Top Tunes for October

All in all, October was a decent month for finding new music. Two of my favorite bands released albums, which is always a plus! So anyhow, here are my top tunes for October:

1) Radical Face released a new CD called The Family Tree: The Branches, which is the second edition to the band’s three-part album series. My favorite songs from this album are “The Mute,” and “The Crooked Kind.” Radical Face’s sound is sort-of difficult to describe, but it’s a mix of acoustic guitar and orchestra, I guess. Solid album.

2) I’d never heard of Freelance Whales until recently. Somehow I stumbled across the band on Spotify. I’m terrible at describing sounds, as I’m sure you’ve surmised, so I’ll let you listen for yourself. Either way, the song “Generator ^ First Floor” is seriously fantastic. It’s such a short song, but man is it great. Repeat for days. Just to warn you, it starts off kind of weird with rumbling noises (maybe to mimic a generator?), but honestly I think it adds something to the song. It’s great!

3) Sarah Jaffe’s been around for a while, so I guess I’m late to this party, but if you haven’t heard her song called “Clementine,” please go listen. I kind of wonder whether she’s referencing Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind… I don’t know one way or the other, but what I do know is that I like that song. A lot. You probably will too, so check it out!

4) I think everyone and their mother is aware of Arcade Fire’s new album called Reflektor, right? I have mixed feelings about the band’s new CD. AF is one of my favorite bands, and in my opinion, The Suburbs is pure brilliance. It’s tough to top something like that. So far, I’m not as impressed by Reflektor, but there are some gems on the album like “Joan of Arc,” “Normal Person,” “You Already Know,” “Supersymmetry,” and my personal favorite “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus).”

5) Lastly, I am in absolute love with The Barr Brother’s song called “Beggar in the Morning.” I heard it in a wedding video I watched online, and I’ve been listening ever since. It’s a bit of a folksy song, but it’s also modern, especially at the song’s start.

So give these songs a listen, and let me know what you think! Also leave a comment saying what you’ve been listening to this month. Thanks for reading!

Sarah E.

The Unexpected

I don’t know how exactly to be what you expect. We sit opposite each other on stools, staring at fudge, and somehow I don’t fit. Blue jeans and brown boots. My foot tapping, never touching the tiled floor. It’s a frame of mind, I think.

Tourists tap on the glass, pointing towards flavors they want to try. Chewy Praline, Chocolate Vanilla Swirl. But choosing isn’t the hard part, really. They’ve sampled so many, making sure to get their money’s worth. And you and I wait on each one, patiently.

In between paying customers, we pass the time with small talk. Your new haircut. My  single-ness, since I stopped talking to that guy. And all the awkward silence of guessing what I should say next.

But friend, it’s what you say that takes me by surprise. Neither cruel nor comforting. Just…an observation. I open up to you, I guess. Tell you how I spend most of my free-time watching people I don’t know tell me things through computer screens. And how all the best TV shows are made of time-traveling and british men and big blue boxes. And now you truly you notice me.

“You’d never know from how you dress,” you say, “but on the inside, you’re so dorky.”

And I guess I agree with you. I’m not “the type” to wear sneakers and sundresses. I don’t have oversized glasses or unruly hair on purpose. I wear makeup and rings and most of my wardrobe comes from a place with “American” in the title.

But still. I don’t see the point in matching pants and personality. And I don’t think it’s wrong to be misunderstood. In fact, I like that it forces people to look past my latest outfit choice to see what I’m honestly about. I don’t dress like your average dork, but does that make me any less of one?

I don’t fit, and I think that’s all right. I’ve come to accept that my clothes, my book collection, my hair color, and my most cherished song don’t constitute my being. These are things I love, not things I am. So there.

You won’t know from my attire that I’m a bit too shy to share these things in person.  I guess sometimes we hide behind our outsides, afraid to open up. To face the fact that we don’t fit.

