Thursday, August 29, 2013

The happiest I've ever been

Have you ever been so happy you could cry?
When we won the first place trophy for dance team in 8th grade, I cried. When I learned that I was editor-in-chief, I cried. When I talk on the phone with long-lost friends, I cry.
But today was different. Nothing particularly good happened. In fact, I had a day filled with frustration and stress. But after an encouraging meeting after school with my yearbook advisers [the two most amazing women you could possibly imagine] I went home elated. 
I finished up my homework and ran straight to my room to work on yearbook pages, a project that has been looming over my head since the summer. I turned on my newly perfected Spotify "happy" playlist, painted my nails with my all-time favorite color [Chinchilly, by Essie] and plugged in the twinkle lights in my room. I surrounded myself with beautiful design inspiration and got to work. My room was full of good music and pretty lights and yummy scents [I used my favorite Rosebud salve] and I was just perfectly content with my life, my work, and my frame of mind.
And I started to cry. I cried because I am so lucky to have such an amazing job. I cried because I imagined myself doing the same thing in a dorm room at my dream school a year from now. I cried because I have parents who will support me in anything I do in my life. I cried because my little sisters were so cute and kept visiting me and dancing to the music I was playing, even if they didn't like Joy Division and The Wombats. I cried because tomorrow I get to spend three hours aiding for the coolest English teacher in the world. I cried because my friends who are away at college haven't forgotten about me, and kept sending me pictures and videos of themselves. I cried because I was, for the first time in so long content with my life, my grades, my friends [or lack there of] and my choices. 
Some day, I recommend you just surround yourself with happy things and be productive in what you love best. For me, it was journalism. For you, maybe it's art or music or sports. Being so happy that you cry is the strangest, most emotional thing you'll experience in a while. My Spanish teacher told us today that she hates people who are always happy. But I can't help myself this year. I just feel so happy to finally be happy. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Northwest Indiana dreams

This past weekend I've spent a ton of time slaving away at my college applications as well as trying to wrap my head around the gigantic yearbook I am in charge of. These two don't sound like they'd go hand in hand, but they really do. Trying to apply to college [for you innocent souls who have not gotten to this point in your lives yet] is like trying to juggle a billion things into a perfect little song and dance that will impress the admissions counselor. You need the sparkling transcript, jaw-dropping test scores, and a list of extracurricular activities that stretches for miles. You need to have a rough enough life to get sympathy but not too rough to look like you complain a ton. You need to be well rounded in academics, sports, clubs, arts, but have time to "be yourself." You need alumni relatives and something really cool about your life. Oh, and you have to explain it all in a "short personal essay." Yeah, it's a lot. But once you get into the school of your choice, you can relax and reap the benefits of your hard work.
But yearbook is the same way. There is so much to do. There are huge sets of pages that need to be thought of, designed, filled in, and perfected within a few weeks of each deadline. There are InDesign skills that still have to be learned. You have to make sure the staffers know what they're doing [even if you don't]. You need to fake it until you make it because you never want to come across ignorant about something you are so passionate about. You need to prove all the people wrong who thought you could never do it better than them. You need to please every student from athlete to actress to teacher to principal to random kid who picks his nose. Oh, did I mention that there are 3000+ STUDENTS. Yeah, that too. But you love it. You love coming up with ideas and working and working and working until it's perfect. You love managing a staff of 74, even if you want to crawl under your desk and cry sometimes. You love working in a professional setting because a newsroom is your home and future career. You just love it. And once the book is published, you can relax and reap the benefits of your hard work.
See how that works out?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Senior Year

To be completely honest, I was dreading the first day of school. dreading it. I wasn't nervous for my classes [okay, maybe AP English] and I wasn't stressed about seeing my friends throughout the day. I was scared because I knew once senior year started, it would go by so fast. And it already has been.
I love school. I really do, and knowing that this is my last year freaks me out because of how comfortable I have become with my teachers, my classes, and my friends. 
For my own sake, I wanted to review my classes as I know them now [three days into the year] so that when I do my final review at the end of the year, I [and you, reader] can laugh at how incredibly naive I am.

Spanish IV Honors: After AP Spanish got cut, I was a little upset to have Mrs. Laskey as my teacher. I had only heard negative things about her, and I was not very pleased going in. In the first five minutes of the class, however, she was cracking dry, Spanish jokes and sharing hilarious stories about her days as a shoe saleswoman. We had a quiz assigned as well as some practice assignments, but it was nothing bad. I have a feeling that after this year, I will be closer to my goal of complete fluency. 

