Music is weird

music is weird…I have such strange, picturesque moments associated with some songs. The song “Fireflies” by Owl City takes me immediately back to a 7th or 8th grade dance boppin with my friends, a glo stick and a 50 cent air head that my dad gave me money to buy.

The song “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac gives me a snowy February morning in with Sam Hazo playing us this song through the speakers of the band room

“When Doves Cry” by Prince brings me back to a chilly morning at the U of M for the CIS Comp visit, and browsing through the notebooks in the basement of Coffman at the bookstore (also that bookstore is the best one I have ever been in I am sorry, Drake)

Also, I’m procrastinating my fys essay by writing this post. What is wrong with me

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Shit happened, but in a good way

WELL an awful lot has happened in the two months i have been AWOL from this blog. Since July, I’ve packed for college, moved into college, and spent a wonderful 4 weeks here.

I’ve been here at Drake for about a month now and I am 100% sure I made the right decision coming here. I have met so many wonderful people and gotten completely out of my comfort zone in the best possible way. I know this sounds kinda sappy but I am genuinely happier than I’ve been in a long time.

For the past four years during high school, I felt like I didn’t have a lot to keep going for. I felt like I was just going through the motions to get out of high school for those years. I couldn’t wait to leave. Whoever said that high school is the best four years of your life was definitely wrong. But now that I’m at Drake, I feel like that’s changed. I’m getting involved with activities and events that I am truly passionate about, and I’m in classes (for the most part, at least) that I was excited to take to further my education towards a future career. I’m no longer getting up every morning, going through the motions and falling asleep exhausted.

After 18 long years, I’m finally getting the chance to LIVE, and it’s so refreshing. I’ve always been independent. I dreamed of moving to the city and leaving my old small town behind. I haven’t looked back (except to wonder what in the hell the senior theme is this year…still can’t tell). It gets better. I know I’ve barely started my college career, but i think I’ve changed so much already. I always thought I was a very introverted person during high school, but it turns out that’s not quite true. I just wasn’t surrounded with people who I wanted to be around, and it’s amazing.

I joined the color guard here and although we’re small it feels so good to have guard back in my life. If only Drake had an archery club! I’m considering starting one, to be honest, but the cost of equipment is $$$$! So if anyone knows of some help, I’ll gladly accept it. I’ve also joined the SAB or student activities board, and I’m on the events committee so I get to help plan events on campus–which is super exciting. I’ve also joined the Be The Match organization on campus which organizes drives to register people for the bone marrow registry.

Last but not least, last week I rushed for a professional pharmacy fraternity. If you’re not familiar, it’s a Greek organization structured around the pharmacy profession. They hold professional events as well as working for their philantrophy and doing fun events too. I had thought about rushing socially but I ended up not doing it. I attended the first event out of curiosity and to my surprise I found a fraternity that I got along with and really liked. This past Tuesday was formal recruitment, and in the middle of the night Wednesday night I woke up to members outside my door offering me a bid! I have felt so welcomed and loved by the Kappa Psi community already, before I’m even an official pledge. I so wanted a community and family of support when I came to Drake and I’m so happy I’ve found it. I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes me.

Alright, I think that’s about it for now. Hopefully, I figure out this “regular posting” thing and post a little more about my new life here to write all of the memories here! But for now, my heart is so full. I’m so excited for the next six years.

Love, Annika

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what’s the Buzz? (My first professional musical theater show!)

Jesus and the Ensemble during the Overture and Heaven on Their Minds (Does this photo appear as a painting or is it just me?!?!?) Photo credit to Rich Ryan photography.

As one of my birthday gifts from a few weeks ago my parents gifted me with tickets to see the production of Jesus Christ Superstar at one of the theaters in St. Paul (on opening night no less!!!) I was soooo excited as this musical has one of my favorite soundtracks and this would be my first professional musical. I’ve seen a lot of high school productions and community theater shows over the years but there is definitely a difference in a professional produced, fancy theater with ushers and fancy lounges and some serious staging and lighting and a grassy outdoor amphitheater.

