Archive for the ‘I AM A LIST MAKER’ Category

  • August 14, 2011

    24 things to do before i turn 25

    here it is, friends. I am starting early (or on time?) this year so I really have no excuse not to get all of this done. no excuse at all.

    1. make the the red velvet cake. made famous by this lovely one. (here.)

    2. throw a party with a super epic theme. suggestions now welcome.

    3. learn how to be content in my own skin. try to stop second-guessing myself.

    4. learn italian. at least a little bit. (does it count that I had to learn on the fly? here and here and here and here and here. oh, and here.)

    5. create my perfect christmas playlist. (I was pretty excited about this one.)

    6. travel somewhere I have never been. (done! most exceedingly done!)

    7. become an expert polaroid shooter.

    8. weekend trips on the train. (here. but more forthcoming.)

    9. acquire a genuine record player. (YES! needle is fixed now too.)

    10. go for more walks in search of swing sets.

    11. celebrate the unexpected. remember to be grateful. (in progress.)

    12. make more lists. as if that was a necessary item to add.

    13. read more books by collum mccann.

    14. write more short stories. share at least one with someone. try not to be embarrassed.

    15. have a guerilla art adventure.

    16. take a yoga class. remember to breathe.

    17. talk to grandma nancy about her childhood. also her marinara sauce recipe. (must be moved to the next list.)

    18. go to a drive-in movie. (but I did find out there is one in nashville. on the next list!)

    19. understand the words “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” get a firm grip on that concept. (here.)

    20. read les misérables. the unabridged version.

    21. rediscover my love for puzzles. yes, jigasw puzzles.

    22. create a photo book. give said photo book to someone I love.

    23. write a poem.

    24. stretch more often. (thanks to that pesky physical therapist.)


    Filed Under: I AM A LIST MAKER


  • June 18, 2011


    in my hiatus from blogging I was not, in fact, hiatusing from inspiration. there was a ton of inspiration to be had. more than I can even list. but here are just a few things that have done the job over the past few months.

    1. weekend vacations – often times, being what some might call an “adult” is overwhelmingly hard. sometimes you just feel inadequate and ill equipped to rise to the challenge. but the good thing about being what some might call an “adult” is that in these moments you also have the ability to step away. to get out of town just for a weekend. to give yourself a break. to remind yourself that your heart is beating and pulsing and regenerating. to think and imagine and create. and it is really great when being what some might call an “adult” means you can rent a hotel room all by yourself. and wander around annapolis. and write. and take pictures of people resting and breathing just as you are resting and breathing.

    2. let the great world spin by collum mccann – how wonderful to find a little book that makes you happy you are alive and know how to read. the images he paints with his words are just incredible. and for a little while his characters became my best friends. only the greatest of books can do that.

    3. fear – it seems antithetical. but sometimes the best inspiration for action is fear. fear of things changing. of things staying the same. fear of loss. of gain. fear of God.

    4. helplessness blues by fleet foxes – I can’t stop listening to them. it is a problem. their harmonies are perfect like simon and garfunkle. their lyrics are indelible and raw and honest. and all those instruments being traded around the stage and played impeccably by any one of the six members? I just can’t get enough. I am pretty sure I need to move back to the pnw as soon as possible so I can increase my chances of meeting robin pecknold.

    5. the bay bridge – so long and high and suspended in that beautiful, impossible way. it goes on forever in a way that makes you think that if you just keep driving straight you will drive right out into that hazy sky above the chesapeake bay. not to mention that I have now been on a bay bridge on both coasts of this country. something about that feels a bit “full circle” to me.

    6. the year of magical thinking by joan didion – never before have I experienced grief and mourning so clearly articulated in a matter-of-fact and yet achingly beautiful way. the ordinary instant…

    7. an empty house – I was so sad when betsy left for the bright lights of nashville. but the idea of an empty house seems somehow refreshing and revitalizing. like a blank sheet of paper. a box waiting to be filled. a body ready for new challenges. a mind ready for new ideas. a heart ready for new experiences. I think I like that.

    8. tapping keys – what a lovely sort of music, the sound my fingers make on the keyboard as I type out my imagination onto a white screen. what a lovely sort of music, the ping of the letters moving up and down. the thoughts flowing from brain to fingers to keys to screen. what a lovely sort of music.

    9. thunderstorms – lately its just been so hot. and humid and suffocating. but every once in a while those clouds roll in. and the sky opens up and lets all that humidity turn into what it is meant to be. every once in a while the clouds break open and the rain falls in heavy sheets. steaming off the hot asphalt. every once in a while everything gets washed away in a flash of thunder and lightening so bright night seems like day. and I am reminded that there is always a respite. if only for a moment before the heat begins again.

