Wednesday, March 21, 2018

band i miss: donovan wolfington

if you follow me on twitter, i've probably tweeted about these guys more than a couple times over the past couple years. i'm still not over their recent breakup, and i need to process it by sharing the joy they bring to me with the world.

i'm also writing this because i feel like during their short lifetime, they never got the recognition or gained the popularity that they deserved. apparently, i'm not alone; a reviewer at the alternative put it perfectly: "the new orleans band managed to amass one of the most forward-thinking, clever, quirky and technically bewildering punk catalogs of their generation—and hardly get recognized for it."

like many of my best musical discoveries, i first heard one of their songs on MIT's radio station, WMBR (specifically, their phenomenal breakfast of champions show). it was called "john cena," off of their 2015 album how to treat the ones you love, a record that's still in constant rotation for me. btw, the tune seemingly has nothing to do with john cena, which makes me love them even more. it's also one of the handful of tracks that's sung by guitarist matthew seferian rather than frontman neil berthier.

i had the fortune of seeing these crazy kids live just about two years ago at a lil' art gallery-turned-venue in cambridge. there were only about 30-40 of us there, but it was one of those invigorating shows where every single person there knew every single word of every single song and screamed it back.

their music can best be categorized as "skate punk," and the song/video for the first single from HTTTOYL, "ollie north" (one of my favorite songs of 2015) is a pretty perfect summary:

however, what i really love about their music is that nearly every song takes these unexpected twists and turns—whether it's when neil's singing turns to screaming, or when gigantic, crunchy riffs mellow into melodic, synth-y goodness (or conversely, transform into epic shredding) that quite literally makes me say "hell yes!" out loud.

nowhere is that more evident than on their final record, WAVES, which came out at the beginning of this month. like, there's a friggin' instrumental hip-hop track on there, even. i love so many of the tunes so far, but the second single, "ways," really encapsulates everything i dig about their style. instantly catchy, yet surprisingly complex, and a whole lot of fun.

the whole record is just made for night drives with the windows down in the summertime and i cannot wait to crank it at full blast. it's the perfect parting gift from an underrated band. shred in peace, d-wolf.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


is there a way i can, like...get paid to visit and critique coffee shops for the rest of my life? because that's just really what i'm all about. it's taken many, many cups and and many, many dollars and many, many packets of raw cane sugar to get to where i am today, so i thought i'd thank 10 of the most wonderful spots around the country (and world) for delighting me with their cuteness, caffeine, and croissants.

1. crucial coffee (st. augustine, FL)

it's been five years and i still dream about this quaint little shack. not only was it adorable, but i had a *snickers cappuccino* that blew my mind. there was also a very gilmore-girlsy busker singing outside while i enjoyed it, so bonus points for that.

2. union coffee company (milford, NH)

tbh, i'm a bit peeved that this place didn't exist when i was in high school, but at least i get to revel in its charms when i visit my folks. it's one of those oh-so-hip combinations of a coffee shop and bar, and hosts live music as well. it's rustic yet airy, and the coffee and lattes (with house-made syrups, obv) are top-notch.

3. FIDO (nashville, TN)

i spent like, 3 days in nashville, and went here twice because i was so obsessed. sure, a lot of that had to do with the paintings of cats in outer space that adorned the walls, but the whole scene was uber-90s and they did latte art and it made you feel like you were in a TV show hangout. to quote 2 chainz, "it's a viiiibe."

4. stardust video and coffee (orlando, FL)

nobody believes me when i tell them that orlando had the most intense, pretentious hipster community i've ever seen in my life, but it's true. it was super strange, especially coming from the intellectual-snob capital of the country, but the baristas (and some patrons) were such dicks, everywhere i went! i honestly wanted to be like, " live in FLORIDA. get a grip." but i resisted. the staff at this combination DVD rental/coffee shop/bar/cafe were no exception--very, very rude--but i let it slide because just LOOK at it. it's like anthropologie started serving food and drinks. sure, no one rents DVDs anymore, but the whole concept is just so manic pixie dream girl, i couldn't not love it. psst...the drunken monkey was my second favorite spot, in case you ever find yourself craving caffeine in the city beautiful.

5. kookoo cafe (brookline, MA)

speaking of beauty, i just want to pinch kookoo cafe's cheeks. it's the size of a closet, and chock-full of all of the quirky decor that you might find in one, too. the staff is friendly, the coffee is strong, and the food is yummy; lots of authentic middle-eastern treats.

