Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 in a nutshell, or rather in a giant glass jar.

It was my goal this year to write down one good thing from every day in 2013. I wrote all of these tiny memories on square sheets on yellow paper, wrote them down, and put them in a glass jar. Unfortunately, the glass jar in question didn't make the trip to my dorm room when I moved away in August, but its practically full nonetheless. Now it's finally time to reminisce on those happy times. Even on days when I was feeling so depressed, I made myself dig deep and find something, anything to put in writing. If you're reading this, I totally advise you try your hand at this project in 2014; I know I definitely will be (and this year I'll actually complete the goal).

My plan for this post was to list some of the highlights and add anecdotes as I saw fit, but instead I thought I'd just list every moment out in order. After all, I want to look back on this webpage and remember who I was when I was 17 or 18, and what better way to do it. I'd love to remember the little things that made me happy and managed to make my days brighter.

**note: these are all verbatim, which makes them so much more fun. The only alterations made are those in brackets and solely for the purpose of clarification and/or to mask the identities of others.
1 January: Saw Perks of Being a Wallflower with Julia.
2 January: Got an 85% on my AP Government test--the one I spent all break worrying about.
3 January: Boston Market macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, and turkey breast for dinner.
4 January: Flourless chocolate waffle for dessert!
5 January: Saw The Guilt Trip with Mom and Jim.
6 January: My shift at work went by quickly today!
7 January: Justin delivered gummi worms to my car after school.
8 January: Pretty Little Liars came back on!
9 January: Julia and I babysat for NHS and she drew a picture interpreting the members of One Direction.
10 January: I had fun serving cake with Julia and Maria at the NHS Induction Ceremony.
11 January: GOT INTO JMU!!
12 January: Sleepover with Julia (we went to Potomac Mills, Noodles & Co., and watched Good Luck Charlie)
13 January: Indian food for dinner! Also I wore a cute outfit today.
14 January: Mommy bought Lofthouse Cookies! And I got my homework done at a reasonable hour.
15 January: Justin gave me five bucks randomly during [study hall].
16 January: The girl that sits next to me in Oceanography gave my 3 BAGELS!
17 January: Accepted to CNU's President's Leadership Program. (I'm still going to JMU, but it's nice to be thought of)
18 January: Went to Josie's [frozen yogurt place] with Ashley and Anna. Also it's payday!
19 January: Watched High School Musical 3 with Julia and fantasized about Zefron in baseball tees.
20 January: Got a mocha light frappuccino from Starbucks on my break from work.
21 January: Went to JC Penney's with Momma!
22 January: Sang "Nerds" by Bo Burnham all during class.
23 January: Watched Modern Family with Mommy and had an Oreo milkshake!
24 January: My NHS points went through without any question--huge sigh of relief!
25 January: Wisdom teeth surgery went A-okay, and apparently I was funny coming off the drugs.
26 January: A well-deserved chill day...even though I can't eat solid food [post-wisdom teeth extraction] so Ashley and Salma brought me ice cream.
27 January: Went to TJ Maxx with Momma and got a tie-dye sports bra!
28 January: Met [former friend]'s kitten, the cutest cat ever.
29 January: Finished all the non-perishable bags for my Senior Capstone Project.
30 January: Unseasonably beautiful day outside.
31 January: Went to a tapas restaurant for Momma's birthday dinner.
1 February: Watched the very last 30 Rock. (Good God, Lemon!)
2 February: Momma's birthday!! And finished my Senior Capstone Project.
3 February: Ravens won the Superbowl, which means we all get 10 extra credit points in AP Psych!
4 February: Panera for lunch with Julia.
5 February: National Free Pancake Day at IHOP!
