Summahtime Playlist

Well, it’s been a while. Lot’s to catch up on, but mostly (and inspired by Grburbank’s prompt summer list) I wanted to share my summer playlist. There are a lot more lady rockers on here than I’ve previously listened to, but there is so much fantastic lady-music out there right now!

1. “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele: this lady can sing and I’m hooked on this song. She’s 23. Her voice gives me chills. She writes her own music. She’s phenomenal, as are her old albums.

2. “Paris (Ooh la la)” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Um, swoon? This lady can rock it. I’ll just say it: she’s hawt.

3. “Drumming” by Florence + the Machine. The whole Lungs album is just fantastic. Just like Grace Potter, Florence Welch totally brings it. So many excellent songs: “Blinded” is probably my second favorite. “There’s a drumming noise inside my head / That throws me to the ground / I swear that you should hear it /It makes such an all mighty sound  / Louder than sirens / Louder than bells / Sweeter than heaven / And hotter than hell.” I love the lyrics and I love feeling this way around a man I’m truly attracted to.

4. “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Are you prepared for an uncharacteristically sappy post from me? When I hear this song, I hope that one day I will sillily dance in a sunlit kitchen with my husband to this music. They are so so good in concert (saw them with Mumford & Sons a few months ago). I love this happy happy song.

5. “Down by the Water” by The Decemberists. I don’t normally find singles to be the best songs on an album, but I love this one. The King is Dead is now my favorite Decemberists album. I feel like their sound has really come together and coalesced beautifully. I’m also excited to see them for FREE next week! Thanks, SLC!

6. “25 to Life” by Eminem. (Warning about the explicit lyrics.) I’ve always liked Eminem. Say what you will, but one thing the man does is write honest music. Recovery is by far my favorite album. I really love his examination of the negativity in co-dependent relationships, like in “Love the Way You Lie” with RhiRhi. I specifically like this song because he calls himself out on addictions and wait for it, even though you think he’s talking about a woman, he’s talking about the machine of hip-hop and how it kind of destroyed his life. Smart lyricist, that Marshall Mathers.

7. “Two of the Lucky Ones” by The Droge and Summer Blend. I got this little diddy from the Zombieland soundtrack. Over the past few years, I’ve really developed a love for folk music. Such a good song. “When all the work is done / By the light of the setting sun / We see what we’ve become / Two of the lucky ones.”

8. “Holocene” by Bon Iver. Favorite song off of their new album, but “Blood Bank,” “Re: Stacks,” and “Skinny Love” will always have my heart.

9. “Say” by John Mayer. Not a huge fan of him in real life, but he makes good music. Really good music. I always liked this song, and then I saw a clip of him on Sesame Street, which I have thoughtfully provided for you, and he sang this song to kids who were struggling to cope with military moms and dads coming home with war wounds from Iraq. Melted my icy heart. And I think the message is awesome – how great would life be if people could be honest and say what they felt? And for it to be okay to say what you really want?

10. “Down on Me” by Jeremiah featuring 50 Cent. Is this song terrible? Yes. Yes it is. But a white lady’s got to shake it to something, and for that reason, I love this song.

Honorable mention: Take Care, Take Care, Take Care by Explosions in the Sky (the whole album), “My Body” by Young the Giants, “Clean” by Incubus (okay, not new, but their new album is out soon and it’s my favorite song of theirs), “Paperweight” by Schuyler Fisk and Joshua Radin, “Lay Me Down” by The Dirty Heads featuring Rome, and “Turning Tables” by Adele.

Other things I love about summahtime? Listening to Sublime. Being home in Utah. ATV rides into the mountains and through rivers. Family everyday. Sassafras is back. Clean air. Great friends. Super 8. Awesome concerts. Delicious food. HARRY EFFING POTTER.


Updated Thesis

My dear friend Chani pointed out, a few months ago actually, that I had made errors in my thesis upload. Here’s the new, shiny, and correct version!



The Big Guy

Welp, it’s my dad’s birthday in a few days and so I thought now would be an excellent time to finally get his Christmas post up and running. I know I keep saying that “I have the best so & so…” but it’s true. I do. I have the best dad ever! I am so lucky to have a man in my life who set such an example of who and what a man should be to my brother and me. For as long as I can remember, my dad has worked his hardest to provide for our family. Because my dad worked so hard to do this for our family and still always made time for us, I remember always feeling safe and loved in our home. My dad is a pretty big fella’ and even though many people are intimidated by him, I always saw him as a big teddy bear because of her personality. I never had to wonder if my dad loved me when I was little because he didn’t just show me or my family that we were loved, he always tells us.

