Re: Solutions 2018

Dear 2017,

You were exhausting. You were two jobs, a car purchase, a move, a death, a visitation, a funeral, very little sleep, a new relationship. You were new eyes. You were the same old desk job and restless feelings. You are the reason I’ve decided to make a change and frankly, I’m really over you.

In the dawning of a new year I’ve decided to make some resolutions that have nothing to do with gyms, makeovers or cleaning house. They are about a clear view of myself and a move back to her. I’ve lost the idea of fun in payment deadlines. I’ve lost the sweet moments of female companionship to busy schedules. I am ready to kick debt’s ass and make new friends. I’m prepping this year to do four things.

  1. Learn to take vacations: Don’t just use my PDOs for boughts of the flu, but long weekends on the couch and TRAVELLING as well! This comes with a caveat. I want to have perfect work attendance in 2018. No call ins, planned days off only.
  1. Kill Debt: I paid off two large credit card balances and a surgery in December. I also set up my Emergency Fund. It made me feel like a badass! I’m going after my student loans next. Sidebar to this one, I’m not going to let paying off debt make me an unfun hermit.
  1. Make my place Home: I moved in November. As much “stuff” as I put in here it still doesn’t feel like a place that’s mine. I will hang art. I will cook. I will play music. I will make myself a bright, cozy home base. Side bar: I will not spend tons of money. I will frame photos. I will make this place sentimental and delightful.
  1. Present Myself: I love makeup. I love doing my hair. I love shoes and clothes and all things. I have gotten out of the habit of dressing in a way that makes me feel good. I’m going to do it! Sidebar: I threw away a lot of my clothes in the move. It’s winter. I now have no sweaters. I have so much work to do!

Tell me about the things you want to do, the moments you’re thankful for…all of it! I’m excited to spend 2018 with y’all!

The Icebox Doesn’t Get Crushes

Science says that the symptoms of love are identical to those of fear. Sweaty palms, hearts racing, Adrenaline junkies of the world rejoice!

I am not that. I am not the hot fearless girl that jumps out of planes. I don’t get tattoos, I don’t go places where I know no one. I am safe. I am perfectly content in the context in which I live. Blogger Babe Hermatige. I like to be alone.

…and then it happened.

I dreaded it. The moment that He Who Shall Not Be Named left me for some good, and some really crappy reasons I was in dread of this.

The heart racing, sweaty palms, stuttering and idiocy of the first post-big-break-up crush.

Jesus, does he have to be so nice!? Does he have to look at me like that!? Does he have to so intentionally be entirely good to me!? Does he not know that I am damaged goods? Doesn’t he know that I have fallen in love and been left? That it’s left me unable to eat less than a pint of ice cream at a time, sleep normal amounts or Heaven forbid see myself naked?

I have been ruined for men everywhere. Forever.

Until I left the bar, got home, took out my contacts, washed my face, threw my bra on the floor, sat down and considered putting it all back on again just to go back there because, I missed him. I missed his presence in my life. I missed his warmth and kindness. I missed knowing that he was intentionally listening for me to speak. At least, it felt that way.

So, now here I sit. About half naked, bare faced and really wanting to focus of the Grey’s Anatomy episode I convinced myself to watch but, instead I’m wondering if he misses me too. If he felt a shift when I walked out the door, if he wants to go home and tell his cat about me. If he has a cat. Does he have a cat? I don’t have a cat, so, I choose y’all instead.

I’m trying to convince myself that to allow that heart flutters is bad. To allow myself to text him is bad. To allow myself to be anywhere near him is bad but, for some reason, it’s the only place a feel the most centered, seen and comforted.

That can’t be bad, right?

 

 

Music Monday with Bo Weber

Upon closing the door behind me tonight, I kicked off my shoes, put the needle to vinyl on some Nat King Cole and cuddled up with good old Earl Grey. It’s been a heckuva day, my friends.

I’ve never written you at night before! How was your day? I hope that someone told you how spectacular you are. I hope that your hard work was appreciated, your smile was useful and your coffee was delicious. You matter so much. You work so hard. Thank you for being you.

Hard days make for sore muscles, tired eyes, and restlessness for me, now. I got lost in the barrage of name calls and rough voices today. Tis the nature of the beast, I suppose.

In the grand scheme of things, I’ve had myself a Monday. Upon clock out, music and softness make for rest. I recover quickly.

