#30DaysofFavorites: Favorite Albums (24-19)

I’m celebrating turning 30 at the end of the month by posting a bunch of my favorite things on this blog and my YouTube channel. Today I’m continuing the countdown of my favorite albums. If you missed my Favorite Movie Moments, click here for the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth┬áposts. If you missed my first Favorite Albums post, click here.

 

#24 – Pageant Material
Kacey Musgraves

Pageant

I mentioned in my previous post that I wasn’t always the biggest fan of Country music. Well, that has changed in the last few years. I find myself drawn to artists like Kacey Musgraves, who present a more mellow sound, and laid back feel to their music. Her music sounds very melancholy to me, and I love the mood it creates. Pageant Material is her second album, and while I love her first one, I think this one is a little more connected in terms of themes and sound.

Favorite Track:
“Dime Store Cowgirl” is a sweet little ditty that served as the second single off the album. It feels nostalgic and essentially delivers a message of staying true to your roots while still enjoying what’s happening in the now.

 

 

#23 – Hell on Heels
Pistol Annies

Hell

Speaking of Country artists and laid back, mellow sounds, the Pistol Annies is a new favorite of mine. I had never really listened to Miranda Lambert and was a little surprised to find that I liked her side project so much. I still haven’t heard much of her solo work but I’m a big fan of the darker themes she, Ashley Monroe, and Angaleena Presley cover as the Pistol Annies, and I love the harmonies the three of them create on both this album, and their follow up one, Annie Up.

Favorite Track:
The title track is still my favorite from this album, and a perfect introduction to what this band’s music is like.

 

 

#22 – Hot Fuss
The Killers

Hot Fuss

If The All-American Rejects were the soundtrack to my senior year of high school, The Killers were the soundtrack to my sophomore year. They had such a unique sound that perfectly synthesized rock with pop electronic, and I was instantly hooked. I haven’t followed them too closely over the years but I kind of “re-discovered” them about a year ago. I’m kicking myself now because they continued to produce great music, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

Favorite Track:
“Mr. Brightside,” the first single is still my favorite track on the album but “Spaceman” from their third album, Day & Age, is my all-time favorite Killers song.

 

#21 – Rooney
Rooney

rooney

Rooney was a local band that should have gone farther than they did/have. I know that Robert Schwartzman is still making music but the band lineup has changed, and the subsequent albums haven’t hit as big as the first. I hope he continues to record new material because I like what I’ve heard from him thus far, and especially love the first album. It has a 60ish pop rock sound with a little bit of 2000s alternative thrown in, and every track on the album feels like they belong together, making it a very satisfying, and cohesive listening experience.

Favorite Track:
“I’m a Terrible Person” is a fun, upbeat song, and is hilarious when you actually listen to the lyrics, which is why it’s my favorite track off the album.

 

 

#20 – Release Me
The Like

The Like

Another Southern California band that I think should have gotten much more exposure than they did. I discovered them thanks to a number of concerts in which they opened for another favorite band of mine. I like their first album, and I have all of their EPs but this album was perfect in my mind. They sounded (and looked) like a 60s pop girl group on this one, and less like the indie alternative band of their first album (which wasn’t bad). Still bums me out whenever I listen to either album that they weren’t more successful.

Favorite Track:
The first track on the album, “Wishing He Were Dead” is a rather sweet sounding pop song with some fairly dark lyrics from a jilted girlfriend planning a bit of revenge on an unfaithful boyfriend.

 

 

#19 – Tyrannosaurus Hives
The Hives

Hives

This may be the shortest album on my list. It comes in at just under 30 minutes but it is a pure adreniline rush from start to finish. The Hives are a great live band. They take that energy they put into their albums, and they really put on a show. They don’t just stand up there and play, they run around, they interact with the audience, and when I saw them, their guitarist split his finger open (and broke his guitar string) from playing too hard. I could have picked any of their albums for this slot but I chose this one because I think of all of them, it is the most energetic.

Favorite Track:
“Walk Idiot Walk” is the longest track on the album, and the most traditional, which makes sense that it was the lead single.

