Five Hours + Five Songs

Please enjoy this breath-taking photo of my smudgy fingerprints.
Five hours is a pretty long time.  For example, I could hop on a plane in Detroit and be in L.A. five hours later.  Or I could get more sleep than I did in an average night of my junior year.  I could jam to TaySwift and Shake It Off 86 times, run 35 miles, or bake about 27 double batches of cookies (I think I'll stick with TSwizzle and cookies, thank you.)

But do you know what I just spent 5 hours doing?

What's that you say? Saving the world? Feeding the hungry? Curing cancer? Adopting puppies?

Nope. Attempting to create social media buttons for my blog.

And create them I did! Successfully line them up, I did not.  Despite my best efforts, my sidebar would look like this if I just gave up and didn't care which came this close to happening.

So instead of unsuccessfully continuing to try to get my "ducks" in a horizontal row rather than a vertical one, let's talk music, which is much less stressful! 

Thanks to a really exciting Spotify deal that allowed me to get 3 months of premium for only $0.99, I jumped on it immediately (only after, of course, setting no less than three alerts to remind me to cancel it before three months is up so I don't have to shell out $10 dolla) and have been fully sold on it since.  But not enough to pay $10 a month because do you know how many ice cream sandwiches that can buy?  Ten. That's right.  Also, $10 could probably get someone to fix my social media buttons for me, but since I'm a strong, independent woman who don't need no tech help, I'll pretend like I still have any optimism left in me for that project.

Anyways, all delicious $1 desserts aside, listening to Spotify pretty much non-stop for the past month has resulted in the discovery of some of my new favorite songs that I had zilcho idea existed before.  And I want you to know about them, too! So without any further talk of social media buttons, listen & love: 
Aviation High - Semi Precious Weapons

The music video got all kinds of weird pretty fast, so I'll just put the lyric video up for everyone's sake.

Waiting For That Call - Parachute

I've loved, loved Parachute since I found them on Spotify about two years ago. This is one of their lesser known ones if you know some of their more popular songs. 

First Time - Vance Joy

If you've heard any of these songs, I'm putting my money on it being this one. Vance Joy is fantastic, and therefore, so is his entire album.  This one happens to be a favorite though.

Vagabond - Misterwives

Due to my complete inability to sing high notes and not wanting to sound like some sort of screeching, dying animal, I usually refrain from singing along to Misterwives, but that doesn't stop me from still completely being obsessed with this song (or any of their others, for that matter). 

Touched by a Fire - People & Songs

Okay, for this one you're going to have to do a little work.  I'm sorry -- I know it's Monday and the prospect of extra effort sounds as about as appealing as the "healthy" black bean brownies that I made once that my sister equated to chipmunk poison.  #NeverAgain

What you'll have to do is follow this link and click the play button next to the very top song -- Touched by a Fire.  Even though that sounds really exhausting, I promise you that you will make it. 

I actually did not find this song on Spotify as it's not even available there. Or on YouTube.  Or on the first page of Google even after I searched the words for the entire chorus (and as everyone knows, if it's not on the first page of Google, it pretty much doesn't exist). Luckily my determination outlasted the Internet's ability to hide it from me and I eventually discovered it on the musicians' webpage.  We sang it at camp last week and it left everyone humming, whistling, and full-out belting it during the car ride home.  So basically, when it catches on big time, you can be a hipster by having discovered it before it was cool.  You're welcome. 

Honorable Mentions:
Come Together - Echosmith
Take My Love and Run - Bad Suns
Cheap Sunglasses  - RAC

Have you heard any of these songs before? What do you think of them?
// Allison 


But first, let me take a nap.

I don't know what it is with this week, but it has been tortuously never-ending.  Even though there was no school on Monday for MLK day, the school week has had to have lasted like seven years.  There's no doubt.  I think that I hit rock-bottom when I fell asleep in third hour and woke up thinking that it was seventh hour.  Now that I'm typing this in seventh hour, it seems as though third hour was last year.

Hence, my current mood:

So before I fall asleep, I want to get this week back on a positive note by compiling all the exciting things I've done (and to prove that I've done more than just go home and crawl into bed every night.).

// senior pictures // My Spanish teacher doubles as a photographer on the side and we had a super fun photoshoot on Wednesday that included numb toes, red lipstick, and lots of snow.  I can't wait to get the final edits back because they look so good!

// guest blogging // Katie from Something Winnderful was kind enough to feature me on her blog today! If you are looking for something super cute and super crafty and super glittery (optional!), you should definitely check out how to make these cards!

// surprise pizza // My English teacher made my day approximately 26x better when she brought us some Hot & Readys.  Pizza = Happiness (see! I can do math!) 