My sweet friend, Bo Weber, who you will meet tonight has somehow found a map through the darkest of days. His new album, “Wendy” while entirely beautiful is a testament to the life of his mother, her hard fought battle with Ovarian Cancer and the healing that was left to be done.

I may have put the cart before the horse here. Let me introduce you to my new friend properly…

Even in written forms of chats, texts, and emails, Bo has a joy that is contagious.  We bounced from heavy,  to joyous and back again without missing a beat and for his open heart, I am so thankful.

The vulnerability and openness that Bo exudes in conversation are only amplified in the tender, beautiful songs that he is about to release. I wish so much that I could give it to you all today and we could enjoy it together but, alas, I cannot! You’ll have to buy it!

As a writer, I am a sucker for lyrics. I think you’ve all known that for a long while now. I wouldn’t love a song if the lyrics weren’t perfect. Bo’s read like, sound like, diary entries at their simplest. They are unbridled, filterless confessions of the heart.

At their most complex, they are counselling sessions between a broken heart and a pen. The words themselves mess, mend, clutter and cleanse all at once.  From the deepest of grief to glimmers of hope, Bo opens himself to the world and asks us to sing along. What a treasure.

From great sorrow comes greater joy. From darkness comes light and from silence comes music and dancing. Bo’s album comes in swinging against the thing that his mother fought with grace and hope. Each and every physical copy of the  record goes to fighting in his mother’s place, one hundred percent of the money made from physical copies goes directly to Ovarian Cancer support and research  I am honoured to stand beside him in this fight. You can, too!

Purchase your copy here: http://bit.ly/WendyWeber

Bo and I made a playlist for you to enjoy right here: https://open.spotify.com/user/1218253885/playlist/2qQhpdQrwOinM2cOareEnr

 

Please know that I love you. I am thankful for each of you and the life you let me live through this blog. Thank you, thank you!

 

xoxo, Laura.

An Open Letter to the Next Man I Date

It’s 5:13am on a Thursday morning in Midwestern February. I’m writing now, because, when I’m awake I’m awake and my brain thinks about all of the things I would normally bury beneath busyness before the sun’s awake to shed light on the world I’m supposed to live in.

I want you to know that I pray for you. Not the way that every Christian dating blog post tells me I should.

I pray for your smile. I hope that it graces your face a lot today. I pray for your patience, because, I’ve met me and you’re going to need loads of it. I pray that your meals of the day are delicious because, life’s too short to eat subpar food or drink anything but the best coffee. I pray that you understand the art of swear words. While I choose not to use them for ninety-eight percent of my life, a well-used F Bomb is a thing of beauty.

I don’t care if you love the things I love. In fact, I hope you love lots of things I know nothing about. I want to learn from you. If you’re passionate it I’d love nothing more than to spend time learning. The point of joining lives together it’s necessarily to accumulate duplicate copies of albums. If Wilco sits next to Wu Tang Clan in our record collection, I’ll be entirely happy with that. If reading this prompts you to then Google who Wilco is, I’m even happier. I hope your search has lead you to listen to “Jesus, etc.” I really love that song.

There are a lot of days I think you may not exist. You’re some sort of figment of my imagination that I’ve been convinced is real. Like Santa Claus or the imaginary friends of my childhood. I’m pretty sure the ache in my heart that I feel when I think of you wouldn’t exist if you didn’t. I wouldn’t swoon over your possibility if it didn’t make sense to me.

I apologize for not having more experience before you. I don’t know if that’s silly or not, but, the little experience I’ve had with men that aren’t you have left scars. Even the smallest moments have ruined me for you in my mind and I’m sorry. I’m sorry I kissed the Oxford grad the night I met him. Something about his accent, education and the lonely made me think I could replace you for a moment and I should have known better. I’m sorry I said words that I had saved for you to the preacher. He had me convinced of forever for a moment and took me for a fool with sweet words and grand promises.

I hope you realize that when I say I want to marry you, I don’t mean within moments. I want to spend the rest of my life with just you. That doesn’t mean I’m a crazy person. I’ve never really explained that to anyone before. I’m afraid to date anyone that’s not you. I don’t want you to think that’s commendable. I make more sense like this.  Busy, over-caffeinated, under slept and too damn cute for the rest of the world. I’m sorry that my scars and weaknesses have built walls for you to climb. I’m sorry that I’m going to need so much reassurance. This is the mess the few before you have created and I allowed them to.

