Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunny Days in RVA

I have been in love with the weather lately. Rainy days might be for some people, but to be perfectly honest, they just kind of make me sad. I really like when it's sunny outside, but just cool enough that you don't get hot too quickly. I mean, that hasn't exactly been the case this week with the 90+ degree weather, but at least it's a start. Along with fantastic weather, this weekend has been absolutely wonderful, because FINALLY after 2 weeks of sadness and deprivation I got to see my friends again. Friday night we all got together at Jack's house for a bonfire/Super Smash Brothers tournament (and since I had never played, I lost epically), and Saturday night, we had a jam sesh at Maria's house, with MORE marshmallows plus sparklers and vegetarian hot dogs and rolling down her hill. Basically, it's been a great weekend, and although my picture quality isn't the best, nor the most well positioned, cropped, etc. I figured I'd share some photos from the weekend with you.

I just can't even take the cuteness of this photo. Meg didn't want to have her picture taken, but I just couldn't resist.

Jack playing on the rocking horse at Maria's house, featuring Cyrus and Derrick

My mom had a gift card for a free smoothie at Panera, so we tried the Cherry Limeade one, and it was AMAZING! I also appreciated the oversized straws :)

Finn being adorable in Jack's backyard

Fiza brought her film camera, and it was so cool. I'm saving up for a better camera, but I'm debating getting a film one now because the pictures turn out so amazing!

Horrible quality photo, but here is Derrick with his sparklers

Sunita with her sparkler, also a sort of quality photograph for the first time ever.

Thank god for sunny weekends and my best friends. I kind of don't know what I'd do without either one of them...

Jack made a video of us rolling down the hill, just in case you're interested. As are most of my photos on this blog, this video is very high quality. Except not...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Post Where I Show You All the Embarrassing Covers I've Done

Ever since my grandparents bought me my guitar in the summer before 6th grade, I haven't been able to stop playing it. I never really thought about recording anything until recently though, when I started recording sort-of professionally in the recording studio in one of my best friends houses. I guess I figured maybe I could sort of try recording some stuff myself, and although my first couple of recordings were pretty rough, I did eventually kind of figure out how to sort of work my Garage Band. So here is a selection of some of my favorite covers I've done, but I have a SoundCloud if you ever want to hear more! ------> My SoundCloud

Anyway, without further ado, here are some covers! Also, I look REALLY weird when I sing, so these are just voice recordings with a black background. I hope you like them!

SLEEPYHEAD (Passion Pit Cover)

Ok, so this is a song I did with the acapella group at my school, the Deadbeats. We never actually got around the performing it, but I really liked the song, even though it is unlike the other covers I've done. This one definitely had more effects on it and stuff, but all of the parts are me, even if they sound weird! I messed up a bit, but I think the overall recording is alright :)

TIMSHEL (Mumford and Sons cover)

This is yet another song I did with the Deadbeats, but we did actually get around to performing it! I just loved this song so much I wanted to try it out all by myself, and I am pretty happy with the end result. Mumford and Sons is one of my all-time favorite bands ever, if not my absolute favorite one, so doing this song was really fun!

CHICAGO (Sufjan Stevens cover)

I absolutely love this song, it's just really unique and different. Yet again, this song was introduced to me by the Deadbeats, but I did all the parts in this cover myself. I hope you like it!


Ok, so this is actually an original song, so the lyrics/tune might not be the best, but it is the first original I have recorded with harmony, backup tracks, etc. The basic message of this song is that society is hiding behind lies, and that everything we see is kind of an illusion. I'll let you listen to the lyrics and try to figure them out :)

Well, I think this is everything I'll show you for now! I update my SoundCloud every once in a while, and it should be more often now that it is summer! I really hope you like everything I've done!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Something Incredible

So I'm a couple days late posting this, but I figured it needed to be talked about.