6 February: Spent almost 2 hours watching good episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S while I did homework.
7 February: Finished my huge Personality Project for AP Psych! Yay!
8 February: Ashley's birthday dinner at Silver Diner.
9 February: IHOP with Maria, Julia, and Rachel followed by a girly sleepover with Julia.
10 February: Took Ashley out for birthday bagels and got to hang out with [other former friend] after, like, 2 months.
11 February: Someone actually let my car out of the parking lot so I didn't have to wait for 20 hours.
12 February: Got a good night's sleep.
13 February: Productive session with [insert therapist's name here].
14 February: Chipotle with Ashley and Justin and John Green announced he and his wife are expecting a 2nd baby!
15 February: I feel like I did pretty well on my Prob/Stat Unit 5 test. (fingers crossed)
16 February: Driving down the parkway with no destination in sight with Julia because Priuses get great mileage.
17 February: Gave my two weeks' notice at [former job], had good Indian food, and watched Perks of Being a Wallflower with Momma.
18 February: Went to [admitted students' tour] at JMU!
20 February: Was very productive doing extra credit for AP Psych.
21 February: Movies and Panera with Momma.
22 February: Julia's Birthday!!
23 February: My Forever 21 package came in the mail! Yay!
24 February: Made $40 babysitting.
25 February: Got to stay home from school just 'cuz.
26 February: Got to have dinner at Monty's with Mommy and Jim.
27 February: Skyped with Claire for over an hour.
28 February: I did a good job during AP Psych learning seminar--Ms Myers [my teacher] said so!
1 March: Made $65 babysitting!
2 March: Harlem Globetrotter's game and DC fun with Julia.
3 March: Discovered "Lego House" by Ed Sheeran and fell in love.
4 March: Went to the gym and worked out for 1 hour straight for the 1st time ever!
5 March: I feel sore from working out which means I'm getting there!
6 March: SNOW DAY!
7 March: 2 HOUR DELAY!
8 March: 95% on my AP Lit Catcher in the Rye essay!
9 March: Got a pedicure, went to TJ Maxx, Target, and Ulta with Mommy.
10 March: I found Dove chocolate in my backpack from Valentine's Day.
11 March: Got an 80% on my Social Psych test!
12 March: I got to wear pink rainboots and got fro-yo with Ashley and Salma.
13 March: Taylor Swift's "22" music video premiere!
14 March: Watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S at the gym.
15 March: Chipotle with Ashley after school!
16 March: Prom dress shopping, pie buying, and sleepover-ing with Julia.
17 March: Went to the gym early in the AM.
18 March: MOMMY CAME HOME FROM SAN DIEGO!
19 March: Warm weather; went to the gym and got Starbucks after.
20 March: We got Blow-Pops in Prob/Stat and had a very productive therapy sesh.
21 March: Two days until break and the first official day of Spring.
22 March: Last day of school before Spring Break.
23 March: Olive Garden with Ashley, Salma, Harley, and Allison
24 March: Free IHOP breakfast with Dad.
25 March: Officially got a gym membership and got in a good workout.
26 March: Panera date with Julia.
27 March: SO PRODUCTIVE! Gym, eyebrow wax, bank, homework.
28 March: Did some of my homework early and read a book for school at Panera.
29 March: Spent the day in Philly with Momma.
30 March: Saw Annie play volleyball with Aunt Susan, Aunt Amie, and Momma and AZIZ ANSARI SHOW with Ashley and Salma!
31 March: Chill Easter at home; dinner and a movie with the fam.
1 April: Got a prom dress AND T-Swift concert tickets!!
2 April: Got a much-needed haircut. Snip snip!
3 April: "Girl's Night In" with Momma.
4 April: Very productive day: went to the gym, did all my homework, and had yummy kale salad for dinner.
5 April: Tyson's, Wal-Mart, and chillin' with Salma, Ashley, and Harley.
6 April: Asian Sesame Chicken salad from Panera.
7 April: Rummage sale at The Ritz with Mom and Jacklyn.
8 April: The JMU One Book [freshman prep guide] came in the mail!
9 April: Got a lot of compliments on the white lacy dress I wore today.
