Music

Girl Crush of the Week: First Aid Kit

I know the stars have aligned when my new fave musical artist also happens to be my new girl crush. It’s like the world wants to make life easy for me and bundles all of my interests into one. Thanks world.

So um First Aid Kit. I’m pretty sure I first heard their musical styling on Sirius XMU’s channel. In a sense, XMU is like the university station equivalent for satellite radio. They play all the songs and bands you’ve never heard of mixed in with songs and bands no one had heard of five years ago that people still aren’t totally familiar with. It’s pretty good.

Anyway, First Aid Kit at first listen sounds like a folksy band that originated somewhere over the rainbow (but probably Montana?) with their twangy, yet semi-familiar chords that will keep you asking for more. But once you delve deeper, you’ll realize that these melodic voices belong to Swedish sisters, Johanna and Klara Soderberg (mentally insert umlaut over the ‘o’ in Soderberg if you will).first-aid-kit-band

The duo graces us with beautifully crafted lyrics paired with references that fit their indie-folk sound: “I’ll be your Emmylou and I’ll be your June if you’ll be my Graham and my Johnny too/No I’m not asking much of you, just sing little darlin’ sing with me.”

I’m not much of a country girl at all, but for some reason their tunes speak to my soul. It’s a refreshing old-school take on Americana. They have perfectly studied country accents which makes me think they have a thing for 50’s country music. That’s cool because I have a thing for babes from Sweden who can sing.

Two of my favorite First Aid Kit songs are “Emmylou” and “Silver Lining“. Click to listen.

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Books

Lily’s Literature #17

It’s been a while. I’ve been trying to get my reading in despite life’s little distractions. Good distractions, but still. I’ve set a higher reading goal for myself this year compared to last year’s goal of 25 books by the end of the year. This year I was aiming for 30, but I’m only at 19 so far. I say “only” because last year I read 31. But last year I also had no job, no money, and you guessed it, no life. But now I have all of those things but not as many books read. Why am I still talking about this? Moving on…

So I finally read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Despite the thinness of the novel, it took me 5ever (longer than 4ever) to finish it. At first I was really immersed in the book. The writing is beautiful. Actually, that’s an understatement. The writing is some of the best I’ve read. The characters are well-developed and smart. Nabokov’s writing makes you feel witty and perfectly educated. lolita

His character Humbert Humbert is so likable and charismatic that you don’t really mind his thoughts about a 14 year old girl until you actually step back from the book and think about it. And then you realize that Humbert’s thinking is so realistic that only a child-obsessed brain could write these words and perfectly pin-point these observations. Kind of gross.

I was quite bored during a lot of the story. It started out strong for me and then quickly went downhill. I trudged through it and I’m glad to say that I did. Would I read Lolita again? No. Do I appreciate the story for what it is? Sure.

After that I read A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. This book is very original and was definitely a breath of fresh air for me. The story is split between two juxtaposing lives. One being, Nao, a suicidal girl who lives in Japan and wrote a diary explaining her sad and sorry life circumstances. The other, Ruth, a married woman living on one of the small islands surrounding Vancouver. She finds Nao’s journal washed up on shore and becomes engulfed in the girl’s tale.15811545

I have to give extreme props for originality with this one. I really liked the two settings. I learned a lot about ancient and modern Japanese culture yet I could relate to the depictions of Pacific Northwest island life. It was a cool mix that ended up working well. However, I did feel like there were some lulls in the story, but I remained interested because it felt very real.

And most recently I finished another Gillian Flynn book, Dark Places. This one was perhaps my least favorite of Flynn’s three novels. It just seemed kind of rushed and messy. Don’t get me wrong, it made sense, but I just didn’t connect with any of the characters or feel invested in what was going on. It was still an exciting read, but I liked Gone Girl and Sharp Objects slightly better.dark-places-cover-w352

In Dark Places, we meet Libby Day, a survivor of the brutal murders of her mother and two sisters one night in their family home. Her brother, Ben, has been locked away for 25 years accused as the murderer. Libby gathers new information about her family’s untimely deaths and learns that Ben may not be the one who killed her mother and sisters after all.

In all of her books, Flynn tries to throw the audience for a loop in a betcha-didn’t-see-that-one-comin’ kind of way. There is definitely a good element of surprise, a lot of suspicious characters, and a few red herrings, that keep the reader guessing. It’s a fun, easy read to take your mind off of the normalcy of every day life.

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Feelings

Interests and Other Things

A couple weeks ago I was thinking about how weird it is that we, as humans, are born to parents (some good, some bad, some in between, I suppose) who all have interests, and in turn, we become interested or end up knowing a lot about their interests because they’re in our lives and we’re kind of surrounded by them. Granted, this isn’t always the case. But it typically is. Even if you aren’t particularly interested in your parents lives or hobbies or whatnot, you still end up hearing a lot about their favorite subjects, and then begrudgingly become somewhat knowledgeable about said subjects.tumblr_mmuukh5rWE1rqc6hco1_500

If I wasn’t born to my parents, I doubt that I would care about analyzing why people act a certain way or how a person’s childhood can effect how they grow emotionally. I doubt that I would like to write or even read. Create or decorate. Would I like to sing or listen to the bands I like now? Would I know that TCM stands for Turner Classic Movies and that there is not one Thin Man movie, but like, 6 or 7?! Would I like to dance and laugh at people trying to be serious? Could I spot a “good cut” in a movie scene? Would I make collages of all my favorite things and then admire them over and over? Would I still like animals more than people?

