Ingrid is my homegirl

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The past few days have been full of lots of lovely meals, glorious summer (daily) naps, talking the night away with two old friends, a spontaneous mom-and-me date night (jitas and ritas, what else?), and a quick trip to Dallas to see the one and only Ingrid Michaelson with my my favorite “long-distance” friend, fellow science nerd/future doc, and concert partner in crime.

It’s ironic because the last time we hung out together was at the exact same venue (House of Blues) about this time last year for the Johnnyswim show (swoon to the max). I can always count on Christina to be up for me crashing at her house and taking the city by storm via girls’ night – usually involving fabulous eats, drinks, and music.

We grubbed on delish Mexican and didn’t stop laughing at the shy, awkward waiter obviously trying to flirt with two girls too old for him. We made it to the venue with plenty of time to impatiently wait for the first of two openers to start. The first was a band called Oh, Honey and their music wasn’t the best I’ve ever heard, but they weren’t terrible. I will say the female vocalist definitely seemed to have had a few hits of something backstage, because let’s just say she was really “feeling the music.” The next band (and half the reason I bought tickets) was Jukebox the Ghost, and if you haven’t heard their stuff, you desperately need to. I’d say they are sort of Indie Pop and consist of a simple (but still very full, fun sound) of keys, electric, and drums. These guys are adorable and pretty darn talented. The lead vocalist who plays keyboard simply blew me away with his voice that’s both intense and powerful and still kills the emotional falsetto riffs.

After a painfully long intermission – literally we were fighting through the regret to both wear high wedges – Ingrid finally graced us with her presence. And did she ever make an entrance. Dang y’all. She is unbelievably awesome live, and I’m convinced she came out of the womb as a performer and entertainer. Her set was THE perfect combination of old and new, full band and solo piano/acoustic, emotional and crazy fun, and she interjects so many little comments and stories in between songs that are hilarious, raw, and at times inappropriate – but in a strangely charming way only she can pull off. She laughs at her self, slays every single note, and makes everyone in the audience feel like we were invited to just have a jam session in her living room.

Another concert, another unforgettable night. This one was definitely in my top 5 favorite shows ever (only behind Jon, Switchfoot, and Nickel Creek of course). It was a straight up party, and definitely a summer night out well spent.

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The soundtrack to my college studies

If you know me at all, you know music is a huge part of my life that I could never go without. I’ve written about life-changing concerts, my family’s strong musical roots, my love for singing, and picking acoustic guitar back up this summer. Music is often how I connect with others (if I find out we have common tastes, I can talk to you for hours with unlimited suggestions to check out), deal with certain emotions/situations,  and “when words fail, music speaks.” Ever since the gloriousness that is Spotify came around, discovering new music and finding incredible playlists is basically how I survive the little thing called studying. My friends and I are constantly sharing the latest up and coming band with each other. Two concerts I’ve been to this year (and one next month) have been for artists I just happened upon on Spotify or through word of mouth, listen to on repeat for weeks, see their tour dates, and spontaneously plan a trip to see them. Whether I’m up to my eyeballs with histology notes, cranking out a five or ten page religion paper the night before it’s due (which definitely happened last week for the first time in my college career), or trying to stay awake studying for my mundane business class exams, the music I listen to when I study has played a crucial role in my life as a college student.

All credit for my GPA goes to coffee, colored pens, Spotify, and comfy flannel

All credit for my GPA goes to coffee, colored pens, Spotify, and comfy flannel

If I leave for Common Grounds, Dichotomy, Lula Jane’s, the library, or BSB without headphones and a fully charged computer, studying is a lost cause. I literally can’t study in silence. The loud chatter of sorority girls or stressed freshman isn’t exactly music to my ears, either. Side note to Mom and Dad, Beats or Bose for Christmas??? After all, I would use them all throughout the dental school years.

I’ve recently been hooked on Spotify’s “Indie Folk for Focus” instrumental playlist, but I actually just made a new one called “Study Sounds” tonight. It’s currently sitting at about 29 hours of nonstop songs: more than enough to fuel a full couple of nights hitting the books (or Powerpoint printouts and colored pens – I haven’t cracked open a textbook since I don’t know when). What’s on this A+ mix?