I think about dancing with you, sometimes. I’m a terrible dancer. Every musician I’ve ever worked with is well aware of that because, lots of them have seen it. But, it won’t stop me. I should probably apologize for that too but, I have a feeling you’ll get used to it.

I want you to know that I already love you. I am already so swept up in how you love me that I can’t wait to experience it. You are worth all of the dark mornings. You are worth all of the meals for two recipes I’ve been adapting for one. You’re worth all of the Friday nights I don’t spend in bars, and the reason that the ones I do involve working for souls that already respect what belongs to you. They already treat me with love, care and joy because, they want you for me just as badly. (For the record, some of the men are the very ones that scolded me into deleting dating apps. They are on your team. It makes me happy.)

Today, I’m pretty excited for meet you. Take your time getting here if you must, but, I cannot wait for our adventure together. I love you always.

Music Monday! with Kyle Featherstone of The Millenium (the sequel!)

Happy Monday, sweethearts! How are you!? Do you feel well loved and cared for? I hope so! I truly love and care for each of you very very much. Thank you so much for continuing to do this thing with me. It’s the coolest.

 

I have waited months for my darling friends, The Millenium to release new music. Seriously, this feels like Christmas Morning met my birthday and had a baby on the Fourth of July. I’m stoked to let you know that these men have worked impossible, beautifully hard to put out a new full length album and it’s the most genuine, deep, warm and real thing! It’s tremendous and well done, men. I hope you read this and realize how fantastic what you do is.

 

I got to see these guys play four times in 2016, which isn’t too bad considering that none of those shows were anywhere near my home town. I went to Minneapolis, St. Louis, Chicago, Nashville and beyond, all for blog-related reasons (because, y’all, this is my job. You make this my job! HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT!?) but, I couldn’t have miss a chance to wrap my arms around these friends, dance to their music and feel the goodness that is what they do.

 

I have introduced you to my dear friend Kyle Featherstone before here, but, today I hope that you get to know him not on a rockstar swoon level but, on the level that I get to. When Kyle called me Wednesday night, I was fresh out of the Emergency Room, fresh onto some pain killers and medications and he still was kind enough to chat me through his life. Not before he made sure he knew that I was well, feeling up to said life chat and in bed before nine-thirty. He’s a gem. Kyle is good.

 

Good seems so simple for what he is to the world around him. In a world of rushed mess comes a genuine smile and care in brief moments between the busy. That is a rarity. But, it come across in the music he makes with The Millenium, as they build community and safe space for everyone that even eavesdrops on their music, let alone comes to their shows.

 

I have listened to their new single “Midnight Bones” has been playing in my car for almost three days, and you should listen to it, too!

 

You can preorder their new album “But Do We Ever Ask Ourselves?” on iTunes before it’s released on March 10th! It’s great. They’re great. Love them.

 

Also, we made another playlist together! It’s right here: https://open.spotify.com/user/1218253885/playlist/4HIVLV3qbXZrWJ75p7f7kG

 

I love love love you all. Have the most beautiful day!

xx. Laura

 

 

 

 

Music Monday! with Carolina Wray

Happy Monday, sweet friends! How are you on this rainy Illinois winter morning? Are you feeling well loved and appreciated? I sure hope so because, I appreciate you so much! If you are new to my cozy little corner of the internet, Welcome! I have tea, coffee, mugs and maybe breakfast if you can talk me into using some of my domestic skills.

It is my day off office job wise, so, I’m cuddled up with my coffee, doing laundry and still shamelessly in my pajamas because, this girl works insanely hard and cannot be on point levels of hot all of the time, right? Anyway, I have some great new friends to introduce you to! I promise you will love them because, I instantaneously wanted to be best friend friends with them and y’all know I’m picky!

So, let me introduce you to North Carolina based souls, Carolina Wray! Brothers Dillon and Rev Wray make music that pulls from influences like Tom Petty, Jack White and even The Decedents! The tunes they make pay tribute to all of the music they love by making music that is warm, textured and completely rock n’ roll!

There’s no solace quite like finding fellow small town souls that understand the creative struggle. Nothing.  Let me just tell you that these men work insanely hard to do what they do. They create music that matters, communicate with those that support it with love and respect and spend countless hours and days travelling, recording, playing and building lives they love.

