DORM ROOM INSPIRATION

Yes, I might be a sophomore in high school, but I am pretty much ready to apply to my dream school and declare my major. Most of the dorms that I have seen look gross, to put it bluntly. I AM A BIT OF A MINIMALIST, SO I WOULD PROBABLY USE ONLY ONE OR TWO OF THESE IDEAS AND KEEP THE REST OF THE ROOM CLEAN AND PLAIN WHITE. Here are some Pinterest-approved decoration ideas that can be achieved through tape and Command strips. {AS ALWAYS, CLICK THROUGH FOR IMAGE CREDITS}


FOR YOUR STENCH

Compagnie de Provence is kind of a more tastfully-unified, French version of Bath & Body Works. Kind of. It’s twice as expensive to order from the US. This room spray is worth every penny. It will freshen even the mustiest, most vile room with its clean, sweet verveine scent. They have a whole range of pretty scents, and all sorts of lotions, body washes, soaps, fragrance diffusers, bubble baths, etc. You’ll make everyone around you jealous, probably.

Here’s one that takes a little dedication: fresh peonies. Yikes. This is only for the highly-motivated types who actually most likely do not have much of a stench in their room. If your roommate is good with it, and you are willing to skip coffee for a day or two to pick up some of these without chipping more away from your savings, and if you are planning on giving them water and throwing them away as soon as they’ve died so they aren’t sitting and rotting on your windowsill for four months, these will make any space smell (and look) amazing.


FOR YOUR DOORS

Using adhesive tape or removable decals, add polka dots in one or two colors to a boring wood door to add class and interest. Navy blue is always a great option, or if you are a generally homesick person, pick your high school’s colors.

This is a variation on the polka-dot idea, but you can fancy-ify your door as shown by creating your own washi tape moulding on your slab of wood that never seems to be quite soundproof enough. (Target has some cheap, pretty options for the tape!)

Snag some of these Etsy-made star banners for the back of your door. They are super lightweight, which means cleverly-placed tape can hold them up. Never overlook Etsy when shopping, because you are always able to find cheap, unique, and well-made options on there.


FOR YOUR WALLS

To freshen up an otherwise nasty little space, use simple white bedding and print up all of your most colorful photos that generally look good together. (The cliché “I am trying to be a cool photography student but actually my major is in finance” move would be black and white or Polaroids). Instead of the normal photo collages commonly seen in dorm rooms, make a full photo wall, and maybe invest in getting bigger prints than the standard size.

Leaning to the pricey side, tassel garland banners look pretty against white walls. If you are willing to pay about thirty dollars a pop, hit up Etsy for some pretty designs. I personally like to think out of the box a little bit, so to avoid the standard one-banner thing, I would buy a bunch of the same color scheme and pile them up thick!


FOR YOUR DESK AND TABLES

Fairy lights. Here’s a fun drinking game: walk past some dorms on moving day, and take a shot for each string of fairy lights you see hanging on the walls. If you have to have them in your room, try string light terraniums with cheap glass covers that can be found at Target or a craft store and place them on the floor (if you are lucky enough to have excess space) or on your desk and shelves.

Using pretty colors and glass votives, make watercolor votives for your battery-powered tealights. Put them everywhere as your primary (or only) decorative element. Trust me, it will look cool.

More tape! This stuff can go anywhere. Cover your workspace for a washi-tape desk. Possibly distracting, but an attractive idea. At three dollars a roll, you can probably afford to stock up for multipurpose decorating.


FOR YOUR BATHROOM

Use a pretty beach towel as your bath towel. There are always great sales on nice towels that will last for ages during winter months, if you can think ahead that far! Make sure you realize how much space you have (in both where you store these towels and the washing machines in which you clean them) before making your purchase!

Do not read this if you are a makeup hoarder with immense sentimental investment in your collection. Get a small cosmetics bag to house your slimmed-down makeup collection. It sounds horrific, but less is more. Really. Allow yourself one pretty yet compact case, like the $20 one above from Madewell that I am currently heart-eyed over. (It also comes in white and black!) Keep only what you could not leave your dorm without: a signature shade or two of good-quality lip color, an easy-to-use eyeliner, a trustworthy mascara, a concealer, a foundation, and a powder AT MOST. Wash your face right. It will pay off for both your looks and your wallet.

