Documentary Inspiration: Sound City

You know what I love? Being inspired. It’s like a fire being lit inside of me, and I just go crazy. 

I’ve had it on my ‘to do’ list for quite awhile, but Monday I finally got around to watching Sound City.

My childhood is kind of a blur. There isn’t all that much that sticks out in my mind. I have musical memories, though. My favorite band as a kid was The Beach Boys. When we went on vacation, I remember being squished between my sister and brother in the back seat, with one CD player that we took turns listening to. I had a few options, but I most often chose Queen. Not because I liked Queen (although I did sing their songs all of the time, so I must have), but because it was the longest CD we owned and I wanted to make my brother wait. 

I remember having my older cousin over one day and asking her what kind of music she liked, and she responded that she didn’t like music. I remember being stunned into silence. 

After a very short stint in late elementary school listening to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, The Backstreet Boys and N*sync (did I do that right?), my musical tastes were pretty much locked in. 

We were leaving Washington D.C., and stuck in horrendous traffic. At this point, I think my brother and I had each our own CD players. I believe that I was 10 or 11, and he was 17. He recommended CD’s out of his case for me to listen to. 

Nirvana, Everclear, Lit, Smash Mouth, and many other bands filled my ears, and I became insatiable. Growing up wanting to go to concerts all of the time (especially when they were all 3+ hours away) became tiresome for my parents. I always made sure to tell my mom to blame my brother for my “obsession” with music. 

And it wasn’t long after that that I decided I wanted to make a career in it, somehow. I took guitar lessons, attempted to teach myself to play the drums, and dabbled with the piano, too. I wrote songs at that age that now make me cringe. 

It’s a hard road. No one can be sure of themselves all of the time. I’ve still yet been unable to find myself a steadily-paying gig in the industry, but that hasn’t stopped me from working feverishly at it. 

Over time, though, I find myself getting more and more disgruntled. At one point, someone tried to get me into Pro Tools and Garage Band and I just hated it. I didn’t want to use technology as a crutch for making music. I only like music that comes from the soul. I don’t like “perfect” music. Nobody is perfect, so how is music supposed to be perfect if it’s a reflection of the soul? Is your soul perfect? I think not. 

I had heard of Sound City before. Watching the movie brought me through more emotions than your standard tear-jerking Nicholas Sparks production. The whole thing was just so damn beautiful. Seeing people who care so deeply about music and what goes into the music they make is heartwarming to me. It inspires me because it makes me want to fight that much harder for a part in my career. Because I want to be a part of making that music, even if I don’t see myself as a musician. So much greed is in the world, and it has seeped its ugliness into the music industry more and more. Seeing all of these musicians come together to make music on the board that they all loved so much… How often do you see that? Really. Tell me. 

Maybe if you’re not into the behind-the-scenes aspect of music, you might not like this movie. Maybe you will. You should give it a try, either way. For those of you who hold a deep appreciation for music, especially music made from the soul, you should check it out. Please do, and report back. 

http://buy.soundcitymovie.com/

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This is for You, Last-Minute Christmas Shoppers

If you’re anything like my dad, you haven’t done your shopping yet. That’s okay! You’ve got this weekend – although I suggest using Amazon, because no matter what time you go into a store this week, it will likely be insane.

To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite gift things:

Stocking Stuffers:
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Over the years, I’ve gotten many compliments on my soft hands, but this winter has been wreaking havoc on them already. My favorite lotion (especially for my hands) is Earth Therapeutics Peace Potion (the photo in the link looks different – but I’m pretty sure it’s the same product. I got mine a couple of years ago at TJ Maxx). Obviously, I’m a marketing-person’s dream because I always get hooked in by names, and Peace Potion grabbed my attention. But the smell of lavender and chamomile is soothing, and my hands feel a lot better when I use this than when I use “hand lotion”.

My face has also been taking a beating with the wind and cold weather (it’s been below zero a LOT this week here). I’m terrible about keeping routines, but I love to use Pores Be Pure Skin-Clarifying Mud Mask. It smells great, and leaves my face ridiculously soft.

The socks I got at Target awhile back on a whim. I’ve always had a ton of “fuzzy socks”, but these have aloe inside and are easily my favorites.

Magnets

Magnets are also a cute idea. I bought these at Newbury Comics. They’re a fun decoration – especially for a college student or someone who frequently moves, therefore not having much time/space/money/permission to decorate.

       Music:

I was lucky enough to attend the Another Day, Another Time concert back in September, so I ended up scoring this beauty early:
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(And if you’re into that, you should definitely check out the new Dave Van Ronk Smithsonian Folkaways Collection).

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Notoriously a confusing release originally, the re-issue of this made Rolling Stone change their minds about it. Self-Portrait has always been one of my favorites, and this came out on my half-birthday (which yes, I celebrate, because I always wanted a summer birthday pool party), so – happy birthday to me, and Merry Christmas to your loved ones.