If you are not familiar with the tale of Jesus Christ Superstar, it is a musical from Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber about the last week of Jesus’ life, but it’s told mainly from the viewpoint of Judas. I think the plot is fairly obvious so I won’t go into much detail.

I should mention though that although the base of this musical is pretty obviously taken from the Christian bible… you do not need to be religious to understand or enjoy it. Take me… I am an atheist and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Seeing this won’t make you religious nor will it force anything religious on you! It’s just entertainment 🙂

First, my family ate at the Chipotle across the street and then headed over to the venue about half an hour before the show started. The atrium was so pretty and had these gorgeous lights over the grand staircase. They also had floor to ceiling windows on one wall so you could look over at the park across the street. However, it wasn’t much of a view because there were lots of trees blocking the fountain, but I did not mind since I was mostly people watching.

When we had about 15 minutes left we went to find our seats. They had an usher working at every door leading to the theater so the woman at our door brought us to our seats and handed us each a program. Our seats were on the second floor, on the side. We had a pretty good view of the stage although it was hard to see what was going on in one little corner. The only thing that really impaired my view was the little girl sitting next to me who was SUPER wiggly and not being contained by her mother. Although she didn’t talk and stayed mostly quiet, it was irritating to constantly have to move around in order to have a view of the stage and not a view of the back of her head.

I thought the stage design was pretty cool. I don’t have a picture I took myself, but here is one from the venue where you can see it best:

The cast during “Simon Zealotes” with Simon at the front bottom. Photo credit to Rich Ryan Photography

It’s hard to tell, but there is a large raised square where the ensemble is standing. There are steps behind them that lead to a large “T” walkway going off the sides of the stage and there are steps on the side in the front too that you can see in this photo. I realize that this isn’t the best explanation or photo but I thought that the set was well thought out and designed and worked really well for the play.

I also liked that they had some sort of screen in the very back, which changed throughout the play. In the photo above, you can see a cloudy sunset but it also changed to a moon during the arrest scenes, and glitter during King Herod’s Song.

Jesus and the 12 Disciples at the Last Supper. Judas is in blue, last on the right hand side.  (Photo credit Rich Ryan Photography)

Of course, I have to talk about the cast. I am finding it hard to find anything wrong about the cast…the casting was very well done and every actor and actress seemed perfect for the role.

A few things that this production did differently was the casting of a black man as Jesus, and the casting of a woman as King Herod. I liked these ideas and thought they made the musical more interesting and diverse. Simon and Peter the disciples (the two main disciples besides Judas) were also played by black men.

The man playing Jesus completely blew me away. He was amazing and (this might sound cheesy but oh well) had so much passion in his performance. His take on Gethsemane was very well done and conveyed the hesitation and anger of having to die very well. It was my favorite song of the night. The high notes were spot on. I honestly thought that the length of those notes was edited because I had only listened to soundtracks before that night…nope! I have no idea how, but he held it for ages. I was so impressed; I honestly had no idea a person could hold a note that long live. One thing is for sure, he definitely has a good pair of lungs.

The man playing Judas was also a great choice. Although his voice wasn’t quite in the same range, he made Judas very relatable and personable. Often we hear about Judas as a demon or something very evil and not a person at all, and although I know the point of the entire musical was to show Judas (and Jesus to an extent) as just a person, I thought his performance was especially convincing. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Judas and the position he was in.

Of course the entire cast was amazing. The women playing Mary Magdalene and King Herod had amazing voices too. Minnesota is so full of talent- I love it. It was also so thrillingly creepy to hear Caiphus’s super low voice which was honestly so scary and freaky. Forget Disney villains or Voldemort, the bass voice of Caiphus is all you really need for a good villain.

Overall, I soooo wish I could go back again, or have a DVD of the show. Or even a CD of the audio. I won’t be able to go back, both because of the cost (professional theater is not a cheap pastime, people! I’ve got to get rich so I can keep this up) and because of other commitments. Hopefully I will be able to find a bootleg of it somewhere, someday….I would pretty much give my left arm to have a DVD. (Ordway, if you’re listening…I think that a DVD of the show would be a pretty good idea to start doing if you don’t already…)

OK I am rambling. So I’ll wrap this up quickly: IT WAS AMAZING. I AM SHOOK. MAKE THIS CAST FAMOUS ASAP

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A few weeks ago started their annual birthday sale! For those of you who don’t know Blippo sells all sorts of kawaii goodies like pouches, plushes, stationery items, snacks, and more! They also have free shipping to the US which I am a huge fan of since I would rather jump into lava than pay for shipping.