As per usual with these chats, I asked about guilty pleasure jams and the music that you keep close to yourself. Without missing a beat, Dillon jumped in to completely change my perspective. I don’t think he will ever understand the kind of impact that his thoughts had on my understanding of introducing people to music. He said that he found no shame in loving the music that he loves because, all of it is made from places that need celebrated or healed. All of it is made for souls that need to hear it. All of it is worth the time that was made to make it.

Sometimes I think finding music has become less of an adventure than it used to be. There’s no digging through bins or dodging pick up lines thrown by stoner sales boys in t-shirts covered in logos of metal bands I’m not brave enough to see live. It’s both easier and more painful to type even a lyric into a search engine and get the results that you want. That is not how I found Carolina Wray. It was instead reminiscent of a hunt for me. Friends of friends, “Laura check this out. You’d love these guys.” A few Google searches and some impressive social media stalking lead me to finding music and people I would be a fool not introduce you to!You want to support these passionate friends of mine, I promise.

 

Check them out:

Twitter: @CarolinaWray

Instagram: @CarolinaWray

Facebook: Facebook.com/CarolinaWray

 

You can tell them I sent you, if you want. They think I’m okay, I hope.

 

This week’s playlist is here:   https://open.spotify.com/user/1218253885/playlist/2KKi910XRhZA9A688lvfCA

 

 

I will see your sexy faces on Thursday.

xx Laura

 

I hope I’m a terrible housewife.

I love Grace Potter. I turned the volume up and sang along rocking the same old streets in a new bright car, new grey dress, same old boots. New restaurant, new dinner company. In a paraphrase of The Cure “It’s Friday, I’m not in love.”

On first dates, I have a strict rule that I drive myself. There are a few wonderful reasons for this. On top of the fact that I’ve got a dizzying schedule, it provides me with much needed escape routes and a mobile method of travel tunes for recovery. Dull conversations mixed with Midwestern Mock Up Mexican make Laura a bored, exhausted girl who just wasted her push up bra. You know what I mean?

Don’t get me wrong. He was perfectly charming. Opened doors, gave compliments, let me bat my eyes….the whole bit. Rolled up button down sleeves gave way to hint of tattoos and I lost my mind between ink, straight teeth and pop culture filled banter. Ovaries go boom! We all know how charmed this particular lady is by nerdom don’t we?

He was perfectly kind and funny and then the check came and just as I thought he’d  reach for my hand he said “So, shall we go Dutch or do you want to take it?” Record scream. Stop. Rewind. What!? He must have seen my befuddlement as he explained. “Girl works hard. Drives herself. Kept sober. Glasses on.  Only laughed at my good jokes. I’ve read your blog, love. Feminist, right? I don’t want to step on your toes baby, but, Feminists make shit housewives.”

I didn’t play it cool. I didn’t pay the check. I didn’t walk out. I didn’t even throw my drink in style of every classy soap opera diva (though, my my I wanted to!) Instead, I started to ask questions. I sat down, ordered us another drink and focused. Tell me about how your heart broke, sir.

Being the Bible College graduate that he was I knew the rhetoric, as I had spent four years having it brewed into my coffee. I was always aware that there was something in the water. I had had plenty may of the men I knew had shut down my offers to pick up the tab, or open my own door out of the kindness of my heart because I was a woman and they were men and big strong men were the only ones allowed to do anything nice.

He smiled and gave me this glorious speech about how precious women are and how it’s only fair to treat them like precious little petals of perfection and cared for and that was all well and good but, here’s my problem…why do men use my ability to care for myself as reason to terrible dates!? I mean really. It’s not that I can’t pay for my own meal. I can and do gladly but, if you call me up and want to take me out the planning, preparations and payment are your deal. That’s how it works. If I had called you, we’d be having and entirely different conversation. I promise!

There’s so much more to supporting Feminism than “allowing” a woman to pay for food or coffee or drive a car she paid for with her own well worked hours, Christians. There’s so much more than forcing yourself between her and a doorway or walking on the street side of the sidewalk. It’s giving her moments of weary, it’s understanding how hard she works to fight glass ceilings. Give her the night off once in a while? Understand that gestures should come from warmth and kindness and not proving points.

I kissed his hand, thanked him for the dinner and walked out on the check. It was that simple. Know that you are worth so much more than being put on a pedestal. But, that doesn’t mean you’re not worth being treasured.