10 April: Had a pretty healthy diet today.
11 April: Got to debut my mint green shorts for the first time all season.
12 April: Gorgeous weather. I wore yellow pants!
13 April: Zoo with Julia, Tim, and Kasey; IHOP with Julia; made $ babysitting.
14 April: My post on the JMU Class of 2017 page was successful, people wanna live with me!
15 April: Teacher Workday! Gym, bank, grocery store: PRODUCTIVITY!
16 April: Got a 98% on my Senior Capstone Project! A+ woo! Also made plans to meet my potential future roomie.
17 April: Had a successful tutoring session and got a good post-conference evaluation.
18 April: Mommy let me sleep in and skip Oceanography.
19 April: Mall and fro-yo with Julia.
20 April: Got to hang out and run errands with Momma.
21 April: Got in a good workout. I'm starting to see more tone in my legs.
22 April: Good workout at the gym. Sweat!
23 April: No AP Psych homework!
24 April: 51/60 on my AP Government practice exam! Woo!
25 April: Finished watching Louder Than A Bomb in Advanced Comp. class
26 April: McDonald's and Fro-Yo Friday with Ashley and Harley (got to use up my punchcard=free 6 oz of fro-yo)
27 April: IHOP and movie day with Julia, Maria, and Megan.
28 April: Ashley Lacey and I officially decided to be roomies!
29 April: Got a free refill at Starbucks.
30 April: Got an A on my AP Psych final! Yay!
1 May: [insert therapist's name here] session and no tutoring (FREEDOM!!)
2 May: Got in a workout; "on that gym grind" or whatever...
3 May: #frostyfriday with Ashley and Harley.
4 May: Harley's birthday dinner at Olive Garden! Breadstix.
5 May: Watch A LOT of Pretty Wild (Nancy Jo, this is Alexis Neiers calling)
6 May: Took my AP Psych exam and felt good about it!
7 May: Randomly gained 10-ish subscribers on YouTube. [yeah I used to make videos, don't worry about it.]
8 May: Very helpful therapy session, I wore a cute outfit today, and went to the gym.
9 May: Did my AP Lit exam! 2/3 AP EXAMS DONE.
10 May: Tyson's Corner with Ashley, Harley, Salma, and Reehba.
11 May: Got Jacklyn to hem my prom dress, bought prom shoes, and babysat ($$$)
12 May: Seth Meyers is set to host Late Night starting next year.
13 May: Finally got back in the gym after feeling really fat...
14 May: LAST AP EXAM EVER!! Skipped 5th and 7th periods to hang out with Ashley (the most beautiful girl in Fairfax)
15 May: SAW AND MET BO BURNHAM OH MY GOD!
16 May: $10 pizza box sleepover realness with Harley.
17 May: Went to breakfast and Wal-Mart with Harley #seniorskipday.
18 May: Hung out with Julia and made our poster for the Taylor Swift concert.
19 May: Lazy day in bed.
20 May: Got most of the work done for my AP Psych Fractured Fairytale project.
21 May: I had a very well-deserved nap.
22 May: Got my huge AP Psychology project back--Ms. Myers thinks I'm funny!
23 May: Fro-yo with Salma after school.
24 May: Finished off a stressful week with the best nap of the century.
25 May: Harley slept over and we watched shitty made-for-TV movies until the wee hours on the AM.
26 May: Went to the gym with Harley.
27 May: Discovered the beauty that is Whole Foods guacamole. I LOVE AVOCADOS.
28 May: Got the yearbook. My senior ad made me cry.
29 May: Hung out with Harley and Ashley and got 2 large fries from McDonald's...oops.
30 May: Made a mockery of our Prob/Stat final project because at this point fuck school.
31 May: PROM. (I actually did have a lot of fun...who knew?)
1 June: Got soft serve ice cream with Momma.
2 June: Went to the gym with Harley (again)
3 June: Alice Green was born!! (the daughter of one of my favorite authors, John Green)
4 June: Panera dinner date with Julia.
5 June: Hung out at Ashley's house after the very last day at the Writing Center.
6 June: Last full day of high school (getting close!)
7 June: IHOP with Tori; Ulta, Tyson's, and sleepover with Jessica and Harley (fun girly time)
8 June: Potomac Mills adventure/hanging out and catching up with Julia.
9 June: Went to Lexy's dance recital and had Panera for dinner with Ashley and Justin.
