Monday, January 31, 2011

Music Muse Monday: Black Keys and Bright Eyes

Double-whammy today.

The Black Keys is a blues-rock band consisting of vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer/producer Patrick Carney. Their recent album, Brothers, got nominated for four Grammy's. I totally dig their sound. When I'm alone in the house I turn it up as loud as it goes and all of a sudden I'm a rock-ing and a blues-ing. I'm a rockstar.

"Tighten Up", by the Black Keys.

Also, I hooorah-ed to learn Bright Eyes is releasing a new album, The People's Key, come February 15. Love Conor Oberst, and thanks to NPR, I've been listening to the album all day as my study accompaniment. NPR'S First Listen is streaming the album in its entirety until the album's release. You can hear the entire album HERE.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

peppermint oil

I've been getting a crazy amount of migraines and headaches lately. There are many possible culprits - emotional or mental stress, lack of sun, anxiety, eyestrain, poor posture, the black mold we found in our bathroom yesterday...

This all usually means I end up taking a lot of pain killers - more than I'd like. So I've started looking at trying to incorporate more natural remedies, and really appreciated this great blogpost about home remedies for migraines and headaches. I've tried most of these but one thing I hadn't tried was peppermint oil, and since I love the smell of peppermint and like the idea of using a natural essential oil, I got some from Ellwood's the other day and have been using it ever since. So far, so good. I apply tiny dabs on forehead, temples and back of my neck or ears, or dilute the oil with some water and rub it on. It might be the cooling sensation and the calming smell that does most of the work, but I haven't had to take an advil in a couple of days.

I also like taking sniffs of it to give me a perk. I'm not sure how effective that is yet but I am tickled by the idea of sniffing oils or salts to give me a boost. I feel like one of those old ladies from the olden days. I should carry my peppermint oils in a pretty hanky.

Here are some other nifty uses for peppermint oil that I found here:
  • Indigestion: Peppermint oil is very helpful in digestion. Often people put a few drops of peppermint oil in a glass of water and drink it after their meal due to its digestive properties. It is carminative and therefore helps in removing gas. Peppermint oil is a good tonic for those who have a low appetite. It also helps during motion sickness and upset stomach. Preliminary research has proved that peppermint oil in the combination of caraway oil can be used for treating heartburns.
  • Dental Care: Peppermint oil, due to its antiseptic properties, is useful for dental care. It removes bad breath and helps teeth and gums deal with germs. No wonder, it is added in numerous toothpastes. It is also useful for treating toothaches.
  • Respiratory Problems: Menthol, which is present in abundance in peppermint oil, helps in clearing the respiratory tract. It is an effective expectorant and therefore provides instantaneous, though temporary, relief in numerous respiratory problems including nasal congestion, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, cold and cough. As a result, it is used in numerous cold rubs. When these cold rubs are rubbed on the chest, they remove nasal and respiratory congestion immediately.
  • Nausea and Headache: Peppermint oil is a good home remedy for nausea and headache. Applying peppermint oil in diluted form on the forehead is known to remove headache.
  • Stress: Like most other essential oils, peppermint is able to provide relief from stress, depression and mental exhaustion due to its refreshing nature. It is also effective against anxiety and restlessness.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome: The muscle relaxing property of peppermint oil has been found to ease irritable bowel syndrome. This has been validated through preliminary scientific research though the exact mechanism is still unknown.
  • Antispasmodic: Peppermint oil is very effective for gastroscopy, colonoscopy and during double-contrast barium enema. It is applied intraluminally. Further benefits of peppermint oil due to its antispasmodic properties are being studied.
  • Urinary Tract Infection: Peppermint oil can be used for treating urinary tract infection (UTI). However, thorough scientific studies are yet to be conducted to confirm this.
  • Pain Relief: Peppermint oil can be used externally for providing relief from pain. It is believed that the presence of calcium antagonism in peppermint oil aids in removing pain. It is cooling in nature and therefore helps reduce fever.
  • Immune System: Peppermint oil increases your immunity to diseases and therefore helps you in preventing a number of diseases.
  • Blood Circulation: It also improves blood circulation.
  • Hair Care: Peppermint oil is very useful for hair care as it gives a cooling effect to the head, and removes dandruff and lice.
  • Skin Care: Peppermint oil contains Menthol, which is good for skin. It gives a cooling effect. Further it nourishes dull skin and improves oily skin.

Do your own research and try it out!

