Sunday, September 25, 2016

Monthly Reads 2016: September

Wondering what I've been reading this month? Honestly, more or less the same as last month. Life, y'know? Keeps you from the good stuff. Or sometimes you'd just rather nap.

I did manage to finish the stories I was working on, though, and decided to make my way to the library to return one of them. I actually didn't have the intention of getting more, but I ended up with Hunter S. Thompson: Fear, Loathing, and the Birth of Gonzo by Kevin T. McEneaney and Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape edited by Keenan Norris. (I also added a bunch of random stuff to my to-read list on Goodreads while I checked out the shelves.) 

Hunter S. Thompson is someone I looked up to - like most journalism students. I had his picture in my locker in high school. I studied him extensively in college. And while my college, frightened self didn't always have the nerve to consider Gonzo journalism as my thing, I got such a thrill out of knowing that there were maverick journalists who paved the way for themselves in the field by inserting themselves in the action. I'm sure it will be a treat to read this about him.

The urban literature book honestly just looked like an interesting study on the way artists have put their work out there, and the urban environment that inspired them to write. I am really excited about what I picked up.

I don't know if I ever mentioned it, but I actually also picked up The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood the last time I dropped by the library, on a whim, and I was so into it, but managed to not read it all in time, so I returned the copy I had today and checked it out again via ebook so I didn't feel so much pressure to still be holding onto it, keeping someone else from it. I was able to download a library copy straight to my Kindle. Thanks, future. You're doing books right.

Next time I stop into the library, I'm thinking about asking them if they take donations. I have a good bit of books I've collected since I've been here - and even more back in Georgia - that may be of better use there rather than with me. I want to share the wealth.

We'll see what I'm able to part with and what they say. (The former of the two being the bigger issue, honestly.)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Monthly Music 2016: September

You can follow along with this series here.

It's September, and it's time to share what music I've been into this month. Admittedly, it's not as wide of a range of music as it was last post. This month hasn't been much for new music or even revisiting different music.

So here we are:
  1. Afterglow by CHVRCHES 
  2. Birthday by Selena Gomez 
  3. Chasing Twisters by Delta Rae 
  4. Currents by Eisley 
  5. Tell Me A Story by Dodie Clark (feat. Evan Edinger) 
  6. Native Tongue by Paramore
  7. Human by Dodie Clark (feat. Jon Cozart) 
  8. Kicks by Lauren Aquilina

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Brief Portland Visit

This weekend was so incredibly memorable and such a blur at the same time. It was a long 24 hours, but worth every second. Believe it or not, despite living so close to Portland now, this past weekend was my first visit. Savannah, Mike and I all made our way to Portland to see Eisley play. (We had other engagements that kept us from the Seattle show the next day.) So Savannah and I - Mike isn't pictured, not many pictures were taken by me - dawned dark eyeliner and blue lipstick and started the journey there.

The show was at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland - with the Dear Hunters headlining, of which we weren't as interested. We ate some food at the bar above and then headed down at showtime.

Eisley played a lovely first show of their tour. We got to hear a mesmerizing shuffle of new songs and old, which sent my heart aflutter. I might have almost cried a few times from happiness. I held it together okay, though. They even played us their new single which should be releasing soon. It felt great being of the privileged few who could hear it.

I guess I should point out that my comment above about not caring as much about the other acts at this show isn't really anything personal - the sound and vocals were on point for those other acts, or that of what we did hear - but our primary concern was seeing Eisley. I've wanted to see them for close to a decade.

We left a bit after Eisley ended their performance and made our way to a bar called the Green Room that Savannah had heard about but didn't really go to her last time in Portland. When we entered, we got egg white whiskey sours and put our name on a list for a bar upstairs.

The Multnomah Whiskey Library.

This place was incredible. I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to do it justice. We waited about an hour to get in. The typical wait they usually tell you is sometimes as much as 2 hours. We were sitting there talking and laughing about something stupid when the bartender handed Savannah her card and says, "We're closing you out here because you're going upstairs."

We were chosen.

