Thursday, July 31, 2014

Songs I Can't Bring Myself To Stop Listening To: iTunes Edition

Songs I Can't Bring Myself To 
Stop Listening To (On iTunes)

I recently gave you an idea of the songs I binge on when it comes to Spotify, but I also get hooked on some of the songs in my iTunes library.  (A lot of these I got from Noisetrade in case you're curious.)  A majority of these songs are upbeat fun types of songs, I'm usually drawn to those the most.

Barlights (Live) - fun.

Get Lucky (Gypsyphonic Bounce Remix) - The Soul Rebels feat. BIg Freedia

Kathleen - The Tattletale Saints

Into Your Deep - Hans Kraenzlin

Just A Ride - The Virginmarys

Acapella & Pulses - Karmin

Motive 1, 2 - Beautiful Eulogy

The Shadow (Burden) - Baskery

Unconditional Love Remix & Hallelujah Remix - Kevin Aleksander

-XO Juls

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Songs I Can't Bring Myself To Stop Listening To: Spotify Edition

Songs I Can't Bring Myself To 
Stop Listening To (On Spotify)

I love Spotify for exploring new music however sometimes I find myself listening to the same songs over and over again to the utter joy of the 3 or so people that follow me and actually pay attention to their feeds.  And just for the fun of it I thought I'd share with you the songs that I have been obsessed with lately (and in turn have had stuck in my head all day).

-XO Juls

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sleeping Beauty? Not So Much

     I remember middle school faintly.  Some things are clearer than others.  For instance, unless I really sit down and think I can barely recall any of 6th grade, but I vividly remember my mission trip to the Philippines in 7th grade, or being in the spring musical in 8th grade.  I also can easily remember many of the times my middle school friends would come over and we'd paint nails or dance around my house to 90's christian music.  The CDs (See?  We're going old school here.) we would play the most would always be Barlow Girl. 

     One song in particular was our pre-teen girl anthem.  If you know anything about Barlow Girl's music you might already know where I'm going here: Average Girl.  
Listen To It Here.

     My friends and I adored that song.  It was powerful to us.  It encouraged patience and faithfulness in God as the author of our lives.  However, having just listened to it on the car ride home I've noticed my relationship with that song has taken a turn into "Love/Hate".  At those moments in my adolescence I was so thankful for that song's reminder of not fitting into the norm that our culture was displaying.  At that time it was what I needed.  Sometimes I still do, if I'm being honest.  But, as I pondered this song today I couldn't help but have these thoughts, 

"This just sounds... wrong."  
"Should we really just wait around and 'sleep' until God sends our 'prince' to us?"  
"Shouldn't us women be ACTIVELY seeking God?  Then in turn as our 'prince' is seeking God we could find each other and partner together in our pursuit."
"This song just seems too PASSIVE."

   I couldn't help but be drawn to the parts of the song that talk about waiting and "sleeping" until our 'princes' come for us.  

So what I'm not your average girl
I don't meet the standards of this world
Chasing after boys is not my thing
See I'm waiting for a wedding ring

No more dating
I'm just waiting
Like sleeping beauty
My prince will come for me
No more dating I'm just waiting
'Cause God is writing my love story

Boys are bad that's certainly not true
'Cause God's preparing one for you
If you get tired waiting till he comes
Gods arms are the perfect place to run

Sleep that's the only thing
For me 'cause when I sleep Gods

Preparing one for me


While I appreciate the sense of patience this instills, it still seems like it is telling us women to passively wait around until God sends us a guy.  That's not what I want, and I'm sure it's not what God wants.  Relationships, romantically, should always come second to the relationship with the Father.  Our focus should be on seeking Him out, not waiting on God to bring us a man.  Patience is key, as well, as a desire for that kind of relationship is pretty much instilled in us all.  And this song helps encourage that.  Like I've said, it's a Love/Hate relationship.  So let's be Patient, Faithful, AND Actively Pursuing Christ.

