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LHG’s Top 14 Albums of 2014!

Okay, so I’m a week late, but hey, better late than never, right? It was once my all-time dream to write for SPIN Magazine and be the female Chuck Klosterman (okay, it still is my dream) but sometimes I realize that when I write about music, I am anything but objective. I’m usually emotional and my own feelings stem into the songs I love the most, so I guess what I’m really getting at is that if you’re looking for an unbiased report of the “best albums in 2014” you might want to click away. Below is the list of tracks that I loved, unashamedly, and probably obsessively talked my friends’ ears off about while they politely nodded.

Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff! Because I was raised in the everyone-gets-a-trophy generation, I have to start by saying that there were a few albums that just missed my countdown, and are as such, “honorable mentions” of my year. In no particular order, they are:

All were excellent, and yes, all are linked to Spotify for your listening pleasure- but remember, vinyl is best!

What really went into permanent rotation and obsession in 2014? To the countdown!

14. Lake Street Dive, Bad Self Portraits

These are the kids who were actually successful music majors and had fun while they were at it. Play this album at a dinner party, play this album in the car, but mostly play this album when you’re alone, because your attempts to singalong to Rachel Price and try to master her smooth, incredible voice might be in vain, but it’s still an amazing mix of songs to make you feel like you’re living in your own personal modern jazz club. (But seriously, when do I get to sound like her?)

Key Tracks: You Go Down Smooth, Seventeen, Bad Self Portraits, Rabid Animal

13. Bleachers, Strange Desire

Take the best things about the 80s- power rock, singalongs, John Hughes-esque scores, Yoko Ono, and whoa-whoa’s- and put them with the sharpest indie songwriter producer on the block currently and you’ll get Jack Antonoff’s baby: this album. Just reread that sentence, say yes, and play it.

Key Tracks: Wild Heart, Rollercoaster, I Wanna Get Better, You’re Still A Mystery

12. Miranda Lambert, Platinum 

There’s a reason this girl can do whatever she wants and is at the top of her game, and that’s song selection and vocal range. Miranda can do twang mixed with powerhouse guitars mixed with major harmonies and it all comes out perfect. Her clever songwriting has only gotten better, too, and I’m forever a fan.

Key Tracks: Platinum, Priscilla, Bathroom Sink, Old Sh!t, All That’s Left, Hard Staying Sober

11. Shakey Graves, And The War Came

A little local Austin love that’s going to be big this year. I can’t wait to see how 2015 treats him. You know that artist that weird indie kids who go to art school and your Dad’s best classic-rock-inclined friends both love? Oh, you don’t? Put on this album and find out.

Key Tracks: Only Son, Dearly Departed, The Perfect Parts, Hard Wired

10. Lee Ann Womack, The Way I’m Livin’

Hello country music and a woman- two things I have desperately missed out on seeing together in the same sentence. Lately the genre hasn’t put many women at the forefront, but Lee Ann Womack is leading the charge without even campaigning- just on the laurels of this album alone. If nothing else, I am convinced that she has the hands-down best voice in country music and that she is also a vocal angel sent here to save us all. Moreso, this album lets her take us to church (more on that metaphor later, though) with bluegrass-y goodness and sassy lyrics. What a lady.

Key Tracks: Chances Are, The Way I’m Livin’, Tomorrow Night in Baltimore

9. Noah Gundersen, Ledges

Warning: you might cry. This may not be the soundtrack to any sunny days, but when it rains it pours, and Ledges is a good flood to be caught in. Noah Gundersen writes honest songs that cut deep, but isn’t that why we love music? To help us express things, or at the very least, give us the means to say, “me too” to any revealing lyric? I hope so. Crack open a bottle of whiskey before you start this one, but don’t make any immediate plans, because you’ll need to digest feelings of love lost, worn childhood, addiction and bleak hope. Also, maybe turn your phone off to avoid that temptation to text your ex.

Key Tracks: Ledges, First Defeat, Liberator, Cigarettes

8. Lydia Loveless, Somewhere Else

It’s so hard for me to find women songwriters that I love, but when I do, I love them with the ferocity of a mother lion protecting her cubs, since I feel like the music industry doesn’t do a good job keeping them around. Fiercely so, Lydia Loveless earns her place in my heart and in this list as an all around badass. She and I are the same age, and for better or worse, her lyrics feel like I could have come out of my own journal, so for that fact I love her like she’s my own personal, darker and more relevant Taylor Swift (although, I have to admit that even though I’ve never been a T.S. kind gal, I actually liked 1989.) Regardless, hooray girl power! She’s the type of girl who’ll shoot a gun (and some whiskey) with you. She’s the type of girl with a killer record collection. She’s the type of girl who can make a song about drunkenly calling your ex sound almost romantic, and for that, I applaud her (and also realize drunk texts/calls are becoming a theme in this list? Oops.)

