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What My Summer Sounded Like

I always hate when people try to predict what the jams of the summer are going to be at the beginning of the summer. So instead of predicting at the beginning of the summer what I will listen to, I’ve decided to reflect back on what I listened to most this summer.

What makes a summer song? In my opinion, it needs to be driveable. If you cannot jam to it in the car, its not worthy of summer. It either needs to motivate you, exercise emotions you need to let out so you can be more fun, pump you up for , or just be something light to dance to.

Here were my top 10 listens, no particular order:

1. Bad Liar- Selena Gomez
bad liarI’ll be honest, When I first heard the verses it was hard for me to get into. But just like everything else that Selena Gomez puts out, I ended up ultimately loving it. That chorus! Its what got me. I love the fun beat, the repetitiveness of the lyrics. Its just a cutesy song thats fun to blast in the car or dance around the house in. This definitely played on my phone a lot this summer, especially in July.
2. Most Girls- Hailee Steinfeld
most girlsI’ve never really given Hailee Steinfeld a second thought. I know that she was an actress in some big movie, that she’s friends with Taylor Swift, and that she started recording music. But something about this song hit me. This song was my go-to for getting ready for anything. Its a great song for building your confidence, which is most beneficial when you’re trying to look good. The video was a little problematic, in my opinion, since she talks about “most girls” and only has thin and conventionally pretty girls in it, but whatever. We know anyone who is friends with Taylor Swift probably isn’t going to have the most intersectional brand of feminism. At least the song is fun.

3. Hard Times- Paramore

hard timesSo, like I said above, a rule about summer songs is that they have to be driveable. Well, the first time I heard this song I listened to it on repeat for an hour when I drove to a work meeting out of town. I had a rough summer, so it was nice to have relatable lyrics but the upbeat sound of this song kept my mood up. I love this new sound that Paramore has come up with. I’ve been a fan of them for like 12 years or something now, so its great watching musicians grow and develop. And its always fun rocking out to them to ease whatever weird combination of happy and unfortunate that you feel!

4. Wasting All These Tears- Caitlyn Smithcaitlynsmith
Cassadee Pope, some contestant from The Voice has a recorded version of this. But Caitlyn Smith’s original version is a lot more raw and emotional. Caitlyn Smith has written a bunch of music for the show Nashville, and is generally an amazing person. I’m not a big country fan, but like I said earlier- I had a rough summer, and this was a go to when I needed to get some emotions out. Plus, as a former harmony singer, this is a really fun song to sing harmonies to.

5. My Heart Breaking- Alex Masters
alex mastersI discovered Alex Masters like a million years ago through following her husband’s photography work. I signed up for a “12 in 12” thing that she did, where you could download a song she released each month. This was the very last one, and probably my favorite of them all. You see, I really like sad music. This song really spoke to my heart when I became a victim of domestic violence and had to abruptly end my engagement and cancel my wedding (I told you I had a rough summer). I listened to this one in the car on repeat for the three hour drive home to my mom and sobbed the entire time. This song will always hold a special place in my heart for that, and when I’ve been sad about my circumstances I have gone to this song to help release those emotions.

6. Roman Holiday- Halsey
romanholidaySo I’m in the process of planning a trip to Italy to wrap up my summer, and this is the song I’ve been blasting while exploring my destination on Pinterest. This song is one of the more upbeat sounding songs on Halsey’s first album Badlands. But I feel wanderlust when I hear this song, and what better to describe summer than carefree and wanderlustful? It also makes good night driving music, and like I said earlier- summer songs need to be good to drive to.
7. XO- John Mayer
2nd Light Up The Blues Concert - An Evening Of Music To Benefit Autism Speaks - InsideThis song is John Mayer’s cover of Beyonce’s song. I love me some Beyoncé, but this specific version of the song is a summer song. The acoustic guitar makes me feel like I’m around a campfire, like one of your buddies is burning up some old schoolwork or some dead tree they just lumberjacked down and then whipped out their guitar to impress some girl. You roll your eyes because Bon Fire John Mayer is kind of a douche, but you just enjoy the beautiful music and make sure you don’t fall in love with his voice, too. Also, this song has a special place in my heart. It was going to be my first dance song at my wedding that I cancelled. Womp womp. I promise, this wasn’t a moping song, just used as a reminder that beautiful things are out there (even if they’re a little douchey too).
8. Dreams- Fleetwood Mac
dreamsOkay, first, this song is a classic jam. It sounds like wind in your hair while you’re driving like 30 mph with the windows down at dusk. I know, specific, but I know you can envision it. Second, I’m seeing Stevie Nicks at the end of August, so I definitely had to just refresh my love. Third, this song is my karaoke go-to. Anytime I hear this song, I can’t help but sing along and just chill. Also, Leighton Meester (yes, that girl from Gossip Girl) and her friend did a sick cover of this one. Do I need to justify this one anymore? This is an every summer song.

