1989 – Taylor Swift: A Drinking Game

This album sucks so much I decided to make a drinking game out of it to get my money’s worth. I PREORDERED IT. Go on, laugh. I was hoping for another Fearless or Speak Now, okay!? It’s Thursday and the work day’s done, so you have exactly 24 hours to pick your poison. I’ve made it extremely easy for you to celebrate the end of the week in a drunken stupor peppered with intellectual observations (borrowed from me, of course) about this precocious pop culture baby. Just raise a glass to your lips any time Taylor does one of the following things on 1989, her latest masterpiece:

-Rips off Lana del Rey. Whether it’s by name-dropping James Dean just like Lana did on Born to Die, or straight lifting lyrics from that pouty-lipped wannabe Lolita, take a swig every time Taylor Swift exposes her own lack of creativity and originality through homage to Lana del Rey.

-Repeats the same phrase more than two times in a row. In addition to shameless plagiarizing, Taylor also exposes the creative block she clearly experienced in writing the songs on this album in bouts of lyrical repetition that progress to the point of absurdity. For example, each time the chorus plays in “Out of the Woods,” you will — I kid you not — hear the phrase “out of the woods” nine times in a matter of thirty seconds.

-Nauseatingly refers to herself as a good girl. In “Blank Space,” she says “I can make the bad guys good for a weekend.” Other than exposing yourself as an incredibly boring person, I have no other ideas about what purpose this line actually serves. And then, in the space of the same song, you talk about how insane you are – “a nightmare dressed like a daydream” – as if you’re proud of it. You don’t sound that good to me, doll.

-Draws attention to the fact that she wears red lipstick and pretty dresses. We get it, you have a vagina. Most of the rest of us who have vaginas, and probably even some of us who don’t have vaginas, have also participated in these incredibly fascinating activities at one point or another. OMG, cute.

-Sets the bar extremely low for men. “All you had to do was stay,” she whines. Or, better, in “How You Get the Girl,” she instructs dudes to just creepily show up randomly at girls’ houses after six months of not speaking with the mind-numbingly simplistic explanation that “you were too afraid to tell her what you want.” Yeah, no. Don’t try that one on me.

-Uses an overtired, basic metaphor like the weather to convey the changing seasons of love. Just, don’t. 

-Makes obtuse platitudes about love that suggest she’s never actually experienced it. In Welcome to New York, she says vaguely of the city: “like any great love / it keeps you guessing / like any real love / it’s ever changing / like any true love/ it drives you crazy.” K, girl, I don’t know about you, but I can’t love someone until I know them. To love is to know completely and accept anyway. And when I know you, the guessing game is over. Love doesn’t keep you guessing, and that can be the most maddening part of it. Humans are creatures of habit, and predictable, even the so-called unpredictable ones (it takes one to know one). Ever-changing? Again, no. Well, maybe, in the sense that a seasoned love can feel forever modern despite the turning of the years. But the great thing about love is that there’s something about it that’s unchanging and essential, existing outside of space and time. The only one she’s kind of right about is the “drive you crazy” bit, but I feel like she’s just guessing.

Full disclaimer: this rant was probably just fueled by the jealousy of this has-been writer, also born in 1989, who’s had to put her writing on the back burner and blog about shallow stuff like this in her free time. I’m probably just pissed Taylor Swift gets to do it for part of her JOB and this is the only shit she can come up with. Jealousy aside, the girl’s got seven Grammy’s. She’s clearly talented, but I guess I’m still waiting for her to have the types of experiences that would lend her art the kind of depth it should have at this point in her life. Will I keep listening to the piece of shit album? Absolutely. It’s too catchy. And now I’ve got this amazing drinking game to play while I do it. Cheers.

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The Voyager – Jenny Lewis

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Give your ears some lovin’ & plug into this album on NPR for a preview until it becomes available July 29. You’re welcome :)

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Alive – Anthony Lamarr

Early in the year, one of my yoga students asked me to teach a special class that he could film and turn into a music video to accompany a song he had written. It turned out so beautifully that I got shivers watching it. Anthony was able to translate the beauty of real life–the honest yoga practice of flesh and bone people–into an artistic vision and align it with his art. I feel so very lucky that he chose me to work on this project with him. Thanks for the opportunity Anthony, I wish you the best in your music career.

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The Invitation by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

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Dessa – Warsaw

Dessa’s album Parts of Speech is all poetry balanced by raw conviction. If you’re a stranger to this blog, you should know that I admire and frequently profile fierce women who can weave their words together in a way that makes you look at English, a language you’ve spoken your whole life, and see it brand new: a prism of possibility, a vehicle for personality.

I love the more popular “Call Off Your Ghosts” best, but “Warsaw” has a darker, more addictive quality. I like this part:

Waive the charade, man, you lay it on thick,
It’s a dive bar, save the game: you drink and you sit
Easy to please, but hard to impress
I’m in the mood, new shoes, and a bulletproof dress
Sugar on the rim and a shot of mescal
Man it’s murder in the morning, but it’s good for morale

This part too:

And I’m still living by my maiden name
The name I came with, the name I made
And I’m bare-faced at your masquerade
Filled a flask up before I came

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25 Things I Love About Myself

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It’s my birthday today, so I’m all about that self-love good good right now. After years of intense longing and yearning to the point of self-abuse for a differently shaped body as a teenager, I now see my body more clearly for what it actually is: real, beautiful, powerful, healthy, and strong. Here’s a love letter I wrote to it in honor of my 25th year. I hope it inspires you to see the good in your own.

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Scavenger Hunt – Lost

This is kind of perfect. It’s like Robyn had a love-child with Chvrches. I’m not mad.

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Special Two-Hour Aromatherapy Chakra Flow Class at Yoga HEAT in Grand Rapids, MI

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Beyond excited to announce that I’ll be teaching my special two-hour Aromatherapy Chakra Flow Class in Grand Rapids, MI at the wonderful Yoga HEAT. The event is Saturday, March 29 from 1-3 p.m. at Yoga Heat’s breath-taking industrial space replete with reclaimed wood floors, vast windows, and exposed brick on Monroe Street. We’ll flow through an intense and creative vinyasa sequence targeted at opening each of your body’s major energy centers before dialing it down into more yin-like postures. All the while, your class will be punctuated by essential oil aromatherapy and detailed explanations of the chakra system. This is a great way to deepen your practice and treat yourself. I hope to see you there!

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Way Overdue Praise for Beyonce’s Eponymous Album

I’ve been loving on Beyonce’s most recent, self-titled album since it came out toward the end of last year. “XO” and “Superpower” (a collaborative track with Frank Ocean, another love of mine) have been staples on my playlists for class. Though I found the inclusion of recordings from the Challenger tragedy pretty tasteless, I love the passion behind “XO” and the ballad-esque, indulgently, sensually powerful yet calming effects of “Superpower.”
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Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Chakras (But Were Afraid to Ask)!: What Is a Chakra and What Are You Smoking?

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What is a chakra?
The Sanskrit word chakra (hard “ch”) translates roughly to energy “vortex” or “wheel” in English. Sanskrit words are onomatopoetic, meant to sound like the objects they describe. Chakra is a good example of this linguistic quality, the hard “ch” meant to set the energy wheels spinning. Continue reading

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