30 week blog challenge – week 6: favorite songs

Ha. After doing the epic music confession post the other day, I find out that this week’s blog challenge is to talk about our favorite songs. OF COURSE it is!

Random Wednesday Night

I’ll start with my absolute favorite song forever and ever amen, this blog’s namesake. Anywhere Is by Enya. The funny thing is that I love it so much, but I don’t allow myself to listen to it all the time. So it’s an extra special rare treat to hear it.

I have a list of songs that are my all time favorites. Songs that are ALWAYS welcome to pop into my ears if I’m playing the playlist on shuffle. Songs that never fail to make me smile or bring up some good memory or make me want to dance.

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 11.27.43 PM

This is some of my Eleventified™ playlist. Some of the songs are from long, long ago, and some of them are from as recently as a few months ago. Funnily enough, as with Anywhere Is, I don’t play this playlist often. I think I’m scared of getting tired of these songs that I love so much, and I want to keep it a treat to hear them. Is that weird? Yeah, it’s probably weird.

What are your favorite songs?

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i confess part 3 {the music edition}

Concert! :)

i confess… sometimes i listen to disney world music just to get myself whipped all up in a frenzy. i’ve been to disney world twice this year and this music always makes me want to go right back.

i confess… i also dance to disney parade music. yes, i bought the actual CDs and i put them on and dance to them. i am so cool.


i confess… i listen to yanni and i like it. in fact, i also like kenny g. what?

i confess… my father used to play the blues all the time when he’d drive us around. i’d pretend i hated it but i secretly liked some of it. except for the guy who used to snort. he was disgusting. i think it was bobby blue bland who did that. gross.

i confess… i stole my father’s george michael tape, his karyn white tape, and his david sanborn tape. my sister stole his bobby blue bland and bb king tapes. she embraced the blues a lot earlier than i did. i fought it for a long time.

don’t nobody get outta here without sangin’ the blues–adventures in babysitting

i confess… that adam and i have been listening to a lot of country music lately. we like to count how many of them aren’t about the following things: beer, small towns, creeks/rivers, and/or cheating. we could totally make a drinking game out of this.

i confess… even though i tell myself i’m not going to, every time i go to half-price books, i end up checking out the 50¢ cd section. because honestly, if i pick up a CD for 50¢, and it has ONE good song on it, that’s still an entire CD that’s cheaper than anything i can get on itunes! and last night was a gold mine. they had mariah carey and britney spears and the beastie boys and the twin peaks soundtrack and some maxi singles that i never even knew existed. i was so excited to get mariah’s first album on CD. because of course i had it when it was new and popular… but it was ON TAPE. now i can listen to it in my iPod or on my computer. yay.

i confess… yes, i still like to buy CDs. i just got n*sync’s greatest hits from best buy the other day for $5. i know everything’s going digital and CDs are being phased out. the poor CD section at best buy is only an aisle and a half now, and there are a lot of “bargain” CDs. but i still like to open the case and flip through the liner notes and put the disc into my computer’s disc drive and import the songs into my iTunes, and then onto my iPod. and new CDs smell almost as good as new books or binders with PVC in them. i know, it’s weird.

Half Price Books CD Haul. :)

i confess… even though i still buy CDs, i do love music downloads. i have a monthly subscription to emusic, i regularly buy music from iTunes, and i am always checking out whatever free downloads are offered, usually from new artists. (amazon, itunes, and all have loads of free downloads that are totally legit and some of it is really great stuff.) i used to get all of them before i discovered the nifty “preview” button. i love how convenient downloads are. it’s like when i used to be able to buy a single instead of an entire CD, in case the CD sucked (and back then, they were way more than 50¢ let me tell ya–some of them are STILL nearly $20. what?)

i confess… one of my favorite things about a new year is wondering what new music i’m going to hear and discover. and what old favorites i’m going to rediscover from my vaults. like this mariah carey CD. i’d forgotten how much i used to love “vanishing” and “it’s all in your mind.”

i confess… i adore this gif of the president listening to music. it makes me smile. i wonder what he’s jamming to? i find myself bobbing my head and smiling just like he does when something i like comes on.


i confess… shazam and google. a heavenly combination when you hear a song you like but have no idea what it is? shazam will listen and tag it for you. or you can type lyrics into google and more than likely a youtube video will come up. genius.

i confess… i used to segregate music pretty good in my life. when i was little, i listened strictly to kids’ records until i fell in love with michael jackson. then it was mostly him (with a little bit of prince, and lionel richie thrown in). let’s be honest. i mostly listened to r&b when i was younger and would not, could not stray from that. when i got to intermediate school (like middle school but only grades 7 and 8), i listened to keith sweat, guy, dana dane, mc lyte, pebbles, babyface, etc. i would not listen to white people sing (unless it was george michael apparently). i just refused. i even watched the video for “please don’t go girl” and predicted that “those white boys wouldn’t go anywhere.”


