BIG News (…and Noms): Bright Was The Night Release (and Thai Food)

First of all, I have some BIG news. This is the last post through WordPress. As of tomorrow, October 18th, all of my blogging with be through my personal .com.

And yes. This also means that my new website is finally READY! I’m moving everything to http://www.emmagrager.com so that you can keep up with my music and me in the same place.

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Third and final announcement: MY EP, BRIGHT WAS THE NIGHT, IS READY. NOVEMBER 18TH, 2013. PURCHASE IT THROUGH MELLODI. (I’ll explain what theMellodi.com is at a later date:)

Moving on to Thai food. Oh my yum. A while back, we attempted a London adventure through what was supposed to be a decent little market on the south side of town.LRE-2 LRE-3 LRE-4 LRE-6Unfortunately, the market was less than marvellous and, naturally, with most of the nearby restaurants being closed, we were more than snackish. Luckily, we happened upon a tiny Thai restaurant. It would definitely lead the pack in terms of qualifying as a hole-in-the-wall kind of place.

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The same lady who sat us at a table came back a few minutes later to take our orders. Then she dashed behind a curtain near our table and began to stir-fry up a storm. She returned surprisingly quickly with steaming hot plates of delicious green curry. And when we were done, she rang up our bills at the front counter. Serious one-woman-show going on here.

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We were impressed with the unicorn of restaurant combos: the quality of the food, the speediness of order delivery, and the low totals for each meal.

I won’t lie to you, though. I can’t even really properly suggest this place because I do not remember the name. It’s not on any receipts or in any photographs. But if you can get yourself to Cubana, and then go up the little street to your right and look on the right hand side for a tiny place with a Thai menu next to the door, you are in luck.

Love and goodbye-to-Wordpress,

Emma

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Cheers to Gettin’ Older! (I’m Lookin’ at You, Sunee Washom)

Today is the ninth of October, twenty thirteen.

Today is (Colby) Sunee Alfsen Washom’s twenty-first birthday.

Today we are three thousand six hundred seventy miles apart.

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I have always found birthdays a bit peculiar. (If you wonder just how I think they are strange, read more here). I think really that everyone should celebrate mother’s day on their own birthday; I mean, it’s not like I did any work to get here. I’m just glad to be alive!

My point is that birthdays are almost as much about the people surrounding a birthday-er (work with me here) as they are about the actual birthday-er.

Come on: you see it coming each year. Your birthday doesn’t ever truly sneak up on you (unless you’re as forgetful as I am). When it’s your birthday, you have the option of pestering the people around you in anticipation of the date, or you can fly under the radar and hope that your genuine friends remember that you exist.

Maybe you eat some really good Sideboard chocolate cake, maybe you get a few presents, maybe you get a thousand and five Facebook notifications, maybe you accidentally respond with “you too” when people wish you “Happy birthday.” Regardless, there’s not much you personally can do about or on your own birthday (except for one thing I just thought of, which is challenge yourself to try something new; but that really should be an everyday thing, people. Didn’t you learn anything from Eleanor Roosevelt?).

But when it’s your friend’s or your mom’s or your brother’s birthday, it’s a real treat.

You get to rejoice that you have wonderful people in your life. Some of them picked you genetically and inevitably, some you picked by hand through the years and tears. (Oh, the gauntlet that is lasting friendship!)

And when they turn a whole year older, you get to choose a present for them – is there anything better than giving the perfect gift? You get to bake them a cake. You get to write them a card and remind them why you love them and why they are worth celebrating.

Ultimately, birthdays are one example of what true Life, with a capital L, should look like all the time: Rejoicing in giving! Rejoicing in sharing meals! Rejoicing in silly song and dance! Rejoicing in encouraging and affirming the good in people! Rejoicing in the pure grace of being alive!

I am SO blessed to have these kinds friends in my life, the kind that to love to rejoice in Life itself. Sunee is absolutely one of this kind. And today, I am thrilled to rejoice in her life.

