Wednesday Playlists: ICY HOT

Sorry, everyone — been crazy busy  the past few weeks, and work really kicked me in the butt. And now I’m free again in the middle of a heatwave. Los Angeles is getting pummeled with 90- to 100-degree heat, making my apartment a hot box that remains about 90 degrees through the night. I’m sleeping with freezer packs piled on top of me, fans blowing the hot air around futilely.

Suffice it to say, I AM TIRED OF THIS HEAT. I miss cool autumn weather. Here are some darker, colder songs that remind me of fall.

  1. “Dahl Parts” by The Theater Fire
  2. “Dusty Lion” by Shakey Graves 
  3. “Seven”  by Fever Ray
  4. “Stupid Boy” by Owl John 
  5. “iPlayYouListen” by ODESZA 
  6. “Like Real People Do” by Hozier
  7. “A Burden” by Horse Feathers 
  8. “Arnika” by Sufjan Stevens

Have a great week — drink lots of water, stay in the shade, keep cool.

Featured image credit: cold mountains III by mimose-stock


Wednesday Playlists: MOODY AMERICANA

I’m writing a kind of grungy country thriller right now, so I’ve been listening to a lot of music to match. Enjoy.

  1. “Roll the Bones” by Shakey Graves
    I’m very happy to have discovered Austin musician Shakey Graves. He’s got a bit of an off-kilter country sound, which is exactly what I want to listen to right now.
  2. “Star Witness (Neko Case Cover)” by Kate Macdonald & Janelle Blanchard 
    This is one of my favorite Neko Case songs, covered by two talented Canadian students. They recorded the song in a stairwell of their school, which was shortly afterward shut down. You can watch the video of their performance here.
  3. “Tell Me True”  by Sarah Jarosz
    A simple, bluegrassy love song.
  4. “Post Empire” by Will Stratton 
    I found out about this guy through Emily Jane White’s music label, Talitres Records. The label seems to value a diverse group of musicians who are interesting storytellers, and American artist Will Stratton is no different.
  5. “July Flame” by Laura Veirs 
    This is a song with a heartbeat, and the vocals seem almost secondary, far off in the distance.
  6. “A Gain” by Devendra Banhart
    I like these little segue songs that some artists include on their albums. I wish this weird one from Devendra Banhart were longer.
  7. “Everything That Dies” by Matthew and the Atlas 
    Matthew and the Atlas has developed a sound a lot like NEEDTOBREATHE, leaning more into rock than folk, which is interesting. I love their earlier folk songs, too.
  8. “This Is Not the End” by Laura Gibson
    A somber little song about endings, to finish.

Have a great week, everyone.

Featured image credit: “Colors of the Night” by Andrew Mangum


Wednesday Playlists: IMPORTANT SONGS

I’ve had a rough couple of days, to be honest. For some reason, in this particular case, my ear has leaned toward raw guitars and naked vocals. So today, have a few songs that have quite literally been on repeat for me over the past 48 hours.

“Master Hunter” is probably one of my favorite Laura Marling songs of all time. It’s angry, defensive, declarative. And I probably listened to it 80 times yesterday.

Birdmask is someone I’ve gotten into recently. He’s quirky and spare, and this angry/lonely song is one I’ve played a lot today.

To finish, have a more resigned song. A song about one thing ending and everything else beginning. I am so grateful for Nickel Creek and their music.

Have a good week.

Featured image credit: Nickel Creek


Let’s Talk about Fitness

I have a couple of gift certificates for fitness classes that I’ve been putting off using for months. And now, since a couple of them are getting ready to expire, of course I’m going to try to use them at the very last minute!

First, let’s talk about SoulCycle.

Let’s. Talk. About. SoulCycle. SoulCycle-Logo

If you’re into the exercise scene at all, you’ve probably heard of this hyped-up indoor spin class. It’s gotten tons of celebrity endorsements and is a fav among Hollywood and New York fitness aficionados. I myself was partially motivated to finally check it out this week after Kristin Chenoweth tweeted about going in for her first time.

But let me tell you something about SoulCycle. It is HARD. Like, really hard. Think about the hardest exercise you’ve ever done, then put yourself in a darkened room with music blasting and people sweating all around you, and multiply that hard exercise by about fifty — then you’re at SoulCycle.

Let me tell you something else. I had never done a spin class before this. I didn’t even know how to clip into my bike. It was only a couple minutes into the workout when I had my first moment of, Am I going to pass out in this dark, windowless room today?

I have no idea how people do this. That’s pretty much my biggest thought. I get why they love it, because if you’re strong enough to stay out of the saddle the whole time (I’m not) and are motivated by the sweat and the loud music and yelling (meep), then you leave feeling like you’ve climbed a mountain. I left proud that I didn’t faint.

