everyday inspiration


“I hope this song starts a craze”

Lately, Husband and I have been reminiscing a lot about favorite bands, nostalgic bands (often one in the same) and concerts we’ve attended together.

It started a few months back when Husband created a “High School Jamz” playlist. It was such a throwback and we have had so much fun listening to it and singing to it – even as often as last night, belting out our favorite Brand New songs after our Valentine’s Day dinner at home.

Every time we go to a concert, I always think how fun it is and how we need to go to concerts more often. Who doesn’t love live music?? We are so lucky to have an amazing outdoor venue less than 2 miles from our house, and this year they’re bringing several of our favorite nostalgic artists.

We’ve purchased tickets to 3 concerts so far this year – Blink 182 in April and Third Eye Blind with Silversun Pickups in July, and the one we’re most excited about – Radiohead in Kansas City in April. This will be a huge concert to check off the bucket list.

While I’ve been excitedly planning for the upcoming concerts, I’ve also been reminiscing about our early concert days –


Our first concert together was Taking Back Sunday and Jimmy Eat World in Ft. Smith. My parents drove me, Husband (then boyfriend) and friend Nicole down. Sadly these were the pre-smartphone days so I have no photos to speak of, but the three of us still talk about how much fun we had.



[Dashboard Confessional and Brand New, Conway 2006]
With Dashboard lead singer Chris Carrabba + us outside of Brand New’s tour bus

P.S. it was FREEZING and we waited out back for hoursssssss to meet them #WorthIt


[Foo Fighters, University of Arkansas 2007]

This photo was actually taken while waiting outside for the tickets a few months before the show. Somehow I cannot find a single photo of the actual concert even though it was one of the best shows we’ve ever been to. We went with two of our favorite people and stood feet from Dave Grohl as he played for hours and hours and had so so much fun.


[Brand New, Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa 2007]

I don’t remember much about this concert … but glad I found this one picture of the guitarist hanging upside down, ha!

img_0092[Dear and the Headlights, Jimmy Eat World and Paramore, Springfield 2008]
With lead singer of Dear and the Headlights

img_0093[Vans Warped Tour: Blink 182, Weezer, Taking Back Sunday, Kansas City, 2009]

Of course, I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention our two stops to Red Rocks in Denver to see our new favorite band The National –


[Frightened Rabbit, Local Natives and The National, 2013]


[The National, 2016]

Excited to make more concert memories with Husband this summer and in the years to come!

xo xo

13 Reasons Taylor Swift’s New Album 1989 is Everything


1989 has officially been out for two weeks now, and there hasn’t been a day I haven’t listened to it. You could say I’m obsessed, which is nothing new, but this has just fueled the fire.

Mom and I have been to two Taylor Swift concerts, Fearless in LA in 2010 and Red in Nashville in 2013. When Taylor releases her tour dates, Mom and I each pick 3 cities we want to go to and if 1 of our picks matches that’s where we go. So, as you can tell, I’m anxiously awaiting her tour date release, but until then … here are 13 reasons why 1989 is everything.

1. The title of the album is not only Taylor’s birth year, but also my birth year. We’re obviously meant to be besties.

2. There’s not a single song on the album I dislike or skip when playing the album through. Unheard of.

3. She is now officially a pop artist, and a country artist, and an anything she wants to be artist. She’s Taylor Swift.

4. My favorite song changes every other day. Currently “Blank Space.”

5. “Wildest Dreams” is reminiscent of Lana Del Ray in an ethereal way. It’s just so lovely and makes me want to swoon.

6. Not all of the songs are about boys (which Husband likes to tease doesn’t exist) namely “Welcome to New York”, which is about her love of the big apple. Can I go to NYC now and sing this through the streets, please?

7.  She has retained her lyrical style even though her musical style has changed completely.

8. “Shake It Off” will forever be a great dance song (past, present and future – see second video below!)

9. I’ve never liked Harry Styles or Katy Perry and this just gives me even more grounds to dislike them.

10. “Welcome to New York” is the perfect opener and “Clean” is the perfect ending to the album. It just all fits.

11. The “move the furniture so we could dance” line from “Out of the Woods” reminds me of “we’re dancing around the kitchen in the refrigerator light” section of Red’s “All Too Well” – one of my favorite songs from that album.

12. At least once a day, I sing “You got that James Dean daydream look in your eye, and I got that red lip classic thing that you like” and pretend that I always wear red lip stick and my husband looks like James Dean.