STAY LOVELY, READERS

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RECENT FAVORITES 001

BETWEEN PARIS, ROME, AND BERLIN, I SNATCHED UP A FEW NEW THINGS, WHICH ARE SCATTERED IN HERE, AND ALSO FOUND LOVE WITH A BUNCH OF STUFF I HAVE PREVIOUSLY ACQUIRED! GATHER ROUND, CHILDREN...

1 – mango circle print dress

I have always been told that everything is more expensive in Europe. That is true for things that are readily available, designer, and/or made here in the States, but believe it or not, loads of great European brands are way less expensive over there! It works both ways… imagine that! This dress, which I got for a trip to D.C. next month, was €30 in Rome. I pulled it up online, and guess what? In the US, it costs $60. Maybe shipping is the issue, but that’s a pretty significant difference in cost when you are not spending a large amount. I am pretty psyched about this purchase, regardless of price. I love the dress, and how it fits, feels, and looks. I had never heard of Mango until Italy, but they have a lot of pretty things at affordable prices!

2 – URBANEARS HEADPHONES

I swear by these headphones. I have had them and used them nonstop for probably three years now, and the ear cushions are just beginning to tear. The sound is great considering the incredibly affordable price tag. The color, which appears bright online, is actually a nice shade of navy blue rather than my idea of “indigo.” Since they are nearing the end of their lifespan, I have come to realize just how faithful these things have been. Thank you, Urbanears. My next pair will be either white or lavender…

3 – COMPAGNIE DE PROVENCE SHEA BUTTER HAND CREAM

If you love yourself, get your hands on this hand cream. If you are in France, and you love some other people, get their hands on this, too, in the form of gifting! At Bath and Body Works prices, especially during national sales, these are gems. Anything from Comagnie de Provence is worth it. The 1 oz travel size is about $6 in the US and, going along with the theme from the dress, costs €3 in Paris. I scored it for  €1.50 during the sale, along with some other buys that will surface on this website soon enough. The rose scent is fantastic, and I will never get sick of it, ever. It is a new classic, in my humble opinion.

4 – CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR LOW-TOPS

I have these in a pretty pale bluey grey, which is really neutral and works with everything. I worship them, aside from the fact that they dirty very quickly in certain circumstances. They are as comfy as regular workout sneakers, except you can wear them with any casual outfit. Unfortunately, I picked mine up at Marshall’s, and the color is nowhere to be found online. I linked the next-closest available option!

5 – MANGINI BYE FRUTTA CANDIES

I am going through withdrawals. These little fruit-syrup-filled hard candies were all over the place in Rome, and I am beginning to think that their cheap Italian sweets actually have crack or something in them. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

6 – BRANDY MELVILLE ALENA DRESS

If you are new to the whole Brandy Melville thing, you are probably frightened by the one-size-fits-all situation. Believe me, at 5’10”, I am not generally a person who that works for. This dress is way too short to wear like shown in the photo, but, guess what? Leggings turn it into a loose tunic-y dress hybrid. It works well with a long sweater and boots for a really, really comfy winter outfit.

7 – PAUL SIMON

I am a sucker for anything remotely resembling Vampire Weekend. I am a teenage girl, after all. It’s a shame my parents skipped over Mr. Simon in my early musical education, but I am now making up for lost time. His broad career is absolutely fascinating to me, so digging through the archives and listening to all his stellar music is the most fun thing in the world.

STAY LOVELY, READERS

THOUGHTS ON: WHIPLASH

IN WHICH I SHARE MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS

TOWARDS WHIPLASH

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

"A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student's potential" -IMDb

As a viola student with a pretty gosh darn good teacher and a school with a pretty gosh darn exceptional music program, I have given some thought to attending a conservatory for higher education. I believe that I will not take that path, and Whiplash cemented that notion in my head for all the right reasons.

