Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Citizen Cope Acoustic Performance

Last week the Wilbur Theater sent out a newsletter with a list of upcoming acts, and I was psyched to notice that Citizen Cope was on the list for a March 31st show.  I'd never seen him perform before, but am a big fan of The Clarence Greenwood Recordings album, so I bought a ticket pretty quickly and marked my calendar.

If you're not familiar with his music, Citizen Cope is a mumbling, bluesy/soul/folk/rock/sometimes-hip-hoppy singer/songwriter with a man-bun and pretty blue eyes. His sound is terribly hard to define, so you might as well just listen to it for yourself and decide if you like it or not.

None of my friends ended up tagging along, but that didn't end up being a big deal. Going to shows alone CAN be done, people. Do it. My seat was in the same part of the theater as when we saw Lauryn Hill a couple weeks ago, but a handful of rows closer to the stage. I arrived and sat down with just about 5 minutes to spare before he came onstage at 8:30.  

Citizen Cope performing at Wilbur Theater in Boston, March 31, 2015
.  his outfit can get it  .

He played two 45-minute stripped down, acoustic sets to a very supportive crowd (there was much hooting, hollering, and song-name-calling-out). He soaked it all in incredibly graciously and seemed humbled by the love he was being shown. Also, as indicated by the caption on the above photo, I liked his look. A casual button down, loose olive green pants, beat-up black boots, and a man-pony. Clarence, let's hang out and be super chill together.

My personal favorites from the night were Sideways (I am a sucker for that song) and Pablo Picaso. There are short video snippets of each on my IG page, here and here. WATCH'EM.

Anyone else a fan of Citizen Cope?
What's your favorite song by him?
Who else has some live music lined up in their near future?? Tell me about it!


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Solo Day Trip to Amherst

When this past weekend rolled around and I didn't have any plans to do much of anything, I began contemplating taking a drive out of Boston, just to clear my head and get a change of scenery. Within about twenty minutes of awaking on Saturday morning, I decided I'd like to drive to Amherst, got dressed, filled a water bottle, grabbed my camera (which I didn't really end up using), jumped in my car, scooped some Dunkin Donuts, and hopped onto the Mass Pike for a 100-minute drive west.

It wasn't a very nice day for a drive - a mixture of snow and rain - so that put a slight damper on my ability to zone out while driving to ponder life's great questions. Instead, I skillfully maneuvered my Yaris down the wet Pike while singing along with my iPod at the top of my lungs. (Quick random poll: Do you sing while you drive? I only recently realized that not everyone does this, which seems really effing weird to me. Please weigh-in via Twitter or Facebook.)

Arriving in the Pioneer Valley, my very first stop was Esselon Cafe. This was where I had my first post-college job as a server/barista/staff supervisor. I graduated from UMass in the spring of 2006 and then floundered a bit for that summer, not knowing where my next step should be. With a whole crop of the-best-effing-friends-in-the-whole-world still finishing up their final year of school at UMass, it wasn't terribly hard for me to decide to move back to Amherst for the fall "semester." There, I found an apartment, scooped the job at Esselon, and then spent the next year working there full-time while pretending I was still in college with my friends.

When I stopped into the cafe for brunch on Saturday, it was the first time I'd been there in years - but the place hasn't changed a bit (aside from staff turnover). I ordered French toast with strawberry compote and fresh berries, which I enjoyed with a big mug of hot coffee before getting back into my car and beginning the ultimate Amherst-drive-around.

French Toast from Esselon Cafe in Hadley, MA, brunch food
.  as seen by all the cool people on my instagram  .
For about 2 hours, I wound and wove my way through the streets of Amherst and through every nook and cranny of the UMass campus. So much has changed in town and on-campus since I was a student there. Businesses have closed, moved, changed hands, changed names. A tonnnn of new buildings have sprouted up all over campus, leaving some areas nearly unrecognizable.

UMass Amherst campus pond and view of the library and student union
.  campus pond and view of the library and student union  .

I made special trips past a few of my old apartments and dorm buildings, as well as some of my favorite off-campus hangouts. The latter included some of the best and most notorious "party houses" around town, which were all given colloquial nicknames like Russell Street, Hippie House, Long Radio House, or Monkey House. Everywhere I drove, bittersweet memories flooded back to me, which - as the term bittersweet generally implies - was both good and sad.

Before leaving town, I did manage to park and actually get out of my car for a bit to head into the Campus Center, where my wallet took a hit as I went a little H.A.M. on the University Store's apparel section.

Sweatshirts and clothes at the UMass Amherst University Store

It seemed high time for my wardrobe to get some fresh UMass gear, so I bought two new t-shirts and a sweatshirt. The sweatshirt has barely left my body since Saturday - it's so freaking soft and cozy.