Family Time in Hawaii

I love my dad for so many reasons. And some of the most important reasons center on how my dad has taught me my worth. A lot can be said about the character of my father because he treats others so well, and the same goes for me. He showed me that I am a woman worth respect and honor. My dad has never tried to stunt my intellectual pursuits and has always supported my goals even though they might not be his goals. By doing this, my dad showed me that I don’t have to settle for men who make me feel less valuable because I’ve chosen to become educated. He also always been of the most chivalrous men I’ve ever met. Though my mom would call herself a feminist, my dad shows her respect by opening doors, getting her coats, and putting her needs before his: I am forever grateful for this example of honor and respect and it is most definitely an element I hope to have in my own marriage. While there many other reasons I love my dad – he’s funny, kind, tries real hard to be thoughtful when buying gifts and then keeping those gifts a surprise – I love the way he has showed me a man should love his spouse. While my mom has had trials pertaining to her physical health, my dad has been so patient, loving, and kind to her, where I believe most men would be callous. His tender care of my mother has increased my love for him exponentially.

Checkin' out the Ship

I’m so thankful for the memories my dad has created for him and me. He’s given me memories on the ocean when we deep sea fished when I was a kid. And though he’s tried his hardest to get me to love hunting, I do not love hunting. But I love that I have memories of my dad and me hunting on snowy mornings when I was a young teenager. When I was in 5th grade, we drove to Texas to see his uncle and so that I could learn about my family history. I love my memories of Christmas Tree Hunting on the mountain, jeeping, camping, and laughing every time we get together as a family. But I really love that I always remember my dad being at my sports games, dances, and other activities when I was growing up: my dad always makes time for me and I’m so lucky to have him as my daddy.

Happy birthday, big fella!

“Hermano” is Spanish for “Brother”

Just so y’all know, I have the best brother in the world. No. Really. He wins.

Jimmy is in touch with both his feminine and bleached-hair side.

I remember the day Jimmy was born. In fact, it is one of my most vivid memories from my young childhood. When my mom went into labor, I packed my pink suitcase up and when to my Papa Dale and Nonnie Schmidt’s house. I had been fascinated with my mom’s pregnancy for the most part and now that there was a baby, I was convinced it was going to be the greatest event EVER. My dad called from the hospital and said it was a boy and I jumped up and down for joy and I couldn’t wait to meet the little fella. And then, they brought Jimmy home from the hospital. And he proceeded to cry for three – 3! – months. And my feelings changed about having a younger brother. I always loved my brother, but since there was a five year difference and I was the cool older sister (obviously) that he always wanted to hang out with, I was a much less tolerant, patient, and loving sister than I ought to have been. I always recognized that Jimmy was an awesome brother – was wonderful, giving, and warmhearted – I couldn’t be bothered in my selfish teenage years to give him the attention he deserved. Though our family has always been close and loving, when I left for college is when mine and Jimmy’s relationship really developed.

Jimmy and me at his graduation from high school

Exactly when and how Jimmy became one of my best friends escapes me, but I am forever grateful that he is. Jimmy is one of my closest confidants and our relationship has become stronger than most of my other relationships in the past eight years. I can go to my little brother for anything and he always accepts, supports, and loves me. I am continually amazed at his ability to see through my problems and offer me the advice I need to hear and will ultimately benefit from. Jimmy and I play Call of Duty, hike, eat, laugh, Christmas Tree hunt, and pretty much enjoy life together. I would rather spend time with him than most other people, because, frankly, he’s so frakkin’ awesome.

Hiking in Kannarville Falls

I am so proud of the man my brother is and is becoming. He is honorable and kind, patient and ambitious, objective and somehow emotionally engaged. Jimmy, though I hate having a debate with him, has an incredible mind for politics and economics. I love that he is passionate about his views and can so easily articulate his feelings and how his thoughts tie into the greater problems of today’s economy and government. One of the most important traits, that I respect the most about my brother, is his ability to admit his faults, mistakes, and shortcomings, be brutally honest about himself, and then find the inner strength to change himself and refuse to stay stagnant. He is becoming the kind of man people say don’t exist anymore. Jimmy is moral, chivalrous, kind, cultured, and intrepid.