Supreme Court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act

I've never really understood why people make such a big deal about who other people love. I know there may be people out there who disagree, people out there who will argue their point against me, but I believe love is love, no matter who is involved in it. I believe that even if you don't understand where people are coming from, you should think about what it must feel like to be in their shoes, how it must feel to have society tell you that you CAN'T love the person you know you do, that it is "inhumane" or "gross" and that people are making stupid "choices" by choosing to love someone.

Growing up, I experienced a gay couple firsthand. My moms brother, my uncle Ed, is gay and has been living with his partner for over 20 years. Unfortunately, the state of Virginia has still not legalized gay marriage, and is being somewhat slow to do so. Even despite these boundaries, my uncles love each other, and I know this for a fact. I know this because I see the way they support each other, the way they joke around and laugh with each other, and simply the way they look at each other. It hurts me to know there are people out there, people in my own family in fact, who are disgusted by this, who believe that my uncles should not be together, no matter how much they love each other.

This year I joined the GSA at my high school, and met some really amazing people. The thing I love about the GSA is that you can be strait, gay, bi, whatever, no one judges and everyone just loves each other for who they are, not based on who they love. With the GSA I have experienced some really amazing things, I went to Alt-Prom, the prom designed for students from GSA's around the city to people who just don't feel comfortable bringing the person they really want to bring to their own prom. That night was something I'll never forget, sure I had fun dancing with my friends and enjoying a prom-like experience even as a freshman, but some of the people I met I will never forget. I met one woman, Lisa, who was born a biological male but identifies as a woman, and she really showed me that being who she knows she is is something important to her, even if society often tells these type of people what they are doing is wrong. I saw one of my good friends from camp and his boyfriend, met a hilarious lesbian couple who we danced with all night, as well as some other kids from GSA's at other high schools who were in a similar situation as me. Meeting these people made me realize that people are people, no matter what they identify as, who they love, or what they choose to wear, and those who are willing to go against society and be themselves even with what feels like the whole world against them are the bravest of all.

So, maybe not all of this has to do with the recent DOMA news, but I feel that it is important to share what I have learned my whole life, this year, and what I hope to continue to learn for a long time. Even though I am not in this position myself, I believe that gay, bi, transgender, etc. you have the same rights as anyone else, because people are people. Even if gay people still aren't allowed to marry in some states, I'm glad that the Supreme Court has finally chosen to recognize these people, recognize that they are human beings, human beings who deserve all the same rights as anyone anywhere. Maybe this isn't the end, but the Supreme Court striking down DOMA is the start for people like my uncles, people who feel like their voices haven't been heard for so long. I'm proud that the people in power in our country have made this action, and I know this is just the start of great things to come.

Here's a group shot of me and a couple of my friends at Alt-Prom, featuring the amazing drag queen Natasha :)

Finally, here is the video for Same Love by Mackelmore and Miranda Lambert. It's beautiful, please just listen to the whole thing. I cry every time.

For all of those who have felt like your voices have been ignored, or you have been discriminated against for who you are or who you love, you are amazing, brave people. Thank you for not giving up, because moments like this are the start of a great future for everyone. Love is love.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ginger Cookies and Other Recent Happenings in the Taylor Household

Ok, so I really need to learn to write shorter titles...

But anyway, a lot of stuff has been going on recently, and I felt that even though most of it is irrelevant and probably pretty unimportant in the span of the entire universe, maybe it is important enough to be shared here. So here goes:

1. Bon Air beat Brandermill in the meet Tuesday! 

It was actually a pretty horrible meet for me though, I didn't get anywhere close to any of my best times, and my goggles fell off during my 100 free resulting in my losing epically and having to swim the entire race with my eyes closed to prevent my contacts from falling out. Oh well. After the meet, we stayed after to sort ribbons and then had our annual girls swim team sleepover at my house, where we played a very intense game of Apples to Apples, had a Twister tournament (which I epically failed), ate way too many potato chips and played a couple intense rounds of Mario Kart (which I epically won, due to my sad 6th grade self having no purpose other than to play Mario Kart) We took way too many weird photos but had so much fun!