Procrastinated book reviews for Psalms and Wisdom Lit just don't happen without some serious study tunes

Procrastinated book reviews for Psalms and Wisdom Lit just don’t happen without some serious study tunes

Andrew Belle, Colony House, Johnnyswim, Ivan & Alyosha, John Mark McMillan, The Head and the Heart, Sarah Jarosz, Nickel Creek, Jon Foreman, Fiction Family, The Oh Hello’s, Knox Hamilton, Fleet Foxes, Penny and Sparrow, Jon McLaughlin, Ben Rector, Vampire Weekend, Jillian Edwards, Andy Davis

If any of your study playlists or iTunes in general are in a rut, I hope you’ll check some of these artists out. They won’t disappoint.

In other news, tomorrow marks 5 weeks until the first round of acceptances! It’s also when my motivation for this last year’s classes/GPA will probably take yet another hit for the worse. My pre-dent friends and I are already anticipating the big night out [*hopefully*] celebrating years of blood, sweat, and tears to get that coveted letter or phone call. For now I guess I’ve got to get back to those studies for yet another multiple test week…

Still Sing

I know the Lord knows what’s best for me and will always work all things together for my good, but this week I had to struggle a little to fully believe that.

A big thing that’s been on my heart and mind recently is just what my last year here at Baylor will look like, and how God is leading me to reevaluate how I spend my time. I want my priorities to shift from things I have to do to things I want to do. It might sound selfish when I say it like that, but for someone who has balanced a never-ending list of projects, obligations, and responsibilities since I’d say middle school, while still giving full attention to my schoolwork and grades, I don’t feel bad saying it. I think the Lord wants to delight in seeing me thrive and enjoy a little more all-around well-being in my final days here, so that I don’t view college as such an uphill battle but as a place that I loved. Which I do, don’t get me wrong, but a lighter load or more things just for fun never hurt anyone, right?

I mentioned in my last post how I recently was hired to work as an anatomy lab TA next year. This past week was pretty stressful trying to coordinate registering and making my class schedule for the fall to make sure I’d be available to TA two of the labs each week. I had my ideal schedule planned when I was thrown (or rather, threw myself) a curveball.

If you don’t know me that well, something you should know is that I absolutely love to sing. I’ve been in choirs all my life, a small vocal ensemble in high school, had a fun solo in a campus production last year, and even was a member of the Women’s Choir here my freshman year. I’d also say some of my best solo performances have been in my car on my long drives to and from home. My mom is a music teacher, my sister leads worship at her church, and my dad is an amazing self-taught guitarist. Music runs through  my veins.

We have a group here at Baylor called VirtuOso that’s a contemporary a cappella small group – think Pitch Perfect or the TV series The Sing-Off. They perform around campus throughout the year, but also at other venues and even compete at the ICCAs. One of my best friends has been it since it started two years ago, and I give myself the title of their number one groupie. They sing mostly pop music – JT, Lorde, Beyonce, OneRepublic – and are known to do killer mash-ups.

I saw on their Facebook page a few weeks ago that they’d be holding auditions for the coming school year. I’d be lying if I said I had never thought about trying out. I may not be a vocal performance major, but I do know I can blend, hold down some alto harmonies, read music, rock some choreo, and that I would have a blast getting to do something I love in the midst of stressful life as a science major. Come on, senior year – YOLO, right (excuse the terribly overused slang)? I did consider it for awhile, but then as we so often do, I pushed it to the back of my mind as something that could never realistically happen. At a university of several thousand students, what are the chances that I would actually make it, considering I’m not a music major and don’t have any actual a cappella experience?

Well, my friend in the group brought the question back up to me last weekend and we discussed it a little. I blame him for giving me any glimmer of hope that I could possibly make it. I told him I’d already been tentatively assigned to work the lab time that conflicted with the VirtuOso class. I then did a little more tweaking and looking at other options, and I had it where I would have the time slot open potentially if I worked the other lab times. I then even spent a significant amount of time deciding what song I would audition on and told some close friends that all encouraged me to just GO FOR IT. I emailed my prof/boss asking her if it was at all still an option. Well, after much confusion and back and forth decisions on her part and mine, she let me know that in order for me to have the job, I would have to work the Monday/Wednesday lab. Obviously, the job was priority over the audition that could have been in vain anyway, so I changed my schedule back, seriously bummed. Once again, what I had to do trumped what I wanted to do.

After some time getting over my pity party of not even having the opportunity to try for something I’ve always wanted to do, I guess I’ve come to terms about it all. I know I need and want this job, and that being in VirtuOso (as awesome as it would’ve been), would still have been just another thing on my plate to take time away from other things I want to focus on next year like making memories with my friends and being up for whatever, whenever. Not to mention how busy in the fall I’ll be traveling to [hopefully] several interviews for dental school.

