29 July 2013

Music Monday: J. J. Cale

Matt Nathanson summed things up pretty well this weekend when he tweeted:
I don't remember falling in love with J. J. Cale's music. Like most of the musicians I have admired since I was kid, it has felt like their music has always been part of the soundtrack to my life.

I will always regret that I never saw Cale perform live but the beauty of his music is that a piece of him will be around forever.

Anyway the Wind Blows


After Midnight & Call Me The Breeze

And my personal favorite, It's Easy

R.I.P. JJ Cale.

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28 July 2013

Sunday Confessions: I'm All Over the Place this Week

Facebook: So I did it. I finally, yes FINALLY started a Facebook page for Miles from Ordinary. It is still a work in progress but it's slowing coming together. If you Facebook, I'd be much obliged if you stopped by and said hi!

Seriously?!: I find it quite humorous that the worse a particular baseball player does, the more I like him. As in, defending him to the masses like him. Although it would be nice if he could get some of his swagger back so he'd start hitting his locations but I digress.

Flaking Out: Scattered doesn't even begin how I have been feeling likely. It's been weird. Like if I sit down't to complete a task, no way, not going to happen. Except for writing. I have been a writing fool! So much so that I had to grab a new notebook for my blog. Which may have  something to do with it. I always feel way more inspired when I'm writing in a fresh book an opposed to an old one.

Fraud: Part of my weird scattered self this week is because I'm feeling pretty unworthy of some of the comments/notes folks have been sending me lately, especially when it comes to self love, body image stuff. "Why would that be?" you may be asking. It's because of the major meltdown I had last week after a visit to see my doctor. I completely underestimated how hard it would be to exercise some of those demons, but I am working on a post about it for later this week.

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25 July 2013

Do You Mu Mu? Part 2

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I haven't done one of these posts in a really long time, but since I was feeling kind of cute yesterday I figured what the heck! And then I realized I had already done this particular item on the list. Whoops! Hopefully Jes won't mind the double link-up.

I unfortunately do not own an official mumu, but what I do own is a fabulous black dress that was actually referred as a mumu by someone. Because apparently if you aren't wearing something totally clinging to your body it's a mumu. Whatevs.

I am a big time believer is wearing what you love, regardless of what fashion rule is popular at that moment. This dress is one of those things that I love. And if I could wear it every day, I would wear it every damn day of my life and not apologize for it. Putting this dress on makes me feel fabulous. Like I can conquer the world. Or at least my workday or a night out with the girls.

I feel like myself in this dress more than anything else that I own. I feel fierce, independent, sassy and maybe even a little bit sexy.

I think every girl needs a dress like that.

This is me totally strutting my stuff.

Me not strutting my stuff but instead fixing my hair which makes for a semi-awkward pose which is always awesome. 
Can we talk about this necklace?! LOVE IT.                    Ridiculous fact: I love that I have laugh lines.

Tonight's view from the shores of Lake Michigan. 

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22 July 2013

Music Monday: Saints of Valory

One of my favorite parts about going to concerts is discovering new bands and/or musicians.

Last week, Saints of Valory opened for Michael Franti & Spearhead in Grand Rapids. By the time their set was done, I had already downloaded their new ep Possibilities and have since bought everything I can get my hands on. This band is good ya'll.

Cover Girl


Tiny Dancer

If you have a chance, I highly recommend checking them out if they come to a city near you!

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21 July 2013

Sunday Confessions: Something's Missing

Picture This: Over the last couple of weeks, my camera has been put to good use. First at a family photoshoot and then at a concert. I've also been reminded of how much I miss taking photographs on a somewhat regular basis. It's just that it can be so time consuming at times and that is when I start to hate it again. I need to figure out some kind of a balance so that I don't feel like it's a burden.

Live Music: This summer started off as the summer without any concerts on my calendar and it was making me quite sad. Music, especially life music, is part of my soul and without it, I feel like I'm missing part of what I am. But I am very happy to say that this is no longer the case. And the best part about it is that my summer concert series opened with Michael Franti & Spreadhead and will end with Michael Franti & Spearhead! How fun is that?

Controversial: I've been working out a few posts that will are breaking the "don't write about anything too controversial" and "too personal" rules of blogging. But to not post them because of those rules seems disingenuous.

