Archive | January, 2012

Tuesday’s Tunes: Daughtry.

31 Jan

I’ve had the privilege of seeing Daughtry in concert twice, and both times, the concert was amazing. I’ve been listening to Daughtry on repeat for the last few days since I discovered their new album, Break The Spell. The new album is quite different from the band’s previous releases. Though their sound is still the same, the content of their songs on this album are more uplighting and not quite as dark as their previous albums.

“Rescue Me” is currently my favorite song on the album. Then again, I love all of the songs on this new album, so it’s kinda hard to pick just one. Anyway, here are the lyrics to “Rescue Me.” Enjoy!

Our story’s old, older than the wind
It’s been decided for years, how can we pretend
That we all know just how it’s gonna end

Rescue me in the middle of the ocean
Crashing down, it’s always hard to breathe
Some say, it’s easier to give up on it
I say, it’s time to rescue me

Lost and lonely people standing by, afraid to try
Some of them here, the same as you and I
The difference is it’s so wrong to be left behind

So I need you now

Rescue me in the middle of the ocean
Crashing down, it’s always hard to breathe
Some say, it’s hard to make the changes
Rescue me and I’ll never be the same

Rescue me in the middle of my darkest hour
Time will tell I never really had the power
Some say, it’s easier to give up on it
I say, it’s time to rescue me

I’ve gotta get out, how foolish I have been
To say it’s all been a waste of time
We may lose and we may win
But like the sun we will rise again

But until then

Rescue me in the middle of the ocean
Crashing down, it’s always hard to breathe
Some say, it’s hard to make the changes
Rescue me and I’ll never be the same

Rescue me in the middle of my darkest hour
Time will tell I never really had the power
Some say, it’s easier to give up on it
I say, it’s time to rescue me

Rescue me in the middle of the ocean

Such an AMAZING song! You should definitely check it out. Have you been hooked on a certain band or artist recently? 

Sunshine and One Lovely Blog.

30 Jan

First off, thanks to Laura (http://cheesecakesummer.wordpress.com) for giving me not one but TWO awards in the last 2 weeks (apologies for not writing this post until now, but things have been busy. Anyway, I received The Sunshine Award and the One Lovely Blog Award, so thanks again Laura!

The guidelines for receiving this award:

1) Thank the person who gave you the award –  Thanks again Laura!! You’re SO AWESOME!

2) Write a post about it

3) Answer the questions below  

4) Pass it on to 10 bloggers who you think really deserve it and send them a message to let them know

Answer 10 questions:

Favorite colour: Purple.
Favorite animal:  Dog.
Favorite number:  12.
Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Coffee.
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook.
My passion:  At one time, it was writing. Then that faded away for a few years. However, now it seems to be back, so who knows. But I’ve got to include Psychology too because I love it so much, and it’s the career path I hope to take one day.
Getting or giving presents? Giving.
Favorite pattern:  I don’t think I really have a favorite.
Favorite day of the week: Thursday–because that’s Grey’s Anatomy night with my friend Nichole, and it’s usually the highlight of my week.
Favorite flower: Red poppies. They remind me of the days when I was little that I’d run around in my mom’s wildflower patch behind our house.

10 Bloggers  – Okay, I’m sure how to post links, so I’ll just include URLs, but all of you should check out these blogs because they’re pretty great!