Awkward selfies after the meet 

Faith being cute with the Twister board


Kayla and Kelsey looking beautiful while playing Twister

Basically my favorite photo of all time

2. Meg made some of her famous ginger cookies :)

Unfortunately, she wouldn't let me eat any. Meg makes the most amazing ginger cookies in the entire world, but this time she only made them for her piano recital, so I had to wait until the reception to eat them. Since it was sunny and wonderful today, she did agree to go on a walk with me though, even though she would only let me take one picture of her. Once I did finally eat some of those ginger cookies though, it was all worth it.


I really like the way the light turned out in this picture.

Meg is cute.

Good old Bon Air

I mean, basically that's it. Nothing really that interesting just wanted to share these photo I guess! I'll write later!

Mini Haul of Thrifting Purchases

So, I have never really done a "fashion" post per say, because honestly, I don't consider myself the most fashionable person in the world. But I figured this was worth a shot, mostly just because I am really proud of all my thrifting purchases, including the amazing sparkly pink butterfly shirt. I "styled" them according to what I would probably wear them with in real life, so I hope you like everything! Also, I apologize for the horrible quality of these photos, my iPhone camera isn't exactly the best...

What I'm Wearing:
Shorts: Goodwill (originally Karen Scott)
Shirt: Target (Pajama Section)
Blue Flats: Rack Room Shoes
Scarf: Target

I bought the red shorts from this outfit at Goodwill for THREE DOLLARS!!! Lucy told me she thought they looked kind of like old-lady pants, and I guess they kind of do, but after I rolled them up I really liked how they looked! I paired them with this pajama shirt, which is kind of embarrassing but I don't think it actually looks like pajamas and it's SO comfortable, and well as a blue scarf and blue shoes to tie it al together!

What I'm Wearing:
Dress: Goodwill (originally Ross)
Shoes: Navy Blue Vans

I LOVE finding things that I can wear my sneakers with, so this dress is perfect. Since it has kind of a casual look as well as some navy blue patterns, it was perfect to go with my vans! This is a perfect dress for summer, its casual and lightweight, yet still stylish and can be both dressed up and dressed down. Also, it's really comfortable, and easy for a day when you don't really feel like putting that much effort into what you're wearing. Personally, I feel like this dress is versatile enough to just wear around by adding sneakers, but can also be worn to a dressier event by adding flats or heels.

What I'm Wearing:
Dress: Goodwill (originally Sue Wong)
Shoes: Rack Room Shoes
Belt: Delia's

I really love the pattern on this dress, it's just so unique! When I was standing in line to get it, this random lady in front of me pointed out that it looked like paintings from some artist... I can't even remember now Maroe or something? Anyway I just think this dress is really fun, it personally reminds me of a comic book or something, so it has a kind of casual fun twist even though it is dressier. I'm not exactly sure where I'm going to wear it yet, but I figure I'll find somewhere to wear it!

What I'm Wearing:
Shorts: Goodwill (originally Forever 21)
Sandals: Rack Room Shoes
Necklace: Hawaii (gifted)
Shirt: Target
Belt: Target

These shorts were the first thing I wore when I got home from Lucy's! They're just so comfortable and casual, and the brown and white stripes make them basically go with anything. I took these pictures wearing my sandals, but this outfit also looks really good with vans. I felt like the sandals dressed it up a bit, but wearing sneakers makes it a really good outfit to just hang around in. My plain green v-neck shirt is a basic, but I feel like since the pattern on these shorts is so subtle, you could wear pretty much any type of top with them!

What I'm Wearing:
Tank Top: Goodwill (originally Freestyle)
Shorts: Arizona Jean Company (gifted)
Shoes: Navy Blue Vans

I'm actually in love with this outfit! I kind of have this thing for the 90's, and this outfit is so 90's-esqe I can't even take it. I'm not sure who made this tank top, it's really short so I have a hunch it might be a children's tank top, but that means it goes perfectly with high waisted shorts! I have this pair that Lucy gave me once she outgrew them, they're also from Goodwill and I love them so much! Even though this outfit is pretty simple, the kind of quirky details make it really unique and I love it!

