And We’re Back!

BUGGER! I’ve done it again. I’ve abandoned you, my dear blog. I promise you I haven’t stopped thinking about you. I think about you daily. Seriously. I think about how much I suck at life for not giving you love. But I’m back. Giving you my sweet tender, love, and care…for now. I think the problem is that I always want to blog about something substantial. Like, a TOPIC. Not just my raves and rants, even though I have those all of the time. So here it goes. I’m changing my blog style. I am going to post more, even if it means the post is only one sentence long. Who the eff cares, right? Mmm, I feel better already.

Ok, so today, my post is going to be random things that I want to share with you from the beginning of this delightful New Year. Here it goes, in list style.

1. I’ve made lots of new friends and I love it. I have also rekindled some old friendships and it’s awesome. I really am so blessed to have a large, eclectic group of very good friends. Damnnn, I’m lucky.

2. Coachella! Have you SEEN that lineup? Omgomgomg, I am so ridiculously excited to go this year. I’m most excited for: The xx, Passion Pit, Florence & The Machine, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Yeasayer, Local Natives, The Temper Trap, White Rabbits, THOM YORKE, Julian Casablancas…ok, that’s a lot…and there are really so many more that tickle my fancy. For the complete lineup, click here: http://coachella.com/event/lineup

3. AOC wine bar! I ate there with Laura, Alex, and Ting a couple of weeks back and loved this delicious tapas-style restaurant. We even had a fun celebrity sighting (Leo D’Caprio!). If you go, please order their arroz negro with squid and saffron aioli. Holy crap, it’s like crack. Careful though, it can turn your mouth/teeth BLACK (apparently it’s the squid dye they use to color the rice black! Ya, I ain’t kidding).

4.  Alberta Cross is a band I work with on both the management (Red Light Management) and label end (ATO Records). They are really starting to blow up on the indie/alt rock scene and I highly suggest you check them out. They recently played a John Varvatos Grammy Party that I got to go to (‘twas pretty awesome), and they absolutely mesmerized their audience, which consisted entirely of famous people. Pretty sweet. John Varvatos has taken a huge liking to the band and even used their entire record from start to finish for his Fall/Winter fashion show in Milan. Baller. Check it out below.

5. “Cosmic Love” by Florence & The Machine. Love it to pieces. Enjoy.

Alright, that’s it for today.  Stay tuned for more frequent updates!

The Halfie…COMPLETED!

On Sunday, December 13th, I, Brooke Ashley Kayland, completed my first half marathon! I can’t believe I actually DID it. I’m not gonna pretend that I didn’t almost bail on the sucker a few times. There were a couple of weeks where I missed my big training run. (They were held every Saturday morning at 8am, so yes, maybe drinking Friday nights had something to do with the missed runs…umm, who am I kidding, drinking had EVERYTHING to do with the missed runs.) There was a week or two where I didn’t even get in a run at all. Then there was the week I was sick, and the couple of weeks my ankles were really hurting. I nearly convinced myself to give up, but my awesome support team kept me motivated. The days leading up to the run, my “coaches,” Jose and Aylan, had complete faith in me and in my ability to complete this halfie. So I went for it. I went for it, EVEN with the knowledge that there was a 40% chance of showers the day of our race! Running in the rain?! I could barely run in perfect weather, let alone in the RAIN! Lucky for me, race day was beautiful. The sky was clear, the air was crisp; it couldn’t have been a better day to go for a run.

Our race was in Oxnard, and it began inland and ended along the beach, with beautiful views of the ocean. It was a fairly flat, pleasant run…until about mile 11, (of 13.1 miles). I’m not gonna lie, those last couple of miles got pretty tough. It was mostly because my fancy Nike Plus on my iPod was a little bit off and had told me I had completed the half marathon about 1.5 miles from the finish line. So mentally, I was STOKED to be nearly done, (but where was the finish line?!), then I heard a woman cheering me on say, “Only about 2 miles to go!” WOW, that was like a punch to the chest. I wanted to yell back, “Lady, I’m DONE! My iPod says I’ve ran a half marathon!” Instead, I realized, there was no finish line in sight, this woman must be right, and my iPod is screwy. I accepted the fact I had almost 2 miles to go and kept running. It was definitely hard, but knowing I had already gone over 11 miles and that I was about to finish a half freakin’ MARATHON kept my little legs moving. Then I started to see the finish line. Goosebumps popped up on my arms and tears started welling in my eyes, (seriously). I was filled with all sorts of emotions—relief, happiness, excitement, but mostly pride. Then I saw my team! Jose, Aylan, Matt, and Bill who had finished before me, were at the finish line cheering me on. It was such a special moment giving them high fives as I crossed the finish line! I had done it! Finished the damned thing in 2 hours and 28 minutes! Not a bad time, really. I kept a steady pace of about an 11 minute mile. Not fast by any means, but I finished, which was all that mattered. So now my running buddies want me to train for the full LA marathon in March. I’m already halfway there, right?! I’ll keep you posted on what I decide to do.

