Meg Says, Try This: Bear Naked Granola

Last week, after one of my morning runs I decided it’d be the perfect time to try one of the Bear Naked Granola packages I received from Influenster in my Blossom Vox Box recently! I am a general granola fan, but i hadn’t tried any products from Bear Naked yet. At first, I had a hard time deciding between the two flavors: Sea Salt Caramel Apple or Coconut Almond Curry? I decided to go with the Sea Salt Carmel Apple (I mean, doesn’t that just sound delicious?!)

I poured it in a bowl with some almond milk, and sliced up some fresh banana and strawberry. Wow! What a pairing. It was so fresh and sweet tasting, and I loved the crunch. Typically I’m a cereal fan (generally Cheerios,) but it was awesome the amount of crunchiness, sweetness, and flavor this packed my breakfast with. I have to say too, that it kept me pretty full throughout the morning and I think it was a great energy boost after the heat zapped some of my energy during the run!

Now that I’ve discovered I’m such a fan of this flavor I’ve found myself searching the grocery aisles to explore other flavor options Bear Naked has available, and wow the choices are pretty expansive! I can’t wait to try the Coconut Almond Curry Influenster sent me as well! (Disclaimer: I received the product complimentary in my Blossom Vox Box from Influenster, to test and provide feedback for free but all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.)

Listen to This: “Hush”

My oh my, “Hush” by Angus and Julia Stone is one of the most beautiful songs I know. Somehow it has played on shuffle, each time I’ve been on a walk or run at Cascades Park the past few weeks, and every time I’m reminded of just how lovely it is. The song feels like a lullaby for grownups. The melody and the words, and the culmination of beauty just soothes me. Something about the song has a very calming power. I was first introduced to the fabulous duo on a mixed CD my friend Emily made me in college; one of the tracks was “Red Berries.” They have a very memorable sound, and years later I’m just as in love as the first time I heard them. Perhaps you’re winding down from a busy weekend, or you’re gearing up for a busy work week. If you need a moment to just breathe and remind yourself to take it easy – this song is a great assistant for that. Give yourself a little chill moment.

If you haven’t heard it yet, be sure to check out “Hush” now!

Music Monday, Listen to This: “Wild Child”

I have been binge watching Ally McBeal on Netflix recently. That’s a whole other story, but an on-going story line in the series is that Ally’s therapist suggests we all need a “theme song.” That song you hear in your head that gives you confidence and encourages you to be you, throughout your days. When you’re feeling down, just let that song come to you and live it out.

In more recent days if asked, I’d say my song was probably “Follow Your Arrow” by the amazing Kacey Musgraves. Now, though? I am captivated by Kenny Chesney’s (featuring Grace Potter!!!) “Wild Child.” What a beautiful song! The video is also picturesque – very natural and spirited. The lyrics though…if I’ve ever heard my soul being spoken to through a song – reflecting it? This is it.

“A kaleidoscope of colors in her mind child
A touch of crazy hides behind her wild smile
So simple yet experimental
Innocent but still a little wild child”

See for yourself how wonderful this song is by watching the video below:

Watch This: The Theory of Everything

Hi, readers! I know I have been off the blogging wagon for a little while now; (I’ve been more vigilant in my paper journal writing,) but as of recently I have finally viewed several films that are definitely worth sharing about. Today I took myself on a “me date” to the $2 movies to see the matinee of The Theory of Everything As you’re probably aware, last week during the Oscars Ceremony, Eddie Redmayne won the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking. I admired Redmayne for his craft the moment I saw him on-screen in My Week with Marilyn, (which I blogged about here in 2012,) but after seeing his performance in this film – WOW. The award was definitely well deserved. Both Redmayne and Felicity Jones, who played his wife Jane, gave absolutely outstanding performances.

I’m an emotional film watcher. Actually, I’m just emotional in general. I experience everything to an in intense degree whether it’s film, music, or written material. The Theory of Everything tremendously tugged on my heart strings, though. It was moving, it was inspiring, and it was made in such an incredibly exceptional manner. The cinematography alone is beautiful. I had high expectations for the visuals after the first time I saw a trailer, and I was not let down in the slightest. The film is such a beautiful depiction of struggle and triumph, of unconditional love, of hope of inspiration of living life to the fullest.

The opening scene, and it’s display of the gorgeous Cambridge, England immediately won my heart. The film takes you on the journey of Stephen Hawking’s life as a PhD in physics candidate at Cambridge, where he meets the ever lovely, Jane. He’s quirky and brilliant, and she’s intelligent and beautiful. Not long after their relationship begins, Hawking is diagnosed with a motor-neuron disease. The film follows them on their journey together, the obstacles he faces physical, and what that puts them through emotionally. The story of them building a family, him continuing his passionate endeavors in cosmology, and how the couple grows over the years.

