Monthly Archives: July 2011

Weekend Playlist 7.29.11

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Wow.  Heads up.. another semi long post is on its way!

So you all are probably wondering why the heck I didn’t post a Weekend Playlist last week.  I’m not going to pretend like my birthday post was supposed to be my Weekend Playlist post.  I was going to put together an epic birthday dance playlist, but… plans changed!

As you all know, last Thursday was my 25th birthday.  Bret took me out to dinner to a new restaurant in our neighborhood (which was awesome) and then we came back for present time.  I’m going to be completely honest here and say when I saw this present finished, I cried a little bit:

Bret refurbished this spice rack for my 23rd birthday.  However, the spice rack wasn’t completely done when he gave it to me and hasn’t been touched pretty much since that birthday.  Sometimes when we argue, I have a tendency to bring up… DUN DUN DUN!  … The spice rack.

Now, the whole thing is finished and is a beautiful jade green… and I am so so happy.  But Bret said that wasn’t my gift.

I opened my birthday card and read that I was supposed to pack my bags because we’re leaving in the AM!  This request (at around 8:30 PM) was followed by us hurrying around, gathering all of Nutmeg’s things to take her to Bret’s parents’ house for the week.

Leaving in the AM?  TO WHERE?

I’ve been talking about Lake Michigan non-stop for some time now.  However, I guess I haven’t talked about it for a few months, deciding that right now isn’t the time to take a “trip.”  Well, Bret (being the great guy that he is) made the executive decision that right now was the perfect time to take a trip.  So, we were on our way to Saugatuck, Michigan for the week.

Long story short, it was perfect.  Bret and I had so much fun.  We had an innkeeper named Marie who was simply wonderful.  The first night, we sat in her kitchen drinking wine while she made a little appetizer of cheddar cheese with white truffle oil and honey drizzled over it.  It tasted sooo good.  Bret and I then went to the beach to watch the sunset with some pizza on the beach.

We spent the next few days walking through Saugatuck, looking at all the boats (wishing we had one… haha), laying out on the beach, swimming in the water (that is SALT-free and SHARK-free!), making as many friends as we could while we were there, and just enjoying our time together.

My favorite day of the week was when we decided to go kayaking on Lake Kalamazoo.  The lake had a river that branched off from the lake where we could kayak for 14 miles.  Bret and I had so much fun.  It was nice just to be out in the wilderness, no people, no noise… and lots of turtles!  Our 3 hour trip ended up being 4 hours, but whatever.  It was so much fun.

It was a perfect birthday trip and really gave me the chance to put everything going on with my life right now into perspective.  Pretty much everyone we met and talked to said the same words over and over to us: “Do it.  Take the chance.” And to confirm things even more, I was looking through the Pittsburgh City Paper last night, and this was my horoscope:

I hope you all had a great week.  I sure did.

<3

Happy Birthday To You (Plural)

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I’m going to steer away from making this a “strictly” music post.  Don’t worry.  There are two playlists at the bottom, but they’ll seem kind of pointless unless you read this post.

So today is a very important day.  I know, I know.  You might be thinking to yourself:  “What’s today?”  Well, let me tell you…

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, I’m not too sure how I feel about turning 25.  Here are some turning points for me about becoming 25 years old:

  • Lower car insurance
  • Belonging in a new survey demographic  (Goodbyeeeee 20-24!  Hellooooo, 25-29)
  • Too old to try out for “The Real World” (I never was going to, but now that ship has officially sailed)
  • Can legally rent a car by myself
  • Only 10 years away from being eligible to run for President (Don’t worry, not going to happen… Although…)

Despite what many might think, this past year brought so much growth into my life. Personally, emotionally, socially…  I truly don’t think there’s an area of me that didn’t grow this year.  So far, 2011 has been my “discovery” year, and I appreciate who it has helped me to become.  The growth that I thought would happen during college never really occurred.  Sure, I gained more knowledge academically, met some great mentors/friends/my soulmate… but I didn’t feel like I was growing much as an adult/person.  When all of my energy was focused on “getting those grades,” participating in as many extra curriculars as possible, and making friends/having fun (remember, college really is the best time of your life), it was hard to find time to focus on myself.

