In All That You Can Ever Change, The One You’re Looking For …

Today’s 30 day blogging challenge topic is very similar to another post I’ve written.  I wasn’t sure if I should even use it.  I considered trying to come up with something else, but then I just decided to go with it.  (Mostly because I’m too exhausted to get creative at this point.)

This week’s topic: The Type Of Person I Am Attracted To

When I meet a new guy, I of course will assess whether or not I find him attractive.  Obviously this really isn’t applicable now that I’m no longer dating, but in the past this was always the case.

But looks aren’t everything.  I mean, you need to be attracted to someone you’re in a romantic relationship with … But looks fade with time.  There has to be more.

The kind of guy I’m attracted to is someone who is intelligent, kind-hearted, funny, interesting, loving, ambitious, loyal, and honest.  I look for the same qualities in a friend.  (And, to be honest, I think it’s important to be friends with someone you’re in a romantic relationship with.)

I’ll keep this post short because I really don’t have anything else to say on this topic.  If anyone reading this feels compelled to comment, though, please do so.  I’d love to hear what qualities you look for in a man/woman!

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I’m So Empty Here Without You

As we get closer to our wedding day, I’ve been struggling with what to write about in my Wedding Wednesday posts.  Obviously the wedding is at the forefront of my mind right now … But my mind is spinning in a million different directions.

There’s a reason I’m telling you this (assuming someone is actually reading!) … It’s kind of a hint that this post may be a little scattered.  Hopefully I can pull it together long enough to write a coherent post this evening.

I initially wanted to put the Wedding Wednesday posts in some sort of chronological order.  I figured I’d write about the stuff we did early on first and then sort of follow along as it happened.  Well, I haven’t exactly done that.  I started off that way, but then I just decided to write about whatever I felt like whenever I felt like it.

And that’s what I plan to do today.

One of the things I stressed about most as I was figuring out my wedding day look was something most girls love to shop for: shoes.

I have very small feet.  I can wear a size 6 in sneakers, but I wear a 5 or 5.5 in pretty much everything else.  My feet are not only small, they’re also narrow … So shoes that slip on will often just slide right off.

Shoe shopping is obviously not fun for me.  It’s just frustrating!  I’ll find a cute pair of shoes, ask to see them in a size 5 and then hear, “I’m sorry, the smallest size we have is a 6.”  (Sometimes the smallest size is a 7!)  I’ll then tell them to bring out the 6 (because you never know!).  I slip my foot in and there’s at least 2-3 inches of room in the heel.  Clearly that doesn’t work.

When I was searching for the perfect pair of shoes for my wedding day, I started to realize that it might be a lost cause.  Although I’m short, I didn’t want to wear heels (I just don’t feel comfortable in them) … So that ruled out a ton of options.  I searched shoe stores in person and online and all of the flats were either hideous or didn’t come in a 5 or 5.5.

And then I decided that I didn’t really need to get a “fancy” pair of flats.  My dress is long, so it will cover my shoes.  Why not buy something I actually liked that would be comfortable?  (And bonus points if I could wear them again!)

So I bought a pair of Toms.  We may be having a slightly more formal wedding, but that’s no reason for my feet to suffer.  When I saw the natural crochet Toms online, I was sold.  They look surprisingly awesome with my dress, and I’m sure I’ll be glad I went with something that didn’t kill my feet.

I was too lazy to take a personal photo of my wedding day shoes, but here is a picture of what I’ll be wearing:

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Image courtesy of http://www.lyst.com.

They may not be the fanciest shoes available, but I really like them.  They also seem to be a popular choice for weddings these days, so at least I know I’m not completely crazy for choosing them.

Eyes Were Waking Up Just To Fall Asleep

The dish I’ll be sharing today doesn’t look that great in my picture, but it’s what I consider the perfect type of comfort food.  Delicious brats with potatoes in a creamy, tangy sauce … Definitely the ideal meal for a cool autumn or winter evening!

This recipe comes from a cookbook Eric bought for me years ago for Christmas.  At one time earlier that year I’d casually mentioned to him that I wanted to learn how to cook.  He remembered this and I wound up with the Betty Crocker 4 Ingredient Dinners cookbook.  I liked that each recipe was incredibly simple (and obviously didn’t require a ton of ingredients) … It was definitely great for learning!

Years later, I’ve obviously moved on to much more complicated recipes.  I still have a soft spot for many of the recipes from this cookbook, though … After all, this is what sparked my love for cooking!  (It also doesn’t hurt that the recipes are actually really good!)  I was thinking about this cookbook one night recently, and I remembered the recipe I’ll be sharing today.  It was one of my favorite meals to make about 4 or 5 years ago, and after making it again, I remembered why.

If you want a ridiculously easy meal that requires minimal prep work, you should try this.  And, really, even if you don’t mind spending a little longer in the kitchen, you should still try it.  It’s delicious!

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As I said, I know it doesn’t look that appetizing in this picture … But trust me when I say this is the ultimate comfort food!  Personal photo.

Warm German Potato Salad with Brats

Recipe taken from Betty Crocker 4 Ingredient Dinners

Adapted very slightly by me!

