like the sick and the dying

And sometimes when you're on, you're really fucking on
And your friends they sing along and they love you
But the lows are so extreme that the good seems fucking cheap
And it teases you for weeks in it's absence
But you'll fight and you'll make it through
You'll fake it if you have to
And you'll show up for work with a smile
You'll be better you'll be smarter
And more grown up and a better daughter
Or son and a real good friend
You'll be awake and you'll be alert
You'll be positive though it hurts
And you'll laugh and embrace all your friends
You'll be a real good listener
You'll be honest, you'll be brave
You'll be handsome, you'll be beautiful
You'll be happy

Your ship may be coming in
You're weak but not giving in
To the cries and the wails of the valley below
Your ship may be coming in
You're weak but not giving in
And you'll fight it you'll go out fighting all of them...

A Better Son/Daughter accurately depicted the daily struggle of moving on when I had no real desire to move at all. Jenny Lewis understood the "fake it till you make it" philosophy that I had adopted after my ultimate rejection. Perhaps she herself had felt the same way when her and Blake Sennett broke up? I thought way too much about the supposed similarities between myself and Ms. Lewis. Reality had no place in my recovery. While Jenny crooned over a snare drum about perseverance despite weakness, I found myself able to hold my head up in solidarity! Had this happened just a few years later, I might have even fist pumped! This song was a game-changer. 

I recently heard that this song might be about bipolar disorder, but I've never heard anyone from RK confirm that. It doesn't really matter anyway. Regardless of the real meaning behind this tune, it will forever remind of the extra push I needed to get back to basics and back to myself. All jokes aside, I can't remember another time in my life that I felt so utterly alone. Knowing (even imagining that knowledge) that someone else may have gone through the same thing as me was so comforting.  Now that I'm a little older, wiser & happily married, when this song comes on one of my playlists I can finally feel nostalgic for a time when a scared young woman was standing on the precipice of one of the most wonderful, life-changing times in her life.  A few years later, I went to see Rilo Kiley in Denver. When they began this song, it was as if the mass of people around me disappeared. It was just me and the band and they were singing directly to me. I sincerely hope they could feel my gratitude because I was vibing it out pretty hard.

I will be eternally grateful to Jenny Lewis and the boys for convincing me that I'm stronger than I ever thought I could be.

Keep your chin up, kid. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Favorite Friday Favorites

1. Two Good Reminders This Week-


2. New Music- 

3. My Purse Might Be Exactly Like This-


4. The Third Season of New Girl Hit Netflix-

My life is, once again, complete. 

5. Ahem.....-

Happy Friday, Friends!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Favorite Friday Favorites

1. Asymmetrical Hair-

I'm growing my hair out of a pixie cut and boy, have I hit an awkward stage. Now all I can do is daydream about these cute, lop-sides dos. 


2. This-


3. New Music-

4. Amen-


5. My Brother, Rob Walker-

My brother is always one of my favorites, though I don't always put him on the list. He was my first best friend, a constant inspiration and source of encouragement & literally one of the best men I know. 

We've had good times & the worst times, but no matter what came our way, we've always handled it together. I have, of course, been the bratty little sister. But I like to think, that as we've grown older, we're only gotten closer. And even in my brattiest of moments, he never dealt with me harshly or gave me any cause to resent him. We share the same dark sense of humor & I can think of no one else that I can finish the sentences of. We've been told we speak our own language when we're together & I suppose that's probably true. 

As I clean & plan for the baby shower I am throwing for Rob and my sister-in-law, Denise, I think about if he was that amazing of a brother to me, how much better of a father he will be to the little sea monkey in Denise's stomach? I love you, Goat-Boy. No matter what. Forever. 


Read this little gem: 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

10 Books That Changed Your Life

There's a challenge floating around Facebook, asking people to list the top 10 books that changed their lives (in no particular order). I got tagged today by my good friend, Kelly and thought I might share my list with any of you that I am not Facebook friends with. Now, there are technically more than 10 books on this list, but I just had to bend the rules a little! Enjoy!