Here’s the cute little medal I got for finishing :)

Andddd this was my pump up song during the run, “Night by Night” by Chromeo

Brooke’s Top Ten Albums of 2009!

Get ready…I’m about to rock your world.  But first I have to apologize for being MIA again.  It’s been far too long since I’ve blogged.  I promise in the New Year I’m gonna be way better.  Way more committed to you, my loyal blog readers.  So how exactly am I going to rock your world, you ask?!  Well it’s my Top Ten Albums of 2009 list!  You aren’t as excited as I am?  Well whatever, be prepared to have your mind blown and world rocked by this year’s awesome music anyway! :)

So, let’s start from number 10 and work our way down to my favorite album of the year. I’ll also post one of my favorite tracks off of each album. Hooray!

10. xx by The xx

This very young band’s debut album is all about minimal instrumentation, heavy bass, and lots of sex-themed lyrics.  I love it.  Turn it up LOUD, chill out, and enjoy.

“Crystalized”

9.  It’s Frightening by The White Rabbits

It’s Frightening deserves every bit to be on EVERYONE’S top 10 this year!  It’s indie rock with mass-market appeal.  It’s dark, and brooding, and percussion based.  If you like music, you’ll like this album.  Plus, they are on TBD (aka I work with them, sorta), holla!

“Percussion Gun”

8.  Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective

This band is crazy, awesome weird, and so it this album.  It’s got great dance, electronic beats, but is also SOULFUL.  Let’s just say, “I just want four walls and adobe slabs for my girls.”

“My Girls”

7. Fantasies by Metric

Love this electro-pop group’s latest album.  EVERY song on the album is good and has a great chorus.  Plus, their sound is very dreamy, and sends me to another world that only yummy music can.  Double plus, most of the songs make me want to dance.

“Help I’m Alive”

6. Two Suns by Bat for Lashes

Oh how I love Natasha!  Yes, we may work with her, but this album is really an excellent one.  Two Suns is characterized by ghostly vocals, pulsing dance beats, and heartfelt lyrics.  It’s pretty magical.

“Daniel”

5.  Miike Snow by Miike Snow

Lots of great hooks and great beats on this album!  Every song makes me want to dance my booty off for days and days.  Plus they put on a SWEET live show.  LOVE.

“Animal”

4. Conditions by The Temper Trap

Love the falsetto voice of lead singer, Dougy Mandagi, (and his name is DOUGY, ha!).   It’s so unique that this band really couldn’t go wrong.  Mix in radio friendly, catchy tunes and you’ve got one sweet album.  Oh and they’re Australian.  That’s hot.

“Love Lost”

3.  Manners by Passion Pit

I love electro-pop music, and this album is just that!  It’s danceable, happy, catchy, and who couldn’t love the insanely unique voice of Michael Angelakos?!

“Moth’s Wings”

2.  Everything Is New by Jack Penate

LOVE LOVE LOVE this album.  I categorize it as an amazing dance pop album, (new genre?!).  It has very cool, culturally diverse inspired rhythms that you can’t help but NEED to dance to.  It’s optimistic, it’s beautiful, and I just loveeee it/Jack.

“Be the One”

1. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix

This is a GREAT album and my FAVORITE ALBUM OF THE YEAR!  I won’t be surprised if I see this album top many people’s best of 2009 lists.  It is radio friendly, appeals to anyone and everyone, is deliciously pop, and has catchy lyrics to boot.  It’s sold a crapload too.

1901

So there it is, guys and gals, my Top Ten of 2009!  Also, can I just say how much I love music? I mean, I really, really, really love it and am so very glad it’s a part of my life. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!

EAT AT STREET!

A few girlfriends and I had a nice little dinner date at a newish restaurant on North Highland the other night called, Street (www.eatatstreet.com).  My oh my, was it absolutely delectable!  It was started by chef and travel enthusiast, Susan Feniger, whose idea behind the restaurant came from her love of street food.  With the delicacies of street vendors from around the world as her inspiration, Susan has created an incredibly diverse and amazingly tasty menu.  The most delicious thing we ordered was DEFINITELY the Kaya Toast, which hails from Singapore.  The toast is like a mini grilled cheese sandwich, but instead of cheese, it has a coconut jam spread.  You then dip the mini sandwich in a soft-boiled egg that is covered in a soy sauce.   Sounds weird, but it is SO good.  We kept dipping everything else we ordered in the strange egg, soy concoction.  Beyond delicious.  Please allow your mouth to water at the picture of the Kaya Toast below. 

