see-jess-live:

hellotraveler:

shakespeareandshoes:

there are a much much better example of Downton valentine’s

(via likegrecianart)

i. am. dying.

 Dead. Like the Turk.

Well SHIT. Now I’m pissed I hand-made my Valentine’s Day cards this year.

Shrinky-dink

I’ve been seeing a therapist, something I’ve been wanting/needing to do for a long time, and while it’s still early days, I feel like some interesting things are surfacing. Now, I consider myself pretty self-aware, such that when I identify a behaviour I have that I don’t like, I first try to fix it myself. But sometimes the mere acknowledgement of the behaviour doesn’t provide a solution or ways to change it. That’s when I know it’s time to bring in the big guns, at the (thank God for you insurance-discounted) rate of $40/session. I won’t go into the reasons that I came to this decision, but it’s nothing severe or dangerous, more that there’s some things that I’d like to fix about myself that I’d love assistance with. Could use some advice. And herein ends my diatribe on why I’m going to therapy.

So far, it’s fascinating. While I’ve known that I behave one way or another when faced with a situation, I’m starting to understand or get clarity on what caused me to behave that way. Enlightenment and all that shit. So in addressing one trait of mine that I think to be somewhat exaggerated – my independent streak (and note that I use ‘exaggerated’ in this case to mean that I over-index in being super stubbornly independent, in both work and personal relationships) – I realized that my actions are inconsistent with my belief. Because, while I’m used to being hugely independent, it’s also really unfulfilling. Tiring. Exhausting.

At my friends’ Dave & Brit’s wedding this summer, they had a fantastic pastor, who said (and I wrote down in my iPhone), “Living life self-sufficiently is exhausting.” And it is. It really, truly is. And yet some part of me feels guilty for feeling this way, as if it’s some sort of weakness of self. That I should be stronger and embrace this independence, modern-day woman, hear me roar. 

Just yesterday, I expressed – half in jest, but therein lies the truth – that I wish I had a boyfriend so I could have someone help me take this stupid 5’x8’ heavy-as-shit rug back to West Elm. I trudged that fucker out of the store; it would be nice to have help to get the thing back TO the store since it fell apart. It’s a dumb task, an annoying task, one that I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking a friend to help with. (Who wants to carry someone else’s rug three NYC blocks when they don’t have to? Exactly.) But a boyfriend, yep, he’d “have” to help, what with the amazing sex we’d be having nightly. You know, that and the fact that I never complained about his stinky socks. All part of the package. And then I immediately felt guilty, not because I think putting out begets some rug-hoisting-help (no pun intended, for real this time) but because I WANTED the help. That it wasn’t something I could do myself, and worse yet, that it wasn’t something I WANTED to do myself. “Just this once,” I thought, “it would be nice to have someone.”

So I’m working on it. I’m realizing that my first instinct is to go it alone, to do it myself, to not ask for help. And then am making myself do the exact opposite, even if it is to acknowledge – and now, very publicly – that it would be nice; nay, it would be FANTASTIC, to share life’s little nuances, both the awesome and the annoying, with someone else. I’d like not just a boyfriend, but a partner in crime. The give & the take are much easier if you have both parts; otherwise, you’re left with a whole lotta giving and very little taking.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to help me with an oversized rug…

Questioning YOUR norm: Why you should

“I prefer…”
“I work better when…”
“I don’t feel comfortable when…”

We’re so accustomed to telling ourselves, and others, things that we think to be true, that often we don’t allow ourselves the opportunity to prove ourselves wrong. To find out if something we’ve said and done for years remains true. Or, in some cases, to gauge one preference against the other to see what is more important.

An example.

I like to have a set schedule. I like going into my office around 9am, to have my desk set up the way I like it, to know that I will have my stash of Papermate Medium Blue Stick Pens handy, to know that I can get filtered water in the fridge, to have my favorite people’s faces captured in my picture frames placed atop my desk, exactly where I want them to be. I like knowing I have a change of shoes, a hairbrush, a bottle of Advil and deodorant, in case I need any of these things. I like this stability, this routine, this comfort and safety of knowing what I will expect. One of the first things I do when taking a new job is to set up my space just how I like it, for the same reason I unpack as soon as I get to a hotel room. I like making the space my own; feeling at home in it.