6. tandem coffee roasters (portland, ME)

a converted '60s gas station, this is always a must-visit for me on my annual summer jaunt to portland. not only is it so incredibly aesthetically pleasing, but the malt iced coffee is to die for.

7. cafe on the common (waltham, MA)

so chill. so sunny. and in the middle of downtown waltham, which is low-key ghetto? surely, you jest. as a major bonus, it's massive and there's so many places to sit and read or work or chat.

8. hart and lova (london, england)

what a hidden gem. though gleni and i were staying in kind of a random area of london which didn't have a ton to offer, we came across this absolutely adorable cafe and bakery that was straight out of a fairytale. so proper. squee. 

9. the fresh pot (portland, OR)

i popped in here to charge my phone last year during my trip to seattle and portland, and what a wonderful decision that was. yeah, they were out of cold brew and only had nitro cold brew and i was bouncing off the walls for an hour, but the dark wood and rustic ambiance just counteracted that real quick. or maybe that was just a contact high, because portland.

10. java dog (wilmington, NC)

this coffee shop should have had a starring role on dawson's creek, man. it's two floors, and the upstairs felt like a loft in someone's apartment. it also seemed to be a hangout for local students, and i immediately felt pressured to give a really chill college kid name, like taylor or hannah, to the barista.

what are some of your favorite places to get your fix?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

do you believe in *~magic~*?

we're gonna get a little woo-woo today, folks.

i've always been quite drawn to the mystical and spiritual. i bought my first tarot deck in middle school, and was only further enamored after my older cousin brought me into boston for my 15th birthday to visit the tremont tea room and have my cards read. i wrote everything down afterwards, held onto that piece of paper, and i'd say about 95% of it came to pass. like, even things i didn't understand at the time, like "when you're 21, your father is going to want to spend more time with you" (i'm adopted, and met my birthdad at 21).

this past may, as a 31st birthday gift to myself, i returned to the tremont tea room. wouldn't you know? i had the SAME GUY. once again, raymond blew my mind, predicting the location and date that i secured my current job, my trip to seattle and portland, the state of my love life--which was basically just him fake-sobbing--and a ridiculously specific comment (including initials and hair color) about a certain person in my life.

anyway! ever since viewing the secret about a decade ago, i've been pretty heavy into the law of attraction. many of you may roll your eyes, but the concept of the LOA is actually pretty simple: what you think about, you bring about. or, more accurately, what you FEEL about, you bring about. like attracts like. positive energy attracts positive people/things/experiences, and that goes for negative stuff, too. have you ever thought about someone totally random that you haven't talked to in years, and they contact you an hour later? that's the LOA, baby. sure, part of it is probably heightened awareness, but there's honestly no explaining some of the experiences i've had with reason.

i still remember the total magic i felt after watching the movie for the first time. like, "i can have anything i want just by wishing for it? dope!" i immediately set out to make my first "vision board" which sounds super-lame but is actually pretty fun. you simply make a collage (online or from magazine cutouts) of stuff you want to attract. i honestly don't remember much of what was on my first one except for a big headline that said "music festival"... and my friend invited me to a music festival the very next day. i was also inexplicably in love with that dirty musician cisco adler at the time and threw a photo of him on there and he like, DMed me on twitter a few days later or something crazy.