First of all, let me announce that the insults in this movie are absolutely stellar. On that note, do not watch this with your mother if she does not have the mouth of a truck-driving sailor who has spend several decades in prison. It’s phenomenal. J.K. Simmons is a favorite to win in his Oscars categories, and these beautifully crafted stingers serve their purpose falling from his mouth. Part of me will probably always consider him Terrence Fletcher, the ruthless leader of the elite jazz group at the country’s top conservatory. As slapstick-hilarious as the sharp character’s lines might be, they leave a mark in the viewer’s mind. At least one of his fits of abusive language will ignite a spark, big or small, in their memories. He is the adult version of every reckless childhood bully. Don’t get me wrong, Fletcher is driven by great morals that he clearly outlines, but he takes them to insane levels. The ideology might not seem all that great if you haven’t taken part in competitive performance as either a solo instrumentalist or vocalist, or as a part of a wind, string, or choral ensemble. If you have, then you probably do not find his mantras by themselves all that insane.

Miles Teller as Andrew Neiman and J.K. Simmons as Terrence Fletcher

Miles Teller plays a somewhat simple character  named Andrew who gets caught in a complicated situation. All he wants is to play the damn drums in this elite jazz studio band at the best conservatory in New York City. And to be considered among the greatest drummers of all time. He is awkward, but competitive, talented, and driven by this blind ambition that, to the horror of the audience, slowly eats away at his mind and his body. Andrew makes jaw-dropping decisions that, as both a musician and a person, made me think “gosh, I would never do that… would I?” I was left uncomfortable, ultimately drawing the half-conclusion that I would probably do exactly as Andrew does, if I were given his opportunities and under the same pressure. It was marvelously horrific in the best way. At first glance, the ideas presented in the movie are simple: don’t let your goals ruin your happiness. But what if your goals are your idea of joy? Where is the line? What about the balance between talent and modesty? Just because I worked harder than the predetermined best, does it mean that I should be ranked higher than them?
 

R.I.P this guy.

Of course, there is an abusive, overbearing “antagonist” in the picture that skews everything out of proportion. Why is the a-word in quotations? Thank you for asking. Technically, he was the villain, since all he does the whole time is go against Andrew, the obvious protagonist. Not complicated. But for some reason, you are drawn in to him, and while he is abuser, he is also- dare I say it-  slightly likable?. If you have not seen this film yet, you are probably alarmed, but it is true. Fletcher goes out of his way to deceive and impose punishment when the victim is innocent. He is merciless with his endlessly talented studio band, and no amount of greatness is ever satisfying enough. He wrecks havoc in each musician’s confidence. Yet, there is something admirable about him, beneath his viciousness, and even as he ruins lives and shows little to no remorse, I was kind of rooting for him. Where does all this come from? Well, Fletcher honestly never possessed many respectable qualities, which is no secret. But you still like him because of how much Andrew looks up to and reveres him. Teller is so convincing that you are left with no choice but to admire Fletcher for his status and intense dedication and the persona that is built up around him. The teacher is both a hero and a villain. In my opinion, that is what made the movie so outstanding.
Actually a thriller that just happens to be dripping with drama, Whiplash will keep you on your toes. Remember the name Damien Chazelle, who is the thirty-year-old director of this film. He is from Providence, Rhode Island, and attended Harvard University. (A fellow New England person making it big, to me, is like having a cousin do well. It’s like family pride in a sense). Maybe Chazelle has only directed one movie prior to this one, but that is not a problem. If there are any doubts, maybe the fact that Whiplash is nominated for FIVE Academy Awards will change those. No big deal. Just wait, it will be one of the big winners this year because it is downright incredible. OH YEAH, THE MUSIC WAS TOP-NOTCH TOO (SURPRISE, SURPRISE). Chazelle is a talented jazz drummer who is actually playing in some of the close-ups.
Seriously, watch this. If you are a music student, it will change your life. Even if you are not a big music or jazz fan, you will be hooked within five minutes. Buckle in and get ready to get your mind tossed around.
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So much conflict. So much sacrifice.

Also, make sure that you are available to watch the whole thing at once if you’re not at the theater (chances are, you will not be at a theater since it was limited release). And do not miss the end, no matter what. It was one of the best endings I have ever witnessed.

stay lovely, reader

CURRENT SIMPLE DAILY MAKEUP ROUTINE

how to get your morning MAKEUP done IN FIFTEEN MINUTES

I will admit right now that I am horrible at makeup. I go through a jumbo pack of Q-Tips in under two weeks because my mascara always ends up everywhere from waterline to eyebrow. I bite my lips without even realizing it most of the time. There goes even the idea of applying pretty lip gloss. My eyelids are really oily, and my hands are constantly trembling, so eyeliner is a disaster. The sad thing is that I am not exaggerating any of this information. It is entirely factual. But, if you’re on the same boat STAY TUNED!

