For some reason I thought I had previously posted a winter/holiday themed playlist on this blog, but apparently that has not happened. I normally wait to play Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, but because the holiday falls so late this year I am officially starting today.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by Nsync
A Mad Russian's Christmas by Trans Siberian Orchestra
Last Christmas by Jimmy Eat World
Snow by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen
I'll Be Home for Christmas by Michael Buble
White Christmas by Otis Redding
Away in a Manger by Bright Eyes
Waltz of the Snowflakes by Tchaikovsky
Christmas in the Room by Sufjan Stevens
Fireside by Jim Brickman
Christmas Lights by Coldplay
Christmastime by Smashing Pumpkins
It Snowed by Meaghan Smith
Kiss Me at Midnight by Nsync
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Jack Johnson
Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 by Trans Siberian Orchestra
Wish List by Neon Trees
Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! by Dean Martin
Run Run Rudolph by Chuck Berry
Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Frank Sinatra
Blue Christmas by She & Him
Seasons of Love by The Original Broadway Cast of Rent
The First Noel by Bright Eyes
Silent Night by Josh Groban
The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole
Winter Song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson
The Suite from the Polar Express by Alan Silvestri
Winter Wonderland by Aretha Franklin
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by She & Him
Christmas Auld Lang Syne by Bobby Darin
I love this time of year and had a lot of fun putting this list together. I also made a Playlist for this on Youtube so you guys can listen to all of these songs too if you'd like! Happy Holidays everyone!!
I've been obsessed with the poem Anxiety Group by Catalina Ferro for months now. I seriously can't stop watching it. Although my anxiety problems are not at the same level as most of the behaviors she describes, I can sympathize with a lot of these feelings. It's kind of nice to know that when you're fighting something you're not the only one fighting it (or fighting for it).
"These people who fight through every day like fucking gladiators who fight demons worse than you, and I can dream of, just because they want so badly to live. To hold on. To love. Because you can’t be this afraid of losing everything if you don’t love everything first, because you have to have a soul-crushing hope that things will get better to be this afraid of missing it."
You never know what kind of battles other people are facing. It's important to realize some people are working through problems that aren't easily fixed, and they can't just make these issues go away.
Part of being human is the inherent fact that we are all different. No two people (not even identical twins) are the same. I personally believe our individualism should be celebrated. Think about it. Isn't it cool that despite the enormous number of people on this plant we are all still different?
Instead it seems that we are taught to wipe away our uniqueness or dislike the features that make us stand out amongst our peers. We can't seem to accept that some people have small frames and some people have larger ones. That some people's metabolism works at a dissimilar pace than our own. That some people have small hands or big feet and others have long legs or big thighs. Genetics have always separated us and yet humans have refused to acknowledged that as a good thing. Society has taught us to judge each other by how closely we come to the "ideal" body. We try to blend in with one another, casting away our differences. We question the reason a person looks a certain way when the answer is often simple, heredity. It's just the way the world works.
Two of my favorite YouTubers, Zoella and SprinkleofGlitter, seem to be great advocates for loving yourself and being kind to people (in a general sense and when it comes to other's bodies). Both women, although different, are equally as gorgeous and seem to possess a certain amount of confidence with their bodies. Recently, the two women made an awesome video about the question, "Why are you so skinny?" I loved their approach to the question and definitely agree with both of their expressed opinions. The way you phrase a question/statement can make all the difference. It's important to be aware of the effect words can have on an individual. If there is something more going on, and you are concerned about a friend, there are better ways to approach that kind of situation. Making rude comments and assumptions can leave an everlasting effect.
"If you're happy and you're healthy, then screw what everybody else thinks."
I am short. I have small hands and small feet. My legs are short and my thighs have always touched (even when I was skinniest). My spine curves in weird ways. My stomach fat is a little larger on one side than the other. My jaw is crooked and no part of my body is even remotely symmetrical on either side. Yet this is the way I was born. It's not ideal but it's what makes me, me. I have spent a lot of time being unhappy and dissatisfied by my body. I have struggled to see any part of myself as pretty because according to the magazines and the research, I'm not. Listening to people call other women/men ugly or fat for being a certain way, also has effects on the people you say those things around (not just the people you say them about). We should be going farther out of our way to say positive things about each other rather than making negative comments.