There were so many fun and irreplaceable times had in Amherst, and driving around town/campus was pretty much as literal as you can be with the phrase "taking a trip down memory lane." It was a much-needed reflection session, and I was glad that I was alone for the day - able to drive absolutely anywhere that I pleased, able to stop at any random house or building or parking lot that I wanted, able to spend as much time as I chose. But I do hope I'm with lots of friends the next time I go!! :)

And on that note, check out this post from the last time I visited Amherst with my friends Kara and Kyle!

Where did you go to school?
When was the last time you headed back to your college campus?
Do you still keep in touch with your college friends?


Friday, March 27, 2015

Bright Spring Pastels and Scattered Dot Nails

Today's nails are a direct result of me doing what I want.

I wanted an accent nail with lots of polka dots in a specific bright-pastel color scheme, and these polishes were the perfect colors for it!

Mint green nails with pink and polka dot accent nails

The pale mint pastel is Mint Sorbet by Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear, the pink is Tip Toe Pink by Milani, the darker green is Mint Apple by Sinful Colors and the white is Snow Me White by Sinful Colors.

Mint pastel polish, pink nail polish, white polish, dotting tool

I used 3 coats of Mint Apple on my pinky, pointer and thumb nails, 2 coats of Snow Me White on my ring finger, and 3 coats of Tip toe Pink on my middle finger. Then, using both ends of my double-ended dotting tool and all 3 colored polishes, I placed random, scattered dots atop my ring finger.

Mint Apple nails with Tip Toe Pink and polka dot accent nails
 Mint Apple nails with Tip Toe Pink and polka dot accent nails, ampersand ring

If you couldn't tell, I've become pretty into the two-accent-nail look. Decisions be damned - use alllll the polishessss!

Mint Apple nails with Tip Toe Pink and polka dot accent nails, aka Bailey blog

In case you wondered, my gum seems to be healing suspiciously well from Monday's wisdom tooth extraction. I've barely needed to take any pain meds at all, and was able to start working out again today. There's still a slight chipmunkesque quality to my right cheek, but it's not the most noticeable thing in the world. However, the antibiotics I'm taking are going to put a damper on my weekend fun, as those are appppparently not to be mixed with alcohol.

On that note, what are you up to this weekend? I've got nothing on the agenda yet, but am always on the lookout for an activity or two!

{Linking with Fab Favorites and The Nail Files}

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Collage from Leftover Scraps

So not to make a really left-field reference to something that happened months ago, but.... anyone remember that "just because" collage I made back in January? No? That's ok, I won't hold a grudge. It's right here, if you'd like a quick refresher. G'wan then. Take a look - it's relevant to this blog post.

K, now that you've definitely gone and looked, here's why it's relevant:  Using the scraps of magazine cutouts that were leftover from that collage, I made another collage altogether. Heyooo! #Recycle.

DIY artwork, teal, white, pink collage

Here's a casual step-by-step via photos:

DIY collage step by step

And the mandatory close-ups of the details:

DIY artwork, teal, white, brick, pink, texture, roses, collage

DIY artwork, teal, white, brick, pink, texture, roses, collage

DIY artwork, teal, white, brick, pink, texture, roses, collage

Here are the two pieces together:

Two collages, white, wood, turquoise, pink

Two collages, white, wood, turquoise, pink

The cool thing about recycling scraps from one collage to make a new one is that you can create multiple pieces of art that have a similar feel, but each with its own unique look. It kind of reminds me of a fashion show - where everything that comes down the runway looks like it belongs together, even though each piece is different. Here's another example of a similar kind of project I made for my grandmother several years ago:

Teal, pink, grass, roses, DIY art, collages for my Gram

I hope to do more crafty things soon - whether it be painting or making more collages or drawing. I feel happy and purposeful when creating things, so it makes sense to make an effort to do it more often.

On that note, I'll have a recap soon of Craft Club #5, I promise!

So what artistic projects are YOU working on?
Do you have a favorite Pin board for color palettes? They make for great collage inspiration!

{Linking with Craft Frenzy Friday}

Monday, March 23, 2015

Peace Out, Wisdom Tooth #2!

WELP I just got my upper-right wisdom tooth removed this morning, and I feel like a NEW WOMAN.

Actually, the first dose of pain meds are just starting to wear off, so I'll likely be feeling like a sore, cranky woman very shortly. Either way, getting this sucker out is one more thing I can take off of my mind/plate for now, so thank god for that.

This was much less dramatic than my last wisdom tooth extraction, which involved lots of tooth-breaking and gymnastics on the part of the oral surgeon. This time, the tooth was able to be pulled out all in one bloody piece:

I'm one of those people who requires entirely too much local anesthetic before feeling properly numbed, and this time was no different. At first, it felt fine with the initial dosage, but when the doctor started really pulling the tooth out, I could definitely feel some uncomfortable, slightly-painful pressure. We stopped, and she gave me more anesthetic while explaining to me that she was twisting out my tooth "like a lightbulb." Hmm. Interesting visual, doc. Thanks! With just a couple minutes of twisting and without much more fanfare, the tooth came out. Done and done.