Here is the full how-to manual on how to do your makeup if you are on a low budget of both time and money (and also general knowledge about makeup). I like to sleep, so this is designed to work so that the time between rolling out of bed and stepping out the door can be less than a half-hour if everything goes according to plan. Almost everything is from Covergirl and Target, but this is not a sponsored post or anything. Ha. Target is just the closest thing to me, but it’s actually in the next town over, so I don’t get over there a lot. Thus begins the routine with the essentials.

1. WASH YOUR FACE

$9.29 at Target

This is obvious, but so important. My skin gets disgustingly oily at times, and I am extremely prone to acne. Gotta love being sixteen. Plain old Cetaphil cleanser does the job well, leaving my skin feeling soft and clean. I have used so many drugstore cleansers over the past few years, and trust me, this stuff is the best. Before using it, try slapping on some Neutrogena exfoliating scrub a few times a week, which will make you feel like a hygiene goddess. Make sure you dry your face well!

2. APPLY EYELINER

$4.99 at Target

I only recently started wearing liner, so I am not all that aware of the whole liquid vs. pencil situation, and I am not well versed in gel or kohl and whatever trendy substances people are smearing on their eyelids. Use Covergirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner if you are lazy about sharpening (this one sharpens itself which is so, so nice) and like buildable intensity. I go for a simple, classic line that is a little heavier on the top lashes than the bottom. It comes in a bunch of colors, so snag a few in whichever colors suit you!

3. APPLY MASCARA

$7.79 – $7.99 at Target

Side note: if you have good skin, you could definitely get away with ending your routine after this step. Mascara is the best thing on the planet. It makes everyone look a little less dead behind the eyes. Expensive mascara is probably worth the few extra dollars, but I love Covergirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara in Black. I despise how most of the time you have to choose between length and volume. This gives a little more volume than length, but it does give a lot of both! Try to apply more to the top lashes than the bottom.

4. APPLY CONCEALER

$3.99 – $4.99 at Target

For me, concealer is the holy grail. If you are at all knowledgeable about makeup, you probably had a full-blown conniption when I put nothing on my skin before concealer. Sorry. I don’t have an elaborate routine, and not using moisturizer and bases and all that extra stuff usually works out alright in the end. Trust me. Just apply Maybelline Fit Me Concealer (I hear it’s a good dupe for a Nars one that I’ve never used? But this one is pretty dang good…) on any blemishes, and dab it on the shadows of the lovely bags so you do not accidentially highlight them!

5. APPLY FOUNDATION

Available at Target

Put a little Covergirl Clean Oil-Control Liquid Foundation everywhere for overall breakout-free coverage. The normal kind of Covergirl Clean Foundation does not make me break out when I rotate it in for a day or two per week. Basically, I have only used one other kind of foundation before, and this beats it out. I don’t feel like my makeup is done till I put foundation on. If you aren’t about the matte look, you can end the skin stuff here.

6. PUT ON SOME POWDER

$11.99 at Target

Put some powder everywhere you don’t want to shine. Keyword: some. It’s usually not a good thing to be completely matte. This product especially gives the white-powdery look on pale skin if you go too crazy! Otherwise, Neutrogena Shine Control Powder is fantastic. It keeps disgustingly oily skin looking healthy, which is great in any situation where photos are being taken! My forehead used to like someone stuck reflective tape to it in pictures. Not anymore!

7. PUT ON LIP STUFF

$6.00 at The Body Shop

I use an old Clinique lipstick compact sometimes, which is my favorite, but, like previously mentioned, all lip color comes off incredibly easy on my perpetually-chapped lips. I always apply a generous amount of Vaseline at night, which helps a little bit. I love Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Petunia, which is a pretty light pink. If you’re using that plain old Chapstick, throw on a layer of Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Champagne. The only issue with this stuff is that it kind of moves around a bit and clumps up in an odd way if you neglect to reapply it. Kind of gross, but if you can stay on top of the consistent maintenance, go for it! Another good one for layering, I use a BareMinerals one that they no longer sell in stores, but the MarvelousMoxie Lipgloss is essentially an upgraded version (from what I have read) in the virtually-identical color Ring Leader. Finally, what I have pictured and what I use most often (on a daily basis) is the Born Lippy Tint from The Body Shop in Raspberry. I am in love with this. I will buy it for as long as I live. It’s only six dollars for the best lip gloss available to mankind. It comes in a cute little tub, smells delicious, and moisturizes so well while giving my lips a nice, sheer pink tint. I need it in every single flavor. I really didn’t need to include the other stuff because this blows all of it out of the water. Period.