since then, i've attracted too many things to count, but in the past couple years, i've tried to keep track of the best ones so i can remind myself of how well it really does work. in fact, when i started thinking back, i realized just how many times i had experienced the law of attraction in my life before i knew there was a name for it. hopefully these stories inspire you as well!
  • perhaps my favorite one because it is soooo weird: i had just started college in poughkeepsie, new york, and made friends with a girl in my history class the first week who was also from new hampshire. livejournal was hitting hard at this point, so we added each other and as soon as i walk into class the next day, she starts freaking out. "i was looking at your LJ and saw in your last entry that you were listening to the adored (a pretty obscure band from LA i was into at the time). how do you know them?? that's my brother's band!"
  • i was working at a restaurant in college and a bunch of us wanted to go to the sold-out tegan and sara concert that night. after spending the entire brunch shift asking our manager to call his connections and pull some strings, we were unsuccessful and gave up. i clock out, check my phone, and have a voicemail from this random dude from myspace i'd met once about six months prior. he has an extra ticket to tegan and sara and invites me to go with him, obviously. COME ON.
  • when i first joined facebook, it seemed like everyone from elementary/middle/high school was adding each other. i was totally creepin' on this guy whom i'd gone to elementary school with, but didn't add him because we weren't super close friends or anything. woke up to a friend request from him the next morning!
  • after moving into my last apartment and starting to decorate, i hung these cute little silver decorative measuring spoons that my friend gave me above my sink. there were only three, and i had a fourth hook that was empty. "i'll need to get another little spoon to hang there," i thought. i shit you not, the next day at work, a coworker came back from mexico with souvenirs for everyone on our team and mine was a little silver spoon. WHAT THE FUCK?
  • when i first found out i was moving to JP, i randomly thought of some guy i dated like, three years ago that lived there. again....the very next day, i go to a coffee shop (not in JP), sit down, and dude is typing away on his laptop 20 feet away from me. twilight zooooone. relatedly, two days after i finished writing a story about the woooorst guy i've ever known, i saw him at a bar. be careful what you're thinking about, guys!
  • for some completely unknown reason, while looking for jobs a year or so ago, the name of this company popped into my head and i went to their website to look for opportunities. there weren't any. oh well. the next morning? yeah. they emailed me to discuss my application and i was super confused. um...because it was a position i'd applied to FOUR MONTHS EARLIER. y'all.
  • one kinda funny almost-manifestation: for a while some years ago, i visualized meeting my favorite athlete, shaun white. more specifically, getting a picture taken with him. i closed my eyes and saw the red hair, imagined smiling for the picture and telling him i was a big fan. six months later in new orleans, i ran into josh homme from queens of the stone age on the street and got a picture with him. later, i realized that it was pretty strange that i happened to run into another ginger that i loved. still working on the shaun white thing, but i'll keep you guys posted.

if you're skeptical, i invite you to give it a try, because...why not, right? think of something completely random that you want to manifest. small things usually work best, since you're not as attached to them. a lot of people suggest a cup of coffee, but i think that's too easy. pick something that would seem odd to see/get/do and intend to attract it.

here are some tips i found that have worked well for me:
  • write it down as if it's already happened: like, "i'm so happy and grateful now that ______." 
  • or, take a minute or two to picture your desire once you've accomplished it. feel it and see it in your mind with as much detail and emotion as you can. i always listen to a feel-good song while doing this.
  • then...FORGET ABOUT IT! this is always my problem, because when you really want something, you tend to think about it 24/7, right? this is another reason that small things tend to appear faster. the key is to act like you already have what you want, and usually, this just means being happy and relaxed.
good luck...and may the universe be with you. or something. oh! and here's one of my favorite secret stories from comedian/former house hunters host suzanne whang. it involves oprah and it's so fantastic.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

5 things i love right now

1.  this beacon hill townhouse

looking at houses i can't afford is my therapy, okay? and this lil' loft--for a cool 2 and a half mil--just soothes the soul. there's also a fireplace in a bedroom. a. fireplace. in. a. bedroom. i can't even wrap my head around it.

2.  the haunted lore of the mount washington hotel

last week, i spent a few much-needed days with my family at this bougie resort up in the white mountains that was basically like the setting of a hallmark movie IRL, minus the hot love interest (though my zip lining guide was basically the crunchy bearded hippie of my dreams and i gladly let him handle my hooks, heyooo). there was a big fireplace with a moose head above it in the lobby, an arcade, speakeasy, and coffee shop in the basement, a spa, fire pits, indoor/outdoor pools and hot tubs, like 3 restaurants, and amazing floor-to-ceiling windows with beautiful views of the mountains.

unfortunately, on the second day, it poured, so i made the best of it by reading by the fire and getting my nails done. my manicurist, um, tipped me off to a daily hotel tour that gave an overview of the hotel's history, so i was all about it. long story short, this 20-something woman named carolyn stickney married some rich dude and inherited the hotel and then the dude died, so she became the HBIC. she did all sorts of wacky shit, like watch the female guests arriving to dinner parties from her private balcony and changing her outfit if they were dressed better than her, having an assistant draw the curtains on the pool and kick everyone out if she wanted to go for a swim, etc. etc. you can read more here.

creepy-ass rendering of carolyn

she's rumored to haunt the hotel to this day, and room 314 in particular, where she spent most of her time. during my visit to the speakeasy, the bartender verified that "a lot of weird shit" has happened in the 4 years he's worked there, including a chair inexplicably moving across the room when he was closing up by himself after midnight, and a female guest (staying in 314) freaking out at the front desk one night because the covers were ripped right off the bed while her and her husband were sleeping. do you love it? i love it. also, unrelated, but this clock with the moon phases was just really cool.