And of course, what I prove to myself over and over again, is that one of the best remedies to a whole host of problems, including headaches and bad moods, is EXERCISE. Sweating, stretching, deep breathing, or even some light walking, can do a whole lot of good.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


pinot grigio, IFC, hipstamatic, quandary, nostalgia, pear yogurt, the hulk, fried rice, fragile, doubt, constitutional law, fear, art gallery, sad brad smith, ache, polaroid of the beach, freedom, white lies, honesty.

the kind of mind where everything is a mess, i'm a mess, look a mess, feel a mess, defiantly take a picture of the mess, and torture myself with songs and mind play until it wrestles/lulls/loves me into sleep.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

another cheer-myself-up-cause-its-winter post

It's rare for me to get excited about winter clothing, but here's a couple of instances where that happens:

(both pictures from

I love Kate Hudson's olive green military coat with black fur. I would wear that around with everything. I'm not feeling the skirt so much, but maybe it's super warm. And yes, that's Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in the second picture. You might not recognize her because she usually doesn't wear so much clothes (she's a VS model), but here she is wearing a truly fabulous and warm-looking vest. Along with black leather leggings, which I can be all about. I couldn't find mine this past year, which is maybe one reason why this winter seems so doldrumy. I had bought myself shiny black leather/pleather leggings a couple of winters ago to cheer myself up, and it worked. RHW is also the chick replacing Megan Fox in Transformers, FYI.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Music Muse Monday: Efterklang

Efterklang is from Denmark, and the group formed in the year 2000. Think a wordier and a slightly more indie pop version of Sigur Ros.

Let it wash over you and somehow the music reaches down and grips a heart string. If you're not used that sort of thing, it may feel uncomfortable, but just relax, be still and let it happen.

The really cool thing is that they're making a music film called, "An Island" with one of my favorite directors, Vincent Moon!! More on this later, but for now, a sweet trailer:

AN ISLAND - 3rd TEASER - Vincent Moon & Efterklang from Rumraket on Vimeo.

Anyone else a fan of Efterklang?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

PS 22

A while ago I had posted youtube videos of a fifth grade chorus from P.S. 22 on Staten Island singing the most fantastic covers. The school's music teacher, Gregg Breinberg, formed the chorus in the year 2000 and started sharing the videos in 2006. They got hugely popular just from these youtube posts, and they've been everywhere, including background vocals for Passion Pit and singing for the Obamas at the White House. I'm posting about them again because it turns out they are going to be singing at the Academy Awards this year! The group is a constantly changing group of 5th graders from a regular elementary school, and they are amazing. The teacher has done such a good job with the kids - they sound great together, and they sing with so much soul and sincerity. I usually tear up watching/hearing them. It also makes me happy cause it brings me back to the days when I was in 5th grade; those were the days! Check it out for yoselves!

"Lisztomania" Phoenix (my favorite!!)

"Just dance" Lady Gaga

"Living on a Prayer" Bon Jovi

check out more of their awesomness here

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

january is the grayest month

....and February, too, for that matter. Instead of griping though, I thought I'd share some pretty things in the shades that this month is so good at. There has been a lot of gray, and while I don't like it in the weather, I love it on other things. Gray can be soothing and clean, while offering a great compliment to other colors.




source love this, but unfortunately out of my price range.

source this was my xmas present from K !

source i usually am not a fan of sling backs, but i can't take my eyes off of these. i also really love the soft brown with the gray.

source ooh doily



source Gray with dusty blue and burgundy, pow!

source i absolutely LOVE LOVE this



volleyball tournament in Rochester

So now its Wednesday, and I haven't blogged for over a week, but for very good reasons. I've been studying like a good girl, and then on Friday of last week, I went up to Rochester, New York with K. and his 15 National Boy's Volleyball Team.

I've been running super low on whatever endurance is left to put up with the cold, so heading north wasn't ideal, but God was merciful and it turned out not to be as cold as feared. It also helped that I spent 90% of the time indoors....watching a lot volleyball. There were 11 other teams from the 15 year old bracket and it was an all day, 2-day affair. K.'s team worked hard, stayed focused, kept up their positive attitudes, and WON THE WHOLE TOURNAMENT!

In between reviewing my flash cards, I watched the team play and win all of their 8 matches over a two-day span. It was so encouraging to see them mentally battle through each of the games. It was also really neat to see them understand and apply all of the great coaching that K. has been working with them on. It's only been a month, but I can already see how much the the kids are improving in their skills, and growing as athletes. It's also pretty awesome to constantly see how much K. is growing as a coach. I'm so proud of the team, and I am so proud of my husband!!

Here they are at the airport with their gold medals and trophy. Yay!

Monday, January 10, 2011

music muse monday: arcade fire

Oops, almost forgot about this. I can't call something Music Muse Monday, and only do it on one Monday! It would be a waste of a cheesy name!