STAY LOVELY, READER

FEBRUARY TRAVEL

PARIS, ROME, & BERLIN

This time tomorrow, I will be in Paris. I don’t know what to expect in winter, but we are staying at our apartment there for the first time as a family, which will be nice. We will probably end up hitting up all the tourist destinations just for fun. It’s good practice for my French, which I am studying at the AP level next year!

After Paris, I get to visit Rome for about a week. I know literally nothing about Rome or Italian or even Italy in general. I have faint memories of Fascism from freshman year history, and I know pizza was invented there. Sorry, Italy fans. We are going to see the Pope on Ash Wednesday (we got tickets through the Chruch), and my parents have spent plenty of time here, so they know where else to go and what else to see. We will be in a hotel, but it looks pretty nice from the photos and reviews.

After that, the flight schedule works out with a night and a day in Berlin. We will be stashed away in a hotel room, but I hope with all my heart that I can do some exploration of the city. I have always been interested in German culture and history. If German was offered as a world language at my school, I probably would have chosen it over French. Berlin is the city I am most stoked about for this little trip… do not tell my mother! I wish we could visit Munich and catch a Bayern match, but time does not allow for it. :(

I’ll update you as I go from city to city!

STAY LOVELY, READERS

MY FAVORITE GRAMMYS LOOKS

In no specific order, here are my personal, completely superficial picks for the best looks at last night's 2015 Grammy Awards.

taylor swift

TAYLOR IS ALWAYS A WINNER. WHEN YOU’RE WEARING ELLIE SAAB, YOU DON’T LOSE.


rihanna

WHY DID SO MANY PEOPLE HATE HER LOOK? I THOUGHT IT WAS BOLD FOR RIHANNA, WHO USUALLY GOES FOR LESS DRESS AS OPPOSED TO MORE DRESS. THIS IS DEFINITELY MORE DRESS, AND SHE BALANCED IT WITH A MINIMAL MAKEUP AND BEAUTIFULLY SIMPLE BUN. WELL DONE, RIRI.


BECK

IT WAS HARD TO FIND A PICTURE THAT WASN’T TERRIBLE QUALITY, BUT HERE’S A HEADSHOT. THIS IS PROOF THAT, NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, BECK IS COOLER THAN YOU.


NICKI MINAJ

i really appreciate how nicki has toned it down a bit recently, but still maintained her natural flair for style.


JOHN MAYER

DID I DIE AND GO TO HEAVEN? I RECKON I DID, WHEN I LAID EYES ON THIS AESTHETICALLY-PLEASING BREATH OF FRESH AIR. SPEAKING OF AIR, MY LUNGS NEEDED IT WHEN HE PERFORMED WITH ED SHEERAN, WHO UNFORTUNATELY DOES NOT MAKE THIS LIST :(


anna kendrick

THIS RESTORED MY FAITH IN HUMANITY. SO CLASSY IT HURTS.


CHILDISH GAMBINO

GAMBINO OBVIOUSLY WINS IN THE GENETICS DEPARTMENT, PLUS: ARE THOSE VELVET SLIPPERS? IN A WORLD OF “NO YOU CAN’T,” HE IS A “YES, YOU CAN.” I APPLAUD YOU, MR. GLOVER.


PAT CARNEY & DAN AUERBACH

BECAUSE I LOVE HOW THEY ARE SO UNCOOL THAT THEY ARE THE ACTUAL COOLEST THINGS TO EVER GRACE THE FACE OF THE EARTH. LOOK AT THE BOLD NO-TIE SITUATION. ALL HAIL, THE BLACK KEYS ARE ETERNAL.


katy perry

KATY P IS NOT ON HERE FOR HER DRESS (IT WAS KIND OF DISAPPOINTING TO BE HONEST). SHE MADE THE LIST BECAUSE OF HER HAIR AND HER MAKEUP. I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD LIKE PURPLE HAIR, BUT KATY DEFIED THE ODDS.


