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Real Life Wednesdays

Girl, Put Your Records On

record store

My father was very similar to me in that he had an endless fascination with technology and the “new”. There was one Christmas, probably around 1990 or so, that he and my mother bought a six-CD changer to accompany the record player and dual cassette recorder we had in our living room. In those days, a CD changer like that was a crazy thing to have, but that was my dad. He was a total gadget guy, and though not extravagant with anything else in life, he always wanted the newest technology.

Like me, he was also really into pop culture. The first CD he ever bought, even before the six-CD changer? Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl. I remember going with him into a record store (like, a REAL record store) and buying the CD. Compact Discs had their own tiny little section along one wall, and they were all propped up on shelves, because back then, CDs came packaged in thin boxes that were about a foot long (anyone else remember that??).

loudness

We shared a love of VH1, cartoons, and computer games, but the one thing we didn’t share a love of is what I used to call his “oldie music”. We would be driving around town and he would switch from the pop station to the “oldies” station on the radio, quieting any complaints I raised. “This is the music I grew up with,” he’d tell me, “One day you’ll understand.” I’d harumph and tell him that I never would. I think my famous last words were something along the lines of, “I won’t have to, because MY music will always be cool!”

Suffices to say, these days, I totally understand. Now if I happen to hear an oldies station in a cab, they’re always playing 90s music, and I adore it and don’t want them to switch stations. Anyone who ever comes to my house (or goes karaoke-ing with me) will soon learn that I have an undying love for 90s music. I think it’s a product of being an only child, and spending a lot of time alone in my room as a kid and teenager. My life revolved around my stereo system. Before music could be downloaded, I’d sit by the stereo for hours on the weekends making cassette mix tapes. Then, I’d spend just as many hours laying on my waterbed (yes, you read that right) and memorizing their lyrics. Once things like WinAmp existed (OMG, does anyone remember that?), I’d spend just as many hours downloading songs, organizing playlists, and then burning them onto CDs. Sans the waterbed, in case you’re wondering.

records

The trend continues today. I’ll catch up on current music every now and again, but my favorite songs (and playlists) are still ones that are firmly rooted in the 20th century. It always cracks me up to share these types of playlists when I’m entertaining, because inevitably a song comes on that friends haven’t heard in years — and it instantly takes them back. A song like “Semi-Charmed Life” can play, and while most people can sing the chorus and stumble through other parts, who has two thumbs and can sing every last word? This girl. Trust me when I say, you want me on your karaoke team. I mean, the first concert I ever attended was Montell Jordan. Who was the opening act for TLC. Who was the opening act for Boyz II Men. Do you see where I’m going with this?

vintage records

Today I wanted to share a playlist of some of my absolute, all-time favorite, never-gonna-get-sick-of-’em songs from the 90s. If you can clearly remember cassette tapes existing in your childhood, I promise, you’ll find a tune here that’ll leave you longing for your old Walkman. There are classics below, to be sure (y’all, is it just me, or does “Hand in My Pocket” totally hold up?), and a few tracks that run so deep, you might not even remember them (be honest, when is the last time you even thought about the song “Candy Rain”?). Enjoy, and tell me – what 90s song would you add to the list?

Images: Record Store: Wish Wish Wish , check out Carrie’s blog here; Loudness: Orin Zebest; Record Stack: Knar Bedian; Vintage Records: Thomas

Full disclosure: This is a sponspored post, and compensation was provided by Spotify via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Spotify.

Real Life: Do You Watch the News?

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newspapers3

newspapers2

When I was growing up, I used to watch the news every evening. My mother would come home from work, and I’d wander into her room and sit on her bed while she changed clothes and had the evening news playing. It turned into a thing — we’d watch the local and national news virtually every night, the anchors becoming our regular dates each evening. This was in the 90s, before there was such a thing as the 24 hour news cycle.

This past weekend, Joe and I were catching up on VICE, a great news magazine series that’s broadcast on HBO. We started watching the first season last year, but fell off the wagon somehow. Now, I can’t remember why. I love how VICE’s segments are produced and the topics they’re reporting on…even when they’re disturbing or difficult topics to cover.

After the show, Joe and I sat chatting about the news in general, and the reasons we never watch it. I went on a mini-rant about how what was said on another HBO show, The Newsroom, is totally true — that the press is essential to a well-informed electorate (read: democracy), and how can mainstream media not have reported on some of the things VICE has covered, etc etc etc. Joe pointed to CNN, and how after September 11th, the 24 hour news cycle just became a THING, and when the real news ran out (as it’s wont to do if you’re reporting 24/7), the filler came in, and with the filler came higher audiences, and you know the rest.

“We check the news on CNN.com,” Joe said, to which I replied, “Yes, and this past week, they literally ran a huge headline that said ‘NO NEW LEADS’ in regards to the Malaysian Airlines plane crash.” CNN, the most trusted name in news, reported that they had no new leads. This was news.

We definitely renewed our commitment to watching programming like VICE more, and decided we’d even try watching a few evening news programs, just to see the types of things they’re reporting on these days and how they approach the topics. But more than anything, I realized I missed the news of yesteryear. It made me wonder — do you guys watch the news? Where do you get your information from? Do you watch shows like VICE, or know of any other programs that are doing a great job reporting on topics that other media outlets don’t cover? This can be a touchy subject, since so many outlets these days often take on particular political slants…so let’s leave that part out (and please, be kind to one another below). What I wanna know is, are you watching or reading the news, and if so, where are your favorite places to do so?

Image Credits: Newspapers 1 2 3 by Jon S, NS Newsflash via Flickr, used under Creative Commons 

Real Life: 10 Months in New York

new york - photo by kevin dooley

Hard to believe that next week, it’ll be 10 months since we have been in New York! It has been a while since I checked in about what’s been going on here and how we’re doing, so I figured it was time for an update.

Overall? We’re doing okay. Some of the homesickness of the first half of the year here has abated, though it comes and goes. I think once you start getting used to a place, and the more it feels “normal”, the easier it is to forget or ignore what you might be longing for. And honestly, I think our trip back to the Bay Area in February really helped. It still felt like home, and in some weird way, it was like reassurance that maybe it would always feel that way. So it wasn’t as scary to embrace New York anymore for fear that I would lose that feeling of “home”, if that makes sense. Moving is emotionally confusing, y’all. Conclusion: just like everyone said, you really do have to give yourself at least a year to adjust.

One thing that has really, really helped make life continue to feel more “normal” here: keeping a full calendar. We try and schedule get togethers with other couples, I have continued going to French every single Wednesday, and I always have lunches and dinners happening with girlfriends. Not only has that community of people in my life been instrumental, but just going out is a huge factor too — you end up finding restaurants you really love and want to go back to, and that’s a big part of a place feeling familiar. We have friends visiting us from SF later in May, and when they told us they were coming, I realized I actually had places I wanted to take them and show them and was excited about! A sure sign that we’re settling.

Here’s something that may shock you: the winter has been brutal. Obviously, weather has a huge impact on quality of life, but since the temps have finally started rising, I’m able to reflect on just how MUCH of an impact. Walks are shorter. People want to go out less. You basically wear the same pair of snow boots and the same parka for weeks on end. And of course, everyone is in a brighter, sunnier mood these days. Snow was beautiful the first few times, but I am VERY much looking forward to spring.

That’s our basic check in. Doing better; still think that eventually, one day, we might move back (but we’re cool with hanging out here for a few years). As always  (I mean, it IS New York), I have some NY stories and observations. You just never know what you’ll see on the streets here:  Read more »