Their sale is still going on for a few more days I think so if you are interested in checking out the march I would do it now as some of their products are 50% off in the sale section and there are a lot of great deals!

Here is the package just after I opened it. The package was a little dented and there was a small tear on the outer layer of the box but it wasn’t a big deal to me, since the package traveled all the way from Singapore so it had a long journey, and everything inside was undamaged so obviously the box itself and the packing peanuts inside did their job well.

I cannot even tell you how exciting it was to open this package. LOOK YOU CAN SEE SOME STUFF AND IT’S ALL SO CUTE.

I am really struggling with the formatting on this post so I’ve posted my thoughts on each item in the caption space below instead of writing about the item below.

******DISCLAIMER: I bought all of these products with my own money and this post is not sponsored in any way. I am just sharing my thoughts on my recent purchase! 🙂

The first item I got was this cinnamaroll (not sure if I’m spelling this right?) coin pouch! It is SO cute and SO soft! I think this is a great size for holding cards and cash, and it also has a little tie so that you can attach it to a purse or backpack!

This little keychain is three peas in a pod and is also super soft! I love their little faces which crack me up.

This watermelon pouch was actually the free gift I got! Blippo was having a promotion of buy $25 worth of items and get a free pouch, so this is the pouch that I got! It’s pretty big, about the size of my hand, so a lot of things could fit inside.

Here is an adorable elephant keychain I bought as well…. I literally cannot resist the call of the plushes. Help! He is a little smaller than my fist so I think he will be joining the collection on my school backpack.

This little ghost pen is one of the two pens I bought. He is a gel pen I believe and the ghost part pops off to reveal the pen tip. The pen isn’t the best pen I have ever used, but the design is super adorable and I think with a pen like this you are paying for the design and cuteness of the pen more.

This is a set of chopsticks. At the top there are little panda designs with a green polka dot top too. I looove pandas and I love using chopsticks so I knew I had to have these. This was the only non sale Item I purchased, but as they were only $2.50 I thought it was a good deal for me being able to use them over and over again.

Here is the other pen I bought. This pen is also a gel pen, and has blue ink. It’s a simpler design with a cute bunny and bear printed on the pen.

These egg figurines above are actually mini highlighters. Their little faces are so adorable! Each one is a different color. I tried them out, and they are very neon. If you are looking for pastel highlighters this wouldn’t be the pack for you. They work super well and are so kawaii. I think they will look so cute in photos, plus they came in this handy zippered pouch for storage.

These round chicken figures are actually stamps! I opened it up, and the yellow chicken stamps “Bad Egg” with a picture and the green chicken stamps an encouragement. When I opened the green one however the stamp part was falling off! However I put a little glue underneath and stuck it back in, and it’s fine now. I’m not sure if it was originally like that or if it happened during shipping (as it was at the bottom of the box) but it wasn’t a big deal to me since I could easily fix it.

OKAY THIS IS THE LAST PLUSH I BOUGH I SWEAR. This is a little Rabi-dango plush and he has a heavy bottom so that he can sit upright. He is absolutely adorable and fits perfectly in the palm of my hand. When I ordered, I was hesitant to get this one as the only color left was white. I’m so glad I did, though! I feel like I can whisper all of my secrets to him as he sits in my hand 🙂

Here’s a sheet of tattoos I got! They were only around 60 cents so I thought it was a pretty good deal. I can’t wait to use them when I don’t work (other wise they come off super fast) although I don’t know where I will put the antler one.

Last but not least, I also ordered four different sheets of stickers. First, I had a 2 in 1 animal sticker sheet (top left) that came with a few puffy stickers on top, then another sheet with smaller sizes of sticker! I especially love the giant puffy ones 🙂

I also ordered a bunny and alpaca sticker sheet (top right) and this came with a TON of them on the sticker set! These are also puffy but are pretty small so I can stick them in my notebook or planner.