I FELL IN LOVE WITH NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK. i mean, obsessed head over heels wallpaper the walls buy all the things TAKE ALL MY MONEY AND MY MOTHER’S MONEY TOO PLEASE in love with them.

there are pictures. of me. covered in nkotb gear. buttons. sweatshirt. watch. earrings. i was a hot mess.

16 year old me
with my favorite music people
on the wall behind me
{notice pandernoodle?}

and because i had to watch or listen to the “white” stations to hear them, i started listening to other music by other artists. i remember hearing the guitars in an amy grant song and feeling like i was betraying myself or something. AMY GRANT you guys. also, music was starting to really cross over. white kids were listening to envogue and bobby brown and mc hammer. it was starting to be ok to listen to music outside of the color lines. oprah even did a special on it. i still have it on tape. eventually, i started to get over the musical segregation rules i’d put upon myself (or maybe society thrust them upon me?), but things really changed for me when i got to college and saw black kids listening to stone temple pilots and n.i.n., and sincerely enjoying it with no shame. and that’s when i finally embraced my own musical leanings full heartedly.


i confess… i will listen to anything once. my music collection is insane. look in my iPod and you’ll find kirtan, move scores, musicals, r&b, pop, country, metal, pagan, jesus music, folk, alternative, adult contemporary, hip-hop, dance, electronica, trance, house, celtic, traditional chinese, meditation, new age, chants. there’s something for every mood, and i’m always open to new stuff.

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 10.23.16 PM
my top 25 played

Music is powerful. For me, it’s more about the beat, melodies, the vocals, and the way it makes me feel rather than the lyrics. But I like music, and I am so glad I live in a world where there is so much to listen to, and so much to discover.


30 week blog challenge – week 5: favorite quote

This week’s blog challenge is to share my favorite quote with you. I have a lot of them, but there is one that sticks out in my mind:

“A room without books is like a body without a soul”—Cicero

Honestly, I live by this quote. Every room in this apartment has books. There are piles of books next to my bed, and bookcases in the bathroom. I love to read. I can’t get enough. It’s my default comfort zone. Like, when someone tells me they don’t like to read, I just don’t get it. It’s incomprehensible. But when I think about how I’d rather read than watch TV, I kind of get it, because there are people who LOVE TV whereas I can take it or leave it. I mean, I enjoy TV when it’s there, but it’s not my first choice for entertainment. I’d rather read. Different strokes. But at any rate, there needs to be a book close to me or I don’t feel right. It’s weird.

Another quote I like is this one:

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”— Martin Luther King Jr.

I really felt this one when I was going through my divorce from Chris. I saw people draw their lines and pick their sides, and I was often left in the dust. But there were some people who supported me through the whole thing. And that’s how I learned who my true friends were. I tell everyone who is going through a divorce or separation that they’ll learn who is truly there for them when times get hard.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”—George Eliot

At the ripe old age of 38, I feel like a lot of my dreams are silly and need to be shelved. Or they’re just unrealistic. And that’s OK. Not everyone can be a famous movie star. But I can still be a New York Times bestselling author someday. I just need to stop being scared and go for it.

“Kirtan is non-denominational, the Universal language of Spirit, the song of the Soul.”—New World Kirtan

Incredible was the day I realized that I got that same feeling of freedom, love, and happiness from singing kirtan that I did when singing certain worship songs in church. There are certain advocates that say yoga and kirtan is evil, from the devil, it’s “idol worship” and that the chanting is a bunch of gibberish. How close minded can someone get? And I won’t even go into how insulting it is that they call Sanskrit “gibberish”–it’s a legit language, asshats.

I remember the first time I went to kirtan, I was like “what the f—?” but then I couldn’t get the chants out of my head. And I started to seek them out. And I loved them. And before anyone gets all weirded out, please know that the first time I went to Catholic church, I was also like “what the f—?” …and the same when I went to temple. Funnily, I wasn’t like that the first time I attended a Lunasaugh ritual, but honestly, I am too darn lazy to be pagan.

My spiritual journey has been quite a ride, and I haven’t gone much into it on my blog, because I don’t fully understand it myself. I always put up a bit of resistance when deep down, I know something is going to pierce my soul in a good way. But I’ll tell you this. I can chant Jaya Jagatambe, or sing “Famous One”, or do a yoga practice to the Four Directions, and still feel that same soul shaking, party rocking good time. And that opens my heart more than any stern lecture from any pastor can.

