Benjamin Tod of Lost Dog Street Band – Hungry For You Blues

I can’t speak highly enough of Lost Dog Street Band. They’re pure, simple Americana and I am such a sucker for it. I have never heard a studio recording of any of their songs, everything I have found on them is a taped performance, and honestly I want to keep that way. What makes them great is how raw and honest they are, and I’m afraid I might hear that get watered down. Definitely recommend watching everything they have, love love loooove them.

More Lost Dog Street Band:


Olivia O’Brien – Empty

So the lyrics aren’t anything that hasn’t been said or heard before, but they’re straightforward and honest, and that is something to be appreciated. It’s also always refreshing to me to hear depression discussed in a pop song. Take Marina and the Diamonds or Melanie Martinez, for instance. What makes them so great is that they take a genre that should be easy to digest because it just hits your ears the right way, but their lyrics have some pretty heavy emotion behind them. I hadn’t heard much from Olivia O’Brien before, but from what I had heard, it was all fairly bubblegum (in a good way), but I would love to see more like this new track for sure.

More Olivia O’Brien:

It’s the little things.

Mornings are a struggle.

I never get enough sleep, even when I hit snooze three times. I’m sweaty from forgetting to turn the heater off overnight and I don’t have time to shower. I need to feed the crying cat and try not to trip over her when she tries to bite my ankles. I have no idea what to wear, and I definitely don’t have time to put on makeup. I didn’t pack a lunch like I said I would, and I don’t feel like taking out the trash I was supposed to take out yesterday.

Most mornings will play out this way.

But sometimes my sleeping prince will roll over while I’m trying to be as quiet as can be, getting dressed in near darkness, and he’ll say, eyes still closed,”Wake me up before you leave. I need to see the new clothes you were talking about yesterday. I want to see how cute you look.”

And for the first time in what seems like forever I’ll smile. Because when I think all I want to do is evaporate and be completely forgotten, I am reminded of the joy of being heard when I thought no one was listening. I remember that even when I’m feeling completely drained, it takes little to no effort to be kind, and show someone you love them.

It’s been raining for days, but today there is sun and a reason to be thankful.

So It’s My Birthday

Well, almost my birthday anyways. In just 4 days, I am hitting the quarter-century mark. Normally I’m not the type that uses my birthday as a reason to reflect on my year and evaluate the wisdom and growth that was supposed to have occurred, but it just so happens that there have been some changes in my mentality recently, and I am coincidentally turning another year older, so why not?

About a month ago I decided that I needed to find a creative outlet, that I needed to start eating right and become more active, and that I needed to do both of these things while maintaining my personal and professional life. I wanted to commit to not being complacent and to really pushing myself to feel inspired every day. Obviously since then I have had some days where I completely and utterly failed. There were days where I was grumpy, I half-assed a workout , or I spent more time on social media rather than focusing on my boyfriend. On the flip-side though, when I compare this past month to the one prior, those days were fewer and far between.

For my birthday I decided to try something new and go indoor rock-climbing with a group of friends, something I haven’t done since like, 2nd grade. My idea had been to do something that reminded me of being a kid since this 25th birthdays are somewhat of a milestone. It was supposed to be silly and unexpected, a lighthearted change. Then as the event drew closer, it seemed to be turning out to be quite the opposite. The day of, while I was still at work, I was anxious because about half the guest list couldn’t make it, my boyfriend had an injury from work and wouldn’t be able to participate, and I felt maybe I had chosen an activity that would be more awkward than enjoyable for everyone. I was bracing myself for a disaster.

But when the night came and everyone had arrived, it all melted away. I felt stupid and clumsy at first because I literally forgot every step the instructor taught me on knots and belaying right after she described them to me, but once I got the hang of it I was giggling and swinging down from the top of the wall and feeling strength in my arms and legs that I had never really been proud of before. Every few minutes one of my friends would turn to me and say what a great idea this was, and I would see my boyfriend with his camera out, smiling and having fun taking pictures and videos of everyone. It was the opposite of everything I had been afraid of.

At the end of the night, tired and hungry, my boyfriend and I made a heaping plateful of tater tots, got into bed, and spent the night laughing and snacking until we fell asleep. Waking up today, I am looking at the start of 25 as a great one. I’m doing my best to keep up this blog, I am trying new things, staying active, and my relationship feels stronger than ever. Some days I know I’ll slip and won’t accomplish any of my goals, but for now I am remembering to always stay grateful and always find ways to feel like a little kid reaching the top of a rock wall.

Charlotte OC – Darkest Hour (Live Sofar London)

This is simply stunning. Lyrics, vocals, presence. I’m all about this, forreal. She starts off so soft and steady, and the buildup to that booming finish is so powerful. The studio version is worth a listen as well, but it definitely can’t beat this performance. The channel I found this on has some other pretty impressive performers and from the titles, it seems the channel’s aim is to capture performances from all over the world. I dig. Check out some of my favorites below:

Snakehips, MØ – Don’t Leave

A moody female vocalist plus a bass-heavy beat is hardly an original formula, but seriously, who can resist it? Sleepy and melodic, this collaboration track is an excellent addition to any headphones-in-bed-because-I’m-heartbroken playlist.

More Snakehips & MØ

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I made it a point not to make any resolutions this year.

The surest way to make sure I don’t accomplish something is to make it a resolution, so this year I decided I would keep it real and know that I will have my good days and bad days. There will be days where I crack down and read a chapter of that book I’ve been meaning to get to, or there will be days where I fall short and skip that workout I promised I would try. I don’t need that extra pressure on myself to change my habits and mental state by a certain day and then end up disappointed in myself when I fail because of some promise I made according to some arbitrary schedule.

So it’s kind of funny that on another day that has some meaningless and bizarre tradition tied to it, a tradition that dictates that no endeavor should succeed that day, I realize that I have actually checked off quite a few resolutions made from many a yesteryear.

This week I tried a spin class with my co-workers despite being afraid of physical activity, wearing a ponytail, and social interaction. Today, I came home from work and instead of Netflix browsing, I followed not one but two workout routine videos to push myself more than just once this week. Then I put away laundry, made a dinner from a new recipe I found, and I am writing about my experience on my new blog that I have actually maintained past two posts. AND! And – I finished this all just in time to squeeze in an hour or two of reading before going to sleep.

I know it may be a little early to be giving myself so much credit…but I feel like Wonder Woman. I am energetic and motivated, and I want everyday to feel this active and creatively charged. It’s not a resolution, but it’s a hope: a hope that I can be this inspired and feel this capable for at least one moment everyday.

Okay, so maybe that’s getting pretty close to being a resolution. But I think it’s different enough that this time, I may just get it right.