This year has allowed me to dig deep and do some introspection which I had been holding off doing for quite some time.  Do I still feel lost?  A little.  I don’t expect all answers to come my way immediately… but I feel like I’m in such a better place than ever before.  This year isn’t over yet, and I still think great things are headed my way.  I mean, 11 is my lucky number.

So let’s get back on track.  It is my birthday today, and  I actually share my birthday with some cool people!

1.) Robin Williams

Mrs. Doubtfire

2.) Josh Hartnett

3.) Don Knotts (Guy from Andy Griffith Show)

4. Ernest Hemingway

5. Stephanie 

As many of you know, I am a fraternal twin.  Steph was born about 37 minutes before me via natural birth while I was born by C-section on this wonderful July 21 day in 1986, so technically, I’m the baby of the family.  Many of you don’t know what it’s like to share a birthday every year with another person.  In fact, several of you are unaware of what’s it like to even be with someone your age, your genetics, your blood, your sister all the time, every moment, every day… growing up.

Steph and I are pretty opposite people for the most part.  While several of our interests are very similar, our personalities/appearance definitely make us individuals.  Steph is 5′ 8″, lefty, brown eyes, and slim.  Brittany is 5’5″, righty, green eyes, and curvy.  Before going to college, I don’t know how well we got along.  Like any siblings, siblings argue, and when you’re a teenager, those arguments seemed like the end of the world.  Steph and I ended up going to different colleges, and I think that was the best decision we could make as twins.  The “adult” friendship we have learned to build over the past 6 years since leaving home would probably have been more difficult to create if we had gone to the same university.  We were no longer “the Twins.”  We were Stephanie and Brittany, and it was like reintroducing ourselves to one another again.  Going to college was the first time we were able to be individuals.

This past weekend, I participated in a tennis tournament and found myself saying to one of the tourney coordinators, “I miss playing tennis with my twin sister.  I feel like I’ve forgotten how to be competitive.”  Steph and I played doubles tennis together in high school, and we were good.  Some people said it was the “silent twin communication” that helped us, and maybe it did.  Regardless, tennis consumed our lives back then, and it was one thing that we truly enjoyed doing together.  This past weekend really made me miss playing competitively against Steph… and just having a female companion there all the time to do something with.  I love Bret and spend a lot of time doing everything I enjoy with him, but it’s different when you do those same things with a female.  I never had to worry about that prior to college because I had a “girl friend” to do something with every single day of my life.

There are several qualities/attributes that Steph has that I would like to do a better job at myself:

  1. Calling people just to talk — Steph will pick up the phone and call anyone any time to check in.
  2. Taking photos — Every year, I make a New Year’s resolution to take more photos of my experiences, but for some reason, that goal gets lost along the way.
  3. Rewarding herself – This might not sound like a great quality, but it is.  Sometimes, a person deserves rewarding themselves whether it’s going for a pedicure or buying that top you’ve been looking at for the past 2 months.  I make buying things such a big deal, so much that I never buy anything.  This non-spending habit has become somewhat stressful for me  because I feel like I shouldn’t purchase anything but necessities.  I need to learn to reward myself if I want to.  So this weekend, maybe I’ll go and buy a new pair of sandals that I desperately need…
  4. Letting loose and having fun – Don’t get me wrong.  I can have fun.  However, sometimes, in the back of my mind, I can’t help but want to be in “mom” mode:  “Don’t turn the music up too loud!”  “Will we get in trouble for this?”  “I’m too tired…”  These thoughts sometimes prohibit me from just enjoying an experience entirely.
  5. French-braiding her own hair – I wish so bad that I could French braid my own hair.  I would love to be able to go for a run in a French braid instead of a ponytail.  However, I cannot do a French braid.  Steph taught herself how to French braid her own hair when she was like… 8 years old, and I think it’s fantastic.
It is one thing to have a sister — whether it’s older or younger.  It’s another thing to have a twin sister.  We have had our share of ups and downs, but we have had to go through the same kind of life changes at the same time… all the time.  It has been comforting to know that I will always have Steph to go to no matter the situation.  There is a different kind of sisterly bond that we have that many of you will never be able to experience.  Bret and I will officially be together for 6 years in September.  Dan and Steph also met during their freshmen year of college (7 months after).  The four of us have been able to create a wonderful friendship that I also don’t think many SIL/BIL’s get to create.  I’m excited for our future together as we all continue to grow older each year.
Steph.  Obviously this post is for you.  Thank you for being there for me the past quarter century (yes, we’re that old).  You have been so supportive of me over the years, and I really appreciate all the advice and laughs you have given me through some harder times.  I really can’t think of anyone else I’d rather spend my birthday with than you :)