I'm certainly not entirely happy about the way my body looks, but I try to find one thing I like every day. I have learned to see my differences as positive thing, rather than as a burden. There's no way, besides possibly plastic surgery (and even that won't solve everything), that I will end up with the "perfect" body. I figure I might as well try to be happy in my own skin, rather than waste my whole life wishing I was something else. I wish society spent more time teaching people to love their bodies rather than focusing on what we should change. Embrace the parts that make you unique. Love yourself, no matter what size, shape, or amount of "imperfections" you have. Lastly, don't forget to act in a positive way towards others too. Tell your friends, children, significant others that they look lovely each and every day. Saying nice things never causes as much harm as saying something derogatory.
Now I've basically become the one girl from Mean Girls who says she wants to "bake a cake made out of rainbows and smiles," but I found this video to be so important.
Last night I was feeling anxious and just could not sleep. After tossing and turning for about an hour, I decided to open up my computer and watch some ballet. My two "go-to" videos are The Nutcracker with Macaulay Culkin (which I grew up on and it will never get old) and Sylvie Guillem's performance in Cinderella (which is what I ended up watching). I've always been amazed by Guillem's extensions and performance style, not to mention I absolutely love the Opera national de Paris' choreography. There's this really great part when she's dancing with the broom and sweeping it around in circles; I'm always mesmerized by the fluidity of the movements.
When I was younger, I was obsessed with analyzing professional ballerina's performances and teaching myself different solos. Slowly, as I grew older and realized dancing professionally was not in the cards for me, I stopped searching the internet for ballet videos. I gave up on something I was truly passionate about. Lately I've started to notice just how much I feel like I'm missing without dance in my life.
But deep down I know that dance will never really leave me. I still do pirouettes in my kitchen and choreograph dances in my sleep. When I hear certain songs, they will always flood me with memories of dancing. I was back at my old studio last weekend for a friend's Bachelorette Party and it still felt like returning home after a few years of being away. Dancing will always make me feel alive. It helps me focus. It gives me strength and hope. It makes me feel like I'm creating something positive and beautiful. Dance has always given my body a purpose. It reminds me to be thankful for these imperfect bones because despite being imperfect I'm still able to move.
Once a dancer, always a dancer. Whether I'm actually taking classes or not, I will never stop dancing.
I woke up this morning to snow. Yes snow is beautiful and wonderful during the holiday season, but I'm not excited for slippery roads and shoveling in the cold for the next five months.
After breakfast I finally decided to get ready to go downtown. I need to find a dress for a friend's upcoming wedding and wanted to get a jump start on some Christmas shopping.
Even after bundling up, I was freezing during my walk. It might be time to start driving places again (sad face). I think I was meant to live in a warmer climate.
I found this sweater while thrift shopping over the summer (no regrets there); it's super comfy and fits perfectly. Paired with my new denim leggings (I hate the word jeggings) from American Eagle, as well as some trusty SmartWool socks. Topped off with my favorite H&M hat (that I've had since high school) and the new J. Crew Outlet scarf.
After throwing on a jacket and boots I took the trail along the water (chilly but still breathtaking). There was also considerably less amount of snow here, but by this time the sun was starting to peak through the clouds and the snow was starting to melt.
After coffee and a very unsuccessful shopping adventure, I came home to warm up. The day was wrapped up with a nice dinner with the family and a trip to Home Depot to look at paint colors. I'm thinking blue and/or grey (the picture really doesn't show off the colors well).
Hope everyone else had a nice day. Time for some sleep!
Let go and embrace your identity. So much of my life has evolved around liking what others have liked or reiterating what other people have already said (hell, that's basically what I'm doing now). It's perfectly okay to enjoy the same thing as other people, but it's also important to say, "you know what, I like this instead."
I've really been thinking and struggling with this notion lately, since I've noticed how much I've let other people influence my interests in the past. As I've been questioning more and more what direction I want to take for a career, I've really struggled to strip down all the layers of influenced over my identity. My goal in this is to find where my true passions lie and what really excites me to move forward. I don't want to settle for a career or a life that is someone else's. I want to find something that I fit into and a life that I am passionate about.
If you're struggling to find your identity, don't be afraid to let go of all that has influenced you. It's never too late to be your own person. That doesn't mean you have to be different in every aspect of life, but just be aware of where your true feelings lie. Don't agree to something just because you think it will make you "cooler" in other people's eyes. Wear the clothes you like. Listen to the music you want to listen to. Have your own opinions and don't be afraid to share them. Live your life for you, as you.
I finished a total of six books in October, which finished off my goal of thirty books total for the year. Hopefully I have time to read with the additional workload now. I have been reading more and more "romance novels" lately (which I never thought would happen). They're nice mindless books that are fast and easy reads for in between more serious reads.