3. this stripped-down version of greta van fleet's "black smoke rising"

yes, i'm still riding the GVF train, man. i pray these kiddos never get into hard drugs because they're so wholesome and wonderful and full of raw talent. i've gotten into this song in particular lately, and it sounds even better acoustic, IMO.

4. rediscovering zumiez

sooo i think i'm regressing, but i don't really care. back in my college days, my friends and i were regulars at the zumiez in the poughkeepsie galleria--both for the sk8r clothes and the fact that most of our local musician acquaintances worked there, or worked elsewhere in the mall and just shopped there. either way, it was a scene, as they say. and while looking for some snowboarder-chic clothing for my aforementioned trip, i popped in there last weekend and bought like 12 things (including this "not today" hoodie which i'm wearing right now). somehow, i dig their selection even more than i did when i was 19. it's fine.

5. this adorable "how i met my husband" story

i was tooling around last weekend looking at blogs, and came across this post from last year about how this woman met her husband. i'm always a sucker for a good meet-cute story, so i was immediately drawn in, not even realizing until i got to the end that it was written by eva martino, susan sarandon's daughter. honestly didn't even know she had a blog. but it was really uplifting and adorable and sweet and gosh darn it, we need more of that in our lives!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

around town: allium market & cafe

coolidge corner in brookline has long been my favorite boston neighborhood. it has it all: a great indie theater, a great indie bookstore, a handful of great places to eat and drink, and a boatload of quaint charm. now that i only live about a 10-minute drive away, i find myself here pretty often, so i'd eagerly been awaiting allium, a new gourmet market and cafe. it opened just a couple of weeks ago, and my apartment's heat is like, not working at all during this deep freeze, so this 3-degree morning seemed like the perfect time to escape my frigid home and drown myself in hot coffee.

from the moment i walked in to the sounds of "reptilia" by the strokes (which was later followed by supergrass' "allright"), i was feelin' good about this place. it was smaller than i expected; from the description, i'd been envisioning some kind of emporium, but it was cute and cozy. the cafe had a variety of pastries/muffins/donuts and coffee drinks available. i just went with a large coffee and the allium scone (which tasted more like a biscuit and had cheddar cheese, chives, and other assorted deliciousness), and set up shop at one of the tables. one thing i really liked is that despite its small size, there are quite a few places to sit, plug in, and work--always a plus for me.

i stole that second photo from someone on yelp, but the place was poppin', so i was happy i got there fairly early. also, note the fun greenery on the ceiling. doooope! after working for a while, i took a little stroll around the rest of the shop.

the shelves were stocked with all sorts of gourmet treats, from olives and honey to chocolate and caviar. in other words, stuff i have absolutely no practical use for, but that would be perfect for a classy dinner party. and let's not forget the most important thing: the glorious CHEESE COUNTER. all of the gouda, blue, manchego, etc. etc. your little heart desires. i'm seriously considering becoming a cheesemonger.

also, allium will host a variety of classes dedicated to tea, cheese (obvs) and other fun stuff. overall, it's a lovely new addition to the neighborhood, and i highly encourage you to pay a visit if you find yourself in coolidge corner.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

my 2018 to-do list

new year, who dis? i only crossed off a pathetic 10 items on my 2017 list, but i guess that's 25%, so it's not that horrible when you really think about it. i considered shortening the list, but i figure the more items, the more chances i have to accomplish them. or something. as always, if anyone's willing to help me out with any of these, holler at yo' girl. god knows that 2018 has to be better than this dumpster fire of a year!

1. take a ski lesson
2. spend a night in a treehouse
3. visit south america
4. related: take a selfie with an alpaca
5. bake a funfetti cake
6. hang out on a boat
7. order a boozy milkshake at grass fed
8. get my aura photographed
9. try 10 5 new restaurants (so far: the draft, brassica kitchen, fabian's, stickney's, wit's end)
10. go for a night swim
11. find MC5's back in the usa at a brick-and-mortar record store
12. do hip-hop yoga
13. meet a celebrity
14. stay in a cabin OR beach house
15. see greta van fleet in concert
16. take a glass-blowing class
17. buy a cute ring that fits one of my tiny fingers
18. eat fried dough on hampton beach
19. make something by hand (that's not food--pottery, a sculpture, etc.)
20. visit the boston athenaeum
21. attend a "murder at the mansion" CLUE live! event
22. win a contest
23. obtain something new for my apartment for free from my neighborhood "buy nothing" facebook group
24. dine at tasting counter
25. read 12 new books
26. watch an outdoor movie
27. eat one of the '90s donuts at PVDonuts in providence
28. complete my book manuscript
29. visit 2 new states (to make 30)
30. finally watch the room
31. really, seriously learn to parallel park
32. take a bubble bath (with candles and errything)
33. make a youtube video
34. keep my peace lily alive (it's been going strong since august!)
35. do a cannonball into a pool
36. have a drink at codex
37. take a road trip
38. see the sunflower fields at colby farm
39. make an old-school mix CD or tape

