Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Then and Now....

In honor of Halloween 2011, check out this great photo gallery put together by LIFE. I love all of the vintage images. I don't know why, but they just do not compare to today's photographers. My nostalgia seems to get the better of me when it comes to photographs. Enjoy!

LIFE Halloween Then and Now photo gallery

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kate Voegele at Park West...

While my mom was in Chicago visiting me, we did something we've been wanting to do for a long time. We saw Kate Voegele in concert! The show was absolutely amazing. Kate sounds even better in person. Her voice is rich and smoky, which I absolutely love. She is also an equally gifted songwriter. Kate's lyrics make me feel as if she can see into my soul. Sarah and I have listened to her songs in so many places and for so many reasons. We've laughed. We've cried. One memory that plays over in my mind is our many drives through the canyon at all hours of the night and day.

Oddly enough, my mom was the one who introduced me to Kate Voegele. That's rather unique because my dad and I are the music buffs in the family. She first heard Kate during my sister's One Tree Hill phase. Kate had a recurring role as a singer on the show shortly before she released her first album. My mom doesn't buy much music, but she bought Kate's album. We played it on repeat. Over and Over. We were hooked. I've bought both of her following albums and loved each one for its insightful lyrics and real-life messages. Her songs have gotten me through so many hard times.

The venue where we saw Kate was called Park West. It was a fabulous setup. Park West reminded me of  an old night club with a "dance" floor and then tiers of intimate, comfy booths and tables with chairs. Mom and I sat in a booth, were comfortable the entire time, and had a great view. I definitely want to go to another concert at Park West.

Funny story of the night was how I managed to meet Kate after the show. Before the show started, I waited in line to buy a poster. When I finally got up to the front to buy it, I gave my money to the guy and waited for him to give me my change. He gave me my change and said to hold on a sec. Naturally, I waited. He grabbed a wristband and put it on me with a big grin saying, "You get to meet Kate after the show." I was excited and perplexed. A sign on the merchandise table clearly stated that only the first 75 people to buy a sweatshirt or CD would get to meet Kate after the show. I hadn't bought either item. Not wanting my mom to miss out on the action, I smiled and asked if I could get a second wristband for my mom. He said, "Oh yeah, of course". I guess that's what I get for being a cute girl. :-)

We waited in line for about 10 minutes after the concert and were one of the first people to meet Kate. I told her how much I enjoyed her music and that it's gotten me and my friends through so many things. She was so sweet and cute. She gave me a hug and my mom took a picture of us (my cell phone doesn't have a flash so the picture is kind of crappy).

Seeing Kate Voegele at Park West was well worth the wait. My mom and I couldn't have had a better night!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom...

In light of Steve Jobs' passing last Wednesday, I thought it appropriate to dedicate this week's Wednesday Wisdom post to him and the insightful, provoking comments he made during his now famous, 2005 Stanford University commencement address. The first quote about connecting the dots spoke to me the most.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs.

"Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

"Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new."

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Click here to read the entire text of Steve Jobs' profound Stanford University 2005 commencement address. Photo from Apple's website.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Feeling Vacant...

Some days I feel as if happiness will always have a vacancy in my life. That I am destined to struggle every day in my pursuit to live beyond necessity.

I am in Chicago. In theory, I am "living the dream". But most of the time it doesn't feel like it. An underlying layer of depression plagues my existence. Even though, right now, I wouldn't necessarily say I'm "depressed". My body seems to be telling me otherwise.

This week I've found myself wishing I could be the girl I knew in high school. Naive and head strong. Unwilling to believe that dreams were impossible. I may not have let all of my success in, but at least I believed it was possible. I didn't know any better. Any scars I had were surface wounds, only to become deep when adolescent life ended.

I want to embrace the life I'm living. It's why I came here. Yet, it's so hard to do. An intense paradox. Why is that living life gets int the way of really living? Every time I talk to some people who are close to me I feel like I have to give a report about this fabulous life I'm living. When I don't feel I can report favorably, I don't call. I'm tempted to lie. To create a facade that everything is fine because it's not acceptable if it isn't.

I've always struggled to "get out there" and make friends. I'm good at being alone. Social anxiety is too good of a friend to me. I don't want to make excuses or make things more complicated than they are, but what if they are complicated? At least for me, it's not that simple. Why isn't that ok? Even if I give myself permission, it seems wrong to acknowledge my greatest flaws.

