Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018

If you told me at the start of 2018 where I'd be by the end of it, I would have laughed in your face. (See? THIS IS ME LAUGHING.) So much has happened this year, and not just in small ways, as in previous years. Nope, 2018 was the year of gargantuan life change, unexpected blessings and very close calls. It was a year of growing up, moving on, stepping into new seasons and being better than the Gap (maybe?!).

In keeping with tradition on Ye Olde Blog, I look back at the past year in bite-size form. I also have links to my old look-back posts for 2017, 2015, 2014 and 2013 in the archives. (How have I been blogging this long?!)

Personal Life




*Me just trying to navigate 2018 like...*

In so many ways, 2018 was a year of transformation and trial. And the Lord gently moving me to the next phase of life even when I was at times (very) resistant. 2018 was the year I cut my hair, the year I started working full-time in marketing, the year I took road trips and talked to new people and SERIOUSLY WROTE. So much has happened this year that I have yet to unpack: Leaving my home church and taking root at a new one, turning 25 and feeling genuinely renewed, weathering various trials and watching as the Lord wove it all together into something full of joy.


This year I also started a second (mini) blog to document my 25th year.

It's odd - when I look back on the year and see where I started and where I am now, I don't feel like quite the same person. Yet all of this growth took place days a time, little by little, so it happened almost without my even noticing it. WHICH IS SO STRANGE. Suffice it to say I've learned *A LOT* this year, from insights about friendship, the importance of driving out of town limits for sanity's sake, and yes, this was the year I discovered the glories of Starbucks iced coffee.

2018 in Music

Image result for tom odell jubilee road cover Image result for twenty one pilots trench Image result for death cab for cutie thank you for today

Earlier this month, I wrote an in-depth post about my favorite 2018 records, and let me just say, there were quite a lot of lovely albums released this year that I didn't even have space to talk about. Some of my favorites from this year included the new Tom Odell record and, of course, the much-anticipated LP from twenty one pilots. I could honestly talk about music for hours so if you have any recommendations from this year or #StrongOpinions about music or albums in general, TALK TO ME IN THE COMMENTS. *eagerly awaits musical conversation*

2018 in Books

 Image result for harry potter deathly hallows book cover Image result for hunger games cover Related image

This year, I re-read the Harry Potter series and got into reading personal essays, a first for me. Some of my favorite reads this year were the last two Harry Potter books, a re-read of the Hunger Games and Every Day by David Levithan. A complete list of my 2018 reads can be found here.

Random 2018 Favorites

Listening to podcasts
Reading in my spare time
Updating my wardrobe with quality clothes
Taking road trips alone or with my sister
Learning to embrace change and a new season
Shout-out to iced coffee for making my life possible

What about you?

What kinds of things were you crazy about in 2018? What did you learn this year?
I can't thank you enough for reading, you guys. I hope 2019 is good to you. I'm looking forward to sharing a new surprise coming to the blog real, real soon. 

Saturday, December 22, 2018

2018 in Music: My Favorite Albums of the Year



One of my absolute favorite things about the end of the year is writing (and reading) annual wrap-up posts. Because this blog incorporates music as well as lifestyle, I give you, my good people, my favorite records of 2018! 🎧 

Disclaimer: Some of the albums have language,
so bear that in mind if you want to look them up.

TOM ODELL: JUBILEE ROAD

Image result for tom odell jubilee road cover
Aesthetic: Sleepy Sunday morning with light coming through the curtains as you look through an album of old photographs, gently weeping

Why this album: My sister, cousin and I have all loved Tom Odell's music for years. (See "Sense" for reference.) His pained piano ballads and genuine vocals make great writing music. His sophomore album was a little bit different than his first record and I sort of drifted away from listening to him for a little while. But my sister brought home his third album from the record store and I LOVED IT.

SHAKEY GRAVES: CAN'T WAKE UP

Image result for SHAKEY GRAVES: CAN'T WAKE UP
Aesthetic: The month of October and/or watching Disney's Fantasia

Why this album: Shakey Graves has such an amazing, almost defiant/rebellious kind of voice, which I LOVE. It's unique. Not only do I adore the sort of whimsical/eerie cover art, but it really describes this album. Songs range from sultry to mischievous and it makes for an epic combination that somehow feels cohesive?? Simultaneously the soundscape of a dream and a nightmare.