Today, I would like say a few words about Arcade's Fire's most recent album, The Suburbs.

I will keep it short: If I were to have an album-listening party (And yes, exactly what it sounds like, have people over to sit around and listen to an entire album from beginning to end, with beverage of choice, all together. And yes, I will make it happen someday.) THIS is one of the first album that I would have the party for.

"Ready to Start", Arcade Fire, The Surburbs

Also, the eight different album covers they released with this album are groovy. See them all here.

january blues

Um yeah. I'm ready for summer.

(Even more so because of the ridunkulous electricity bill we recently got for December. Appalling.)

If you want to be super prepared and save some money at the same time, buy your suits during the winter season! Victoria's Secret has a pretty good sale & clearance section for swim suits going on now. Huzzah!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

the polaroid post, a.k.a, procrastination

i like that rusty lets me use him as a pillow. he is a true friend.

really delicious homemade pizza.

friday night ends with carrot cake, wine, and friends.

juicy carrot.

i am fond of my big black ring...

see me pet the dog with my big black ring?

coral coquette, here i come!

isn't he handsome!

the end.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

how to be a better memorizer

That is a bad title for this post because it implies I am good at memorizing. I'm not. I do it because I have to and this is now what I spend the majority of my time doing. I've pinpointed lack of memorization as my weakness last time, and I've determined for myself that I need to get good at this if I want to pass this exam, so I did some research, figured out what works for me, and I am currently in the midst of trying to be a good memorizer. Sometimes I want to explode in a rant (or a angry dance) from the frustration and boredom, but I keep plugging away. These are some of the things I've been doing to develop my memorization abilities.

1. FLASHCARDS: but not just any flashcards. The problem with flash cards is that it takes so long to make them and they are super cumbersome to carry around. Which is why I was so happy to find a couple of sites that actually store a database of flashcards. Some of them are good, some of them are not so good, but you sort through them and utilize the good. Websites like FlashcardDB and Flashcard Exchange have a wide variety of subjects made into online flashcards. Flaschard Exchange is linked to an iPhone app called, Mental Case, which downloads the information onto your phone and makes it even more convenient to study. It cost $4.99, but compared to how much pre-made flashcards are, it's totally worth it!

2. When I've learned a particular topic, I teach it aloud to either K or my sister or anyone else willing to listen. Having to teach the information without looking at my notes forces me to recall the things that I do know, organize it, and explain it. This process makes it stick in my head.

3. If there is a short phrase that I have trouble remembering, I repeat it for as many times as I can stand. Anywhere from 25-50 times. Sometimes I say it while stomping around, sometimes I say it while I'm setting a volleyball, and sometimes I say it while tapping my finger on different parts of my body.

4. In order to supplement the visual learning process, I draw. For example, when I have to memorize elements of crime, I pick something that has that same number of things (5 family members, 6 rooms in the house, 7 colors in the rainbow, etc.) and assign the elements to the visual representation of something that I am familiar with. Case in point here:

5. I am also being friendly and kind to my brain. Certain foods, exercise, and attitude all affect how much the mind can absorb, so I try to keep all those in check. See more about that here.

Hopefully this brings success. Back to memorizing!

fashion flashback

One of my favorite things to wear from this past summer's wardrobe was this romper that I thrifted for $8. I wore it all the time because it was comfortable, lightweight, and pretty. I also wore it to my crafty bridal shower where we did lots of crafty things in preparation for the wedding.

During the same shower, I received an awesome gift from then future mother-in-law. A Christian Dior robe circa 1980 from Miller and Rhodes! It is le awesome and I love wearing it around the house!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Music Muse Monday

Sharing some of my music discoveries and favorites, here and there, but mostly on Mondays.

Today I want to applaud a band I came across recently, a band called 'Dead Man's Bones', who released their album in October of 2009 through ANTI Records. I almost don't want to share the fact that the band's front man is Ryan Gosling, the actor, because knowing that can totally distract from this band's actual awesomeness. But it's true - Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields make up the band that plays music along the lines of the gothic/showtunes/folk rock genre. The entire album is a collaboration with the Silverlake Conservatory Children's Choir, and one of the album's songs (below), 'Name in Stone', also includes the LA Inner City Mass Choir. The album is such a great blend of creepy and folk, and the children's choir accompanies its show tune undertones really well.

DEAD MAN'S BONES - "NAME IN STONE" from biz3 publicity on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ringing in 2011

Counted down to the new year at Caroline's along with some rad folk. Some of the highlights included raspberry chocolate cupcakes, British party crackers, remote control cars, and an assortment of hats. Although ever the realist, I am excited about this new year. Cheers to 2011!