I had another animal set as well which came with a variety of sizes and designs! Also, did I mention the packaging on all of these sticker sheets? It is so freakin cute! I know I’m going to have a hard time using these stickers as I love how the full sheet looks and wouldn’t want to mess it up haha.

Finally, I got one sheet of these super kawaii fruit and vegetable puffy stickers. These also came with speech bubble stickers that say things like “Fresh” and “Hello” which makes me laugh since it looks like the fruit are saying the words! I am kind of regretting not getting a second sheet of these since I think these are my favorites out of the 4.

What was your favorite item from my haul? Leave a comment below! And be sure to check out for all of your kawaii needs 🙂

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Okay we all know those songs that are “summer songs”… you can play them in other seasons but somehow it just feels wrong to listen to them in a season that’s not summer! I know that everyone has their own music taste but I thought this would be a fun way to share mine with you guys! I chose a song for each day of July and combined them to make a playlist! All of these songs can be found on Spotify in case you’re wondering where to find them 🙂

07/01: Welcome to New York by Taylor Swift // I’ve never been a huge TS fan and to be honest I really don’t feel all that great about some of her opinions/stuff she’s done. BUT I recently found out she released all of her music on Spotify at long last, so I decided to check out the 1989 album and to my surprise it had a couple of definite bops! I think this song is very optimistic and I especially like the intro. I’ve never been to New York but I think July ought to be started with an upbeat song, and this fits the bill.

07/02: Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles, covered by Abbey Road // If you are a true movie aficionado you will realize this is the cover used in the Parent Trap movie with Lindsay Lohan! I’ve always loved this song and think it has a neat message about always looking to the future (plus with all the rain I’ve had recently some sun would be nice).

07/03: Disconnect by Clean Bandit feat. Marina and the Diamonds // After over TWO YEARS of waiting Clean Bandit FINALLY released the studio version of this after premiering it at Coachella 2015. Although I hate waiting it was well worth it. This song is great for singing while you drive somewhere in the dark 😉

07/04: Firework by Katy Perry // Okay okay I know this is such a stereotypical song to choose for Independence Day but I can’t help myself! It’s just a bop and fits the theme of the day well if you consider the 4th to be about setting fireworks off.

07/05: American Kids by Kenny Chesney // This is the only country song I will admit to liking. The beat is super catchy, and my aunt played it last summer while out on her family’s boat, so now I associate the song with good memories at the cottage and on the lake.

07/06: It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me by Billy Joel // This song also has such a catchy beat, and is also super fun to sing in the car with the windows down. Even if you don’t know the words, pretty much any word can be used! Once again, this song is just one of those that seem to sound the best in the summer.

07/07: Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys // For some reason I’ve always thought this song sounds super sultry, is that weird? Of course, with a name like the Beach Boys they’re perfect for summer songs and even decades later the song is still relevant (ish).

07/08: Good Time by Owl City feat. Carly Rae Jepsen // This song has been in my Spotify library for years. Every time I listen to it, I just get that feeling of “summer” and having fun with your friends or whomever.

07/09: Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride from the Lilo + Stitch Movie // I love this song because of its relaxed, carefree attitude and the tropical vibe it inspires, which seems perfect for a Hawaiian party or theme.

07/10: Hotel California by Eagles // I think this is absolutely a perfect road trip song. I’m not sure why but it reminds me of traveling, especially in the desert or hot climates.

07/11: Mambo no. 5 by Lou Bega // The 11th is my birthday, so I get to pick this one without anyone judging me 🙂 I honestly love this song and don’t understand why it gets so much hate! I think it’s such a fun song with a funky beat.

07/12: 50 Ways To Say Goodbye by Train // Whatever happened to Train? I don’t hear much about him anymore but his music has such an cohesiveness to it with all of his songs. This is one of my favorites, for no other reason than it just kind of cracks me up, and I like to imagine that this is to explain a summer fling.