10 June: Last official day of high school and enrolled in class at JMU.
11 June: Officially no more school work = personal home alone day.
12 June: Won English department representative nominee at the Senior Award Show.
13 June: Justin's birthday dinner at IHOP!
14 June: GRADUATION!!!!!!!!
15 June: Slept in well after All Night Grad Party and 1st official day as a GRADUATE!! And added my teachers on Facebook.
16 June: Went to the Newseum with Pepere and Aunt Amie.
17 June: Family drama finally started to calm down.
18 June: Leftover graduation party ice cream cake and Kardashians marathon.
19 June: Accidentally made a very successful text post on Tumblr.
20 June: BO BURNHAM RESPONDED TO MY TWEET! (He said: "@asauerpatchkid awesome!")
21 June: Delicious Indian food dinner date with Momma. (yum!)
22 June: Went swimming with Salma and Ashley after hours (hopped my first fence ever)
23 June: Saw The Bling Ring with Ashley and Salma at Tyson's Corner Mall (it was flawless) and went to National Harbor.
24 June: Watched Pretty Wild with Ashley and Salma.
25 June: Had a very productive session with [enter therapist's name here] and a superb drive alone down the parkway.
26 June: Geocachine and sneaking out of the house to go swimming with Salma and Ashley.
27 June: Day 1 in Mexico. MOJITOS!!!
28 June: Day 2 in Mexico: pool/beach day with crystal clear waters.
29 June: Day three in Mexico: SNORKELING EXCURSION!!
30 June: Back in America=back with phone and internet.
1 July: Doughnuts and fireworks shenanigans with Salma, Ashley, and Justin.
2 July: Hung out with Ashley and Salma finishing season one of Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous.
3 July: Watched Harry Potter alone and played video games at Salma's house.
4 July: Fireworks and fun with my best friends.
5 July: Brought Chipotle to Ashley's and taught Anna's little brother to say "Gucci Swag". Also saw Julia for the first time in weeks.
6 July: TAYLOR SWIFT CONCERT WITH JULIA (best day ever.)
7 July: Raspberry stuffed french toast at Dor-Stop in Pittsburgh, PA.
8 July: Georgetown fun chillin' with Salma and Ashley.
9 July: Coffee, dinner, and livetweeting One Direction music videos with Ashley and Lexy.
10 July: Went to the gym for the first time in forever at 7:30 AM!
11 July: Free Slurpee Day with Ashley and Lexy.
12 July: Downloaded and rocked out to old school Maroon 5.
13 July: Got Panera and hung out with Ashley.
14 July: It's been exactly one month since graduation.
15 July: Saw Monster's University and got Chipotle with Ashley and Allison.
16 July: Ashley made me a delicious bagel sandwich and we went swimming late at night with glowsticks!
17 July: One Direction's new song got leaked!
18 July: Orientation at JMU was so fun!!
19 July: Went to a Nats Game in the Washington Post suite.
20 July: Went dorm shopping with Mom and had a One Direction music video viewing party with Salma, Ashley, and Megan.
21 July: Drove to Chipotle in Salma's new Camaro!
22 July: BEST SONG EVER DAY! (so hot) (perfect) (I can't)
23 July: TACO TUESDAY!
24 July: Played Mario Party 5 with Ashley and Lexy then got fro-yo!
25 July: 2 AM IHOP trip!
26 July: Target with Ashley, Justin helped me take pictures, and frozen yogurt! Again!
27 July: Annie and Aunt Susan came to visit!
28 July: Movies and gelato with Annie, Aunt Susan, and Mommy.
29 July: Genghis Grill and milkshakes with Ashley and Salma. Also finally got my Starbucks Gold Card!
30 July: IHOP catch up sesh with Julia.
31 July: Laser tagging with Ashley, Salma, Justin, and Hannah. Happy Birthday Jo Rowling/Harry Potter!
1 August: Landed in Rhode Island.
2 August: Chopmist Charlie's clam cakes and chowder. Yum!
3 August: MY 18TH BIRTHDAY! Lunch @ The Ocean House and seeing T-Swift's vacation house!
4 August: Dutch Harbor seaglass hunting with a good music.
5 August: Hung out with Mom and Aunt Amie at the beach.
6 August: Birthday dinner with Ashley, Salma, and Justin at IHOP!
7 August: Ashley threw me a surprise birthday party!
8 August: Free breakfast and Inbetweeners marathon with Ashley.