But as you and I cut quarter pounds of fudge from the counter, scoop them up, and squeeze them into tiny boxes, I see now. And it makes sense.

The world is full of containers. For keeping people and places and objects and ideas in place. Perhaps though, the only way to enjoy them, to really appreciate their existence, is to empty the box. To break the mold by the miracle of experience.

Everyday we watch this unfold. They take that first bite, braving the uncertain. And after all this time, they travel hundreds of miles, stand in long lines, and leave filled with a new hunger for trying.

All it takes is a taste, so maybe we too can find an appetite for the unexpected.

Why Chivalry is in Question // From a Person’s Perspective

Disclaimer: This is a response to John Picciuto’s article entitled “Why Chivalry is Dead, From a Man’s Perspective”

Please read Picciuto’s article before mine to fully assume awareness of this argument:

Picciuto’s Argument 

My Response:

John Picciuto,

The first thing you should know about me is that I am not a feminist. However, I am a woman. And later we’ll touch on why that’s important. For now, and consequently for the sake of this argument, let’s just say that I’m a person. I think that’s fair.

So, John, as a person, perusing Facebook, I found your article. I clicked. I read. And I came to the conclusion that someone had to set you straight. I’m sorry to say that your intentions are misguided, your argument flawed, and your assumptions of the opposite sex, are well, insulting to say the least. Let’s start with your intentions, shall we?

From what I can tell, you don’t deny that chivalry is dead. Although this is a blanket accusation and quite a loaded statement, I’ll let it slide. I’m not here to write an article against unsubstantiated claims. That aside, your article stands to show the reasons why men’s treatment of women has wained to, as you put it, “the bare minimum.”

You don’t hesitate to place blame, either. “The real problem,” you say, “is that women, for one reason or another, have become complacent and allowed men to get away [with their treatment towards women].” Right away you’re pointing fingers, fully convinced that it’s only up  to females to fix this problem. Well John, I think you’ve got the wrong idea.

Maybe it started when you were growing up. It seems a slight delusion to believe you’ve actually “learned [your] lessons,” regarding the right way to treat a lady.

If the women in your family went out of the way to emphasize “chivalry” and “etiquette,” that’s great, but what did the men do? Tout the size of their manhood whilst handing out condoms just in case? I’m sure they practiced what they preached about safe sex, but what can you learn from their experience? Did they protect against anything other than unplanned pregnancy? A women’s feelings, for instance?

I’d like to add that the very idea that lessons must be learned suggests that chivalry, kindness, and etiquette are not innate human characteristics. We learn to love, and it’s an ongoing, cumulative collaboration between men and women. To give and take. To try to understand each other. The issue, John, isn’t a gender war or battle of the sexes. It’s an issue of equality.

Therefore, your argument that women are completely culpable is weak and ridiculous. In fact, it’s presented as a reverse-rape argument. If only women didn’t dress so provocatively, then we men might manage some self-control. But really, how can you blame us?

Somehow a man’s response is now a woman’s responsibility. You merely react to our actions or lack thereof. Well, reality check: you are a free-thinking individual who is fully equipped to take a stand and act independently of us. You don’t need to wait on a woman to be a man.

You seem to disagree, saying that, until women make the first move, “men are going to get away with putting in the bare minimum and receiving what [you] ultimately want anyway–sex.” So John, are you stating that despite your “nice guy” persona, despite the dinners, the gifts, and the engaging conversations, you’re still only after the one thing our parents warned us about? And John, are you so sure that we’ll fall for it?

I mean you seem fairly confident, my friend, that–because you’re serving steak instead of sex on a silver platter–any girl would go wild to spend more time with you. Let’s ignore then, your personality. Your personal values. Your taste in music. Let’s not care if there’s chemistry between the two of you. Because the “least” you’ll take away from this is certainty of a second date. And the most?

Well you’ve already said your ultimate goal–sex. So don’t hide behind your false sense of chivalry. We women are perfectly able to pay for our own dinners, but we’ll leave a tip for you anyway: try another approach.

