Thursday, July 22, 2021

Marriage, Blogging, & Everything Else

I never quite know how to awkwardly side-shuffle from stage left back onto the blog when I've been gone for any length of time, I am. If anybody's out there, ~salutations~. Also if it's just me, hi, I love your work.

I got married in June, and wedding plans consumed my life for months before that, but now I've been spat back out into my new normal life, which includes 300% more cuddles but still my requisite amount of anxiety.

Side note: It's funny to me how fast my actual wedding went by. I know people are always saying that, but it's true. There were so many bright moments from that day (being tossed in the air multiple times during an impromptu mosh pit at the reception among them) but it's crazy that that was already over a month ago. 

I plan to share more about the wedding and honeymoon in a separate post, but for right now, I'm dipping my toe back into the blogging waters to see if anyone's still swimmin'.

I feel like a lot of the bloggers I used to love reading stopped posting content around 2019. Some of my favorite reads are still here (God bless), but to me it feels like blogging has been left behind. Which I don't completely hate - I feel like there's something inherently slow-paced about it, something decidedly old fashioned that might not be as popular in our fast-paced lives. It takes time to read or write a blog! It takes devotion! It used to be my Saturday morning ritual to run three miles, fix a bowl of oatmeal, then sip my coffee while reading and commenting on my favorites. That took hours.

Regardless, I will always have an affection for blogging. Something always draws me back in, no matter how long I've been away.

Offline, behind the scenes, I've been thinking and praying about what I want this space to be. I have thoughts of writing more long-form essay content or short stories, of creating a mailing list, of sharing more snippets of my daily life. My husband might even make his own blog - but for now he has contented himself with the addition of what we lovingly call "Peter's Paragraph," which, starting with today's entry, you will see added to the bottom of my blog posts (scroll to the bottom).

I sometimes still struggle with perfectionism when I come to this space, but my favorite blogs are authentic, unapologetic, and the writers say what they feel without any preamble. People like that inspire me to write even if I'm only writing for myself - which, in the end, isn't a bad place to be.

And, what's this?! A bonus Jonas? Don't look now, it's....Peter's Paragraph (which we invented on the honeymoon as a kind of joke but look where we are now).

~Peter's Paragraph~

Greetings all! My wife let me infiltrate her blog with whatever I want to say (LOL). Thus, “Peter’s Paragraph” was created. The best authors know how to use the paragraph as an outlet to let their ideas flow. That is why we see paragraphs that are pages long and some as short as one word. However, paragraphs in school are taught to be 3-5 sentences. This elementary objective limits writers from being creative and reaching their true potential. As a result, I would like to relate the paragraph to life… There are people telling us that we have to be this or that (3-5 sentences long for example), but our potential is truly greater. It is up to us to determine if we want to live in the parameters defined by others or create the parameters ourselves.

Bam! And just like that, the blog post is over. If anyone is following along, how has your summer been? Are you reading any good books? I would love new recommendations, as always!

Hello goodbye,

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 in Music: My Favorite Albums of the Year

And we're back with another frenetic update from Erinland, aka my annual favorite albums list. Which I have, full disclosure, quietly been dreading posting about. (Guilty.) Normally I get so excited about writing my favorite albums list that I nearly levitate off the ground, but in 2020, music was something else. 

It's not like it was a bad year for music - it wasn't.

But my brain is having trouble believing that certain albums I enjoyed were actually released earlier this year, pre-pandemic. As in, a literal nine or ten months ago. And then, once COVID hit, I found myself listening to non-2020 records from artists (The Hotelier; Pierce the Veil; Metro Station) or just listening to one-off catchy songs on repeat. So, some albums that were released this year that I fully intended to Pay Attention To got lost in the shuffle. Literally.

NEVERTHELESS....the list persisted.

Um, so here it is. The records listed are not necessarily in order, but they're also not *not* necessarily in order.

Aesthetic: Galactic glitter dance party; Bowie-meets-Elton John-meets outer space; dizzying carousel ride 

Why this album: If you haven't listened to Declan McKenna, then you need to do yourself a favor and GO LISTEN TO DECLAN MCKENNA. I loved his first record, I loved his second record, and I am bound to love any record he produces here forward until the end of measurable time. I will not apologize for this.

Song to listen to: "The Key to Life on Earth" aka my favorite song of 2020 besides "Mood" by 24kGoldn because that is a freaking BOP, my people.

Aesthetic: Neon-tinged nostalgia; friendly fever dream; the soundtrack to either your next workout or absolutely crushing everyone in Mario Kart 64

Why this album: The amount of times I listened to this record this year was borderline problematic. The whole album is so catchy that you'll have trouble picking a favorite song. This is something lighthearted to turn on when you can't *go there* with the new Phoebe Bridgers album. (I said what I said.)

Song to listen to: "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" is my fave track off this album, hands down, but the version of "Tangerine" feat. Arlo Parks is also a contender.