So apparently I made it until the 8th of August. That's no where near completion, but it's better than a lot of people can say for their New Year's Resolutions. I'm going to try to complete this goal in its entirety in 2014; now that I know I can at least go 8 months, another 4 should be easy. Also if you don't know me in real life, I'm sorry for the confusion as far as names and places are concerned. Just know all the people mentioned are very dear to me, and those whose names I omitted are either professionals I don't want to drag into my adolescent internet diary or people no longer important enough to have that kind of recognition. I'm so glad I was able to look back on this past year by doing this, and I hope you enjoyed reading. Apparently I'm much more of a foodie than I realized, as the foods I ate often made my day. I'm not sure if that's because I was really glum and was just searching for some reason to be happy, or just because food is that good. It's probably a combination of both. Anyway, I hope you all had a great year, and I hope this next one is even better.

Lauren

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Midnight Memories: One Direction Redefines the Boy-Band Genre

If you or someone you know is a teenage girl, odds are you've heard of One Direction. If you're unfamiliar with the band (hi, Mom) here's a quick run-down: they're all super cute and their music is super catchy. If you really need more information, add their movie This Is Us to your Netflix queue, because this blog post isn't a brief history: this is a review of their newest album Midnight Memories.

The album dropped about one month ago, though it leaked online one week earlier, so given five weeks' time, I feel acquainted enough with the new music to properly review it track by track. Below I'll give my brief thoughts on each song accompanied by a numerical score out of 10, followed by my overall thoughts and the album's calculated average. Yeah, you heard me right: I'm about to bust out some elementary math skills for this one, it must be serious.

1. Best Song Ever
This song is practically old news in the fast-moving world of pop music: it came out in late July to accompany the release of the boys' film. While you can't exactly call the beat original, (it bears a striking resemblance to The Who's "Baba O'Riley") it is a perfect storm of music and lyrics that makes for a chart-topping summer anthem. With the premise of dancing all night with a beautiful, unforgettable girl, this song definitely lies in the "boyband" realm, thus providing a good jump-off point for the rest of the album. Good idea to place this track first, because it's quite likely the last we'll be hearing this typical sound from One Direction, so say your goodbyes now.
7/10

2. Story Of My Life
Wait a second, is this the same band that sings "What Makes You Beautiful"? This song has a completely different sound, from the thoughtful lyrics to the soft finger-picked guitar riff lingering under the vocals on this track. Listen to this song once and you'll have it stuck in your head for the rest of the day, and the eerie thing is you're not quite sure why. Its softer, more mellow sound is a surprising departure for the band, opening up their demographic to serve people originally turned off by their earlier work.
8.5/10

3. Diana
Looking at the liner notes for this song, some may be surprised to find band members Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne among the songwriters for this track. But hold the disbelief: these two helped pen the majority of the songs on Midnight Memories; and you thought they were just pretty boys with nice voices. The track is immediately infectious, with its honest lyrics that many fans connect to on a personal level. "Diana", whoever she is, can be interpreted to represent all the people affected by One Direction's presence, and if you're following this belief, it would appear the boys want to give back and reach a hand out. Their harmonious promise to "lift your heart up and save your life" is not only heartwarming, but backed by a good drumbeat.
8/10

4. Midnight Memories
Ahh, here we go, this was the heavy rock influence we were promised with this new album. This title track is most likely going to be the next single promoted, and it's clear as to why: the song follows the band's often-speculated "devil may care" lifestyle: jet-setting from city to city and partying with beautiful people, and what's not cool about that? The only flaw in this song resides in the lyric "5-foot-somethin' with the skinny jeans", because really? That literally describes every single one of your fans, with only a few outliers that will now lie about their height to imagine themselves being serenaded to. Maybe it's just me, but I'm not a big fan of lyrics that follow the premise of describing the dream girl as really, really vague. Other than that though, this song does showcase the more ragged edges of One Direction that make them so likable: they won't promise to learn choreographed dances or wear matching outfits; instead they're going to get 30-some tattoos and add a loud electric guitar to their songs.
7.5/10

5. You & I
The first ballad on the album, much more stripped than those featured on the first two CDs, works with clever wordplay comparing opposites ("right and wrong", "silence and sound") to express feelings of love and affection. While this one is much better than gooey love songs 1D has previously released, it fades into the background of this album's repertoire, not because it's weak or bad by any means, but just because other songs are so good. Seriously though, listen to "Moments", "More Than This", or "They Don't Know About Us" and then give this track another listen to understand the progression I'm talking about here. The earlier songs will pale in comparison.
5/10

6. Don't Forget Where You Belong
Many artists have released a reminiscent track about staying true to their roots; think J.Lo's "Jenny From the Block" or Brad Paisley's "I'm Still a Guy". Even with all of these existing songs standing in the way, this one manages to stand out among the competition. I can just imagine this song playing over a montage of the boys' respective hometowns and families, and I can't help but get a little teary-eyed. Very well done and relevant to their current situation, poignant and a perfect time capsule of their young adult lives.
8/10