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20 July 2013

Shit I Wish People Would Have Told Me When I Was Younger

  • Not everything that "goes wrong" has a lesson attached to it. Sometimes shitty things happen.
  • You will fall in love. He will break your heart. But it doesn't mean you are broken. 
  • Laugh as much as you can, especially at yourself. You don't need to take yourself that seriously.
  • You are perfect, just they way you are. And those who tell you that you aren't, it's o.k. to ignore them and/or cut them out of your life. In fact, I recommend you do just that. Make space for those who deserve it.
  • You are stronger than you give yourself credit for, emotionally and physically.
  • You're breasts will never, EVER, be the same size. 
  • Your friends don't always know best. Follow your gut, it will serve you better in the long run.
  • Make hasty decisions. 
  • Wear sassy clothes. They'll make you feel better. 
  • Surround yourself with quality not quantity.
  • Don't be afraid of who you are. Share yourself. If someone asks you to change, walk away.

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17 July 2013

Weekly Reads

It pains me a bit to say that I have not really read anything of substance in months. I think reading Shantaram kind of broke me. But it is also summer which makes reading over the top "romance" novels a little more appropriate.

A Celtic Witch by Deborah Greary
Cassidy Farrell is a world-class Celtic fiddler. And if she has her way, that's exactly who she'll stay.  
Except that's not what the rocks have in mind. Or a certain fetching spell. Or the truth working its way free in her own heart. 

Can the music, and perhaps a certain grumpy curmudgeon and his baby girl, help Cass find her life's new song? 

A Celtic Witch is book six of the top-rated A Modern Witch series. Light contemporary fantasy with a good dose of humor, a little romance, and characters you won't want to leave.

I do really enjoy this series. It is lighthearted, fun and packed full of characters you can immediately fall in love with and wish were part of your inner circle of friends.

Like the previous titles in this series, not only does this book introduce a new character into the fold, we also get to know more about previous characters in the series. This time, it was Marcus and the witches of Nova Scotia with a few cameos from the witches of Berkely, which is what many of the other books focus on. This is absolutely a series I'd recommend to anyone wanting to just simply get lost in a good story.

This is Who I Am by Cherise Sinclair
When trying to save a woman from slavers, Sam screwed up. Royally. Now Linda wants nothing to do with him. Or with BDSM. She won’t even admit she’s a masochist. As a dominant and sadist, he can give her what she needs, and when an opportunity arises, he slips into her life, intending to make amends. She’s everything he knew she would be…except for her bullheaded determination to be ‘normal’. 

Now the horrible time is past, Linda just wants to return to her small conservative town, pick up her quiet life, and be normal. But how can someone who likes pain be ‘normal’? To her dismay, when someone spray-paints her home with obscenities, Sam shows up to rescue her. Again. Doesn’t he understand that the last thing she needs in her life is a sadist? He’s amused by her objections. But his dry sense of humor can’t disguise that he’s tough as nails and dominant and stubborn. He’s not going to let her drive him off this time. Soon she realizes she wants him to stay. 

When he takes her to the Shadowlands, she feels as if she’s found a home…until she hears a voice from out of her nightmares.

I am absolutely fascinated by this series. And the main character in this one, Sam. The whole time I was reading it, I kept picturing Sam Elliot in my head. Hopefully that doesn't ruin it for anyone, but if you read the book I think you'll understand.

I think more so than the others in the series, this one is not for the faint of heart. Sam is a sadist which made reading parts of this story really hard to get through. But the underlying theme of the book was enough to keep me reading even if  I had to skim through a few scenes.

The Billionaire's Obsession by J.S. Scott
Down on her luck, nursing student and full-time waitress Kara Foster gets a massive blow to her already desperate financial situation that will surely find her living on the streets. Needing nothing less than a miracle to save her, Kara gets rescue from an unknown, unlikely and overwhelming source. Billionaire Simon Hudson makes her an offer that is impossible to refuse, but terrifying to accept from a man that she's never met. Will the handsome, alpha billionaire really be a solution to her problems, or will he end up being a major complication and a danger to her emotional sanity? 

