Monday, December 30, 2013

good morning upper eastsiders

Last night we journeyed back to Dallas, but only after a truly wonderful Christmas break. We tried to make the most of being on the east coast, so on Thursday we went to New York City for the day. Despite the arctic chill, I love being in New York in December because it feels so magical to me. We left very early Thursday morning and our first stop was High Line Park. If you've never been, you should check it out. I bet it's even better when it's warm outside.
After High Line, we ate at a way too crowded Shake Shack but I will have dreams of my peanut butter shake until my next visit. Then I lost Preston in Japan aka Uniqlo where I bought a ultra lightweight down vest, pictured below. Then we went to the Museum of Modern Art. Wow! Everytime I go to an art museum, I have a newfound appreciation for the pieces because I took Art History my last semester at BYU. It's honestly really fun to recognize and pick out different artists when you're in a world famous museum. If you have room in your schedule or need the arts (or letters?) GE, I recommend Art History. We also ventured to Central Park and ate fabulous halal food in the cold. Luxe.
We made lists of where we wanted to go prior to trip and obviously mine was mostly food. It's truly a shame there are only 3 substantial meals in a day. Unfortunately, 3 of my 4 food requests were a disappointment, but I came home with Laduree which I tried to consume as delicately and slowly as possible. And my mom made masterpieces every night. BTW did you guys know you can take prepared food you brought from home through airport security?? I did not! We feasted like kings on the way back to Dallas thanks to my mom's farewell dinner.
On Friday we went to Longwood Gardens in PA. It belonged to the du Pont family and is basically a beautiful plot of land with greenhouses, fountains and gardens. Above is us in the largest greenhouse. I also got to see some of my best friends Emilee and Kaile who were also home on the east coast.

Leaving home was sad, but I had such a perfect week with my family. I'm so thankful I got to spend my favorite time of the year with my favorite people in the world.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

preston's top 20 songs of 2013

Here is my list of favorite songs from 2013.  Since Ynna is my wife, we listen to a lot of the same music.  So for every song on my list that Ynna already posted, I have not included a link - you can just look at Ynna’s list.  

20. St. Lucia - Too Close
Sounds like the 80s. And I like it.

19. Jhene Aiko Ft. Childish Gambino - Bed Peace

The cover of the single captures the song perfectly:

18. Avicii - All You Need Is Love
The only true EDM song on my list.  I guess I lost the dance bug this year.  But I think this song captures the joyous, elevated feeling that you get from a good house song.  (Note: There is another version of this song that I don’t like as much. I think this one is called the “spotify bonus” version)

17. Washed Out - It All Feels Right
So dreamy. Makes me feel like I’m either a) underwater b) in a jungle or c) in an underwater jungle.  

16. Kanye West - Blood on the Leaves
Ugh that trombone bass line.

15. RAC ft Kele & MNDR - Let Go
A summer JAM.

14. Vampire Weekend - Step
I love how this sounds like a song from a Wes Anderson film.

13. The Weeknd - Wanderlust (Pharrell Remix)
Pretty groovy.  Abel doing his best MJ.

12. Mariah Carey Ft. Miguel - #Beautiful

11. Active Child Ft Ellie Goulding - Silhouette
A beautiful, almost translucent, duet.

10. Little May - Hide
A folk indie gem with that Fleetwood Mac/bohemian cowgirl/Neko Case vibe.

9. Frank Ocean - Eyes Like Sky
This is Frank Ocean doing a song for the O.C. soundtrack for his cameo episode.  This is from the scene where Marissa falls for Frank and they sit on the lifeguard tower and watch the sun set over the Pacific.

8. Cody ChestnuTT - Till I Met Thee
Oh lawdy, lawdy! A gospel choir sounding jam that makes me want to stand up and sing in church.

7. Arcade Fire - Here Comes the Night Time  
If you haven’t seen it, Roman Coppolla’s 22 minute Arcade Fire music video featuring Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Bill Hader and others is hilarious.  It opens with this song and ever since I saw it, I was hooked.  I dug AF’s caribbean voodoo rhythms.  This song makes me want to move and groove, and it often inspires some pretty tribal dance moves.

