sarahgrand

Month: June, 2016

Awesome Movie Soundtracks & Scores

One of my favorite sources of new music is FILM! Today I will be sharing some of my favorite movie soundtracks and scores. I’ve only included my top favorites here, but of course there are tons of other soundtracks, scores, and individual songs from movies that I really love. Maybe I’ll include them in a future post. I’m always on the lookout for new music, so let me know your favorites too and I’ll check them out!

  1. Pride & Prejudice: This soundtrack was composed by Dario Marianelli and performed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the English Chamber Orchestra. It’s soooo good! Definitely reminds me of the English countryside. I was actually listening to this soundtrack while taking a walk in the park today and it was very picturesque.

  1. Amélie Soundtrack: Most songs from this soundtrack were composed by Yann Tiersen. I think this might be my all-time favorite movie soundtrack. Every song is amazing!! Check it out!

  1. Midnight in Paris Soundtrack: This soundtrack features various artists. I believe it was curated by Woody Allen, who wrote and directed the film, but I’m not 100% sure. I love this song which opens the movie:

  1. Up & Ratatouille Film Scores: Both of these film scores were composed by Michael Giacchino. What I love most about Pixar movies is how much emotion they evoke without dialogue. I think the music plays a big part in this. This one scene GETS ME EVERY TIME and the song goes perfectly with everything in it:

  1. A Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack: This soundtrack was composed by Vince Guaraldi for the TV special. Even though it’s Christmas music, I enjoy listening to it all year round. My dad thinks many of these songs were inspired by Brazilian jazz. After listening more, I see what he means!

  1. Clueless Soundtrack: I love this movie, and the soundtrack is pretty awesome too! It features various artists and definitely gives off 90s vibes.

  1. Juno Soundtrack: Of course I like the Juno soundtrack! This soundtrack also features various artists. I just watched this movie two days ago for the first time since I saw it in theaters in 2007 and I forgot how good the soundtrack is.

  1. The Lizzie McGuire Movie Soundtrack: The Lizzie McGuire Movie never gets old! I’ve seen it way too many times and never get sick of it. I really like the soundtrack too. Again, various artists.

  1. The OC Mix 1/Mix 2: The OC was a TV show, not a movie, so maybe it shouldn’t be on this list. But I listen to the OC Mixes way too often to not give them a shoutout. You’ll definitely get California vibes from listening to them!

  1. 500 Days of Summer Soundtrack: I love this soundtrack featuring various artists! Every time I listen to “Us” by Regina Spektor, I immediately think of the opening scene of this movie. Wait, now I want to watch this movie right now haha.

Hope you enjoyed this! PLEASE LET ME KNOW ANY OTHER GOOD SOUNDTRACKS…I LOVE DISCOVERING NEW MUSIC!!! Thanks!

Why I Can’t Be a “Foodie”

Nothing against foodies, but I just don’t really get the whole phenomenon. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person under the age of 30 that feels this way. I will list some of the reasons why I can’t be a foodie below, and if anyone relates…let me know! We can go to a diner together one day and order burgers and fries or something.

Reasons Why I Can’t Be a Foodie

  1. I Eat Way Too Much Food to Be a Foodie

Foodies are first and foremost concerned with the quality of the food they are eating, not the quantity. For me, the priorities are basically reversed. No matter how delicious something is, if the quantity needed to sustain my ravenous appetite is not there, it’s not doing it for me. #QUANTITYOVERQUALITY

  1. I’m Not Calm Enough About Food to Be a Foodie

Did you ever notice that foodies are generally really calm about food? Like they eat their food really slowly and politely to savor it? Me? For some reason, I’m a literal barbarian when it comes to food. Especially if I’m really hungry –then I definitely lose some of my human qualities and stuff gets weird. This probably isn’t a good thing, but I’m just keeping it real on this blog. I’m definitely not calm enough about food to be a foodie.

  1. I’m Too Cheap About Food to Be a Foodie

Maybe it’s because my mom cooked for my family every night as a kid, but going out to eat, or even getting takeout, seems like a bit of a “treat” to me—not something you do every day. I could probably afford to spend a little more money on food than I do, but I’m just not comfortable with it. Regardless of cost, it’s ingrained in my head that having someone else prepare food for me is kind of a luxury. Foodies seem to have no problem with going to restaurants or buying prepared food multiple times a week though. Quality food is very important to them, so they don’t mind making it a budgetary priority.

