March Tunes

Growing up, music was my constant. I started going to concerts sporadically in high school at an all ages local venue and graduated to going to concerts sometimes 3 nights a week in college- now I wonder how I ever stayed up that late.

 

The types of tunes and my appetite for them hits in waves and I’ve recently hit a moment where I’m really digging on some records.  For the longest, I was listening to a whole bunch of Disney parks background loops and music. Sometimes I’d just be in a mood for straight up nothing playing. Sometimes it’s some funky stuff. Sometimes I just want to listen to the greatest pop songs around. It varies by the day & my mood.  I have recently purchased a few songs and records off of Itunes and wanted to give a quick rundown here and share why I’m loving them so much….

katy-perry-chained-rhythm-cover-1486583208-413x413

  1. Katy Perry- “Chained to the Rhythm” (single): I can’t even. I don’t know why I love this so much, but I have been listening to it non stop. When I was visiting Florida, we spent time at the Parliament House and this song stuck out to me as we were hanging out in the top 40 room. I also loved her performance of it at this year’s Grammy awards. I have a tendency to not always like the most popular stuff, so it’d make sense her lesser known single would be what I gravitate to. Loss gives props to “the first two seconds” where there’s a vaporwave vibe. No matter the genre, I’m chained to this song being on repeat.

homepage_large-55fa992b

 

      2) The XX- “I See You”: I listened to the XX’s first album on loop in college but my musical world changed and I didn’t really have a college station to listen to when I moved back to Chattanooga, so I missed out some.  This February the XX dropped this album and some of the tracks are staples on OTR when they play some tunes at the top of the hour. I love that you can tell exactly who the XX is when you hear the song.  On the same Katy Perry finding trip, we spent some time just hanging out, listening to this record (perhaps on repeat) and I was hooked. Granted, it made me have a little bit of an emo moment and we had to turn it off, but still.  I couldn’t get enough of it and committed to buying it off itunes, which is saying a lot about how much I dig something.

jennifer-lopez-love-make-cover-413x413

3) Jennifer Lopez and Lin-Manuel Miranda “Love Make the World Go Round” (single): After my experience visiting the Pulse memorial and delving more into the simple but profound speech from Lin-Manuel sharing the ultimate truth that “Love is love is love is love…”, I was brought to this song. Once again, it’s a tune I’d heard a few times before but I finally dove into and paid the $1.29 for it.  I’m so glad that I did- the title is a sentiment that I strive to keep in head daily and it’s just an awesome song. I love that it was also created as a link to the Latino community, released 2 weeks or so after the event at Pulse that affected the community so much.  Did I mention it’s catchy as all get out and will get in your head forever and you’ll be ok with it staying there? Yeah, you’ve been warned, now get ready to dance.

81zwixgvtkl-_sl1500_

4) Moana the film soundtrack and score: I’ve been feeling this record since seeing the song.  While the song was great and I loved the story, I think I love the soundtrack even more.  Of course, there’s the Lin-Manuel connection again (I just love him, I can’t help it).  Lin worked on most of the songs and can even be heard on the track “We Know the Way” that is used in the film. I also love being able to pick up his style in the Maui song that borders on a rap, “You’re Welcome”.  Besides having some awesome fingerprints on the songs, the lyrics are fantastic.  “How Far I’ll Go” is, in my opinion, much better than the stupid huge “Let it Go” from Frozen two years back.  If you don’t believe me, watch the performance that Auli’i Cravalho gave on the Oscars. Homegirl is 16 and belted a song like that, live, and killed. The track makes me emotional. It’s great. Plus the score is great to fold laundry to, in case you were wondering.

 

So that’s just a few things I’ve been listening to lately…I’m not looking to get as crazy & dive in as hardcore as I did in college, but I’m pretty proud of my newer finds I’ve listed here. Is there anything you love that I should make sure not to miss out on?