6. Lorde - Love Club
I don’t know why, but I like this one a little more than Royals.

5. Dive In - Let Go
This has that Cults/Tennis, lo-fi, carefree early-summer sound.  I can imagine listening to this song in the springtime, hanging out at the park.

4. Lady Gaga - Gypsy
I really liked “Applause” and “Sexx Dreams” from this album, but “Gypsy” was my favorite.  This is Lady Gaga’s best impression of a Journey rock ballad, and it is sing-a-long winner.

3. Daft Punk - Get Lucky
Probably my most anticipated song of the year.  it didn’t disappoint.  

2. Sam Smith - Nirvana
This one sounds like a hazy intoxicated dream where you did something you weren’t supposed to but loved every minute of it.  The slow heavy drum beats do a strangely perfect job of complementing Smith’s R&B falsetto.  The acoustic version of this song (which is posted here on my list) is also quality.  

Every summer I end up choosing a song or two to be my main jams.  This year, “Hurricane” was the song that will live in my memory as the song of summer 2013, which happened to be one of the best of my life.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

my top 20 songs of 2013

Merry Christmas everyone. Here are my favorite songs of 2013:

20. Fall Down- feat. Miley Cyrus
Everyone said this is a rip-off of Ke$ha's "Crazy Kids" and it kind of is, but I listened to this song all during my last finals week at BYU. It's a nice pick-me-up and how could you not include Miley Cyrus in a 2013 music list?

19. Timber- Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
Super hesitant to include the Pitbull, the Nickelback of hip hop (?) in my top 20 but I was very into the country house thing this year and this was my favorite take on it.

18. XO- Beyonce
It would be disrespectful not to mention Queen B because in case you forgot about her January through November, she made sure you ended the year thinking of no one but her, and she deserves every second of that limelight. This is just a feel-good, sweet, happy love song with a nice gospel feel.

17. Pusher Love Girl- Justin Timberlake
One of my favorite albums of 2013 and probably my favorite performer this year. A sexy, soulful tune from my favorite former N*SYNC member and now pop superstar. Favorite reaction I've ever read regarding the 20/20 Experience: I just didn't know he loved Jessica Biel that much.

16. Hard Out Here- Lily Allen
I always giggle during this song, but after the first time I heard it, I had it on repeat the entire day. This song is just super sassy and funny. ~*GiRL PoW3R*~

15. Bed Peace- Jhene Aiko feat. Childish Gambino
Sexy and chill vibes.

14. Hide- Little May
Preston showed this to me just two weeks ago and I'm in love. I really want to go on a run to this song because I think I would feel like I was on a spiritual journey through the wilderness.

13. Team- Lorde
Good Lorde. Another favorite album of 2013. This chick is insane and so young and talented. I'm kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air, so there.

12. #Beautiful- Mariah Carey feat. Miguel
Ok this music video is hilarious, but when this song came out it was the perfect summer jam.

11. Grammy- Purity Ring
Was convinced this song came out in 2012, but alas, early February 2013 this made its debut. I loooove Purity Ring and want a new album so this was fun to hold me over. But I'm getting impatient and think it's time for some new stuff, so if you're reading this PR, let's go.

10. Burn- Ellie Goulding
When this came out I was obsessed with the original and every remix that followed. Ellie's always coming out with hits and I love her for it.

9. Applause- Lady Gaga
Another great album from 2013 and this was the perfect debut single for it. Gaga's such a queen and an incredible talent.

8. Nirvana- Sam Smith
One of Preston's favorites and he would always play it in the car and now I love it too. This guy has such a gorgeous voice. He showed me this fantastic acoustic version. Just try and ignore the giant diamond stud in his ear.

7. Saturday Night- Natalia Kills
Very obsessed with this song when it came out this summer. Still love it. I get Lady Gaga/Marina + the Diamonds vibes from Natalia, and I'm a huge fan of both.