You say you’re not looking for a “girlfriend” or a “wife.” Well then what’s your angle? If you want sex, which you admit outright, then why waste time pretending to be interested? Honestly, I’d rather have the shallow truth than be tricked into thinking a guy has feelings for me.

But you want to get to know a girl because what–once you know her middle name and favorite color it’s then fine to take her home, have sex, and forget all about her? Oh wait, but you paid for her dinner. You opened the car door for her. You even went the extra mile to laugh at her jokes. So she owes it to you. To all the “nice guys” who bash casual sex but beg for it with every bouquet of flowers and flirtatious compliment.

And so, John. You hope that “eventually…women will wise up and start asking for the things they deserve.” But what if we don’t want to have to ask?

What if that is the true meaning of chivalry? Doing something nice for the sake of doing something nice.

I would like to think that we can solve these issues of equality together. What if women understood and displayed their worth to the world? What if men acted with no ulterior motives?

Maybe chivalry is dead. But maybe it isn’t.

Maybe it’s politely waiting to be understood.

Sincerely,

Sarah E. Runyon

Embrace Your Face // Is Makeup Your Hobby or Hassle?

Okay girls, so when did doing our makeup become such a chore? Seriously, it’s like pulling teeth some mornings as I muster up motivation to put on beauty products. And I LOVE makeup. Like, it’s a problem. So why is it that I, and so many other girls, turn our hobbies into hassles?

As far as makeup’s concerned, many of us only wear it because it’s the norm. We’re afraid of stepping out into the world bare-faced, braving the stares that scream, “did you really leave the house looking like that?!” And so we don’t.

In some ways, I think that makes us ladies resent putting on the proverbial face, at least the one accepted by society. Annoying, right? Who wants to wear makeup because that’s what we’re supposed to do? Where’s the fun in that?

I can’t have been the only little girl who begged to borrow her mom’s lipstick. I mean, as a kid, I loved the idea of makeup because it was daring, grown-up, and girly. I want to revisit that enthusiasm!

We women can accentuate our features without hiding behind a mask of makeup. Find confidence in that God-given gorgeous face of yours before you pick up that blush brush!

Once you feel comfortable and confident in your own skin, then by all means, go all out or keep it subtle, but be sure that if you’re wearing makeup, it’s on your own terms! DSC_0879

Here are a few tips on how to drop the monotony of makeup:

1. Beauty products shouldn’t substantiate your femininity; they should accentuate it! In other words, don’t bury yourself under five layers of foundation. We want to see those freckles, hun! DSC_0874

2. Be bold and take risks!! Rock a red lip if you want to. Wear purple eyeliner if you’re feelin’ it! What’s the point of wearing makeup if it doesn’t make you happy?!

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3. Embrace your face! No matter what anyone says, beauty isn’t skin deep; it’s soul deep. So, if you find yourself surrounded by negative thoughts, jealousy, and self-degradation, just take a step back and breathe. Makeup is meant to be a hobby, not a hassle!  DSC_0870

By the way, it’s more than okay to carry that little-girl-in-awe-starry-eyed-smiling-face with you into adulthood, especially in regards to makeup! Who’s to say your passion won’t inspire others to trade tedium for something truly worth writing (a blog post) about?

Until next time,

Sarah E.

“Real Life” Fashion Problems 101 // By Kelsy of The Accidental Extrovert

Thought you guys might be interested in hearing from my first ever guest writer, Kelsy, of The Accidental Extrovert! She’s got some great fashion tips for your transition from college grad to working girl!

Kelsy was my gateway peer leader during my freshman year of college! I’ve always admired her style, and now you guys can get a little insight into her wardrobe choices as well!