Another yummy street food we ordered was the Spinach Varenky dumplings.  These little guys are Ukranian and are like pillows of fried heaven.  Basically, everything we tried did not disappoint.  Plus, the ambience of the restaurant is very hip and cool.  The walls are painted a deep red and are designed with funky figurines drawn in white chalk. (It felt like we were outside on the street, which is quite fitting for a place named Street, that’s all about street food!) We sat on the patio, next to a cute little fire, and because it was a bit cold, they brought us blankets, (really soft, yummy ones…amazing).  To make things even better, our server was great, the wine was delicious, AND we had a fun celeb sighting.  B.J. Novak of The Office was at the table next to us.  B.J. and I, (yep, we’re on first name basis now), were in each other’s line of sight and kept making eye contact accidentally.  That made our fun girl’s night out even more fun, as you can imagine.  So I think it’s safe to say that I highly recommend this place!  As would the three amazing girls I dined with, two of which have their own blog!  Check them out here: www.lauradaily.wordpress.com and www.vivalemani.wordpress.com. The four of us have decided to try a new restaurant each month and have one of us blog about it!  Stay tuned for more of our fun eating adventures.

Also, because I love Hoagie, here is a very cute picture of him from this past weekend, sleeping on my chest, with his little paw in my sweatshirt pocket.

Second also, because I love music, here is a song that I like right now.  It makes me very happy and I think it will make you happy too!  Here’s “11th Dimension” by Julian Casablancas:

I’m Thankful For…YOU! And Other Things

I’m back!  Blog writing hiatus is over.  It’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted to my blog.  I’ve hated not writing, not expressing myself, not BLOGGING.  The truth is, I’ve just been super busy.  Work has been hectic, life has been hectic, and I haven’t had a chance to sit, relax, and blog.  But here I am, back to the blog.  So, I’ll get to it.  With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, (so scary it’s already mid-November!), I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m thankful for and appreciative of.  The main ones are pretty standard: my family, my friends, my job, Hoagie, Vegas, (ha, not really, but isn’t Vegas so awesome?!).  But then there are the littler things that are part of my life that I’ve realized are just as important to me, and I appreciate just as much as the bigger things.  One thing in particular is live music.  Sounds a bit silly, but hey, I don’t care.  I’d like to proudly proclaim that I am thankful for live music!  Man, there’s really nothing like a good show.  I don’t understand people who have never been to a show before. (For my non-music peeps out there, a show is what you like to call a concert.)  Live music is really so very special, especially when the band is good.  It can make every cell in your body happy.  It can make you dance, sing, and smile even if you don’t normally enjoy doing so, (wait, who doesn’t enjoy smiling? That would be sad).  Let’s be honest, most of you who know me know I can’t sing for crap, but get me at a show, and I start singing like I’ve had natural vocal talent since birth.  Also, I will shake my booty with no shame.  (The singing and booty shaking may also be a result of the multiple vodka sodas I enjoy at shows, shhh don’t tell).  Additionally, live shows are an excellent remedy for the yuckies, (AKA feeling down and sad).  I’ve been in a perpetual yucky state, and going to shows is one of the things that help me shed the yucky shell for a few hours.  I’m so lucky that live music is part of my job.  I’m supposed to go to shows.  Lots and lots of them.  And often.  I love it, (minus the major sleep deprivation it causes).  Last night was Switchfoot at The Roxy.  I work with them, so I’m personally invested, which makes watching them live THAT much better.  Knowing that I play a little part in helping them do what they do brings a whole other level of enjoyment to their live show.  Plus, they absolutely rocked.  If you haven’t bought their new album Hello Hurricane (released yesterday), do yourself a favor (and them a favor, they deserve it!) and go buy it.  Sometimes I forget how incredibly lucky I am that this is my job, (usually happens when I look at my pay check…).  But today I haven’t forgotten.  Today, I appreciate my job and all of the live music I get to enjoy because of it.  Thanks, Red Light!

photo(15)Switchfoot Last Night

Here’s one of my favorite tracks off the album, (although honestly every song on this record is good).  It’s a lovie dovie song which makes me sad, but it’s soooo pretty, so please enjoy “Your Love is a Song”:

And now that I posted a song that makes me sad, let’s post one that makes me happy!  It’s called “40 Day Dream” by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and it’s just really, really happy.  Play this shiz on repeat!

Dead Man’s Bones

Halloween is quickly approaching, so I figured there really is no better time than now to introduce you to the spooky, haunting, creepy band that is Dead Man’s Bones. This two dude band’s front man is none other than Ryan Gosling. Yes, the actor who stars in such films as The Notebook, Lars and the Real Girl, and Half Nelson . I got their demo about a year or so ago, and was told that Ryan was more serious about this band than about his acting. Gosling, and his best friend, Zach Shields, have created a sound that is very reminiscent of the “Monster Mash”…and The Arcade Fire. Strange combination, but if you take a listen to the track below, you’ll get it. Most of their tracks feature a Children’s Choir which gives them an even creepier little sound. I like them, and I think you might too. Happy Halloween!

