Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Past 3 Months...

...have been a positive turning point for me, mainly because I've returned to school for a second degree. After graduating from UF last May, I was frustrated (like everyone else) when I couldn't find a real job. I'm a very ambitious person and I expect a lot from myself, so it was hard to swallow what I saw as a failure in not entering the workforce. Harder still when friends around me got hired because it was a mixture of being happy and proud of them vs. the frustation of wondering "When Is It My Turn?"

My other main problem was that I lacked direction. I'm always busy trying to learn so many things that I can't seem to focus at being really good at one thing. That's why I shy away from that ominous question of "What do you want to do with your life?" To which I secretly want to say, "Everything."

What eventually helped me get over my depression was my mother. She'd gone back to school to study paralegal. At almost fifty, my mother was finally doing what she was really interested in after spending the past two decades raising me and my sister. It was inspiring seeing how excited she got about her classes and how hard she worked to get the top grade. It had been a long time since I remembered becoming that motivated over an assignment. That usually only happened when I was doing something creative...and with that thought in mind, I considered returning to school for something design-related. It was sheer luck/coincidence/impeccable timing that I found a banner ad for the Art Institute of Jacksonville and become enrolled in January.

It seems so long ago but really it's only been 10 weeks since I first started at AIJX. Since then, I discovered how much I enjoy the assignments (even this blogging thing!), the design challenges, and seeing how good other students are. I haven't felt this motivated (or competitive) in a long time and that's what turned it around for me. Knowing now that this is a field I can focus on, (hopefully) excel in, and ultimately enjoy in the long run. And meeting crazy/funny/brilliant students and teachers from all walks of life reinforces my belief that these are the type of people I want to work with in the future.

So while my first quarter ends this Friday, for me it's just the beginning.

Of everything.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

If I Could Do Anything in the World, I Would...

... repair broken hearts. (my sister)
... undo loneliness. (me)

What would you do?

Songs For Relationships

So people seem to like the song lists so I figured I'd do another section. This time, I'm focused on songs about relationships and the different phases they encompass. songs can be broken down into these categories:

Just Friends by Musiq Soulchild
Miss Independent by Ne-Yo
Skippin' by Mario
Can We Chill by Ne-Yo
Physical by Olivia-Newton John

Uh-Oh Problems
Ordinary People by John Legend
If I Ain't Got You by Alicia Keys
Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis
Gravity by Sarah Bareilles
You Were Meant For Me by Jewel
Quit Playing Games With My Heart by Backstreet Boys

The Break-Up
Smile by Lily Allen
What Hurts The Most by Rascall Flatts
What About That by Janet Jackson
She's Out Of My Life by Michael Jackson
Irreplaceable by Ne-Yo
Dreaming With A Broken Heart by John Mayer
I Drive Myself Crazy by NSYNC
Nothing Compares To You by Sinead O'Connor

Unfaithful by Rihanna
Confessions Part II by Usher
You Make Me Wanna by Usher
Bust Your Windows by Jazmine Sullivan (though sung here by Glee's Amber Riley
Since You've Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson
Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood
Cry Me A River by Justin Timberlake

Unrequited Love
If It Kills Me by Jason Mraz
You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift
If I Were A Boy by Beyonce
I Need Love by LL Cool J
Invisible by Clay Aiken

Give It Another Try?
Make It Work by Ne-Yo

You're My Soulmate!
Bless The Broken Road by Rascall Flatts
Back At One by Brian McKnight
Love Will Never Do Without You by Janet Jackson
You Light Up My Life by Debbie Boone
How Do I Live Without You? by LeAnn Rimes
P.S. I Love You by Frank Sinatra

I Do (Cherish You) by 98 degrees
Save Me From Myself by Christina Aguilera (music video uses footage from her real wedding)
Let's Get Married by Jagged Edge (and also the remix of the song)
Love and Marriage by Frank Sinatra

Cool Vids Vol. 1

I'm a big YouTube addict and I've been lucky enough to stumble across some really heartwarming and impressive videos.

Stand By Me
"Playing For Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people."

In this video, musicians from all over the world perform "Stand By Me." I love the editing of the video and seeing the different styles the musicians sang the song in. Plus, it's a neat concept! You can visit their website to learn about the project at and how it led to the creation of its own non-profit corporation.

We Got Time
You know how a flipbook creates the illusion a picture is moving because the image slightly changes with each page? Well this video takes that concept but uses a technique that makes it a 1000 times cooler. They used something called
praxinoscopes and matched up the frame rate of the spinning record to that of the camera. No computer super-imposing was used; what you see is what rolled off the camera. A hi-res version of the video can be found here.

Amazing Rocket War
One island. Two villages. 50,000 handmade rockets.

This fun fun fun looking festival occurs in Chios, Greece. The goal? For the residents of two opposing villages to hit each other's church bell with a rocket. Definitely want to be a part of that next year. I'm digging the song used, too.