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It’s so hard to believe that it’s already October, even though the leaves have been slowly changing, some of the days are less mild than others, and pumpkin everything is showing up at all stores. I am not a fan of pumpkin myself, but Adam loves the stuff.

Morton Arboretum Autumn 2012

October is traditionally a hard month for me… but the last few Octobers have been so busy that I haven’t had time to really get sad. There were all the years I was working at Schawk for fourth quarter, and last year I had my video review and ton to attend, plus other teacher training stuff to deal with, so I was pretty busy last year as well. This year, October is going to be pretty mellow. OH WAIT, IT TOTALLY WON’T.

I have freelance gigs, travel plans, workshops I want to attend, and a massage to enjoy. I have to make my annual trek out to Morton Arboretum for pictures and happiness and a visit to my favorite tree. I’ve got to start preliminary holiday shopping plans. And I need to watch The Little Mermaid because I just got the Blu-ray today.

I also wore this today:

dress: free people
jacket: kohl’s
leggings: ragstock
sandals: earth origins

I promise this showing off my outfit stuff won’t be a regular thing. I am so not a fashionista, and this is not a fashion blog by any means. I don’t know how to do all those cute poses that the fashion bloggers do. But I had to show off this outfit because I’m so proud of myself for putting it together and I think it’s kinda cute and I got compliments on it.

Jury Duty

September wasn’t too busy for me. I worked a lot, visited my mom in Ohio, picked up the Aladdin and Jasmine Designer Fairy Tale dolls at The Disney Store, did a day of jury duty (did you know you get certificates if you actually serve on a jury?), and shopped. A LOT.

It was a good month, though, but September always goes too quickly. Time really does fly.

Before I sign off, I thought I’d leave you with the evidence of this deliciousness I had yesterday:



Till next time.

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30 week blog challenge – week 4: favorite books

New Bookshelves! :)

I’m a little late answering this link up… I was in Ohio this week and not only was there limited internet time, I was busy visiting my family and friends!

This week, Marie asks us what our favorite books are!

Now, to know me is to probably have a vision of me with my nose stuck in a YA novel, especially if it’s a love story. I LOVE to read and I’ve been an avid reader ever since I COULD read, really.

I like to tell about how, when I was younger, my mother and father would go “heavy shopping.” That’s the big grocery shopping, when they’d both get a cart and fill it to overflowing and come home with all sorts of great things to eat. My mother would always get me a stack of books, so not only did I have all the treats in the world, but I had new books to read while munching on said treats. It was pretty awesome.

I became a huge bookworm when I was in the fourth grade. Every time I had downtime, I was reading. My mother never grounded me by taking away books. I’m so glad for that. I got in trouble in fourth grade once and the teacher wouldn’t let me read. I hated it. I mean, her idea of a good punishment was for students to just sit there. So stupid.


I love lots of books. Lots and lots. No, you have no idea. I have a BOOKCASE IN MY BATHROOM. Actually, every room in the apartment has at least one bookcase. Between me, Adam, and Aidan, there have to be nearly a thousand books in this place. I love to read that much.

The funny thing is that I’m probably not well-read by academic professor standards. I haven’t read a lot of classics. I just read what I like.

It’s really hard to pick favorites. I do know this. I reread them at least once, and often multiple times, a year. They’re familiar. They’re worn. Some of them have had to be replaced more than once. Some of them I have multiple copies of for various reasons. A few of them are even inscribed to me which makes them even more special. My friend Julie (Ivy) has a very extensive and exhaustive list of her favorite books on her site, but I am not that thorough! Still, this entry is going to be long, so settle back and hopefully get some good book recs!

And with that said, on to the list!


One summer night many years ago, I was at Target. I was in the book section, and there were Harry Potter books on palettes (Target totally had a different look in the early 2000s). By now, the books were way popular. The movies had been out for a while now, and there were toys and games and costumes. I was just kind of oblivious to it all even though a few of my friends had been suggesting that I get the series a try. I decided to finally see what the hype was about. I picked up HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE. I read the first paragraph and knew I needed to buy that book. I also gauged the size of it and picked up CHAMBER OF SECRETS as well.

That was a good decision. I remember feeling very certain that it was a good decision.

I blew through both of them in a day. I was at Target the next night looking for THE PRISONER OF AZKABHAN. And GOBLET OF FIRE. I know I had trouble finding one of them but I can’t remember which one. I think it might have been GOBLET OF FIRE, although my brain wants to say it was PRISONER. Anyway, I finally got ahold of the elusive one and managed to get them all read in time for ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. Which I didn’t (and still don’t like as much as the others). So now I was caught up and had ot wait for the last two with everyone else. I bought Harry Potter toys and DVDs and saw the movies in the theaters. I was officially a fangirl and loving every minute of it.