  1. I Honestly Don’t Mind Eating Questionable Food

I’m actually pretty picky about the types of food that I like. I don’t eat too much weird stuff. Chicken, pork, or beef? I’m cool with it. Whale? Alligator? DOG? I’m sorry, but I can’t. When it comes to stuff that I actually like though, pretty much anything goes. I’m not a snob about it. For example, I like pizza. Whether you give me a $1 frozen Celeste personal pie, a slice that’s been sitting behind the glass wall of a Ray’s Pizza for 12 hours, or some delicacy prepared by a master chef from Italy, honestly…it’s all cool with me. I mean, like anyone else, I have my preferences, but when it comes to stuff that I like, as long as it’s relatively edible, I’m in.

maxresdefault{Celeste Pizza…I’m down}

  1. I Don’t Have a Yelp Account

I feel like it takes a certain kind of personality to pretend you work for the NY Times Food & Wine section and write critical yelp reviews, and that’s just not me. So that’s another major reason why I can’t be a foodie.

Damage Control:

I wasn’t trying to judge foodies here, I was just trying to explain why I can’t be a foodie. There’s nothing wrong with foodies. If anything, they’re probably one evolutionary level ahead of barbarians like me. But in all seriousness, non-foodies like myself are not less intelligent or less sophisticated than their counterparts. They just have a different relationship with food.

How to Naturally Meet New Friends and Significant Others

In my last post, I claim that you can ALWAYS make new friends. But making new friends isn’t as easy as it sounds. The same goes for meeting new significant others. I definitely do not know all the answers here, but I’ll give some advice on how to go about doing these things from my own personal experiences.

This may sound cliché, but I really believe it’s true:

To naturally meet new friends and/or significant others, simply start doing things that make you happy.

51RDpXB6hSL._SY300_

I’m going to explain three ways you can meet new people you like by doing things that make you happy:

  1. You can meet people directly from doing things that make you happy

This one is pretty simple. Let’s say you really love…soccer! But you don’t play anymore because you don’t have the time, or you don’t have friends that are up for playing with you.

Well, first of all, 99.9% of the time, the excuse “you don’t have the time” is utter bullshit. You probably do have the time, and you’re just not making the time. If you’re reading this right now, then you DEFINITELY have the time, because not only are you spending precious minutes of your day on sarahgrand.wordpress.com, you probably accessed this blog through facebook, which you were probably wasting time on before clicking the link to this post. So that takes care of that. You have the time issue settled.

Now let’s say you don’t have any friends that are into soccer enough to actually want to play with you. If that’s the case, then I suggest you spend, I don’t know, THIRTY MINUTES one day looking up soccer leagues in your area. Unless you live in the rural regions of Siberia or something, I’m pretty sure you can find one within reasonable distance of your work or home. Ta da! You join a league, you’re doing something you love, that’s healthy for your body, WITH other people, who have at least one similar interest, who could potentially become friends or significant others, or introduce you to friends or significant others, and so on and so forth.

Maybe this hypothetical situation seems a little too perfect for you. I get it. It’s not like every time you try something new, all this great stuff is going to happen. But you have more of a chance of something good happening in your life if you try new things than if you stay inside your hermit cave of an apartment and mope around. What’s the worst that could happen? You get in a little better shape?

Maybe this situation seems like a really great idea to you, but you’re just way too shy and/or socially awkward to join a new group or activity alone. This is basically me. When I want to go to an event or join a new group thing, I usually try to coerce a friend to accompany me to act as an awkwardness buffer. Sometimes this works, sometimes this doesn’t. It didn’t work when I joined the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) almost a year ago. I couldn’t convince any of my friends to join with me because none of my friends are into graphic design (understandable). I somehow still built up the courage to join the society on my own though.

I go to AIGA events alone pretty frequently. Even though most of them are panel discussions where you can basically slip in without anyone seeing you, I still get nervous sometimes to show up solo. But it’s getting better. Generally the more times you do something, the more conditioned you get.

I’ve been kind of able to overcome the hurdle, but for some people, going to events alone is just not an option. It’s too anxiety-inducing. If you’re one of these people, that’s totally fine and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. While I think it’s good to get out of your comfort zone (see “The Benefits of Being Single”), the whole point of this post is to encourage you to do things that make you happy. If joining a group activity or going to an event alone (even in an area that you love) is going to make you so anxious and nervous that you won’t be able to act like a normal human being at said group activity/event and won’t be happy there, then maybe it’s not the best idea for you. See method #2 as an alternative.