Key Tracks: Really Wanna See You, Wine Lips, To Love Somebody, Head, Somewhere Else

7. Eric Church, The Outsiders

If you didn’t know better, someone might try to tell you that Eric Church was a major country star. While that’s partially true, he’s also apparently a fan of every other genre, as he mixes them in this gem of an album. There’s nods of Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC and yes, even some Hank Williams Jr in these tracks, but mostly, there’s a man who just loves music and songwriting and can’t stay in one place, and trust me when I say that I’m so thankful he doesn’t.

Key Tracks: Cold One, Talladega, Broke Record, That’s Damn Rock & Roll, Give Me Back My Hometown

6. St Paul & The Broken Bones, Half The City

Get ready for your ears to be rocked and taken back to a time when vocals and horns married together for a big-band-whoa-is-this-real-music-or-what moment that lasted. I dare you to not be blown away by the raw vocal talent of Paul Janeway (like how he completely nailed this Otis Redding cover!) Oh, and when his band joins in? Mm. HMM. You just go ahead and try not feel something. You feel it, don’t you? Feel it in your soul? That’s what this album does. Every song is a ride of funk mixed with fun that hits you in the insides. SPATBB mix lighthearted flirting in Call Me with pure, tear-me-in-half heartache on Broken Bones and Pocket Change, and  you’ll thank them for both. You’ll love this album, your Mom and Dad will love this album, and anyone nearby while you play it might just start dancing, so be warned. Oh, and seeing them live? You’re not even prepared.

Key Tracks: Like A Mighty River, Call Me, Broken Bones & Pocket Change, I’m Torn Up

5. Shovels & Rope, Swimmin’ Time

If you don’t know, you might think this married couple has an entire backing band, but it’s just the two of them, consistently making music that’ll knock your socks off. This album is an instant classic (along with their 2012 release O’ Be Joyful) mostly because they mix the love of Johnny and June with the unhinged nature of Sid and Nancy, and the result is music that makes me so happy we don’t have to pick one genre. Go ahead and have em all: swamp, americana, rock, country, singer-songwriter, comical, sincere, and just simply, Shovels and Rope, preferable banging on drums and guitars all day long.

Key Tracks: The Devil Is All Around, Evil, After The Storm, Mary Ann & One Eyed Dan, Coping Mechanism

4. Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

If you know me at all, it’s that I’m tired of apologizing for my love of country music, and I’ll be damned if this album didn’t help me overcome that. This album (literally) sounds like Waylon is living inside of every song, so of course I love it,  but it’s the way that Sturgill just did the whole thing- big labels be damned and released it independently. It sounds like old mixed with new, from lyrics about drug trips to  You don’t have to work on a farm to be authentic to the style, but the truth’s in the delivery and the sentiment, and Sturgill’s songwriting and musicianship proudly seal him with the title of “country” – a word that’s been tarnished and stepped on and redefined all the time. This new title is one that he won’t apologize for and I think it fits pretty damn well (not to mention the fact that it’s also a kickass album musically and his voice is a near-perfect gravel to tell you about the hard life he’s lived.)

Key Tracks: Turtles All The Way Down, Life of Sin, Living The Dream, Long White Line, The Promise

3. Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams

If you’ve loved Ryan Adams even a little, then this album is for you (and since I love him like a lot, I’m still preaching on its perfection). He’s struck several chords between rock and roll to Americana to sad-drunk-guy-serenading you and this album has all of them mixed together. I finally got the chance to see him live this year, too, so hearing these on stage mixed with “My Winding Wheel” and “Oh My Sweet Carolina” and “Magnolia Mountain” along with his sincerity and excitement to be playing in Austin also makes this album a sentimental pick. But more than that, it’s always amazing to see someone who’s been around so long still make consistently great music, and this collection of tracks makes me just as excited for whatever he puts out next. Plus, ask any fan of Tom Petty and/or sound-engineer friend you have and they’ll rave about this one for a while. (Oh, you didn’t know all sound engineers loved Tom Petty or you don’t have sound engineer friends who talk about gear all day? Lucky you.)