GWEN STEFANI

this ensemble would be perfect if it weren’t for the awkwardly uncovere boob. so pretty, so elegant. her hair makes it even better. applause for you and your good taste, gwen.

STAY LOVELY, READERS

BECK WON WHAT?

Nearly everyone at home watching the Grammy Awards last night was expecting the Album of the Year award to go to someone who goes by one name that starts with B. The Academy had the same idea, except not quite.

Here’s a quick recap. Beyoncé’s song Drunk in Love featuring Jay-Z racked up Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song awards, and her self-titled album won Best Surround Sound Album (meaning that the recording has a minimum of four channels and is commercially available in surround-sound quality. Since she is listed as the surround mastering engineer, the award goes to her as well as the rest of her engineering/production team). Beck’s album Morning Phase scored awards for Album of the Year, Best Rock Album, and Best Non-Classical Engineered Album (for the latter, Beck himself did not technically win the award as he was not listed as an engineer or producer on the album, and it went to his engineering/production team).

So, technically Beyoncé won more awards (3) than Beck (2), and people are still launching batches of caps-lock tweets declaring how unjust the world is because Queen B didn’t win Album of the Year. Okay, Beyoncé deserved it, but so did Beck, and it’s just an awards show. Both are incredibly hard-working, classy, talented artists who each made spectacular albums and gave incredible performances. To them, that is rewarding enough in itself.

Morning Phase, though I’ll admit I haven’t listened to one or two tracks, is an impressive continuation of the 2002 release, Sea Change. The grandiose, swallowing strings on the album are what makes it stand out, and they add a certain melancholy depth that is awfully satisfying. I’m not going to delve into it all right now, but the album artwork above has a link to the Rolling Stone review that does a nice job.

Right now, let’s take a look at the factors of why Beck Hansen walked away victorious in arguably the most important category of music’s biggest awards show, and why Beyoncé had to settle with her three trophies.

The most obvious answer is advertising. Morning Phase was put out by Capitol Records (the first Beck release to their name, as he left Interscope DCG at the end of his contract). Since he hadn’t put out a record in over five years, Capitol had a decidedly valid reason to push this new LP through a healthy dose of marketing. Hansen popped in for publicity on virtually every talk show, and his people got Blue Moon to play everywhere they could. The hype leading up to the February 2014 release was loud. Already an indie-dad staple thanks to prior hits Loser and Where It’s At, nobody really has to push Beck to appeal to multiple generations; he just does. The real advertising did not hit until Morning Phase actually hit the shelves, digitally and physically. One example: raise your hand if you use Spotify regularly, and the Morning Phase ads made you actually want to pay for the premium service for a split second each time because you were so damn sick of hearing the same thing every commercial break. If you are a Spotify person, your hand is up.

Beyoncé was put out in December of 2013 by Columbia, distributed by Sony BMG. It was re-released in 2014 in an extended edition. Long story short, it was an illusion of “no publicity.” Dropping unannounced on iTunes in the middle of the night, the album was a publicity stunt in itself. There was no hype leading up to it, but it further solidified Beyoncé as the queen of the recording industry. Right after, she was caught up in a whirlwind of promotion. The staggering chart positions and heavy radio rotation of its singles were the best possible type of advertising that the album could possibly have gotten. The self-titled undertaking had five singles as opposed to Morning Phase‘s two. With Super Bowl and White House performances in addition to a career spanning just as long as Beck’s under her belt, she was already a booming, highly influential commercial mogul, much more so than Beck, who gives off a way more understated vibe, and certainly has not sold nearly as much.

It was the type of advertising that essentially caused Morning Phase to beat out Beyoncé. The words look ugly, but it’s the truth in these awards shows. The Academy loves a comeback artist in this category, just Google the list of previous recipients. They also were more likely to see Beck more often. Although Beyoncé showed up at higher-scale events, Beck was often splashed across their television screens in daily life, or popping up as pretty, artsy ads on their computer screens while they read the morning news. His album was portrayed as artwork for multiple generations while Beyoncé’s was presented as a bundle of hits for the young party crowd. It subconsciously swayed the voters just enough to settle on one of the equally-well-made albums over the other.