13. That each of her albums continue to make me love her more and more and more. Hats off, Tay.

And now, a video for your viewing pleasure – the newly released “Blank Space” music video. ❤


 xo xo, your favorite swiftie

My newfound {terribly surprising} love of NPR

I’ve never been much of a radio listener. I enjoy music of course, but always hated talk radio. Growing up on road trips when my parents would turn on talk radio or sports I thought it was the worst thing in the world. But the worst of the worst was when they turned on NPR – UGH. In my mind, NPR was an old-person radio station with boring news by boring people who have boring, monotonous voices.

I had a very negative connotation of NPR for years, until just last week.

As I’ve stated previously, we recently gave up cable and one of the things I miss most is watching/listening to The Today Show in the mornings while getting ready for work. When husband said there was a new NPR app he wanted to listen to in the mornings, I was hesitant to try it, but wanted something to fill the void even if it was the old-person radio.

NPR One is similar to Pandora – you can skip the segments you don’t want to hear and mark what you find interesting so it caters content to you. Guess what … it’s incredible.

I do still have a problem with the monotonous voices (I know, that’s just radio, but I guess I need more flair than that). But the content is fascinating. I’ve realized I don’t necessarily enjoy listening to the typical news segments, local, national or global, but I love the random stories I would never hear otherwise.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned from NPR this week …

  • There are things called Morning Glory Raves. Strip away the drugs and alcohol typical to a rave, keep the loud music and energetic dancing and do it at 6:30am on a weekday. There are smoothie and espresso bars. People bring their kids. It’s a family-friendly party before work and school, and it sounds amazing. Currently only in London, Bangalore, Sydney, New York and San Fran, I’m thinking of starting one in Bentonville.
  • Guys are more likely to say “uh” and girls are more likely to say “um.” When people say “uh” they’re searching for what to say and when they say “um” they’re searching for how to say it. Fascinating.
  • Hops, a main ingredient in craft beer, is steadily rising in price due to the increasing popularity of craft beers in the US.
  • There are only 1,600 pandas in the entire world and 300 are in captivity. One of those 1,600 had triplets this week, which is extremely extremely rare.
  • Of all the U.S. currency in the world, nearly 80% is in $100 bills. That’s about a trillion dollars. One economist is suggesting doing away with the bill because it’s beneficial mostly to criminals (drug lords, human traffickers, etc.) to smuggle money more easily.

Where else but NPR would I have learned all of this as well as kept abreast on what’s happening with Ebola, Ferguson, Mo. and the interstate construction in Arkansas?

I guess I’m officially a convert, and I can’t wait for the day when my kids think I’m an old, boring person listening to talk radio on road trips.

xo xo

favorites, round 3.

Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 4.47.55 PM

Things I love that I want to share with you, so you can love them too.

1. Beyonce – Queen Bey did it again. This album is phenomenal. I can’t stop listening to it, and I have a new favorite song every day. Current favorites: Partition, XO and Drunk in Love.

2. Chapstick Hydration Lock – I got this new chapstick in my birchbox a few months ago. (Another one of my favorite things.) I’m already a huge chapstick person, but this has just fueled my obsession. It’s so soft and creamy and vanilla-y. It’s amazing.

3. Macarons – I’d had macarons once before and wasn’t a fan. Then, my friend Mollie starting making them and they are out of this world. She might start selling them soon, in which case you can definitely expect a blog post about it so you can buy some!

4. Leopard Scarf from Nordstrom – This scarf has probably been my one favorite wardrobe piece for fall and winter. It’s cute and trendy and leopard is always versatile. Infinity scarves in general are my current fave!

5. Moscow Mule – This drink is amaaazing. Who would have known I’d like Ginger Beer?? It also doesn’t hurt that it’s served in an adorable copper mug. #love

6. Candy Crush – The first step is admitting you have a problem … I’m addicted to Candy Crush! It seems so ridiculous, but it’s so fun. (Until you get stuck on a level for weeks.)

xo xo

You might also enjoy: favorites., favorites, round 2.

Mixtape: KC Memorial Day Weekend ’13


Confession: I love mixtapes. If you make me a mixtape, I’ll love you forever. There’s something so special about them. All the mixtapes I’ve made or that have been given to me reflect a moment in time. The songs remind me of a specific person, place or event. I can go back and listen to them and remember the smallest details about that time in my life.