Be sure to check out her blog–which I’ve linked above–and leave a comment down below!  Also, I’ll be guest writing on her blog sometime in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled! Without further ado, here’s Kelsy:

“Real Life” Fashion Problems 101

I’ve been out of college for a little over 2½ months, but sometimes I can’t help but think that my four years of higher learning just BARELY equipped me for the little time I’ve spent in the “real world” so far. I never had a class teach me how to figure out how to identify shady pyramid scheme businesses, or what to do when your parents might be moving out of state just as you move back home, or most importantly, what is the best definition of “business casual” for interviews! I’m learning as I go and often trial by error, but hey, that’s the crazy, fun part about post-grad life!

Whether you spend time imitating cool outfits from Pinterest, going all Macklemore at the thrift shop, or only wearing comfortable clothes everywhere, by now you’ve probably developed your own personal style! You know what you love, what looks best on you, and most importantly, what are classic staples for your body. For example, strapless dresses will never be a staple for me—they just don’t work! Peplum tops or pencil skirts are classics for me though, and I know that I can always buy one of these staples & they will always be flattering.

*Here are some style staples that are workplace ready:

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As you’ve spent time in college (hopefully) developing this personal style & trying out new looks, by the time you graduate, you truly get to own your look & make it even more “you.” Think of Zooey Deschanel for example. Probably right away, you pictured her mod hair, patterned dresses, and cute tops, right? It’s pretty cool to own the corner market on a look—once out in the post-grad world, you get to decide once & for all what you want to endorse as your own personal style.  Do you want to be the on trend person? Or the one who always has a unique, individualized way of dressing? Of course, there’s always room to grow and change your look too, which is always helpful with “grown up” paychecks!

So, with your personal style already figured out, now you’re ready to face to big monster of real world fashion: WORKING.

When you’re off work, you have the weekends and weeknights to relax and dress in your “work inappropriate” clothes (which are some of my favorite kinds of clothes) like rompers, shorts, or anything sleeveless. But during the weekdays, your clothes are shackled to the “business casual” code. It all depends on your company, as some are much more conservative while others are really chill about clothes, but always dress to impress. You can never be too overdressed (unless you’re wearing your old prom dress, because then…yes). So, how can you defeat this real world problem?

  1. Business doesn’t mean boring! Your personal style can still shine through, but just be a bit more purposeful and modest than you usually would.business1
  2. For interviews, always be more dressed up than usual. Even if you know the company is really laid back, dress up anyway. If you want a job, let your presence (and your outfit!) show you’re totally serious about working there. Put your best foot forward!fashion-column1

    3.   Cardigans cover a multitude of sins. They automatically make every outfit office appropriate and save you from the arctic temperatures inside!

So, whether you have a few more years of college & are preparing in advance for your future fashion or are out there in the real world with me, good luck out there!

*blogger’s note

What I Did in Williamsburg

I can’t believe that this time last week, I was making last minute preparations for vacation! Seriously, where does the time go??

Luckily, I managed to document some of the events of the trip, and I’d love to share them with you! My family and I have been visiting Williamsburg since I was a little kid. The place means a lot to me because of its historical significance and the wonderful memories I’ve made there with my family over the years. Also, it’s where I saw my first Harry Potter movie.

If you’ve never been, you should definitely consider going! Colonial Williamsburg is beautiful! The buildings have been restored to resemble the structures that stood there in colonial times. Also, no cars are allowed on the streets there, which really transports you back into our country’s past. So cool.

We were even able to tour some of the buildings; the one below held artillery that would have been used during the revolution! It was quite intimidating, but really interesting at the same time.

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We also watched a historical re-inactment, in which fake accents abounded. Regardless, it was actually really fun! The acting wasn’t bad, and the costumes were realistic as well! Check out these handsome dudes:DSC_0796 DSC_0797

We also went out to eat at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern, which is a colonial-style restaurant at which the waiters dress in colonial garb and play the fiddle as you dine on the most delicious crab cakes known to man. Seriously though, if you eat there, go for the crab cakes and be sure to order root beer; it’s the best I’ve ever had.

The meals are quite pricey, but you’re paying for the atmosphere, and it’s well worth it in my opinion.