And yep, I took this one home with me, too. Why should the tooth fairy have all the tooth-collecting fun? Speaking of which, my mom told me to put the tooth under my pillow tonight... Note to self: #DONTFORGET.

I do encourage you to check out the "after" photo of Wisdom Tooth #1 - it didn't fare nearly as well as this one did. But in its defense, it was in a much trickier place in my mouth.

Anyway, after picking up all of my appropriate prescriptions, I made my way back home and have kind of just been chilling and eating cold and/or mushy things all afternoon and evening. To avoid nausea, it will be important to keep eating food steadily while I'm taking these meds... so cue the smoothies, ice cream, yogurt, and scrambled eggs. I'm sure it's what Beyoncé's diet looks like, too.

Currently I'm just slightly chipmunk-cheeked on my right side, but it may get worse in the next day or two. I'm not allowed to exercise - or SNEEZE - for a couple of days either, so... wish me luckkkk.
Sidebar, I was really, really pleased with my entire experience at this dental office - Great Hill Dental in Boston. The surgeon I saw, Dr. Carol Lorente, was unbelievably kind, patient, and warm. The woman assisting the procedure, Kim, was the same. I felt like I was in very good hands with them, and that peace of mind goes a long way with someone like me who is very anxious about the dentist.

Who else has some misbehaving wisdom teeth? If you have a funny story about yours, I'd love to hear it!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Weekend Recap + My Workouts of the Week

Heyoooo, happy Sunday evening! It's the end of the first weekend of spring, so I hope you did it up right and proper.

My weekend has been a solid mix of solitude and friendship, so no complaints there. On Friday I went to the gym, did some online shopping (bought these little guys from DSW's site), went to the grocery store, and binge-watched a few episodes of Game of Thrones into the wee hours of the morning. (By the way, I just finished Season 4, so I'm all caught up now... and actually loved the show so much that I immediately started it over on Season 1 last night. Is that weird? Don't answer that; I don't care.)

On Saturday I started my day (predictably) at Donut Villa, then hit up the gym for a lower body workout before meeting up with my friends for an evening of shooting pool at Flat Top Johnny's in Cambridge. I'd never been there before, but it's an open-layout bar with food, drinks, and 12 pool tables. J-rod and I won a few games in a row - #NOBIGGIE - and a couple games of Skee-Ball were also enjoyed.

Today was Craft Club #5! That, of course, will get its own blog post, so I'm not going into too much detail about it now... but I will gladly share that I made a scrumptious fruit salad for the occasion. Noms on noms on noms!

Alright with the weekend in a nutshell, let's move on to zee workouts of zee weeeeeek! Here's what I did at the gym this week:

3/16 (lower body)
5 mins elliptical
3x: 30 calf raises, 17.5 lbs each hand
3x: 15 leg lifts from side plank, each leg
3x: 15 deadlifts, 17.5 lbs each hand
3x: 20 side lunges + plyometric pushoff each side
3x: 8 single leg deadlifts each leg, 7.5 lbs each hand
3x: 40 diamond clamshells each leg
3x: 15 static lunges each leg, holding 6 lb medicine ball overhead
3x: 30 squats + 20 squat pulses

3/17 (core)
5 mins elliptical
3x: 30 Brazilian crunches
3x: 15 crunches on exercise ball, holding 15 lbs
3x: 30 cobras
3x: 30 v-sit twists, holding 15 lbs
3x: 15 dynamic side planks each side

3/18 (cardio)
40 mins hiking*/jogging treadmill:
   0:00-4:00 varying hike
   4-5 jogging 4.4 mph
   5-9 varying hike
   9-10 jogging 4.5 mph
   10-14 varying hike
   14-15 jogging 4.6 mph
   15-19 varying hike
   19-20 4.8 mph
   20-24 varying hike
   24-25 5.0 mph
   25-29 varying hike
   29-30 5.2 mph
   30-34 varying hike
   34-35 5.3 mph
   35-36 5.4 mph
   36-37 5.5 mph
   37-38 5.6 mph
   38-40 walking/cooldown/low incline

3/20 (upper body)
5 mins elliptical
3x: 10 deltoid flys, 7.5 lbs each hand
3x: 20 alternating chest flys on exercise ball, 7.5 lbs each hand
3x: 10 deltoid raises, 7.5 lbs each hand
3x: 10 overhead press, 7.5 lbs each hand
3x: 13 lat pulldowns, 37.5 lbs
3x: 10 chest press on exercise ball, 15 lbs each hand
3x: 10 bent over rows, 15 lbs each hand
3x:  10 close grip chest press on exercise ball, 15 lbs each hand
3x:  13 seated rows, 37.5 lbs
1:15 plank

