What songs make you sing into your hairbrush?

Standard

Just like Patty Punker, this girl loves herself a list. I was working out last night, panting and breaking a sweat on my treadmill, when the idea of a favorite song list of all-time came to mind. Part of the reason I love working out – besides the potential health values it brings – is that it gives me a chance to rock out to my iPod. I put it on party shuffle and have my own personal dance party, sans hairbrush. (A hairbrush would be too tricky to have on the treadmill and I’d probably end up injuring myself.)

I should also add that my treadmill/iPod behavior is one of the reasons I don’t frequent a public gym. Unless a gym allows me to sing along and rock out while listening to my iPod, I can’t get my work out on and I definitely don’t want to disturb the other patrons.

So, here it is in no particular order, my favorite songs of all time:

1. For the Widows in Paradise for the Fatherless in Ypsilanti by Sufjan Stevens. The line: “I’d do anything for you,” repeated over and over in this song makes me curl up into a tiny ball in the corner of my room and sob quietly. It’s just so beautiful. That voice. Those lyrics. That line. SO many reasons why I love Sufjan Stevens.

2. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. I want to come out to this song at my wedding. Not because I’ll be marrying my baby daddy or because I have an illegitimate kid, but because it effing rules. That bass line? Omg. 

3. Paper Planes by M.I.A. I think its part in Slumdog Millionaire sealed the deal for me and this song. It’s so unique sounding that it’s hard not to love. Better yet, it’s chorus is based on Wreckx-n-Effect’s Rump Shaker. “All I wanna do is do a zoom zoom zoom and a boom boom” or how it’s heard today, “take your money.”

4. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. This is my mom’s favorite song, and my love of music is constantly tied to her. She made me fall in love with music at a young age. She would blast Marvin Gaye, Janis Joplin, and Led Zeppelin every Sunday morning while we did household chores. It was our Sunday church. Our religion. I love this song because I think it really captures the pain of missing someone: “We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl.” Continue reading

More Words About 2009

Standard

Now that it’s January 2 I’ve had some time to reflect on the past year. I suppose I should’ve done this earlier, but that’s how I roll.

Me and my best friend Courtney.

It’s late. I’m sitting up listening to Hezekiah Jones – courtesy of my friend and colleague Peter Marinari. (I’ve officially deemed him best mixed-tape maker ever, but I digress). I just finished watching (500) Days of Summer – you know, the one where Zooey Deschanel is a total beeyotch. The movie made me all reflective and mushy. It’s about love. The losing of it and the finding of it, and all the shit in between. Kinda exactly what happened to me in 2009.

Me and my boyfriend broke up this summer. When we started dating at the end of 2008 I thought “this was it.” This was the one. We had SO much in common: movies, TV shows (we loved Don Draper), fonts, Apple products, German cars, music, Vans, religious and political views. He loved red hair and I loved him.

I feel like I’ll never know what went wrong. I woke up to him one morning and he said: “I don’t think I can ever love you the way you love me.” That was the last I ever heard from him. I’m angry about what happened. I’m angry that I spent a year of my life doing so much for someone who decided to wake up one morning and feel differently. He was Summer and I was Tom.

Everyone always says there’s a lesson to learn after a breakup. I’m not always a believer in that statement – sometimes things just happen – but I think there is a lesson in this one. Love isn’t a checklist of things you have in common. If that was the case, this relationship would’ve worked. It’s something else. What? I don’t know, I’m still looking. But it’s more than movies, and TV shows, and favorite restaurants – whatever you may have in common. I believe it’s something bigger and better than you could ever put on a numbered list, and I can’t wait to find it.

Another big thing that happened this year took place just last night. I spent my first New Year’s Eve alone. I have to admit I was nervous about it, but knew it was something I had to do. I came prepared for battle. I had wine, Pad Thai, and An Affair to Remember. When I came home after work to my cat and a dark hallway, my eyes started to well up. I wasn’t sure if I could do it. A night out drinking wasn’t what I was looking for, so I figured I had no other choice. I repeated my favorite mantra to myself: “Shoulders back, chin up,” and uncorked a bottle of wine. I guess all the wine and food made me sleepy. I didn’t even make it to see the ball drop. I talked to one of my best friend’s, Mark, on the phone that night. He always tells me to treat myself gently and reminded me of that last night. And, that’s just what I did: on New Year’s Eve I treated myself like a virgin on prom night.