But.

I’ve found that this isn’t as important as the environment itself, a fact I’ve only recently realized when finding myself in a situation that has all of those elements, but is devoid of ones that are apparently more important. I need natural light. I need conversation. I need camaraderie. It’s challenging and nearly impossible to maintain my creativity in an environment that doesn’t offer me these things, and is more frustrating and unsettling than it would be if I worked out of a shared office in a temporary desk with nothing more than my laptop. I need the physical environment and the people more than I need my things or even my routine. And finding this out shocked me.

It surprised me and made me wonder what other habits I’ve been living with, what other preferences I’ve had and operated under for years that have prevented me from learning what is really important. What have I done in relationships that have caused me to miss something fantastic? What foods haven’t I tried because I said I didn’t like them? (Answer: grapefruit and jalapeno peppers are just two I’m now obsessed with that I hadn’t tried for years.) How do our habits, and our reliance upon them, become our limitations?

So I’m trying something new. I’m working out of different spaces, only to find that the music playing in the background and the new restaurants and the conversation with people I have just met is helping keep me creative, keep me focused and making me more productive. I’m realizing that the things I have so long claimed to be important, aren’t. And the things that actually ARE? Should be. There the things that mean something. The human connections. The stuff that keeps us going.

Question yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. Do something you think you hate. You might just surprise yourself as well.

Unresolved: Why I’m Not Making Any 2012 Resolutions

As many others have, I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few days thinking about what I’d like to see in this new year. Thought about where I’m at right now, where I was last year, and – as my friend Ron wisely advised – looked back two years ago to see how far I’ve actually come. (Those of you who’ve known me for a while can attest that I am, thankfully, at a much, MUCH better – and happier – place than that horrid 3-5 months where I was a post-breakup mess and but a shell of myself. Time, and making better decisions, does really heal all wounds, and for that I am grateful.) I like the symbolism of starting something new at a transition point…I usually start a health plan or new activity on a Monday. And while I get that there’s a sort of backlash against New Year’s Resolutions, mainly because why should you wait until then to start them, I do appreciate the symbolic nature of this time. The rebirth of a year. 

I’m a person who loves challenges. Loves trying something new. Likes to learn about my limits, push past them, and admit defeat when needed. (Which mostly happens when I wasn’t 100% committed to doing something in the first place.) I always give something up for Lent even though I’m not Catholic. I’ve often done Sober January, and cajoled my friends into doing this with me. I know myself, and I’m very much an ‘all or nothing’ type of gal, so have found success most frequently when I set a more ambitious goal than one that has a lot of leeway. I have a friend doing something called #30min365 where he committed to working out (doing some sort of activity to the point of breaking a sweat) 30 minutes for every day of the year. I understand that; the extreme “no cheat” rule speaks to me more than if I said I would work out 5 days a week. There’s little room for excuses; it’s why I work out in the morning vs. the evening, as a full day I can come up with sundry reasons for my laziness. 

I was inspired by my friend Reece’s blog post on his “Twelve Experiments” that he’s doing; he’s taking a month to do something new or try a different behaviour. I love this. It reminds me of Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”, which I also really resonated with. “I should do this,” I thought to myself today (and many days before.) “This is something I’d love.”

And yet.

I had today off from work. I spent a lot of it thinking about this idea; the feasibility of it all, the commitment to having twelve different goals, to be living that disciplined. Would it actually be teaching me more about myself to take on yet another obligation (when, frankly, I often feel overwhelmed by what I have going on already) or would it be merely an exercise in discipline for someone who already knows she can be? And right now, it sounds like a burden to me. And that’s NOT something I want.

It makes me feel like I’ve already failed here, this decision to NOT make resolutions, to NOT take on additional challenges, to not commit to giving something up or learning something new or even changing a behaviour. I hate that. But what resonates with me, and what I’ve said for a while I’m trying to do, is to find balance. And right now I’m skewed. There’s a lot of amazing and good and awesome in my life; and on the flip side, there is a lot of anxiety. And fear. And responsibility that I’ve never asked for, that is taking and has taken a toll on me over the past few years. I’m not at a place professionally where I want to be; the same can be said about my personal relationships. My health. My fitness. My overall sense of wellness. I have very little drama in my life – thank GOD – but the stress? The anxiety? The poor choices as an avoidance tactic? Oh yes, those are alive and well, because that’s what I’ve done for so long and what I know to do. 