I have to agree with what Eddie Redmayne himself had to say regarding the role:

[he would tackle the part in such a way that] “everything would be connected to everything. Because it is obviously the most extraordinary challenge and responsibility, to be trusted to tell the story of someone’s family, which is also a sensitive and complicated one. And to investigate all these aspects of this iconic human being: the physical, the vocal, the scientific, and then cohere it all in the emotional, because at its heart this is a very unusual love story. Young love, passionate love, family love, love of a subject, but also the failures of love and the boundaries of love.” (How Eddie Redmayne Did It article.)

That is precisely the story – a grand, unusual love story. I was challenged by this film. Challenged about my opinions of enduring love and relationships, and life and hardships and how our trials shape us, and also how the human heart can adapt to life. I was challenged to think about the boundaries of all aspects of life, as well – tangible and philosophical, what our relationships can withstand, the ever expansive possibility in life. This is such a stunningly beautiful film, and it’s driven with soul, and vision, and purpose. This is a splendid telling of the Hawking family’s story. If you haven’t seen the film yet, I highly recommend it!

Turn It Up Tuesday, Listen to This “Simple Song”

Alright, I know everything I’ve been posting lately probably seems oddly interconnected (like my posts for Wish I Was Here, which Zach Braff made and used The Shins music in, and he also made Garden State, which features the line: “You’ve gottahear this song, it’ll change your life, I swear.” (That one’s in reference to “New Slang.”) Anyway, recently I was reminded of the beauty in “Simple Song” by the Shins. And it really is just that…a simple song. The Shins are one of my chill out bands. I can throw on their music and just tune out. It’s nice to have songs like that to turn to at times. If you’re not familiar with this one, I suggest you check out the official video below. And I’ll leave you with my favorite line:

“Love’s such a delicate thing that we do, with nothing to prove, which I never knew…”


Watch This: “Boyhood”

Yesterday afternoon I went to see Boyhood with two of my cousins. It’s Richard Linklater’s latest film. Like Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight he’s teamed up with Ethan Hawke (who plays Mason’s father) once again. The coolest concept of this film to me, (which I saw on the Today Show when I was at my parent’s a few weeks ago) is that it was filmed over twelve years. Basically you see all of these people age, on screen. Kids go through their funky phases and different hair cuts. The audiences watches first days of school, moving to new towns, leaving friends, making new friends, watching parents date, the swapping from one house to another with split parents, the experiences of blended families, new careers.Relationships grow and shift and people make good decisions and bad decisions, and mature throughout time. It’s like the circle of life all played out in front of you.

It was really cool to see newcomers in the film too, but then again if you think about it – they’ve been in the business quite some time, it just took a while to be able to see their work. Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane) was only seven years old when they started this project. I was reading the trivia section on IMDB and fun fact: Lorelei Linklater’s daughter plays Mason’s sister, Samantha! It’s almost three hours long, but I definitely didn’t feel like I’d been in the theatre for that long. In other movies like that, I’ve been known to grow restless, or antsy but this one just didn’t have that effect. (And I didn’t even have to miss anything to run to the restroom, which is always a plus.) It’s also kind of like exploring a time capsule of music throughout that time. While the song selections were subtly, they were obviously chosen with careful intention. The film takes place all throughout Texas, namely Houston and Austin (which just struck my wanderlust even stronger to make a trip to Austin.)

I think it’s an interesting depiction of children that have grown up over the past decade or so, as well. However you want to take it, there’s a shift from kids playing outdoors (even if they’re a bit mischievous in their activities of choice,) and then heavy reliance on video games for entertainment, but then there’s also a creative shift, a definite appreciation for nature. I hate to give away too much about films, even though I want to gush over them and convince you to watch them. But it was cool to see how this family evolved over time, changed roles in society, grew closer together, communicated; the snowball effects of their decisions. This isn’t a film I’d necessarily watch several times, but I definitely recommend it for the viewing experience, if anything just because it’s such a genuine depiction of life. It’s a concept like nothing else I’ve seen before. And how exciting that this project was successfully completed! I for one am so glad this came to theaters in Tallahassee, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that even though it was put in one of the smallest viewing rooms, it was packed! (I love when lots of people are interested in exciting films like this.) If you have the opportunity to catch this film, I’d definitely recommend it, and I’d love to hear about your thoughts afterwards!