I made two playlists.  One playlist is comprised of songs that revolve around memories that Steph and I have shared over the years.  The other playlist is a song about sisters/birthdays/getting older.

Thanks for taking the time to read <3

Dan Mangan – Basket

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My first job in high school was at Hollister Co. in the mall.  I remember Kylie and I went in an interviewed together and both hired.  While working at Hollister didn’t necessarily provide me any insights to what my path would be in the future, it was my first job, and it was actually pretty fun.

One of the best things while working at Hollister was a community “jukebox” music player that you could select certain music to listen that played through the store.  My absolute favorite album to listen to was Josh Kelley’s For the Ride Home.  I honestly can’t tell you how many times I listened to almost every single one of those songs on that album during my 4-8 hour shifts.  It was perfect, cheesy, lovey-dovey, pop perfection.  I’m probably going to listen to the entire album after this post since it’s been awhile since I’ve listened (or even heard about) Josh Kelley.  All I know is that he’s now married to Katherine Heigl and both adopted a super cute girl named Naleigh:

Now,  to Dan Mangan!  Dan reminds me of Josh Kelley in some ways.  His songs definitely aren’t as poppy and have a lot more depth to them (so maybe in retrospect he isn’t like Josh at all…)  When I initially heard “Sold” for the first time, I thought it was Josh and then was pleasantly surprised to have found a new musician to add to my collection.

Dan has a little bit of Marcus Mumford in him with the passion and emotion in his voice.  “Sold” is fun for summer and great to play with the windows rolled down in your car.  Another song, “Robots,” has a little eerie feeling to it, but I love it.  “Basket’ is by far my favorite that I’ve listened to so far.  Parts of the song remind  me of Josh Ritter with the scratchiness in his voice and how low he can go with the range of his voice.  His new album is due out in September.

Dan Mangan – Basket

Dan Mangan – Sold

Dan Mangan – Robots

Fruit Bats – Slipping Through The Sensors

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I am so sore today.  I won my match singles match on Saturday afternoon.  Then, Bret and I had to play a mixed doubles match an hour later which ended up lasting almost 3 hours.    Even though we put up a good fight, we ended up losing.  I played my second singles match yesterday morning at 8 (… I can’t remember the last time I got up at 7:00 AM on a Sunday), and I ended up losing.  Even though Bret and I lost our matches, the tournament has motivated us to really practice and get back to being good at tennis.  However, this weekend reminded me that I will be 25 and am no longer 15-18 years old.

I’ve been listening to Fruit Bats since freshman year of college.  Sometimes their songs are hit or miss…  but I always end up finding a select few that I thoroughly enjoy.  Recently, I’ve been listening to “Slipping Through the Sensors.”  The entire song only has 30 words in its lyrics which I find impressive since it’s nearly a five minute long song.

Every time their name pops up on my shuffle playlist, I get a nice happy feeling inside.  I remember thinking that fruit bats were soooo adorable when I was a kid.  I mean, c’mon… How many of you wouldn’t want to own one of these cute little guys?

Plus, fruit bats remind me of Batty from the movie Ferngully.  I take serious pride in the fact that I can sing all the lyrics to this song:

Back to the REAL Fruit Bats… I’ve included some of my past favorite Fruit Bats songs along with “Slipping Through the Sensors”.  If you haven’t heard them before, check them out.

Fruit Bats – Slipping Through The Sensors


Fruit Bats – Primitive Man


Fruit Bats – When U Love Somebody


Fruit Bats – The Ruminant Band


Weekend Playlist 7.15.11

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UPDATE:  For some reason, my playlist didn’t include of all my songs originally.  Enjoy the LONGER playlist :)

summer

So, another week has gone by without me making any significant updates to the blog aside from this weekend playlist.  Sometimes, when I don’t make any updates, this is what I feel like:

In all seriousness, I actually had a really great week!  I have several things to look forward to in the upcoming month, including my birthday next week!

