Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why I Believe in Glee

Two summers ago I was sitting my cousin’s room watching the pilot episode of Glee, completely unaware of the impact that this show would have in music, TV, and pop culture in the coming years. We thought the pilot was kind of weird, which it was, and the only things I remember are the bare bones initial Glee club belting “Don’t Stop Believing” and a great line from Sue about an elementary school production of the musical “Hair.” Within a week, I forgot about it.

But, when my college friends started watching it in the fall, I joined in. I am a dancer, singer, and actress, so it was pretty much right up my alley. And then something started happening. My heartbeat would rise. I would start singing along. My desire to run into the night and find an empty theater was almost uncontrollable. The singing bug was laying dormant in my soul until the melodious sound of choral perfection coaxed it out.

Glee made me remember my own dreams. It made me want things I hadn’t wanted in years, because my dreams about Broadway and professional acting had been completely glossed over by years of searching for something more “practical” to do with my life. And all of the sudden, I remembered. I remembered how much I wanted those things, and when I let them go it wasn’t because I wanted to, but because it seemed like the smart thing to do.

Yes, Glee is a show about high school, and I think it does that well, and the constant coupling and re-coupling makes me want to laugh out loud. The drama is sometimes nauseating, the characters annoy the heck out of me, and I want to strangle the writers every once and awhile. But there’s more to it than that. It’s about show about performance. It’s a show about adrenaline. It’s show about magic. What can I say? There should be more magic in the world.

I have to believe that there always be a place in the world for a beautiful voice. I have to believe that, as impractical and irresponsible it might seem, it is possible for bright light pipe dreams to come true. Look at the actors on Glee. Isn’t that exactly what I’ve always wanted to do? I say, good for them. They help the rest of us believe.

So, the Brittany Spears episode? Not my favorite. There are plenty of music videos and awards and talent shows where great soloists get to belt to their hearts content. But the competition episodes? They are about the synergy between many talented people, forming something awe-inspiring: a choir. A group where people’s voices and bodies are trained and unified to create something spectacular. That’s what I miss more than anything.

That’s what I believe in.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Musical Jewelry Box

I love music, and I love boxes, so this seemed like a marriage made in heaven. 
I found this great old jewelry box at a garage sale a few years ago, but I got sick of the boring black outside. I didn't have the commitment level to decoupage the whole thing, so I took the easy way out. Even though I was the lazy crafter on this project, I'm happy with how it came out.

The mirror on the inside also pops out and stands up on its own. I love this jewelry box.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

This Week's Thrift Store Take

I love thrift stores. I love the searching, the hidden treasures, the horrible things that people actually spent real money on at some point in history, and the rock bottom prices. I try to visit my local thrift stores at least once a week--sometimes more if I'm in dire need of some retail therapy. This week happened to be one of those two for one weeks, and I got some real goodies--everything on the sofa below. My favorite score was those brown oxford heels pictured above and the orange tunic on the right of the picture below. Spending total? $21.00. This makes me feel good about my shopping habits. Therapy successful.

Green maxi dress, blue maxi dress, white pintucked shirt, red Chanel-esque bag, light blue Gap button-down, grey stripe jersey dress, black and white printed dress, cornflower blue dress, brown oxford heels, and an orange beaded layer tunic.

Oh yeah.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Cooked It: Homemade Gnocchi

After spending last fall in Florence, Italy, I learned my way around an Italian menu. One of my favorite abroad food discoveries was delicious gnocchi (no-kee). Our guest house frequently served us these great potato noodles with delectable pesto sauce and I knew I had to make this for my family when I got back. Unfortunately, there is NO gnocchi in town (boo small towns) and I almost gave up. My boyfriend and I found some at Target awhile ago, but the nearest Target is almost an hour away (that’s right… I live in that small town).

Recipe surfing a few weeks ago renewed my hope, though, that my family could still try gnocchi. I made a half batch of this the other night to test it out and it was wonderful! I didn’t get my hands on any pesto, but it just as good with regular red pasta sauce. Enjoy!

1 cup dry potato flakes
1 cup boiling water
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1.Place potato flakes in a medium-size bowl. Pour in boiling water; stir until blended. Let cool.
2.Stir in egg, salt, and pepper. Blend in enough flour to make a fairly stiff dough. Turn dough out on a well floured board. Knead lightly.
3.Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a long thin roll, the thickness of a breadstick. With a knife dipped in flour, cut into bite-size pieces.4.Place a few gnocchi in boiling water. As the gnocchi rise to the top of the pot, remove them with a slotted spoon. Repeat until all are cooked.