Andddd….now the One Lovely Blog Award!
So, from looking at Laura’s post, there don’t seem to be any rules for this award. So I’m just going to stick with what Laura did, and I’ll list 10 things that I love. So here goes!
  1. Gilmore Girls and Grey’s Anatomy. They are my two favorite tv shows, and they make me so happy.
  2. Broadway musicals. I’ve seen Hairspray, All Shook Up, and Wicked on Broadway. I saw Wicked last August, and it was by far my favorite. Since I am a big fan of the Wizard of Oz (since I played Glinda when my childhood theater group did the Wizard of Oz back in 2007) AND since the songs are just AMAZING, it was my favorite without question!
  3. I’ve recently grown to really love scarves. I actually got 5 scarves this past Christmas, so I guess everyone was on the same wavelength or something.
  4. Yoga pants are now my pants of choice. This past weekend my mom and I went to buy me some yoga pants, and they are seriously SO comfy. I tried on jeans after wearing yoga pants for a few hours, and it just wasn’t the same. I’ll have to only wear them on occasion though since I don’t want the fact that they’re super comfy to make me sleepy.
  5. Sunsets are my favorite thing to photograph.
  6. I’m a grammar nerd, and I LOVE it!
  7. I’m going to see Marc Broussard in concert on February 10th, and I’m SO excited!
  8. I am a big texture person (in terms of foods and clothes). If foods have a weird texture or clothes aren’t relatively soft, then I’m not a fan.
  9. All kinds of music! Country, rock, pop, indie, acoustic, folk, alternative. I love it all!
  10. Ice cream. It’s pretty much my favorite thing in the entire world! There’s an ice cream place in Asheville called The Hop (they have their own homemade ice cream), and Mocha Oreo is currently my favorite flavor. It’s so so yummy!
I probably should nominate some more blogs, but I need get ready for class in a while, so there’s not much time. Buttttt, you should check out the blogs that I mentioned above, because they really are great! Once again, thanks to Laura for make my day so awesome (from giving me these awards and just in general)!

Sunset Shots.

29 Jan

Yesterday was a really great day, and it ended with a really amazing sunset and a sleepover with one of my best friends here at college. When I first saw the sky, I knew I had to try and capture it, and I actually ended up going outside 3 different times to get various shots. Let me know what you think and which one is your favorite!

 

 

The Search For The Perfect Downtown Coffee Shop.

28 Jan

When my parents and I were exploring Asheville today, I decided that I wanted to try to find the perfect downtown coffee shop in Asheville for studying. Though it’s convenient to study in my dorm room on campus, I can get pretty stir crazy and it’s nice to be able to get off campus for some fresh air.

The first stop was World Coffee Cafe on Battery Park Avenue. The girls working there were really friendly and there was plenty of seating (a good amount in the main room and then a few smaller rooms in the back that are nice and quiet for studying. Pros: good distance from parking garage (just park in the Wall Street Parking Garage and walk up the street, and you’ll see it on the right hand side), relatively close to Pritchard Park (good place for live music). Cons: lacks a true cozy atmosphere (which is fine if you’re needing to studying but not if you’re wanting to relax and chill for a while). Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

We then headed toward Pritchard Park and came across a great group of street musicians called Lyric. The main vocalist, who goes by the name of “Lyric,” sounded a lot like Tracy Chapman, so I was instantly hooked. I also got their cd, titled “Guitar Feet.” Here’s their Bio (taken from reverbnation.com):

“Forget being signed. Paper fades. Legends don’t. I was born one.” This is what this band lives by. They started out as street musicians, filling downtown Asheville streets corners while touching many hearts . “The streets is where we love to be. We get so much positive feedback that it pushes us to work harder. This is where we started and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Leeda Jones(Lyric). With a sound and style that is so unique, they’re sure to please any crowd. Playing covers such as “Fast Car and Give me One Reason,” by Tracy Chapman, to their compelling version of Tear the Roof Off/ We Want the Funk,” by George Clinton, it would be hard not to get in the groove with them. Not to mention their well-known catchy originals such as “Blue Skies,” and “So High,” which are loved by their many fans.

Lyric has played street festivals such as the Bele Chere Festival, the Goombay festival and the Black Mountain arts festival and they have also played with Grammy award-winning Count M’Butu from Derrick Trucks band, and they have opened for Grammy award-winning Lizz Wright. The band also just got out of the studio as well, where they completed they’re second full album “Guitar Feet.” The title given by; Megan Drye and Leeda Jones(Lyric). “ This album deserved the name “Guitar Feet,” Because after Lyric learned to play the guitar it gave her dream feet, said Megan Drye.

(Check out “So High” on Youtube. There’s a video of them playing it at The Lab in Asheville. Great song!)

The second stop on the search for the perfect downtown coffee shop was Green Light Cafe on N. Lexington Avenue. This had a more restaurant feel and not much of the “cafe atmosphere” that I was looking for. Pros: Right off Broadway Street (near Pritchard Park), friendly service, and artsy walls. Since it felt more like a restaurant, I wouldn’t suggest it as a primo study spot. Cons: Overall rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

The third and final stop was The Green Sage on Broadway Street. Upon stepping my foot inside, I knew this was the spot for me. The smell of coffee filled my nose, and even though there weren’t comfy chairs, I normally don’t want to be too comfortable when doing schoolwork. Pros: Right across the street from the Broadway Parking Garage, great service, plenty of seating, amazing vanilla lattes, enough seats by the window for prime people watching if that’s your style. I highly recommend going here, even if you’re just stopping in Asheville for a quick visit. It’s definitely got the Asheville feel to it, and they use all organic coffee beans which make the lattes incredibly smooth! Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Photo Friday: The Magic Of Meditation.