At first I was worried Something Borrowed was going to be exactly like the movie (which I had already seen), but it ended up have enough differences to still make the book worth reading. Overall it wasn't my favorite book of the month, but I would recommend it to people wanting a more romantic type book without actually reading a "romance novel."
So *spoiler,* the plot is basically the same as Chasing Liberty. I was mad at first after figuring things out, but I guess it's not that different than the predictable plots of the previous books in the series. Plus even with all of that I still really liked the book. Kelsey spends the summer after her college graduation traveling Europe (basically what I wish my life involved post grad). After months of traveling alone, Kelsey is starting to get tired of her all night bar hopping and one night stands, that is until Hunt decides to show her what a real adventure is like. Can someone take me on an adventure across Europe?
I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in the Shatter Me series. One of my friends loaned this to me over the summer and I had put off reading it not knowing much about the book. I hate to admit that I judge a book by it's cover, but this one wasn't doing anything for me. Little did I know, there was some truly awesome writing inside. It definitely took me some time to get used to Mafi's style, but page by page it grew on me. I am a lover of metaphors and Mafi uses them like it's her job (which I guess it kind of is...) People may argue that it's a bit excessive, but you won't hear any complaining from this girl. Besides just a general love for the way the book is written, I enjoyed the plot. I especially liked the realistic explanation of how things came to be that way; it certainly seems like a plausible future for our country (or Earth in general).
I want to preface this by saying Catcher in the Rye is one of my favorite books and I thought I would love Franny and Zooey in the same way, but I left this book feeling very confused. The book wasn't anything special for me. Though the book is relatively short (only 200 pages) it took me a ridiculously long time to get through. There wasn't anytime during reading that I "just couldn't put it down," in fact it was more of a desire not to pick it up. Maybe the timing wasn't right and I should have waited until I was in the mood to read this type of story, but I just kept seeing if it would get better. I still like Salinger's writing style, but it wasn't fitting for Zooey's 160-ish no-break section. I liked the whole point of the story but the execution was a little brash. In the end, the book sort of let me down.
Just another new adult novel to add to the list. I was ready to give up on this book at first, but I decided I needed to stick it out a little longer. I'm glad I didn't stop reading because I did end up enjoying the story later on (it took some time though). The writing wasn't anything special and some of the sex scenes later on got a little awkward, but other than that I loved the Simon "Wallbanger"character. Obviously the book was written to make Simon the best part of the story (honestly I probably wouldn't have continued reading it otherwise). Despite my constant eye-rolling about Caroline's "missing O" and the "giving good jaw" comments, the story had good build up and the her cat was pretty funny (although I'm not one for pussy jokes *cringe*). In the end, I would only recommend this to women who are okay with giving up quality writing for sex appeal. Like most novels in the genre, it's an easy fantasy to indulge yourself in.
This book was perfect. Anna and the French Kiss was the best combination of adorable and real life frustration that at some point or another effects everyone. For Anna's senior year, her dad sends her to a boarding school in France. In my mind this is a dream come true, but Anna resents being sent away from her life in Atlanta. Luckily for Anna her life in France is quickly turning around, that is until she falls under St. Claire's spell. I never wanted this story to end and honestly contemplated rereading it right away. Like I said, I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a cute, feel good read (not just for teenagers in my opinion).
Side Note: I started getting really into Olly Murs while reading this book, which also turned into me imagining him as St. Claire. Olly seemed to fit the description well and it just sort of happened that my mind overlapped them without me even realizing it at first. I think it made my love for both Anna and the French Kiss and Olly Murs bigger than they would have been seperately.
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For November I've been reading The Hobbit and The Virgin Suicides. After that it'll most likely be Paper Towns and/or The Da Vinci Code.
What books did you read in October? What books are you planning on reading in November?
I have yet to read Paper Towns but I really like this John Green quote. Imagining things is what gives us hopes and dreams. It allows us to see what we could do and gives us reasons to keep moving forward. Having active imaginations is something that should not be limited to childhood. Being able to come up with a picture or scenario in our minds can help us reach goals by constantly reminding us what we're striving for or what we are capable of.
Lately I've been trying harder to use my imagination in positive rather than negative ways. In the last few years I have spent more time thinking of all the things that could go wrong in my life rather than what could go right. Those negative images not only effect my anxiety level daily, but have hindered progress in certain areas of my life. Picturing myself with an enjoyable job, a gorgeous apartment (that I decorated myself), and a husband I love, instantly makes me feel better about my future. Of course I don't know if all of that is in the cards for my future, but I figure it will make me happier in the present than worrying about the alternatives.
So imagine all the good things because nothing will happen if you don't.