-XO Juls

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

5 Best Music Videos

     I love seeing the creativity that goes into music videos and getting to see how the artist expresses their song visually.  I picked some of my favorite music videos and compiled a short list for you.  These videos are creative and sometimes retro/vintage.  I liked most of these songs before even seeing the videos for them, but the videos make them 10 times more enjoyable.  I won't say much about each individual video because I really want the artists' voices to speak for themselves.

5. Meg & Dia - Black Wedding

I love how Meg and Dia's style is a little haunting and vintage-glam in general, but this video showcases it best.  

4. Family Force 5 - Chainsaw

This is one of the few songs I first heard when I watched the video.  Either way though the video keeps up with the energy of the song which is key and Hello? Flannel!

3. Karmin - Pulses

Like I mentioned before this video starts out retro & hilarious.  George Takei just makes my day!  I also love the use of the lack of color.

2. Beautiful Eulogy - Symbols & Symbols

The sketch overlay is creative and fun but doesn't take away from the heaviness of the subject of the song.

1. Kimbra - Good Intent

Kimbra is the music video queen to me.  She's not only one of my favorite artists but I also love the style of her music videos.  Good Intent is my favorite but I also love Settle Down and Cameo Lover, just to name a few.

Aly & AJ - Potential Breakup Song

I know it's a little dated but I've always loved this video for the effective use of grayscale vs color and the paint splatter effect.

-XO Juls

Friday, July 18, 2014

20 Years On This Planet:

Back in June my lovely sister wrote me a letter on her blog as a birthday surprise.  In it she wrote 20 pieces of advice that she had gained through her years of life on Earth.  20 pieces of advice for me since I had turned 20.  It meant a lot knowing that she took the time to write that for me and was thinking of me.  You can find her post here.  I decided that while I do not have her way with words, and I wouldn't want to copy her post anyways, I do have a couple words of wisdom that my experiences have blessed me with as well.  They are a little bit more general since I'm not writing this directed towards any one person.

So without further ado, here are 20 things I've learned throughout my 20 years on this planet:

1.  Be a nerd.
If you have a strong interest in something embrace it.  Whether that interest be in old school Nintendo games, Harry Potter, fashion, soccer, Disney, or even Pokemon.  Be a nerd in the highest meaning of the word.  Enjoy your interests, and don't let other people talk you out of them simply because their interests lie elsewhere.

2.  When you get the chance go to concerts.
Music changes a little when you're at a concert.  It becomes more personal.  I can't tell you how many times I've listened to Kimbra, Foster the People, or my Passion CD and thought "I remember them playing this live!  That was so awesome!"  Artists and bands cross over a whole other level when you watch them live.  You get to see them interacting with their own music and not in an edited and cut way like in music videos.  It's real life.

3.  Don't be a flirt.
I admit it, I'm guilty of this one.  Most people are.  I'm one of those unintentional flirts in that I don't realize that I'm flirting.  But flirting with flirting is dangerous.  It may seem harmless and fun at first, but soon people's feelings get hurt unintentionally.  Set appropriate boundaries for when you interact with the opposite gender.  And be intentional with how you relate to other people.

4.  Dictate your own style.
Fashion rules say this and trends say that, but none of those rules and regulations have any idea who you are as an individual.  While I love fashion and style is important to me.  I also believe in what Stacey and Clinton represent on What Not To Wear; fashion doesn't have to be boring, and having your own sense of style doesn't have to mean mismatched frumpy clothes.  The two worlds can live harmoniously.  Let your own style shine through.  Love graphic tees?  Awesome!  Want to rock a scarf 24/7?  Sweet!  Only wear super short shorts?  Please no!  Put some pants on.

5.  Devotions don't have to be a chore.
I've found that the more I give my time over to God and dig into His word then the more interesting it becomes to me.  

6.  Surround yourself with good friends.
Create a support group for yourself full of people who encourage you and build you up.  And do the same for them, friendship is a two-way street.