Aesthetic: Hushed tones and whispered promises; someone scratching a letter down on parchment paper; solitary walks on lush plains

Why this album: Ah! Do you hear that? It's my conflicted feelings. (They're screaming.) I am a secret Taylor Swift fan, which a good 25% of my core being detests, but I'M ONLY HUMAN, folks. And my heart did the flippy-floppy thing when I heard that we were getting not one but two surprise records this year from Ms. Swift. I've wanted her to pivot back to her country roots for a while, because she is a better songwriter than some of the stuff she's churned out after Red, but then! BUT THEN. She went alt. Folklore I loved, but it
took me a little longer to warm up to Evermore. After several listens, though, it grew on me. (Like a weed.) I dig the return to quality lyrics and interesting storytelling. That was always Swift's strength.

Song to listen to: "Cardigan" and "Betty" off of Folklore; "Willow" and "Marjorie"(!!) from Evermore.

Aesthetic: Standing alone in the snow waiting for someone who never arrives; sticking your head out the window of a moving car; staring out at a dark lake at night

Why this album: Phoebe Bridgers' music is like a wound. I mean it in a good way. But you have to be in the mood for it. Her lyrics are so potent and painful that I can't let myself listen to her records all that often. It cuts too deep. But she's one of the real ones, and I can't leave this record off of the list because, OUCH. You know it's good music when the artist makes their heartache palpable. Good stuff!

Song to listen to: "Moon Song." Read the lyrics, whoa.

Aesthetic: Driving fast and far away; black jeans with the knees ripped out; soundtrack to the solo mosh pit in your kitchen

Why this album: Sometimes you just need to listen to something a little erratic with crazy lyrics. Dance Gavin Dance fits that bill. Plus, lead singer Tilian Pearson is a Clearwater, FL native and has the Most Amazing Voice Your Homegirl Has Ever Heard. This record is fun, ridiculous, upbeat, and begging to be played live.

Song to listen to: "Lyrics Lie" for the sheer reason that Tilian scream-sings a little bit in the chorus. Secondarily, for the lyric "entrepreneurs rule...yeah!"

Aesthetic: Rainy day trapped indoors; missing someone you know you can never have; walking down the street with headphones in, kicking a rock along the pavement 

Why this album: This album is sweet, and it's sad. It's the kind of record that has a wholesomeness you can't put your finger on, with a bit of whimsy to boot. It's peaceful and wistful and aching all at once. Cute, but also going to make you mist up if you listen to the lyrics. Might encourage Melancholic Human Feelings. 

Song to listen to: "Feb. 14" and "Empty Bed."

Aesthetic: Circling your eyes in dark makeup; listening to records in a smoky club; 80s rock nostalgia

Why this album: This album was released later in 2020, but it still made an impression on me. I flat-out love Miley Cyrus's voice. It's husky and low and old school, and whenever I see videos of her performing, she gives it her all. I love this record not for its lyrics like a lot of the previous albums on my list, but because it's a stylistic homage to the artists that influenced Cyrus and she pulled it off flawlessly. And dang! The girl has pipes.

Song to listen to: "Hate Me" and the "Edge of Midnight" remix feat. Stevie Nicks(!!)


    Well, there you go!

    It took me a ridiculous amount of time to compile this list, and I'm still not sure I got everything. But overall, for a pretty crazy year, music still rocked. And no lie, these albums and more got me through a lot of rough parts of 2020. So yay for that! If you have any recommendations or wanna share your favorites, leave me a comment below.

    Entrepreneurs rule (yeah!),

    Saturday, September 5, 2020


    It's that time again, folks....

    My 26th year, to say the least, has been insane. Obviously COVID has been raging for a large portion of it, which has made things #complicated, but even without that, 26 has been the year of insanity.

    During my 26th year, I....

    - Got out of a relationship
    - Started dating someone new
    - Quit my job
    - Started working at an epic new job
    - Moved out of my childhood home
    - Moved into a cute cottage with my sister
    - Finished writing a novel I'd been working on for years
    - Started serving at church
    - Went to therapy (which I can't recommend highly enough)
    - Pierced my ears
    - Pierced my nose
    - Got health insurance
    - Saw one of my favorite bands live (pre-COVID, lol)

    Some of these are just fun things, but others have been Major Life Changes. During COVID. Send help.

    Like, I'm not going to lie, some parts of 26 were really dark and difficult (read: March 2020). There have also been light spots (buying a PlayStation 4, friend dinners, meeting a cool human). But ultimately, this year has been the year of change. Maybe that's why I've tended to be more nostalgic lately. But! God is good. Even though I've had to get out of my comfort zone this year, I've grown a lot and it's rewarding to see how God used circumstances to grow me closer to Him. Heck yes!

    This year for my birthday I just wanted to get off the grid a little, so my family and I hightailed it up to Ye Olde Writing Cabin to spend time in nature.

    And eat cheesecake. That as well. I know the world isn't back to normal yet, and maybe things will be different for a while, but I feel strangely hopeful as I begin Day One of Year 27. And it's just nice to be with my family in a place of peace for a couple of days.

    I can't believe I've been blogging long enough to have this many archived birthday posts, but if you want to peruse old ones, here they are: 2122232425, 26.

    I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy! I haven't blogged in a hot minute because of all of the aforementioned life changes, but I still love this space and hope all of you are doing well.

    I'll try to write soon, maybe. If there's anything you want me to write about, let me know. And tell me how you are doing in the comments!

    Is this the real life or is this just fantasy,