1. You Can’t Catch Death: A Daughter’s Memoir by Ianthe Brautigan

2. Watchmen by Alan Moore
3. The Jessica Darling Series by Meagan McCafferty (Technically 5 books)
4. The Stand, The Shining & It by Stephen King (I’m really cheating here)

5. Maus by Art Spiegelman
6. Postcards by Annie Proulx
7. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
8. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
9. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech 

10. Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault
11. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis (There I go cheating again)

What would be on you list? Do we share any of the same, life-changing books? I would love to hear about them!! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top 5 Unconventional Love Stories

Now, I love myself a traditional love story. I have spent manys the evening watching You've Got Mail or Dirty Dancing, but some of my favorite film love stories are pretty quirky. Here are several of my favorite unconventional love stories, with several bonus titles at the very end. Enjoy!!!

1. Benny & Joon (1993)-

Benny & Joon is a film about two different kinds of love; romantic & familial love. This movie is funny & romantic, but it's also very real & at times quite sad. Benny & Juniper Pearl are a brother & sister who have lived together since the tragic death of their parents.

Joon has schizophrenia, is a pyromaniac & is a very talented artist. Benny, a mechanic, is considering putting Joon in a facility where she can be cared for & thrive. While he loves his sister, he feels like his life can't start while he's constantly taking care of her.

It's at this time that Benny & Joon meet Sam, a young man who is obsessed with old movies & physical comedy. Sam brings new life into Benny & Joon's world and becomes very special to Joon in particular. Sam becomes the catalyst for so much needed change in Benny & Joon's life. If you like quirky, artsy stories, check out Benny & June.

 2. P.S. I Love You (2007)-

P.S. I Love You is about a young widow who looses her husband to cancer, after being married for almost 10 years. Following a whirlwind romance in Ireland, Holly & Gerry marry at a very young age. We see, through a series of flashbacks, Holly & Gerry's early courtship, and it's through these moments that we get the bulk of the love story. While many people assumed this was just another Hollywood tear-jerker, the cast in this film keep it from becoming a sappy tear fest. The balance of humor to drama is expertly executed. 

A large portion of this film takes place in Ireland & the country almost becomes part of the cast. If you're looking for a beautiful love story with an emotional twist, check this one out! 

3. Lars & the Real Girl (2007)-

Lars & the Real Girl is one of my favorite films of all time. The first time I saw it, I was so uncomfortable until about the halfway mark, when all the awkwardness finally made sense.

Lars Lindstrom is a shy, awkward young man who doesn't have many friends & isn't romantically involved with anyone. He lives near is brother & pregnant sister-in-law and they are often very worried about him. When he finally brings home a girl to meet his family, they realize they have had serious cause to worry. Lars & the Real Girl is about community, the process of grief & allowing people back into your heart after you've been hurt. 

4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)-

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a story about the memory of love & what that memory can do to us. Joel & Clementine are an unlikely couple who find comfort in one another's idiosyncrasies. 

After a falling out, Clementine breaks up Joel & undergoes a process that wipes the memory of him from her mind. Understandably hurt, Joel decides to undergo the same process. The bulk of the movie takes place in Joel's mind while the process is happening. Joel realizes, mid-procedure, that even if Clementine never loves him again, he loves her too much to erase the memories he has of her. 

This film, directed by Michel Gondry, has a very dreamy feel and even if you're not crazy about the story, I hope you will love the cinematography, style & soundtrack. 

5. Secretary (2002)-

Secretary is probably the most unconventional love story on this list. I will be honest with you and tell you that this film may not be fore you. Let's just get this out of the way. This film earns it's R-rating because of sexual situations. This film follows Maggie Gyllenhaal as Lee Holloway, a shy twenty something who gets released from a mental health facility, where she has been recovering from an accident caused by her self-harm habits. In hopes of finding some independence, Lee applies for a secretary job working for the odd attorney,  Mr. Grey, played by James Spader.