6. Holy Grail- Jay-Z feat. Justin Timberlake
JT makes the most appearances on this list and I feel like he sweetens this song and makes it less hard, but I thoroughly enjoy Jay-Z's part. This was a great collab of two very talented musicians.

5. Sight of the Sun- Fun.
Sooo many feelings for this song. I first heard it on the season finale of GIRLS and might have cried during the scene it played. I got into a terrible fight with Preston one week and it was my fault and listened to it on repeat. I would also go through phases of just putting it on repeat walking to and from school. Finally, I played this song walking home from the testing center after my last final ever at BYU and shed some tears. I truly love this song and have so many different feelings associated with it and it is my emotional anthem of 2013.

4. Get Lucky- Daft Punk feat. Pharrell
Another excellent and favorite album of 2013. I remember when they would release 30 second previews of this album/song and Preston and I were like "Omgggg this will be so good," and it was.

3. Mirrors- Justin Timberlake
A song must be fantastic if you can listen to all 8 minutes and love it. I'll say it again, but Justin Timberlake had an incredible year and this song was my favorite of his 20/20 album. It is so good. All 8 minutes of it. I think it's very classic JT and I still get excited when it randomly comes on a station.

2. Royals- Lorde
Every time this song comes on I'm like "YES." I have a four-way tie for favorite album of 2013, but I think Pure Heroine is a teensy bit more my favorite than the other albums. "Royals" has such original, genius lyrics and I like her whole "I'm-cooler-than-this-industry" thing going. It's been done but not this well in a while. You can't ignore that bumpin bass. This song is just so cool and Lorde is such a cool little weirdo and I'm obsessed with everything sings.

1. Everlasting Arms- Vampire Weekend
I know what you're thinking. How random. Vampy Weeks, #1 song of 2013? I can honestly say that this has been my most played song of 2013. It's been on every playlist I've made since the album came out, I love singing along and I get so happy when it comes on. I'm not sure what it is about this song that I love so much. I'll be the first to admit that the lyrics are nothing special, along with vocals and instrumentals. JK those strings are cool. I dunno but if you haven't heard this song it's not too late to become obsessed with it. I still have to play it at least two more times after I hear it once.

Thanks for reading and hopefully listening. I have a lot of fun making these lists and would love to hear your favorites from the year. I hope everyone had a lovely holiday and wish y'all a joyous new year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

there's no place like home for the holidays

I'm home, I'm home, I'm home!! And I brought my husband with me. Look at his cute little stocking hanging with ours. It just melts my heart every time I see it.
Today we went to Philadelphia. It was rainy, but we still had fun exploring the City of Brotherly Love. Above is us trying to be cute at Love Park.
First we went to Reading Terminal Market for breakfast. In all my years as a Pennsylvanian, it was my first time going to that market. Next we went to some stores recommended by GQ's Philadelphia city guide. The one I have pictured with the cool hanging lightbulbs is called Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. It had a Warby Parker station, Hill Side ties and a lot of other chic knick knacks and clothes you would find on Tumblr. The fur coat I found at Sugarcube. I felt and looked like a baby polar bear. A Philadelphia experience wouldn't be complete without an authentic Philly cheesesteak at Pat's.
We also walked around the University of Pennsylvania campus. Sooo pretty. It's one of my top choices for Preston if he decides to get an MBA. Above is a picture I took in the fine arts library. I would love to study there because I would feel like Hermione studying for Ancient Runes.
Finally, today is my pretty mommy's birthday. Her candles say 25 cuz she still looks it.