Ingredient List:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 bratwurst (I prefer to use green onion or beer brats if available.)
  • 1 package Betty Crocker sour cream and chives potatoes
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar

Instructions:

1.) Slice bratwurst into small to medium sized chunks.

2.) Heat olive oil in a medium skillet and add bratwurst.  Cook until browned, stirring occasionally.  When brats have finished cooking, remove from skillet and drain.

3.) Prepare potatoes according to package instructions in a large pot.  I always allow the potatoes to simmer for at least 20 minutes.

4.) Stir in white vinegar, and place cooked bratwurst on top of the potatoes.

5.) Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes longer.

6.) Enjoy!  I always serve this as a main dish with a salad or another vegetable on the side, but it could also be served as a side dish.

Hearts And Thoughts They Fade, Fade Away

I will apologize in advance for any half-assed posts in the next couple of weeks.  As I’ve mentioned about 5,000 times, I’m getting married … And soon.  So most evenings are reserved for last minute wedding stuff.  Sorry.

That being said, it’s still Music Monday and it’s still October … And that means one last Elliott Smith related post.

This week I’ll be sharing my top ten favorite Elliott Smith songs.  I know I’ve shared some of my favorites in previous posts, but I always stuck to one specific album.  Today’s list will open up the options to include all of his songs.  It’s definitely tough to narrow it down to only 10 favorites because there are so many amazing songs to choose from … But here goes!

10.) “Needle in the Hay” (found on Elliott Smith)

This is one of Elliott Smith’s most well known songs, and with good reason.  It’s dark (think of the attempted suicide scene in The Royal Tenenbaums) and filled with drug references … So it’s kind of the perfect song to represent much of his work.  I always get chills when he sings the line: “You oughta be proud that I’m getting good marks.”

9.) “Going Nowhere” (found on New Moon disc 1)

This is such a quiet, simple song.  The imagery is haunting, though, particularly in the opening lines: “He waved hello, silent like a mime.”  From the moment I first heard this song, I was instantly drawn to it.

8.) “Miss Misery” (found on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack)

I think a lot of fans hate (or want to hate) this song because it’s what catapulted him into the spotlight (what with the Academy Award nomination and all).  But here’s the thing … I will never hate this song.  It’s lovely … And every time I watch the video of Elliott performing this at the Academy Awards, I cry.

7.) “A Fond Farewell” (found on From a Basement on the Hill)

I know I’ve used the word “haunting” once already, but there is no other word that could accurately describe this song.   This album was released after his death, and this song has always made me think of a suicide note put to music … It’s definitely beautiful, but so so sad.

6.) “I Didn’t Understand” (found on XO)

This is perhaps an odd choice to include on the list, but I have always loved this song.  I used to listen to it on repeat and cry (and yes I realize how ridiculous that sounds) … It was just such a perfect song to describe the way I felt when I was dealing with a broken heart.

5.) “Waltz #2 (XO)” (found on XO)

This is another of Elliott Smith’s more well known songs.  It’s gorgeous, and the repeated line in the chorus: “I’m never gonna know you now, but I’m gonna love you anyhow” is just heartbreaking.

4.) “Happiness” (found on Figure 8)

Although the title suggests something bright and cheerful, the song itself is pretty sad.  The line: “Her memory worked in reverse to keep her safe from herself” was always one I could really relate to.  Even now, sometimes I’ll get a little teary eyed when I hear this song.

3.) “Last Call” (found on Roman Candle)

This is another song I would definitely refer to as “haunting.”  The first time I heard this, I was impressed by the sheer amount of emotion he conveyed through both the lyrics and the music.  This is my go to “angry/bitter” song.

2.) “Between the Bars” (found on Either/Or)

This isn’t really supposed to be an overly hopeful song, yet for some reason I’ve always interpreted the lyrics that way.  It’s another simple, quiet song … But it’s just so special.  There’s a reason this is a fan favorite.

1.) “Junk Bond Trader” (found on Figure 8)

No surprise here!  I mean, I did write an entire post about the reasons why this is my absolute favorite song of all time.  (You can read all about it here: I’m Overflowing with Ambition).  I know this isn’t everyone’s favorite Elliott Smith song, but it has always meant a lot to me.  It helped me through some really dark times, so it will always be special.

I Was Still Surprised When I Caught Your Eye After All This Time

I’m getting married in 13 days.

This is just a fact.  Another fact: I still have celebrity crushes.

I think most people have those few celebrities they think are unbelievably hot.  Whether they’re conventionally attractive or not, there’s just something about the fantasy of hooking up with a celebrity that’s really exciting.

I’m realistic, though … I mean, I don’t think I’m going to somehow get with any of these people.  (I also think Eric would be at least a little pissed if I had a one night stand … Even if it was with a famous person.)  But still … Celebrity crushes are meant to be fun, not serious.

This week’s list: My Top Five Celebrity Crushes

5.) Jake Gyllenhaal

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He seems like such a sweetheart, and I just can’t resist those eyes and that smile.  (Just look at the picture above!)  It also helps that I really like a lot of his movies.