 

Swing by tomorrow for the next batch of my Favorite Albums.

Discovery of the Week: Goodreads

I finally have an account on Goodreads, this week’s Discovery of the Week!

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I know I’m really behind the times on this week’s topic but hey, it’s better to show up to the party late rather than never, right? Goodreads has been around for seven years and I’ve been seeing Facebook notifications pretty much ever since. For any who don’t know, Goodreads is a social network for readers. I’m kind of on a books kick right now, actually, I’m always on one. You can review things you’ve already read, select books you want to read, and even highlight what you’re currently reading.

You can also “friend” people on the site, just like Facebook, and read their reviews on things they’ve read. It’s a really cool way to keep all of your reading lists together in one place, and it’s great that you can suggest things to people you know, or get suggestions from them on what to read.

This is another great source of information on new books to discover and I can easily see this being very dangerous. I already have a reading pile at least 50 books high at home, a Pinterest board of things I want to read that has around 85 titles on it, and no time in my schedule to read any of them. Still, I’m excited to explore Goodreads and see what books other people are talking about.

Discovery of the Week: Problems of a Book Nerd

Last week I mentioned how great Tumblr is for new discoveries. Well Buzzfeed is another great source for finding cool new corners of the internet.

This week’s discovery actually involves both of those sites. I’d like to introduce you to Problems of a Book Nerd.

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Thanks to this Buzzfeed post, I learned about Problems of a Book Nerd, a tumblr devoted to posts about issues book lovers face.

People submit “book nerd problems” and the creator of the blog goes through them and decides which ones to share, then numbers them, and posts them (at the time of this post there were over 650 “problems).

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This is an example of some of the many posts. They’re funny little situations that many readers have either experienced, or heard stories of. I’ve seen a lot of these pinned on Pinterest and posted on Facebook. I never knew where they came from and I’m so glad I found this tumblr. I’m currently working my throw the archives. My favorite so far is this one below.

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I love the note at the bottom. I think that’s a beautiful thought.

In addition to these posts, the girl who runs the blog answers questions her followers have messaged her. Most of them have to do with favorite books and book experiences but occasionally there are some other, non-book related questions topics.

I’m still figuring out this whole Tumblr thing and I like that I’m finding new blogs to follow. I love reading and I never have enough time in my schedule to do so as much as I’d like. So, I have to live vicariously through Pinterest book boards and now Tumblr blogs like this one.

Discovery of the Week: Art in My Coffee

Tumblr is great for new discoveries (although I think I actually found this through Story by ModCloth) because there are endless blogs on every single topic you could think of. Practically anyone can go on there and find a blog devoted to their favorite things.

This week I’d like to share with you Art in My Coffee.

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Art in My Coffee is pretty much exactly what it sounds like …

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It’s just a bunch of photos people have taken of the foam designs in their lattes and cappuccinos. It’s pretty awesome for people like me who like coffee and love looking at pictures of it. The only issue with such a blog is that I always want to go sit in a cafe and read a book while I have a nice hot cup of coffee after looking at these pictures, rather than do my work.

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Discovery of the Week: Missdemeanor on RedBubble

After missing last week, I’m back with a discovery that is very near and dear to my heart. I’m talking about my sister’s RedBubble account.

Photo courtesy of http://8tracks.com

Photo courtesy of http://8tracks.com

For those of you who don’t know, RedBubble is a website where people can upload their own designs for t-shirts, hoodies and an assortment of other accessories. It’s really cool because it provides artsy people, like my sister, an easy way to create products to sell.

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After a friend of mine told her about the site, and her success, my sister created her own account and immediately got started on some awesome designs.

I love my sister and she is extremely talented. I’m so happy she’s found an outlet for this creativity and I am happy to promote her awesomeness.

You can find her designs under the username “missdemeanor,” and all of her items are very adorably geeky (much like the creator herself), centering around subjects like Harry Potter characters and Doctor Who.

