Friday, July 28, 2017

'did I even make a sound?'

I was 16 the first time I saw a professionally-staged musical. Little Women had come to town and my uncle had tickets but couldn't make it, so he offered them to my mom and me. Until that point, I had seen taped stage productions aired on PBS and rented from Hollywood Video. I was in shows in school and went to see the ones I didn't participate in, and we had soundtrack after soundtrack in a CD folder we kept in the car for our drives to school each morning.

I'll never forget the feeling of seeing Little Women played out in front of me: the way the sets moved and the lighting shifted to the music and the actors poured emotions across the stage, and the way the audience laughed and gasped and cried... It all felt so real and unexpected – like anything could happen, like the experience of being in that theatre was a moment meant just for us.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

a letter & three drinks.


I feel like it wouldn't be a new chapter for both of our lives if I didn't also mark it with some mix CDs. Well, I guess they aren't really CDs because I've just made YouTube playlists, but as we've determined: it's expensive to mail packages to/from Ukraine. Also, my MacBook Air doesn't even have a CD player.

I've been making mixes for people since middle school, back when we all figured out how to burn music (shh), but my favorite mixes were always the ones I would exchange with you and the girls. I'm glad I was able to introduce you to my guilty pleasures (scream-singing "7 Things" by Miley Cyrus in your car is still one of the funniest memories) and there are country selections from your CDs that are still some of my favorites.

Whether it was a mix CD for graduation/goodbyes, or a mix "just because," it feels like we can't move from phase to phase of our lives without exchanging music – music that we unapologetically love, and music that ranges from the classics to the hidden treasures. I like that about our friendship.

So per your request to use YouTube (if/when Spotify is accessible, I'll bombard you with music there too), here are three playlists to keep you occupied: they're sorted out by beverages to help you decide what mood you're in to listen to them:

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


When I'm in a creative rut, I like to surround myself with music and stories and writing that can feel like a warm hug: art that is comforting and familiar and reminds me of times when I've felt inspired to just make things.

But the flip side of that is that it can also feel a little sad. Sometimes I'll listen to something or watch something and just think to myself: "I could never create something that beautiful."

Sometimes, I go through these phases where I'll pick an artist whose work I like and just dive headfirst into consuming everything – I'll listen to everything available on Spotify. I'll fall down a YouTube rabbit hole. I'll read every interview they've ever said anything new in. The past two weeks, the subject of this obsessive behavior has been Mika, whose debut album "Life in Cartoon Motion" came out 10 years ago. (It wasn't an album that was received incredibly well in the U.S., and Mika himself isn't as commercially successful here in the U.S. as he is abroad.)

But I remember listening to "Life in Cartoon Motion" the first time and feeling like it was special. As his later music emerged, I didn't follow his career as closely, which is why when "Grace Kelly" came up on my Spotify recently, I was reminded of a time when the world felt like a blank canvas before me, and I immediately went and downloaded his entire body of work.

There's something lovely about his journey as an artist. His music doesn't fit comfortably into one genre, and it's evident he's constantly exploring the world and his perspective through his music. Each song, each album was part of his own journey as a person, and it's so clear from his writing on "The Origin of Love" and "No Place In Heaven" that something has changed in how he views himself and the world.

Monday, July 3, 2017

favorites: June 2017.

I feel like I spent June half-asleep until VidCon arrived, and then suddenly I was hit by this wave of energy. That being said, I barely had time to keep track of some of my favorite things from this past month.

1. Dream Cream Hand and Body Lotion by Lush

It's one of Lush's "best-selling" lotions for a reason, which probably also makes me a bit out of touch by including this on a June 2017 favorites list. I actually received a sample of this last year, and was told it was developed with those who suffer from eczema in mind. I've read up on it, and it seems to be hit or miss for many, but I began using it pretty regularly once I moved to Los Angeles where the dryness and unexpected winter heat hit me harder than I expected. Having grown up in California, I was pretty used to my skin flaring up with small rashes due to the heat, and having grown up with mild bouts of eczema, I knew what helped and didn't help too. Unfortunately the one thing I always relied on was a topical cream that contained steroids, but even that should be used sparingly because of damages it could do if too much is used.

The other thing that I discovered quickly worked though? Dream Cream. It would stop the itching, which helped me sleep, and it doesn't leave a sticky or oily feeling. The downside, in my opinion, is that it's not the most pleasant smell you could get from Lush, but it's not offensive either.