Liner Notes for a Year, p. 1

As is now a tradition, whenever I put together my Christmas packages I also make a little “year in review” CD that highlights all the music that defines the year for me. Creating this holiday package is always fun, and a welcome creative challenge. The past few years have been more light-hearted approaches to the cards–one year recreating the infamous Kim K. “break the Internet” shot, and another poking fun at the Starbucks “Red Cup” controversy–but admittedly, this year seemed hard to come up with good material to fit the way I, and many other people, had been feeling. I didn’t want the card to become too much of a statement, but I didn’t want to ignore the sheer sense of uncertainty and trepidation that seemed to be hanging in the air. So when Colin suggested making a “Greetings from the Bunker” card for the holidays, we started riffing on the idea until the Holiday Survival Guide was born.

We got to work right away, reading various survival manuals and researching styles. It took a while to organize the content the way we wanted to, and even longer to find the right artist to partner with, but once all these elements came together, the project started to really come to life, and I really love how the guide ended up looking, especially considering we didn’t find our artist/designer ’til the 11th hour (Seriously, he rocks):

holiday-survival-guide-1

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Bago Bag Review!

Alright, so I’ve had a few people ask me Bago Travel bag since I first mentioned it on the blog a couple months back, specifically how it manages to fold up so compactly. 

Since it’s easier to show vs. tell, I’m proud/frightened to bring you my first video blog ever. Hopefully this answers people’s questions about Bago, without totally making me look like a bobo (like what I did there?)

Let me know if you have any more questions about these awesome products!

 

 

Tips on Traveling in Iceland, Part 3: What to Listen To (And Where to Buy It!)

I gotta admit, this is one of the posts about my trip that I’ve been most excited to write, mainly because discovering new music is a passion for me no matter where I am in the world. But it was especially exciting in Iceland, a country that is chock full of so many incredible bands and musicians. Most people are already familiar with Björk, Of Monsters and Men, and Sigur Rós, and although each one of them is fantastic, that’s just scratching the surface of the music coming out of this country.

At the bottom of this post I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite bands and musicians whose work I was introduced to during this trip (and a couple from my last time here in 2013). The list below is not meant to be comprehensive–they are simply the ones who’ve been heavy in my own personal rotation.

If you’re looking for the latest artists who’ve emerged or who are on the cusp of emerging during your stay in Iceland, you don’t have to go further than the local Reykjavík record shops to find out who you should be listening to. From my experience, the shop clerks are incredibly knowledgeable about the latest local music and are happy to share their recommendations with you.

This last time around, I spent a lovely afternoon at 12 Tónar listening to the artists recommended to me by the owner. (I especially enjoyed this experience because they have listening stations set up throughout the store so you can hear the albums before you buy. They even served me some espresso–a clever way to reel me in/make me more motivated to make a purchase there. Spoiler: It worked.). Lucky Records is another great spot with a massive collection–I was lucky enough to be within walking distance of this shop during my first trip here and discovered a lot of great artists during that first short stay.

Still looking for more music shop options? Then add Reykjavik Records (small shop, but they still have a notable selection) and Bad Taste Record Store to your list of places to check out!

Keep in mind though, as with just about everything in the country, vinyl can be quite expensive, and new albums can range between $25-$45 USD (or higher, depending on the item). Whenever I go into a shop, I generally ask which albums/artists are hard to find outside of the country and start there (though it doesn’t hurt to do a quick search on your phone to be sure it’s not something you might be able to get for cheaper back home. I was able to find most of the artists on Spotify and SoundCloud, and their records for sale on Amazon). Of course supporting local businesses is always best, but if your bank account can’t afford to take home all the records you love, use these avenues to pare down your selections.

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Tips on Traveling in Iceland, Part 2: What to Pack

As noted in my previous blog, I decided to write this series of blogs in response to the numerous questions/messages I’ve been getting from friends and friends of friends who are planning to traveling to Iceland soon or are thinking of trying to book a trip after seeing/reading so much about this amazing place. I figured the best time to put this guide together was when I was still in the middle of my trip, so the information is still fresh in my mind. Feel free to leave a comment if there’s a certain aspect of travel you might be curious about. I’m definitely not an expert on Iceland, but hopefully my experiences might help you plan for your trip!

