Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Study Buddies

Missing the blogosphere world a lot right now. School has been insanely crazy and I seem to never cut a break anymore. Last week, I almost changed my major after a week of pure discouragement and even shed tears during class. I don't remember the last time I was social that wasn't along the lines of texting a fellow peer about school related subjects, studying with a friend at the library, or talking to someone during passing periods. I miss my life and my friends a lot right now. I don't remember the last time I was able to go for a run, I have nothing but peanut butter left in my pantry, and my coffee expenditure is through the roof. But I got my first Econ exam down today, Tax exam tomorrow, accounting project due Thursday, and then, finally, the light at the end of the tunnel: True/False this weekend!!

If it weren't for these guys, I don't think I would have stayed sane these last couple of weeks. Hollerrrr:

Death Cab for Cutie "Plans" album (this album will NEVER get old)
James Vincent McMorrow "Early in the Morning" album
Freelance Whales "Weathervanes" album
and well, my Bon Iver/Justin Vernon playlist, of course.

Thanks for being there for me, no matter how much I complain or suck the fun out of life, which I have been doing a lot of lately. I couldn't ask for better study buddies.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

True/False


Schedule for my first True/False Film Festival experience:















18a. The Imposter Fri, Mar 2, 7:00pm 95 min. The Blue Note
30b. Secret Screening Lavender Sat, Mar 3, 10:00am 90 min. Forrest Theater
22b. Me @ The Zoo Sat, Mar 3, 12:30pm 90 min. Missouri Theatre
1a. Bully Sat, Mar 3, 3:30pm 99 min. Jesse
24b. The Queen of Versailles Sat, Mar 3, 6:30pm 100 min. Jesse
17a. How to Survive a Plague Sat, Mar 3, 8:45pm 109 min. Missouri Theatre
15c. Gypsy Davy Sun, Mar 4, 10:00am 96 min. Missouri Theatre
5c. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry Sun, Mar 4, 1:30pm 91 min. Jesse
16c. Herman's House Sun, Mar 4, 3:30pm 80 min. The Picturehouse
37b. Undefeated Sun, Mar 4, 6:30pm 113 min. Jesse










Anyone seeing any of the same shows? CAN'T W8






















Happy One Year, Wig.

Last year on Mardi Gras, I purchased my first wig. What then seemed like such a terrifying thing, leaving me feeling completely isolated and alone, became one of the most impacting experiences of my life--a true blessing in disguise and a reminder that no matter how hard life might seem to be, there is hope.

People always say to me, "I just don't think I would have been able to handle it that way you did," and I think to myself, I probably would have thought the same thing too, but I don't think that's true. It's all about inner beauty anyways, isn't it? I mean, the outside, well it's all just "stuff." Noise. On the surface. A way to hide who we really are deep down.

You see, I was lucky. At age 20, I had a wake up call. A terrifying call that that was sudden and unexpected, that I was powerless over, and that resulted in a complete surrender. A surrender to the old me, who spent countless hours focusing and dwelling on petty things, on temporary things, on tangible things, on outward things, and on things that truly added no real meaning to my life.

The beginning of my college years were rough, full of ups and downs, and a constant desire of something better, something more fulfilling and genuine. I was never happy, and always found myself settling. I knew I wasn't happy, and I knew that the lifestyle I was living wasn't what I wanted, but I felt no way out.

When I lost my hair in the Spring of my sophomore year, I thought was it. The icing on the cake. The march to my funeral. Overwhelmed with feelings and emotions that I felt no one could understand or offer meaningful advice for, I turned to my blog as an outlet to sort out all of the thoughts going through my head that I felt helpless over. At first, I was a little hesitant to make my blog go viral, but it seemed to be the best way to let everyone know that I was now bald, but not sick, without having to explain to every individual each time I ran into someone at the gym or when someone asked if I had highlighted my hair.

I could not believe the response that was received from my blog, and was further encouraged to keep blogging about my progressions. People seemed so moved that I was able to find peace through my difficult time, and able to be so positive about it, but why does it take hair loss for us to realize that inner beauty always prevails?

