Our Song

I’ve been listening to a lot more music lately.

I’m not sure what comes first the happiness or the music, but listening to music and having an elevated mood seem to definitely correlate for me.

Earliest this week, I was driving to work and They Might Be Giants “Birdhouse in Your Soul” came on my ipod. It immediately brought me back to a time right after college when I was interning at, what was at the time, a small start-up online newspaper. My best friend and I jammed to that song so hard while making the long drive across the metroplex. Of course, I then had to text my friend to let her know I was thinking of her.

It got me thinking of other songs that remind me of certain times of my life.

More specifically of songs that remind me of people.

Even more specifically, songs that I had- at some point- deemed “our song” with a person that meant something to me.

To be clear, most songs that got put in the “our song” category were not chosen by both of us. In fact, most of the time, the receiver of “our song” rarely even knew that they were the object of my undying obsession.

Still, it was fun. It made me dream. It made me feel like I was living in a romantic comedy.

When I think of all the times I set in my room playing a song on repeat on my cd player while dreaming of the possibility of first kisses and a future with someone, it also seems kind of creepy.

It also made me realize that the older I get, the less I assign songs to people. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve grown jaded in my older years, or if I just don’t allow myself to listen to music with the same romantic mindset as I did when I was younger.

But when I really think about some of the songs I chose, I’m not sure I was listening to the lyrics at all.

For instance, the first song that I can really remember dedicating to someone was  Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day.”

This one was chosen by both my 8th Grade boyfriend and I during a 16 hour bus field trip to New Mexico.

In case you don’t remember it- here is the chorus:

And I know you’re shining down on me from heaven
Like so many friends we’ve lost along the way
And I know eventually we’ll be together
One sweet day

Ok. This song is obviously about someone dying. I definitely didn’t realize it at the time, but we were totally dooming our relationship.

Then there was the “our song” for this guy I had a crush on in high school. We never dated, but we had some pretty heavy make out sessions under the blacklights in my bedroom.

For some reason the song I assigned to him was Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.”

I even played it on repeat during one of our makeout sessions.

I finished crying in the instant that you left
And I can’t remember where or when or how
And I banished every memory you and I had ever made

But when you touch me like this
And you hold me like that I just have to admit
That it’s all coming back to me

What?! That’s like totally depressing. It’s all about loss and remembering people from your past. Not making it to second base with the hottest guy at school.

Shame on you, past Carissa.

My favorite though, was the song I assigned to the deaf guy I dated after college. He had no idea, because-well- he couldn’t hear, but I still think of him every time I hear Allison Krauss “When You Say Nothing At All.”

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There’s a truth in your eyes sayin’ you’ll never leave me
The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

It’s funny to me now, but I can assure you at the time, I just thought it was perfect for us.

A little over a year into my relationship with Matt, I realized that I was a little sad that we didn’t have a song.

Of course, there was the time I wrote him an email confessing for the first time that I was in love with him… I actually included the lyrics to Alanis Morisette’s “Head Over Feet” to better express the way I felt.

You’ve already won me over in spite of me
And don’t be alarmed if I fall head over feet
Don’t be surprised if I love you for all that you are
I couldn’t help it
It’s all your fault

But since it took him about three weeks to even acknowledge that I wrote him the letter (I know now that I scared him shitless), that song still gives me anxiety and I didn’t want it to be “ours.”

We were driving in the car one day, discussing the fact that we didn’t have a song, and we decided that the very next song that we flipped to on the radio would be “our song.” No matter what it was.

And so that’s how Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” became our song.

Let’s get it on, let’s get it on
You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout
Come on baby, let your love come out
If you believe in love
Let’s get it on, let’s get it on baby
This minute, oh yeah let’s get it on
Please, let’s get it on

That was nearly 3 years ago, and I still get excited when I hear it. I really hope that if we ever get married, he’ll agree to let that be our first dance.

What about you, what songs did you deem to remind you of a certain person forever and ever?

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My Weekend In Pictures

Well, it’s Monday again.