Alright, so the next topic I decided to tackle was “What specific things should I bring on my trip?” Although this might vary a bit, depending on the exact type of travel experience you’re planning, I think this overview should prove helpful to most people. Continue reading

I Ain’t Down Yet.

The stages of Alzheimer’s are so difficult and complex to try to explain to someone. I know hearing someone say “you just wouldn’t understand” almost sounds aloof, but it’s not even like that. It’s more just like–where do you begin? It would be like trying to explain something like city trash pick up to someone–it’s shit that’s so commonplace background noise that you don’t even know how to dissect it from what the rest of “normal” life is supposed to look like.

I never really know what to say when people ask about my mom. I don’t know how much detail is fair to give, or really necessary. It’s a kind gesture on their behalf to acknowledge that they care and recognize this thing happening in your life, but it also makes you feel like you’re always exposed and vulnerable to this fact, especially on the days you’re feeling particularly exposed and vulnerable about it.

It’s funny because I always think that I’ve gotten over it to a certain point–that this shit has been reality so long that there’s no reverting to complete sadness about it anymore because how can you legit cry over something that you’ve been carrying around that long? But then something happens–I smell her perfume while I’m out running errands, or for a brief second, some brain glitch makes me think that she’s just at work or reminds me of what it felt like to sit in the passenger seat while she drove to the mall. Suddenly I actually remember that these things were once real and happened. I used to have a mother. She used to know who I was.

These moments are easily the hardest to deal with because for a second there is so much happiness and hope and then suddenly everything snaps back into place, like some shitty reality rubber band, and it’s back to remembering that point and time is Over. Continue reading

Good Grief…

Alright, another shameless plug/plea…

I posted about Grief: A Life in 5 Stages last year when the first volume came out, and now we’re at it again…

grief

Peace, by Heather Shaw

Because I paid for that one out-of-pocket, and can’t really afford to do so again this year, I launched a Kickstarter in the hopes of raising the funds needed to come out with vol 2.

So, if you liked what you saw last year, please consider donating to the cause this year. And if you’d like to be a part of the project, send your submissions my way! Looking for original art, photography, and writing (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essay)! You can send submissions (jpeg files for art or Word docs for writing) to sara @ iamnotajedi.com

 

 

Silver Linings.

I’ve been posting a lot recently about my recent frustrations and navigations through life lessons learned, but I feel it fair to report that the past couple of weeks have also had their strange silver linings.  Continue reading

Oh, deer.

Happy Halloween, deer friends! (Like what I did there?)

Apparently this last-minute costume idea was a winner. Many people, including my own brother, did not recognize me when I posted pics! And considering this was a last-minute idea that came together using about $5 worth of supplies, I’d say it was a success! Special thanks to Moose for use of the headband and Kristine for the white and black face crayons!Halloween

Leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…

I’m more than a little embarrassed to admit that I just spent $20 for sort of mediocre Internet service while on my flight to San Fran–but I weighed my options carefully beforehand: It was between this and an overpriced movie and overpriced Bloody Mary. Although one would argue 2 is better than one, it’s been my finding that inflight cocktails usually taste pretty terrible, and the only way to really make them enjoyable is generally by downing a couple. Plus, I’d get more hours of entertainment from the Internet than I would from the movie/booze combined… look at me, with all my practical, adult decisions! Continue reading

A little shameless cross-promotion…

Hi, friends!
So, I’ve spent the past couple of months working on another little project and it’s finally LIVE to the public! Grief: A Life in 5 Stages is a lit mag focused on the 5 stages of grief–denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance–both in terms of death and other life situations. Contributions include works of fiction and non-fiction, poetry, photography, and original art.
Check out the content that made it to our first printed edition, and if you have something you’d like to add–there’s still time! We will be posting new content to the website on a rolling basis! (You can contribute directly through the site or via the5stages@gmail.com).

If you’d like to purchase a hard copy of the magazine, you can do so by making a donation on our site and including order info (your name/how many copies you’d like, address) in the Special Notes section. Suggested donation per copy is $3. Print run is limited, so order now before they’re gone!