Over the years I’ve most commonly made mixtapes for road trips. Among my collection I have OKC, Tulsa, Green Forest, N. Dakota, Spring Break + many more. When I was younger I even used to write out all the songs on a piece of paper in order with title and artist. I still have the CD and list for Cozumel 2003. If only you knew what was on that CD…

In the spirit of old mixtapes, Husband and I are making one for our trip to Kansas City this weekend. We’re headed up for a little weekend getaway to celebrate our 2nd anniversary. Since we have very different taste in music it will be an interesting compilation, but will hopefully keep both of us musically satisfied for the trip.

Enjoy a peek at our mixtape and let me know what songs would be on yours. Happy long weekend! xo

1. Next to Me, Emeli Sande
2. You and I, Local Natives
3. Shake It Out, Florence + The Machine
4. I Should Live in Salt, The National
5. Today Was a Fairtytale, Taylor Swift
6. Humiliation, The National
7. West Coast, Coconut Records
8. This Is The Last Time, The National
9. Stay, Rihanna
10. Demons, The National
11. I Knew You Were Trouble, Taylor Swift
12. Sea of Love, The National
13. Freaks & Geeks, Childish Gambino
14. Pink Rabbits, The National
15. Breakers, Local Natives
16. Graceless, The National
17. Little Talks, Of Monsters and Men

P.S. I also purchased The Great Gatsby soundtrack for the trip, which is supposed to be AMAZING. It’s produced by Jay-Z, so that’s a pretty good start.

10 things I want to do in NYC, thanks to pop culture

1. Blare this song as my plane is landing into the city

2. Have a beer at MacClaren’s (How I Met Your Mother)


3. Have lunch on the steps of the Met (Gossip Girl)

All About My Brother

4. Break out into song and dance in Central Park (Glee)


5. Share cosmos and gossip at a swanky bar (Sex in the City)


6. Longingly peer into the windows at Tiffany’s (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)


7. Stay at the Gansevoort (Kim and Kourtney Take New York)


8. Enjoy a winter in the city and a summer in the Hamptons (Revenge)


9. Work at a magazine publication with a horrible, but brilliant boss (The Devil Wears Prada)


10. Go undercover and solve a crime or two (White Collar)


* * *

What have you always wanted to do in the city?


Weekend Picturebook: Tulsa & Oklahoma City


{Friday night in Tulsa, The Cigar Box}

IMG_2613 189001_1817827598645_726255655_n

{and then some Drenga}

IMG_0853 IMG_3786

{Saturday morning brunch at Kilkenny’s, complete with Bloody Mary’s, “Manmosa’s” and Breakfast Shots}

425736_1817828838676_1836371537_n 543842_1817828718673_726076489_n

{Dinner at Bricktown Brewery, OKC}


{Drinks before the show}

154667_1796589787528_369473178_n 424924_1796589627524_2128135943_n

{Trans Siberian Orchestra!}


{Got to see a dear old friend, Edna’s OKC}


{The morning after, IHOP}

* * *

You may also be interested in: Weekend Picturebook: Kansas City, Weekend Picturebook: Colorado

Happy Friday

It’s been a long, cold, rainy, depressing week.

And then came along Friday (I’m refraining from singing the song here, you’re welcome.) The sun’s out, the windows are rolled down and everyone remembers what spring feels like again.

For some of us, though the beautiful day beckons there is still so much work to be done and we’ll hold out until summer to really feel the warm release.

So for those of you stuck inside today, here’s some video entertainment. Hope you enjoy.


{Watch the whole thing, or at least get about halfway through to the rap part. Trust me, it’s worth it.}

Taylor Swift ft. T-Pain – Thug Story from Antoine Pham on Vimeo.

{Hopefully you’ve all seen this, but if you haven’t, it’s probably the No. 1 reason why Taylor Swift is my all-time favorite.}

{We saw Donald Glover, on the right, on campus last night and his stand-up was hilarious. He also did some of his rapping for us, which was awesome. To hear his raps, check out my story on the UATrav website.}

Also, check out my new quote of the week on the top right of the home page.


A Bad Day with Beethoven

Everyone has a “horrible, first day of school” story. Except for me. Until today. My last, first day of school.

Let’s preface the real story with the fact that I practically poured coffee all over myself on my way to school. Thankfully, it wasn’t hot and it was on my coat. However, I should have taken this as a sign.

9:30 a.m. class- Honors Music Colloquium: Beethoven’s Symphonic Theory

I also should have taken it as a sign when everyone in the 10 person class knew each other… because they were all grad students… studying music history, music theory, tuba, piano, etc.

As we went around the classroom saying our name, major and what we enjoyed about Beethoven, I knew I was screwed.