So that’s my emphasis for now. To achieve this balance. To be in a place where I’m in a position to make healthy, rewarding decisions on all aspects of my life. To feel some of the weight on my shoulders lift a bit; to be healthier and happier and kinder. To feel more like myself again. I’ve already started some big steps to doing so. Some involve health (my diet, cutting down on sugar & alcohol, etc.) and some involve relationships. Some are to be less harsh on myself; to be proud of the really good behaviours I already have going on, even ones I discount as silly like my tendency to get enough sleep and my obsession with taking adult gummy vitamins in the morning. (Hey, it’s a start.)

And hell, if this doesn’t work, I can always go with the catch-all from a few years ago: “Have more sex, do more drugs.” Contingency plans are important.

[a]way with words: aubs’ dec. 2011 mix

Dec2011
I did it. It was a lofty goal, and many months I thought there was no way I was going to find the time to post another mix. “Who’s going to miss this?” I’d think. “Maybe I’ll just wait for next month.” But instead, I somehow made it a priority to get all twelve of these suckers out, albeit usually a few weeks late. Because it’s important to me. This discovery of new music, but moreover, the sharing of this music with others.

I don’t know how many of you are downloading these or listening to them on Spotify or RDIO. But I do know that throughout the last twelve months, I’ve received so many emails, @replies, texts, and even met people in person who have enjoyed these mixes. And that makes it all worth it. I hope you’ve found a new favorite song, learned about a new artist, and have gone to a live show you wouldn’t have otherwise. I know I have.

I’m not sure what next year will bring. Without my commute (hurrah!) and the stylings of Sirius XMU (you hear that, Jake Fogelnest?) finding new music is a lot more difficult than it was when I was held captive in my car for nearly 2.5 hours a day. Spotify and RDIO have helped with this, and I’m finding myself having to ask for recommendations and seek out new music from friends. So a monthly mix for 2012? We’ll see. I’m setting other resolutions and doing other things that will require a lot of diligence and time. I’ll definitely still continue to share music, but not sure it will be on a strictly monthly basis as it was this past year. But we’ll see. I continue to surprise myself.

So this month, December 2011. It’s always the hardest one, esp. since I still need to curate my “Best of 2011 Mix” (I have one more day, for those of you who are calendar-obsessed.) It was particularly difficult as I just didn’t listen to a ton of new music. As such, you’ll see some of my life-long favorites on here, such as “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens and “Bookends” by Simon and Garfunkel. I’ve randomly heard both of these songs while out & about this blustery month, and made a mental note to listen to them more often. Which I’ve done. Then there’s some ‘new to me’ songs (such as “The Killer” by The Twilight Singers and “What Jail is Like” (shoutout to Sean Garrett & Charlie Love for their recos) by The Afghan Whigs. But yes, there’s still some new ditties; “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men is poppily delectable by this Icelandic group, and there are TWO new songs by The National because I just couldn’t decide if I liked “I Need My Girl” more or less than “Rylan”. (You get ‘em both.) The rest, I’ll let you discover for yourself. 

Thank you for listening. Thank you for sharing your music with me, and as always, please support these amazing artists by purchasing their music (on MP3 AND Vinyl!) and attending their shows.

Happy 2011, everyone. It’s been quite a year. Thanks for being here with me.

Download [a]way with words: aubs’ dec. 2011 mix

1. Little Talks: Of Monsters and Men
2. Born to Lose: Sleigh Bells
3. Civilian: Wye Oak
4. Caring is Creepy: The Shins
5. Long Distance Call: Phoenix
6. The Killer: The Twilight Singers
7. Come to the City: War on Drugs
8. I Need my Girl: The National
9. Born to Die: Lana Del Ray
10. What Jail is Like: The Afghan Whigs
11. We Own the Sky: M83
12. Shake it Out (Acoustic): Florence + The Machine
13. Rylan: The National
14. The Good Night: The Submarines
15. Swim Club: The Cave Singers
16. Father and Son: Cat Stevens
17. Bookends Theme: Simon and Garfunkel

*Spotify playlist, which is missing three awesome songs (Born to Lose, I Need My Girl and Rylan.) 