4.) Brad Pitt

TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2006

I know this is a very cliché choice, but I started crushing on Brad Pitt when I was just 10 years old (after seeing Interview with the Vampire for the first time) … And that crush never faded.

3.) Conor Oberst

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Conor Oberst is so awkwardly adorable.  He’s also incredibly talented … His lyrics are some of the greatest I’ve ever heard.

2.) Trent Reznor

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My infatuation with Trent Reznor started when I was 9 or 10.  I remember seeing the music video for “Closer” on MTV and thinking, “Wow, that man is so sexy all tied up like that!”  (Yes, I realize that was incredibly inappropriate at the time, but oh well … I turned out fine.)  He is still just as sexy years later.

1.) Alex Turner

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Alex Turner is my newest celebrity crush (or, as Eric might say, obsession).  Okay, it’s not that bad … But he’s definitely sexy (even though he can also be incredibly awkward) and talented.  (Not to mention the accent!)  I think the fact that the latest Arctic Monkeys album has such a dirty, sexy sound has only fueled the fire (so to speak).  But man … Alex Turner.  Swoon!

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I just had to include this hilarious picture I found on Pinterest a while ago.  It made me laugh, but then I was like, “Oh, but this is kind of true.”

I feel kind of ridiculous sharing this list on a public blog, but seriously … Does anyone out there not have at least one celebrity crush?

It’s All Right ‘Cause There’s Beauty In The Breakdown

Although Halloween isn’t until next week, this will be my final Saturday Book Club post this October … And I saved the best horror/thriller novel for last.

The book I’ll be reviewing today was one of the best books I read in 2012.  After finishing it, I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks.  The prose was beautiful, and the story was disturbing and haunting … It was basically everything I look for in a novel.

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Image courtesy of http://www.goodreads.com.

A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans

320 pages

A Good and Happy Child is a blend of psychological thriller and horror story.  The book tells the story of George Davies, alternating between events that occurred when he was 11 years old and his present life as a 30-something New Yorker.

The novel opens with adult George visiting a therapist.  He’s a new father having difficulty connecting with his infant son … So much so that he hasn’t even been able to hold him.  This is obviously taking its toll not only on him, but on his wife as well.  During this session, George mentions this isn’t his first time visiting a therapist.  He’s asked about his previous experience, and he reluctantly gives a few details … He was 11 years old, it was a mostly positive experience, etc.  His current therapist then asks him to write in some notebooks for him, drawing on the memories he has from that time.

Through these notebooks, we get to know George as an 11 year old boy growing up in Virginia … Chubby and awkward, but extremely intelligent.  During the summer that year, his father went to Central America (he’s fuzzy on the details of the trip).  On this trip, his father falls ill and eventually dies in a hospital back home.

In the months following his father’s death, George begins having strange visions … Seemingly harmless at first, but growing more and more ominous with time.

This is where I’ll stop with the summary, as I don’t want to give away too much!

As I mentioned, I loved this book … I literally couldn’t put it down!  The imagery is haunting and frightening (I actually had a nightmare related to events in this book!).  This was the author’s first novel, but it definitely doesn’t read like a debut.  Justin Evans is very talented … I would definitely read more of his work in the future.

One of the things I liked most about A Good and Happy Child was the ambiguous ending.  I know that some people really hate ambiguity, but I tend to prefer it.  I like having the opportunity to draw my own conclusions.  I actually really hate it when writers feel the need to spell everything out for the reader.

I’ll leave you with one of the blurbs at the beginning of the book … This pretty much sums it up:

A Good and Happy Child unsettles the imagination with its twisting path into a private hell.  Evans’s story tingles with psychological suspense as it explores the subterranean world where faith meets fear, reminding us how hard it is to rid ourselves of our demons.” – Keith Donohue, author of The Stolen Child

I would, without question, recommend this book to others.  I loved everything about it … I wouldn’t change a thing!  I would also definitely read this again in the future.

I rate A Good and Happy Child a solid FIVE STARS.  Read it.  Now!

I Love The Way You Love, But I Hate The Way I’m Supposed To Love You Back

A friend of mine posted an article and quiz on Facebook yesterday that I found interesting, so I’ve decided to share it with you here.

The article (and quiz) can be found here: http://science.time.com/2013/10/22/the-united-states-of-attitude-an-interactive-guide-to-americas-moods/?hpt=hp_c2.

The basic idea here is that based on your personality, you may be more or less suited to live in certain areas of the United States.  Each state was ranked in the following categories: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

After taking the quiz, I found that I am most suited to living in South Carolina.  I was actually pretty surprised by this result … I assumed I’d probably get something in the Pacific Northwest or something in the Northeast (but maybe that’s because I like those areas of the country most).

South Carolina’s rankings in each category:

Openness – Score of 55.3 (ranked 16)

Conscientiousness – Score of 69.6 (ranked 1)

Extroversion – Score of 60 (ranked 8)

Agreeableness – Score of 55.4 (ranked 15)

Neuroticism – Score of 45.7 (ranked 31)

If you take the quiz and would like to share your result, please do so in the comments!  Were you surprised by your result?