27 Jan

Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.-Alan Watts

Since I’ve now become a regular of a restorative yoga class at Asheville Community Yoga, I’ve discovered the magic of meditation. When I was first introduced to it, it was hard. My thoughts were going crazy: grocery lists, daily activities, people I needed to call, the planning of meals, homework, etc. I just wanted to shut off my mind, and I couldn’t seem to do it. When I was at my second restorative yoga class, Robin (the teacher) told us to concentrate on our breathing. Not just breathing in and out. But the feeling of our chest expanding when air rushed in, the feeling of the air entering our lungs. The physical concept of being filled not with just air, but with life. That concept got me thinking:

How would things change if I focused on the fact that every breath was pouring new life inside me, making me feel completely present and alive? That concept plus the concept of “All we can be sure of is the present moment” changed my outlook on life. Things began to look like possibilities instead of obstacles. And the choices I made every day began to have more weight. Focusing on the fact that all we have is now is a very powerful tool. It’s helped me not to worry as much about things. And especially when I’m in restorative yoga class, I know that for one hour the only thing I have to focus on is being completely present. It’s an amazing feeling. Almost magical. All the stress, tension, fear, anxiety…it just falls away, and the only thing that’s left is me, my body, my life. But once I walk out of class, I’m slapped with reality. Schoolwork, errands, class. And slowly, being present slips away. But then, the next Friday, I get it back. Even if only for an hour. I get it back. And then I’m refilled with being present and only being sure of things moment by moment.

In my restorative yoga class, we practice mindfulness meditation. According to historyofmeditation.net,

Mindfulness is a tool used in Vipassana meditation or insight meditation and comes from the Theravada School of Buddhism. It consists of being completely in the now or present moment and being supremely aware or mindful the mental and physical happenings taking place within your person. These include movements of the body, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations of touch, feelings of pleasure and pain thoughts etc. The practice of mindfulness is being aware of the previously mentioned happenings with complete non judgement or reaction (attraction or repulsion). This practice then leads to purifying the mind of unwholesome traits and ultimately the experience of “Nibbana” sometimes spelt as “nirvana” which is a permanent and supreme state of happiness.

Concentrating on the present moment allows us to let go of all worry, stress, and fear….and simply live. Live freely, openly, completely, and sometimes…full of magic.

Thinking Of Writing A Book…And I Need YOUR Help.

26 Jan

Over the last few days, and especially after yesterday’s post, I’ve had the weird feeling of wanting to write a book. Normally saying that I want to write a book wouldn’t be weird, except for the fact that I don’t know what it would be about. I do know that I  want to focus on inspiration while pulling some examples of rising above challenges from my own life. However, even with that in mind, I still feel like it would just be a jumble of random inspirational crap. I don’t know how to connect it all, while also striving to make it something others would want to read.

I guess part of this blog was meant to see how people I don’t know in real life (except for a few) would react to my writing. Kinda a trial and error for a potential book. However, when I started this blog, I didn’t even consider that as a reason. I guess it’s just something that slowly rose to the surface as a possibility. At this point though, I still don’t exactly know what I want to do. The thought of sharing my words with the world sounds magical, but it’s not realistic. Yes, I share my writing with all of you here, but I think many would agree that it’s just not the same thing.

I used to want to write a book when I was younger. Then that desire went away. But now it’s back. The feeling I have now regarding it is different that my stance a few years back. A few years ago, I was drawn more to writing fiction and poetry. However, more recently I’ve been pulled towards writing inspirational posts that include pieces of my own life journey thus far. Some days, I just yearn to write. So I type until I can’t anymore. Often times, I have to force myself to stop since I’m in college and have studies and work to worry about. But just being able to get out my thoughts and words every day has helped either way.