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the trailer. Now go check it out:

Turn the Page Tuesday, Read This: “We Were Liars”

E. Lockhart is one of my favorite authors. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is one of my favorite novels. Her characters are typically independent, witty, strong, smart, inspiring young women and their perspective on life and adventures is such a breath of fresh air. Being that I follow about a zillion YA authors on Twitter who were all buzzing about it, I was in the camp of complete anticipation to get my hands on a copy of her latest, We Were LiarsI was following the Tumblr (check it out for awesome quotes, photos, playlists and more) with all it’s bits and teasers, so I knew there was a certain mystique surrounding the story, and I didn’t want the suspense to be ruined before I could read it. I pre-ordered the book, and brought it with me to the beach one weekend, and I read it in a few beach sittings. It’s not my favorite Lockhart novel, but there’s still something…special about it. The curiosity sparked by the mystery was enough fuel for me to keep reading. Plus, the gorgeous description of the Sinclair cousins, and friends? Those beautiful words were enough to suck me in immediately. (Example: He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever.) It’s funny because the characters are so articulately and artistically described in these acute details, but at the same time you don’t necessarily feel like you know their depth. At first this frustrated me as a reader, but later I came to think that it may have been more of a story-telling technique, intentional in its design. I don’t want to spoil the aura of surprise with this one, but I’ll say it’s a story with much more than meets the eye. Perhaps you pick it up and think it will be about a snotty rich family’s summers in the Vinyard, or first love, or teenage rebellion and careless days spent in the cloak of invincibility. Maybe it’s all of those things, but it’s more…there’s the flip side of love in loss, and there’s the struggle of navigating uncertainty in friendship and relationships, there’s the drama of coming to terms with the fact that our family members are humans with their own flaws and mistakes, and it’s about the moments that shape and define who we are and what we will become. Summer may be coming to an end, but there’s always time to pick up this book and jump right back in. Be prepared to get attached to these characters, and maybe for a little bit of shock and surprise. At one point, I felt like I’d been punched in the chest by surprise, and while that caught me off guard, I also wanted to applause the success of plot twists. Definitely a READ THIS! recommendation.

(via We Were Liars Tumblr)

Music Monday, Listen to This: “Raven’s Song”

I know I’ve been gushing about Wish I Was Here lately, and I mentioned how much I loved the soundtrack. I thought I should share one of my favorite songs from the film. Aaron Embry’s “Raven’s Song.” It’s short, and it’s simple but oh there’s so much strength in those couple of minutes. The beauty just exudes from this song, and it’s melody is sweet but powerful. The song is featured on Embry’s album, Tiny Prayers. It’s a rainy Monday here at the beach in Florida and I find a song like this to be perfectly fitting for a slow day. If I could find an official video I’d share that here, but for now I leave you with this hopefully it’s the perfect pick me up your day is looking for:

And the verdict is…WATCH THIS: “Wish I Was Here”

So, I did finally get to see Wish I Was Here this week, and it was everything I hoped it’d be. Braff did it again with his ability to capture the simple moments of life, but also what I like to think of as those, “feeling infinite” moments. If you’ve seen Garden State, to me I categorize that as a pretty intensely emotional film. I have probably shed some tears each time I watched it. WIWH seemed to find a new balance. There is still an intensity, emotional moments, and depth that will tug on your heart but I didn’t even cry once while watching it. When my friend asked me what the movie was about, all I could think to say was…”life.” As cliche as that sounds, I’m still pretty sure it’s fitting. The music was just as incredible as I hoped, and I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on Spotify. If you’re curious I’d still say the themes center around death, and purpose, parenthood, relationships – how we grow up and figure out who we are and what we want out of life. There’s a particular scene I have in mind, between Kate Hudson and Mandy Patinkin at the hospital that just really stole my attention. She has a certain glow when she’s on screen, and she can just steal a scene but the conversation between the two characters was so genuine and so…true to life. Also, little Joey King captured my heart as always. (Ever since I knew she was cast as Ramona Quimby, I just lover her.) Wish I Was Here was funny, refreshing, and beautifully made, (plus the slew of familiar faces popping up throughout the film didn’t hurt either.) If I didn’t convince you last week, here’s my continued encouragement that this one is a definite, “watch this” recommendation.

Listen to This: “The Mother We Share”

I have been on such a Chvrches kick this summer. Like, ridiculously so. (Spotify has a great “Chvrches” radio station, by the way.) In case you’re wondering I’ll go ahead and preface this with the fact that I did not see them at Bonnaroo (too many choices, not enough time!) but I’m sure they’re just as amazing live. Anyway, this is just going to be a little short and simple post to let you know if you’re looking for a little bit dancy, pretty voice, perfect tunes to listen to you should check out their album “The Bones of What You Believe.”  Here’s a little starter song for you, “The Mother We Share” (though, I’ll admit it was hard to pick because they’re all so catchy and good.)

Have you been to a Chvrches concert? What did you think?! I know they’re on tour in Orlando soon and my little concert-loving heart is so, so tempted.