While working for Grey, Lee becomes involved in a sadomasochistic relationship with him. Through this relationship, Lee becomes more confident in her personal & professional life, ultimately resulting in self-discovery & acceptance. While the film is interesting on many levels, the real reason to watch this film for the performances of Gyllenhaal & Spader. They take a story that could quickly devolve into something exploitive and turn it into a compelling character-focused tale of two people so lost in their own self-loathing, who find love & self-acceptance in the place they least expect it.

Honorable Mention:

  • High Fidelity (2000)
  • Let the Right One In (2008)
  • Wall-E (2008)
  • The Science of Sleep (2006)
  • Lost in Translation (2003)
  • The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
  • Ruby Sparks  (2012)

Are there any films you would add to this list? I would love to hear about them! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up # 4: Anniversary Edition

Thursday was my & Rick's 4th wedding anniversary and we went to Fort Collins for a mini-vaca to celebrate. I booked a room at The Armstrong Hotel, one of our most favorite historic hotels in the state. 

This is our third stay at the Armstrong & they just don't disappoint! I booked the Vintage Queen Honeymoon Suite (you have a choice between vintage & modern rooms) mostly because of the gorgeous sleigh bed, the view of College Avenue and the claw-foot bathtub. While checking in,  I spoke to the lovely front desk attendant, who used to live in Greeley. He was so nice & super helpful! When we got up to the room, we realized they had left us $20 in gift tokens to the downstairs jazz club, Ace Gillettes. Talk about classy! While we didn't get the chance to visit the club this weekend, we plan to go back very soon to catch some jazz and have a cocktail. I can not recommend the Armstrong Hotel enough. Please think of them for your next mini-vaca or special event! 

After checking in & before dinner, we did a quick walk around Old Town Fort Collins and peeked into some of the stores we wanted to visit in the morning. At 7pm we had reservations at The Melting Pot. We went to The Melting Pot last year for our anniversary & both enjoyed it so much that we decided to go back! We had a wonderful waiter who made us feel really special & taken care of through out the whole evening! On top of a wonderful 4-course meal, I had a new cocktail called a French 75 that I am going to NEED to figure out how to make! After dinner, we walked home (or should I say waddled) and enjoyed our lovely hotel room!

The next morning, we slept in and awoke to find that Fort Collins was covered in a drizzly, foggy storm. That didn't bother us much, so we headed downstairs to Mugs, the coffee shop located next to the hotel. I had a wonderful Irish Cream latte & a chocolate scone as big as my head & Rick had a nutty latte and a bagel. Every time we go into Mugs, we're reminded of the coffee shop/deli we met & eventually fell in love at.  While that place is, sadly, no longer open, we love to find places that remind us of the energy we felt there. Please go to Mugs if you ever have the chance. 

After breakfast, we walked around downtown and hit a few of our favorite shops. Realizing the rain wasn't going to let up enough for us to go yard sale-ing, we headed back to Greeley and to the cat-men. We spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning out the garage and getting some boxes ready to donate to the Thrift store. 

Friday evening we headed out to downtown Greeley to check out what was happening for First Friday. Our first stop was Saint Pat's for our friend Natalie & her brother's art show. Natalie is a wonderful photography & her brother, Ryan, does so many different kinds of art, including making board games! Next, we went to John Galt Coffee,  Cafe Panache and the Cranford Cove Tea Tavern . All three location had wonderful art shows and if you have the chance to see them, they will be up all this month. We finished off the night with some comic browsing at the Nerd Store  & dancing at the Block Party

The rest of the weekend was pretty casual & normal. Rick did work on a mural downtown, but I want to wait to show any pictures until he's done. We're both really excited to see the finished product! Sunday was the Kick-off for our church's fall semester and that means a big party on the front lawn and not one, but TWO bouncy castles for the kiddos. Do we know how to party or what?  

We finished up this fabulous weekend with two glasses of really fancy wine, given to us by one of Rick's clients, and some left-over pizza. There's probably a metaphor in there about our marriage, but I'll be darned if I know what it is! ;)

When we leave the boys, we take these pictures of them with us. We still need to get one of Rook. 

Cherry Blossom Martini at the Cranford Cove Tea Tavern. SO GOOD. 

Owl glasses from the Owl Creek Winery in Southern Illinois.

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