Of course, there were more than two nominees in the category, and more factors to the decision. The truth is, the other contenders in the race for Album of the Year don’t quite match up to the two that I’ve been raving about in this post. Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, and Pharell simply did not make albums that possess the necessary star power. Sorry, guys.

Not to get sidetracked or anything, but Beck is humble and probably cooler than most of the people that were around him in the Staples Center combined. I was not planning on mentioning the K-name and his little joke last night, but when doing some research, I found some evidence of Beck’s class and grace after the incident and what followed. The headlines below say it all. (Click through to read the articles!)

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In regards to that, all there is left to say is that Beck is so cool that Kanye is a little chilly and probably needs a sweater.

The only eyebrow-raising thing that Mr. Album of the Year 2k15 has been involved in (that I can remember) is the Church of Scientology. I can deal with that, I suppose. As long as he continues making great music.

In the end, all that really matters is not what the music means to the majority, but what it means to each of us personally. That’s what artistry is all about, and it’s important to respect that and take a step back from the television with your eyes closed for a moment, if that’s what it takes to remember. Once you recall what the music is all about, it’s just as essential that you open those eyes right back up, because the industry is a predictable yet unpredictable glamour-bomb, and it is right before you, begging for your full and undivided attention with unimaginable things and an ever-promising future that is looming so near with incredible depths that will be waiting for you to dive into.

STAY LOVELY, READERS

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO 001

A RANKING OF MY CURRENT FAVORITES ON MY CURRENT PLAYLIST

5. CROSSED SEVERED FINGERS – ST. VINCENT

This song is making a return to my favorites playlist mostly because of the Grammys, which are on tonight (!!!). St. Vincent most certainly deserves the win for Best Alternative Music Album, in my humble opinion. She’s up against some pretty darn tough (and perhaps a bit more popular) competition -Alt-J, Arcade Fire, Cage the Elephant, and Jack White- but it would make quite a bit of sense if she took home the trophy for the category. This track is the final one of her self-titled album, released a year ago. It is the perfect send-off ballad for this album… as if she penned it as a sort of victory march. Well played.

4. TO DIE IN L.A. – LOWER DENS

I’ll admit that I mainly gave this song a listen because of the snazzy accompanying artwork. It’s so attractive. All of their visuals are really cool, but I’d highly recommend checking out all the music that they accompany. This song in particular is all over the popular music blogs and publications, and it’s pretty clear why. To Die in L.A. is a song that is hard not to like. On repeat for months to come.

3. LONDON, BYE, TA-TA – DAVID BOWIE

I have an incurable David Bowie obsession that’s been cultivating since the first time my father played Under Pressure in the car when I was little. This is one of my all-time favorites, and for some reason, I have been listening to it enough recently to call it a current favorite as well. When I die, I just want the whole David Bowie discography on shuffle for my funeral. I wish I could be there to see it. London is the one nostalgic song that I will allow myself on this list.

3. SARAH – ALEX G

I love how plain old pretty this song is. It’s refreshing. This song seems like it would blend in nicely on the Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack. I am very much looking forward to the wave of indie pop like this that will be rolling in for spring. Although I’m pretty sure this is a re-release.

1. gold silver diamond – generationals

I love this group for how consistent they are. I may have told a small lie in my number three pick about slipping solely one nostalgia-induced song on here. Oops. My dad was all over the 2009 release of Con Law, so I have a substantial amount of road trip memories with that album as the soundtrack. Basically, with every release, Generationals successfully delivers insightful new-wave indie pop that appeals to any audience that enjoys catchy, hook-like melodies constructed to scream along with while the windows are down and the air is warm. Gold Silver Diamond is no exception, sweet as pure sugar. This song off Alix from September takes my number-one current favorites slot for this very first edition of What I’m Listening To. (Keep an eye out for an artist spotlight post featuring Generationals sometime soon…)

STAY LOVELY, READERS!