Key Tracks: Kim, Shadows, My Wrecking Ball, Feels Like Fire

2. Damien Rice, My Favorite Faded Fantasy

Ahh yes. For 8 years, 8 LONG YEARS, I have waited for this day. I have blogged multiple times (embarrassingly) about how much I wanted a new Damien Rice album to happen. I have set @damienrice’s tweets to be delivered to my phone in case he announced anything new, partly in fact that I am overcoming a 9th grade fangirl love of him, and partly because his old albums meant so much to me that I could hardly imagine a new one, and this one….well, sigh. It wasn’t the same—but that’s what made it even more perfect! It was Damien 8 years later, broken up with his longtime collaborator Lisa Hannigan, and I was me 8 years later, also having broken up with a few people and habits since he last gave me an album to love in 2006. This album was new for both of us, short but sweet, packing honest-to-a-fault lyrics with sweeping instrumentals and gorgeous vocals and sentiments that put him on the map in the first place. You feel like you could crush the sincerity of this album with its delicate moments, but at the same time, it’s so comfortable to fall back into his emotionally-charged world that you might not leave. Maybe someday I’ll stop loving sad music, but probably not.

Key Tracks: ALL OF IT! But, if you make me choose: The Greatest Bastard, I Don’t Want To Change You, Colour Me In, It Takes A Lot To Know A Man

1. Hozier, Hozier

It takes a lot of soul and goosebumps-inducing sounds to steal the top spot as a new artist from all my other favorites, but this album did it in a huge way. Besides my obvious crush on Hozier, his voice and his man bun, these tracks all hit me right in my heart and ears and didn’t leave. Before the world caught on to Take Me To Church (and yes, I admitedly sound totally hipster with that sentence) I was living in Nashville and uncomfortable with my life, relationships and job, and I remember the local radio station started playing this amazing song that bowled me over the first time I heard it, driving down 8th avenue to work at 4 AM. It swelled and it felt emotional and it felt like something brand new,  and has stuck with me since. There’s a joy in getting wrapped up in an album and this one did it for me from start to finish, and well into all the live performance videos I researched on Youtube, too. Hozier’s the real deal, putting everything into live performances while also making artful albums with both rock and soul, and I have a feeling 2015 is going to be good to him and to my new obsession with him.  Speaking of, if any of you know of any cute single guys with man buns and guitars, well…

Key Tracks: NO, SERIOUSLY, ALL OF IT. but if you make me pick: Jackie and Wilson, Someone New, Work Song, To Be Alone

Whew! Since you made it this far- 2 things:

1. Here’s a playlist of my key tracks as a reward:

2. I want to hear from you! Surely I can’t be alone in my music snobbery! What were your favorite albums of 2014?

Winter Date Ideas

Winter Date Ideas!

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  • FaceTime from rooms away even if you are in the same place, because getting out of the cover cocoon you just made would not be a very good idea
  • Invest in one pair of mittens and hold hands INSIDE the mittens for maximum cuteness but also sweet, suffocating warmth
  • Breathe against a window and write sweet messages in the fogged up glass to each other, like, “bring me another blanket”
  • Embrace a little friendly competition! Go for the gold in fun challenges like, “Who can wear the most layers of clothing?” or “Who can whisper the most sweet nothings before their teeth start chattering?” or “Who can stay inside away from the winter weather the longest without going crazy?”
  • Fellas, let your lady dress you! She can pick out the styles she’s always wanted you to rock, and you won’t have to worry if you don’t like it, because let’s face it, you’re not going to take off your coat anyway!
  • Pack a cute picnic to eat outside bundled up, but bail on that idea when you realize that the food is going to get cold. Take shots of hot chocolate from the thermos in your car instead.
  • Have a romantic ‘weekend in’! (See how long you can go indoors without running out of edible food combinations, guesstimate how high your heating bill is going to be simply trying to keep your toes from chilling, and find out how many days you can go without wanting to suffocate each other from having no changes of scenery, because, no one wants to venture into the freezing outside temperatures!)
  • Make plans with other couples and then flake on them because no, you do not actually own snowshoes
  • Ladies, tell your man to grow out his beard to keep his chin warm, and then make a game of hiding little trinkets in it when he’s not looking!
  • Go ice skating!
  • Just kidding about the ice skating, that’s too expensive and freezing. Maybe just find the closest coffee shop near the ice skating rink and drink the biggest hottest drink they have
  • For each degree that the temperature drops, compliment your significant other with a quality you like about them. (Ex. You are great at scraping the ice off my car windows, You let me borrow your coat and that means a lot, You took the dog out that time in the blizzard and I found it very attractive, etc)
  • Make a playlist of songs that mention summertime or sunshine or the beach and listen to it together with fingers crossed
  • Accept the fact that you’re never going to be a cold weather person, but when you can look next to you and the person who has shared 14 hours of an indoor Netflix marathon and grilled cheeses with you still thinks you’re attractive even after you haven’t shaved your legs in 2 weeks because there’s no way you’re getting close to shorts in this snowstorm, well then, it’s probably love.