Best brother/sister picture EVAH!

It seems like society expects that the older sibling should be a good influence on the younger. I’m pretty sure that Jimmy has always been the great influence to me. I am so blessed to have the family I do, and I am especially blessed to have a brother is wonderful as mine. Love ya, hermano!

C. Joe Willis

(Yes, I am VERY behind in the delivery of my electronic Christmas presents because I got caught up in the amazingness that is home and family over the break. So, those of you who are to come, be grateful you’re gettin’ somma this, mmmmkay?)

Joe likes animals!

What can I say about this man? Well, a lot actually, but I should probably start from the beginning. Joe and I were taking classes in SUU’s English Department at the same time, but never actually had classes together until we were Basic Writing Assistant’s for an English 1000 class. On this particular day, before we were going to take our groups outside for a game, Joe leaned forward and said, “Hey, you know what would be hilarious? If I tackled you when we’re on the grass down there.” And, instead of thinking, Who the eff does this creeper think he is?, I said, “That would be UH-MAZING! You should totally do it!” So, when push came to shove (hardy har har!), Joe tackled me not just on the grass, but down the slope in the grass causing us to look like ginormous asses, but fun-loving asses, in front of all of our students. From that day on, C. Joe Willis and I were the best of friends.

C. Joe and Slarue funtimes at the zoo!

There are so so many things I love about Joe. But since we’re film dorks, I’m gonna break it down to a Top 5 list à la High Fidelity. So, the “Top 5 Things I Love About Crazy Joe Willis”: one, I love that he is unfailing kind, thoughtful, and empathetic. Joe is always willing to see others’ perspectives and tries to understand them where other people might write someone who is “different” or “awkward” off. Joe continually sees people as they really are, and the best in who they are. Two, I love that Joe is one of the main reasons I love comic books. “Comic books? Pff. Lame,” you say? I thought so too until Joe encouraged me to take a visual narratives class with him and my world changed. Comic books may sound like a trite reason to love someone in and of themselves, but Joe’s love for comic books has shaped his moral character, his ability to carry on despite what others think, and even his career path: these are things I love about Joe. Third, I love that Joe is a dork, a geek, and a nerd. And I don’t use these words in the new sense of the “cool-hispter-I’m-such-a-geek-I-fit-in-with-everyone-else” sense of the word. I use it in the sense that Joe is okay with being different and dorky. He pays attention to things that truly interest him though others might think them lame or dorky. Fourth, I love that Joe is always always always there for me. Joe and I have the same freak-out mode and luckily, we are usually freaking out at different times so our freak-outs don’t knock the earth of its axis. Because Joe understands what I am feeling, he’s great at talking me through things when I am truly bothered. And because he is so kind and empathetic, he is always able to help me make decisions according to my morals and beliefs and never imposes his morals and beliefs on me. He holds me accountable to myself and thus helps me grow. And five, Joe has excellent taste in movies, music, books, and things to laugh at. We wouldn’t be friends if this were so.

"What do ya do... with a B.A. in English? F**k, it sucks to be me!"

I am so proud of Joe and everything he has accomplished. He is a professor at SUU and is allowing himself to become the man he wants to be: not the man others expect him to be. He laughs easily and has overcome more hurt, betrayal, and failed expectations than I ever have: and what’s more is that he is a better man for it. I am proud that Joe hasn’t allowed his failed expectations to rule his life and has learned that expectations often get us to a place where we can alter our course in becoming who we want to be. Joe is a amazing man and I am forever grateful he is and will be in my life.

Doesn't he look so excited to be in a limo with me?

Happy Birthday, Momma!

So, my madrecita’s birthday is actually tomorrow, but I wanted her to have something to look at on her day rather than at the end of it. And, the two of you who read this blog know that I like to include pictures of just me and my beloved, but I’m gonna take a moment to be honest here – Mom, all of the pictures I have of us are awful, just awful. We should fix that, and I’m not saying glamour shots, but shots from flattering angles would be a huge improvement at this point. So, I have pictures of my mom, me, and those we love best.