So here is to you, dear Sun. Thank you for the opportunity to remember how astonishingly beautiful life is, how wonderfully rich I am to be in friendship with you, and how deeply you bless my life and how constantly you teach me.

We have been Ivy Leaguers,

Temporary Islanders,

Danville Natives,

and On the Roadies/Boaties together

and apart, but together in heart.

We have laughed till we

cried, cried till we

laughed. We have been lost

in familiar places, and found

in strange, bright oceans.

Recently, we have caught sea horses,

Chased sunrises, hunted drones,

and been nothing more or less

than absolutely ridiculous.

Currently, we have missed,

and wished, and embarked:

unique expeditions each,

undeniably each in the place we should be.

I miss you

I love you

Happy birthday, dear friend.

Sorry if the poetry is dreadful or misspelled. I have done nothing but read plays and poems in middle English for the past forty-eight hours. Forgive me if I was confusing inspiration with delirium 🙂

PS now this is legal! Love ya, kid. Hope the London mail gets to you soon:)

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Buckingham Palace

 

Fear not. I took many a picture at Oktoberfest last weekend. Trust me, though, when I say that you do not want to see them until they are carefully curated and edited. So while that’s in the works, I figured I’d get back on the blogging grind and flashback to my trip to see Buckingham Palace (like the real tourist/local/visitor that I am).

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While Buckingham Palace strictly forbids all kinds of photography inside, they let you take as many pictures as you want of the exterior. And yes, Camille, just like every other museum we have visited, I took a sneaky pic on my phone; I hope you like blurry, off-centered chandeliers, sis!

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The happiness on my face is not actually from the nearness of the palace; it is from the first opportunity to wear my new Hunter packable rain boots, which I bought for the English rain. LRE-13

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Our tour group: Jenna, Lexi, myself, Emma D., Lauren, and Katrina

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It was one of those times when you ask a stranger to take your picture (please!) and then realize that you could have framed it a lot better. So you leave the group and take their picture, the way you originally intended: with the splendid palace in the background. Oh well! Look at all those cute umbrellas!

Love and reigny rain,

Emma

Live from London: Summertime Sadness

Live from London will (hopefully) be a series of covers that I post while abroad, since I can’t play out in Nashville and all. (Note: these first two covers were filmed in California – just to be perfectly confusing. The rest will be filmed in my shambly, loud, next-to-a-hospital/lots-of-sirens flat in London.

Feel free to download the audio!

Also, excuse the very lovely freeze-frame of my half-closed eyelids.

Love and Lana Del Ray,

Emma

Rocks in a Circle

Here’s the thing: I thought I’d be really unimpressed with Stonehenge. I thought that after taking archaeology at Vandy and watching a few too many documentaries and History Channel specials on a bunch of old stones that the magic of the mystery would fade quickly after seeing it. I was fully prepared to be let down and to give up the awe that I had associated with Stonehenge.

I was wonderfully wrong.

Instead, I left Stonehenge with a few new, even more awe-inspiring facts that I had known before and a deeper appreciation for the ways of the past. Did you know that 1/3 of each rock is underground? I’m sure you knew that nobody is certain how the ancient British tribes moved the stones from their original quarry to their resting place for the last 5,000 years. Its purpose is still an enigma: was it sacrificial? astronomical? agricultural? religious? ceremonial?

We don’t know.

And I absolutely love not knowing. (I’ve concluded that this is what made Stonehenge so beautiful when in reality it is a circle of really big, old rocks).

These days it is all too easy to Google every query that comes to mind, to have the answer to a previously library-worthy question in a matter of seconds. Google will even brag to you about how quickly they found the answer to what you thought was an ingenious question.