Kickstarter Campaigns I Would (Actually) Support

I have mixed feelings about Kickstarter.com. I think it’s great to be able to take fundraising global and to reward people who donate to make movies, albums, artwork, charity and inventions possible, but I also think it can breed laziness. Regardless, things I love have been accomplished via this medium (namely, the new Veronica Mars movie, which means the contiuation of my undying love for Logan Echolls!!!!) and so it’s only right that I’ve dreamed up a few of my own ideas that would inspire me to give money to accomplish a goal.

Kickstarter Campaigns I Would (Actually) Support

Bringing A Whataburger to Tennessee (because this just won’t cut it)

Bringing back the Pony Express (because handwritten mail is awesome and ponies are even more awesome)

An app that locates the closest person who needs a hug or who is down to give a hug at that moment

An app for an alarm clock that is actually just the voice of Ryan Gosling saying, “You’re brilliant and beautiful just the way you are, but your hair will look even better if you get up now and fix it before work” and that just gives out compliments when you try and press “Snooze”

Another iPhone video app to add to Vine & Instagram videos, because lord knows my generation needs something else to complain about on twitter

A Hoverboard (or at least a prototype)

Continuing the seasons of television cancelled too soon, or giving  Party Down a 3rd season, Firefly and Freaks and Geeks  2nd seasons and Pushing Daisies a 2nd-18th season(s).

The formation of a tv network that plays nothing but Disney Channel Original Movies from the early 2000s, 24/7

 While we’re on tv, some sort of memory eraser that deletes any memories I have of LOST from this entire earth and never mentions it in any casual conversations that leave people mad at me for years to come because I’m sorry, but, ARE YOU ACTUALLY SERIOUS WITH THE CORK IN THE ISLAND AND THE POLAR BEARS

An ATM machine that dispenses glitter and/or hummus

An initiative to revive the musical careers of Damien Rice, Outkast & Shania Twain, or at least encourage them all to release ANOTHER ALBUM because honestly I can be patient but you know you can’t just turn off genius and there is bound to be something for my ears between the three (technically 4) of them

A widget that adds onto Facebook that asks every single user, “REALLY?” before they decide to post another out-of-focus photo of their lunch

An in-depth tutorial of how to wear and pull off a crop top without feeling like I forgot half of my shirt and brain (this one doesn’t even have to take long to fund, seriously, I will just pay someone $10 if they can tell me this without using the phrase, “you better werk!”)

A waffle iron in the shape of Leslie Knope’s face

An Actual Hotel For Dogs, where the dogs run the hotel and they wear little bellman caps and carry your bags and don’t really care when you check in or out as long as they can cuddle and look at you lovingly with those sad eyes, oh and COMPLIMENTARY PUPPIES

Michael Bay’s Retirement Fund, where we pay him to NOT continue a cinematic career

An iPhone charger that runs on sarcasm

Glasses that sync to display the lyrics to whatever song is currently playing so that you can learn all the words

A magazine with a really smart sounding title like “Business Success And You” that looks like you’re reading to further your career and are impressive but is secretly filled with photos of adorable baby animals

A magical Utopia that holds all you could ever want  Just kidding, we already have the internet.

What would you kickstart?

Things I Have Been Irrationally Afraid Of

I’m not here to laugh at real anxiety, because I suffer from it. But let’s be honest and say that I am not the best at judging fears and every now and then you have to take a step back and actually realize what it is that scares you and go, “really?”.

Here’s a small (not complete by any means) list of things I have been irrationally afraid of (or am currently still afraid of):

Animatonic Santas

Doodles, the old chicken mascot for Chik-Fil-A

The Chuck E. Cheese gang of animals on the stage

Disneyworld, there’s just a lot happening

Basically anyone or anything in a mascot suit, always

The boulder from Indiana Jones showing up in my real life and crushing me

Accidentally being in the HOV lane illegally and not realizing it because the lanes are different in Tennessee

My moccasins becoming untied and me tripping over the strings

Sending a typo in a job-related email

Getting a cavity

The blades of my fan falling on me while I sleep


Someday being in a band that takes requests and then not knowing the song someone in the audience requested