  1. You can meet people indirectly from doing things that make you happy

When you ask people for advice on how to meet new friends or significant others, they usually suggest doing things like those I mentioned in method #1: join a club or an activity, go to events or just out more in general, use a dating app or meetup.com, etc. While these are probably the most direct ways to meet new people, as I mentioned earlier, they’re not for everyone, especially really shy people. And that’s fine! I personally kind of fall into this group. Right now, I’m decently comfortable with going to AIGA events alone, but I don’t know if I’m at solo “meetup.com” level yet. That’s pretty intense.

Even if I was less awk, it just turns out that most of the stuff that makes me really happy is kind of isolating—like writing or design. I’m not really into group sports or stuff like that. And I have no real desire to join any meetup groups. Whether you’re really shy or your passions are on the more isolating side, or both, understand that it’s possible to meet people indirectly from doing things that make you happy, even if the things that make you happy aren’t necessarily interactive.

Let me explain by using this blog as an example.

I started writing on this blog again because I got some positive feedback on this inspirational “Anyone Can Cook” post on my design website. Getting that feedback made me realize that it actually makes me really happy to share my thoughts, give advice, and help people through my writing. So I started to write again.

Writing makes me happy, but it’s generally a totally solo activity. Starting this blog again, I had no expectations to meet anyone new or gain new friendships from it. The thought didn’t even cross my mind. But since making my first new post less than a week ago, four people (that I’m not even that close to) have privately messaged me to tell me they really like what I have to say! And those reach-outs lead to short chats. And two of those short chats lead to plans to catch up in person.

I’m not necessarily going to become BFFs with any of the people that messaged me—I might not even ever speak to some of them again. But this example just goes to show you that sometimes, when you do stuff that makes you happy precisely because it makes you happy, and have no ulterior motives, other stuff gets accomplished in the process. I hope that makes sense. Basically, things have a funny way of working themselves out when you start following your heart more. So go ahead and do it already!

Having no ulterior motives is something I want to briefly discuss before I move onto method #3. If you join a hiking group just because you want to meet a burly mountain man or lumbersexual, you probably won’t. I mean you might, but I suspect the chances are pretty slim. I don’t know the psychological reasoning behind this, and frankly I’m a bit curious about it, but that’s just the way it seems to go (at least for me). If you join a hiking group because you legitimately like hiking and would consistently show up to the group even if there were no prospects of meeting anyone new there, then I think you have a better shot of meeting new people you like there. So make sure you’re doing things that actually make you happy, and not things that make your imaginary dream man or woman or friends happy.

Finally, there is one last way that doing things that make you happy can help you meet people you like.

  1. You can attract new friends and/or significant others with your happiness (which you have because you’re doing things that make you happy) 

When I was going through my rut junior year of college (which you can read a bit more about here), I started doing more creative things. And that’s when things started falling into place.

It wasn’t even that I just started meeting new people that I liked. Weird stuff started happening. Stars were aligning. I got a new internship, I lost some weight, I started looking better, gaining more confidence, and trying new things. I think all this good stuff started happening simply because I became a happier person overall, by finally making my creative hobbies a priority in my life. Before that, I had just drowned myself in engineering schoolwork, neglected my other passions, and basically decided I was just going to be miserable for the rest of my life.

Happy people are attractive. If you’re smiling and in a good mood, you literally give off a special energy that other people want to be around. I know this is true from my personal experience. Once I started doing things that made me happy, I suddenly felt like guys were actually interested in me (wait WHAT?), and that’s also when I started making new friends. Aside from having a glow and attracting people to you, being happy also gives you a more open mind. You’ll become more open to befriending people or dating people that you might have turned down in a more negative state.

TL;DR

Start doing things that make you happy. Stuff will start working out. You’ll start meeting new friends and significant others, among other good things.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!!

How to Deal with Shitty Friends

I’m almost 24 years old, and for the first time probably since like 1st grade, I actually genuinely like all of my friends. For real. I’m so happy! This might sound a little sad to you at first. But think about it– do you like all of your friends?

o-martin-starr-freaks-and-geeks-facebookjpg-44fd47_1280w{My favorite television friendship – Freaks and Geeks}

For one reason or another, we often find ourselves in friendships with people we don’t actually really like that much. You may be doubting your friendship with a single person, or your entire social circle (cue major life crisis). To keep things simple, let’s say there’s just one friend in your life that’s a bit questionable at the moment. You may have:

  • Liked this person when you first met them, but they’ve changed
  • Never liked this person, but they somehow became involved in your social group, and you’re now forced to hang out with them
  • Have always felt a bit questionable about this person, but went along with the friendship because you don’t have many other options. This person may not be perfect, but at least they’re someone to hang out with