LUST LIST 001

A COLLECTION OF FASHION PRODUCTS IN STORES THAT I HAVE BEEN EYEING… THAT’S A GROSS WORD BUT BASICALLY, THE LINKS ARE IN THE TITLES OF THE PRODUCTS, AND I INCLUDE A LITTLE JUSTIFICATION OF WHY I NEED EACH THING SO DESPERATELY! :)

1  J. CREW PRINTED POUCH

So basically, I’m gonna be traveling soon, and you can never have too many pouches! Organization is key, right? Even if I do kind of hate most cats. Imagine what type of cute crap you could store in this thing: pens, hair accessories, makeup… my inner neat freak is soothed by the thought alone. Imagine the level of happiness if I actually got my hands on this thing.

2 – ASOS: VILLA LONG SLEEVE T-SHIRT DRESS

I’m really into casual dresses right now because I’m lazy. There is nothing worse than rolling out of bed in the morning and having to squeeze into jeans. Gross. The logic of the t-shirt dress: why put yourself through the jeans struggle when you can chuck on one of these? Versatile when plain, they can be dressed up or down with literally any accessories. They work with leggings and Converse or boots in the winter, and with sandals in the summer. I only have one right now, and it’s sleeveless, burgundy, and from Brandy Melville, meaning it’s probably two feet too short for my 5’10” body. LOOK HOW LONG THIS ONE IS!!!!!!

3HERSCHEL HERITAGE BACKPACK IN COBALT POLKA DOT

Why is there a backpack, of all things, on this list? Well, as a high school student, it’s kind of essential. My current poo-colored North Face Jester is holding up pretty well, but it is absolutely time for a change after four years of dragging it around. I have heard that Herschel models are of great quality, and this one is as pretty as backpacks can get. Plus, a built-in laptop sleeve. Count me in.

4 – NASTY GAL: DUSEN DUSEN ON THE ROCKS SILK DRESS

(This one is on sale as of right now!) I have quite a few formal dresses, but who can resist this one? I love the colors! My only concern is length. Otherwise, I can see myself wearing this to an event that I really need a pretty outfit for in DC this March…

5 – madewell: kasson parka jacket

I saved the best for last! Let me start off by saying that I am completely in a long-distance relationship with this jacket. That long distance being the void between my couch and the nearest Madewell. And the void in my wallet. Yes, I do already have (and adore) the pretty similar J. Crew Field Jacket, but I feel like I need this one because I am actual trash. And this one is a little heavier weight for the frigid New England winters that I love so much. So there. Thus concludes my very first Lust List.

STAY LOVELY, READER

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: THE GROWLERS

THE GROWLERS

COSTA MESA, CALIFORNIA, USA // WEBSITE


LISTEN: BIG TOE (FROM CHINESE FOUNTAIN, SEPTEMBER 2014), SOMEDAYONE MILLION LOVERS (BOTH FROM HUNG AT HEART, JANUARY 2013)

As 2014 faded out, I became worried that the year would go down without an abundance of solid albums. 2013 was a tough act to follow, in my opinion, and there was only a (very) small handful of standout albums by September. But my worries dissolved as I dove into The Growlers’ Chinese Fountain, a strong, hypnotizing body of work.

The band had its own standout album of 2013: Hung at Heart. Ushered in by a sweet-as-honey single (Someday), and given momentum by catchy hooks and Californian cool vibes, it swiftly climbed up my mentally-stored favorites list. All of their music has timelessness woven into each second of playing time. When the whole of their discography has been played through, it feels as if no time has passed at all. With a strikingly eccentric blend of influences, leaning heavily towards the 1960s and surf rock, they have dubbed themselves as “beach goth,” which is a term that seems to fit perfectly. Nobody on the East Coast could quite replicate their sound… although it’s hard not to compare to Mac Demarco in certain aspects (who, by the way, is originally from British Columbia in Canada, but currently based in New York… so technically he’s from the West Coast? I still consider him East Coast). On the topic of sound, in 2012, the band went through some recording sessions with Dan Auerbach, but the music was “too clean” and the results were scrapped altogether. It takes guts to pull a maneuver like that in the music industry, but, hey… the pickiness paid off, since it contributed to the impressive lazily-perfect material that came after.

LOOK HOW COOL THEY ARE

Really, this is a group who could be called “lazy perfectionists,” except that truly lazy people could not have come forth with such dazzling music. The laziness is only implied, invoked by the stylistic matter in the work and the overall tone. Looking beyond the surface, the Growlers have a remarkable dedication to and belief in their work. With their assurance of what sounds right, they will surely stick around for as long as they want to do so.

Stay lovely, readers!