9. Vindicated- Dashboard Confessional
DC-VindicatedYeah this song was featured in the second spiderman that had Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. I don’t know the names of all the superhero movies, especially the Spiderman franchise because theres like a thousand of them. Anyway, you can tell I needed to release a lot of emotion this summer. This is great for screaming in the car after a bad day, and if you work in the middle of a tourist trap like I do, every day has the potential to go awry. Angry at customers who complain about how long the line is but are just part of the problem? Vindicated. Angry that you had to work the Fourth of July and missed fireworks? Vindicated. Couldn’t find parking and were late to work because tourists took up all the “employee only” parking? Vindicated. Another 5K ending at the front door of your workplace? Vindicated.

10. Everyday (feat. Future)- Ariana Grande
everydayThis song reminds me of a beach read. Light, easy, and probably a little raunchy somewhere. In fact, the one time I laid out and tanned, I listened to this song on repeat while reading a beach read. Just fun and makes you think about a fling you just want to hold on to for the summer. Obviously I didn’t have one of those flings, but a girl can dream. Also, another good song to get ready to. And have you seen the music video? Its just people making out everywhere while Ariana Grande cheers them on. Its pretty feel good, which is exactly what I want my summers to be like. (And PS for some reason like everyone I know hates Ariana Grande, but she’s got a good voice, she did a great thing for Manchester, and she’s cute. Must just be jealousy?)

 

What were your songs this summer?

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5 things that make me really happy

So hello! I wasn’t quite sure where to start my blog. There’s a lot of pressure with a first post- how is this post going to define my blog? What do I want this blog to be about? Am I even interesting enough to have a blog?

I like to think that maybe I have something to share with the world.

So here I am laying in my bed, listening to John Mayer, and my dog at my feet. We’re going to just start with what makes me really happy.

Back in late April, my life was turned upside down when I became a victim of domestic violence. It ended my relationship with the love of my life, I had to cancel my wedding, I fell into depression, and I really kind of lost touch with myself. My therapist told me that when we’re going through crisis we often feel like whats happening is actually happening to someone else… well thats what the last four months has felt like to me! So I’ve been reintroducing myself to me, and one of the ways I’ve been doing that is by just figuring out what makes me really happy.

1. Rock Picking on Lake Superior’s North Shore
beachSo there is really no where I feel at peace as much as Lake Superior’s pebble beaches on the North Shore. I get lost in my thoughts when I pick rocks, but theres a purpose- finding that perfect agate or thomsonite. Whether its sunny and clear, dreary and foggy, or somewhere in between, this is my happy place.

Why does this make me really happy? I have a purpose. I have a hard time on a beach without some sort of goal or activity. I need at least a book to read, but this is more fun for me. I like treasure hunting, and thats exactly what rock picking is. I have boxes of rocks that I’ve saved over the years and I can pick any one of them out and remember finding it. I guess thats a weird talent I have.

But additionally to the purpose, its the location. Lake Superior is one of my favorite places in the world and you can understand why the moment you see it. Dark cliffs, beaches with treasure, the crystal clear waters, the smell of the lake (seriously it smells amazing), and the pine trees all over the place. I always feel a pull to this lake, and even when I move away from its shores in two weeks, I know I’ll be planning my first visit pretty quickly.