// library book . . . finally! // I've had Eleanor & Park on hold for about a month now and some kind soul decided to take pity on me (or avoid a library fee . . . I'd like to think that they were doing it for my benefit though) and return it.  At my library, once a book comes in, you have a week to pick it up. I tried twice to go receive it, but the library was closed both times (who just randomly closes on a Thursday?) Finally, finally on the last day that I could pick it up, I skidded into the library parking lot and ran in with three minutes to spare before they locked up. This book better be worth the hype, that's all I have to say! 

// camp // I spent my weekend up at my favorite place in the world.  Camp always is such a refresher and the grace of God is so, so evident there. I also got one step closer to completing one of my 20 before 20 goals! "Work at camp for a summer" is becoming a reality and I could not be any more excited for this opportunity.  Summer come fast! 

// craftiness // I spent my day off on Monday not cleaning my closet explosion that I call a bedroom, but by changing the quote on my wall! For the longest time I had a Winnie the Pooh quote that I had picked within the time of about 2.54 seconds.  It was nice and all, but I really had no clue why I chose to spend countless hours cutting out and decorating each letter for a quote that really had no significance to me.  

Having some serious European nostalgia, I printed some pictures from my trip and cut them into my favorite travel quote.  I love looking at my wall and getting plowed over with a wave of memories. Let's just say I cannot wait to travel abroad in college. 

// babysitting // I was blessed with two great babysitting jobs this week. They included watching one boy rock his very first basketball game and stopping by Coldstone afterwards to celebrate and experiencing some serious sibling love.  Even though I did have to break up a fight or two, I was reminded of just how great and insightful kids are. 

Thanks to this, I'm now convinced that this week has been much, much more rewarding and productive than I had thought.  But, about that nap . . . 

What were some of the high points of your week?


*While I started this post Friday afternoon at school, seventh hour ended before I could finish this.  And now it's Saturday night and I'm just now finishing.  Because naps.  And that's the truth. 


365 Photographs Update // 1.5

A long, long break from my camera left me with a whole lot to catch up on over break with my 365 project.  Luckily, my parents surprised my sister and I with a lovely trip to Boston so I had plenty of reason to pull it out and snap some shots.

I was going to make a separate Boston post, and I still might, but a lot of those pictures ended up in my project.  Let's just consider it a preview! Be prepared for a photo dump, because here it comes.

Oh, and shoutout to my camera for making it through Christmas, vacation, and still going (not so strong) on battery life! It's such a champ.

If you are a book lover and ever visit Detroit, you have to stop by John K. King. I'm warning you now, you'll live with regrets if you don't! So many books, so little time. 

Downtown Holland was cuter than it normally is when it got all festive for Christmas. 

I, by nature, am not a DIY person.  Yet there's something about these cards that turn me into a craft enthusiast.  Don't worry, I'm back to my normal stage of avoiding gluesticks and running from glitter shakers. 

My cat, Mickey, made sure that everyone knew that he was the real star of Christmas. Can't you just tell how thrilled he is? 

Boston! The sky was always pretty here. Seriously.

Fun architecture.  It's the little details that really catch my eye.

The oldest seats in the MLB and I plopped my butt in them! Not an experience that you can get at Comerica Park, that's for sure. 

The sky in this picture is so perfect that it looks fake. Believe me here, there is no way that I am able to photoshop that one in! 

Climbing the 294 steps of the Bunker Hill Monument gave me some serious Italian deja vu

Old Ironsides.  Launched in 1797 and still floatin'.  I'm impressed. 

For the first time since the middle of November, we saw snow in Michigan! The bitter cold has now rolled in with it. Yay. 

Reading Psalm 63 tonight and it really struck me how absolutely amazing and overflowing God's love for us is.  His love is even better than our lives.  Letting that sink in gave me chills. 

Oh, and check out my cool, new mug! Thanks Mom & Dad! 

So there's the DL on what's been happening in my 365 day photo challenge. I know I have a long, long way to go, but I'm excited by some of the things I'm discovering how to do on my camera. 

I had a free trial of Adobe Lightroom for a while and was starting to get the hang of it when the Adobe people decided to be mean and end my trial.  Since I'm using January as a no-spend month to try and build my savings for college a little, buying a $100+ editing system is out of the question.  Does anyone have any suggestions for a photo editing system that they like?  I'm getting desperate here so I would love to hear your suggestions! 

Have you ever done a 365 day photo challenge?  

Been to Boston? How'd you like it? What was your favorite part? 



Instagram Tells All || 2014

Instagram was king in 2014. Well, at least in my life it was. Facebook became an afterthought and Twitter and I have never really clicked. I'm not funny enough for Vine, nor do I care to be sucked into the Tumblr world, even though I know some of the shenanigans there can get pretty hilarious.  I do love Pinterest and would not consider the hours and hours that I have spent scrolling through the humor section to be wasted, but Instagram just has that something special.

According to my Instagram, in 2014, I . . .