I have a dear friend named Michelle who likes to go “Google-free” on occasion. She likes to actually wonder. I love this about her. When she realized that there were black labs and yellow labs, she wondered – for two days – if chocolate labs were a mix thereof. She did eventually find the answer the old fashion way (you know: logic, reason, critical thinking, networking, actually communicating with the other people around you in a way that confesses and acknowledges that you are not the wealth of all knowledge that society expects you to be, and so forth).

So find a thinkin’ question today. And wonder. Be a little child about it. Be in awe of the little questions you ignore daily. Ask for help! Ask your friends. Ask your mom. If your mom tells you to ask your dad, then ask your dad. If your dad tells you to ask your mom, then ask a friend. (Worst case scenario , check UrbanDictionary).

It’s really not as hard as it seems to put a little of the mystic back in your world.

And what a beautiful world it is when you do not know all the answers AND you are okay with not knowing all of the answers.

 

Because – let’s face it-  if your brain was Google, I would probably have a hard time being your friend. You’d probably finish everyone’s sentences all of the time. Nobody likes a know-it-all.

So be a know-some and wonder-some.

 

Love and wonder,

Emma

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PS for those of you who still wonder about the labrador retrievers mentioned: here ya go. 

Mix It Up: Cross the Pond

Cheerio!

I’ve crossed the pond. It’s made some not so small differences in my life:

1. Internet is limited (what’s wrong with this nation?!)

2. Everything is expensive…and the dollar is weak…so weak

3. My time is split between the lovely London and courses at UCL (4th best university in the world, arguably the best English program), and traveling everywhere I can possibly go without getting into debt in the next three months.

4. I’m now 8 hours ahead of my California home and 6 hours ahead of my Nashy timezoners. This makes everything far more interesting. Late nights and early mornings, people. That’s the way we like it. Also, my body also hates me for travelling on TEN 5+ hour plane rides in the last month. Talk about jet-lag.

5. Trying to coordinate my EP release WAY more complicated than it was in the first place. Part of that is due to the wonderful invention of a little thing called the Mellodi.

You will be hearing more about this music innovation in days to come.

For now, just know that it’s a project my friend/producer Branden Sanders has been working on with all of his brain power and all of his time for the last year and it’s going to change the way that you – especially you college kids– discover new music. New music like my Bright Was The Night EP.

(And yes, I am ACUTELY aware that it is no longer summer, thus this is no longer a summer EP. Trust me when I say that I am devastated that I could not get the music to you yet, but that a series of difficult decisions has led me to believe that this was the absolute best option to broaden the spectrum of listeners for the record and to truly give the album the attention it deserves. Oh yeah, and to be a full-time student and employee and 20-year-old girl. That too.)

6. Life is beautiful and chaotic and messy and frazzled. And I’m in the middle of it. I will be shifting away from the regular blog format in some ways in order to accommodate this London life and tell you about all the amazing experiences I am having.

 

So for now,

Dear you,

Thanks for hanging in there with me, encouraging me, buying my music, sharing it with your friends, reading my rants (blogs?), checking out my pictures, letting me know that I’m not a crazy person for thinking that I can actually do this – any of this! moving to London for a term, writing and recording my own songs, becoming an early graduate student – and for being who you are in my life.

I am your biggest fan.

 

Love and London,

 

Emma

PS pinkies up, people!

 

 

To the Full: Dipsea Day

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See: The Dipsea Trail near Mount Tamalpais is breath-taking. Mom and I picked a perfect day for our hike, sunny and 90 degrees. While we admittedly could have used a little bit of breeze by the half-way point of the trip, it was still a delightful walk through the wilderness. Here’s a little piece of the view we had on the mountainside.

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Taste: We picked a yummy spot for lunch based on a review in this month’s Sunset magazine called The Lunch Box. This little place offers to-go sammies and snackies that are ideal for hikers like us. Suggestion though: drive to the Lunch Box and park there, then walk part way up the trail and then back down. Trust us; this is much easier than the six mile route we took. Mom and I split a “Porky Pig” sandwich, stuffed with pork loin, apple radicchio slaw, whole grain mustard and melted swiss cheese on soft French roll. And check out the little ivy cove we found to have our picnic! I was officially a happy camper at Stinson beach once I had my chocolate-vanilla swirl soft serve.  In short, I am SO grateful for good eats.