When I first lost my hair, it wasn't that I felt awkward or uncomfortable with the way I looked, but more that I felt awkward knowing that people didn't always know how to act around me. So many times I would make eye contact with people at the gym, and before I could say hi, they would nervously turn away. Maybe they really just didn't recognize me, or maybe I should have said hi sooner, but I just couldn't help to think about what a petty thing this was. So I don't have hair follicles on my head and I look a little funny, but what good did my hair ever do me anyway? It added a good 5+ minutes to my shower, 20 to my getting ready time, and didn't offer any practical sort of application. I was still the same Laura.

What I learned, and I hope everyone else took from my blog, was that despite all of the things on the outside, when stripped down to our rawest form, who are we then? Are we still proud of the person that we are at the end of the day? Or do we surround ourselves with trivial things to protect ourselves from discovering what truly lies at the core of our being?

Losing my hair made me confront my true composition: what was real and what wasn't. What mattered and what didn't. What was temporary and what true. It didn't happen overnight, but sitting here, one year later, I can honestly say that losing my hair was the best thing that's ever happened to me. It wasn't pretty at first, and I will never fully be the person that I strive to be, but I can firmly say that my priorities, my values, and my overall outlook on life have changed dramatically since last year, and I don't think I would be where I am today if it wasn't for that wake up call that was Alopecia Areata.

So, today, on my one year anniversary as a proud wig owner, I encourage you to think about yourself in a similar scenario, or more-so, the metaphor that it represents. If you were stripped down to the core to find only the contents of your heart and soul, what would you look like?

Alopecia was a true reminder that it's never to late to change or be the person that deep down you really want to be. To be the person that, 3 years can now, 20 years from now, and 60 years from now you can look back and be proud of, and know that you did your best to treat people with kindness, to love from the bottom of your heart, to embrace all the beauty that life offers, and to truly seek to be the best person you can be, inside and out.


Happy one year, wig. 
laura
 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lover of Bon Iver Covers

My three favorite Bon Iver covers, in order of discovery, are as follows. Enjoy!

Come Talk to Me (Original by Peter Gabriel)

 I Can't Make You Love Me (Original by Bonnie Raitt) 
 
Love More (Original by Shannon Van Etten)

I will definitely be falling asleep to this one tonight. Thank you Abi Getto for the share! Bon Iver can truly do no wrong. 

Sweet dreams cyber world,
laura.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy (Belated) Grammys, Bon Iver

So as we all probably know by now, Bon Iver won two awards last night at the 2012 Grammy's:

Best Alternative Album 
&&
Best New Artist 

But New? Bon Iver's album 'For Emma, Forever Ago' (which absolutely swept the nation) came out in 2007.. when I was still in high school.. 5 years ago. I'm very happy for him, and that true talent is being nationally recognized, but as seen in the following excerpts from an article in the Huffington Post, Bon Iver is just as hesitant about the whole thing as we are about this truly delayed award:

Bon Iver's Acceptance Speech:
"It's really hard to accept this award. There's so much talent out here... and there's a lot of talent that's not here tonight. It's also hard to accept because you know, when I started to make songs I did it for the inherent reward of making songs, so I'm a little bit uncomfortable up here."

 From an interview with the New York Times back in December:
"I don't think the Bon Iver record is the kind of record that would get nominated for a Grammy. I kinda felt like going up there and being like: 'Everyone should go home, this is ridiculous. You should not be doing this. We should not be gathering in a big room and looking at each other and pretending that this is important.' That's what I would say."

And from a blog post last summer critizing MTV for being about "the dollars":
"Why do we NEED this shit so bad? Why don't we just have MUSIC? DO music? soul? I don't know."


All I have to say is, what a humble guy. It is so apparent how truly genuine and humble Justin Vernon is about not only his music, but his career and outlook on life. He has always been my favorite musician and these quotes really sum up the reason why. 

Congrats, Justin and gang. 5 years later, you still deserve it.

February Instagrams.