Reclusive billionaire Simon Hudson would rather be behind a computer creating computer games than rubbing elbows with the elite and he knows exactly what he wants...until he meets Kara Foster. Something about Kara touches Simon in ways he's never experienced and definitely doesn't like. For over a year, Simon watches over Kara, but stubbornly refuses to admit his desire to possess her, not even to himself. But when she ends up in a situation that could very well be her destruction, Simon steps up to help her, not realizing that in saving Kara, he might very well be salvaging his own soul.

Oh this book. Actually it was four novellas in one "collection". Don't. Just don't. Save your dollar. Last week I read a really back knock-off of Twilight and this week it was a really back knock-off of the Fifty Shades series, which is saying something because I HATED those books.

An overbearing billionaire who grunts more than he speaks, sweeps the damsel in distress of her feet asking for just "one night of passion" which inevitably causes them to fall in love and live happily every after--all in a matter of three, maybe four weeks. I just don't know. Can't someone out there come up with a semi-original storyline. I know this is the current "it thing" in the romance novel world, but someone has to have a fresh idea. But more importantly, when.....WHEN will I stop falling for these titles.

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16 July 2013

Things That Make Me Giggle

The last couple of weeks have been rough. They've been the kind of weeks where you second guess every decision, every thought you have because someone else thinks they know a better way or have a better answer and of course feel the need to share it with you and everyone without listening distance. It's been the kind of weeks that'll make you question everything about yourself.

But thanks the the black hole known as the internet, I've found a few things that instantly make me smile, giggle and sometimes feel a little bit better.

Big shout-out to Justin Verlander on this one. Boy oh boy does that man wear his baseball pants well.

I think we can all agree--no pants are the best pants.

Love me some Darryl. 

This is just plain awesome. 
How can you be unhappy when looking at this goat!?

Happy Tuesday everyone!
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15 July 2013

Music Monday: Michael Franti & Spearhead

When was the last time you were actually excited about a Monday?

It's a truly foreign concept to me, but today--I'm excited about today!

Long story short......on Friday a cousin sent me a Facebook message asking if I'd be interested in her extra ticket for the Michael Franti & Spearhead concert on Monday (a.k.a. today). How could I pass up an offer like that?!

So, thanks to an awesome coworker who was willing to switch shifts with me and my fantastic cousin for asking me to join her, today after work I'm off to see one of my favorite bands perform and I can't wait.

If you've never seen Franti in concert or listened to his music, I implore you to do so. I joke a lot that his music is audible sunshine, but it really is. It is impossible to not dance and shake your groove thing with a giant smile while listening to his tunes. 
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14 July 2013

Sunday Confessions: Come On, Get Happy

Oiy vey......I need a vacation. Or maybe just a minimal break from reality. The last few weeks have been rough. Feels a bit like the weight of the world is crashing down around me. Not fun but I'm doing what I can to keep my chin up, to include some of the following:

Reading Woes: As much as I complain that I've not been reading anything of "substance" lately, it's really not that bad. Reading over the top, ridiculous romance (or bodice rippers, depending on how you look at it) novels is one of the other things keeping me sane. Even if I spend half my time rolling my eyes.

Workout Warrior: I am LOVING my gym time, so much so that I'm pretty certain after I hit publish on this post I am going to hop in the car and go workout (it's too blasted hot and humid to do anything outside today). Plus, I nearly had a panic attack earlier today when I realized I might only be able to make it there three times this week instead of five. I've grown accustom to working out after work but may have to get my ass out of bed extra early a couple times this week for some early morning trips to the gym.

Writing: I started writing in a journal again. I haven't done so in a couple of years (actually, I think I stopped keeping a journal as soon as I started my blog) but it has helped. I've been able to get some of the funk out of my head that I can't exactly talk to anyone about. Plus, putting pen to paper is my favorite way to write so it has also helped me work out some stuff for the blog. Double bonus!

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13 July 2013

Life Lately

Anticipating// Yesterday, a cousin of mine sent me a message asking if I'd be interested in her extra ticket to see Michael Franti & Spearhead in concert on Monday. Having seen them perform 5 or 6 times already, I jumped at the chance to see them again (I'll also be seeing them towards the end of August). Needless to say, this is one of the only times I can ever remember being excited about a Monday!