Where to Find Me: OTR

IMG_4575
I’ve got a face for radio

When I planned my visit to Orlando, the first thing I knew I wanted to do was be a guest on the Orlando Tourism Report. Turns out if you’re crashing on the couch of the host, it helps you get on the air, so that Friday I got the opportunity to add my two cents to the topics covered. Of course, I was so tired and hungry by the last 30 minutes of the show, all I could think and talk about was going to lunch afterwards. Now in my defense, the show is on from 10 AM- noon and having slept just a few hours the night before and not having eaten, I couldn’t help but focus on our impending lunch at The Coop!

IMG_4585
They eventually fed me

Regardless, I had an awesome time getting to chat with the guys on air and can’t wait to weasel my way into being a guest again sometime (hint, hint…promise I won’t talk about being hungry…).  I’ve written about the show before  and think they have some of the best coverage of the Orlando tourism world.  After listening to so many Disney-specific podcasts, it’s really cool to listen to a show that covers it all and dives into what I find to be super interesting content.  For example, on this show that I was on, Ken (with MUCH help from Ed) breaks some news on the Nintendo land that is going in to Universal.

IMG_4576
Ken pondering aloud “What is the name of this peach colored princess?” when discussing Nintendo

You can check out the episode through their site or the OTR Itunes/etc. I have to say though, I think the best part of OTR is the adventures afterward. The crew has lunch together most Fridays after the show and often times checks out some aspect of the local tourist industry (I love that the boys actually get out and see and do things instead of just reading about them on the internet).  When I was there, we took a very detailed walking tour of Winter Park and ended the afternoon (thankfully for the blisters I got on my feet) with a boat tour of the lakes around the area. We saw Carrot Top’s house- I was a happy girl.

IMG_4603
We were on a boat!

Easy Travel Wardrobe

Traveling with one (or two) bags turned out to be harder than I expected. After some shopping, editing and pinterest perusing, my 4 night trip down to Orlando created a wardrobe of mix and match pieces.

IMG_4530
Green Capsule Wardrobe

Pieces I mixed all weekend:

L to R, Top: Dark blue skinny leggings, cutout yoga pants, black linen shorts, my “tiki” dress

L to R, Bottom: Ryan Adams t shirt, Dark green tank top, black sleeveless shirt, white oversized tshirt, green lacy tshirt, green crop top, gray cardigan

I somehow didn’t take many photos of the outfits but I learned how to mix and match on the fly and realized that I needed perhaps one more top and to leave the skinnies at home (it was hot!). I also threw in a comfy dress that can be worn as a dress or to sleep in, and it worked for both.  I kept the shoes to a minimum too by packing only a pair of Vans sneakers that I bought specifically to be nice but comfy for the trip.

17264244_10104108033410295_2938504850425187745_n (1)

This is the outfit I wore for the flight down, opting for the Ryan Adams shirt (I mean, it has a cat on it!), gray cardi and the black linen shorts.  I also packed a large Marimekko print sarong/scarf and it was great to wrap up in when I got chilly and also was perfect for when I got a little chilly at the airport waiting to travel down.

IMG_4579
Being the diva on the OTR radio show
IMG_4678
Having fun in the green lace top at Mangos

Overall, I felt pretty awesome about packing all my clothes in a smallish backpack and making them work for the entire weekend. Have you every packed using this method? How did it work for you? Any tips?

Thanks for reading!

 

Taking First Flight

IMG_4555

Shocking as it may sound, at the age of 29.5, I recently took my first flight.  Yes, it took almost 30 years to step on a plane and ascend into the air.

I was traveling from Chattanooga to Orlando solo and only had a few days to spend on my long weekend trip, so driving was out of the question, plus who wants to waste two whole days of a short vacay?

The flight out was on Allegiant and, despite an extra 2.5 hours at the Chattanooga airport (yay for outlets & free wifi!), it wasn’t bad at all. I’d watched some videos on youtube on the process and I was admittedly more nervous about going through security than getting on the bird.

IMG_4558

One of the best parts of the delay in leaving meant we were flying after dark. For my first adventure, this wound up being awesome. Instead of being freaked out over seeing the clouds and ground, I was distracted from being scared by paying attention to the lights and watching as we flew over each city.