Serving someone food that I made and them having an intense allergic reaction to it immediately

Losing my retainer in the ocean while scuba diving*

Living my whole life without knowing that I’ve been recorded 24/7 like The Truman Show

Running out of gas on any road, anywhere, as soon as my gas light comes on

My phone battery dying at the DMV

My phone battery dying while I am in line at the Post Office

My phone battery dying and there suddenly appears a puppy that I want a picture of

Getting to the register at any store to pay with a giftcard and finding out the giftcard has a balance of $0.00

Drinking something that is too hot and burning my tastebuds off forever, never getting to enjoy food ever again

Making a classic rock musical reference and no one getting it

Making a Buffy reference and no one getting it

Making an Arrested Development reference and no one getting it

Making references to things, in general


Someone reading my own blog aloud to me on a loop, forever

Missing one tiny patch of hair while shaving my legs and everyone staring at it later

Trying to separate my trash at Whole Foods into compost and recyclable and putting the wrong material in the wrong bin**

My foot falling asleep AND THEN NEVER WAKING UP

Becoming famous for something really dumb

Finding a secret passageway to another vortex or a time machine but no one believing me

The working world one day decides to start taking grades like high school all over again

Basically any version of “high school all over again”


My alma mater calling me up and saying, “Hey, remember that college degree you got? Joke’s on you! Totally photoshopped!”

Not drinking enough water and turning into a human cactus

Washing a piece of clothing that clearly says “Dry Clean Only” and like, the Laundry Police showing up and arresting me

Being the only person off beat in a crowd clapping situation

The bottle of hair dye I bought ends up being straight bleach/lacquer thinner

Breaking a ukulele string

Writing the wrong amount on a check

Calling someone my best friend or boyfriend and them totally not agreeing and looking at me like a crazy person

Toe socks

Sneezing while getting a tattoo and it being messed up…FOREVER

Never getting a real job and forever being an intern/assistant and then just turning 80 and being like, well, I tried

Putting too much garlic salt and/or sriracha and/or cheese on something and ruining it

Just kidding. What’s “too much cheese”?

*I’ve come extremely close
**And everyone there laughing at me for not knowing what goes where, everyone in their perfect hipster Whole Foods outfits and fixed gear bikes

So very much.

Stacks of waffles with lots of syrup. Afternoons on the couch in your comfy pants, and you go ahead and press the “Play All Episodes” on the dvd menu because you don’t have anything else pressing that day. Asking for help and receiving it. The perfect shade of red lipstick that doesn’t make you look crazy or comical, but instead just works on your skin palette. A warm dog snoring on your feet and you want to move them because they are falling asleep but you don’t wanna wake him up. Gooey hot melted cheese on top of al dente pasta. When someone’s obnoxious ringtone goes off in a quiet place like the DMV or church and everyone tries to hold in laughs. Reading a bible verse or quote that sticks with you. A good haircut. Cups of coffee with the right ratio of sweetness. Sequins on everything. When the quiet person in the room gets up to sing karaoke and totally kills the high notes with finesse. Unexpected hand-written mail. Forehead kisses. Eggs and bacon. Books or movies that people told you were phenomenal, that actually live up to all the hype. A good stiff drink after a long day of stresses. Sunglasses that make you feel like a rockstar when you put them on. Making all the green lights when you really needed to be there on time. Dinner with family, even if it only lasts 15 minutes. Cinnamon toast. When the band finally takes the stage at a concert and plays that first perfect note, and you forget how much your feet hurt from waiting for them for 2 hours + soundcheck. Tall boots and patterned socks. Naps. When your stomach hurts from laughing and you can’t even remember what was so hilarious but you also can’t stop cackling. A good record on a Saturday night. Knowing when to say no and sticking to it. Old photographs that make you happy thinking about the memories, not sad that they are over. Adventures! Big headphones. Baby animals. Old friends that are on the same page even after years. New friends that click instantly. Coworkers that become friends. Even the friendships and relationships that are hard-won because they took a while to work out. Fires and s’mores. Novelty license plates. Little dates in the afternoon. Theme parks with short lines. Pretending you’re a mermaid in your bathtub even at 22 years old. Getting a second interview and doing that happy dance in your room by yourself. That really good first streeeetttchhhh in the morning when you first wake up. Hyping The Hobbit in 3D. Going to the museum and pretending the dinosaur skeletons are chasing you. Christmas music. Caramel apples. Taking the wisdom of your parents and it paying off. Singing at the top of your lungs. Acknowledging when people are nice and kind to you and telling them and appreciating them right then. Hugs. Walking to dinner. Phone calls from far away and phone calls from the next room over and conversations that you needed to have. Peanut Butter Goo Goo Clusters.