7.  Don't be afraid to be yourself.
Whether you're an artist, a writer, a musician, a jokester, an encourager, a teacher, a listener, or any of the many things I haven't listed, God created you with these unique abilities and talents for you to use in miraculous ways.  
You are not like anyone else in the world in the most wonderful way possible.  Some people are introverts, and some are extroverts.  Both are important.  I, an introvert to the core, love hanging out with friends and spending time with people.  However, I recharge during my alone time at home.  I adore being by myself, having no pressure to impress other people or live according to their schedule.  I love being my introverted self and have no desire of changing that.
I also know I have weird quirks like my fascination with cats, or saying words wrong on purpose, or singing along with songs all the time.  But those are just pieces that fit into the infinite puzzle that is me.

8.  Learn at least one instrument.
Whether you go with more common instruments like piano, drums, guitar, or something more obscure like banjo, harmonica, upright bass, or keytar, I believe that music creates an outlet unlike any other creative outlet.  It lets you express yourself in new ways.  Besides, who doesn't love a musician?

9.  Boys make awesome friends.
Growing up my guy friend circle mainly consisted of my cousin Bobby and all of his friends plus a couple guys from school that I didn't hang out with outside of class.  Since college that has changed drastically.  I adore my guy friends who have become like a group of brothers for me (having only two sisters this actually means a lot to me).  I enjoy getting to watch them grow through these years into young men who are great leaders, super fun to hang out with, and awesome frisbee players.  I feel comfortable around these guy friends knowing that they support me and have my back.

10.  Pay attention in class.
Don't listen to the people who tell you you don't actually have to pay attention.  Listen and learn.  Go to class on time, take notes, and do your homework.  Do your best at everything you do and glorify God with it.

11.  Don't be afraid of trying new things.
Burritos.  A couple years ago I had never tried a burrito, mainly because I'm a super picky eater.  But after my first time trying it I found myself craving them all the time.  I am now practically in love with burritos (don't worry, I make sure to keep it at a healthy level of obsession).  I never would have known that if I had chickened out and refused to try one.  You might be missing out on a potential favorite of yours because you're too afraid to try a new thing.

12.  Eye contact.
Eye contact is a precious commodity these days.  Everyone is so accustomed to looking down at their devices.  But looking at a person in the eye shows interest in them.  It shows you know how to hold a conversation and it also helps you relate closer to people.  Just... don't stare at people.  That can get creepy.

13.  Learn to step out.
One thing I have learned from living on campus is what it is like to be out from under my parent's roof.  And while I love being back under it (#commutinglife) there are many things I miss.  Mainly, it's just the feeling of being out on my own and feeling like my decisions can truly be my own .  Eventually it comes time to leave the nest (and in the most respectful way possible, I feel like my mind has even though physically I am planning to live at my parent's house 2 more years 'till I graduate.)

14.  Go without your phone.
Every once in a while it is so refreshing to leave your phone behind and just enjoy being with people, or embracing nature without being separated by a camera and filter.

15.  Be okay with you.
This may sound suspiciously like number 7.  Well it does.  Titles are hard.  But this time I want you to be okay with you, the you you see in the mirror.  Everyone has issues with body image at least to some extent.  And learning to love how you were made is never an easy thing.  I remember in middle school and early high school when there were a few select things I could list off as being my least favorite things about myself. Namely?  My eyebrows.  I have very bold eyebrows and I've never really cared to the extent of actually getting them shaped because Ouch! and it costs money.  Plus then you have to maintain it and it's just a hassle.  But even though it was my decision to keep them how they are I still wasn't thrilled with how I looked.  Through the years I took the slow journey of coming to appreciate how God made me eyebrows and all.  Freshman year of college I painted an abstract self-portrait in which my eyebrows were painted very boldly.  One of my peers critiqued it by saying something like "I love the eyebrows.  You made them really bold and if you had done it differently it wouldn't look like you."  Learning to like yourself is a journey and it begins with understanding and accepting that God knew what He was doing when He made you.  You are beautiful!

16.  Don't take yourself too seriously.
Laugh.  A lot.  Even at yourself.  Humility is big, and learning to be humble is one of those wonderful things where if you do it life will generally seem better, and if you don't life will teach you humility on it's own terms.  