Sunday, December 17, 2017

who wore it first?

if you know me at all, you know that i love me some vintage clothing. not only do i love the whole process of finding gems among racks of riff-raff and the concept of clothing as a travel souvenir, but the fact that every piece had a life (or two or three lives) before i found it is endlessly fascinating to me. i love speculating about the previous owner(s) of each piece , though i've never documented these speculations. until now, that is!

1. this ridiculous "don't worry, be happy" tee

where i got it: the fremont sunday market in seattle--a huge, weekly bazaar of all sorts of secondhand treasures

who wore it first: a cheerful nine year-old tomboy named scout. she begged her mom for it on a 1992 family vacation to key west.

2. this crazy, colorful 1960s coat

where i got it: the SoWa vintage market in boston's south end

who wore it first: a sassy, streetwise twenty-something boston department store employee named pamela.

3. this badass harley davidson vest

where i got it: to be honest, i've had this one for 10 years so i'm not completely certain. but definitely either the salvation army in nashua, nh or the goodwill in poughkeepsie, ny.

who wore it first: a san mateo biker babe named joan who wore it on her solo, post-divorce, soul-searching ride across the country. obviously.

4. this retro dress 

where i got it: 40 south vintage in my 'hood, jamaica plain

who wore it first: a vapid, adulterous secretary named vicki, who leaves a trail of broken boss' hearts wherever she goes.

5. this sunny sweater

where i got it: raspberry beret in porter square, cambridge

who wore it first: an manic pixie dream girl/art school freshman that paired it with flowing skirts and wore it to sketch in the park.

6. this dope day dress

where i got it: the now-shuttered odd showroom in portsmouth, nh, an awesome boutique owned by one of elliott smith's ex-girlfriends (who's basically the coolest person ever).

who wore it first: a demure elementary school teacher named susan--she wore it with a white cardigan and pantyhose, of course!

7. this rock 'n roll vest

where i got it: raspberry beret in porter square, cambridge (again)

who wore it first: a scrappy '90s music PR assistant in manhattan named nicole. as a bonus, she could also wear it after work to schmooze with A&R reps at shows.

8. this PNW-obsessed top

where i got it: animal traffic in portland, oregon

who wore it first: a sorta-crunchy portland native named zoe. her boyfriend oliver bought it for her earnestly as a 17th birthday gift.

9. this euro blouse

where i got it: a really cool shop in amsterdam that i'll never be able to remember the name of because it's probably dutch

who wore it first: an ambitious real estate agent named mila who has a side hustle selling handmade scarves and mittens on etsy.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

my 17 favorite songs of 2017

this list ended up being all over the place, but i guess my taste in music is, too. playlist available here. let's get to it!

honorable mention:
bad nerves - "bad kid"
adult mom - "full screen"
NE-HI - "rattled and strange"

17. logic f/ alessia cara and khalid - "1-800-273-8255"

let's start on a super-depressing note, shall we? this is a total downer of a tune, but one that has a positive message at the end (and is catchy as hell). logic's bummed-out verses and chorus meets alessia cara's gorgeous vocals for a powerful song that sticks with you and provides a welcome reprieve from the vapidness of top 40 radio. the number in the title? that's the national suicide prevention hotline.

16. BLOXX - "coke"

for the past year or so, british indie rockers BLOXX have been quietly churning out singles--all of which i've loved--but this may be my favorite so far. this one is obviously about drugzzz but also maybe about infidelity?! the intrigue and mystery (courtesy of kickass frontwoman ophelia booth) are set to slightly dark, new-wavey instrumentals and i'm here for all of it.

15. harry styles - "meet me in the hallway" 

even though one direction has disbanded, you better believe that i'm continuing their legacy on this list through its individual members. the ever-enigmatic harry has always been my favorite; the resemblance to a young mick jagger, the cheeky sense of humor, the inexplicable tattoos and old soul quality. while i enjoyed his bowie-esque, larger-than-life single, "sign of the times," this one (the opening track of his debut album) caught my attention immediately for its haunting, ethereal vibe. this live version actually showcases that really well. come on, what other boy bander would have a song with the lyrics"give me some morphine"?! only mr. styles.