This week has been weirdly emotional. Connecticut was all over my twentysomething newsfeeds, and whatever was said, it was all still so polarizing. I have no words to write about it, no dramatic conclusion, no sweeping outpouring, except that life is small and short and so very often I forget to look around and appreciate it. I spend my time waiting on something to come, or a big career with bright lights, and I am so terribly ridiculously spoiled.  I am a little spec in this big world but I have so much to be thankful for and so much to love.

So very much.


2.5 cups of strong coffee and i can pretty much conquer the world

16 or so of my best friends that i love that i miss so very much

0.5 months till i can finally listen to christmas music in public without being chastised or made fun of!

249382784539 dogs in the world that i want to adopt and love and snuggle

4 different layers that i am wearing today, because 59 degrees is cold when you are from texas, okay

6 foods that i usually aim to eat in some way as much as possible- bacon, cheese, avocado, sweet potato, jalapeno, honey

50 different places i’ve never been that i want to go to really badly

1,998 (and counting) pins on pinterest of things i don’t have, food i’m not eating and clothing i am not wearing and i wonder if this is healthy, BUT THEY ARE SO CUTE AND WONDERFUL

4 bobby pins required, at least if you’d like me to look presentable

16 hours of recorded shows on the DVR that i should probably watch one of these days

100,000 miles coming up on my odometer, so, okay i’ll buy the high mileage oil this time

8 more days till i go home and get to see my family and eat real seafood and texmex and play on the water and celebrate thanksgiving in style (!!!!)

21 days until Ray LaMontagne and I will have an acoustic heart-to-heart

1 extra shot in that chai latte, please, or i’ll nap

45 emails i need to respond to, 3 of which i am actually excited about

3 record players in our house, but who’s counting?

285 listens of this song and i am still blown away and in love and waiting on the tips of my toes for her new album to come out so i can buy it and listen to it all day and just RELATE

7 different to-do lists, but no, i’m not obsessive about them at all

100 new business cards that make me feel all official and professional and connected

3 months that i’ve lived here and i’m slowly starting to think of it as home

2 roommates and 1 huge dog that are all fantastic

1 cute boy who makes me pancakes in the morning

1 happy, somewhat healthy lion learning to make rent and how to have a job and how to be an adult

1 more thing: thanks for reading this blog

Skills I Don’t Know If I Should List On My Resume

I am really good at identifying S Club 7 songs

I can complicate any “simple” order at a fast food restaurant and often do

I am really good at making other people do math for me because it gives me anxiety

I know the E! Channel’s afternoon programming lineup very well

I can paint with all the colors of the wind

I know how to twirl spaghetti on my spoon all fancy

I can carry up to 12 Venti beverages from Starbucks by myself and walk 5 blocks with them without spilling a drop

I know all the words to “It’s Raining Men”

I am excellent at driving around with my low gas light on for as long as possible before filling up again

I  know all 4 of the Beatles’ birthdays, Bob Dylan’s birth name, and the kind of guitar Bruce Springsteen has used exclusively for most of his career

I am experienced at using “five more minutes” as an excuse frequently

I can waste several hours crafting the perfect playlist for the smallest seemingly-insignificant event or afternoon

I frequently create great life mottos like, “Someday I will use this in my screenplay” and “The cure for anything is more sleep or more coffee”

I am great at exhausting all my energy when adorable animals are around and trying to make them love me and cooing at them and singing songs to them and doing baby voices to speak to them

I am wonderful at living vicariously through the instagram feeds of Mayer Hawthorne and Oprah Winfrey

I identify colors I see with titles from the old Crayola box, including, but not limited to: Tickle-Me-Pink, Purple Mountain’s Majesty, Robin’s Egg Blue, Lazer Lemon, Macaroni And Cheese, Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Cerulean, etc.

I am a pro at taking naps, like, give me a few hours and a warm spot and I will NAP IT OUT

I am slowly learning how to sustain a real relationship on lengthy text messages, airport-terminal-embraces, skype calls til we both fall asleep, iced coffee dates, short visits, long goodbyes, and so so much borrowed time

I am skilled at actually wanting a job and not wanting to be a complaining twentysomething statistic like everything else I seem to read

I am always prepared to dance like crazy until my feet hurt and sing until I’m hoarse to good, loud, heartfelt rock and roll and never apologize for it

You And I And Our Lists

I worry that we are all just little collections of likes and dislikes, with detailed lists of each. We carry around these lists of our favorite and least-favorite things close to our chests, waiting to run into someone new and to share them to see if we have any in common. We quote movies and post song lyrics and claim ownership of hometowns– tightening our first around the things that we like, the things that we consume, the things that seemed to build us. It’s all just silly words and melodies and names and images, but it’s everything to us in a way. What we like is what we’re told to talk about, to pursue, and to share.