 The Simple Salad @ Winslow's Home on Delmar, simply delicious. Props to my girl Caitlin Whyte for the restaurant selection and wonderful evening ;) So delicious that I took my dad back the very next day..

 The Staves opening @ The Pageant before the Civil Wars. Girl crushes fasho.

 Mason jars make everything better.

 Had a fun day with the roommates and some guy friends four-wheeling and shooting clay pigeons at our friend's place 20 minutes outside of Columbia, until poor Marisa lost her phone on our four-wheel ride and we went on a two-hour unsuccessful search for it.. the day was worth it though? And I hit my first two clay pigeons!

Some of my favorite memories have been at my best friend Amanda's farm four-wheeling and swimming in the lake and trying to learn how to dive (and instead belly-flopping) and having evening bonfires and really spending quality time with people. I used to say that I wanted to have my honeymoon there.. Now I don't know if I'd go that far, but I really would love to have a farm when I'm older. There is just something so peaceful about being away from all the hectic craziness in city life that really brings out the inner-most best in people..

Crusader King Louis IX statue in front of the St. Louis art museum

This is what happens when I can't fall asleep..

Memorial Union looking very peaceful on this brisk January day.

 Meg made adorable cocktails with sweethearts in honor of Valentine's Day! What a sweetheart..

This is my excuse for being lame on Friday nights.. How could you pass up these two books, a fluffy duvet, and Christmas lights?

 As if the Starbucks' Valentine cups weren't cute enough.. Check out these adorable gift cards. Who wants to be my Valentine?

My first True/False Film Festival Weekend pass purchased!!!

 Dinner: turkey, avacado, spinach, swiss cheese, a fried egg, and salt & pepper on wheat toast. Egg-static about this turnout.

Starting off this snowy Monday morning right with a delicious smoothie for breakfast.

{{My recipe}}
-Big handful of mixed frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries!) 
-1 whole banana
-Organic vanilla yogurt
-Splash of POM juice
-A tad of flax seed for a fiber boost
&& Try it in a bowl topped with granola of your choice to add a crunchy dimension!

Three Cardinals outside of my window on this snowy morning. Beautiful. Cardinals always remind me of my Grandmother and Grandfather's house. Their bird feeders outside of the kitchen window in the backyard always attracted so many of them and we would stare out the windows watching them forever.. Hummingbirds too. I really treasure little childhood memories like these.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Human Experience

Just finished watching the documentary The Human Experience (recommended by a friend who is going to work in an orphanage in Peru shown in the film in May, pretty cool right?) about two brothers searching for answers: Who am I? What is my purpose? Why am I here? What is the meaning of life?

In the film, Jeffrey and Clifford live as homeless people on the streets of New York for a week that ended up being the coldest of the year, work in an orphanage in Peru with abandoned, abused, sick, and disabled children, and live in a poor African community in an attempt to search for the answers to these overlying questions. Here's the trailer:

 

“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal."  
Martin Luther King Jr.

As seen from this quote in this trailer, the documentary explores the idea of human suffering and destruction, but also the overpowering idea of hope. In a world where there is so much bad, we tend to overlook how much good their is. This goodness is seen in the people living in these "conditions of suffering," yet some of the children and people that the documentary shows are some of the happiest people ever. And just when I thought my desire to finally go Africa couldn't get any worse...


If my blog post didn't convince you, hopefully the fact that the film received 30 awards will... 

{Some of my favorite quotes from the film}

"I look at those memories. I look at those moments. Everyone lives differently. When you go somewhere out of your own comfort zone, out of your own realm, and you enter someone else's, that's learning." Jeffrey Azize

"Many young people do not have a meaning and purpose to their life. They're looking to say, does my life matter? Do I have a unique contribution to make... when you recognize that you have a real mission, an indispensable contribution to make, then you embrace life, you celebrate life in a completely different way." Anna Halpine, World Youth Alliance

"Where many, many young people today are saying, 'I need to experience in some sense that my life matters." The more mature person is not the person who has all the questions settled. No, the mature person is the person who enters ever more deeply, ever farther and farther and farther into the mystery and into the wonder." Anna Halpine, World Youth Alliance