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Smell: The ocean. Duh.

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Touch: We climbed across a few trees; most chopped and prepared as bridges, one not so much. I also may or may not have a problem with mindlessly pulling leaves off of plants as I pass them. Like, wherever I go. Even at Vandy. The struggle is real. Leaftomaniac.

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Hear: Again, the ocean. Duh.

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Also, look how cute my mommy is! She’s a gem. Thanks for a great day, MomMom.

 

Love and lunch boxes,

Emma

 

P.S. Hey you, take a hike! Click here to get some more info on hiking the Dipsea Trail.

 

 

Color Splash: TCU Purple (Go Horned Frogs!)

In honor of my little sister’s big move to college, this Color Splash has a TCU theme. Love you, Zu! Go get ’em!

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Find ’em here: 1/Free Run 2 Varsity in purple from Nike //2/irregular stone drop earrings from ASOS//3/Glam, Set, Match! nail polish by OPI//4/Bolero boot by Fab//5/magical thinking arrow-stripe rug from Urban Outfitters

AND for the bonus of the evening, another good ol’ #tbt24 to my mom and her mom at the beach. So excited for a beach day with my mommy tomorrow! (Circa 1970)

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News and Noms: Bikes and Banana Gelato

Nothing makes for a better Wednesday than an afternoon adventure with Leanne Sayson. Since she picked the city last time, I chose the hometown experience for my last week before London. We rode from my house to one of my favorite places in Danville: Domenico’s Delicatessen and Gelateria.

 I apologize for the un-great photography executed by my slowly dying iPhone. Trust me that it was more scrumptious than it looks.

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half a scoop of black cherry chocolate and half a scoop of banana heath bar

Leanne was on super safety patrol, so obviously we wore our helmets (DUH. Lifesavers, people. LIFE. SAVERS. Also known in the ER as “brain buckets”…ooooo).

We had some *cough cough* tricky starts because the seats were a little too high for our short legs.

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PS Don’t you just love these bright beach cruisers?! Good pick, Mom!

Love and SAFETY FIRST!

Emma

To the Full: Kenya

See: EVERYTHING. From cheetahs to exotic flowers to slums to chimpanzees to the value of water.

Taste: Chapati. Oh goodness, how I missed this stuff! Every region has their form of bread; Kenya’s just happens to be incredibly tasty.

Smell: Trash. (Sorry, had to be real with ya). At one point while we were driving through the outskirts of Nairobi, I posed the question “if you had all of the power and influence in Kenya, what would be your first motion with regard to dealing with the issue of trash? What would be your first move in trying to clean it up?” It wasn’t a question to which I had an answer. In fact, half an hour of debate later, we still didn’t have any kind of bright idea on how to get rid of the yuck in the city. It covers so much of the beautiful land that it’s visually devastating. Anybody got a clean up plan?

Touch: Lovely crocheted garbage bags. You read that correctly. Trust me when I say that it was SO much harder to do than it appears. We had a great time laughing our heads off and trying to not look as terribly useless as we actually were, considering we were supposed to be “helpers” at the seminar.

Hear: “HowwwarrrYOOO?!” This cute little Kenyan school kid version of “How are you?” was a joyous noise to our ears that let us know we were welcomed into each community we entered. We were flocked by the masses of kiddos at each school and loved the sea of smiles that greeted us from the moment we rolled on scene. Sometimes, though, we just got stares like the ones from these girlies who were enjoying their afternoon chai and observing the weird mzungus (white foreigners) at recess.

There was only one little child who cried at the sight of my pasty skin. But it made for an astounding photo!

Love and mosquito nets,

Emma