14. portugal. the man - "feel it still"

i've mentioned before that i was late to the game when it came to loving this song, and only really came around when a classic convertible started blasting it on the streets of NYC, inspiring an impromptu pedestrian dance party. as youtube commenters have pointed out, the chorus DOES have a lot of similarities to the marvelettes' 1961 classic "please mr. postman," but hey, 60% of music today is derivative, and i can think of many worse offenses.

13. post malone f/ 21 savage - "rockstar"

i feel like post malone invented his own hip-hop subgenre. like, i'll get into moods where only the smooth, chilled-out r&b stoner swagger of posty will do. i mean, he talks about fuckin' hos and poppin' pillies and then in the next breath references AC/DC's bon scott. the addition of 21 savage on this track injects just a biiiit more rap flavor into the whole debaucherous affair. also, every time i hear the absurd line, "they like, "savage, why you got a 12-car garage and you only got six cars?"" i chuckle and go "saaaaame!"

12. walk the moon - "kamikaze"

the walk the moon that i know and love is back! i was crazy about them when they first hit the big tine (in fact, "anna sun" was #1 on my 2012 list), but they started to lose me when all the basic bitches started singing "shut up and dance." :( fortunately, i'm really digging their new stuff--it's soulful, catchy indie pop that still has their unique flavor. this song stood out to me immediately as the grooviest of the bunch.

11. tristen - "glass jar"

DAT CHORUS, THO. besides being a total earworm, "glass jar" perfectly, subtly, and sweetly gives the middle finger to some terrible dude without sounding bitter at all. "i don't have to say goodbye/you don't get to see me cry/you put me in a glass jar and tap, tap, tap to see how i move." sing it, sister. and yes, that's jenny lewis on backing vocals if you were feeling the rilo kiley vibes.

10. cloud nothings - "up to the surface"

it's been so cool to see cloud nothings mature from lo-fi one-man indie band to a polished four-piece outfit without losing the originality that made it special from the beginning. their most recent album, life without sound, has been vastly underrated IMO, considering i haven't really read or heard much about it on best-of lists. but this song is wonderful and poignant and just really pretty.

9. kesha f/ the dap-kings horns - "woman"

she's back, baby! kesha's transformation from hot mess party girl to wise, um, woman this year made me so happy. she looks and sounds great, and it seems like she's finally making the music she really wants to. and, in 2017 of all years, this song resonates more than ever. the explicit chorus is nothing but empowering, and the dap-kings horns give it a little something extra special.

8. charly bliss - "glitter"

another fabulous female vocalist, eva hendricks fronts charly bliss with sweet, squeaky vocals (she reminds me of a more low-key kim shattuck of the muffs). but lemme tell ya, i saw them live in june, and she was jumping, kicking, and twirling around in a pink sequined prom dress the whole set. punk af. i loved this whole album, but the real talk in this song made it my favorite. who hasn't wanted to ask someone "am i the best? or just the first person to say yes?"

7. the obsessives - "it's ok if"

this lil' nugget, by shaggy-haired slacker indie duo the obsessives, is two minutes of pure fun. from that crunchy riff after the chorus to the playful "la la la la"s. plus, the adorable lyrics about crushin' hard on someone just make me swoon: "i like your lips/they look like somethin' botticelli would have wanted to paint back when the moon first put us to sleep." sigh.

6. ZAYN f/ PARTYNEXTDOOR - "still got time"

sorry, harry, but this one was a total banger and deserved to be much more popular than it was. basically, "still got time" is just super chill and perfect for the activities depicted in the video: smoking joints, wearing cool beanies from urban outfitters, making out with aloof skater dudes at a party. you can definitely hear zayn smirking as he sings, "this could be somethin' if you let it be somethin'" and "you're already used to the games, babe." like, yeah, he's super hot, but you know he absolutely takes 4 days to text you back and then replies, "sorry, just saw this." i digress. great song!

5. courtney barnett & kurt vile - "over everything" 

these two officially take the crown for my favorite rock 'n roll friendship, and this video might just be my favorite of the year. a much less toxic kurt and courtney, my man KV's goofball demeanor and freewheeling, meandering style are the perfect complement to barnett's stream-of-consciousness lyrics. they both have a sly, deadpan delivery that just works so well. mellowest musical power couple ever.