"Even in the deepest suffering, there is significance. There is a meaningful process of positive possibilities. We have to recover the language of humanity. We cannot understand suffering without it... there's this struggle in life in every class of people... it's what we do with it that matters." Dr. William B. Hurlbut M.D.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Music Sustains

Also, check out this AWESOME video (props to A Gray) featuring Adam Gardner from the band Guster (mah boys) and his wife Lauren Sullivan who started the organization Reverb. Reverb helps musicians on tour cut down their waste by making their tours more Eco-friendly, what a combo :)))


Some things that Rerverb has done to help the tours go green:
 --reusable aluminum water bottles for everyone backstage
--water stations for the fans to refill their water bottles with
--recycling, compost, and landfill stations behind the stage, on the buses, and in crowds
--plates and utensils all made from plants which are biodegradable and can all be composted
--organic products and merchandise
--local and organic food for the band members
--biodegradable fuel for tour trucks
--rechargeable batteries

Last fall, a couple friends and I went to see Adam speak at the Journalism School at Mizzou before we went to Guster's show that night. Adam talked about all of the steps that Reverb was taking to help musicians be more environmentally friendly, but it was also cool to hear how excited the musicians were to be a part of it. Some of the musicians include Dave Matthews Band, U2, Jack Johnson, Sheryl Crow, Janelle Monae, O.A.R. and Guster, and this seems to be a growing movement.

However, you don't have to be a musician to do all of this, you can do it, too. Even though many of you readers are probably college students and thinking you can't do much about it at this busy stage in your life, YOU CAN!

Do you recycle at your college home? It's so easy. Stop by HyVee and pick up the blue recycling trash bags and fill them up with all of your recyclable items and wah-lah! Or a trick a friend taught me tonight, throw all your recyclables in the recycling dumpsters at one of the residence halls, easy as that. I won't go on and bore you with all of my suggestions, but just remember, every little bit counts!

LOVE YOUR EARTH && GO GREEN

"Ummm, it's "Bone Ee-ver"

A couple nights ago, I had a dream that all of my hair started growing back, except for one small spot on the top of my head... in the shape of a heart. It was a wonderful little dream if you ask me. And speaking of hearts, it's almost Valentines Day, and that means The Vow is almost out. Calling all my single ladies, who wants to see it with me this weekend? The Notebook and Dear John come together... I can't wait.

Also, Channing Tatum (The Vow) and ZOOEY DESCHANEL and BON IVER (ummm, it's "bone ee-ver") hosted Saturday Night Live tonight!! If I wasn't celebrating Mizzou's big win against KU (with Andy's custard and a little bowling at Galactic Fun Zone), I would have tuned in. What an epic trio. Can't wait to watch that episode online!

Aaand speaking of Bon Iver, (this blog post is just transitioning from one thing to another so well..!) I just re-watched this video tonight:

Blood Bank + California + Sunrise Show (my dream in a nutshell (dreams? this blog post has officially come full circle)).

Monday, January 16, 2012

No Hair, Don't Care.


Long hair, don't care is so 20l1.

We got some good laughs out of this tagline before the The Staves // Civil Wars concert @ The Pageant last night. Such an awesome show. Shout out to Rachel, Alex, Liz, Taylor, and Molly for a wonderful evening.

BTW, check out my friend Molly's blog this semester--she leaves for Thailand tomorrow! Can't wait to read about all of the amazing things you're doing over there.

Listening
The Staves, who opened up last night. Three sisters from Liverpool who sound like more innocent versions of Laura Marling + some beautiful harmonies. Very charming.

Reading
The Hunger Games

Watching

Drinking 
Zen tea

Blog

Happy Martin Luther King Day! We've come so far.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Christmas Break Instagrams










   

1. My favorite gift from Santa this year, a beautiful lace Anthropologie dress.
2. Words of wisdom from Dove dark chocolate.
3. Ryan's Inferno seasonal pizza from Dewey's, the #1 reason why January rocks.
4. Chloe loves her cone.
5. Our precious new neighbor Carolina at 10 months!
6. Parfait with strawberries and bananas and hemp+ granola, all organic!
7. Our first mother/daughter happy hour, being 21 is so exciting!
8. Reunited with my first grade teacher :) Such an awesome lady.
9. Dark & rich hot chocolate + Bailey's from the Chocolate Bar.
10. Homemade hot chocolate (emphasis on the chocolate) with A Gray while we watched the film The Beginners.

