August '17

on the topic of vinyl

Hello all and welcome back!

A few days ago, I became a parent to a turntable/record player/hipster-speaker-system/whatever you want to call it. Now with variety and amateur-knowledge, I consider my music expertise to be heightened (I think way too highly of myself).

If you know anything about me or follow my instagram/watch my instagram stories, you know that I’m a big fan of Spotify. It’s probably one of my all time favorite forms of social media, because I’m nosy and love seeing what all my friends are listening to. I’m also a really big copy cat and love stealing songs from people’s playlists and pretending I discovered it for myself.

This is important in that by getting a turntable I don’t have personalized vinyl as playlists or a side bar telling me what my freshman year roommate listened to 3 hours ago (what’s up, maylee?). It’s really just me and the music, and if that’s not a High School Musical lyric then I don’t know what is.

Obviously my Spotify is still alive and well, and I’m sure by next week I won’t spend all my time playing with my new toy. BUT, I thought for today I’d list some of my favorite things that I’ve decided are worth it when switching to vinyl. So excuse me as I let the vinyl do the talking.

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  1. It really is a conversation piece– I moved an entire party into my bedroom so that I could show it off, and people were really fascinated let me tell ya.
  2. Gift giving? check. Some records are as cheap as $18, and others range from $25-40 depending on what it is and where you’re buying it. With that being said, it’s a good price range when asking for specific albums or bands as a gift.
  3. You get to collect vinyl, and if you’re anything like me –a person with too many coffee table books, shoes, and nude lipsticks– you appreciate another collectible item.
  4. You know those artists and bands that you absolutely fan girl over and want every song lyric tattooed on your body? With vinyl you’re pretty much investing in the most tangible form of their music, and if that isn’t convincing then I can’t help you.

My collection consists of  Bleachers “Gone Now” (check out my most recent post on this album here), The Neighbourhood “I Love You,” Kendrick Lamar “DAMN,” and Beach House “B-Sides and Rarities.” I only have a few records thus far, but I’ll let you know how the expansion process goes.

Do you listen to vinyl? What is your favorite thing about it?

Thanks for reading,

RR

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July '17

rupi kaur & 19

For today’s post, I thought it would be refreshing to repeat the words of poet Rupi Kaur from her book, Milk and Honey. After seeing and loving her poetry on Instagram, I finally bought my own copy of the book. I’ll admit upfront that I’m obsessed.

It’s incredibly honest, and it carries the weight of pretty much every emotion I’ve ever felt in its beautifully self-explained rhythms and lines.

So allow yourself a moment to revel in her words with me.

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Tomorrow is my 19th birthday, and I don’t think there could be a better mantra for reviewing all that the past 18 years have been for me + my expectations for 19.

Here’s to gaining and losing and still remaining happy,

RR

P.S. I made a facebook page for this blog, & if you want to share some love by hitting ‘Like’ on the page I’d be very grateful.

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July '17

Confession: I don’t know how to thrift

Ever since 2012 when Macklemore laid down truth about vintage swagger, I think everyone hopped on the bandwagon and I got left behind.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see people successfully haul vintage clothes or designer labels all I can think is ‘how?’ Whether at an antique thrift shop or Goodwill, my only luck is usually finding dusty lampshades or a headband from 2004. Worse than that is getting back in my car and feeling like I just walked through somebody’s dirty laundry.

Basically, I don’t know how people find things at thrift stores.

But I’m not ready to give up on the idea. I think I’ve just been searching for the wrong things.

Yesterday, I decided to try not shopping for that cool vintage blouse a beauty blogger wore on Instagram, and avoided anything that wouldn’t survive a laundry cycle on regular tumble. Instead, I looked for memorabilia, accessories, and decor (starting off easy).

My friend, Georgiana, and I headed to one of the few vintage stores in town. Being a rookie at this, I didn’t realize it was a cash-or-check-only kind of endeavor. BIG MISTAKE. But lucky for your eyes I snapped some photos and stacked enough pennies in my parking coin collection to afford a three dollar pin.