Recipe via AllRecipes.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Writing Makes the World Make Sense

This is not my first blog. Oh, no. Not my first blog at all.
This time I’m finding myself with a bad case of audacity and I’m going to *gasp* actually be honest. The bubbly sweet thing of the previous blogs? Sorry honey, not me.

I am a bit of an obsessive person. Type-A, very ENFP for those of you into Myers-Briggs, I am all about production. I can’t do yoga if I’m not in a class because I feel like I’m not really doing anything. Unless there are at least two things going on (three is best) I feel under-stimulated. However, my penchant for doing everything at the same time doesn’t exactly lead to outstanding work. I’m not Superwoman—I don’t do lots of things at the same time better than your average person, I just like it more. So a lot of times I fall into the category of being busy without being productive.

The internet certainly keeps me busy. There are so many new posts every morning on Google Reader, my Facebook needs to be updated, my Etsy stores need items relisted, and I have to keep track of all the great ideas I find all over the place in my trusty Evernote. And that doesn’t even include posting on my former blog, commenting on other people’s to increase traffic, or wiling away the hours on Stumble. I am a Twenty-First Century college student—and I have the Firefox full of saved passwords to prove it.

But all this internet mumbo-jumbo isn’t helping me be productive. At the end of the day, I’m just moving inspiration around. I’m bookmarking tons of diy ideas to try some day but never doing them, I’m “updating” friends on my life without really talking to them and, perhaps worst of all, I’m internalizing intense jealousy over all the people who are happy, successful, and actually doing what I want to do. I want to write. I always have. But I’ll be darned if I can sit down and do it without worrying about my audience, or how this is going to generate traffic, or how my mother will take it, or whether the world really can benefit from my opinion. I usually get a title typed and then the stress of it all is just too melodramatic to allow me to continue.

Writing is, however, what actually makes me happy. It’s what is missing from my life when my day is just okay, even though nothing bad happens. It’s what makes my day better when it has gone well on its own. Its what I want to do for a living. So it struck me the other day: Why aren’t you doing it? Hang Google Analytics and AdSense and empty followers lists. I’ll talk just hear myself if I have to. Writing just helps the world make sense, and I’m not going to deny myself that any more. And that's why this is a blog about courage. It's time to hang up the expectations, do what makes me happy, and risk enough to sleep soundly at night.

So am I scared its just phase? Definitely. Did I try to just spell “phase” f-a-z-e? Yes. I like to write, but I’ve never been much of a speller.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Self Preservation

As I once more sit scrolling through endless pages of Etsy feedback for a random Thai store I have never ordered from, I find myself wondering what I am doing with my life. This is perhaps not unique for a student in my situation—exiled from the freedom of college life, cooped up with the family, somewhat half-heartedly looking for work when I know that this kind of economic climate doesn’t exactly make potential employers jump at hiring a three month throwaway employee, no matter how brilliant my resume may be. I am wondering what use there is in my long and impressive CV when I still cannot tell a potential employer what they want to hear. Have you ever worked in food service? Well there was this one time when I was 14… She eyes me suspiciously. Okay, yeah, not really—But I interned in the Senate? Does that count?

Perhaps Iowa is not where I should be. Note the extreme sarcasm of that statement.

I am at that awkward stage of college where I’m not done yet (one pathetic semester away) but I also feel like my foot is out the door. I’m trying to figure out what I need to review for my English comprehensives while also looking for real world jobs/living arrangements/reasons to leave the Midwest and never look back. There’s the ever looming promise of graduate school and the headache I get moments after I industriously begin to try and figure out what I want to study where and when and why and for how much.

Real life after college may be complicated, but its probably less complicated than trying to live life in college and life after at the same time.

So what conclusion have I come to about my life? That I feel better after ranting about it. Now the first season of Gilmore Girls and some pizza can work their etherizing magic. It’s really not apathy—it’s self preservation.


A Vintage Suitcase Reboot

While I was studying abroad last semester I got a brilliant idea for a jewelry carrying case. I decided to get an old suitcase from the thrift store, add a metal mesh screen to the inside of the top and use the bottom for transporting half trays of rings and pendants and other miscellaneous pieces of jewelry. My dad helped me execute it, and let's just say I'm in love. It worked even better than I thought it would. I think there's over 200 pairs of earrings on that baby.

I love it when a plan comes together!

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