4. beck - "up all night"

man, i'm so glad that beck got over whatever he was going through during that whole somber sea change phase, because he's much more fun to be around now. "dreams" was on my 2015 list, and "up all night" has that same carefree, electro-pop feel that brings a smile to your face and just makes you wanna moooooove and flirt and whip your hair. i lost track of how many times i danced my little heart out in my apartment to that "living up in the air" part at the end, but it was A LOT.

3. shawn mendes - "there's nothin' holdin' me back"

to borrow a term from my 23 year-old coworker, this one is a "total bop." i've been a shawn mendes fan since "stitches," and i feel like the fact that he's canadian has a lot to do with that? what i mean is that all of his songs have a distinctly canadian quality in that they're somehow much cooler than a pop song by an american artist in a way i can't put my finger on. a less extreme musical version of trudeau and trump, if you will. this song was also hittin' hard during my june trip to seattle and portland and it made me feel v, v adventurous and free-spirited, so points for that.

2. state champs - "slow burn"

pop-punk lives!! “slow burn” is a prime example of a perfectly-executed tune within the genre. it’s got fuck-yeah chorus about a girl, obvs (with references to “everlong” and gettin’ it on, to boot) and lead singer derek discanio's voice has that essential slightly nasally quality. on a completely unrelated note, this video is extremely aesthetically pleasing and i want to hang out with these dudes so bad. listen to this one with the windows down.

1. greta van fleet - "edge of darkness"

some years, my #1 song just comes flying out of nowhere at the 11th hour, and this is one of those years. my friend mike had turned me onto greta van fleet a couple months ago, telling me i was going to love them if i hadn't heard of them already, because they were the second coming of led zeppelin. spoiler alert: he was right.

i liked them well enough at first. yet, it wasn't until this tune from their new EP came on my spotify "release radar" that i stopped in my tracks and did what i do every time i hear THE song: listen to it in my house, in my car, at the office, everywhere, all day long, for like a week. lead singer josh kiszka's voice is rich and classic, like the best parts of robert plant, grace slick, and geddy lee. even better, three of the four dudes are brothers, two are twins, and none are older than the age of 21. CARRY THE TORCH, BOYS! the chorus is grand and magical, and you can also play air guitar, air drums, and belt the fuck outta it (very important #1 song qualities).

as part of my obsessive ritual, i ended up falling into a youtube vortex and watching live GVF performances for way too long. this one is my favorite, not only because of the incredible outfits and mannerisms, but also the damn kid playing the damn guitar solo behind his damn back at 5:38. i don't care if it's the same as playing it normally, it looks so sick and you can't deny it. ok bye!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

stranger things

am i the only one who has a whole boatload of fond/funny memories that involve complete strangers and/or people that you only interacted with for a minute, an hour, an evening, and then never saw or talked to again? i can't be. i just wanted to take a few minutes to give a shout out to the randos that brought a smile to my face, made me laugh, or unknowingly introduced me to one of my favorite albums (see #1). thanks, complete strangers who will never read this! i love y'all. feel free to contribute your own "stranger things" in the comments.

1. the boy on my very premature college tour of fordham's lincoln center campus in 10th grade, who was wearing a strokes t-shirt, which prompted me to listen to is this it for the first time

2. the employee at my hometown's now defunct ghetto movie theater, premier 8, who disdainfully poured an absolutely grody-looking dixie cup of room-temperature buttery substance--that had probably been sitting on the counter for hours--on a kid's popcorn in front of him 

3. the spunky older couple who befriended gleni and i at arnaud's french 75 bar in new orleans and bought us drinks (pictured)

4. the panera cashier who shouted "kim possible!" at me for no apparent reason while i was paying for my food

5. the unidentified member of kentucky band parlour boys who once left a provocative comment on my myspace that just said "fucking beautiful"

6. on that note, the unidentified secret admirer who sent me a carnation in 7th grade on valentine's day
7. this super weird girl named ruthanne, that my roommate and i met at a halloween phantom planet show at BU, who tried to get us to stalk them in their dressing room with her

8. a fellow extra on the set of kevin james' here comes the boom who i bonded with during the 12-hour shoot because we were the only relatively normal people

9. the gutter punk in haight-ashbury, san francisco who pointed at me and said "you're GROOVY!" as i passed

10. a guy from craigslist named bernard arnest who responded to a personal ad i posted in college 
saying, "you seem an anachronism, and that's cool." he immediately inspired the creation of a british character that my roommate at the time and i still quote to this day, obvs. 

