Consuming / Creating

Lately I’ve been living my life as a consumer, especially when it comes to the internet. I’ve been feeling the exhaustion from all this consuming and only a few days ago did it hit me as to why. I’ve been watching and invested and curious about the awesomeness of other people’s lives and art, but completely forgot about creating something awesome for my own.

I’ve become someone who only consumes. And as a creative person, consuming so much of other people’s art, life, and content has had a negative effect on my own creative process. I haven’t truly created anything I am super proud of for a very long time. I’ve been so consumed with consuming that my own self expression & my own creative process has been at a standstill.

That ain’t healthy!

There is value in consuming for inspiration, yes. There is inspiration in seeing how other people live, how other people create. But there is a time when it becomes a distraction and an overload, or straight up overwhelming. There is such thing as too inspired. There is also such thing as too MUCH.

My point is! I’m taking a step back from some of my social media accounts, from some of the websites and blogs I read. I am taking a minute to myself, to create a life I want, instead of wishing my life looked like that person’s. I’m planning to create some things that suck, but also some things that are really good. Things that matter to me.

I suggest you evaluate how much you consume versus how much you create and take a step back from the ‘inspiration’ if you need to!

A Day In Boston

A few weeks ago our friends from college, Kate and Devon, visited us in Boston! Nate and I happily played tour guides for them, but also, I ended up sort of feeling like a tourist as well! Having lived here for 5 years, you’d think I would have already been to most of the touristy spots in town, but there is always more to see!

First we toured the Old State House and learned more about it’s history. It’s the tiniest, most character-filled building right smack in the middle of modern Boston. You can’t miss it, with it’s gold dome and small stature. It’s an oxymoron because it’s so small, but it just sticks out! Right now it’s main function is that it’s a museum, but back in the early days of Boston it was everything. It was the town hall and the meetinghouse, it was government offices, it even had a stint of being a merchant marketplace. I had no idea! I’m telling you, every time I learn something new and cool about vintage Boston, I fall a little more in love with the city. The Old State House tour was no exception.

Then we walked over to the North End to see Paul Revere’s House. Unfortunately we didn’t plan our time right and it was closed, so we set off for the Old North Church instead. It’s pretty much a classic New England church, but if you think about this crazy history of it, it kind of blows your mind. Of course we enjoyed our share of pizza and cannoli. Had to. It’s the North End rules. 😉 Maybe it seems like the North End is one of the most obvious places to visit when you come to Boston, but I stand by it being the best little area to explore in town. I’m a wanderer + a watcher. The North End is small, but there are so many hidden gems that you wouldn’t see if you just hit the ‘tourist spots’ (but also hit those spots, you’ll definitely have time). I feel a similar way about Beacon Hill. Luckily the two areas are a walkable distance from each other, so if you wear your favorite comfy shoes, you’re going to be in for one cute and explore-y day. FOR EXAMPLE:

A Day of Walking around downtown Boston:
Breakfast
There are endless coffee + pastry options, but I’ll throw out Flat Black & George Howell as my top two faves.
Old State House Tour
— Time: 1.5 hours for the tour plus reading and looking around on your own
— Cost: $10
Walk to the Boston Public Market (10 min walk from OSH)
— Large market of local food vendors, grab a snack, be happy
Walk to the North End (6 min walk from BPM)
— Stop and enjoy all the public art and statues along the way
Old North Church
— Time: 30 minutes, or however long you want to stay
— Cost: free
Wander the North End some more
— Time: until you feel like you’ve seen it all
Lunch
— Rina’s for pizza by the slice or
— Limoncello’s for a sit down, nice Italian meal
Non-negotiable dessert at Modern Pastry
— Time: Depends on the line, but average I’d say probably 15 minutes (busier on weekends)
— Cost: Depends on what you get, but one cannoli is like $3.50 and beyond worth it
Walk to Long Wharf (10 min walk from NE) 
— Endless minutes of gazing at the ocean and/or people + airplane watching
Continue along the Harbor Walk (30 min walk)
— If you’re ambitious, you can make it all the way to Harpoon Brewery on the Seaport to have all sorrrts of fun
— If you’re not ambitious, at least you’re getting some pretty views
OR
Walk to Beacon Hill (20 min walk from LW)
— Wander the tiny streets extensively
— Acorn Street. It’s cliche, but SO CUTE
OR

Walk back towards Quincy Market (10 min walk from LW)
— Don’t break your ankles on the cobblestones, seriously though
— Head straight for dinner at Durgin Park, I am begging you

Walking times are approximate. I also stop a lot to take photos, so maybe you’ll go faster. Either way, you’re very welcome for this sort of helpful, but probably not really at all helpful, walking tour of Boston. I hope you enjoy it. Don’t get lost. Eat a cannoli.

My Top 16 Songs of 2016 

Let’s be honest here. The only thing 2016 did right was music. 

For me, this was the year of concerts. Johnnyswim, The Saint Johns, Judah and the Lion, Matt Wertz, Switchfoot, Relient K, Us the Duo, Pentatonix, Jon Bellion. All these artists’ were amazing live in their own right!! I can’t even pick a favorite. Actually, I only go to shows if they are already my favorite haha. And! I have 2 more concerts lined up in the next few months: Josh Garrels and Us the Duo <3 Yay LIVE MUSIC!

TOP SONGS of 2016. You’ll notice not many (any? maybe 2) are Top 40. I do listen to the radio, but in the last 2 years I’ve tried to stick with finding new artists (or new songs from artists I already love) in places besides the radio – mostly Spotify and Twitter if you’re curious. (read: I’m not saying there isn’t good music on the radio, there is!) I have singer-songwriter, pop, and country music taste tendencies, and of course anything with thoughtful, smart, challenging, inspiring lyrics. So if you’re into that, you’ll be into these 😉 Here we go!