Person A: I’m a graduate student in Music History and have also played the piano my entire life. Thus, I know all about Beethoven’s history as well as the way all of his symphonies are composed and could tell you about each them down to each note. Oh look, I also have all 3 of these books about his symphonies that I just bought for fun and randomly brought to class.

Me: Uh.. I’m an undergraduate Journalism student and I have always been interested in music.

It was a real shining moment for me.

It only went downhill from there as the Austrian professor lectured in a foreign language. Background: I’ve grown up in choir, can/could read music, have played the clarinet, piano and guitar, making me think I was qualified enough. The class was practically in another language. About the only words I recognized were Beethoven, Bach and symphony. But even then, I couldn’t tell you what exactly characterizes a symphony and the origins of it (which he asked.)

As he was writing notes on the board and drawing symbols that were far from anything I’ve ever seen, I was hastily taking down every word. (At this point I was positive I had to drop the class, but would rather be safe than sorry) “Now, this is review for all of you, correct? Because the entire class will be building on these concepts,” he asked in his too cute accent that made me all the more upset. I look around and not a single other person is taking notes.


Okay, 5 minutes left in the class. He will surely let us go early, because I don’t know how much more of this I can take. HA what was I thinking?

“For the last few minutes, let’s listen to Sammartini. Follow along with the score I handed you then we will analytically discuss his work- what form it is in (which I had just comprehensively taken notes on, but definitely wouldn’t be able to decipher the score with), how you can tell and what the anomalies with his other works are (who the heck was this guy anyway?!).”

I have never, ever, ever been more excited to leave a class than the moment we were released.

Editor’s note: I have officially switched out of that class into The History of the Book in Early America.

I’m feeling rough, I’m feeling raw, I’m in the prime of my life

As I’ve returned from a wonderful few weeks of vacation, and school is rapidly approaching, I’m feeling blue, da ba dee da ba die. It doesn’t help that it’s freezing outside and snowy. Which when you’re sans school, isn’t nearly as exciting. All I can seem to think about is: waking up early, tests, papers, lack of time to read and watch movies, the impending thesis, plans, moving, job hunting, extreme busyness that I know will happen within a week of school. Though I’ve always been that person that loves being so busy she can’t sit still (pretty sure I know where I got that from..) I’ve surprisingly enjoyed the relaxation this break has brought, and only a tiny part of me is itching to get back into a routine.

However, I’m changing my tune. Why spend the last week of break dreading the inevitable? I’m looking too far into the future and discounting what the next semester, next month, next week or next day could bring.

I’ve been inspired by several things to say goodbye, bad mood and make every second count.

This song just came up on Pandora as I was writing this and it made me happy. Music is so good for the soul.

I see pictures of this beautiful little guy, Jack, that belongs to one of my good friends Lauren and my heart is beyond warmed. Just look at those eyes.

I’ve been happily reading The Imperfectionists, about misfit journalists, and plan to finish it before school starts.

I also plan to finish the final season of Veronica Mars. I had to give her another nod. I’ve been very inspired by her.

Then there’s this blog post from Thought Catalog that makes me laugh and reflect on How to be a 20-Something.

This blog, appropriately titled sunshine on a cloudy day, is one of my new favorites, and where I found this inspiration:

Of course not to mention the wonderful people in my life that make every day count. You are who make me wake up every day with a smile on my face, whether through a text message, a listening ear, a patient heart, an unintended compliment, a gracious laugh or the never-ending love you shower down on me. I’m inspired by all of you to make every second count and love you, and life, with everything I have.


Quelqu’un M’a Dit

I know these things are ridiculous sometimes, but I have seen this one on Facebook lately and though it looked interesting. Some of them are HILARIOUS and some are perfect. Anyway, hope you enjoy a little break from your week by reading about my life via iPod shuffle.

Are you male or female?
I Want It All- HSM3 (I’m not quite sure what this means, but it’s HSM so I’ll allow it)

What do people feel when they’re around you?
I Want to Hold Your Hand- The Beatles

Describe your current relationship.
Shiver- Motion City Soundtrack

Where would you like to be now?
The Ice is Getting Thinner- Death Cab for Cutie

How do you feel about love?
Lonely, Lonely- Taking Back Sunday

What’s your life like?
Fifteen- Taylor Swift (pretty accurate Tay)

What would you wish for if you had only one wish?
Jesus Messiah- Chris Tomlin

Say something wise.
Hide and Seek- Imogen Heap

If someone says “Is this okay?” You say,
Blindsided- Bon Iver

How would you describe yourself?
Green Eyes- Coldplay

What do you look for in a girl/guy?
Indescribable- Chris Tomlin (this answer is just too perfect for words, indescribable perhaps)

How do you feel today?
Daft Punk is Playing at My House- LCD Soundsystem

What is your life’s purpose?
My Life Would Suck Without You- Glee Cast

What is your motto?
I’m Bored, You’re Amorous- Dear and the Headlights

What do your friends think of you?
Gold Digger- Kanye West (any comments on this one friends?)