But it’s so small. Knowing a top 5 list is so miniscule.

Top 5 favorite movies. Top 5 favorite tv shows. Top 5 favorite bands. Top 5 favorite sports teams. Top 5 favorite books. Top 5 favorite sandwiches. Top 5 favorite websites. Top 5 favorite vacation spots. Top 5 favorite top-5-list topics.

It’s perfect when someone else’s 5 is the same as yours– you get a moment of swelling joy in thinking, “Yes! You get it! You understand me!” but that’s so cheap. Liking and disliking, comparing and sharing, it’s all so exhausting and so structured.

Because you can know someone’s favorite tv shows for years but never get the inner workings of their soul.

And I know that sentence doesn’t sound profound at all, but in a society of meticulously-placed tweets and highly-edited information released exclusively, it’s so frustrating to feel real camaraderie anymore. Not just “we-commented-on-the-same-blog-post” friendships, but the kind that cuts deep and knows.

The kind that not only knows that you take two splendas in your coffee, but that you tear up when you see elderly couples holding hands because it makes you feel a longing for a romance that society has told you doesn’t exist anymore.

Or the kind that knows you can’t miss NBC’s Thursday Night comedy lineup, but also that the thought of your direction in life is terrifying.

After almost 22 years, I’m nearly an open book, and the ink is still very wet. I’m eager to share anything that’s not appropriate for “dinner table conversation”, even as we are seated at the dinner table. I want to talk about the hard things that aren’t comfortable yet. I want to tell jokes that would make our predecessors blush. I want to chat regarding the failed relationships we’re supposed to act like aren’t proper discussion topics but are all we are aching to speak up about. I want us to talk about hurts and confusion and pain. I want us to talk about awkward kisses and embarrassing stories we swore to never bring up again. I want us to talk about anxieties that cut us down and overwhelming pride that make us seem almost too confident. I want us to brag obnoxiously and I want us to mope listlessly. I want us to talk about faith and love, and where we’ve lost both. I want us to talk about childhood dreams that never came true, as well as the small victories we never saw coming.

I’m scared that it’s easier for me just to run down my list, day after day and year after year. I like jalapenos, I like The Beatles, I like long text message conversations, and I like turquoise jewelry. I don’t like waiting in lines, I don’t like silences, I don’t like Two & A Half Men, and I don’t like humidity. But where does this get us? Sure, we can sustain conversation and keep up appearances for a long time, but sooner or later there’s going to be that moment where I want to tell you all about near-mental breakdowns and we won’t have made it there yet.

So, yes, I will cling to my favorite things and I will tell you about them in full. I will gladly repeat banter we heard in a scene or learn chords in a song. I will quote and recommend and discuss your favorites and my favorites and resurrect a shrine of our top 5s, displayed as perfectly as possible. But, I hope that maybe together, when we’re ready, we can let go of our lists. We’ll slowly release our grip and smooth out all the wrinkles in the paper from where we’ve held on so tight and we’ll put them all somewhere safe. And then, with our hands free and our usual topics taken care of, we can really talk.

And if in that moment you can’t think of the words to say, don’t worry. I’ll go first.

More Realistic Facebook Relationship Statuses, Part 2

Okay, Internet, apparently we’re all just a little messed up in the relationship department, because I can’t even tell you how many comments and emails I got about this post! So I figured I should include a few more, since I didn’t get all of you in the first round. Feel free to comment with your own, because I’d hate for your demographic to be left out. So, without further ado, I present-

More Realistic Facebook Relationship Statuses, Part 2

(And once more, you’re welcome for this great idea, Zuckerberg.)