I liked that the room was dark — then I felt like I was alone with my shame. I didn’t like that there were supposed to be fans, but I couldn’t feel any air circulating. I liked the music.  I didn’t like that I couldn’t ride out of the saddle for very long. (Seriously, how do you do that?) I think I need to do a beginner’s class or something before I go back to SoulCycle.

Classes are $30 each, and you have to rent the shoes that clip into the bikes for $3. Many complain that this is on the pricier side. I think if spinning is really something that you’re into, and you want to get brutally (brutally) worked out for about an hour, it’s probably worth every dollar.

Next! Classes at Exhale Spa.

Exhale logo

Exhale has locations around the U.S. and offers core fusion and yoga classes. I tried a Core Fusion Barre class for my first time there (again, never done barre before), but I think it’s much more my speed. There was never a thought like, Wow, I just can’t do this, even though a lot of the exercises are hard, and I was definitely sweating by the end. I had a great instructor and felt like I got a lot of attention as she corrected some poses, pushed me harder, and encouraged me.

Overall I think I prefer to be in a yoga-style studio where the focus is on breathing and using your own body as resistance, which helps to find the areas that need more work and flexibility. It’s not as manic as a spin class. I left core fusion barre feeling refreshed, and like I wanted to high-five the whole world.

Exhale classes are just a bit cheaper at $25 each and all equipment is provided.

Of course both of these are excellent sources of exercise and great ways to keep in shape, but they’re not the only ones! How do you exercise? Have you barely survived a SoulCycle class too? We can be friends.

Featured image credit:


Wednesday Playlists: A WALK IN THE PARK

Happy music for a walk in the park.

  1. “Bounce the Ball” by Rachael Dadd
    Such a simple song, but I love that clarinet with the banjo.
  2. “Down by the River (FlicFlac Edit)” by Milky Chance
    I got stuck on a lot of chillwave this week. I can’t get over the mix of gritty vocals and smooth backing on this one.
  3. “Magic Lady”  by Mayra & Mr.Mow
    A straight-up folksy Americana tune. But this group is French!
  4. “Logic of Color” by Wye Oak
    If you haven’t gotten into Wye Oak, do it. Their brand of smart, dreamy, folk-influenced rock is exactly what I love.
  5. “My Silver Lining” by First Aid Kit
    First Aid Kit’s new album, released earlier this year, is perfection. I’ve always liked this twangy Swedish duo.
  6. “Gold (Flume Re-Work)” by Chet Faker
    More chillwave. I can’t help myself! It’s so fluid, but those beats are so intense.
  7. “Evil” by PHOX
    PHOX just released their full-length album, and I’m very happy they’re getting some much-deserved attention.
  8. “Oblivious” by Miniature Tigers
    To finish, have some synth-drenched pop from Miniature Tigers.

Have a fabulous week. Go outside, enjoy some sunshine.

Featured image credit: Park Bench 1 by bean-stock

Just One of the Guys

Wednesday Playlists: Something Different

I wanted to do something a bit different this week. Since I’m really into a couple of music videos right now, I decided to share them as a playlist instead.

First is Jenny Lewis’ video for “Just One of the Guys,” which features Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart and Brie Larson as backup dancers — sometimes dressed as dudes.

You’ve probably heard that Weird Al is releasing a new music video every day this week to promote his new album, Mandatory Fun. My favorite so far is his “Happy” parody, “Tacky.”

And finally, I’ve been seeing this video of Lissie doing an acoustic version of “They All Want You” going around Tumblr for a couple of weeks. It’s such a great, heartrending track.

What videos do you like right now?

Have a wonderful week!


Makeup Monday: Beach Hair

In the summer months, the heat and humidity can make it impossible to control my hair’s natural frizz. So I ditch the straightener and decide to go for tousled looks popularized by stars like Blake Lively or Rihanna. Below are a few of my favorite hair products to help tame frizz and tangles.

Beach Hair Products

Pureology’s Sea-Kissed Texturizer is my first fav, and definitely has the most appropriate name for this post. A few spritzes of this salt-free product after showering leaves my hair fresh and wavy — it does a lot to calm the frizz and detangle, and is great for relaxed curls. Pureology is a color care line, and this product is made for highlighted hair (which mine is), but it could be great for anyone looking to texture their hair.

Next is A Beautiful Life’s Pregame Texturizing Spray. This is a great summer spray with a faint coconut scent that makes me feel beachy even if I’m just walking to the store. This one gives more scrunch (but no hard, crunchy curls), making for more volume and more of a “wild” curly look, so I use it when I want a more tousled head of hair. Think Lorde curls.

Finally, a creme option from Bumble and Bumble — their Curl Conscious Defining Creme. This is a product that is not heavy in the hair, one I definitely never feel. I like to spread this through my damp hair and then turn my head upside down and blow-dry for a minute. It leaves my hair soft and controlled.

Any of these products would be at home on the beach! What do you use to get a beach-ready, tousled look?

Featured image credit: Beach Through the Palms by MogieG123