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Check out that Clinton pin above the remnants of my coins. pretttttty cool!

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proof that coins are still worth something

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I’ll be coming back for you, Bill

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For my first round of thrift shopping, I’d say it wasn’t too bad. I’ll definitely have to practice and develop an eye for vintage pieces, but until then I’ll just pat myself on the back for the effort and good intentions.

Do you shop vintage? Any tips?

RR

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July '17

HOW TO: New Girl Playlist

So rumor has it that everyone’s favorite show, New Girl, is coming back for its seventh season, and I could not be more excited for anything. In preparation for its return, I’m doing all that I know to: binge. watching.

I’ve probably seen every episode at least 10 times each. I know, I have a problem! Hi!

Let me just cut to the chase.

I watch a lot of New Girl and I recognize a good song when I hear one. So here are some of my recommendations for all the “Who’s that girl?” hummers and fans out there.
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  1. Take Care by Beach House
  2. I wanna Get Better by Bleachers
  3. The Time of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
  4. All Alright by FUN.
  5. Sex on the Regular by Miniature Tiger
  6. You Make My Dreams Come True by Halls and Oates
  7. Rivers and Roads by The Head and The Heart
  8. Don’t Just Sit There by Lucius
  9. Hold Me Now by Thompson Twins
  10. God Only Knows by She & Him (cough cough, Zooey Deschanel’s little musical moment)
  11. Oxford Coma by Vampire Weekend
  12. I Got the Moves by Habibi

So that’s what I have to offer to Jessica Day’s Fan Club. If someone would like to be generous and share the rules of True American with me in return that would be super cool of you.

Thanks for reading and I hope you check out some of the songs! (let me know if you do or if you have any likeminded tunes for me to listen to)

RR

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July '17

Bleachers: “Gone Now” Album

I’ve been the biggest fan girl of Bleachers’ music since I first heard I Wanna Get Better in 11th grade. From there it’s been my anthem, and the rest is history. Except history just got interesting because his newest album was released last month, and I simply cannot stop listening.

Twelve wonderful, personal, creative, and expressive hits that epitomize a feeling of outwardness and being unplugged from everything and everyone. The crazy part is that even if unconsciously, we’ve all felt this sort of introvert’s apology to the rest of humanity, and Bleachers is the first artist I’ve listened to who has represented it and all its honesty.

His lyrics are chaotic, truthful, and unmatched, but what is exceptional is the story being told within the record. A true bildungsroman of life, love, and loss.

It’s really the best.

Cheers to recognizing that brilliant creators still exist!

RR

Some personal favorites of mine:

  • Goodmorning
  • Everybody Lost Somebody
  • I Miss Those Days
  • All My Heroes
  • Foreign Girls

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June '17, NYU Portfolio

Q&A: Michael Fusco-Straub

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In some ways Michael Fusco-Straub and his wife, Emma, are the ideal couple to open a bookstore. He’s a graphic designer and she’s a novelist. So when their beloved BookCourt closed down, they decided to create a new hub for Brooklyn bookworms. They opened Books are Magic on May 1 in Cobble Hill, hoping to be the new pulse of the reading public. Emma curated the shelves and Michael designed the modern and unique space to fit the name, with wooden bookshelves and exposed brick.

On a recent Friday morning, Michael was restocking books in the back of the shop and he took time to chat.

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What interested you in opening a bookshop in Cobble Hill?

We were at BookCourt almost every day. Actually Emma worked there for four years, and so we had a relationship with the owners. When we found out that it was closing, we instantly felt like it was our job to take this on and to make this happen, and we did.

Why the name, Books are Magic?

We both felt like the kind of energy and vibe that we want to be transmitted is that books are fun. Everyone should have them in their lives, and it’s not some kind of technology that’s going out of style. The term ‘books are magic’ is something that we truly believe.

What inspired the design of the store?