Enjoy my favorite track, “Lose Your Soul”:

deadmansbones_band_7809_g

VAMPIRES!

Most of you know that I’m a bit on the silly side.  You may be wondering why my blog posts so far have been seemingly normal.  “Where’s the silly, weird, strange Brooke I know?”  Well, I was wondering the same thing.  I realized I wasn’t really being fair to my readers.  I was showing you my very normal side.  It’s a side I have, but it’s not the side of me I cherish most.  I love my weirdness (sometimes…), and in this blog post, you’ll see a bit of that, and I hope you love it too.  So today I’m going to discuss a topic that makes me extremely happy, (I’ve been very down lately, so I figured writing about this VERY AWESOME topic may make me feel better, so here it goes).  I’m going to tell you a bit about my love and minor obsession with VAMPIRES.  I love vampires so much that I asked my roommate Jenn the other night why I couldn’t just be a vampire.  I wasn’t kidding; I was being very, very serious.  I’d love to be a vampire.  I’d love the power, the wisdom, the beauty, the mystery.  Of course, I’d be a vegetarian vampire like the lovely Cullen family, (from the Twilight series, DUH), like the oh so handsome Stefan Salvator, (from my favorite new show on television, The Vampire Diaries), and like Bill Compton, (from the best show on television OVERALL, True Blood).  What’s a vegetarian vampire you ask?  Well we feed on animals, not humans, (OR in the case of True Blood, we drink what’s called “TruBlood” which is a blood drink that’s manufactured without having to harm a human).  Why vegetarian?  Well I wouldn’t want to be an evil and murderous vampire, going around sucking blood from humans because honestly those vampires are SCARY.  I don’t like those types of vampires.  I like the nice ones, and if given the choice, I would want to be a nice one too.  I’d still be very powerful, and would garner much respect, mind you, (don’t be thinking vegetarian vampires are weak, because they are so not).  You may be wondering where this vampire obsession of mine began.  I can tell you that it did NOT start with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, (hated that show, sorry Joelle).  It started with my crazy obsession with the Twilight books.  Yes, I know Stephanie Meyer is not a great author, and that the books aren’t that well written.  But I still love them, and found myself obsessed with a world where vampires were real, kind, and fell in love with average human girls, (like me!).  I was in love with the main vampire character in the story, Edward, and I legitimately wanted to be a vampire and live a life of love and danger side by side with Edward.  He is supposed to be the most handsome hunk of meat on Earth, so you can imagine, when the movie came out, even if I didn’t find Robert Pattinson (the actor who plays Edward) insanely gorgeous to begin with (I did), I associated him with Edward, and in turn, became obsessed with him as well.  Hence, I have a ginormous poster of Robert Pattinson in character as Edward, on the back of the door in my room.   DORK ALERT.

This is what I stare at when I fall asleep:

edward-cullen-robert-pattinson

Around the same time that I was into Twilight, I started watching True Blood.  Oh my God, if you do not watch that show, please START.  It is so freakin’ good.  The premise is that vampires live among humans because, as I mentioned above, they created a drink that vampires can have as an alternative to drinking human blood.  So, as you can imagine, lots of crazy stuff happens when vampires live out in the open.  It makes for a GREAT show and what makes the show even better are the very attractive vampires in it–Vampire Bill and Vampire Eric, so yummy.

Vampire Eric for your viewing pleasure:

TrueBloodEric

True Blood definitely enhanced my special feeling towards vampires.  As did a couple of books written by Christopher Moore called “Blood Sucking Fiends,” and “You Suck.”  These are quick, easy reads that are extraordinarily funny and present vampires in a whole new light.  My most recent vampire infatuation, however, has been The Vampire Diaries.  It’s a new show on the CW that has a very similar storyline to Twilight.  Vampire falls in love with human.  There’s the good and the bad vampire (vegetarian and non), etc.  It’s no True Blood, but it has a cast of some handsome vampires that I sure do enjoy watching for an hour every Thursday night.

Vampire Diaries:vampire-diaries

So moral of this VERY long blog post is this: vampires are awesome, I love them, I want to be one, boy vampires are usually very good looking, and writing this post served its purpose—I feel a bit better now.

Check out my favorite track off the New Moon soundtrack, (latest movie in the Twilight Saga).  The Twilight movies may be crappy, but they do have some great music.  Here’s “Roslyn” by Bon Iver & St. Vincent.  It’s painfully beautiful and seems to match the way I’m feeling these days quite well.