BRB, Going To Unfairly Compare You To All My Past Relationships And You Will Fall Short

Mom And Dad, Please Stop Worrying About Me Having Grandchildren

Looking For The Kate Middleton To My Prince William

Looking For The Jay-Z To My Beyonce

Looking For The Precious To My Gollum


Maybe We Could Just Split Gas And Entrees Occasionally, Because This Economy Is Killing Me

I’ve Never Met The Person I’m In Currently In Love With, But Based On Facebook Stalking, I Just Know We Would Be Perfect Together

I Only Date Musicians

I Tried Only Dating Musicians, But Turns Out They Are Really Needy


I Liked That Guy/Girl But Then You Kept Pressuring Me To Tell Them And Move At A Faster Pace And I Did, And Now It’s Awkward

“I’m Just Really Focused On My Career Right Now”

Everybody Wants Me! (Get In Line)

Everybody Wants Me! (Nobody Wants Me)

Still Hung Up On The Last One, Sorry, Try Again In A Month

Someone Attractive Recently Sent Me A “;)” Winky Face In A Text And I Don’t Know What To Do

I Never Learned How To Politely Tell People That Are Interested In Me “No” So Now I Just Have A Few Stragglers Still Hanging On

I Am One Of Those Stragglers Holding On To A CouldaBeenNotReallySure Relationship

My Friends Say I Am A Catch, But Where Is My Catcher

Pics Or It Didn’t Happen

Wait, You Mean Tim Riggins Is A Fictional Character?

I Only Want A Boyfriend If He Dresses Well

I Only Want A Girlfriend If She Cares About Sports

I’ve Been Told That I Send Mixed Signals But That’s Not True, Want To Take Me To Dinner? I’ll Ignore You And Be On My Phone The Whole Time And Then Call You Tomorrow…Crying

This Guy, Like, Called Me Instead Of Texting. Who Does That?

You Mean There Are Still Nice Girls Out There?

You Asked Me Out But I Was Already On My Couch Watching A Seinfeld Marathon, Sorry

I Have Way Too Many Quirks For You

I’m A Professional “Plus One”

I Wanna Dance With Somebody, I Wanna Feel The Heat With Somebody, Oh, I Wanna Dance With Somebody: With Somebody Who Loves Me

Movies And TV Made Me Think That Problems In Relationships Were Epic And Fun When In Actuality Conflict Is Not Fun And Hurts, HELP

I Just Want You To Buy Me Presents

I Just Want You To Sing Me To Sleep

I Just Want You To Stop Blogging About Our Relationship

If I Were A Boy

I would wear nothing but denim and pull it off

I would work on cars all day

I assume that I would crave steak and potatoes (more than I already do)

I would be sad that the world stereotypes me and tells me that I can’t have emotions or reactions to anything that’s not just grunting

I would make more fart jokes, let’s be honest

I might watch more sports, or I might just turn on golf and take a nap, because that’s what televised golf was created for

I would order tough sounding drinks even when I wanted the fruity margarita

I would worry about my hairline too much

I would eventually find a good cologne that works for me and smell amazing and not realize how much girls are attracted to smell, like seriously, that is a huge factor

I would complain about shaving and say I wish I didn’t have to, even if I actually hate my beard because it comes in red and patchy

I wouldn’t know exactly what I wanted in a relationship either, but would probably hate the double standard that I’m supposed to have it all figured out and take charge and “Be A Man” in the dating world

Maybe I would finally understand the appeal of Megan Fox?

I would try to be a Barney Stinson but would always end up being a Ted Mosby

I would feel overwhelming pressure to be the breadwinner in my family and that would frustrate me

I might, like a little bit, but for the most part, wouldn’t quite understand the complexity and anxiety that comes with picking the right hair salon, and maybe that’s okay

Even if I wasn’t a ‘fighter’ by nature, I would still defend my Mama’s good name and my favorite band, because some things are just sacred

I would listen to Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy” and be like OH NVM, THIS ISN’T RELEVANT, BECAUSE I AM ONE

I would try to be a good son, a trustworthy father, a loving boyfriend and a man of honor

I would also try to have all the high scores in all of the video games

I probably wouldn’t use as many emoticons in my text messages, but hey, who knows

I would just be trying to get along in this world without being called a jerk, too masculine, too feminine, power-hungry, womanizing, overly-sensitive, a bad listener or simply “the wrong kind of guy” that I’m told about constantly from my peers, the media, and delusional women’s magazines

I would try to be James Brown, Han Solo, Mr. Rogers, Robert Plant, Frank Sinatra, Woody Allen, Ryan Gosling, Jim Henson, Indiana Jones, Lester Bangs, Jack White, James Dean, Albert Einstein, John Lennon, Stephen Colbert, J.D. Salinger, Bruce Springsteen, Marc Jacobs, The Old Spice Commercial Guy, Johnny Cash, Joss Whedon, Jimi Hendrix, Ron Swanson, Andy Warhol, Don Draper, Freddie Mercury, and Johnny Bravo all rolled into one.

And for better or worse, I’d probably still blog about all of it.