IMG_4564

Take off wasn’t too bad and I went into it expecting what it felt like: just like riding a roller coaster going up. The best part of going from Tennessee to Florida is the time…a little over an hour later and I was finally meeting up with my friends. It was the ultimate distance saver. I also have to say that I’m already hopeful for my next set of travel dates down to Orlando to spend more time with these awesome people and check out what I can only describe as where I feel I belong. Not too shabby for a little trek that was an hour and change from home, right?

IMG_4570

A Visit to Pulse, March 2017

IMG_4625

I woke up June 12, 2016 and was scared. After a quick scan through my social media, I found out about the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.  The first thing that came to mind was a good friend and if he had been present that night. I knew he went out to some of the clubs in town and I hadn’t heard him mention it directly, but it was a possibility.

Thankfully, I sent a message and heard back pretty quickly- he was ok, but 49 fellow LGBTQ+ community members and supporters were not ok. This hit me hard.  The terrorist attack in Chattanooga in 2015 happened (one of the locations) 3 miles or less from my front door, the attacker lived in my in law’s neighborhood, but Pulse hurt so so so much more. I was close with someone who could have very easily been there- I found out later he only went Wednesdays. I am so thankful for this.

This month, I finally made my pilgrimage. I planned a visit to my friend and get shown the lay of the Orlando land- honestly I knew way too much about new building permits and roads that I’d never seen, so it was time to finally make it happen. On the top of my list was visiting Pulse and paying my respects to all of those taken too soon.

The trip finally came around and Orlando won my heart. Head over heels won my heart. Part of that is the community that I felt. On a Friday night, we planned to visit Pulse. As we drove through downtown, we went past the hospital and my friend pointed out the ER that people were taken to. My stomach was in knots. We drove a few more blocks to an area I’d seen on the news, that is until I couldn’t handle it anymore and had to turn the tv off the year before. We parked the car and as we walked towards the club’s parking lot, I told him “I might need a hug in about three minutes”.  He simply responded that we both would.

IMG_4622

As we walked up to the fenced in building, I was surprised that I didn’t cry. There was no one else around at that point but there were candles burning, freshly lit. People had left many mementos of remembrance and sorrow and love and celebration. All along the fence were pieces of art that had been created specifically for this place. Visitors had written all along these and left messages of hope.

One of the things that sticks out so much to me is the speech that Lin-Manuel Miranda gave at the Tony Awards in 2015, which happened to occur on the same evening as the early morning attack. Lin gave an eloquent speech with the memorable sentiment of “Love is Love is Love is Love is Love”. I remember watching this speech as he gave it live on tv, tears streaming down my face.

On the top of one of the tarps, my friend pointed out where it had been written in large letters: “Love is Love is Love”.

IMG_4626

I had painted a pride flag and carried it 500+ miles to find where I it felt it belonged. I placed it on top of a podium that had pictures of the fallen on the base and their names listed on the top. It was hard to read but their faces did enough talking.  My friend came over and pointed out where the door in was and where the bathrooms where that people hid out in. I knew I was really there but I didn’t feel like I was really there, just on the other side of that fence.

IMG_4623

My friend hadn’t been even past the club since before the attack. I felt bad dragging him out there, but in hindsight, I am so glad that he was who I went to this place with. We hugged and held hands. I tried to somehow squeeze some sort of relief to him through hugs, but I’m not sure how well it worked. I do know that I was a lucky person to be able to support of a friend I care so deeply about in a moment that was harder than I will even ever know.

As we walked around, I took a few photos of the things people had left to honor those beautiful people that we lost. I couldn’t bring myself to take a photo of the club’s sign, though. I had seen it so many times on TV and photos and refused to take yet another image of it. I felt like if I took a photo, I was simply a tourist and seeing it simply because I was in Orlando. That would have bothered me more than anything else.

After about 20 minutes, a handful of people showed up (a Friday around 10 pm, mind you) and we decided it was time to move along. I made sure to tell my friend multiple times thank you for taking me to this place and for helping me go through the emotions I had, even from so far away.