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

I did, but as most people, I wish it lasted a little longer. As I’m working on daily gratitude lists, I’m also trying to take more pictures of the things that make me happy, so it’s easier for me to remember when things aren’t going so well.

If you’re my friend on facebook or instagram, you’ve probably already seen these, but nevertheless, here’s the highpoints of my weekend.

Friday night, I witnessed the wedding of my co-worker Daniel.

I’ll be honest. In the hours leading up to the wedding, I was apprehensive and wasn’t sure how much fun I would have.

I’m fairly comfortable being in most situations without alcohol, but weddings are still a little difficult for me. To make matters worse, my boyfriend had another wedding to attend in New Orleans, so I was solo.

daniel wedding

Turns out, I don’t need alcohol or a date to have a good time. I was surrounded by many of my friends and co-workers, and the venue and the weather were both absolutely breathtaking. I was asked to help take pictures of the guests in front and on top of a longhorn that they rented, and I just couldn’t stop smiling. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits, and I left feeling buzzed with love and laughter.

bull

 

So what made this evening so enjoyable? I was there, I was really there. I spoke to people I’d never met, and I really listened to people I already knew.

I’m learning more and more how enjoyable it is to really connect with other people. It’s become apparent to me, how much I miss out spending my life in my own head. I’m really trying to engage in conversations with strangers, and there hasn’t been one time when I’ve regretted it.

I spend my afternoons working the front desk at a dentist office. I love the staff and the atmosphere, but it wasn’t until recently when I really made an effort to get to know the patients, that I felt that my time there was really worthwhile.

I’m trying to talk to the checkers at the grocery store, and to people in line at the coffee shop. Sometimes it’s obvious they don’t want to talk, but even if I just pass along a smile, I feel a surge in my mood.

The rest of my weekend was quite relaxing, which was nice for a change. I babysat for a friend on Saturday morning, and I was glad to finally get to a chance to spend some time with her child. We took selfies and played with trucks and played hide and seek.

pic luke

 

Then I had some time to just do nothing. I set outside in the beautiful Austin weather and read, and did a few meditations.

relax

My boyfriend came back in town late Saturday afternoon and we spent the evening catching up on our weekends and watching the rest of Girls. We also snuggled our furry house mates.

matt stevie

I woke up early Sunday morning and met one of my best friends from high school for a bikram yoga class.

I couldn’t believe it had been SEVEN YEARS since I last saw my friend Allie. Luckily, conversation came just as easy as it always had, and it was absolutely wonderful to reconnect.

The rest of my day was spent writing, podcasting with Mexican Mustache and Madame, and eating some delicious yogurt, which I covered with tasty treats.

yogurt

 

If you haven’t yet listened to our podcast, now is as good time as any to start! You can find us on Darkives, or by searching for Mexican Mustache and Madame on itunes.

breakup sex

What were the high points of your weekend?

 

 

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T.G.I.F. (Truth, Gratitude, I am, Fuck it) (2)

I’m having a difficult time getting motivated today, mostly because I still feel like a pile of boogers crusted over.

My Pathetic Sick Face
My Pathetic Sick Face

Regardless, I’m applauding myself for sticking to most of my goals this week and getting some much needed stuff done.

I enjoyed doing this post last week, so since it’s my blog and since my creativity is zilch-I’m doing it again. Plus there is a lot going on that I haven’t had a chance to get out of my brain so I’m using this post as that opportunity.

Truth:

Ok this is really embarrassing.

I realized this week that I have recently picked up this really bad habit. It’s even more frustrating because I’ve really been focusing lately on trying to establish some good habits, but I guess I still have a lot of work to do.

Back when I was doing trivia, I started allowing myself to buy 2 scratch off lottery tickets per week. I had cash in my hand, and though I’d never really been one to buy lottery tickets, I thought it would be fun. I told myself that I would quit when I lost my trivia gig, but I habitually continued buying two a week… and sometimes three or four.

I know, I know. For an extremely poor person, this is really the most irresponsible thing I could do. But it seemed innocent enough, and more often than not for every 10 dollars I spent, I’d get at least 3 back.