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Thought I’d sneak in a little OOTN (Outfit of the Night) just to show you what I wore to dinner! It had been raining a lot, so I chose to keep it simple with a circle skirt to ensure I wouldn’t be too toasty.

My skirt is from Target; tank top is from Delia’s; sleeveless jean jacket is from American Eagle; shoes are from American Eagle; necklace is from Forever 21.

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Hope you guys enjoyed this post, and hopefully it inspired some of you to take a trip to Williamsburg! You won’t regret it!

On a side note, I did do a little shopping whilst on vacation, and I’m sure you’ll soon see a post that somehow relates to that, so keep an eye out!

Until next time,

Sarah E.

Holiday Must-Haves

It’s vacation time! Can I get a ‘hallelujah’??!

Seriously though, who doesn’t love time away from the hustle and bustle of life, time to just relax and have fun? If you’re anything like me, however, you almost always overpack for any type of trip, even if it’s just for a couple of days. I’m ashamed.

Although this bad habit of mine doesn’t do my suitcase any favors, it certainly serves my blog well! So, you beautiful people, you, let’s talk about holiday must-haves!

Here’s a picture of me trying to juggle some of the products I’m about to talk about. Oh yeah, check out these skills!

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Basically the first vacation essential would be to ensure a good base for your skin. Make sure to moisturize if you’ll be spending lots of time in the sun, as I plan to!

I personally love using Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, as it’s not too heavy on the skin, yet still provides enough moisture. To go along with that, I’ve been trying out Clinique’s CC Cream as well. The coverage is very light, but it’s great for days when you don’t want to pack on the foundation. As I don’t want my makeup to slide off my face, I like wearing this on hotter days. Let me know if you’d like a more in-depth review of the CC Cream! It’s a great summer product in my opinion.

PS, if you haven’t boarded the EOS lip balm bandwagon, I suggest you go to your nearest drugstore and pick one up! To be honest, they aren’t the most moisturizing on the lips, but they smell heavenly, and I mean, c’mon, have you seen the packaging??

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I also love a good lip and cheek combo, and Revlon has me sorted! I’ve been loving bright pinks lately, and if you’re on the hunt for some budget brights, I suggest Revlon’s creme blush in Flushed and the Revlon Lip Butter in Lollipop!

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As for summer scents, I’ve been loving all things fresh and girly! On vacation, I especially want something light and lovely that I can easily apply on the go! My recent favorite is probably Bath and Body Work’s scent called Beautiful Day. I have the Triple Moisture Body Creme and the Fragrance Mist, both of which smell gorgeous! Definitely a must-have for me!

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I also get super lazy with my hair on trips, so I made sure to pack a dry shampoo! The one I’m currently using is by the brand Psssst! I like the smell of this one, but I’m not sure if it’s the best out there! I’ll have to keep up my research in that regard!

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Going along with the pink theme, I’ve just purchased a new nail polish called Crazy For Chic by Loreal. It’s almost a watermelon color, and I find that the Loreal nail polishes last forever on my nails, and they’re not too pricy, which is always a plus! I’ll definitely be sporting this color on my trip!

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As for entertainment, I can’t leave the house without my phone or a good book! I just joined the rest of America in buying an iPhone, and look at how adorable this Otterbox is, am I right? Also, if you’re in the mood for a relaxing read, you might try picking up something by Kate Morton. She’s a great author, who pens modern mysteries!

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Last but not least, we can’t forget about clothing! I’ve been loving brightly colored swimsuits at the moment, and the two down below are both from Victoria’s Secret. DSC_0623 DSC_0624

If it’s going to be super sunny at your holiday destination, I suggest bringing a cute hat and pair of sunglasses along to shield your eyes from the bright light! The ones I’m wearing are from Target.

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Hope you guys enjoyed my holiday must-haves!

Let me know in the comments what things you’ll be sure to bring on your vacation!

Until next time,

Sarah E.