Tomorrow, I’m playing in another tennis tournament.  Hopefully, I’ll play better than I did in the last one.  Bret and I went and hit/practice last night.  Both of us are definitely getting back into our tennis groove.  He and I are also participating in Mixed Doubles together, and I think we have a chance!  We’ve won one tournament together as mixed doubles, so it’d be great to add another trophy to our shelf.

I woke up at 4 AM this morning (I have no idea why…) and I literally couldn’t fall asleep.    The 7:00 AM alarm went off, and I still hadn’t fallen back asleep fully.  UGHHH.

WORST.  FEELING.  EVER.

Anyways, I’ve procrastinated on making biscottis and cookies today for too long.  Bret’s mom wanted to donate some baked goods to a fundraiser for her church and asked if I would make some.  I love making my biscottis, so of course I would.  I’m also going to try making my Grandma’s infamous apple slice cake FOR THE FIRS TIME!  I hope it turns out.

Wish me luck on my matches this weekend!  I hope you all have as much fun as you possibly can :)

Weekend Playlist 7.8.11

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Another Friday…  Another weekend!

I really hope this rain stops before this evening.  Bret and I were planning on having a cookout of some sort at our place since we haven’t been able to get together with the usual crew much (although the usual crew is slowly dissipating with people moving… poo).  I think I see some sun creeping through the rainclouds, so there’s still hope for grilling, ladder ball, and outdoor fun.  I wish we had a backyard large enough that we could have a campfire.  At the old place, we were able to have one pretty much every weekend.

Anyways, Bret has four baseball games lined up between Saturday and Monday.  I’m ready to put my #1 fan hat on and support him, although I’m starting to think that Nutmeg and I are bad luck since they seem to only win when we’re not there.

I made chocolate zucchini muffins yesterday using this recipe, and they were very good yummers.  I was looking in the fridge Tuesday night and realized we had 3 zucchinis.  I love zucchini, but I wanted to find another use for the squash.  I love being a part of the Penn’s Corner CSA this year.  It really has opened the door to Bret and I getting quality produce and for me to try cooking new things!

On that note, I hope you all enjoy your weekend :)

Young the Giant – Cough Syrup

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MTV’s been doing a really great job of introducing new artists through their PUSH Artist of the Week.  I’ve listened to Young the Giant a few times but didn’t really put much thought into listening to the whole album.  I loved “I Got” and found it when putting together a summer playlist.  Now, I’m regretting my poor decision to not find more about this band.

The lead singer is pretty swoonworthy in this live session of “Cough Syrup,” and this version in general is just wonderful to listen to:

It’s seriously worth your time to go to their YouTube page and watch their open sessions.  “God Made Man” is absolutely stunning as is “Apartment.”

I wish I could get all the songs in these live open sessions.  The songs just aren’t the same after being produced.  Regardless, take a listen to Young the Giant below!  They should immediately be added to your summer playlists.

Mumford & Sons – Home

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Home, New Album

New songs have been popping up here and there from Mumford and Sons. Sigh No More still hasn’t gotten old with me.  Some days when I’m feeling crappy, I’ll put that album on and listen to it in its entirety.  Rumor has it that M&S will finish their new album before the end of 2011.

I’ve posted a few songs they have performed so far in 2011.  Will these songs be on the new album?  I have no idea.  However, do these songs indicate that the next album should be something wonderful?

Yes.

Mumford & Sons – Home

Mumford & Sons – Lover of the Light

Mumford & Sons – Lover’s Eyes

Mumford & Sons – England (The National Cover)

Mumford & Sons – Below My Feet (Skip to :45 )


Weekend Playlist 7.1.11

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It’s July!!

Where did the time go?

I’m going to keep this post short because I have a ton of stuff to do today, but I wanted to make sure to wish you all a fun, safe, Fourth of July weekend full of hot dogs, burgers, campfires, fireworks, sun, swimming… all the goods things that summer is all about!

Enjoy the weekend!