Pondering//Last weekend I had a quick photo outing and was reminded how much I miss my camera. I just haven't been feeling the photo thing lately--sure, taking the photos can be fun but then there is the processing and the uploading and I just don't have time for that. But I am feeling like I'm ready to pick the camera back up again, even if it's just once a week to get back into the swing of things. Do ya'll ever go through phases like that--where there is something you love but then end up hating and struggling to figure out how to get back into the swing of things with it?

Loving//I've mentioned it before, but I am obsessed with bags. OBSESSED. I love them and can't seem to have enough. Recently, I've been on a mission for a new gym bag. While I love the one I made, I need something that has pockets and will help keep all the stuff I take with me to the gym organized. While checking out all my options on Amazon, at Target and Etsy, I came across a bag from Christy Studio which I immediately fell in love with and since it was on sale, bought.

I picked it up from the post office today and LOVE IT. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) it may be a little too nice to be a gym bag which would put me right back at square one, but if that is the case I have a snazzy new everyday bag which makes me equally as happy!
Ashley Bag from Christy Studio
I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

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10 July 2013

Weekly Reads

Oh hey.....look! I read a book.

O.k. so they were more in the novella category but if I paid for them, I'm counting them. And sadly, I'm not entirely sure why I bought one of them to begin with. It was awful, but I'll get to that in a moment.

Hook's Pan by Marie Hall
Trishelle Page has known pain in her life, but instead of it making her weak, she's stronger. Confident. That is until the day a fairy kidnaps her during her staring role in Peter Pan's play and tells her not only do fairy tales exist, but that she's the soulmate of the pirate they call Hook, making her question everything she ever thought she knew. 

Captain James Hook is a man at the end of his rope. He's not the villainous bastard tales have made him out to be. So when the curvaceous blonde drops, literally, at his feet he aims to prove it to her. If only to get her into his bed. 

What neither one knows is that fate and magic are conspiring and they can deny the attraction all they want but the end is already written, it's just a matter of getting there.

This was the fifth (and final) book in this series. I somehow missed book 4 but thankfully this isn't one of those series that you need to read them in order. Of the four in the series that I have read, this one was my favorite. Maybe because of my deep seeded love for pirates. Or maybe because the way Trishelle handled her emotions is pretty close to how I deal with mine (sarcasm all the way!) but I really loved this one.

Trishelle's character was pretty similar to the other to the other female characters in this series. Wounded by past loves. Thrown into a "fantasy world" and only three days to fall in love with their mate. There did seem to be some disconnect between Trisha's perception about her past behavior and relationships and how that part of her life was actually presented--they really didn't match, but that didn't diminish anything about the story--just seemed a little odd.

Hook on the other hand--this was a really interesting interpretation of the story of him and Peter Pan. I loved the way Hall breathed life into a character that for so long has played second fiddle to Peter Pan. Regardless of my love for  rascally pirates, by the end you were really rooting for him and his  own wounded heart.

Shattered (Dream Realms Trilogy: Book 1)
Sophia Sharpe
Laura Cubus was perfectly content with her life. A junior in high school, she felt perfectly normal. She had good friends, a great family, and did well in school. Nothing particularly exciting ever happened where she lived, and everything was stable. 

But that all drastically changes when a new student arrives at Laura's school. Wild rumors swirl about his past, and Laura becomes determined to find out the truth. As she gets to know the mysterious student, he shares with her an ancient secret... one that may yet put both of them in grave danger. 

And for the first time in her life, Laura is exposed to a completely unfamiliar world. She is swept away on an exhilarating journey that takes to a place where romance and great destiny may yet await... and where supernatural powers run rampant.

Right after I bought my Kindle, I went on this bizarre shopping spree of books and this title was apparently one of them. And to be honest, I don't quite know where to even start. I read it in one sitting and if you have fortunate pleasure (or unfortunate depending on how you look at it) of following me on Twitter, I did a little bit of a live-tweet while reading it.