Rip off the band-aid. Take the plunge. Go big or go home. So much of the pain I've experienced in my life, I've blamed myself for. The results were because of my own depth, mistakes, who I am as a person. I care too much, so when I get hurt it's bigger than it may be for other people. So it's not the person's fault who hurt me that I'm damaged; it is my own.

I know I am my own form of dramatic. That I future trip and psyche myself out. I look at people from my past. People with whom I dreamed about life in the future. Now, they're all in places I'd thought I'd be. And somehow, I feel like I've always known that it would be that way. Like it's no surprise. Because that's just how it works for me. I can handle not always getting a happy ending, so that's the story I live.

I wrote this at 2:30 am the other night when I couldn't sleep. I wasn't going to post it but after reading my friend Megan's blog I thought that maybe somebody else out there would be able to relate and know that they're not alone. While this post is rather depressing and raw, it's how I felt and I think honesty is what gets you somewhere in this life. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

From Wobbles to Harper...

A week and a half ago I visited The Anti-Cruelty Society and picked up this sweet little miss. I'd been thinking about getting a cat for a week or so and after much deliberation and counsel with my mom and aunt, I decided...ah what the heck?

Several cats had caught my eye on the Anti-Cruelty website but when I went in and started looking around, a small cat in the back reached her paw out to me and made eye contact. As cheesy as it sounds, I think she was saying, "Look at me! Pick me!". Her name, according to the paper chart on her cage, was Wobbles. Strange name for a cat.

I held Wobbles, pet her, and let her walk around in the designated area. She instantly liked me and I liked her too. I looked at several other ginormous cats but when it came down to it, I knew I needed to take this dainty muffin home.

I went through "pet counseling", signed the papers, paid the fee, and Wobbles officially became my little Harper. How did I come up with the name? Well, earlier this year David and Victoria Beckham welcomed a baby girl into their family; a girl they decided to name Harper. When I read the announcement on I fell in love with the name. Although I am indifferent about "The Beckhams", I am grateful for their inspiration. Who knew these international stars could influence my life so profoundly. I applaud you David and Victoria. Here, here.

After spending some time with Harper I quickly learned why her name was "Wobbles". Her gait is slightly off and at times she appears to be slightly under the influence. Not drunk. Just buzzed. I took her to the vet today for her checkup and apparently it's some kind of condition. The vet said most likely her mom contracted a virus while she was pregnant which affected the development of Harper's brain that controls her balance. Something like that. The important thing is that she's a "mild case" and it's not at all life threatening.

Harper is a wonderful addition to my life here in Chicago. The first few days I had her I kept saying to myself: what have I done? I got a cat, what? Why? Can I take her back? Now, I'm so happy I got her. I talk to her in baby talk and everything. Not sure why animals and babies bring that out in humans. Some type of weird phenomenon.

Her favorite place to sleep is my laundry basket. She loves to eat and is a complete spastic when it comes to the litter box. She digs like crazy and litter goes absolutely everywhere! A litter box with walls is currently in route from She sleeps with me for a part of the night and then usually retreats to the laundry basket, only to come back in a few hours later when I wake up. Often times she sits in the bathroom while I get ready in the morning. Oh, and she's a little cry baby. That's pretty much my second name for her.

While I still look forward to finally owning a dog, Harper is exactly what I need right now. She couldn't be any cuter or more wonderful. Definitely a good choice.

Wednesday Wisdom...

 These days, more than anything, I'm trying to believe. Some days are better than others.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekend Moments...

Memorable moments from my first weekend in October:
  • Listening to General Conference...Elder Uchtdorf's talk was my favorite
  • Attending a discussion about the arts and social media at the Ravenswood Arts Walk
  • Talking to people after the discussion and asking them questions to use as quotes in my beat report
  • Buying a pumpkin and walking down the street like Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail
  • Eating Dreyer's pumpkin ice cream
  • Harper playing with my cotton balls and q-tips while I painted my nails
  • Having a nice long chat with my high school bestie Miss Keely Coxon
  • Watching While You Were Sleeping
  • Watching my Aggies play BYU on ESPN3 (this moment would have been A LOT better if we'd won)
  • Remembering to take a deep breath and enjoy my surroundings
Plus, I've officially been in Chicago for 1 month!!