Now 2 more days until I head back to Columbia! Break has been perfect, but I'm excited to get back into a routine again. And start my new accounting job! Since two of my best friends are going abroad this semester, I'm trying to stay as busy as possible. I will miss you Sue and Liz!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

One of my biggest resolutions for this year is to live more simply, and focus on the necessities. The needs and not the wants. Here is a list of some of the most important ones:

>> Walking more. Ever since I brought my car to school, I find myself making excuses about why I need to drive somewhere, yet somehow I lived without it at school for two years just fine.

>> Riding my bike more, even when it's cold and I reeeeally just want to take the bus or drive my car. My job this upcoming semester is also very close to my house (and I get to wear school clothes this time! Cya heels and pencil skirts.) so I really have no excuse not to bike to work either.

>> Eating closer to the garden, and choosing organic or local whenever possible (HyVee has a great organic section for all you Mizzou students!).

>> Buying less and saving more, and only spending money on the necessities. As I learn more and more about the way that people in other places live, through documentaries or sermons or youtube videos or whatever it may be, and how many people are forced to live with so little, it really makes me think about the things that I have and the way that I have spent my money in the past. Non profit work and helping those who are less fortunate has always been something that is near and dear to my heart, yet I thought that donating to an organization and doing a mission trip here and there was enough. It's not. We think we need the coolest cars, most luxurious cars, even though they're complete gas guzzlers and far worse than other, more efficient options for our environment. We think we need the designer handbags, even though a $20 bag would probably be just as practical. We go out to the bars and spend countless amounts of money on over-priced drinks or on cover charges or cabs at the end of the night, when that money could be going towards so many better things. All of these things are part of our culture, and these materialistic ideas have been instilled in our minds since we were little due to advertising and how products are being marketed. I mean heck, I wouldn't wear anything that didn't say Abercromie & Fitch or Hollister Co. on it in middle school because I thought I wouldn't be "cool" if people didn't know where I bought my clothes from. But now we're older and wiser, and I think deep down we all know that its the people and the moments and the experiences that are most valuable, and the rest of it is just noise. So I urge all of you to simplify your life, and focus on the things that really matter. While you're at it, check out themochaclub.org (an organization I'm in at Mizzou that strives to raise money and awareness for people in Africa) and see how you can start this resolution today by sacrificing the price of two lattes (or two drinks or a meal at chipotle etc.) per month in order to help the lives of those who have nothing.

>> On that note, saying goodbye to lattes. I think I need it, but I know I don't, and I especially don't need to be spending almost $5 a day or consuming give-or-take 300 liquid calories on something that will last me a maximum of 15 minutes. This means making tea at home and carrying it to class in a thermos, or substituting lattes for black coffee or tea if I need a pick me up while studying on campus or downtown, which will save me approximately $2-3 each time and a whole lot of unnecessary calories.

>> Cutting out alcohol. When reading health and lifestyle books, I find this is always one of the first things they talk about. Our culture is so revolved around drinking, but I have found that there are so many ways to have fun and feel good about yourself without it. I'm not saying that a casual drink here and there is bad, but think about how much you spend on alcohol every month, and then the drunk food and hungover food that you eat the next day. For most college students that's a lot. Try substituting a night on town town with a game night or movie night with your friends, staying in on a Wednesday or Thursday instead of going out to read a good book, or going out with friends to just grab one beer. You'll feel better, happier, and your body and bank account with thank you.

>> And the one that's on everyone's list, working out more and hopefully completing my fourth half-marathon with some great friends this spring!

Check out this video on Bellingham, Washington; a small town that has developed a completely sustainable, local-living economy. They trade cookies for fresh veggies! I wish we could all live like this. Who wants to move here with me?!