TWENTY ONE PILOTS: TRENCH
Image result for twenty one pilots trench

Aesthetic: Dystopian, introspective world filled with #SickBeats

Why this album: Why not this album? It's twenty one pilots! From the sick bassline of "Jumpsuit" to the groovy "My Blood" and utter weirdness of "Pet Cheetah," this album offers a lot in the way of classic twenty one pilots and also experimental angles. I'm not sure this album can stack up to Blurryface for me, but even listening back to some of the songs for this post, I couldn't help but smile. In short, it's a bop. There is also so much more here I have to research with the Dema story line!

JOSIAH LEMING AND THE BONNEVILLES: ON TRIAL

Image result for josiah leming on trial
Aesthetic: Modern Bob Dylan; driving on a Western road with warm air blowing through open windows

Why this album: Disclaimer: I freaking love Josiah Leming. His style has changed over the years but I fully embrace any songs he creates. This album is full of his signature raw vocals and more guitar-based tracks, as opposed to his former piano ballads. There's also some harmonica on there. It's gritty. It's real. It's my favorite.
But who are the Bonnevilles? Tell me more! LOL



MUMFORD AND SONS: DELTA

Image result for delta mumford and sons
Aesthetic: Dancing around your place of employment with your earbuds in to that Premium Banjo Rock and flailing like you are actually attending a Mumford & Sons concert (Not that I'm speaking from experience)

Why this album: Honestly, I have to admit that I sort of slept on this album for a hot minute and wasn't too sure about it at first. But then I saw the band play "Delta" live on SNL and was immediately converted. I still have to listen to some of the later tracks in the record but this album automatically makes the list based on tracks like "42," "Delta" and "Beloved." Great lyrics and a good mix of quiet and foot-stomping tracks.

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE: THANK YOU FOR TODAY

Image result for death cab for cutie thank you for today

Aesthetic: The very first waking hours of a golden, glorious day

Why this album: It just makes me happy? Very cohesive and overall an uplifting yet nostalgic kind of feel, as represented by its thankful and sky-centered cover. Introspective as always and sometimes bittersweet but always beautiful. I am surprised I ended up liking this one so much, especially since I wasn't fond of "Gold Rush" when it first came out as a single.



SAINT NOMAD: MEMENTO MORI

Image result for saint nomad memento mori

Aesthetic: Nighttime, bright lights, rain in soft focus on window panes

Why this album:
My anticipation for this album was through the roof. The bandmates are brothers and used to be in one of my fave Christian bands, Everfound, but have completely remade their style and it is FAR OUT. "Rain in Paris" was one of my favorite songs that I had on loop this year. Love the cover art and typography as well.



UNDEROATH: ERASE ME

Image result for underoath erase me

Aesthetic: Neon-tinted fear; walking with your head down through a dark city at night in a hoodie and jeans with rips in the knees

Why this album: Ok, I'll be the first to say I have mixed feelings about this album because it's quite a departure for Underoath. And while I've never been an Underoath fan, the style of this album really captivated me? Still a mixed bag but yo, the music is GOOD. Go-to tunes when I'm in the mood for heavier music.



HONORABLE MENTIONS


  • Hozier: Nina Cried Power EP
  • Borns: Blue Madonna
  • Wallows: Spring EP
  • Charlie Puth: Voicenotes
  • Aly & AJ: Ten Years EP
  • Vance Joy: Nation of Two
  • MGMT: Little Dark Age

What about you?

What were your favorite albums of 2018? Or favorite songs? Share your recommendations below and I'll check them out! Happy almost Christmas, friends.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

On Pursuing a Simpler Life



I want a simpler life.

Sitting in church or walking along the edge of the sea, I feel it, the pull to step away from the madness, the noise, the technology. Especially around Christmastime, our lives can become cluttered with lists of things we need to do or buy. Traffic gets crazy. People get impatient. I crave peace.

But it's not just the coming of Christmas.
It's the desire to have more by having less.