Perhaps. But probably not. I would be different because my parents would be different–have different jobs, hobbies, senses of humor, religions, struggles, incomes, etc. I like all the things that make up me. I’d like to think that we can see the best in our parents and the things that they like, we take and make them our own.

Or maybe not. Just a thought.

Also, don’t get all nature vs. nurture on me.

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Favorites

Summer Favorites

Can you believe that summer is already starting to wind down? It feels like it just started! I figured that I might as well compile my favorite things for this season. *Cue “My Favorite Things” music from The Sound of Music*

1. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood app. That was so weird. It’s almost like I could hear the sound of hundreds of people clicking the unfollow button. Hear me out though. I am aware of the grossness that is Kim Kardashian. Her family of narcissists disgusts me as well, don’t worry. BUT I’m a sucker for terrible computer games. Hell, I was raised in the 90’s. It’s really all I know. kim-kardashian-video-game-app-600x450

Anyway, the gist of the game is that you’re a nobody, trying to make it in Hollywood. You happen to save Kim’s big butt during an emergency fashion nightmare and you end up climbing the ladder of celeb status thanks to Kim, fashion shoots, flirting, and your many agents. It’s just a fun, brainless way to pass the time. Plus, it gives me that satisfaction of knowing that at least once in my life I’ll have owned a loft in Beverly Hills AND a mansion in Miami at the same time.

2. Weddings. Um hi, weddings are so fun! I haven’t attended many wedding celebrations in my life but I sure do love ‘em. How much fun is it to dress up, look at beautiful people, family, friends, etc. and eat delicious food and dance all night? Those are pretty much all my favorite things to do all thrown into one night. Weddings, hell yeah.

3. Haagen-Dazs. There should be an umlaut in there somewhere but I’m far too lazy to look up the key combo for it. This beautiful ice cream brand has been on sale in the grocery store for a couple of weeks now and my husband and I have made sure to take advantage of this good fortune. Some of our favorite flavors have been Pralines and Cream, Caramel Explosion, Strawberry (mine, not his) and Cookie Dough. Literal heaven. 2871

4. Face Masks. You know how I like to pamper myself. Lately my face has been crying out for love because I’ve reverted back to my teenage self and for some reason have zits. So not cool. But I’ve given my face some extreme TLC by listening to “No Scrubs” and investing in luxurious face masks. Some of which have been Glam Glow’s Super Mud treatment, Lush’s Brazened Honey, and Origin’s Active Charcoal mask. Despite looking like The Creature from the Black Lagoon while sporting said masks, my skin is grateful and in turn, so am I.tumblr_mv0lm9o4Gw1sgy1x4o1_400

5. Curb Your Enthusiasm. Yes I know this show isn’t the newest and doesn’t have the best looking cast per se, but it’s damn funny and shockingly true. My husband and I finally finished all 8 seasons and we’re sad that we reached the end of this Jew-y era (I can say that because I’m 16% Jewish). If you haven’t given this a watch, I highly suggest it.

That’s all folks! What are some of your faves this summer?

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TV

The Amazing Race Canada

No, I’m not going to try out for The Amazing Race. You clearly don’t know me at all. But I am here to make fun of the Canadian version.

So here’s the scoop if you’ve never watched terrible reality game shows before–The original Amazing Race was an American based show that took 10 12 20 (who cares?) teams around the world in a race-style competition. Teams were met with challenges and setbacks both from the game and from other team members. It was pretty entertaining and intense to watch (especially while you’re shoving pizza in your face and critiquing the contestant’s running style).

Canada, being the cute copy cat that it is, decided to make it’s own Canadian version. BUT, get this, instead of racing around the entire globe, contestants are limited to only racing throughout Canada. Like, is that a joke? It shouldn’t be called The Amazing Race Canada. It should be called The Eh-Okay Race or the Really Great Effort Race. Or the I’m Sorey Race.  But Amazing? I think not. The racers won’t even need passports! So, so lame.image

And how many options do the game designers really have? Just because Canada is the second biggest country in the world, doesn’t mean they have a lot to show for themselves. I’m sure the contestants will be sent to Vancouver at least 3 times. And does anyone really want to go to Winnipeg? Yikes.

So yeah. Sad and desperate times over here in Canada. And I’ll tell you what, I’m having Nunavut. *ba dum tissss*

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Music

Music Review: Chromeo

I never really got into Chromeo’s first album, She’s in Control, nor their second album, Fancy Footwork. However, I’ve given their third, and most recent album, White Women, a thorough listen and have really quite enjoyed myself doing so.

This Montreal duo tends to pair funny and charming lyrics with synthy-pop beats which make it deliciously addictive for your ears. I actually saw them in concert not too long ago at a Lollapalooza session where they were decked out with keyboards in the shape of women’s legs and an appreciative crowd ready to dance.Chromeo_Fancy_Footwork

Their music just makes you feel really good and happy. Some of my friends think that their newest album is a bit more serious and studied than their previous two, but I dig that they’re trying something different and making it work. My favorite new tracks would have to be “Jealous”, “Sexy Socialite”, and “Old 45’s.”chromeo-white-women

Here’s a sweet vid sampling if you haven’t had the chance to listen yet.

 

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