I could go on and on why I love the series so much, but this entry is already long and I have a bunch of other favorite books to list.

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 9.37.43 PMANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins
A love story, set in Paris. How much more awesome can you get… except the AUTHOR TOTALLY MAKES IT EVEN MORE AWESOME. It’s an easy book to read, and I don’t mean it’s “fluffy” or a “beach read”… Anna’s voice is just that relatable. She’s someone I LIKE reading about, and I love the way she expresses herself. The other characters are just as complex as Anna and Etienne/St. Clair, which a lot of love stories don’t do. They mostly tend to focus on the main couple… so it’s nice to know that these other people have things going on in their lives, they have full personalities and aren’t there just to accentuate the couple. On top of that, the descriptions of Paris are so vivid, I feel like I’m there.

I want to write stories that people love as much as I love this one.

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 9.38.06 PMSWEET REVENGE by Nora Roberts
I got this book as part of a book club. I was in a couple when I was in college. Both romance. One of them used to send a pile of books along with a wine glass. I still have some of those wine glasses! Anyway, this was a different book club, one that sent hard covers. It wasn’t cheap, but I really enjoyed trying out authors I never would have otherwise. And this book… it was so intriguing. The language in it is definitely dated and would probably not pass the PC police these days, with is narrations regarding Middle Eastern culture… but Adrienne. Oh, Adrienne. She inspires FEELS. So many feels. It’s a very different sort of book, with mystery and romance. I was attracted because the story was so unique and I still love it for that reason.

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 9.38.15 PMTHE GIVER by Lois Lowry
I read this book when I worked at Zaner-Bloser. I was new, and there wasn’t a lot of work for me. Someone suggested I read the books that they used for their Voices Reading material, which was actually a brilliant idea. What, get paid to read? SIGN ME UP PLEASE.

I read THE GIVER at my desk. It didn’t take me long–I was instantly hooked. Lois Lowry does an amazing job with descriptions and when the big twist happened, well, let’s just say I was sitting at my desk bawling. Because it is that emotional and gut-wrenching. THE GIVER is a true dystopia.

Lois Lowry and Me
Me and the writer of this brilliant book, Lois Lowry

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 9.38.25 PM by Sarah Dessen
I became a Sarah Dessen reader back in 2005. I first read KEEPING THE MOON, then I read THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER. I liked them both a lot, I remember really enjoying them. But then I picked up DREAMLAND. That book made me fall in love with Sarah and her work. It’s a book about a relationship turning violent. But it is so beautifully written. It’s called DREAMLAND and the book definitely has a dreamlike feel to it. The best part is that you’re in her head, so you can completely understand why she stuck around, and why some women don’t leave right away. I was so engaged in this book that I actually got a speeding ticket because I was rushing home so I could read it. It is that good. I finally got home and emailed Sarah about it. She’d put on her website that she read all of our messages but probably wouldn’t respond. So WHEN I GOT AN EMAIL BACK FROM HER THE NEXT MORNING I WAS THRILLED.

Years later, I was lucky enough to have met her more than once and now she knows who I am and gives me hugs when she seems me. This fangirl over here LOVES THAT SO MUCH.

My favorite author @sdessen and me!!!! #sarahdessen #lilrongal
Sarah and me, earlier this year

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 10.23.23 PMCONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC
Oy! What can I say about this awesome book that kicked off the “chick-lit” revolution a few years back? Becky Bloomwood is a fun character to read. Not because SHE’S always fun. She’s not. Often I wanted to shake some sense into her. OK, a lot of times. She’s frustrating! I mean, to the point where I don’t see how the people in her life put up with her…but then, you do realize that she does have good intentions at heart. Things just go all awry. A LOT. There were so many times that I related to her so much. I understood those feelings, those insecurities, the compulsion to buy a bunch of stuff to cheer myself up, the worry about how I was going to PAY for all of that shopping. It’s simultaneously sobering and funny.

Here are some other books that I love just as much as I love the ones with the fancy covers and things, but I’d like to finish this post sometime… ;)

THE WILD CHILD by Mary Jo Putney
POP PRINCESS by Rachel Cohn
SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson (another amazing author and another friend of mine!)
SMALL TOWN GIRL by LaVryle Spencer
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

And that’s not even close to all of them. Click here to see the list. And just in case you’re interested, here are more pictures of me with authors.

And hey, add me on Goodreads, why don’t ya?

OK, FINALLY signing off. :)

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