 

2.  Smashing the Patriarchy

smashthepatriarchy

So its no secret that I’m a feminist. It shouldn’t be a secret. I’m proud of it! I’ll stand on the rooftops and call it out for the whole world to hear!

But anything that advances equality of the sexes and equity for all identities of women is something that really gets me excited. Whether its shutting down cat callers or supporting women running for office (or running myself!), I seriously get so empowered.

In this picture, I was speaking at a press conference in the Wisconsin State Capitol for United Council of UW Students. I made a statement about how a cut of state funding to the UW System would hurt students. I did this right after a weekend of learning about how democrat women are going to take over Wisconsin (it’ll happen, Erin Forrest is working on it through Emerge WI). I did this as my state was becoming a Right to Work state. Afterwards I joined the protests outside. It wasn’t necessarily a female-centered day, but they chose a woman student leader to speak. They cared about what I had to say. I power posed. I looked awesome. I felt like I was going to take over the world afterwards.

Those moments, from shutting down street harassers to giving great speeches, really fuel me.

 

3. Travel
travelSo I pretty much believe that you have to be a complete psychopath to not love traveling. I get the wonderful things about home, but there are so many wonderful things other places, too. I want to see as much of the world as I can, and I’m a great traveler, so I’m including this in the list.

If you ever go on a road trip, I’m the girl you want with you. I will listen to whatever you put on without complaint. I can drive for all daylight hours (once the sun goes down I get sleepy, but I can start in the dark!). I can hold my pee for a really long time.

If you want to camp, I’m great at that (though sleeping on the ground is starting to get hard for my almost-30-year-old body). I can pitch a tent in the dark. I can start a fire without a boy. I can chop wood.

And if you want to go to another country, I’m down. I will be low maintenance. I will not argue about what sights to see. I will do my very very best to respect the culture. I will try new foods. I will do what you’re supposed to do in the place you’re supposed to do it (Kristen Newman, wherever you are: thank you for that phrase). I haven’t been to a lot of countries yet, but I am itching to fill my passport.

In that picture, I am crossing a really sketchy railroad trellis over a river (that probably was filled with crocodiles) from Costa Rica into Panama.

(In another post someday I’ll go over why I share photos that also feature my ex.)

 

4. Great Danes, Specifically Watson
findingwatson

In another post someday, I will share the story of how Watson and I found each other. But he is seriously one of my greatest joys. I have never had another living creature love me as much as this dog. I don’t even think my own mother could love me as much as he does (sorry Mom).

My entire life I have wanted a great dane. I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn’t ache for one. I’m not even kidding. We almost got one when I was in fourth grade, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I got another amazing dog out of the deal, I would have been so devastated that we didn’t adopt that one.

It got so bad that I would see a great dane and go into panic attacks of joy. Like that video of Kristen Bell and the sloth? I was that person. Hyperventilating, tears, inability to explain what happened so everyone else is concerned for my health. So when Watson found me (pictured), we bonded instantly.

Since my experience with Domestic Violence he has been my rock. He made the entire thing bearable. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have him to invite into bed that night so I could sob into his fur. I miss him when I’m at work. I take him as many places as I can. I talk to him constantly. When I wake, my first thought is about him.

 

5. The Harry Potter Franchise
I believe that I have put more hours of my life into Harry Potter stuff than hours breathing.

slytherinOkay so that might be an exaggeration.

But the Harry Potter Franchise has brought me so many things. Friendships, enhancement to friendships that started over other things, an escape when I need one, hobbies, and endless imagination. The world that JK Rowling created for us never fails to bring me happiness. Even when I see scary comparisons of the return of Voldemort to some of the return (read: more visibility) of White Supremacy.

I am a Slytherin and I will HAPPILY fight to the death defending my house since everyone and their mother thinks you need to be evil to be part of it.

Wow, that photo is seven years old. SEVEN.

Anyway, what are some things that make you really happy? Do any of my listed things make you really happy?