So, what else happened in 2009? In no particular order here’s a quick list.

1. Saw Lady Gaga from the front row.

2. Lost one of my best friend’s.

3. Adopted a cat.

4. Cheered for the Phillies.

5. Wrote for Phillyist.

6. Was in two weddings and the maid of honor in one.

7. Became a vegetarian.

8. Went to New York City.

9. Went to Charleston, SC.

10. Joined Twitter.

11. Saw Sufjan Stevens and Fanfarlo at Johnny Brenda’s.

12. Met Jonathan Safran Foer!

13. Saw The National.

14. Took a grad school class.

15. Swam in the ocean.

The confessions of a self-proclaimed bookworm

Standard

“We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It’s easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven’t even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there’s still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of these loveable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really, want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.”

-Chuck Klosterman, Killing  Yourself to Live

It’s true. I like to read a lot. I may even be a bookworm. I remember visiting the library every week in elementary school. The rows and rows of books piled higher than I could reach brought me a sense of comfort I had never known. The crackle of a book opening, the dewey decimal system, the rubber stamp the librarian would use to mark the book “taken” on an index card: these were all things I loved about my childhood and things that still bring me great memories.

I think the reason I was so into books was because I was an only child. I didn’t have an older brother or sister to confide in. I had my books. Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss are some of my oldest friends. In my teen years I studied the words of J.D. Salinger and Sylvia Plath hoping I could make one sentence sound as good as theirs.

I want to use this space to talk about some of my favorite books that I’m reading. Those I’m just reading now for the first time and some of the oldies but goodies I’m rereading today. Today I’m reading Chuck Klosterman’s Killing Yourself to Live. He’s the author of the popular Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs.

What else am I reading right now? Here’s a short list.

1. White Tiger

2. Collected Stories of Lydia Davis – Loving this!

3. Omnivore’s Dilemma


Do recyclable bags actually hurt the environment?

Standard

I felt like a dork walking into Wegman’s in Cherry Hill last Sunday morning. Amid the baby strollers and the moms with shopping lists that make mine look like a short sentence, I perused the aisles with my reusable shopping bag. I half-expected to be caught in a sea of other eco-friendly shoppers with similar bags and maybe even a hemp purse to match. Instead, I discovered I was the only one as far as I could see sporting a non-plastic bag. I could feel my face with its fair complexion and freckles start to blush. I wondered: “Were people snickering behind my back calling me a hippie? Was I trying too hard?” I felt like the new girl on the first day of fifth grade wearing an outfit that in my best Valley Girl impression was “so last year.”

Continue reading

A Labor of Love

Standard

Phillyist is a blog about all things Philadelphia. I started writing for them in April 2008. It’s a non-paying gig and something I consider a labor of love. I’ve learned a lot from my editors in the past year and hope to continue writing for them. Below is a sampling of some of my favorite articles. 

Top Ten Fashion Trends for 2009

Top Eight Reality TV Stars of 2008

Style Resolutions

Yo, Philly Down the Shore

Why LEGOs are cool

Spare change makes big changes

Standard

Each day, Cynthia Black puts her spare change into a pink piggy bank that sits on her bookshelf. The money isn’t for her kids or groceries, it’s for her. By putting in pennies a day and practicing money saving tips she learned through home ownership classes offered at Virtua Camden, Black is saving money, paying her bills and learning the value of owning a home. Read more…

A rare diagnosis sets a life-saving team of Virtua physicians into action

Standard

When it comes to choosing a hospital to deliver a baby, couples consider many facts. For some, it’s location and convenience. Other expecting parents may look for a hospital that offers private delivery rooms. But, what happens when things don’t go as planned? It’s important to know what hospital will have a team of specialists ready to fight for you and your baby’s life when the unexpected becomes a reality. Read more…