 . . . went to the Winter Classic! Several inches of snow, a frozen foot or two, and an unfortunate shootout loss later, I started out 2014 on one of my favorite notes of the year!

. . . made Texas shaped cookies with my cousin from Texas! I found the cookie cutter at my church's rummage sale and knew that it would be perfect for her visit. 


 . . . took the ACT for the first time. 2014 also came with two more of these bundles of joy but I am happy to say that I never have to pick up one of those study books again.
. . . roadtripped to Grand Rapids, MI with my family for a weekend. We watched the Grand Rapids Griffins lose in an embarrassing fashion. 2014 just must not have been our hockey year. 


 . . . ate a paczki for the first time and quickly realized that it is nothing more than a hyped up doughnut.  . . and that I prefer doughnuts.
. . . lost in a school dodgeball tournament.  I'm going to go ahead and be that person that says that winning doesn't matter because it was all about the experience.  Notice that only the losers ever say that. 


 . . . won a contest! I was having a bad day when I got the email from Keds that I had won a free pair of shoes. I nearly cried because I was so excited. Eight months later, I'm still telling people about how I got them for free.  I should probably archive that in the "old news that nobody cares about" file now though.

. . . saw a gorgeous sunrise in my backyard and was once again reminded of the beauty of my Creator. 


 . . . spent what seemed like an entire year with these flashcards that quickly became my most constant companion. Thanks to that though, I earned a college-credit score on the A.P. U.S. History test! I don't look back on this as the finest moment of 2014, however.
. . . had my senior pictures taken by an extremely talented friend on Lake Michigan.  I'm still not budging on my stance that Michigan is the most beautiful state. 


 . . . put holes in my earlobes for the second time after round #1 didn't go so smoothly. I'm happy to report that my ears are still handling it well!

Also, I got a lot of freckles.
. . . road tripped with my family again! But this time, we headed to Chicago and walked more miles in three days then I ever thought possible. 


 . . . spent a little more than a week seeing the finest that Italy has to offer. And let me just say, I was impressed. From Venice, to Florence, to Rome, to Naples, and all the little cities in between, I was not at all disappointed by my first taste of overseas travel.
. . . repeated the overseas adventures in Greece! Another week found me cruising in Grecian isles, chowing down on the most delicious Greek food that I had ever laid taste buds on, and accidentally flushing the toilet paper down the toilet each and every time. 

"Dang it! I forgot again!" was common in my vocabulary. 


. . . left home once again to spend two amazing weeks at camp in Northern Michigan.  Even though Michigan is so gorgeous through and through, Up North wins hands-down. Camp is always one of my favorite parts of the summer and I am always amazed by the ways that I see God working in that place.
. . . was super original and followed every one and their brother and their neighbor and their niece and raised awareness for ALS by subjecting myself to not only one, but thanks to scheming little sister antics, two buckets of ice cold water. 


 . . . screamed myself hoarse in the student section for the very last time at a high school homecoming game.  It must have worked because we walked away with not only a homecoming victory, but with a big rivalry win and a huge knight trophy affectionately dubbed Rusty.
. . . tortured myself daily ran my very last cross country season.  Even though there was many a time that I hated every single second that I spent moving at a pace faster than a stroll, I really do miss this craziness. 


 . . . got some really exciting news back! After anxiously checking my application status nearly every day for two months, I was notified that I had been accepted to Michigan State!

Even though I now doubt that I will become a MSU Spartan, at the time it was the best news in the world.
. . . welcomed hockey season back. Opening day could not come fast enough. Go Wings! 


 . . . discovered my inner chef and whipped up some delicious butternut squash soup with apples and onions. It smelled so amazing and I only melted one blender in the process! Winning!
. . . explored the million volumes of books housed in Detroit's John K. King Bookstore. Four whole warehouse floors are lined with musty and dark aisles and aisles and aisles filled to the brim with books of every size, age, and subject. It's definitely one of the hidden jewels of Detroit. 


 . . . dropped my jaw at the beauty of this sunset. What's even cooler is that I took this picture through the window of a moving car and it still amazes me every time I see it.
. . . was surprised with a trip to Boston by my parents! I've been wanting to visit for a long time and my mom and dad made it happen while the Red Wings were in Beantown.  One embarrassing loss later made me glad that this city holds so much charm and history that the trip wasn't wasted. I would absolutely love to go back and eat more Boston Cream Pie see everything that we didn't get to.

2014 and I had our ups and downs, some bigger than others, but all-in-all, I had the most amazing year of my life. I traveled more and farther than I ever have before. I grew as a person.  I found some new interests and passions.  I met incredible people. I read good books.  I was inspired.  I learned. 

2015 has been a year that has been attached to my identity ever since I was born. Class of 2015.  I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me this year and how I can use all that happened in '14 to make '15 great. 

Now I better get started Instagramming 2015! 
Allison out.