7. Strong
One of the strongest (pun very much intended) tracks on the album, "Strong" kicks socially-accepted masculinity in the ass and schools gender roles that exist in idealized relationships. Boys are supposed to be well-adjusted, gruff, and...well...strong, while girls can be sensitive and emotional; at least that's how it traditionally goes. One Direction challenges this idea by saying "is it so wrong that you make me strong?", and as a matter of fact, that's not wrong in the slightest. Another brilliant co-writing effort by Tomlinson, might I add.
9/10

8. Happily
This is my personal favorite song on the album, and I promise it's not just because it was co-written by Harry Styles, easily the cutest member of the group. The song's folky influence, banjos and all, is simply perfect and gives this song just the edge it needs. On the surface, it's another "we broke up, now I want you back" confessional, but just give it a listen and try to leave it at that. If I only had to listen to one song from the entire album for the rest of forever, this would be my pick. I can't recommend it enough.
10/10

9. Right Now
The subject matter of this track isn't concrete, meaning you can apply it to virtually any situation you find yourself in. Basically any time you're missing that special someone or you're feeling overwhelmed, "Right Now" will probably be relevant to you. That being said, the song itself tends to be a little forgettable, in my opinion. It's a nice departure from the band's usual material, which goes something like "baby I miss/love/need/want you", and it certainly shows their growth, but it's not necessarily one of my top picks.
6/10

10. Little Black Dress
If you're just looking at the lyrics on paper, you might confuse this for a repetitive pop song you'd roll your eyes at, but don't be fooled. The song itself is short and classic-rock inspired; think The Monkees if they were still around to make music in 2013. The premise of the song is simple, ("Little Black Dress just walked into the room, making heads turn can't stop looking at you") and that's what makes it so likable. And don't tell anyone, but after I heard this song for the first time I looked in my closet to see if I had a LBD of my own: I don't, and I'll be rectifying that shortly.
9/10

11. Through the Dark
This song again features an indie influence, almost sounding like the lovechild of One Direction and Coldplay. The subject matter of this song is also remarkable: they're singing about supporting a depressed partner, and what could be less boy-bandy than that? With this track, the boys prove they're not afraid to go where other pop artists are afraid to: they'll try their hand at songs that talk about more than sunshine and rainbows.
8/10

12. Something Great
Another song co-written by the always adorable Harry Styles, this time with Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody. Lightbody is also known for co-writing and singing with Styles's ex Taylor Swift, (the track they did together, "The Last Time" can be found on her latest album, Red) who herself is famous for kissing and telling in her songs. Is it possible Harry took a cue from Miss Swift and returned the favor here? It certainly sounds plausible, and the Haylor fan in my heart hopes that's the case, but  even if this one isn't about Taylor, it's a great song. I'm going to recycle a word I've used to describe many of these tracks here and say this one is very honest. I'm trying to find another word so I don't sound vapid, but "honest" just really fits the bill over and over again. Plus, just when you thought this song couldn't be better, the very end is the cherry on top: Louis's voice is in its prime as he sings "you're all I want, so much it's hurting", sounding almost desperate and strained. Yes please.
7/10

13. Little White Lies
If One Direction hadn't mentioned it earlier, they're grown men, and they aren't worried about offending with their sexualized lyrics. Thank God they aren't owned by Disney, otherwise we wouldn't get gritty songs like this one. You know that girl that hooks up with guys a lot, yet claims "I never do this, this never happens"? This one goes out to her. Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with this behavior, and neither is One Direction apparently. Eck hem, Robin Thicke, if you're listening, this is how you write a suggestive song without crossing the "Blurred Lines" into creepy rapist territory.
9/10

14. Better Than Words
Let's just give a hand to Liam Payne real quick, who had the idea to write a song constructed with the titles of those that came before? Brilliant. I'm surprised it hasn't been done already, honestly. And it plays right into the theme of the track, which claims your love is "Better Than Words", it can't even be defined by other great love songs. Give it a listen and watch out for references to Shakira, Elvis Presley, Lionel Richey, Beyonce, Drake, etc. etc. Also try to listen to this one without dancing in your seat, I bet you can't do it.
9/10