What I'm Wearing:
Shirt: Goodwill (originally Karen Scott)
Leggings: Target
Jean Flats: Target

This outfit is probably for a colder day, but I really love it! I had been looking for a jean shirt/jean jacket of some kind, so when I found this I was really excited! Even though it's a little big, it's perfect for putting over leggings or black jeans! I also conveniently had these jean ballet flats which worked perfectly, even if they are a little match-matchy. This outfit is so comfortable because the shirt is really worn it, so it is perfect for those slightly chilly summer days! 

Ok, that was pretty much everything I got! I figured I did owe you a picture of the sparkly butterfly shirt though, so although I unfortunately don't have one with Lucy and her martini shirt, I have this gem for you:

It's beautiful...
 Well I hoped you liked everything! I'm pretty proud of my thrifting skills, I got all of this for 20$, and I plan to go back with Lucy sometime very soon!

A Day Full of Basically Everything I Love

I spent most of Monday afternoon with my friend Lucy. Lucy and I kind of have a problem staying away from the Goodwill close to our houses, so most of the afternoon was spent wandering through the aisles of the GIANT Goodwill in Bon Air, looking at cute mismatched silverware and weird toys and crazy hats. The amount of stuff we chose to try on was ridiculous, but we had so much fun trying on some crazy things. I did end up being pretty successful though, getting 7 articles of clothing for only 20$, with only one jokey thing (Lucy and I got matching sparkly shirts, hers with martini glasses on it and mine with butterflies. We just couldn't pass them up) After finishing at Goodwill, we walked over to the Fresh Market around the corner for a sort-of dinner kind of thing, but we ended up just buying weird snacky things like cucumber soda (which was disgusting) and black pepper popcorn and RAZZLES! Ok, so quick awkward side-note thing, growing up I kind of had this weird obsession with that movie 13 Going on 30 with Jennifer Gardner in it, and they ate Razzles all the time, but I didn't know they actually existed, so I got really excited when I saw them and had to try them! They were actually pretty good, a little weird though...

Eventually, Lucy's mom came to Fresh Market and brought us home, and Lucy and I spent a lot of time laughing over our ridiculous purchases at Goodwill. We watched Parks and Recreation (because I had never seen it before, I have no idea how because it's amazing) and walked over to the park near her house in the dark where we swung on the swings for about an hour talking about life. When we got home, we ate Panera bagels and watched Before Sunrise.

Ok, to be perfectly honest I am a sucker for cheesy romance movies, but this one just wasn't really even cheesy. It was just wonderful, and probably the most adorable thing I have ever seen in my entire life. Please just watch this trailer and tell me you don't think this is the best thing you have ever seen. If you do think it is the best thing you've ever seen, lucky for you, the third movie, Before Midnight, just came out this year, which I am dying to see.

Basically, I just can't.

So, it was just a pretty wonderful day, Lucy is one of my very best friends and I look forward to more Goodwill extravaganzas in the future!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kosmic Karma and Cookie Dough

Sometimes I think that even when it seems like something has gone wrong, it turns out to be a blessing in disguise. I found this to be especially true Sunday night. Since it was my best friend Lyla's birthday, we were planning on going to a concert featuring some bands from our school to celebrate, but due to some unfortunate weather forecasts, the concert was moved to a later date. Lyla and I weren't about to let that ruin our evening though, so we planned a last minute adventure to Carytown to try out the new pizza place, Mellow Mushroom. And now the Mellow Mushroom is my favorite place in the whole world, for one reason: The Kosmic Karma.

Basically, whoever it was that had the idea to put pesto on a pizza is my favorite person ever. Lyla and I had both heard about this from our friends, so we had to try it for ourselves. Despite it just being the two of us, we attempted a medium pizza, and it may have been one of the best things I have ever had in my life. Lyla and I managed to (almost) eat the entire thing, despite some struggles with large amounts of cheese and a tiny table and lack of forks. I'd say it was a worthwhile attempt.