    10. smiling – sometimes I wonder what would happen if I smiled at everyone I made eye contact with. on the train. walking down the street. at the bagel shops and coffee shops and grocery stores I frequent. I worry that they would think I am silly and dumb. or would they appreciate someone noticing? would they smile back?

    11. listener – this should be somewhat obvious based on this. he inspires me with his passion and honesty and slight melodrama because let’s face it – we all wish we could be a bit melodramatic every once in a while. he inspires me with his words in songs like this. and this. and of course, this.



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  • May 17, 2011

    writing to myself

    **couldn’t find any photos of 17-year-old carrie. so here is 17-year-old mom. such a fox! she was much more photogenic at 17 than I was.**

    a few things I wish I could have told my high-school self.

    1. you are not fat.

    2. don’t worry about losing the senior class-president election. you will be enormously thankful when you don’t have to plan reunions in five and ten years.

    3. that boy you like so much? the one who just seems so charming and fun and worth losing friends over? he’s not.

    4. please understand that red mascara is not as cool as you think it is.

    5. not all friends are forever. sometimes God places people in your life for just a season. you will learn from them and love them and grow so much through knowing them. you will feel like your friendship will last forever. it won’t. you will learn to be okay with this. you will learn to be thankful for this.

    6. your dad is not as clueless as you think he is. you are furious now, when he refuses to let you go to the movies alone with that boy you think is great because he is rebellious and “carefree.” but years from now, when you are 23, you will be inexpressibly thankful that he knew more about boys than you did.

    7. there is absolutely no need to go tanning. you live in the mountains. it snows all the time. being tan in the middle of december is frankly, a little bit weird.

    8. the friday nights you spend alone watching black-and-white movies and listening to music are actually a much better use of your time than the parties you are missing.

    9. pray more.

    10. stop complaining about where you live. it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. go outside more. furthermore, from here on out, you will live in cities where artificial light overshadows everything else. appreciate the stars.

    11. please stop trying to be an adult. spend more time doing things that seem childish. you will really regret it if you don’t.

    12. and stop trying to be so serious. the serious world will knock you off your feet soon enough. for now, allow yourself to laugh when things are funny. allow yourself to smile.

    13. it is okay if you don’t have all the answers. it is okay if you can’t fix every situation. it is all okay.

    14. people you love will fail you. you will fail people you love.

    15. try harder to understand grace. it is a pretty big deal.

    17. get into the habit of waking up early. it will make things easier when you have to do it. for the rest of your life.

    18. when ryan gives you a mix cd LISTEN TO IT. and ask for more. he knows what he’s doing.

    19. what they do at school dances is not dancing. it is gross. please give dancing another chance.

    20. listen to the old record player your parents have more often. and appreciate their taste in music.

    21. I know you feel like a loser with no friends. you are not a loser. and five years from now you will have friends. really great friends. in lots of different places.

    22. appreciate people who disagree with you. learn to listen to them more often.

    23. write more often. and save everything you write.

    24. be okay with being different. with loving Jesus. with being yourself. even if you don’t always know who that is.

    25. seriously, red mascara. not a good look for you. or anyone really.

    26. love yourself better. love others better. love God better.

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  • January 16, 2011


    the last playlist of the year. I can’t believe I actually made it. barely. and late every time. but it feels good to finish something. 2010 has been one for the books. and I can’t help but wonder – what’s next?

    1. homeedward sharpe and the magnetic zeros (for book-ending 2010 in my favorite place.)

    2. symphoniesdan black (for when I am steeped in my uncertainty.)

    3. dog daysflorence and the machine (for making peace with where I am right now. at this moment.)

    4. silver coinangus and julia stone (for when things need to be quiet.)

    5. tighten upthe black keys (for when things need to be loud.)

    6. the greatestcat power (for getting me through a year of changing expectations. and helping me let them go.)

    7. we no speak americanoyolanda be cool (for when I am lost in translation. and for when I think it would be freaking awesome to be able to do that with my hands.)

    8. blue ridge mountainsfleet foxes (for restless wandering and always wondering.)

    9. joy to the worldsufjan stevens (for a new take on my favorite. and because he has been on every other playlist this year.)