If you want to skip the commentary and just listen >> Top 16 Songs of 2016 playlist on Spotify <<

ALBUMS + the TOP 2 SONGS ON EACH
Basically I loved these albums in their entirety SO MUCH that I couldn’t pick just one song from them. Really, these albums are each pure and perfect as a whole collection of songs. I did pick my favorite songs from them, but I rarely listen to them on their own. When I listen to these albums, it’s in order, in one sitting. In a generation of “singles” it’s refreshing to be able to listen to full albums that are well thought out as a whole. These 5 albums are definitely my most-listened-to of 2016.

Please love and admire my musical expertness. 😉 😉

  • James Bay – Chaos and the Calm
    (Best Fake Smile, Need the Sun to Break) – Though it technically was released in 2015, I didn’t discover it until 2016, so I’m counting it for this year!! His words! His honest words and stripped back music are what really pulled me in.
  • Johnnyswim – Georgica Pond
    (Let it Matter, First Try) – Throwin’ up them praise hands. That’s what happened the first time I listened to practically every one of these songs. Abner & Amanda & their soulful, harmonious musical abilities are sooo amazing.
  • Jon Bellion – The Human Condition
    (Maybe IDK, Guillotine) – Thankful this album came into my life. Jon’s lyrics are so real, and his beats and sounds are refreshing & unexpected. Many of his thoughts (& lots of tough love) really challenged me and I appreciated that.
  • Maren Morris – Hero
    (Sugar, Rich) – THIS GIRL. Was just nominated for FOUR Grammy’s!?!! Incredible, especially when country music is so male-dominated. Maren ripped right through all the washed-out party-country and created an album that absolutely changed the game. 
  • Matt Wertz – Gun Shy
    (
    Smoke, Committed) – THIS GUY. Matt took a huge leap of faith and completely 360-ed his genre, going from calm singer-songwriter to pop GOD. He wrote, sang and produced a seriously ELECTRIC album. As a fan for over 10 years, I am so proud of MW.  

Things – November

I used to blog about anything and everything, and I miss that. So let’s jam.

ONE WEEK until the Gilmore Girl revival airs!!! I don’t think this needs more commenting. Just all the happy emojis 😍. BUT I solemnly swear that I will not blog about this topic again until at least one month after that air date to ensure there are no spoilers on the internet 😉

Pizza Fridays are kind of a thing:
If ordering pizza for dinner semi-frequently is lazy and unhealthy, then let us be lazy and unhealthy. Mostly-every-other-Friday-pizza is our current favorite tradition and neither of us feel bad about it. Pizza is life. Someone get me a t-shirt.

I’ve been to SOME concerts lately:
Switchfoot and Relient K at the House of Blues was a blast from my 14-17 year old past and they both put on a huge, fun, dance-y party. Seeing Matt Wertz perform his new album Gun Shy was so fun and proved that there’s definitely something right about my eleven year obsession with his music 😉 Pentatonix and Us the Duo are all SO talented and their concert was a bright, encouraging, positive light during the mostly bummer of a week last week (more on that later).

Speaking of music. If you need new music to listen to: 
All those mentioned above plus: Savoir Adore, Jon Bellion, Castro, & ARIZONA, you’re welcome. P.S. Currently hand-crafting my Best of 2016 song list and I CAN’T WAIT to share it with you in December.

img_6944

If you need new *Christmas* music to listen to: Got you covered with that, too. Click THIS. (It’s the new Pentatonix Xmas album, obviously.)

Speaking of holidays, they are soon and I can’t even: 
I was never a “holidays are so stressful” person until I became somewhat of a real adult human and realized that you should probably treat holidays as a real adult human and not like a “there’s free food? ok I’ll be there” college kid. Things that sort of stress me out, but I’ll get over it: Contributing legitimate, yummy food options to family parties, actually putting thought into presents and not just giving people your leftover artwork that they probably will throw away anyways, seeing everyone you ‘need’ to see in a timely manner, traveling various distances to see those people, and when you’re married, making sure both families have the same amount of time with you. Ugh. Holidays. Was that too real? But I’m very excited to decorate our apartment and go on a date Christmas-light-sight-seeing around town. 😉

I saw the super moon: 
Didn’t everyone see the super moon? It was kind of hard to miss. I wasn’t planning it, but I happened to be on a large hill, with my camera, when it rose over the Boston skyline, so I hung out and snapped a couple photos. There were some INTENSE lenses up there. It was crowded and I like this photo the best.

supermoon over boston stephanie rita

World Market ruined me: 
My life was ruined to minute I stepped into World Market for the first time. I can’t go back, but I have to go back (let it be known I’ve been back many times). I don’t need more stuff, but I need all their stuff. It’s the worst, but the best. So much conflict is happening within me.

I am not a vegetarian anymore:
My streak of vegetarianism lasted almost 2 full months, but I have decided to give up the fight. It was fun and pretty normal and totally doable while it lasted, but for some reason (I like meat) it wasn’t meant to last.

On a more serious note:
Let’s be honest, last week was hard. I want to say thank you to those who did their part & voted in the 2016 presidential election. Thank you to those of you who voted for respect, experience and acceptance. A lot of us are heartbroken with the results, I know I am. I am doing my best to hold onto this truth: “God has not given us a spirit of fear.. but of love…” Be the love, you guys. This country needs it right now. LOVE YOU BYE.