These are just some of my resolutions and the way that I hope to live in 2012. What are your resolutions for 2012?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"99 is Not 100"

Property of Hummable.net

Although I love this photo, I have to disagree with Death Cab's "The New Year," in which the lyrics go on to say, "So this is the new year, and I don't feel any different," because I do. The new year has given me a sense of renewal, which I so greatly needed after some of the ups and downs of last year. One of my new years resolutions is to expect less and give more, because as my Dad put it the other day, "in relationships, you should always give 60%, because you are never actually giving as much as you think you are." This attitude has already allowed me to live more selflessly, which has thus far (okay, I know it's only been like three days) lead to a greater sense of happiness and appreciation for everything I have.

Speaking of appreciation, I just got home from watching Lucy Walker's award winning documentary Wasteland with a few friends tonight. Wasteland, a film about the art that stems from the world's largest landfill, is one of the most powerful documentaries I have seen since the Invisible Children documentary in 8th grade. Anonymous calls it "An uplifting feature documentary highlighting the transformative power of art and the beauty of the human spirit." Watch the trailer for yourself, and then I seriously recommend renting the movie on iTunes. I promise you that you will walk away with a whole different outlook on life, or at least a stronger desire to recycle.


The film is about Brazil's best-selling modern artist, Vik Muniz, who decides to make art out of the world's largest landfill, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. During his two year stay in Rio, Muniz takes pictures of the "pickers," some of Rio's shunned individuals who spend their days picking recylable items out of the landfill in return for pay, and then Muniz  creates the images of the pickers using solely the garbage from the landfill. The film shows the real relationships that Muniz makes with these individuals, and through his project, ultimately gives them a sense of hope that there is life beyond the landfill and an experience that they will never forget.




1) The Jardim Gramacho Landfill
2-3) The artwork, made solely out of the garbage from the pickers

Vik Muniz, in my opinion, effectively communicates with the audience through his art that beauty can by found in anything, even garbage. As Muniz put it, these pickers were all great people who had great senses of pride in what they did, they were just unlucky. As Muniz himself grew up poor, his project in Rio was designed so that he could help "give back," and that he did. All of the earnings from the sold photographs were given to the pickers and allowed them to create better lives for themselves.

I can definitely say that I look at garbage in a whole new way, and also have a renewed sense of why recycling is so important. In the words of Valter, one of the many beautifully raw characters in the film, "One single can is of great importance, because 99 is not 100 and that single one will make a difference.”

So if you are still sitting there looking for a New Year's resolution, or maybe you haven't even thought about what you're going to do yet, here's an easy one for you: recycle. It's that easy.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

An Unexpected New Years

So I turned 21 two months ago, and what did I want to do with my New Years Eve? Babysit. And that I did. For these two angels, Paige and Dylan:

video

After two hours, I finally got 5-year-old Dylan to fall asleep at about 9:45 pm, an hour and forty five minutes past his bedtime. I eventually had to resort to lullabies to get the lil guy to calm down, which I have almost never had to do while babysitting. I started off with "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (duh) and after that it was really a mental struggle to think of songs to sing. That's when I remembered the song that my dad used to sing to me.. "Loo-ra loo-ra loo-ra loo-ra loo-ra loo-ra lie." No, his name wasn't Laura, but I was desperate. Some of those lullabies really brought back some good memories. I sang "Hushaby Baby" (even though he's five) and also dipped into some Christmas songs, including Sufjan Steven's Come Thou Fount. Thank goodness he fell asleep during that because I almost desperately busted out the Taylor Swift...

As I finally started getting comfortable on the couch, the parents came home at around 10:30. If it weren't for the chocolate covered espresso beans that I had just eaten, I'm pretty sure I would have been passed out by then.. I was not expecting them to be home before midnight!

Their 10:30 arrival turned into a pleasant surprise, and I ended up getting to go out with some friends and have one of the most enjoyable New Year's Eves yet, playing games, sipping champagne, and watching the ball drop with some great people.







Happy 2012 everyone, let's make it the best year yet.

Laura