11. norwegian band the megaphonic thrift who shared a shuttle van with gleni and i at SXSW, joked about "irish whores" because it was st. patrick's day, and escaped with us into traffic because our driver had weird jesus paraphernalia everywhere

12. the street magician/balloon artist (nicknamed "tony balloons") who i met on a family trip to baltimore when i was like 8 and who was the subject of my college essay

13. the bar back/grill dude at robert's western world in nashville who suddenly ran out from behind the bar, jumped onstage to flawlessly cover muddy waters with a harmonica, and jumped offstage to return to burger duty again

Monday, October 16, 2017

day trip: salem, massachusetts

halloween is my second favorite holiday, right behind thanksgiving. i love the scary movies, the candy, the costumes, and general spookiness that accompanies the time leading up to and including the glorious night. so, it only makes sense that i would also love salem, aka halloween central. my first visit to the city was actually ON halloween night in 2009, and i was immediately smitten. since, i've been several times (both in october and otherwise, because it's a dope town regardless of its history). but i started getting that witch itch again last week, and my lovely friend katie accompanied me for a little sunday funday yesterday. i have to say, it was perhaps my favorite visit to date.

once we arrived by t and commuter rail (DO NOT DRIVE. I REPEAT, DO NOT DRIVE), we kicked things off with brunch at the brand new ledger restaurant & bar, which is located in the former salem savings bank downtown.

the place is owned by the proprietor of the fabulous blue ox in lynn (i know, lynn is scary, but i had lobster risotto there once that was absolutely worth risking my life). anyway, like its sister restaurant, ledger did not disappoint. of course, we ordered brunch cocktails--a downsized bloody mary for katie, and an apple pie mimosa for me. 

i forgot to take a picture of the open-faced smoked salmon english muffins we both got, but they came with breakfast potatoes and mixed greens and were absolutely delicious. things were off to a great start!

next up was a stop in front of the ropes mansion ... better known to us millennials as alison's house in hocus pocus. we wandered through the gorgeous garden in the back of the property, and i was reminded that i'm old now because i care about flowers. :(

we then took a stroll down historic chestnut street, which is home to some of the most beautiful homes in town. leaves were falling and a breeze was blowing and it felt so perfectly fall i just wanted to cry into a mug of mulled cider.

and then! we saw those two magical words: open house. the couple who was walking behind us was talking about checking it out as well, but the girlfriend was all "the broker is going to ask us questions." i turned around immediately. "you don't owe them ANYTHING! let's all go in." and so we did.

y'all. this house will haunt my memory forever, it was so damn creepy. there were three floors of what seemed like eight rooms each, two kitchens, a million fireplaces, terrible floral wallpaper all over the place, and a weird-ass painted bathtub. at one point i honestly felt like we might not make it out so we took a selfie for posterity.

i'm shuddering just thinking about how eerie it was. to top it all off? it was nathaniel hawthorne's former home. that shit is 1000% haunted. but it was certainly an unforgettable and uniquely salem experience, so there's that.

after escaping the house of horrors, we made our way to the essex street pedestrian mall, which is full of artisan vendors, costumed characters offering photo ops, and top-notch people-watching. you can truly feel the energy of salem so i'd recommend that any first-time visitor take a stroll down here.

i'm not a big jewelry person, but when i see something super special, i gotta have it. such was the case with this gorgeous citrine pendant, handmade by the lovely ladies of freyja jewels, which i'm now obsessed with. they bill themselves as selling "mystical adornments for the modern goddess" and i'm all about that. oh, and that's a snail on top, because why wouldn't it be?

our last stop was the famed house of the seven gables. i'd somehow never been, and it seemed like the most worthy of all of the salem tourist traps (confirmed: very worthy). we grabbed some bomb iced coffee at nearby derby joe, and got on with it.

the house was so interesting and cool, and the woman that inherited the house in the 1800s, susanna ingersoll (nathaniel hawthorne's second cousin, natch), is my new role model. dig this: she ran her own business, turned down like 12 marriage proposals so she could keep all of her family money, and adopted a son by herself. ladies is pimps too.

they said no photos, but you're talking to a girl who snuck a selfie in the sistine chapel, so:

if you've never been to salem in october and have the opportunity to go, i highly recommend it! it's a quirky, crazy town that's a little bit spooky, a little bit campy, and a whole lot of fun.