Forensics: Walking into class, I was told to write my name, grade, and "hobbie" on a note card. The silly spelling error summed up the entire class. The students are all either drug addicts, bubbly, dumb girls, or stuck up jockey boys who are too cool to do their homework [so they copy mine]. The teacher, Mrs. Thomas, is very sweet and passionate about science, but is not the most eloquent with her words. If she spoke to us in a different way, I would have a much better impression of her. I feel almost insulted with the way she has to talk to down to the less intelligent students. It's sad. Forensic Science is a very interesting, complicated field, and I just hope the class allows me to explore the topic further in depth. 

Publications: The chaotic class of 72 greatly intimidated me the first day, but after presenting my yearbook theme [I'm the editor in chief] and paying for my staff's love with cookies, I think I'm on the right track. I got a ton of positive feedback [and some negative] and it just makes me feel so good to know that other people support my ideas. My advisers are absolutely amazing and supportive and I love every second of that class. My little sister is on my staff, and it makes it that much more fun. 

AP Stats: My teacher, Mr. Fox is the coolest guy around. I had him for Algebra II Honors sophomore year, but I dropped it when my grade neared the dreaded "C." Now I'm back for this class, and he didn't seem to hold any grudge and welcomed me into class. It's going to be a challenging one, but I think the new form of math will come easier to me. It's a ton of cool labs and creative project displays, which I am looking forward to. 

AP English: This class is so hard to describe. I don't even know where to start. I walked into the small classroom that was covered from floor to ceiling with pictures of students. My teacher rose from his desk [obscured by bookshelves] and strided to the front of the class, his long, white hair flowing behind him. He talked and joked and insulted us multiple times. He is the single hardest person to read. He spoke so eloquently, I was taken aback. I have a good feeling about this class. I am terrified of the 3000 page textbook and ridiculous grading tactics, but excited nonetheless. 

Study Hall: I was originally in the wood shop room with 40 other annoying kids, but I am now aiding for my all time favorite teacher, Mrs. Clark. What a perfect arrangement. 

I think senior year is going to be perfect. 

My sister, Rachel, and I on the first morning of school. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


This weekend, I spent three days in Grant Park at the Lollapalooza music festival. I would have to say it was definitely one of the best weekends of my life. My original plans fell through, but after meeting up with a good friend of mine, I ended up having a blast. This would be a long and boring blog post if I went on and on, so I decided to review each of the bands I saw as well as post some pictures from the highlights. I've never written a music review before, so please go easy on me. 

Day One
The Neighborhood: The lead singer failed at being "gangster" and the bass was way too loud. I knew one song and the vulgar language just turned me off. I was glad for it to be over and to get out of the sweltering heat and beating sun that Petrillo stage offered no relief from. Not the best start to the weekend, but trust me, it got way better.
Crystal Castles: The show began with Alice Glass staggering onto the stage with a bottle of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other. She began to scream and moan into the microphone while Ethan Kath's more subtle self drummed along to the electronic beat. After the show started, I couldn't keep my eyes off of Alice. She was strangling herself with the microphone cord and jumping into the crowd and falling to the ground. She was crazy cool. The overcast midday sky, however, did not fit the feeling of the show.
Smith Westerns: Despite ten minutes of technical delay, the quartet's retro sound seemed to get the crowd's attention back. I had never listened to the band, but the 70s feel got me hooked, and I really enjoyed the set. 
Lana Del Rey: My ethereal queen rose to the stage in a gorgeous, flowing dress and a [very expected] flower crown. Her voice filled the crowd [who were packed like sardines]. She was absolutely perfect. The crowd, however, was not. I witnessed one asthma attack, two fainters, and a ton of little kids who couldn't breathe because they were too short to get air in the crowd. The teeny-bopping girls in crop tops [aka everyone] sang along and it was truly beautiful. I would pay a ton of money to see her in the flesh again. Her speaking voice was as angelic as her lyrics were genius. 