Last Friday, I hit it big for the first time. I mean not like a jackpot or anything, but I won $150 on one bingo card.

Being the completely rational and responsible person that I am, I immediately went and bought $75 worth of more scratch offs.

I’m cringing as I write this.

It took me 2 and a half hours to scratch them all, and in the end I was only $17 dollars richer.

I’ve spent the week agonizing over my stupidity, and rationalizing my impulsive behavior, and I’ve finally decided to let it go.

Also? I’m done buying scratch offs.

Gratitude:

I’ve kept my goal this week of writing down 5 things I’m grateful for every day. Here are a few of my favorites.

*My family- This week I was lucky enough to get some quality time with my family. My parents came into town for a few hours on Saturday and took Matt and I to lunch.

Later that evening I met up with my cousin Andi, who was in town from Chicago, for dinner.

andi carissa 2
Andi and Carissa (and Twinkie)

 

I don’t get to see my family nearly as often as I’d like, so I’m so happy that I got to see so much of them this week.

*Girlfriends-

Earlier this week I posted about how much I love my radio job. I didn’t mention how lucky I am to work with some great girls at my afternoon gig. This week we had some great inspiring conversations between tasks, and its really nice to have that every afternoon.

I also got a chance to spend some time with a new friend, and I was reminded how awesome it feels to get to know someone.

Until recently, I had really put my social life on the back burner, and I’m so thrilled to be cultivating friendships and getting back in touch with old friends.

*Health-

Because I’m sick right now, this one seems to really stick out to me today as being important. I’m lucky that the biggest thing that I have to complain about is a cold. For the most part, I am healthy and strong and I have a capable body that I should nurture and love.

I AM:

Loving- Productivity apps.

Since I’ve started on the path of self-improvement, I’ve been searching high and low for anything that will help me to keep goals and establish better habits. I’ve tried out a few apps and finally found a few that seem to really be helping me.

Habits ProThis is great for holding me accountable for things I want to do daily, plus keep track at what I’m doing well and what I want to work on. You can set your own goals by category, choose how you want to track them, and keep notes on what caused you to succeed or not succeed.

goal app

 

I’ve realized that I really need something to hold myself accountable, and I really enjoy checking things off of a list. I’ll have to let you know if I’m still using it in a week, but for this week- I love it!

Any.do

My coworker turned me on to this one, and I can already tell it’s going to change my life.

I don’t get anything done without a to do list, but the problem is that my to-do lists are usually everywhere from my iphone notepad to my hand. I start notebooks and I forget to look at them. I write notes in my phone and in my calendar, but I forget to look at them.

This is great for me, because you can sync it with your calendar, you can set reminders and alarms, and if for some reason I don’t get something done-it automatically moves to the next day.

to do app

 

Proud of myself for-

Finally cleaning out my closets. For nearly a week my room lived in limbo between my winter and summer wardrobes, and I was determined to get rid of anything that I don’t wear or that doesn’t fit.

I was dreading the task. Getting rid of things is really difficult for me. I always think I’ll figure out some way to make it work or that I’ll need an item for a play or something. I even had pairs of jeans saved from when I was 60 lbs heavier, just in case.

I finally just did it. And after I finished with my closet and the four giant bins, I went through my drawers and my trunk. When it was all said and done, I filled up 6 trash bags to take to goodwill and 5 that I took and sold to a resale shop for store credit.

goodwill

Now, I can finally find things in my closet. The sense of accomplishment is amazing. I want to clean out everything now.

closet
Organized Closets!

 

 

As a reward, I got myself a few new dresses for the spring.

new dress
New (used) dresses from Uptown Cheapskate-Austin

 

*Doing-

Exercising. Even if it’s just a little.

I don’t know what came over me last week, but I really struggled to do anything active. Determined to keep my goals, I really pushed myself to get moving this week. Even when I didn’t want to.