Another of Rolling Stone‘s favorite reissues this year was this:
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And you can never have enough of The Band.

Movies:

As a kid, I spent a lot of time watching Topper and Topper Returns with my grandfather. I highly recommend them for some fun, old-school family comedy. That link, by the way, has both movies for $10 on Amazon…I might actually be getting that for myself. Don’t tell anyone – I’ve already spent way too much on Christmas gifts for myself 😉

My grandma got me hooked on Shirley Temple movies early in life. My niece, when she was a little younger, was often compared to Shirley Temple because of her cute round face and red curls, and she loves to watch the box set my siblings got me for my birthday one year:

I’m also a huge fan of Charlie Chaplin, especially Modern Times. You could always use a little slapstick comedy in your life, couldn’t you?

For the Kids:

My nieces love to read. The oldest (she’s 10) is really into mythology right now. I got her this for her birthday last month, and she LOVED it.

I also convinced my mom to get this for my eight-year-old niece, because she’s a definite list-maker and has gotten really into drawing lately:

My nieces also liked this book, which I recommend for anyone who wants a fun way to bond with their kid(s) and get them excited about music:

And I got these two things for my robot, dinosaur, and superhero-obsessed nephew, who’s three:
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I could go on with suggestions all day. I love shopping for other people. If you’re still stuck (especially with people who are difficult to buy for), I suggest making a list of what they like – TV shows, hobbies, etc, and brainstorm from there. There are some great gifts on CafePress and Etsy that just take a little browsing (although at this point they may be a bit belated by the time they arrive). You can also put together some cute kits – hot chocolate, coffee, liquor samples, etc. I’ve been wanting to try out the ingredient-in-the-jar DIY gifts, but since my siblings and I all gather at my parent’s house for about a week between Christmas and New Year’s, it didn’t seem practical. We’re always so busy and have so much food as it is.

What gifts are you excited about giving this year? Try any DIY projects? I’d love to hear about them!

Give It Another Try!

This week, I decided to make homemade potato soup. I’ve been talking about this for awhile, and there were leftover potatoes from dinner Wednesday night, so it seemed like a good opportunity to finally do it:

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It was actually pretty good! A little spicier than I thought it would be (I made liberal use of spices, I guess). I’m fairly sure I disliked potato soup as a kid, and I knew that going in, but, I did enjoy it. And now I have more leftovers. Isn’t that always the case?

With the cold weather getting closer and closer to freezing me out, I made a mental note to make this more in the winter. I’m also constantly on the hunt for warmer clothes. I’m at that phase right now where I’m transitioning out of my kind of lazy, whatever clothes that were acceptable to bum around in on campus or whatever. Don’t get me wrong – I was never a wear-sweatpants-to-class/stores kind of girl, but I’m looking to get more polished. I wore a lot of (mostly band) hoodies in those days.

I was so happy to see one of my favorite websites, xoJane, tackle the warm tights issue yesterday. Tights are impossible, guys. So cute, but not so warm. And I like my dresses. I’m really feeling the Target fleece-lined ones in “old wine”, especially. I’m also hunting for jeans in that color, or corduroys. Anything, really. If you have any tips on where to get them for a reasonable price, let me know!

Most of my days this week have been spent reading for class. We had a choice of four books, and I took the opportunity to give something else another try:

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I’ve never really gotten into the Rolling Stones. Perhaps it’s another thing from my childhood. One of my family’s favorite stories is how I used to “hate” The Doors, and would run outside screaming anytime they put one of their records on. I love The Doors now; I just liked rebelling as a kid. I also hated spaghetti. You can’t take childhood-me too seriously.

This book is much, MUCH longer than any of my other choices, but hey, I like reading, and I’m hoping it will help me on my journey to understanding the Stones better.

Have you been giving anything another try lately? “Old wine” colored jeans, perhaps? 😉

Tryday Friday

I spent a good chunk of this afternoon flipping through magazines in a waiting room. As I sat there looking at all of the clothes I would buy if I were very rich, I realized how many things each week I say I want to try.

I now present you with…Try-Day Friday! Here’s what I’ve decided to try out this week:

Railroad jeans! I’ve been moaning about my wardrobe lately, and I think railroad-striped jeans are just what I’ve been wanting:

Image(jeans by Diesel.com)

October is over, and with it has gone my insatiable appetite for all-things-pumpkin. Oh, well. Sweet potatoes have taken their place and I can’t wait to eat them. I’m especially intrigued by the idea of sweet potatoes diced up into tacos, especially as I’m not a big fan of beef:

Image(photo provided by oprah.com)

And as I’m always seeking out new artists and checking out what the hype is about, this week I tried out Lorde:

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Side note: am I the only one who can’t believe how young she is?

What did you try, or were you inspired to try in the future, this week?