Day Two
Shovels and Rope: Cary Ann Hearst asks us if we believe in love. A man kneels to the ground and pops the question to his unknowing girlfriend. I cry a little. The show was elevated, and I felt so warm and fuzzy inside. The duo [adorable husband and wife Carrie Ann and Michael Tandem] effortlessly switch from harmonica to guitar to drums to keyboard to tambourines and I was more appreciative of music than I ever had been before.They played as if the had nothing to lose and everything to prove. 
Wild Cub: The Nashville quintet sounded like every other indie-gritty band but a little bit worse. The loud drums and soft singing was really annoying. We left two songs in. 
Ellie Goulding: Ellie's late afternoon set was incredibly crowded, but was fun nevertheless. Her soul/electronica sounding voice loops made me realize how her music could possibly be performed live. Even though the very electronic sound and strangely computerized-sounding drums, Ellie made her music feel human. Especially during "Anything Could Happen," when she belted it out. Ellie can't dance for her life, but it was fun to see her in that element. Setting the Molly-popping, drunk, frat boys aside, we enjoyed her show quite a bit.
Mumford and Sons: After waiting for an hour and befriending the friendly drunks around us, my friend and I had finally gotten pretty close to the stage at Hutchinson Park. They didn't seem like a headlining band, but it was regardless an amazing show. The acapella harmonies and gimmick-free performance made the British folk band seem so incredibly real. I ended up on this guy's shoulders, and seeing Marcus Mumford jamming out from above the crowd was one of the coolest things I've ever done. The two hour show went by quickly, and i was sad it was over. Aside from the noise leak from Perry's DJ, the show was very, very well done.

Day Three
Guards: The New York quintet opened the show with an energizing guitar start that woke everyone up. We were second row, jammed out the whole time. Richie Follin told us about his first concert experience at the 1996 Lollapalooza, and how we were making his dream a reality. At the end of the show, he handed out giant balloons and we discovered what it sounds like when a guitar is rubbed against cymbal. [the result was pretty awesome] 
Jake Bugg:The folky teen started his set the same the way he ended it: with a blank stare and a strong voice. His raw sound rang about, and he seemed to truly play from his soul. He didn't stop his stream of song unless he was switching a guitar, and he seemed to milk every second he had on the Petrillo stage. I only knew a handful of his songs, but I am glad I got a chance to see him. He's one of those performers that I can imagine still sounding the same 20 years from now. 
The Mowgli's: The California band played the smallest stage with the biggest crowd. The eight members sounded like a bunch of cool kids sitting around a campfire as opposed to clashing harmonies, as I expected from a big band. We only stayed for a couple songs [the crowd was ridiculous] but later that night, I called the 800 number listed on their poster. "Are you a Mowgli?" its said. I called, and after a bit of waiting, they answered!!! They asked me if I was at their show, if I played music, and if I had a good time. What an unforgettable experience.
The Vaccines: After waiting for an hour or so, my friend and I were front row to see Justin Young and the Vaccines, our favorite band. We screamed every lyric as they opened with "Blow it Up" and a personal favorite "Teenage Icon." Being so close felt almost unreal, and [almost] making eye contact with Justin Young was a highlight of the weekend. I wish I could see them again and again and again. 
Vampire Weekend: We missed the beginning of the show due to our amazing time at The Vaccines, but when we finally got there, we had the time of our lives. We screamed every word to the lyrics that were dotted with references to the band's posh past [even though they were wearing jeans. jeans.] Donning our super-cute Vampire Weekend tees, we became popular with the crowd, which is always a good time. The band turned the park into a beautiful blue-skied dream with the gorgeous new songs like "Everlasting Arms." 
2 Chainz: We were not present for most of the concert, but we walked into the park as the rapper was playing the wildly inappropriate song "R.I.P." Me and Emma twerked, impressed some other white girls, and left. We had a good time seeing 2 Chainz in the flesh. 

My cute bandeau top turned into a sunburn nightmare. Way. To. Go. 

This end of the park had such an amazing view of the Museum Campus and the city itself. 

Lana Del Rey, walking out onto the stage for the first time. She is the most angelic woman I have ever seen in the flesh. 

Emma and I got Original Rainbow Cone twice. It was layered with chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, cherry, almond, and orange ice cream. I think could eat soley that for the rest of my life.

Mumford and Sons totally rocked it. 

Our giant sunglasses turned us into cute little Lolla bugs. 

The water sold at Lolla was too trendy for me. 

We were thrilled to be at Vampire Weekend. Smiles were had by all in attendance. 

The Vaccines were absolutely incredible. What a fun show.  
Emma and I are cuties. [or self obsessed. One of those two] 

Peace out Lolla, it's been real.