17.  Know which relationships are top priority.
Boys, surprisingly, should not rank first.  Who would'a thunk? I'm still learning how to put my relationship with God before all other relationships.  After that for me comes family and then friend and romantic relationships.  "Seek first the Kingdom of God and these things will be added to you."

18.  Be organized.
Don't let your life get cluttered.  Not to sound like a mom, but honestly life seems to seem a lot less stressful and a whole lot easier when your work space, car, room, closet, dresser, desktop, and mind are clear.

19.  Don't hold on to friends who pull you down.
Like I said before, relationships are a two-way street.  Friends are there to encourage you, help you learn, and have fun.  I've had my experience with friendships that just felt draining before.  That's not healthy.  Sometimes it's better for you & even them to cut ties and move on.

20.  Read.  Read.  Read!
Reading is one of my favorite pastimes alongside with drawing and singing.  I love entering other worlds and enlarging my vocabulary (which reading naturally does).  Reading promotes brain growth and you also get to explore the world from the comfort of the armchair in your room.  Fill your bookcases, my friends, and explore the worlds inside the pages.

-XO Juls

Thursday, July 17, 2014

That One Summer

Hi readers, 

Wooh!  It's been a while since our last chat.  *looks at date on last post*  Ok, so it's been QUITE a while.  I've been busy with normal 20-something stuff, like going on adventures with friends (can you say "beach trips"?!), interning (can you say "unpaid"?!), family events like reunions, binge watching netflix and youtube, and sleeping.  I suppose I could have thrown in a post here and there but the whole point of this blog of mine in particular was to post when inspiration hit. 

Here it is.

So I was listening to my songs on iTunes (on shuffle of course, is there another way to do it?) and a certain song came on.  It was Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová; the special version from Bath & Bodyworks' P.S. I Love You CD. (Don't ask. Okay, it was special edition that I got because I know people.)  Anyways, this CD in particular is one of my favorite CDs that I own.  It is all love songs from various artists and it is ridiculously soothing to listen to.

P.S. I Love You track list:
1::I Still Ain't Over You - Augustana::
2::Falling Slowly - Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová::
3::Closer To Love - Matt Kearney::
4::Fit Of Love - Ciara::
5:: You Don't Know Me -  Ben Folds Feat. Regina Spektor::
6::Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop - Landon Pigg::
7::Shelter - Ray LaMontagne
8::Bad Habit - Destiny's Child::
9::Follow Through - Gavin DeGraw::
10::The Show - Lenka::

One summer in particular I completely thrived off listening to this CD at night before bed.  Typically though that would last through till the morning because I stayed up many of those nights listening to that CD and reading.  It was summertime after all and I was in high school, why would I need sleep?  

The reason I am bringing this up is because I am fascinated with sensory memory, particularly in this case with Echoic Memory.  In layman's terms that means memories that are brought about by a certain sound (this really can occur with most of our other senses too like sight and smell etc.)   So, whenever I hear the songs from this CD I am reminded of the moments in which I listened to them the most, which for me is when I was in my room that Summer reading all night.  But that's not all.  I wasn't reading just any books, I was reading one of my favorite series of books from my favorite author, Ted Dekker.  I was reading through the Paradise Novels (Showdown, Saint, and Sinner).  So when I hear this CD those moments I remember pinpoint to me reading those books in particular (and eating cheese and Triscuit crackers paired with grape juice which I pretended was wine).  They have become an inseparable matching set in my mind.  It works both ways too, when I think of Showdown or any of the moments in that book, or of the main characters Johnny, Samuel or Marsuvees Black somewhere in the back of my mind Falling Slowly or The Show by Lenka starts playing.  I think that is one of my favorite things about the human mind, how it's capable of making connections like that.  Connections.  I love connections, that's why Ted Dekker is my favorite author. That's a whole other post for me, though.  

I think I'm going to wrap this one up by the way and just ask you to ponder through what some of your favorite books and CDs are.  And I highly encourage you to go back and read them, or pop that CD in and listen to it and reminisce.  It is Summer after all.

-XO Juls