15. Why Don't We Go There
If you don't have the Deluxe Edition of this album, you're missing out on these last four tracks, which are all wonderful, so I would recommend you modify your purchase first of all. Now moving on to the song. I always make a habit of listening to this one when I'm driving back form work late at night, as it begs to be heard while speeding down the parkway once the sun sets. The song reminds me a lot of Neon Tree's "Everybody Talks", but in the best way. Plus, Niall's solo in the song's bridge ("Hey, I don't want you to be that want that got away, I want to get addicted to you yeah) is the song's crown jewel, with just the right intonation and sharp beat. Listen to it alone or with a friend in your passenger seat and sing as loudly as you can.
8/10

16. Does He Know?
Another homage to a great song from the 80s, this time Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl", this song similarly talks about wanting what, or rather who, you can't have. The funny thing about this one is the confidence One Direction displays in the lyrics, upon seeing a girl they like, they boldly claim "tonight you're mine. Does he know that you'll never go back?" The reason I find humor in this is because it's completely true: even if you had a boyfriend, if your favorite member of One Direction expressed interest in you you'd forget his name; don't lie you know it's true.
9/10

17. Alive
One Direction is not asking for your approval or your understanding, they're just laying it out there for you: "Hey we hook up with a lot of girls and do whatever we want and that's perfectly okay". This is one of those instances where you realize this isn't the cutesy boyband who was telling you "you've got that One Thing" a few years ago; they're grown up, sexed-up, and they don't give a fuck. It's a welcome change I completely encourage. After all, they work hard enough, they deserve to have a little fun.
8/10

18. Half a Heart
Whoever made the choice to end the album with a bittersweet ballad knew exactly what they were doing, because once you're done listening to loud guitars and drumbeats, it's almost like "Half a Heart" is tucking you in for a peaceful night's rest. A mature take on the ballad, the song's creative lyrics prove One Direction has taken control of their own musical image after being told what to say and how to say it in releases prior. Also, how adorable is it that they choose to say "I'm a half a man at best"? Great way to end the album, if you ask me.
8/10

Overall
I was listening to Up All Night, the group's first record, last night and barely recognized them as the same five guys since I've been acquainted with Midnight Memories. Their maturity and growth is so evident in their music, and the way they refuse to neatly fit into the boy-band box is refreshing. That's why we all like 1D so much, I think: they're a little rowdy and just rebellious enough to be relatable. I for one can not wait until their fourth album release, and until then I'll be listening to this one on repeat.
Calculated average: 8/10

Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed what I had to say about the album. If you have your own thoughts, or disagree with anything I said here, feel free to leave a comment! You have no idea how much receiving feedback makes my day.

Lauren



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Like a Bad Sequel to a Good Movie

If Christmas is a cult-classic film with snappy dialogue and an all-star cast, December 26th is its terribly written, D-list sequel; something akin to Mean Girls and Mean Girls 2. Picture it this way: the 25th is Christmas and the 26th is Christmas 2: Return of the Ugly Sweaters Your Grandma Thought You'd Like. That being said, below are my personal guidelines for navigating the dreariness that follows the most festive day of the Christian calendar.

If you're going to venture out clutching your steering wheel in one hand and Macy's receipts in the other, I advise you to drive carefully, remember in which section of the parking lot you left your car, and take deep breaths as you push through the throngs of traffic both on the roads and in your local mall. Unfortunately, many people will only rest their credit card swiping arm on major holidays, so that means tomorrow those shoppers will be back at it again.* So in short my advice if you're planning on joining them: just don't. Those ill-fitting clothes and ugly knick-knacks will be just as unfortunate in 2014, so just wait until then. As long as you adhere to those return policies, you'll be fine.

Okay, so you really want to return those items tomorrow? You just want to get it out of the way and enjoy the rest of your winter break? Fine, fine, I hear you. I guess if you have to take your gifts back and use up the gift cards from your less inventive relatives on the 26th, listen up: be nice to retail employees. As one of them, I guarantee you will make our day exponentially better if you aren't difficult. We're people just like you, people who don't appreciate being yelled at when we explain store policies we have no jurisdiction over. Especially those of us just hired on for the holiday season. We're thrown into these jobs with limited knowledge just hoping to grab a paycheck while we're home from college. "But Lauren", I can hear you asking, "how do I tell the difference between seasonal employees and regular workers? How do I know which ones to be extra nice to?" Well, generally temporary employees are much more disheveled and sweaty, but if those sensory hints are apparent to you, just go with this rule of thumb: be extra nice to every retail employee. Can you tell I have a 9:00 pm-1:00 am shift tomorrow that I'm a little bitter about?