I'm so thrilled to be home and with my family. Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

2013 holiday gift guide

Last year I decided to do a holiday gift guide and I had so much fun putting it together, I decided to do a 2013 edition. I asked for Preston's help with the guys' list again and this year he agreed to do the writing too. I apologize for his weirdness. So here are our gift ideas this year for your parents, siblings and significant others:

2013 girls holiday gift guide

1. J.Crew Jeweled Fair Isle Sweater Sorry that a lot of my girls' items are from J.Crew but after 25-30 hours folding, putting away and restocking these things, you learn to love or hate them. And you also see just how cute they are in person. This sweater is a fun twist on the traditional fair isle print. Christmastime is one of the few times you can rock these crazy prints, but I think this sweater transitions nicely into other cold weather months.
2. Kate Spade Mini Bow Ring Jewelry is my favorite present to receive and pretty much every piece I wear everyday was a gift. I love staple pieces because you wear them all the time and are always reminded of the person who gave it to you. I would wear this Kate Spade ring all the time and it comes in gold, silver and rose gold so everyone's happy.
3. PLAY by Commes des Garcon High Tops Obsessed with CDG's PLAY line and these high tops are fun, super chic and sure to please the fashionista in your life. Also a girl can never have too many shoes.
4. Boulangerie Pear & Whipped Cream Candle A girl can also never have too many candles. Since moving into our new home, we have acquired an obscene amount of candles, and it's always growing when we discover new smells. One day while I was scouring Anthro's sale section, Preston came across this delicious jar. It's sweet and smells good enough to eat and if you think about it, how tasty would pears be with whipped cream? I have Volcano and an espresso candle from Anthropologie and both burn very nicely and fill the whole room with their aroma. This candle is next on my list to add to our collection.
5. J.Crew Leather Travel Wallet This is so cool and I gotta have it. It has a slot for your passport, boarding pass, IDs and currency, and all the slots are labeled. One of those things that no one actually needs, but once you have it you can't go back. Comes in black/white and red/sand.
6. West Elm Cast Metal Jewelry Tree Fun variation on the traditional jewelry box. Love this cuz you could hang necklaces, bracelets or rings off the branches. And it's a cool decorative piece by itself.
7. D&G 3 L'Imperatrice Perfume I have 5 or 6 favorite scents of all time and I think this is in my top 3. It's very fruity and has melon, grapefruit, kiwi and floral tones. I love anything sweet, fruity or smells like candy and this is all 3 of those things. This is also the top-selling scent from the D&G line.
8. J.Crew Thanks Tee I have the Kiss tee and we recently got the Hello, Thanks and Cheers tees and I need them all. It says "Thank You" in a bunch of languages! These shirts are also super soft and great to layer or wear alone when it's warm again. Plus the Kiss tee was featured in the fall style guide, so you know that thing sold out. Get one of these before they do.
9. Alexa Chung's "It" Book Because who doesn't want stories and pics from the queen of cool? This a combination of a coffee table book and style guide which everyone needs in their life.

2. Penfield for J.Crew Irondale Gym Bag Being a busy professional man, I have to squeeze in my workouts whenever I can. With this bag, I can bring my gym clothes in style. I hope no one is taking my descriptions of these things too seriously.
3. Kiwi Shoe Shine Care Kit One of my favorite tactics for escaping the third hour of continuous snuggling with Ynna is to shine my shoes. Hopefully every guy reading this has at least one pair of shoes that need to be shined- and a lady that likes to snuggle- so he can do this too.
4. Diptyque Feu de Bois Candle Imagine yourself, wrapped in a blanket, lying on a bear skin rug in front of a ragin fire in a cedar log cabin. Oh wait, you're not actually in a cabin you're in Nordstrom, smelling this dang expensive candle and wishing you could afford it.
5. J.Crew Fisherman's Cable Knit Sweater I feel like a fisherman, getting off my "skiff" on a breezy Maine morning when I put this on.
6. J.Crew Pajama Set Ynna said "enter sandman" when I came out of the closet in my pajama set the other night. Now I just need to find one of those little caps. Oh, and by the way, those PJs didn't stay on for very long, if you know what I mean.
7. Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jacket Ducks sure got this one right. I think down is nature's best insulator- it keeps you warm when you need it, but doesn't smother you in heat as soon as you walk into a heated building.
8. Topman Fair Isle Toque I labeled this item in honor of my native land. My dad had one just like this.
9. S. by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst This book was near the top of my wish list from the moment I heard about it. While we were in Austin over Thanksgiving break, we visited this popular bookstore, where S. was in the main display. After browsing the store, we were on our way out when Doug Dorst himself came around the corner! So I quickly bought a copy and asked him to sign it! I'm saving this book for Christmas break so I can really get into it. Read the synopsis, it sounds like a really unique reading experience.