Now is where all of you come in. I want YOUR advice. How do you write so people will want to read your book? How do you know where to start? How do you go about finding people to edit your work, and in the long run, finding someone to publish it? I know that overall I should write something because I need/want to and not because of others, but ultimately, I want to be able to reach out to others and have a positive impact on their life. However, I’m not sure how exactly to go about accomplishing that goal. Yes, so many questions, but I want YOUR feedback!

The Sense Of Belonging.

25 Jan

We all want to belong. Whether it’s to a family, a state, a university, or a small group of friends, we all want to have a place where we feel like we fit in, while also having the freedom to be ourselves. I’ve struggled with the concept of belonging for my whole life. I think that’s what makes being different the hardest thing. Especially with differences that are able to be physically recognized, it’s easier for (some) outsiders to either look away or just feel uncomfortable. I understand that. I understand that a good amount of people are just close-minded and just don’t know how to react towards someone who isn’t like them. I get it. I mean, heck, we all judge people without even thinking. I do it. You do it. It’s human nature. Sometimes I just wish that others could grasp how hard it is for people who are different.

I know that “belonging” is something that everyone struggles with. It’s hard. It’s one of those curveballs that life throws us: the ones that seem easy, but end up being something totally different. Granted, some people have no problem fitting it. But for people who are even a little bit unique, it can be a battlefield. A place where the critical concepts are being careful about wear you step, while also knowing that any step could result in stepping on a landmine. Yes, that’s a weird example, but it fits. I mean, no one knows how others are going to react to them. We all like to lean towards the side of hoping it’ll turn out positively. Thinking that way is healthier and causes less anguish. But what happens when it just doesn’t go our way? Then do we start from scratch searching for others like us, or do we try to seek out the people who we want friends with because they seem interesting?

While it would make sense for me to find other kids with CP to be friends with, that’s not the path most of us who are different take. Anyone who is different will tell you that all they want is to be like everyone else. They just want to be accepted. In a society full of prejudice and racism and stereotypes, all any of us wants is to be treated equal no matter what. Though we hear those words in different contracts, it really comes down to how your peers and others your age view you.

The thing is though is that I have amazing friends that mean the world to me. They don’t care that I have CP because they know that I’m so much more than a stupid label. And that means so much to me. If I have nothing else, I have the ability to turn to my friends and family when things get rough. Yes, I’m so happy to have them in my life, but there are still days when I wish it was easier to feel like I belong somewhere. I mean, yes I belong in Asheville and I belong in college and I belong on the newspaper staff. And I love all those. But sometimes I wish there was something that brought me so much joy while also including all the people who I love. The closest thing I’ve found to this sense of belonging is Salem Academy. Though things were rough my junior year and the academics were hard, I’ve never felt like I’ve belonged somewhere as much as I did when I was at Salem (especially my senior year). There weren’t many (if any) people who stared or looked away (regarding my CP), I had amazing friends around me, I was on the newspaper staff and in Glee Club, and I never had to hide any part of myself. I was able to completely be myself. I know that a part of me will always belong to Salem. I made so many memories there, and I’ve been longing to go back there. To be enveloped by that feeling that you get when you return home and you realize how much you’ve missed it. That feeling that’s only present when you’re practically bursting with happiness and love. The sense of belonging.

Tuesday’s Tunes: Ingrid Michaelson.

24 Jan

Over the past few months, I’ve been enjoying music by Ingrid Michaelson. I don’t know what it is about her music, but it’s catchy while being easy to relate to all at once. She is a New York-based indie-pop singer-songwriter, and her music has been featured in many popular tv shows, including Grey’s Anatomy.

Here are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs by her, called “Giving Up”:

What if we stop having a ball?
What if the paint chips from the wall?
What if there’s always cups in the sink?
What if I’m not what you think I am?

What if I fall further than you?
What if you dream of somebody new?
What if I never let you win, chase you with a rolling pin?
Well what if I do?

I am giving up on making passes and
I am giving up on half empty glasses and
I am giving up on greener grasses
I am giving up

What if our baby comes home after nine?
What it your eyes close before mine?
What if you lose yourself sometimes?
Then I’ll be the one to find you
Safe in my heart

I am giving up on making passes and
I am giving up on half empty glasses and
I am giving up on greener grasses
I am giving up

I am giving up
I am giving up
I am giving up on greener grasses

I am giving up for you
I am giving up for you
I am giving up

Though this song is incredibly sad, I just love the flow of it mixed with the softness of Ingrid’s voice. It’s the person song to have as background music when you’re doing other things.

