Summer Plans

I wanted to wait before everything was officially settled before telling you about my summer plans- I’m going on a cruise through Scandinavia and Russia!  For roughly 2 weeks, I’ll be going through Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Germany, and Russia (and Amsterdam too, if you count flight transfers).  I’m super excited because I’ve never been to that part of the world before, so it’s a brand new place to explore and fall in love with.  But you know me- I love traveling, and even though it’s been less than a year since I was in China (I’ve got plenty of blog posts on that if you haven’t read them) I’m ready to go globe-trotting again.  Of course, I know I can’t compare with the true world travelers (like the people that drift around from place to place, not tied down by jobs or families, or the folks that hop on jets to go to business meetings), but I am extremely fortunate to have been afforded so many wonderful opportunities to broaden my horizons and see what’s out there.

In other news, I ate out FOUR nights in a row this last week and I am thoroughly disgusted with myself.  In my defense, it just happened that my dinner dates with various people all happened around the same time, and I did eat relatively healthily for half of those nights.  The other two…not so much.  But, I had the BEST grilled cheese ever.  Grilled cheese is one of those things that is very hard to mess up- if you mess up two pieces of toasted bread and melted cheese, you need to get yourself to a cooking class, ASAP.  But this grilled cheese was different.  Imagine this, and tell me you aren’t drooling by the end.  Two generously sized waffles (with some herbs worked in), hold 4 types of cheese, tomato slices, chunks of avocado, and-wait for it- ONION RINGS.  Freaking onion rings.  It was so many of my favorite things in a sandwich, I was amazed I hadn’t come up with it myself.

Since the cruise is less than 45 days away (and I’ve been eating like a pig), I am putting myself on a strict dietary and exercise regime to at least make sure I won’t become a roly-poly and get laughed at by all the athletic, fit Scandinavians.  (Yes, that is my impression of those people- they are all tall and handsome and ridiculously fit.)

Last night I went with a friend to see a street concert by Grouplove, and if you ever needed a song to kick start your summer, here it is.  (I saw them open for Two Door Cinema Club last year and they are one of very few opening acts that I’ve actually bothered to find out more about.)  Just makes me want to get up and dance like nobody’s watching (then again, I could care less if anybody watches me)

Summer Playlist

When I was in DC, I promised that I would blog every day, a rule that I followed quite well (go here to read it).  But sometimes, nothing exciting happened that day so I would have to offer up a picture or something similarly small and vaguely interesting to keep to my promise.  It’s nice not having that constraint on this blog, because now I’ll just sit down and write whenever I feel like it, but I’m still invested enough to come back every few days or so.  I won’t let it die like my past blogs (RIP my high school Xanga).

Last post I promised I’d write about music, and so I shall!  I listen to music as often as I can, including but not limited to: while riding my bike, cooking, doing homework, exercising, etc. etc.  Music is so much an integral part of my life that I wouldn’t know what to do without it.  I would rather go blind than deaf, although you could argue that without corrective lenses, I’m pretty much blind anyways

That’s not to say that I dislike silence- in fact, I love the silence in a house when it’s early morning and no one’s woken up, the hushed sounds that echo in a big library, the silence that comes after you’ve heard a beautiful concert and the audience is so entranced that you can’t clap for fear of breaking the spell.  I love being quiet and getting lost in your thoughts.  But I think I like music (and sounds) just a little bit more.

When I put together playlists, I always center the songs around a theme, or a mood that I try to encapsulate with the music.  There has to be a good mix of male and female singers, and slow and fast songs, and because I often play it with cross fade on my iTunes (i.e. as one song ends, another begins), I am really particular when it comes to the order of songs.  Songs must end/begin on the same pitch, or at least notes/chords that aren’t discordant.  Beats and voices can’t overlap.  It might seem like overkill for just a simple playlist, but as a music lover/performer/musician/music minor, it’s enjoyable for me to mix and match songs in unexpected combos and one of the highest compliments I’ve ever been given (for a playlist) is: “I really like the whole playlist- all of it.”  I listen to my playlists as a whole entity, not just a random collection of songs.  But I try to make my playlists sound good no matter what order you play the songs in.

Summer Playlist (a work in progress)

1. “Heavy Cross”- Gossip (I became obsessed with this band right before my trip to Spain, and now that album is forever linked to Spain.  Maybe more on that in another post.)

2. “Helena Beat”- Foster the People

3. “Spiralling” – Keane

4. “Luvotomy”- M.flo ft. Namie Amuro (Confession: I actually consider the remix by Aliks to be my definitive Luvotomy, because frankly I like it so much more than the original.  Just listening to it makes me want to find a place with lots of flashing lights and disco balls and just dance the whole night long.  I feel so happy when I listen to it.  Although I don’t think the song is for sale anywhere, you can go to the Pop88 podcast, go to episode #40, and skip to around 4:10 to hear the song.)

5. “Road to Home”- Girl in a Coma (I recently heard this band live and I fell in love with their sound, especially the singer’s voice.  I wish I sounded like her when I sang.  This song is perfect for driving down long empty highways.)

6. “That’s Not My Name”- The Ting Tings

7. “This is The Life”- Two Door Cinema Club (Saw these guys in DC.  They are absolutely amazing live.)

8. “Leaving on the 5th”- Voxhaul Broadcast

9. “Cosmic Love”- Florence + the Machine (I am strangely addicted to this song, though I’m not a huge fan of this band in general.  Dunno why.)

10. “Colours”- Grouplove (They opened for Two Door Cinema Club in DC and I forgot about them until I heard this song on the radio recently.  And then I liked them all over again.)

11. “Good Life”- OneRepublic

12. “Tiempo para Enamorarnos”- Iskander (The perfect beach song with the cutest lyrics, if you understand Spanish.  If you don’t, go learn it.)