It took some time to reflect on our visit, but I realized the next night, sitting by myself, looking at a lake at a Disney World hotel, what it left me with. Seeing the candles lit, people coming by to pay their respects and all of the words of encouragement and hope that had been left, it was about LOVE. Love and Hope.

IMG_4627

We live in a world where bad things happen and people ban together sometimes afterwards. The feeling and everything I saw in Orlando is one of unity. One of the things my friend told me that night was how much the city totally came together when this terrifying act occurred. There were insanely huge crowds at the city wide memorial at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center to celebrate these lives last June. I saw the photos. I didn’t start to get the monstrosity of the size of things until I was riding through the area. I will never ever know the full monstrosity of these events, but I look forward to joining the Orlando community, being an ally, showing loving and doing whatever I can to make it a better place. I have felt if from afar, I’ve seen it felt by someone who is part of it and I hope to never forget what happened but remember and celebrate these lives and all of those they touched.  

 

I Love La La Land

la-la-land-poster2

If you’ve noticed anything about me, I have a thing for classic films, vintage everything and am a sucker for a good story. I saw La La Land with very little prior knowledge except Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were the  stars and folks who I really trusted had fallen in love for it.

The film follows Mia and Seb through their meeting and relationship, while working on following their dreams in LA and what that means as time passes and they are in their late 20’s. I totally relate to the dream following vibe and did I mention that it’s (somewhat) a musical?

lalaland3

Emma and Ryan dance, they sing, they are naturals and I have simply just eaten it up. The colors are all gorgeous, pops of primaries in the wardrobe. I want most of the clothes that Emma’s character wears, especially that yellow dress above- and let me just say I predict so many yellow dresses to be in this spring and summer.

I’m also so in love with the music from the film. The opening number of “Another Day of Sun” is one of the catchiest songs around and John Legend’s character, Keith’s, number that makes it into the film is something I wish there was a whole record based around. The dancing is super on point and I was genuinely impressed with how well these actors did their numbers.

There’s so much that I love about this film, as you can tell. I’ve seen it twice in one weekend and am hopeful to revisit it again this weekend, too. I’ve barely seen any movies in the past few years, so that might show how much I enjoyed this film.

Obviously, La La Land is my aesthetic for 2017.

It’s Christmas Time!

img_3660

Whew, life sure has been busy! Between work, fun events, friends coming to town and Christmasy things, I’ve been a busy lady.

img_3800
We’ve taken photos in front of so many Christmas trees, worked out schedules sharing one car (including way early morning work drop offs) and planned out so much fun the next few weeks.

img_3891

I hope you guys are having a fantastic holiday season and are remembering to stop and have some fun, not be super stressed out!

xoxo

Jenny

Small Biz Saturday: Holiday Crazy

screendoorburger

Recently, it’s felt like the balance of life is more teetering and tottering than the amazing burger I’m about to devour in this photo (from Screen Door Cafe, by the way. Amazing food!). Obviously with the main job, the social media work, keeping this blog going and all the other aspects of life, things can get pretty scattered and crazy, but it seems this year it’s especially crazy lately with the holiday season.

I’ve jumped headfirst into the Christmas season, having my tree up since November 1 (I was so over Halloween). Things have sped up at work for Loss and I’ve had extra stuff going on at mine, not to mention making sure stuff is all set for my social media posts before they are scheduled to post as we rocked along the month of November into December.

I don’t say all this to complain but just say- Whew! I love the holidays, but workwise, I’m ready to enjoy this time and then really dive in hardcore come January.  That’s not to say I don’t want to work hard- I definitely do and will and currently am.

img_3568

But here’s to family and love and those people who make your heart happiest to be around. Take the time to enjoy them and slow down this season. Figure out how to expedite things and get that work done in as little time as possible- maybe listen to some Christmas jams while doing so to help stay in the spirit.  And yes, I post this mostly to remind myself how things need to be done.

xoxo

Jenny

Writing, Life & More with a Nerdy Touch