Whatever your pathway to this situation is, life’s too short to get upset or frustrated over shitty friends. I’ve listed some tips for dealing with these people below:

  1. Just accept the fact that a lot of people are totally oblivious to their own rudeness. If I’m late to something, leave someone hanging, flake on plans, don’t hold up on a promise, or just do something plain weird and uncalled for, I feel bad. I explain myself. I apologize. I try not to do it again. Sad to say, but this sort of self-awareness of inconsiderate behavior is actually pretty hard to find in other people. I’m convinced that some humans are missing a “caring sensor” in their brain or something. Pointing out rude behavior to people missing the sensor really won’t make any difference because their brain literally does not understand or register that it is rude. That being said, just because a person is totally oblivious to their own rudeness doesn’t mean they’re a bad person, or even a bad friend. Friends don’t have to be perfect. As I’ll explain later, you can have different friends for different things. As long as a friend isn’t causing you excessive amounts of negative energy or rage, I think it’s okay to accept some dubious behavior. If you’re not willing to accept anything other than perfection, you might end up alone in a basement building peanut butter castles one day, because most people (besides you and your immediate family) are honestly a little bit weird.
  2. Assess the positivity to negativity ratio: I came up with the phrase “assess the positivity to negativity ratio” off the top of my head just now, and I’m honestly kind of digging it. Maybe I’ll write a self-help book called that one day. Anyways, as I mentioned in my last point, as long as a friend isn’t causing you excessive amounts of negative energy or rage, I think it’s okay and normal to accept some questionable behavior. But what if a friend does start causing excessive amounts of negative energy or rage in your life? At that point, it might be best to assess the positivity to negativity ratio. Think about the positive things this person brings to your life – fun, companionship, wingwoman-ship, etc. Then, think about the negative things – frustration, gossip, hurt feelings, etc. If the negative things outweigh the positive things (i.e. the positivity to negativity ratio is off), it might be time for a friendship breakup. I discuss three methods of friendship breakup below:
    1. The Selective Friendship Breakup: As I mentioned earlier, you can have different friends for different things. A friend might be really fun at the bar or in groups, but totally rage-inducing one-on-one. In the Selective Friendship Breakup, you don’t cut this person out of your life, but rather, vow to only spend time with them in the situations where you have positive experiences with them. Note: this only works if you actually keep the vow.
    2. The Gradual Friendship Breakup: In the Gradual Friendship Breakup, you do cut this person out of your life, but slowly and non-obviously. I recommend this method for long-distance friendships or intermittent-friendships (where you can basically pretend distance, work, or other external factors caused the breakup even though you’re actually orchestrating it). I’ve found that the Gradual Friendship Breakup doesn’t really work if you’re bound to run into the person you’re trying to escape from pretty frequently. No matter how much progress you make, every time you run into the person you’re trying to escape, you’re at great risk for going back to square one. The whole effort can easily become cyclic.
    3. The Cold Turkey Friendship Breakup: In the Cold Turkey Friendship Breakup, you literally just cut the questionable person out of your life. Some people (for example, my brother) do not agree with this method. Call me horrible, but I actually kind of like this one. It gets the job done, and that’s not exactly guaranteed with the other two. Plus it’s efficient. If you’re already frustrated with a person, you might not have the patience to successfully carry out the Selective or Gradual plans.
  3.  Understand that you can ALWAYS make new friends: Breaking up with friends is hard, sometimes even harder than breaking up with a significant other! But people change, outgrow each other, and sometimes weren’t even meant to be close in the first place. So, friendship breakups are a natural part of life, and oftentimes necessary for our health and happiness. If you sense it’s time to break up with a friend, or your entire social circle, but you’re scared to disrupt the comfort and familiarity of your current situation and make the move, remember this: You can ALWAYS make new friends. When one door closes, another one opens. I wouldn’t have gotten close to the good friends I have now if I had old shitty friends to fall back on all the time. I’m going to give my advice for naturally meeting new friends and significant others in my next post, and this might help if you’re scared to make the move.
  4. If it’s meant to be, it will be: Friendship breakups aren’t necessarily permanent, even if you use the Cold Turkey method. If you’re truly meant to be friends with a person, you’ll reconnect after a breakup. Sometimes all you need to repair a friendship is some time apart. If it’s meant to be, it will be.

Stay tuned for my next post: “How to Naturally Meet New Friends and Significant Others.”