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  • January 5, 2011

    one last look


    troy, pennsylvania. family reunion. jena and dom. collecting myself. diving in. dave eggers. mix tape mania. strengths finder.


    snowed in snowstorms. birthday festivities. caleb being baptized. movie marathons. new music finding. snowpocalypse. the yellow knight. feeling like a kid again.


    sabrina running. thawing out. missing home. crying a lot. laughing a lot. searching a lot. the history of love. stepping out from under the haze. daffodils.


    blossoms. all things made new. sweet summer. hip to the hop. texas. read, study, write, repeat. greenberries. bubble wands. childhood laughter. his death is my life. thankful.


    finishing fellows. fresh air. road trips. dance parties. windows down. mariners with jyndia. baltimore. humidity. the ocean. the choices. the decision to be happy.


    a fresh start. daisies. this american life. touristing with the family. recognizing beauty. sweaty metro. finding something real.


    lost and found. Becca. letting go. green monster (the drink, not the envy). stuck in between. 23. jazz in the sculpture garden. forgiveness. eastern market. fireworks from a parking garage.


    new job. new roommates. old stress. tired. sycamore street. mountains of montana. ange and josh. jumping on hotel beds. best friends. free coffee. pola. cowboys. breathing in.


    making old things new. the end of summer. the beginning of fall. feeling stressed. feeling unbalanced. feeling alive. feeling content. a brand new sky.


    traveling for work. stanford. exploding nerves. dallas willard. exploding relief. tahoe summer…in the fall. disposable camera skies. baby bear cubs. mom. dad. loved.


    daily introspection. climbing trees. picking apples. daily deep breaths. wordless weekends. finding the time. Regina. thankful.


    working late. tabard inn. snow. my soul-mates. rach and steve. colored christmas lights. anticipation. mindy. los angeles. crazy family. feeling pulled in a million directions. ornament toss. happy. relieved. content. the end. the beginning.


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  • December 13, 2010


    way back at the very beginning of november, when the lovely miss rachel was here, we saw jónsi at 930 club. and let me tell you, it was just so beautiful – in the way that art is beautiful. (exhibit a. and if you really want to know, exhibit b.)

    and that’s the thing about (good) concerts. how they are art being formed right in front of your eyes. how the people playing really love what they do and make you love it too. how you share in one common experience – how you sweat and breathe and love a simple little piece of music with hundreds of people and then walk away, without a word ever being said. and how after the show, when your feet are sore and your back aches from standing on concrete for three hours, it’s okay. because it was totally worth it.

    I don’t have a bucket list currently. but if I did, rest assured that I would be going to a lot of concerts. below you’ll find a partial list of who would be on it. in no particular order:

    1. sufjan stevens (because every time he opens his mouth I melt into a puddle of delirious joy. and also because, let’s face it, he is beautiful and I would marry him in a heartbeat.)

    2. andrew bird (because I will always wish that I could whistle like him. or at all.)

    3. mos def and kweli (because I was too young to appreciate them when they were black star)

    4. grizzly bear (because I love that piano melody. and his voice.)

    5. gogol bordello (because how weird and awesome would that be?!?)

    6. radiohead (because I think I would like to see what a musical genius looks like)

    7. the decemberists (because they just tell the best stories)

    8. ani difranco (because she is the embodiment of girl power. and I am all about girl power.)

    9. mates of state (because everything about them makes me smile)

    10. bon iver (because his words feed my soul like water)

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  • December 1, 2010

    100 things

    100 simple things in the world I love:

    1. this recording of river by the forever lovely joni mitchell.
    2. leaves crunching underneath my feet.
    3. swing sets.
    4. a good laugh right from the belly.
    5. compassion.
    6. lonely trees.
    7. freshly baked bread. or cookies. or anything really.
    8. mix tapes.
    9. being read to.
    10. funfetti frosting. on funfetti cake mix.
    11. lake tahoe sunsets.
    12. generosity.
    13. chocolate soy milk.
    14. forts made out of couch cushions.
    15. words.
    16. the mountains.
    17. the beech house.
    18. sun-dried tomato hummus.
    19. tulips.
    20. cherries.
    21. library books.
    22. avocados
    23. origami cranes.
    24. flying kites.
    25. white string lights.
    26. lavender soap.
    27. accordions.
    28. college-ruled notebook paper.
    29. open fields.
    30. blowing bubbles.
    31. friends who come to visit.
    32. grilled onions.
    33. nailpolish in fun colors. especially of the purple variety.
    34. consistency.
    35. proud dads.
    36. colorful fine-point sharpies.
    37. genuine smiles.
    38. snowmen.
    39. hugs.
    40. tea light candles.
    41. dancing.
    42. nativity scenes.
    43. polaroids.
    44. old childrens books. especially peter pan.
    45. water.
    46. waking up to the sun instead of an alarm clock.
    47. oversized coffee mugs.
    48. flowers. especially of the wild variety.
    49. the perfume I have worn since high school.
    50. sparklers.
    51. wedding photos.
    52. dangly earrings.
    53. the sound of cars driving in the rain.
    54. meltaway mints.
    55. secret passageways.
    56. collages.
    57. mini oranges. especially of the clementine variety.
    58. clean sheets.
    59. face lotion with sunscreen already in it.
    60. limes
    61. stuffing. especially of the thanksgiving variety.
    62. coloring books.
    63. rain.
    64. sunlight.
    65. nutmeg.
    66. road trips.
    67. clouds outside airplane windows.
    68. foreign films.
    69. sno-cones.
    70. crocheted blankets.
    71. sugar cubes.
    72. black and white movies. especially of the cary grant and grace kelly variety.
    73. blackest black mascara.
    74. walking.
    75. jackets.
    76. accent walls.
    77. mini candy canes.
    78. vacuuming.
    79. sail boats.
    80. wine.
    81. thesauruses.
    82. going to the movies in the middle of the day.
    83. paper lanterns.
    84. silly faces.
    85. apple picking.
    86. tree climbing.
    87. cherry chapstick.
    88. making (and eating) dinner with friends.
    89. small adventures.
    90. words that rhyme.
    91. unexpected smiles.
    92. passion.
    93. lists (natch)
    94. advent calendars.
    95. bright striped beach balls.
    96. bicycles.
    97. learning new things.
    98. re-reading childrens books.
    99. thrift stores.
    100. fountains.

    what do you love?




  • November 2, 2010

    october. apple picking playlist.

    this time last year I was frantically trying to keep pace with my second month in DC and completely forgot to notice how awesome fall on the east coast is. but not this year. this year I am drinking pumpkin spice lattes and hiking through fallen leaves and carving pumpkins and eating butternut squash soup like it is going out of style. this year I am going to rejoice in the best season of all the seasons, in, what very well could be, the best month of all the months. and I am going to construct my perfect apple picking (among other fall festivities) playlist. october is tragically under rated.

    (also, the theme over at nablopomo for november is…nothing! this lack of theme means that I might actually have a shot at posting once a day for a full month. here’s hoping.)

    1. myriad harbour – the new pornographers (for when things need to be loud)

    2. vito’s ordination song – sufjan stevens (for when things need to be quiet)

    3. brother sport – animal collective (for when I am steeped in wonder)

    4. portland is leaving – rocky votolato (for when I am steeped in melancholy)

    5. one of these things first – nick drake (for tree climbing)

    6. heartbeats – josé gonzález (for leaves falling and crunching)

    7. changing colours – great lake swimmers (for when everything is changing)

    8. service bell – grizzly bear and feist (for when everything is staying the same)

    9. always like this – bombay bicycle club (for traveling)

    10. all my days – alexi murdoch (for staying home)

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  • October 3, 2010


    1. times like thesefoo fighters (for a brand new sky)

    2. my rights versus yours the new pornographers (for a new day rising)

    3. gardenneedtobreathe (for knowing the one who takes my fear)

    4. river constintinejars of clay (for knowing the one who knows me)

    5. fierce flawless – ani difranco (for courage and confidence)

    6. I believe in symmetrybright eyes (for the end of summer)

    7. blue turning grayclap your hands say yeah (for the beginning of fall)

    8. career opportunitiesthe clash (for working!)

    9. elevator love letter – stars (for working too much)

    10. dance anthem of the 80sregina spektor (for dance parties. what else?)

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  • August 8, 2010


    so much happened this month. new jobs. new roommates. new everything. but then I went to montana for this spunky girl‘s wedding and I was reminded of one thing that remains constant. when everything around me is spinning, it is this small group of people who always give me peace. they bring me back to myself. they remind me that I am loved and they remind me who I am. it sounds terrifically cliché. but if you can’t be cliché with people who are more like soul mates than friends when can you be?

    so in a time when I don’t know which way is up. here is a list dedicated to the one weekend in august that helped everything make sense again.

    1. yankee bayonet (I will be home then)the decemberists (for the pangs of melancholy watching hellos and goodbyes at the airport)

    2. sprawl II (mountains beyond mountains)arcade fire (for the relief of getting out of the sprawl and into that fresh mountain air)

    3. passenger seatdeath cab for cutie (for the peace of driving through the night and being able to see the stars)

    4. fresh feelingthe eels (for the love that is josh and angela)

    5. sweet dispositionthe temper trap (for the pure sense of elation and possibility of driving with the windows down)

    6. the perpetual self, or “what would saul alinsky do?”sufjan stevens (for the unbridled joy of jumping on hotel beds)

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