This morning's church service has me thinking about what fills my time, pulls at my attention.
Am I spending time sitting and reading God's Word? Or am I looking for the next distraction? Pretty convicting stuff. It sharpened the growing sense that I've been having of the desire for simplicity. The desire to carve out a life for myself that values time with family and Christ more than distraction. That values quiet time.

What does the simple life look like?

In theory, this could look different for everyone. But for me, in these last days of December and soon in 2019, I hope they look like more time spent with my Bible and in prayer and less on checking notifications and thinking about aesthetics, self. My simple life would include a lot more time having conversations with people I love and care about, writing by hand, taking nature walks, and spending more time in the moment than worrying about documenting it. More instruments, less internet.

What about you?

Do you have any goals that you are working towards for 2019?
And what would your ideal simple life look like?
Hope you are having a non-chaotic Christmas, friends! 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

To the Friends Who Stayed

I wish I could tell you what it felt like to open the door and see Sophie standing there, bearing gifts of cream cheese frosted cupcakes, mocha hot cocoa, and flowers.

I wish I could explain just how strange life has been lately, sometimes a good strange, sometimes a bad. How this whole 2018 has been a study in letting go, starting again, and keeping on keeping on. 

What I've learned is simple: Some people leave, while others stay.

I've written a little about this on my The 25 Project blog, but there's more to say. As we enter December and start to anticipate the new year ahead, I also want to look back. This year, more than any other, I have had to learn that you can't keep everyone. I don't know if that makes sense? What I mean is, you can't keep everything the same as it is when you're younger. Friends grow up, grow older, grow apart.

The hard part of it is, you don't always know who is going to go,
and who is going to stay.

Maybe I'm just one of those whimsical, wistful souls who wishes everything could stay the way it was in childhood and everyone would always want to be friends with each other and let's just all hold hands and get along, THE END. But this is life, and so that's not the case. I get that now; I've accepted it. You can't have positive life change and new seasons without leaving the old seasons behind.

All this to say, it did a heart good to see my friend Sophie standing outside my door yesterday with her sweet soul and surprise treats.
It made me want to be a better friend.

It helps to remember that for every person that leaves, there will be amazing people who hang tight. There will still be people you can call on the phone laughing that tell you they love you even if you haven't talked in a while. There will still be people who want to go to emo concerts with you, or drive hours to see you even though it's been years since you hung out last. 

There will still be people who bring you cupcakes and a kind word.

What about you?

Have you experienced friendship changes as the years go by? How do you stay connected to your close friends? And what three things would you want someone to bring to your door?

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Definitive Guide to Not Having It All Together



Lately, I've been trying to Keep Up.

Everything online seems to scream at me that I need the clothes, the #aesthetic, the fitness journey, the picture-perfect blog. Meanwhile your girl just wants to wear her favorite thrift-store cardigan and continue her family Christmas movie marathon (We've watched Home Alone and Christmas with the Kranks, if you're curious. Elf is up next).

It can be so easy to fall into thoughts of comparison and appearance-obsession, because that's what the Internet seems to invite.

But all I want is to use it to create something great and honest, even if that means bowing out of the social media and numbers game. I don't know why I even think about those things. My end goal is not to have an explosive social media following. I just want to share my thoughts and have a genuine connection with people, even if it's only a few. To me, that means more. 

But yo, sometimes it's really tough.

This morning in my car, my hands raw from the cold as I scrolled through my phone's cracked screen, I thought randomly of 2nd Corinthians 12:9. "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." That really made me feel at peace. Because lately I haven't been wanting to be weak, I've been trying to be strong. I've been pretty anxious. I totally forgot that the Lord wants me to be weak, because then He can be strong through me. I also thought about that verse James 4:6: "But He gives us more grace."

So it's completely fine to not have it all together.

Which is good, because I definitely don't. A little while ago I was thinking about giving up with this whole blogging thing; it was just getting me down. But when I have moments of stillness like this it re-centers me. I remember how much I enjoy connecting with a person over shared words and reading someone else's thoughts. I've loved having honest conversations with some of you over things on my The 25 Project blog, and it means a lot that even one person would care to read my words. That makes me smile.

What about you?

Do you ever feel like you have to have it all together or chase perfection? How do you combat the social media/blogging numbers game? PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR TIPS. And for fun, what is your favorite Christmas movie and/or treat? I'm in prime Christmas mode over here, my dudes. 🎅

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Day 2018



I wake up before dawn.