Have you heard any songs lately that you’ve really connected with? 

For All Those Who Love Quotes.

23 Jan

So, I don’t know how many of you have noticed, but on the right side of my blog I have a list of quotes, and sometimes I begin my blog posts with quotes (depending on the subject matter of my posts). So, I guess you could say I love quotes. I think they are a lot like song lyrics and poems in that they explain certain situations better than we often are able to as humans. Then again, quotes and lyrics were written by everyday people, but they hold a certain amount of emotion that only seems to be present in songs or poems and not everyday conversation.

Anyway, since I’m a lover of quotes, I decided to share some of my favorites:

  1. In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.-Robert Frost
  2. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.-Lewis Carroll
  3. We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.-Mary Sarton
  4. Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.-Ralph Waldo Emerson
  5. Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?-Audrey Niffeneger
  6. The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.-EE Cummings
  7. Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all-Helen Keller
  8. Sometimes you have to kind of die inside in order to rise from your own ashes and believe in yourself and love yourself to become a new person.-Gerard Way
  9. Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.-Oprah Winfrey
  10. Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.-Lao Tzu
  11. The right thing and the easy thing are never the same.-Kami Garcia
  12. Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.-H. Jackson Brown Jr.
  13. There are no random acts. We are all connected. You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.-Mitch Albom
  14. Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.-Vivian Greene
  15. It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going.-Brian Tracy
  16. Sometimes it takes a good fall to really know where you stand.-Hayley Williams
  17. Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring.-Oscar Wilde
  18. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.-Buddha
  19. When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.-Franklin D. Roosevelt
  20. Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.-Keri Russell

Okay, I’ll stop at 20. I hope you all enjoy these quotes as much as me.

What are some of your favorite quotes? 

How I Spent My Weekend.

22 Jan

Yesterday was a fun day. When I woke up, it was cloudy and dreary outside, so I knew I had to go do something that would boost my spirits. I decided to go watch the woman’s basketball game because 1. I love watching basketball and 2. The mom of one of my best friends, Malia, was going to be there and I wanted to meet her. It was definitely a good decision. I hadn’t watched basketball since last semester, so it was good to get back into the swing of things. Plus, it was really nice to talk with Malia’s mom and ultimately get to know Malia better. Though it did make me miss my own mom, we talk on a regular basis so it’s okay.

Anyway, after the game, me and my suitemate Ashley decided to have a movie and pizza night. After getting Papa Johns (a pizza and cheese sticks. I mean, what’s better than cheese sticks? Not much.) we settled down to watch movies. We started with Mulan because Mulan is one of my favorite Disney movies. I think it’s just because I approve of the message that explains that women can do almost everything men can. Woman power, right?! Anyway, then we watched The Guardian, which is always good since it has 2 of my favorite actors in it: Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. Ah, love! Anyway, Ashley was quite mad at me after The Guardian since she hated the ending (which I can understand), but it’s SUCH a good movie. And lastly, we watched Sweeney Todd, which is just amazing. I mean, Johnny Depp + songs + fake blood and gore? Yeah, you can’t get much better than that!

Over the past few months, people have pointed out that I’m a movie buff. And I guess when you think about it, I am. I absolutely love movies, and 98% of my movies are chick flicks which annoys some people, but you never know when you’re gonna need a good cry so you might as well have some variety, right? I certainly think so. Speaking of romantic comedies, I watched Love and Other Drugs (with Anne Hathaway) a few days ago, and I actually really liked it. I had heard many bad reviews, so I wasn’t expecting it to be that good, but I enjoyed it. Except for a good bit of nudity on Anne Hathaway’s part, it was an interestingly crafted romantic comedy, meaning that I didn’t feel like it was like the rest of the romantic comedies I’ve seen. Then again, there are always similar threads in romantic comedies that you can’t really avoid, but that’s pretty much a given.

Today wasn’t as exciting as yesterday since all I really did was do a bunch of homework and do laundry. I feel like “Sunday” in college is code for: “Oh crap, I have tons of homework to do, and I need to do laundry since all my jeans are dirty.”

How did you spend your weekend?