To say it is a knock-off of Twilight would be diminishing the success of the Twilight series. I really don't like to make disparaging remarks about someone elses talent as a writer, but this was just plain awful. For it to be about a seventeen year old girl, it read like it was written from the perspective of how a seventeen year old girl thinks she should behave, talk, etc. And by the end of it, my finishing the book was really just a test to see if it would get any worse--which it did. 
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07 July 2013

Sunday Confessions

One Fifty Plus: Sooo......remember a couple weeks ago I posted that there were things I wanted to talk/write about but kept wimping out on? And then last week I wrote about compartmentalizing things (a.k.a. real life) in multiple blogs? Well--I did just that. It's still a work in progress but it's happening. I created One Fifty Plus (I hate the name and will likely change it but until I find a name that I love I'm going with it) last week. Health and wellness are two very important things to me and it can be really frustrating when seeking out blogs, articles, etc. that don't focus on the "try this new exercise to lose five pounds fast!" Whatever happened to just wanting to physically feel good, at any size? So, that's what I'm hoping to achieve with it. One might call it an experiment but I'd like it to be more than than. AND if anyone has anything they'd like to contribute I'd love that, too!! We shall see how it goes I suppose. 

Random: I had multiple dreams about Captain Random over the last month. And they all include the two of us having the same conversation---"Our time has come and gone. It's time to let go". *sigh* But sometimes letting go is hard to do, no matter how long it's been. So it's a little sad but it has to happen. Let's hope I keep that same resolve the next time we meet, which is unavoidable.

Dancing: I leave you with this on a fine Sunday morning. I love to shake it but am terrible at it. But like Mike says in Dazed and Confused when asked what he wants to do with his life "I wanna dance!".
Source: Eat Sleep Draw

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05 July 2013

Arbitrary Numbers

While putting together this post, another blogger post a link to the following article via Twitter: A 157lb Dissection. It's similar but from a different perspective and definitely well worth the read.

On any given day, any of the following numbers could be used to describe me:
They will tell you my age, measurements, for how many years I have been on some kind of a diet, my height (in centimeters), weight and dress/pants size.

But what those numbers won't and can't do is tell you I am: smart, funny, sarcastic, intelligent, caring, thoughtful, shy, independent, loyal, cool, sensual, introspective, moody, carefree, sexy, hard working and artistic (I certainly could have come up with more adjectives to describe myself but I didn't want to over do it).

Despite all of that, we are judged on that set of numbers every day. And for some, at times including myself, our self worth is based on those numbers as well.

I've spent a lot of time hating those numbers. But even more time being ashamed of them. Judging myself when I'd see a number climb when I didn't want it too after failing miserably when trying to make it go down.

I cringe at how much time I have wasted because of those numbers. But because of that time, I  am (shockingly) in a place where I no longer let those numbers define who I am. To be honest, it doesn't really phase me anymore to say I wear between a 16 and 20 depending on the store (XL or XXL for those stores that don't use numbers) or that my weight is somewhere in the area of 230 but can't say for sure (the last time I stepped on a scale was 2 months ago at the doctors office). Not that anyone should really care, but my inseam is between a 30 and a 32, bra size is 42 and I supposed I'm about 5'8".

What does phase me though is the reactions from others when they hear (or read) those numbers. Because when they do and then hear me say "Not all that worried about any of those numbers" (ok.....that is a lie......I'd like to be taller, but I digress), their perception of what I am saying is that I've given up on my myself.

Rest assured the last thing I have done is give up on myself. My realization that I am more than "just a number" and that my happiness and comfort with who I am is far more important than what that list of numbers might say about me. It can't be be measured in the traditional sense.

Instead it's measured by knowing that when I look in the mirror I no longer hate what I see looking back at me. I no longer poke my belly wishing it was flatter or hating the way my hips curve out in that way. I no longer cry over the lumps and bumps I see or the stretch marks and scars I have that never seem to fade. I no longer dread having to pick something out to wear because an article of clothing might go against some arbitrary fashion rule that if you exceed a certain size you can't wear a certain style, print, etc. I am no longer obsessed with trying to hide my flaws or figure out how to draw attention away from them.

It is measured by my ability to let people in to see who I really am and not who they want or think I should be. It is measured by my knowing my depression, which has always been fuel by low self esteem and terrible body image issues is starting to ebb. It is measured by the fact that I smile more and that I laugh more. It is measured by how many mornings I wake up, happy to experience a new day.

Getting to a place where one truly loves who they are is not an easy path to take because it goes against almost everything we are taught by the media, society and sometimes even our friends and family. But I promise you, taking that leap of faith and deciding to that that path is 100% worth it.

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