My mom and her "fur children." Yes, the excited look is there because she really loves them THAT much.

My mom is the greatest lady I know. Beyond being a phenomenal parent, she is one of my closest friends and confidants. I can go to my mom with anything without fear of judgement or reprisal and she has been that way my entire life. I was so lucky in high school NOT to be one of those kids who hated their parents because of feuds or arguments. My mom, along with my dad, helped me become someone worthy of trust by first trusting me and helping me to earn it. Because of that, I never had to worry that I was not loved. I knew it without a doubt and I see that as a huge reason of why my family has such close relationships now. I see my mother out for advice and comfort, even though I am 25. She gives me the listening ear I always need and the advice I do not want to hear, but need to. To say that I am eternally thankful for this gift does not do my gratitude justice.

Yeah, we're the two goofballs at the back of the table.... yikes.

My mom is a strong, passionate, and beautiful woman. She helped me become the woman I am today because she did not just talk about what being a good woman is – she lived her principles and became an example for me to live by. My mom is honest and genuine about her life, her projects, and her beliefs. She taught me to fight for what I believe in by picking my fights wisely, to always articulate my reasons for choosing a cause, and for doing putting my whole heart into my own beliefs, though they might be different than hers. (She also taught and quizzed me on how to make correct change from money transactions when I was little so that I wouldn’t look like a moron when I started working or get screwed over by a moron who couldn’t count change…. Thanks!)

The fam-dam-ily at the Grand Canyon for my graduation from NAU

Though there are probably a innumerable amount of things I am thankful for when it comes to my mom, one of the greatest has to be her sense of humor. Though we can go overboard in our family with teasing and sexual innuendos, our humor is what makes are family awesome – and yes, we are awesome. My mom helped me to see the humor in everyday life and to be able to laugh at my own life and mistakes…. and sometimes other people’s mistakes, if they’re not too terribly injured that is. I love that my mom can make me laugh when I’m crying and that we can be silly and crazy. I love that we also set off the all the “Push me to hear my music!” toys in the toy aisle at Christmas.

Thank you, madrecita, for always supporting Jimmy and me, for learning about my crazy, intellectual movies, books, and graphic novels, and for pushing me to finish my degrees and supporting me through every rough time I’ve EVER had at the drop of a hat. Thank you for having faith in me when I did not have any in myself. Thank you for letting me become my own person and for helping me feel loved for every step I’ve taken. I love you so much and could never ask for a better mom!

You’re the Sh*t and I’m Knee Deep in It

Tonight’s post is dedicated to one Brittany Knotts. Brittany was one of the first friends I made when I moved here from Arizona, and I’m so thankful to say that she has become one of my best friends in a very short amount of time. We both serve in our Singles Ward Relief Society Presidency (and for you non-Mormon readers, no, I’m not going to define that – just go ahead and google it). We serve in a capacity where we had to get to know each other on a pretty personal level very quickly and we soon realized that we were going to be awesome friends.

Sadly, the only picture I have of us. Taken on my 25th birthday at the Frightened Rabbit concert.

To me, honesty is the most important aspect of any relationship. Without honesty in communication and self, I cannot trust people. As such, there are so many things I love about this girl and first and foremost is her genuine and tenacious honesty. With Brittany, you never have to worry about where you stand. While she is kind and gracious, she is always candid about her feelings, experiences, strengths, and imperfections. I never have to worry about any judgement when I share my life with her because she is so utterly accepting of others and appreciates their honesty. I love that I can be myself, flaws and talent, whenever I am with her. Nothing is forced.

I also love that Brittany is passionate about her ideals and causes. She will fight tooth and nail for the principles she believes in and she makes me wish I had the courage to be as dogged as she. She is also willing to test herself and her principles for the sake of self-improvement and growth, more qualities that take courage to implement into life. Beyond this, Brittany is able to find humor and joy in life. Though she acknowledges her struggles, she looks for ways to be happy instead of wallow in self-pity. She is a fiercely loyal friend and helps me to accept myself, my trials, and my strengths so that I can become a better person.

Brittany is absolutely fabulous and I am continually grateful that she is in my life to stay. We’re musical soul mates (thanks again for appreciating Scottish folk music on my birthday with me!), movie gurus, goofballs, and each others’ sounding board. Thanks for everything, lady. I sure do love ya!

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday.



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