Right when we were deciding to open this bookstore, Emma and I took a trip to Portland, Oregon, and we went to this restaurant called “Tusk,” and I walked in I was like ‘This is how I want our bookstore to feel.’ Mainly, I was responding to the color palette, and the sort of airiness of the place and so that’s what I wanted to capture here; sort of light, white, soft pinks, and lots of air. A lot of bookstores feel claustrophobic. I wanted it to feel clean and modern, but also warm and inviting.

What about competition with online booksellers like Amazon?

I think we’re in a unique situation where we live in a neighborhood where people really care about local businesses and make an effort to come out here and support us. That alone is part of the reason why I feel like this is working. Also, we can get any book for anybody in a day, more or less. Most of the time—90 percent of the time—you come in looking for a book, we don’t have it, you get it tomorrow. That’s a good thing, I mean, that competes with whatever is going on online.

What is the process in curating the books?

Because Emma is a fiction writer, when we first opened the store, the fiction shelves were stacked and it was awesome. Then the nonfiction stuff had all these gaps, and we’re still trying to fill them. It’s just because it reflected what Emma knew, but now you know we’re listening to our customers’ special requests. People have been asking for a sci-fi shelf and we’re working on that.

 

Where do you see Books are Magic in five years?

It’s funny because that is something I haven’t thought about, because you know before we opened all I could think about was opening, and now that we’re open all I’m thinking about is what’s right in front of me. In five years, what I hope is that we’re right here doing what we’re doing and things are running in a slightly more efficient method. I mean things are pretty efficient now, but I think we’ll just get better at doing this.

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**edited for length and content

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June '17

Why did I ever stop reading?

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Written at 2 a.m. after calling pest control on a large, unidentified spider in my dorm room, which left me restless and afraid

I have to take a moment of pause from my NYU posts to brag on a read that has taken me too long to get around to. (If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been using this blog as my portfolio for the work I have done in my journalism course)

After being in New York for three weeks knowing nobody, I finally decided to head to the bookstore and pick up some light reads for my free time. I was drawn to the familiar cover of Maria Semple’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” which reminded me a lot of the illustrations from author Emma Straub’s collection, and also Kevin Kwan’s “Crazy Rich Asians” series. I purchased the paperback along with two other books, “How to Ruin Everything” by George Watsky and “Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures” by Emma Straub. I immediately began reading while sitting on a bench in Madison Square Park, Shake Shack burger in hand. I spent the rest of my day completely invested in the lives of Bee Branch and her mother, Bernadette Fox. I finished it about 12 hours later.

My point in noting this—other than to applaud and brag on Maria Semple—is to reintroduce myself, and possibly you, to reading something so valuable and brilliant that I cannot put it down for fear of facing a reality unlike the one on the pages. It saddens me to think that every year the short span from May to August is really the only time I have until life gets busy again, reality checks in, and this crazy-dramatic fantasy that has been occupying my afternoons and sleep schedule must be paused. We all know how that is.

But alas, I have a plan, a goal, and a rough beginner’s list as a start to a project I am doing with myself to get more in the habit of reading (and not just reading, but experiencing). I’m not even here to sponsor my own creative genius; I’m just letting you know that I have a plan, and if you want to copy me you totally can.

So maybe we can do this together? Maybe you can pitch me some authors, books, short stories, or your mom’s instagram caption from April fool’s day? I really don’t care. The point is that this is something I’ve wanted to dedicate more time to for a while, and I’m excited to finally do the damn thing.

Here’s the list. Beware it’s a short one, but I fully intend on adding on to it as I expand my opinions of authors and genres (other than Emma Straub, who is an obvious yes for me, always).

  1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette (check)
  2. Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures
  3. How to Ruin Everything
  4. Fan Girl
  5. Eleanor & Park
  6. The Stars in Our Eyes
  7. Americanah
  8. The Versions of Us
  9. This One’s Mine

So if you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to other than summer school and getting lost on the subway, voila!

RR

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