Somehow my body knows that this is what I want, to be awake before anything exciting happens. I always do this on holidays - on Christmas, my birthday. It's something about the thrill of it being a special day. I want to see the sun.

This Thanksgiving is no exception.




I wake before six, and already it is chilly, I can tell even when I'm still bundled in blankets. I get up, pull on a hoodie, run downstairs and out the door and down the block until four miles have gone by. The sky is soft with a smattering of clouds and Tom Odell is playing in my ear buds.

These are the things for which I am most thankful.

When my prayers turn to gratitude, I don't often thank the Lord for the big, grand things (though sometimes I do). Instead, I thank Him for sunrises, and cups of coffee with the morning paper, for my record collection and the smell of gingerbread body wash, and my daily bowl of oatmeal. For books.

Today is a sort of unusual Thanksgiving in that it is just my immediate family and I (mother, father, sister) gathering to share turkey instead of our whole extended family.



I won't see Lily or Edward or Curren or Kate or any of my little cousins, and I won't see my brother and his family out in Texas. It's been a rare day of lazing about as my family prepares food and we watch the parade and furtive bites of pie are nibbled.

I imagine Thanksgivings in the future when my sister and I and our husbands will meet up in cream-colored knit sweaters and cozy socks (COZY SOCKS!) for cups of coffee and pumpkin pie and an old John Hughes movie by the fireplace. This is my fantasy world, the future, but for now, I will be grateful. And eat all the pie!

What about you?

What has your Thanksgiving been like? Do you have any fun family traditions? What kinds of pie have you eaten today (I've had apple, pumpkin and chocolate mousse).

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Monthly Wrap-Up: October 2018




October was a complete whirlwind of work, woodland drives and embracing any and everything pumpkin-related in a desperate attempt to
"make Fall happen."

And, glory be, it was actually cold enough towards the end of the month to break out the sweaters. At least for a few days. I swear, if every day was under 60°, I would feel at least 50% more inspired. There's something about Fall and a brisk breeze that makes me want to pull on a cardigan and write a story.

Even though Halloween wasn't very cold (though this didn't stop me from wearing combat boots), it was still a complete joy.
























My family and I sat out on our porch and passed out candy to all the sweet kids in our neighborhood, and that familiar feeling of community and kindness filled my heart with joy.

I may be a Slytherin, but I am also a Certified Sappy Holiday Person, even on Halloween, so bear with me. But it was just so wonderful, sitting there in a rocking chair, handing out Snickers and Baby Ruths to superheroes and princesses and zombies. We even met people from Iceland who were visiting the States and celebrating their very first Halloween! My heart is full.

October Things:



The new twenty one pilots album; peaceful woodland walks; buying books from thrift stores; getting organized; meal prepping; writing by hand; making playlists; reading the Princess Diaries (sorry not sorry); pumpkin iced coffee; early morning runs; sushi; journaling.

What about you?

Tell me about your October! Did you dress up as anything special for Halloween? (I wore my costume above to work.) Leave me a fall song or book recommendation if you like.
I'm getting in the Thanksgiving spirit already!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Meeting God in the Middle



In the morning, when everything in you wants to stay home and drink tea,
but church is what you need, what you crave, you go.

Up the street with your sister and cousin, into the building with faces familiar and new, you go. Sit down, stand up, sing the songs, hear the Word being preached, take a breath. Feel the weight of your problems rattle in your chest, race in your thoughts even as you try to sing. Take another breath. Listen as someone shares their heart.

I wrote recently on my side blog that sometimes it feels like I'm waiting for the next phase of my life, even when I'm supposed to be enjoying this one.

And interestingly enough, today's lesson was about that, that feeling of being in the middle. It's when you're not quite at the beginning of a new season, but not quite at the end of the current one, either. Just..in between. And that's how I feel right now. Waiting for the Lord to provide and answer prayer and trying to keep my heart soft to Him and connect even when it feels like He doesn't hear me. Because in my heart of hearts, I know that He does.