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Discovery of the Week: Harry Connick, Jr. is Hilarious

This is less a new discovery and more a recent revelation but I missed last week due to a hectic schedule so I want to make sure to do a post this week. Plus, I really want to share this insight with people.

Photo courtesy of http://www.eonline.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.eonline.com

I pretty regularly watch American Idol, and I am not ashamed to admit. I haven’t followed it religiously since the first season and even after I initially started watching it, I wasn’t consistent. I like the performances in Hollywood and the theme weeks but I’ve never gotten really emotionally attached to a contestant. Although, I did just go to a David Cook concert in November and had a blast. So, I would call myself a fan but not a fanatic.

Photo courtesy of http://www.metrolyrics.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.metrolyrics.com

I’ll be honest and say that I don’t care what the judges have to say most of the time. I have never been drawn into a season because of who they have judging that year … until now. I was very interested to see how the new trio work together. I enjoyed Keith Urban’s commentary last year. He was pretty honest and seemed to genuinely enjoy the music and performances. It was a fresh addition to a show that had gotten way too scripted. I wasn’t ever in love with Jennifer Lopez but I think her air of sweetness is a good quality for judging.

After watching the first three episodes of the season, I know the real star of the judges panel is Harry Connick, Jr. Man, is this guy funny and ruthless. He has a great attitude considering most of the people auditioning don’t even know who he is but he plays it off wonderfully. He also has great chemistry with Keith Urban (I think they have a little bit of a bromance going on) and J. Lo.

What I really like is that he’s brutally honest with the contestants. If he doesn’t like a performance, he doesn’t hem and haw about how they have a good personality and such. He tells them blatantly that they aren’t good. He isn’t necessarily mean about it but he is blunt. He’s like Simon but with a better personality. Plus, he’s provided us with some of the best moments in Idol history and they aren’t even at Hollywood week yet!

Seriously, this guy is great …

harry conick on Make A Gif

Discovery of the Week: The Civil Wars

Welcome back!

I’m cheating a little because my new discovery is actually something I “discovered” a few months ago. This week I’m talking about The Civil Wars.

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The Civil Wars is a band (or duo, I suppose is more accurate) that would best be described as Country artists. Joy Williams and John Paul White are the two songwriting members that form the group. I first heard of them when they teamed up with Taylor Swift for the song, “Safe & Sound,” which was featured on The Hunger Games soundtrack.

Back in September (2013) I went to a trivia night for a networking event. The team I was on won third place and the prize was a goody bag full of DVDs, CDs, and even a few LPs. I happened to take a bunch of the unwanted music home (my teammates picked out what they liked and were just going to leave the rest, so I went ahead and claimed it), and in that pile was The Civil Wars CD, The Civil Wars. It took me a while to finally get around to listening to it, and after the holiday break I decided to put it in the CD player in my car.

I absolutely love it! They have a bit of a gospel vibe mixed with old school Country roots. It’s a little dark and moody, and I love both of their voices. Sadly they recently called it quits. I’m not sure what happened (probably “artistic differences”) but I’m glad they made this album when they did. I understood immediately why there music was featured on The Hunger Games soundtrack. It sounds somewhat dystopian and bluesy. It fits right in with the atmosphere of District 12.

Discovery of the Week: Story by ModCloth

It’s been a while, I know but Christmas kind of snuck up me and in all the chaos of holiday prep, I got busy, and sick. I’m still recovering from my stupid cold and I’ve even started back at work so I thought this would be a perfect time to pick up the blog again. It is one of my New Year’s resolutions to be more consistent with “Discovery of the Week.” We’ll see how that goes …

On to the new discovery of the week: Story by ModCloth. ModCloth has a blog!

Photo courtesy of http://blog.modcloth.com/

Photo courtesy of http://blog.modcloth.com/

For those of you who don’t know, ModCloth is a vintage-inspired clothing website. They sell women’s clothes, shoes, accessories, and knickknacks. I absolutely love their products but they do tend to fall on the more expensive side of things. Luckily, ModCloth has a bunch of sales throughout the year, and you can even “like” an item and ask to be notified when it is on sale or back in stock.

