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?