Where the Hell is Matt?
I'm sure most of you have already seen this video but I couldn't leave it out because it's one of my favorites. This guy Matt took a simple idea and made it relevant for people everywhere, similar to the Playing For Change video. If you haven't seen it, basically Matt dances badly in places all over the world. Which could be lame if he was just by himself but he was able to get locals of each place he was in to dance with him. Not only does this make the video more enjoyable to watch, but the idea that all these different nationalities came together to make it happen was inspiring. It couldn't have happened without the internet since Matt coordinated the "danceshoots" once he received emails from people everywhere wanting him to come visit them.

See how the project was conceived, planned, and executed here. The song, btw, is called "Praan" by Garry Schyman.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Inspirational Songs

Have you ever heard a song and you just stopped whatever you were doing just so you could hear the lyrics? Or stopped mid-conversation with someone just so you could sing along to your favorite song?

Music can make such a big difference in how you feel during the day. It can wake you up in the morning, amp you up while exercising, or make you feel better after a bad day. The most powerful songs make you believe the singer knows exactly what you're feeling and what you went through. These type of songs are the most personal while still having a broad and timeless appeal.

The following are a handful of songs for different moods:

Songs That Make You Feel Better After a Bad Day
  1. Bad Day by Daniel Powter
  2. You Are Not Alone by Michael Jackson
  3. I'll Be There by Michael Jackson
  4. Hero by Mariah Carey
  5. Don't Stop Believing by Journey (I like the Glee version too)
Songs That Make You Wanna Fall In Love
  1. The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson
  2. When I Fall In Love by Nat King Cole
  3. Fly Me To The Moon by Nat King Cole
  4. All My Life by K-Ci and JoJo
  5. Endless Love by Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey
  6. All I Ask Of You by Emmy Rossum

Songs That Help Cope With Loss

  1. One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
  2. Fly by Celine Dion
  3. The Prayer by Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli
  4. Smile by Nat King Cole
  5. Lean On Me by Glee Cast
  6. I'll Cover You by Jesse Martin

Songs To Help You Win
  1. Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
  2. We Are the Champions by Queen
  3. We Will Rock You by Queen
  4. The Show Must Go On by Queen
  5. O Fortuna by Carmina Burana
  6. Defying Gravity by Lea Michele & Chris Colfer
Just Plain Ol' Feel Good Songs
  1. Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
  2. Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (prefer this version)
  3. I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly
  4. Mmmbop by Hanson (yes, I will include Hanson on my list - this song was huge!)
  5. You'll Be In My Heart by Usher

Personal Faves
  1. Don't Rain On My Parade by Lea Michele
  2. Man In The Mirror by Michael Jackson
  3. Stay by Lisa Loeb
  4. All The Same by Sick Puppies
  5. Seasons Of Love by Rent Cast

Here's another post that listed its Top 40 Motivational Songs. Check out the comments because they have good recommendations, too.

Feel free to add to the list! Maybe round out the lists so it's Top Ten for each category?

Inspiration from Disney or PIXAR movies

They get their own section because they're awesome! These are my fave moments from the films:
  • WALL-E: WALL-E and EVE dancing in outer space
  • Beauty & the Beast: the Beast transforming back into a human
  • Finding Nemo: Nemo convincing the fish to swim down to escape the fishermen's net
  • Lion King: Simba taking his place as king and roarringgg
  • Mulan: everyone bowing to Mulan after she defeats the leader of the Huns
  • Up: when the old man looks through the photo album and sees the note his wife left
  • Little Mermaid: Ariel and Eric's kiss and the rainbow at the end of the movie
  • Aladdin: the magic carpet ride during "A Whole New World"
  • Cars: when McQueen finally learns how to "drift"
Lemme know your fave moments!

What Inspires You?

Inspiration comes in many unique forms and occurs at different times of the day. I like it best when I'm not even looking to be inspired. It just happens. Like when you listen to the radio in your car or when you're out jogging and you see a touching scene at a park. What's great is that each person finds inspiration in the most mundane or oddest things. Here's my list of things that give me inspiration, in no particular order:
  • my mother
  • flowers growing between cracks on a sidewalk
  • couples who've been married for 50+ years
  • Shihan's poetry, especially "I Want a Love Like..."
  • single mothers
  • single mothers who go to school and work and take care of their families
  • blind musicians (e.g. Stevie Wonder and Andrea Boccelli)
  • forehead kisses
  • babies laughing
  • fathers walking their daughters down the aisle
  • grandkids holding their grandparents' hands
  • the Best Kiss acceptance "speech" by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams at the MTV Movie Awards
  • birds guarding their nests
  • Sidney Poitier's Honorary Oscar acceptance speech
  • grown men crying from joy or gratitude
  • the sun shining after a rainstorm
  • standing on top of tall structures and feeling the wind in my face
  • sign language

What's on your Inspiration List?