I know I keep bringing it up, but my goal with everything right now is just to establish the habits. I’m not trying to run a marathon, or even a 5K. I’m not trying to lose weight or get into an obsessive work out routine. I’m simply trying to show up and be gentle with myself while getting a little bit healthier both in mind and body.

It was really hot in Austin this week.
It was really hot in Austin this week.

I’m realizing that for me, like a lot of people, the hardest part is actually starting it. I am trying not to set any big expectations, I’m just using the time between my jobs to put on my shoes, put a leash on Stevie Ticks, and get outside.

Most days, that I end up walk/running for 45 minutes.

Even today, sick as I am, I made myself put on shoes and go on a ten minute walk, just to stick with the habit.

Reading-

Better Than Before- Gretchen Rubin

better_front_FINAL.inddThis book has been really inspiring as I work on habits. It’s got some great insight, and I love her style! She also has some great insight into figuring some essential truths about yourself, which I’m finding is really important when trying to change habits.

Fuck it:

I give up. The dead squirrel remains can stay on my front porch.

Matt and I have been battling with a stray cat this week.

Every time I open my door, I find the mutilated remains of a squirrel on my doormat. Each time I see it, I (Matt) pick up the doormat, and fling the squirrel as far as we can into the bushes.

The cat keeps bringing it back.

And each time it comes back, it’s a little less of a squirrel than it was before.

dead squirrel

I’m not sure if the cat wants to give us a gift, if it is trying to brag, or if it knows that I have a sensitive stomach and it wants to gross me out.

Either way, I’ve decided just to ignore it.

Mostly because Matt is out of town for the weekend and I don’t want to get near it. But also because sometimes, you have to choose your battles.

The cat obviously wants to prove something, so now I’m going to let it.

Fuck it.

 

 

 

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Around Austin: Jersey Boys at Bass Concert Hall

I woke up feeling really crappy this morning.

I’m sneezing. I’m coughing. My throat hurty. It feels like there is a monster in my body.  I can’t breathe. When I do get air to filtrate through my nose, giant snot bubbles blow out of my nose.

When I felt it coming on a few days ago, I convinced myself it was allergies. Now, I’m fairly sure that sickness is upon me.

Which is a giant blow to my good streak of positive attitude and energy. I’m trying my best to believe that things were going so well this week that life decided to throw me a challenge to see how I could handle it, and I’m determined to meet it head on.

So enough complaining and on to the good stuff, because there is still plenty of that to focus on.

One of my new-found goals is to take advantage of fun activities.

Too often, I find myself turning down invitations and saying no to events that I know I would enjoy-but feel too overwhelmed by the getting there and the parking and the planning to make commitments.

When I got an invite to attend a Jersey Boys press night at Bass Hall, I’ll be honest-my first inclination was to decline. I didn’t know anything about the musical and I didn’t know if I could find anyone who wanted to go with me.

Over the next few things I kept hearing people praise the musical. My coworkers, Dale and Bob raved about how it was the best musical they’ve seen, and I can’t help but value their opinions. I also took the time to learn a little more about the show.

When I realized it was based on the life of Frankie Valli, who I knew little about personally, but learned that I knew A LOT of his songs, I made the commitment to go.

Jersey boys 1

I’m so glad I did.

It turned out it wasn’t difficult to find someone who wanted to go with me, because apparently, I had been living under a rock and the show had quite a following.

lauren carissa jersey

It was honestly one of the most entertaining, high energy shows I’ve seen in a long time. I knew nearly every song and had a smile on my face and a bounce in my knees for the entire run.

The show follows the story of The Four Seasons- how four boys from Jersey rose from life of hardship to international success. The themes ranged from love and loss to friendship and betrayal. It takes you on an emotional roller coaster where the highs make it really difficult not to squeal with joy.

Jersey Boys

If you get a chance to check it out, you should definitely do so. The show runs tonight through Sunday here in Austin at the Bass Hall, and I really hope you go so I can have someone to talk to this about!


Tickets are available by visiting the Texas Performing Arts website.

( Also published on KLBJFM.com)

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