Being a member of the site, and signed up for the email list, I wasn’t very surprised to see an email from ModCloth in my inbox recently, advertising new skirts. What did intrigue me was the little icon at the bottom that advertised the ModCloth blog. I immediately had to check it out.

They have several different categories, including but not limited to Fashion, Beauty, and Lifestyle. Each of these has their own subcategories and features. I’m not sure how long they have been up and running but they have a pretty hefty backlog I’m going to be working through so I would guess at least a year, probably two (can’t believe I’ve been missing out that long!). The creative team behind the blog seems to be built from like-minded designers and writers from around the internet. Several even have their own fashion blogs (more stuff for me to discover!).

It is adorable, as all ModCloth things are and it is on WordPress! How wonderful is it that they are right here on WordPress? I love discovering new blogs, and it is even more excellent that it is on a platform I’m already utilizing. This will make it easier for me to stay on top of new posts and such.

Discovery of the Week: Point Break Live!

Yesterday was my company holiday party. Normal office parties tend to involve things along the lines of potlucks, ugly sweater contests, dessert competitions, and other such festivities. Not my office though. No. After a series of games in the afternoon, including things like trivia and very intense dodgeball matches, we all gathered in the office for the big surprise entertainment they had been hyping all week, which brings me to my discovery of the week: Point Break Live!

Yes it is a thing, and yes, it is epically awesome. It is exactly what it sounds like. Actors recreate the cult classic film about an undercover FBI agent joining a group of surfing bank robbers, on stage. It is just as ridiculously entertaining as the film (maybe even a little more so).

WARNING

This is an interactive theater experience. The cast members come into the audience several times during the performance, getting more than a little physical sometimes, you will get wet, probably with both water and fake blood, and you may even get the chance to star in the show. At each performance an audience member is chosen to play the key role of Johnny Utah. Seriously, this happens. A couple of volunteers come up on stage and after a short “audition,” the audience chooses who they want by cheering for their favorite. They then get to watch this poor person make a fool of themselves (in the best way possible) for the next two hours, and it is awesome.

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The show was so much more entertaining than I expected. It helps that I saw it with a bunch of people I work with and know, and that the Johnny Utah who was chosen was one of those people. I still think it would be just as hilarious seeing it at their usual venue. Tickets start around $30 and there are several packages that can be purchased to enhance your viewing experience. I think it is totally worth the cost of admission and I am even looking into going with my family.

Best office holiday party I’ve ever been to.

Discovery of the Week: “Emma Approved”

A little over a year ago I discovered this charming little web series titled, “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.”

In case you didn’t pick up on the reference in the title, the series is a modern take on Jane Austen’s beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice. Presented as a grad school new media project, Lizzie (Elizabeth) Bennet shares her life, and that of her sisters, with the internet. It is well executed and cleverly updated for this day and age.

It was co-created by Bernie Su, and Hank Green, who gained fame with his project “Brotherhood 2.0,” where he and his brother communicated almost solely through vlogs for a year. I haven’t yet seen the series of videos but I loved “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” so I’m interested to see where Green got his start.

With Lizzie’s success came a Kickstarter campaign, an Emmy, and the creation of a few spin offs, including one of Austen’s short stories, Sanditon.

Most recently (my newest discovery) “Emma Approved,” which is a modern version of Austen’s Emma, has turned up on the internet. And I LOVE it! I’m a huge fan of Austen’s work and I’ve always eagerly sought out new adaptations. So when I heard the creators of “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” were taking on Emma, I was thrilled. In the series Emma is a kind of life counselor and match maker. She works with Mr. Knightley, who is also a family friend, and Harriet Smith, who is her eager, although slightly awkward assistant.

I think they got the essence of Emma perfect and I like the interpretations of the other characters. I really like their Mr. Knightley and I love the actress they got to play Emma. I’m still catching up on episodes as I only realized a week ago that they had started uploading videos but so far it’s good.

The success of “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” and this new series make me wonder if they’ll tackled any other Austen works. My personal favorite is Persuasion and I would be very interested to see how they would update that story.