[a]way with words: aubs’ dec 2011 mix

Dec2011
I did it. It was a lofty goal, and many months I thought there was no way I was going to find the time to post another mix. "Who's going to miss this?" I'd think. "Maybe I'll just wait for next month." But instead, I somehow made it a priority to get all twelve of these suckers out, albeit usually a few weeks late. Because it's important to me. This discovery of new music, but moreover, the sharing of this music with others.

I don't know how many of you are downloading these or listening to them on Spotify or RDIO. But I do knokw that throughout the last twelve months, I've received so many emails, @replies, texts, and even met people in person who have enjoyed these mixes. And that makes it all worth it. I hope you've found a new favorite song, learned about a new artist, and have gone to a live show you wouldn't have otherwise. I know I have.

I'm not sure what next year will bring. Without my commute (hurrah!) and the stylings of Sirius XMU (you hear that, Jake Fogelnest?) finding new music is a lot more difficult than it was when I was held captive in my car for nearly 2.5 hours a day. Spotify and RDIO have helped with this, and I'm finding myself having to ask for recommendations and seek out new music from friends. So a monthly mix for 2012? We'll see. I'm setting other resolutions and doing other things that will require a lot of diligence and time. I'll definitely still continue to share music, but not sure it will be on a strictly monthly basis as it was this past year. But we'll see. I continue to surprise myself.

So this month, December 2011. It's always the hardest one, esp. since I still need to curate my "Best of 2011 Mix" (I have one more day, for those of you who are calendar-obsessed.) It was particularly difficult as I just didn't listen to a ton of new music. As such, you'll see some of my life-long favorites on here, such as "Father and Son" by Cat Stevens and "Bookends" by Simon and Garfunkel. I've randomly heard both of these songs while out & about this blustery month, and made a mental note to listen to them more often. Which I've done. Then there's some 'new to me' songs (such as "The Killer" by The Twilight Singers and "What Jail is Like" (shoutout to Sean Garrett & Charlie Love for their recos) by The Afghan Whigs. But yes, there's still some new ditties; "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men is poppily delectable by this Icelandic group, and there are TWO new songs by The National because I just couldn't decide if I liked "I Need My Girl" more or less than "Rylan". (You get 'em both.) The rest, I'll let you discover for yourself. 

Thank you for listening. Thank you for sharing your music with me, and as always, please support these amazing artists by purchasing their music (on MP3 AND Vinyl!) and attending their shows.

Happy 2011, everyone. It's been quite a year. Thanks for being here with me.

Download [a]way with words: aubs' dec. 2011 mix

1. Little Talks: Of Monsters and Men
2. Born to Lose: Sleigh Bells
3. Civilian: Wye Oak
4. Caring is Creepy: The Shins
5. Long Distance Call: Phoenix
6. The Killer: The Twilight Singers
7. Come to the City: War on Drugs
8. I Need my Girl: The National
9. Born to Die: Lana Del Ray
10. What Jail is Like: The Afghan Whigs
11. We Own the Sky: M83
12. Shake it Out (Acoustic): Florence + The Machine
13. Rylan: The National
14. The Good Night: The Submarines
15. Swim Club: The Cave Singers
16. Father and Son: Cat Stevens
17. Bookends Theme: Simon and Garfunkel

It’s Almost Tomorrow:: The Golden Age Mixtape

His mixes are always epic. Thanks for yet another one, Ryan. 

ryantomorrow:

Here’s a mixtape of some songs of hope for you Spotify users. Hope it finds you well, safe and warm inside your own Golden Ages.

Happy Holidays.

The Golden Age

Side A:

1. Ryan Adams – Lucky Now

2. Nada Surf – Happy Kid

3. Eric Bachmann – Man O’ War

4. Kurt Vile – Downbound Train

5. Tobin Sprout – Awful Bliss

It’s Almost Tomorrow:: The Golden Age Mixtape