Hope y'all are enjoying this beautiful time of the year. Happy giving!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

just the two of us

Happy December! Sadly our weekend of celebration and treats is coming to an end, but I'll re-live it via blog for you.

I celebrated my 22nd birthday on Wednesday which was the beginning of a 4 day treats fest. Birthday celebrations were simple but happy and included my favorite things. This is the 3rd birthday I've celebrated with Preston and in his words "I really got the best of your young adult years!" Weirdo. 
Thursday was Thanksgiving and our very first spent away from our own families or adopted ones. Every year at BYU Preston celebrated Thanksgiving with the Baker family and I was adopted by roommates and the Bakers my senior year. Shoutout to everyone who's ever hosted me, by the way. You guys are the best. I was nervous for this year because we made everything ourselves :-O and I thought I would be super sad not spending the holiday with a big family or my own. Ok, some things we cooked were not from scratch, whatever. After a mandatory run, we set to work cooking our turkey. Then we lounged around and waited to make the rest of dinner, and guess what? Turkey turned out great! It was my biggest worry and a few days before I asked Preston if I could buy a prepared one from Whole Foods. But alas, with the help of my parents, the Internet and Preston's butcher skills, we managed to prepare and cook a delicious 10 lb. turkey that we are still eating. We both felt super accomplished and full after the biggest meal we've ever prepared together. I'm still really proud of us. Directly above is a picture of our dinner and the very top picture is my very cute husband anxiously waiting for me to stop taking pictures of our food.
Friday morning we left for Austin because why not? Preston rented an apartment through Airbnb, and we spent the weekend eating and shopping in a new city. We had an array of foods because Austin is home to tons of famous, not-so-famous, but all delicious restaurants. We also visited the capitol and ran around UT campus. My favorite thing I ate was a donut from Gourdough's. It's a little trailer that serves the most incredible, hot, specialty donuts I've ever had. We tried the Funky Monkey- cream cheese icing, caramelized bananas and brown sugar. Ugggghhh. There were so many I wanted to try and if you're ever in Austin, you gotta look this place up. It's fantastic and the flavors are so unique. 

Above is a picture from Uncommon Objects, our new favorite antique store. This place was so beautifully decorated and it didn't feel as grimy as some other antique stores we've visited here in Dallas. And oh man did they have the most amazing things. We wanted to buy everything, but left with some antique keys that remind me of the scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when he has to use the broomstick to get the right key at the end. 
So we mostly ate in Austin and I'm not mad at all about it. Above is me at Rudy's, a really fabulous barbecue place with outstanding service. The brisket was insane, as was their creamed corn and ribs. I am one of those people that will wait 2 hours for what is supposedly the best BBQ in whatever city. Preston is not, so Rudy's was a great compromise and we both left happy. Other notable places were Sarah's Mediterranean Grill & Market and Homeslice Pizza. Sarah's had the best shwarma and falafel wraps and if there was one in Dallas, we would be regulars. Homeslice is a pizza place that serves it by the slice. We thought maybe it might be a Slab competitor. It's not, but it was good pizza and I'd go again if I were in Austin.
We did do some things besides eat in Austin, but I won't lie about it being our main activity. This afternoon we went the Zilker Botanical Gardens and had lunch at Zilker Park. Hopefully we'll be back in September for ACL :)

That's how I spent the last 5 days and I'm trying very hard not to be sad that tomorrow is Monday and holiday hours have been implemented at J.Crew. 24 days til Christmas, 19 til I fly home and 24 more days of Justin Bieber's Christmas album.