After finishing at the Mellow Mushroom, Lyla and I walked around Carytown for a little while. Even though it was after 6 and mostly everything was closed, Carytown is just a really cool place to be, there's always people playing music on the streets and cool window displays and I just love everything about it. Lyla and I didn't exactly have enough money to buy anything from a place like Carytown Cupcakes or Sweet Frog or anything, so instead we walked to Kroger and bought a large roll of cookie dough. During the school year we would always buy cookie dough before class, so we figured we couldn't break the tradition. After buying our cookie dough, we sat in the cute cafe in the Kroger and ate our cookie dough with spoons while watching AFV and stalking people on Facebook. We figured since it was Lyla's birthday we were allowed to resort ourselves to this kind of behavior, at least this once.

After dropping Lyla off at her house, my dad and I didn't really feel like going home yet, so we drove down to Belle Isle. Even though it was getting dark and there were no places to park, we still drove around the island looking at the old Civil War monuments and watching the sunset, all while listening to probably every single Mumford and Sons song ever made. Next we drove through Shokoe Bottom as well as the downtown area and just looked at all the cool buildings and people and statues. Sometimes I forget just how amazing Richmond really is.

Since Lyla is going to New York this week, I guess we won't be going back to Carytown for a little while. I'll just have to wait to have another Kosmic Karma :)


Adventures in Meadow Park

Last year I had to say goodbye to some of the best friends I have ever made in my life. Coming to a large, competitive high school from my small, all girls middle school was one of the toughest transitions of my life. The 20 girls with whom I had spent 5th grade to the 8th grade with were finally all going off in different directions.

Lets all face it, high school is intimidating no matter who you are. But coming from a school of 80 girls to a school of over 700 extremely driven, hardworking, intelligent students was a huge culture shock for me. I tried to fit in at first by playing field hockey, but something just didn't click with most of the girls on the team. I missed my friends from middle school, specifically my best friend, who had gone to a different high school. I was struggling in my classes and I just sort of felt like I was never going to fit in the way I did in middle school.

But then I finally found my niche. Finally, I felt like I had friends who loved me, friends who I could be my weird crazy self in front of without judgement, friends who would laugh with me and cry with me and sing Jonas Brothers karaoke with me. In the course of one school year, these people have become some of my very best friends in the entire world, just as good as many of the friends I made in middle school. Its surprising how much a year can change you, and although I'm still basically the same person I was coming into this year, my friends bring out the best in me.

This year, we've had way too many amazing times together to count, so to celebrate a simply fantastic year, some of my friends and I ventured over to a park near school after our final exam for a picnic. Honestly, I think it was sort of an excuse to run by the doughnut shop across the street from school, the Sugar Shack, but after buying a doughnut in every flavor, plus three GIANT milkshakes, we walked over to the park where we sat around reminiscing about the year, eating way too many popsicles, and laughing at all our unfortunate pictures in the yearbook. It made me so thankful for my amazing friends, and honestly, it made me not want the school year to end! Trust me, I won't miss the all nighters before tests and the boatloads of history homework, but the thought of not seeing my friends every day kills me. Anyway, here are a couple of photos from our afternoon in Meadow Park :)

If there were words to express even on billionth of how much I love my friends, I would write them. Unfortunately, no amount of words in the entire universe will ever be able to do that, but hopefully this is a start. Thank you for showing me that I am loved, even when I feel like the whole world is against me. Thank you for letting me be crazy and weird and never acting like anything was wrong. Thank you  for having my back when I was stressed about grades or tests or something stupid. Thank you for always making me laugh, even when I was having a horrible day. Thank you for just being yourselves, and for being the people I love the most in the whole world. We'll all be together again in 2 months, and I can't wait. I love you guys more then you'll ever know.