The Multnomah Whiskey Library is indeed a library. There is a full wall and a half covered in bottles upon bottles of every kind of spirit you can imagine from across the world, even. Got a favorite? They have the recipe and a origin and historical significance of it. Their menu is expansive and they can give you something perfect for your own tastes if you still aren't sure or are overwhelmed.

They opened the door widely and slowly to the room and we entered like children in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. The room looked like a dark oak and brick collegiate library with dim lighting, library tables and cushioned leather armchairs.

We ordered different cocktails, a cheese board and a meat board. They prepared the drinks on a trolley in front us, introducing us to each spirit they included in our cocktail.

We stayed until about 1 a.m. and headed back to the hotel. The next morning we were dehydrated but still riding on the high of being chosen.

We concluded our trip with coffee and breakfast at Trinket. I had a duck eggs benedict, which I never knew I could love as much as I did.

Thank you, Portland. For a brief visit, you were amazing. I will be back.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Healthy Living: Whole New Me

Y'all. Today is going to be my last day of indulgence. I mean it this time.

I was just sitting here - stomach bloated to Texas at work - after eating some tasty food and thinking about just how miserable I feel. I have been doing more creative goal-making(1,2), by the way my journal-ing is going well so far, but I haven't been taking care of myself.

You're hearing it now. This is my declaration. I'm going to not "do better," but actually cut real things out of my diet. I'm going to be better.

So here's what's going out the door:
  • Soda
  • Candy
  • Potato chips (I just might cry about this one, but I'm doing it)
  • Whole fat dairy (except for feta and a few specialty cheese where the fat is part of the actual flavor and hold because trust me, no one likes bitter feta)
  • Other sugary drinks and foods like sweet tea and dessert
    • Thankfully I don't have that big of a sweet tooth, *phew*
  • Pork and beef 
    • I don't really eat much of either of those meats, anyway.  
  • Less carbs 
    • That means omitting a tortilla with my taco and getting the salad or turning my sandwich/wrap into a lettuce wrap; I don't want to be weighed down any longer.
What that means for my choices: 
  • Vegetables 
    • More and more greens, more and more fresh choices 
  • Fruits 
    • More and more fresh, seasonal fruit. No canned/packaged stuff. 
      • Thankfully I don't each much of the latter as it is. 
  • More high protein that is lean - chicken and turkey and fish 
  • More veggie substitutes to meats when I go out and when cooking meals for work for just myself 
  • More non fat and low fat dairy
  • More dairy substitutes 
  • More and more and more water 
  • Black coffee with carefully chosen additions 
    • No more just walking in for a mocha and not making appropriate substitutions 
  • More nuts and dried fruits as snacks
  • More light, un-buttered popcorn with movies 
I guess now that I've posted it, it's really happening. I don't know what part of me flipped a switch the second half of this year but I've really been on a roll. Despite everything that's been going on around me, I feel together at work, and I've been actually setting my mind to real goals again. Go me! 

I tried to do something similar to this diet change before, but I didn't have the motivation of feeling this awful behind the decision - in all honesty, a lot of these kinds of choices we make are made purely on the vanity of the choice or ourselves. But this time it's because I feel awful, and I have all summer, and I'm tired of it. 

Also I really need to get back on my workout routine. I cannot wait to start tonight with just water, no late-night indulgences and then wake up at the right time and actually workout. 

I'm sorry, body. I really am. I didn't mean to hurt you this way.

As a token of my appreciation to my body and to my honesty in doing this with you, I plan on doing weekly check-ins. That means I'm getting really honest about what food I've taken in, the exercise I completed, the amount of water I drank and how much I weigh. (I know, that last one can be scary. But it's about damn time.)

My first official update Saturday will also include a picture of me - oh God - in my workout clothes. It'll probably be the most honest series of pictures of me on this blog, but I can't wait to do it, even if I am a little scared. Here we go... 

Thursday, September 1, 2016


On Tuesday morning we buried Tripp's grandfather, Charles Sheffield, Sr. He was Tripp's hero and one of my favorite in-laws. He was family and friend to everyone. He was a grandfather to me, too. He was loving, kind and God-fearing. I witnessed an entire community of people show up for this man. He will be greatly missed.