God closed this door, but just how many endless ones has he opened for me? He knows my every need and exactly how he will meet those needs. He knows my love for music and would want nothing to stop me from still singing.

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#SicEmSwitchfoot

WOW.  Tonight I had the opportunity to see my *FAVORITE BAND EVER* perform live here at Baylor.

2013, SWITCHFOOT

I can’t remember a time when Switchfoot’s music wasn’t in my life.  I did a little research, and I was able to trace my fan years all the way back to 1999 (yeah, I was 6!). I first heard them on the soundtrack for A Walk to Remember with the song Only Hope and immediately fell for Jon Foreman’s one-of-a-kind voice.  Dare You to Move was 2000.  Talk about making me feel old! 13 YEARS ago.  The rest is history.  I’ve had every one of their albums and know probably at least 90% of all their lyrics.

As I think back on my childhood and teenage years, I can think of so many vivid memories I have that involve singing along “at the top of my lungs” with my sister on family road trips, learning Twenty-Four in my early guitar years, or contemplating life decisions with songs like Restless and This is Your Life playing loud in my car.  Their music never fails to be the ultimate combination of thought-provoking lyrics, melodies you can’t help but join in and belt out, and overall true artistry.

As if seeing them perform some of my favorite songs with pretty good seats plus a premiere of their Fading West feature documentary (so good and a neat look into their lives on the road) wasn’t enough to make this girl already excited, something else happened…

They had said they would answer questions fans had for them on Twitter during the intermission between the film viewing and the concert portion.  Of course I tweeted about five different questions with no real thought that anything would come of it.  Here’s the kinds of things I asked:

IMG_0908 They come out on stage, we all go crazy, they give a little intro, more screaming…Before they start playing, Jon says they had a few questions to answer first.

They each pull out some pieces of paper from their pockets (I guess they were writing down their favorites during the intermission as they saw them on Twitter).

JON FOREMAN THEN SAYS, “JESSIE PRICE!”and continues to read my question… 

My heart stopped and crazy fan-girl screaming commenced so he would know where I was in the crowd.  The question they answered was the instruments one, and Jon said he was so honored that I would say that! I’m literally dying at this point that I basically just had a conversation with my long-time musical/Godly/down-to-earth/Cali-surfer/singer-songwriter man crush in front of a few thousand people in Waco Hall.

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The rest of the concert was incredible, and I was singing every word. It was the perfect mix of old and new, and I am even more stoked for the new full album to come out.  They ended the show, gave a “campfire-acoustic-style” encore, and I even headed over to Common Grounds when I heard they were hanging out and having an unplugged after show in the coffee shop’s backyard until close (yeah, even better).

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Their last song they sang at the concert was one of the best – Where I Belong.  It’s a song about us not being made for this world, but always waiting to arrive in the place we really belong – when we meet our Creator face to face.  It’s an anthem that sets our eyes on Heaven and was so cool to sing with other Switchfoot fans and full-of-faith believers.

Feeling like a refugee
Like it don’t belong to me
The colors flash across the sky

This air feels strange to me
Feeling like a tragedy
I take a deep breath and close my eyes
One last time
One last time

Storms on the wasteland
Dark clouds on the plains again
We were born into the fight

But I’m not sentimental
This skin and bones is a rental
And no one makes it out alive

Until I die I’ll sing these songs
On the shores of Babylon
Still looking for a home
In a world where I belong

Where the weak are finally strong
Where the righteous right the wrongs
Still looking for a home
In a world where I belong

Feels like we’re just waiting, waiting
While our hearts are just breaking, breaking
Feels like we’ve been fighting against the tide

I wanna see the earth start shaking
I wanna see a generation
Finally waking up inside

Until I die I’ll sing these songs
On the shores of Babylon
Still looking for a home
In a world where I belong

Where the weak are finally strong
Where the righteous right the wrongs
Still looking for a home
In a world where I belong

This body’s not my own
This world is not my own
But I still can hear the sound
Of my heart beating out
So let’s go boys, play it loud

On the final day I die
I want to hold my head up high
I want to tell You that I tried
To live it like a song

And when I reach the other side
I want to look You in the eye
And know that I’ve arrived
In a world where I belong

Where I belong

I still believe we can live forever
You and I we begin forever now
Forever now
Forever
I still believe in us together
You and I we’re here together now
Together now
Forever now
Forever now
Forever now