3/21 (lower body)
5 mins elliptical
3x: 15 leg lifts from side plank each leg
3x: 30 calf raises, 17.5 lbs each hand
3x: 25 side lunges + plyometric pushoff, each leg
3x: 15 deadlifts, 17.5 lbs each hand
3x: 40 diamond clamshells each leg
3x: 10 single leg deadlifts each leg, 7.5 lbs each hand
3x: 15 static lunges each leg, holding 6 lb medicine ball overhead
3x: 30 squats + 20 squat pulses

* When I go "hiking" on the treadmill, I adjust the intensity and/or incline every minute for the entire duration, making sure to go through the entire range of available inclines (0-15).

By the way, if you didn't catch the update that I added to last week's workout post, here is the link to the first workout video that I filmed for my company's YouTube channel:  Intense TRX Interval for Your Core. A few people asked me about it, so figured I'd share here! Feel free to like/comment/share it with all your fitness-loving homies.

I shoooould have gone to the gym today, but Craft Club just sort of took over the morning/afternoon - which I'm certainly not complaining about. I absolutely love this scheduled "crafts and girls" time. Oftentimes it's more chatting than crafting, but - again - no one's complaining about that! #Love!

Annnnd here's the one grey cloud on the horizon that's been keeping me a little anxious all weekend: I'm getting a wisdom tooth out tomorrow morning. Eek! Because it's on the top (rather than my lower jaw bone), it shouldn't be as big of a to-do as the last one was, according to the oral surgeon. I'm hoping she's right!

Wish me luck in my recovery ;) And feel free to send me your favorite smoothie recipes.

How are your workouts going this week?
Did you do anything fun this weekend?


Friday, March 20, 2015

No Nail Polish, But a Bit of Ms. Lauryn Hill

Fridays usually mean nails around here, but I'm taking a break from that this week because I didn't have the energy in me yesterday to come up with an idea, do all the nail/cuticle prep, polish my nails, take pictures, edit the pictures, etc. My Wednesday night went a bit further into the wee hours than I'd anticipated, which is why I was so done-for all day yesterday. What was so terribly exciting about my Wednesday evening, you ask? OH JUST MS. LAURYN HILL.

Yeppp, on Wednesday night I went with a few friends went to see an acoustic performance by Lauryn Hill at the Wilbur Theater in Boston. The tickets had been burning a hole in my iPhone (that's what we say these days when we use Passbook, right?) for months!

I have a pulse, so obviously I was a fan of Fugees, and I was among the millions of people who bought (and became obsessed with) The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill back in 1998. A few years ago, she performed her entire Miseducation album at the Rock the Bells festival, and witnessing it in person was pretty special. When I heard she was coming to Boston, I immediately rallied some troops (Kara, Steph and Amanze!) and put it on my calendar.

The show was supposed to start at 8, but at around 8:30 a film began playing onstage - Concerning Violence, a short documentary about anti-imperialism and decolonization that was narrated by Ms. Hill. It was interesting (and also a bit depressing), but not everyone in the audience was psyched about being shown a documentary at a concert. When the film ended, a DJ began spinning onstage - who, by the way, was definitely dressed like she belonged in the background of a 1993 Salt 'n Pepa video. At this point, not everyone in the audience was psyched that there was a DJ playing instead of Ms. Hill. Can you pick up on a theme of growing malcontent?

It was well after 10pm when Lauryn finally came out and took her place on a loveseat-style couch at the center of the stage. Picking up her guitar and speaking little-to-no-words to any of us, she and her band launched into Conform to Love. Cue the chair-dancing, because it was a smallish venue and no one was really standing much.

I only took one photo while we were there, and it came out terribly blurry...

Lauryn HIll at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, March 2015

... but you get the general setup. I've been trying to find the setlist for the show, but so far it's nowhere to be found. Other highlights were when she did Sweetest Thing, Lost Ones, and Fu-Gee-La in its entirety.

She closed out the show with Doo Wop (That Thing), which is when she finally got up out of her chair herself. The rest of the audience followed suit, and it was a great closer. It was almost 12:30 in the morning when she finished, so that was an unexpected element of a Wednesday night show. So very worth being exhausted the next day!

Now for your entertainment, here is some music from Lauryn to get you on my level:

Sweetest Thing

So High (Cloud 9 Remix) - John Legend feat. Lauryn Hill

Turn Your Lights Down Low - Bob Marley feat Lauryn Hill

And here's a random cover of Conform to Love by a young woman named Kamilah Sumner - watch the whole thing, she just gets better and better.

Leave a comment to let me know what your favorite Lauryn Hill song is! And I'm sure that a regularly scheduled nail polish post will be back next Friday ;)