"I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago."
- Psalm 77:11

If you're in the middle, too, know that it gets better.
And sometimes, the middle is the best place to be! The pastor today brought up the great point that most of our lives are lived in the middle. In the waiting, in the in between, in the pauses and silences between seasons. And that's okay. That's how we build our faith and cry out to the Lord. And when a new season starts, it's all the more beautiful.

What about you?

Do you ever feel like you're in the middle? Is there anything that you're waiting for God to provide that He hasn't yet? Look back and remember what He has already done. I'm trying to be more grateful and enjoy this current season. Have a great week, friends! 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

What I Learned From Spending Time Offline


Hello, friends. I hope you all had a great weekend!

Lately I've been trying to spend my weekends as offline as possible. (Hence more of a tumbleweed-zone around the blog, my bad, my bad.) I owe this in large part to my lists. I've always loved to write lists - lists about my favorite things, lists about books I want to read, grocery lists, you name it. But I also love to write lists about my goals and how I can improve the quality of my day to day life. A recurring theme? GET OFFLINE.

I don't know about you, but the more time I spend online, the more I turn into a less than desirable version of myself. As in, I start falling into the trap of comparison and end up wasting time and draining myself. #Bleh



As amazing a tool as the Internet can be, for me, it can also be harmful. So I've been trying to unplug as much as possible starting each week after work on Friday. This isn't always easy, but I've been largely attempting to avoid social media and instead spend more time in the real, physical world.

Side-Effects of Living an Offline Life



More coffee shops. The beauty of being online is that you can have community without having to speak, but the same thing can be true of coffee shops. Writing and reading over an iced green tea while listening to good tunes and the sounds of people all around you = instant inspiration and peace.


More Jesus. My prayer life definitely gets stronger when I'm not focusing as much on notifications or comparing myself to people on the 'Gram.

More reading. My number one go-to when I can't be online? Reading books. Take some time to unplug and grab a good book. Depending on the book, it can feel like an instant adventure.

More walks, more tea, more music...More everything, really.

What about you?

What are your thoughts on spending time offline? (You know, this is all very ironic, since I love keeping up this blog and I can't do that without the Internet.) What are your favorite things to do in real life? Any tips for unplugging?

Have a great Monday and start to your week, friends.
You've got this.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Why Did You Start Blogging? {Plus Announcement!}

Hello and welcome back to the blog, friends.

First off, I wanted to say thank you for all the kind birthday wishes! I still have to go through and publish all my comments and reply on my last post, but I have to say, y'all are the best. But look at me, getting off topic...

My thought for today's post is, "Why did you start blogging?"


For those of you who don't know, Acoustic Erin isn't my first blog. I've had several before this one, but Acoustic Erin is the first one that really seemed to stick with any degree of permanence. Interestingly enough, I don't remember exactly what sparked my interest in blogging back in 2012. I do, however, remember that one of my first posts was about Pi Day. An entire post. This was my premium content, folks. #NoRegrets

Then I created a music blog for a college blogging course, and even though it was for class credit, I still found so much joy in blogging about music. I might revive it one day. Music blogging is too much fun!


When I discovered blogging, I think the draw was always the writing, and then the love of the design and photography elements came later. But I never imagined the community that existed, and was even more amazed and delighted to find other people who loved writing and who were also writing novels, or music. And I think that what keeps me blogging after all these years is connecting with that community and also having a space to say anything.

Enter the announcement portion of this post:
Now that I'm 25, it feels like it's time to start a new project.

Groundbreaking title, eh?

This may sound bafflingly like a blog breakup post, but it's not. I'm still going to be blogging at Acoustic Erin, but I'm also going to be posting more frequent thoughts to a new side blog, The 25 Project. The idea is to post snippets of my 25th year in a more candid journal form. The project reminds me of what I love most about blogging - sharing bits of life - and I wanted to chronicle my 25th year, anyway. More on that here.

What about you?

Have you ever had multiple blogs? What sparked your passion for blogging, and what keeps you writing? And what is one thing you're excited about this weekend?
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

25


When I was young, I wrote a letter to my 25-year-old self,
to be read when I was older and wiser.

Yesterday, the day before my 25th birthday, I went looking for that letter, hoping to find musings from middle school me - but alas, no luck. What I did find, under my bed, in no particular order: Letters from campers, lunch box notes from my mom, a fuzzy stick-on mustache, old songwriting notebooks, doodles from high school friends, all of my old journals and an exclusive interview, written on my old typewriter, with my best friend from first grade. 

