February 8, 2016

Shakey Graves // Levon Helm Studios // 2.6.16

I recently read a blog post that discussed how someone might get over heartache. And one of the answers the author shared was simple: listen to really good music.

So Saturday night, I did just that.

Shakey Graves has been hanging out in Woodstock, NY at Levon Helm Studios, working on some new material with his band. Saturday night they opened the doors and let some people in (myself + Kelsey included) to get a sneak peek. And to hear some old favorites, as well.

It was magic, you guys. And just what I needed.

Check out some photos from the first time we saw him last year in Albany.

February 5, 2016

{what I'm listening to} Coldplay

Many friends have said in my presence,"I hate Coldplay so much!" only to turn to me and say, "Sorry, I know you love them."

I do. And I'm pretty damn excited about the halftime show this year. Actually, the last three years have been stellar, IMO. Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, and now Coldplay? As Kelsey likes to say, someone's been reading my dream journal.

Up until I fell in love with those Avetts, Coldplay was the best concert I had ever gone to. And everyone who went was given a copy of a live CD of theirs, which is where the above song is from.

It's off their X&Y album (their best, if you ask me) (oh, you weren't asking? bye), and the original version is faster with a lot of tracking. But the slowed down, piano version from the live CD makes me feel things I didn't know were possible. And has made me cry in my car on more than 12 occasions.


Oh, and if you're one of those Coldplay haters, take a minute (or 15) to watch Chris Martin's Carpool Karaoke. If you don't love him and his music after watching it, I can't help you.

February 2, 2016

checking in || february

feeling | so very thankful that January is over. The closer spring gets, the happier I am. It's supposed to be in the 40s here all week, so excuse me while I celebrate by getting ready each morning with my window open.

watching | Hi, my name is Alissa and I can't sit through one 45 minute episode of Parenthood.

listening to | Noah and the Whale. A while back my friend Kate made me a mix tape (long live mix tapes, honestly) (okay, so it was actually a CD, but whatever) of her favorite Noah songs and I was instantly hooked. The band has since broken up (insert 1,000 cry face emojis here), but as Kate just said in an email: the albums live on.

reading | Big Magic by Liz Gilbert, who also wrote Eat, Pray, Love. I am enjoying it (I'm about halfway through) and I would definitely recommend reading it if you're someone trying to better understand your own creative process.

But, like, Liz will always be #2 in my heart behind Cheryl Strayed, and there I said it.

getting excited about | February plans! This weekend = a Shakey Graves concert and a Super Bowl Party. Next week I get to see Bruce Springsteen for the first time (!!). And next weekend Kelsey and I are traveling to NYC to see Mike Birbiglia and to meet up with a fellow Avett fan who (whom?) (guys, I need an editor. Want the job? I'll pay you in Bagel Bites) we've never met IRL before.


making | monthly playlists on Spotify, fitness goals, not enough tacos, plans for the next vlog. Stay tuned!

January 29, 2016

[what i'm listening to] The Avett Brothers

Oh, these men. What can I say that I haven't already screamed at the top of my lungs 30 feet away from them?

I'm lucky I haven't been arrested.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all.

January 28, 2016

The Foundation of Happiness


There are two truths I hold in either hand:

1. No one has it all figured out.

2. You're not really messing up.

I sat across from someone recently and had a quiet discussion on how one gets better; on how one finds happiness, in so many words. And as I sat there telling him that I believe it is something that needs to be done alone, I realized I was shooting myself in the foot. But I had a feeling he knew the answer already, and maybe he just needed to hear me say it.

I told him that no one has it all figured out-- it doesn't matter how put together someone looks from the outside, chances are there's something going on that other people don't know about. Maybe they have their dream job, but they are unhappy in their current relationship. Maybe they have a stellar career and marriage, but have a brother with a drug problem, who is a burden on their parents.

Hell, maybe they can't figure out how to stop their basement from flooding during even the lightest of rainstorms. Something that can seem simple and yet it's still complicated.

I know that I'll never fully have a handle on everything in my life. That there will always be something out of my control or comfort zone. And even the things I thought I had a handle on? Well, I'll need to revisit them time and time again. But the difference between today and three years ago is that I now know where to start when I'm knocked off my axis.

I know the things that draw me back to feeling good: a spin class, a Friday night home alone with a slice of pizza and a chick flick, spending time with my parents and my nephew, working on a creative project outside of work, a night spent at an outdoor music venue with those two brothers from North Carolina and a friend by my side.

These are the things that, when everything else falls apart, I know can bring me back to square one. That can bring me back to the foundation of my happiness.

And it took me a good long while to know these things to be true. It took months of waking up and going to a job that wasn't fulfilling, but one allowed me to fly under the radar while I got my personal life in order. It took me realizing that I didn't like who I was or how I was treating other people - how I was treating myself, too - to be able to pick out books from the self help section and not feel bad about it.

And all of these revelations I needed to discover on my own.

I've never been one to compare myself to others, but shit if it's not upsetting to see other people your age settling down around the same time you kick your live in boyfriend out of your house. And these days people my age are starting families and I can't seem to get a relationship off the ground.

But it's okay. It's okay because no one has it all figured out.

We're all falling down and picking ourselves back up.

So that's truth number one.

As for truth number two...

I really, truly subscribe to the school of thought that unless you're doing something to harm yourself or someone else, you need to cut yourself some fucking slack. "Don't be so hard on yourself" is something we hear so often, that by the time were adults, we're kind of numb to the meaning of it.

But, listen, don't be so hard on yourself, okay?

You're not the fictional brother with the drug problem, right? Like, maybe you were late paying your cell phone bill last month or maybe you're behind on a project at work, but that's not because you spent your money on heroin and played hooky to shoot up, right?

If you are the brother with the drug problem, I can't help you. But you should really go find someone who can.

I don't like to say "things could be worse" because I think, in a lot of ways, that's tempting fate. So instead, when something goes wrong, I think "well, things could be better" and then I get to work on making them better.

Give yourself a break. Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes and most of the ones you've made really aren't that bad. Remember to forgive yourself, too.

I think that's chief among the rest-- forgiving yourself. And the sooner you do that, the sooner you can start focusing on getting some things right, and the sooner you can start building your own foundation.

January 26, 2016

[what i'm listening to] Ray LaMontagne

I've said before that I believe the Universe gives you exactly what you need at the exact moment you need it. So, last weekend while I was working up the energy to get ready for a night with friends, I put Ray LaMontagne's Spotify station on shuffle and this song was the first to play.

Exactly what I needed at the exact moment I needed it. A little bit of magic, no?