Anyway, if you're sane and don't want to shop just yet, with your head still reeling from the major damage the holidays did to your bank balance, I have ideas for you, too. Firstly, sleep in for as long as you possibly can. There's a chance you might've been too antsy to sleep in this morning, but the Christmas magic is dead now, at least for the next year, so there's nothing to look forward to! Sleep, for the love of God! Once you've finally risen, take a hot shower and put on makeup if you fancy. While you still can, use as much glitter eye shadow and red lipstick as your face can hold: once we ring in the New Year, you'll go from looking festive to looking like a jolly hooker, so y'know. Anyway, now that you're all doodied up for the day, see the people you wanted to hang out with yesterday but couldn't because of family obligations. Trust me, before my shift from Hell tomorrow, I'm spending some quality time with my friends; I imagine we'll spend a few hours comparing crazy relative stories and eating discounted Christmas candy. Oh! That reminds me! Go to your local CVS or grocery store and purchase discounted marshmallow Santas and chocolate Christmas trees. Your resolution to be healthy doesn't start until January, so you might as well live it up while you can...and then once we roll into March and going to the gym started to be "too hard", feel free to binge eat for the two months you were off the fatass wagon.

And thus concludes my guide for December 26th. I hope you all had wonderful Christmases, if you celebrate; otherwise I hope you had a nice average day. I'm excited to see where this project goes in the new year, and I hope you'll stick around to find out.




*Sidenote: if in some alternate universe the mall was open on Christmas Day, I guarantee people would turn up. I think this is a terrible idea and thus we should never test this hypothesis, but it certainly is an interesting thought to ponder.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Goodbye 2013, Hello Blogosphere!

Interestingly enough, 2013 was a clusterfuck of the best and worst year of my life all slapped into one. When the ball dropped last January, I had just told a boy I liked to leave me alone because his attention made me anxious (we'll talk more about that later), my grand New Year's kiss was strictly cheek action, and I was spiraling into a bout of depression. This gloom-n-doom lasted for roughly six months, during which time I became someone completely unrecognizable to my present self. Without divulging too much personal information that will get me in trouble with my peers, I became so depressed because I placed my trust in the wrong people and as a result was left feeling all alone. So do I have some weird trust and self-esteem issues now? You bet. But the good news is since I graduated from high school I've made amazing life changes and as a result have the best friends and family anyone could ask for. Also luckily for me I specialize in self-deprecating humor, so the emotional scars left over just add to my comedic schtick.

Anyway, enough about Little Miss Miserable, aka Lauren Sauer from 8 months ago, let's talk about how awesome things are now. I'm currently studying at James Madison University, a beautiful campus filled with beautiful people tucked between beautiful mountains.* There I'm studying English and Secondary Education, because when I was about 14 I realized I wanted to write books but when I was 17 my parents told me if I didn't create a shelf life for myself I would regret it later in life. So the plan is to be a world famous writer fucking hoes on the daily**, but also I could teach teenagers about commas and feel fulfilled. That's where this blog comes in: until one of these foreseeable future lives comes to fruition, I'd like to be creative and keep alive my passion for writing.

So what can you hope to find here? My analysis on all life has to offer the average 18-year-old white girl. I hope you like Top 40 music, liquid eyeliner, and feminist rants, because those are my areas of expertise. The goal is to post almost every day, but also the goal is to not feel too irreversibly bound to anything. I titled this blog "I Wrote This in Starbucks" because I feel like following that guideline is an easy way to make sure I'm writing as often as I can: I go to Starbucks just about every day, so why not multitask while I'm refueling?

Also one final note: just in case this blog becomes viral and I become internet famous as "that girl that blogs in Starbucks", resulting in the influx of coffee-themed gifts and mementos to my currently non-existent PO Box, I will always accept Starbz gift cards or a grande nonfat vanilla iced coffee.

See you soon!
Lauren



*Can you believe they denied my application to be a tour guide? I'm selling the shit out of this place.
**By "fucking hoes" I mean "feeding my cats", which is not any sort of innuendo for anything vaginal. I literally mean feeding my cats because we all know I'm a cat-lady waiting to happen