What do you think of your parents?
Saturday Night Divas- Spice Girls (guess I had to get my diva from somewhere)

What do you think about very often?
When “You’re” Around- Motion City Soundtrack (again, perfect <3)

What is 2 + 2?
I Like it Rough- Lady Gaga

What do you think of your best friend?
Where You Go I Go- Joel Auge (love this)

What do you think of the person you like?
The Feeling- Ben Rector (had to sit and listen to this song while thinking of the person I “like.”)

What is your life story?
Life on a Chain- Pete Yorn

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Enchanted- Taylor Swift (am I not enchanting already? thanks for giving me something to live for tay)

What do you think of when you see the person you like?
Boys, Boys, Boys- Lady Gaga (whoosh, good things it’s not girls, girls, girls)

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Innocent- Taylor Swift

What will they play at your funeral?
Yeah- Usher feat. Lil’ Jon and Ludacris (hmm, not sure how I feel about this)

What is your hobby/interest?
Bittersweet Symphony- The Verve

What is your biggest fear?
Better Than Revenge- Taylor Swift

What is your biggest secret?
Failure By Design- Brand New

What do you think of your friends?
Your Love is a Drug- Ke$ha

What will you post this as?
Quelqu’un M’a Dit- Carla Bruni

Midweek Entertainment

1. Taylor Swift’s new cd Speak Now was released Monday and I’ve been listening to it nonstop. Watch her release performance in NYC at mtv.com. If you get a chance to listen to more of her songs, some of my favorites are “Mean”, “Enchanted” and “Long Live.”

2. About two weeks ago I was introduced to a phrase that has changed my life. “Can you teach me how to dougie?” If you don’t know what it is first watch the music video on YouTube. Want to learn how to dougie? Watch this awesome instructional video.

3. Everyone has seen and loves the Old Spice commercials. Well, there are a new slew of them that are pretty funny and pretty ridiculous. Start with this one.

4. As much as I didn’t want to include this, I decided I wouldn’t be an entertainment buff if I didn’t. Kanye West released Runaway, a 34-minute movie featuring new music. It might be worth watching (though I haven’t yet), but here it is if you’re interested.

Can You Teach Me How To Dougie?

Three summers ago, God placed me in Pasadena, California for the summer without a single person I knew and doing a summer project that was relatively unknown to anyone I knew. Weeks leading up to my departure I cried and cried and cried, terrified I would hate it and not make any friends. But something put me on that plane, and it ended up being the best and most life-changing summer I have ever had. Though I will eventually blog about what I learned in California, this post is not about the what, but the who. So for now, if you’re interested in what I did, visit the IT Project website.

Fast forward three years. This weekend 11 of the 22 people from the project came together for the marriage of one of our project leaders in Conway, Arkansas. Some flew from across the country, some drove 18 hours straight, and the result was exactly like it was three summers ago- a unique connection between us that is more special than any group of people I have ever been around, especially considering we live spread out across the United States, lead different lives and have seen each other only a handful of times since that summer.

A a mere few things about us that I love are that we…

get tremendously excited to see each person, can share the deepest parts of their souls as well as laugh for hours on end, can sit and talk about life at Ihop until the wee hours even though there is a 2 hour drive home, send prayer requests via Facebook or text and know it won’t be forgotten, can reminisce about old memories and easily make new ones, gleefully welcome new spouses/fiances, give meaningful hugs, constantly discusses the next time we will get to see each other (happily, it will be at my wedding 🙂 )

Thanks to these wonderful people in my life, this weekend was the exact refresher that I needed. I got to see lovely faces I haven’t seen in a long time, and have great times with those who I see more often. I got to share in the joy of three recent weddings, the anticipation of a newborn and tell my engagement story and wedding plans to 11 eager ears.

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

Guac, Cyber War and Snoop Dogg

Welcome to my week in pictures. They may appear random, but I promise I have a connection with all of them. I hope my life is at least somewhat mysterious to ya’ll. Enjoy.