I have always suspected I had a hoarding problem, but this confirmed it.

























Even though I don't know what my younger self had to say, 
I do hope she would be proud.

I guess I always thought 25 was super adult, super mature. (To be fair, I resisted wearing the stick-on mustache.) So maybe we always think that we will have it more together at some future date. I've come to realize that everyone's always learning. 

One thing that hasn't changed at 25? My love for red velvet cake.



So far the lead-up to 25 has been wonderful: Outback with the family, pink vinyl, quiet weekend mornings, cups of green tea, surprise cupcakes (the best kind of cupcakes). 

And now, it's finally here.


























LET'S DO THIS, 25.

Odes to 24, 23, 22, and 21 also available for your viewing pleasure in the archives.

But wait! I need your recommendations!

Y'all, I need all the recommendations for books and movies and music to listen to in September. Enlighten me with your knowledge! And thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Sunday Simplicity


I have to say, Sundays are the best.

I know that at times they can be stressful, because the next day is Monday, with the rest of the week just around the corner. But there's something beautiful to me about those quiet Sunday moments, something wonderful about that reflective pause right before the week begins.

This weekend, I went up to the writing cabin.

Just to spend some time offline helped me feel so renewed. Sitting on the porch and relaxing and visiting a coffee shop where I could look ahead at the week and plan...that was wonderful. And that's what I feel on Sundays, that anticipation of the next week and a contented sort of peace.

























Sunday favorites:

The Sunday morning paper; early morning runs to see the sunrise; church with the family; the highly-anticipated and super lazy Sunday Afternoon Nap; watching movies with the family and catching up on blogs; prepping for the week ahead; reading and drinking tea. Sundays are the jam, folks.

What about you?

What is your favorite kind of Sunday? Do you have any fun routines that you follow on the weekend? What are you looking forward to this week? P.S. Thanks so much for all your sweet comments on my last post. Y'all rock. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Monthly Wrap-Up: July 2018


You know, at some point this year, I think I lost sight of the joy of blogging.

I stopped blogging for six months for a lot of reasons, but in part because I fell out of love with it. I became too concerned with what everyone else wanted to read and not what I personally wanted to express. After some time away, I feel more inspired and recharged - I feel like I have things to share again. Are those useful, inspiring, beautiful things? Sometimes. But I also want to share slivers of real life. I've missed that.

July had its ups and downs, but it also felt like starting over.
Like taking steps towards seeking peace, even in the midst of chaos.



Some July things:

Lists, always; Mornings in my car, driving to work; running sometimes; listening to any and everything Jack Antonoff; Actually Writing Again; embracing self-confidence; seeing my family and playing board games; reading the Harry Potter series; drinking tea; finding a new coffee shop that sells Nutella Pop Tarts (!!!); crying and praying and praying and crying - realizing God is there in those weak moments, too.



What about you?

What has July held for you, friends? Collect any vinyl? See any movies?
Is anyone else excited about the freshness that a new month brings?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Inspired By: Jack Antonoff of Bleachers

Photo credit here, my edit.


Don't you love when someone else's art influences your own?

Here's how it happened: The other day I was watching YouTube, as you do, when I got caught in a vortex of Jack Antonoff videos. I watched interviews, live performances, the whole shebang. But a neat thing happened (that often doesn't when I'm watching YouTube) - instead of feeling drained or restless, I felt inspired.


Image result for jack antonoff gifs

Sometimes another artist perfectly expresses what you were already thinking yourself. Someone who's been there, done that and can put words to what you've always known inside, but couldn't articulate. After learning more about Jack Antonoff's creative process, I realized that my own creative endeavors (namely writing) don't have to be about what others want or expect from me.

What we all need to do is just create the thing already, 
even if no one else understands it. Create it for YOU.



This inspired me to sit down and write today without worrying about the audience who might one day read my words. I wrote for the joy of it, not the potential future success.

And that is how great art is made! But really, though.

What about you?

Has any artist inspired you in your creative journey?
Have you had any writing epiphanies lately? Tell me about it below!