07/13: I Love It by Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX // Once again, not much needs to be said except that this is one of the ultimate summer songs and also perfect for blasting with your car windows down!

07/14: Year 3000 by the Jonas Brothers // This song is 100% a throwback but almost a decade later it’s still a total bop. It’s a little sad since they’ve broken up and will never have a song go platinum ever again but I still like to imagine maybe they will be correct about something.

07/15: Counting Stars by Onerepublic // Here again, another quintessential summer song for nights where you’re driving with the windows down.

07/16: Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts // I think this song is a perfect road trip song too. I can listen to it for ages without getting tired but unfortunately the people I’m with in the car don’t always agree.

07/17: Froot by Marina and the Diamonds // I can’t stop listing the summer bops! I don’t listen to this song when it gets cold because I think it sounds the best in the summer (mostly only the summer)! She sings, “I’ve been saving all my summers for you,” but I save all of my winters for this song.

07/18: Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen // Summertime here in the United States means a lot of (and I mean a lot!) flag apparel and country pride. I’m not sure how much pride I should take in my country right now, but this, however, is a song I would for sure burn on a summer CD. Or an Independence Day playlist!

07/19: Hips Don’t Lie by Shakira // This was the song for summer marching band a few years ago, and hearing the trumpets in the intro of this song always brings me back to the parades and hearing real trumpets blast the same melody. So although this song might be okay for all seasons, it will always give me memories from summer.

07/20: Shambala by Three Dog Night // Sitting around a campfire, listening to songs and hanging out with the people you love: this track seems perfect for it. To me, it creates such a relaxed and chilled out atmosphere.

07/21: Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks // I have a hard time explaining how I feel about this song. I know it’s popular, and I think everyone has their own reason for why they love it. So, I won’t even try to explain it: listen for yourself.

07/22: Fireflies by Owl City // You almost thought I forgot this iconic summer song, didn’t you? How could I? This song has been my anthem since I was in sixth grade going to the school dance and living it up with glo sticks and Fireflies blasting from the dj’s speakers. (Don’t actually go out and catch the fireflies if you have them in your area though please!! Let them live their life 🙂 )

07/23: Shots by Imagine Dragons // Here’s a song that maybe doesn’t have the best message for summer chillaxing, but personally I think it’s another track perfect for singing along to loudly in your car at night. There’s a lot of room for lip-syncing creativity here.

07/24: Best Song Ever by One Direction // I’ve never been a huge One Direction fan but at the ripe old age of 16 I found some of their music and discovered there were some songs I really liked; this is one of them. It seems like a great song to play almost whenever. I think it fits in a ton of moods and schemes, even summer.

07/25: Secondhand News by Fleetwood Mac // This is one of my favorite songs to blast and sing along to on my way home from work. Although it might not scream summer, something in the lyrics calls warm weather to mind: “Lay me down in the grass and let me get my stuff.”

07/26: Born To Die by Lana Del Rey // Although Summertime Sadness might be her most popular summer hit (at least in my thoughts) I’ve always thought this one was maybe better. To me, it seems like a sad farewell song at the end of the summer. Even though the end of summer isn’t July 26th, August brings back thoughts of school and lessens the carefree feeling of summer.

07/27: My House by Flo Rida // Hopefully the radio hasn’t overplayed this one. I really never listen to radio stations, so I don’t know. Let’s be honest though, this is a prime party-starting song and summer is for partying (if you’re not me)… I don’t know maybe that’s a stretch? The fact remains, however, that this is a total bop.

07/28: Thriller by Michael Jackson // I have to admit the music would be a super cool date 🙂 That said I think this is such a great summer song. The music video seems like a summer setting, and it’s also a little spooky which means I think it’s fun to play at campfires or places when it’s getting dark.

07/29: Raspberry Beret by Prince // This would not be a true playlist until Prince was in the mix (spoken like a true Minnesotan am I right?) Pretty much every single Prince song is a complete bop, but I especially love this song. A whole host of other tracks could be here in place, but this is one of my favorites so in it goes.

07/30: Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen // I did not realize this was a real song until I googled it a few months ago. Before that, I’d only properly heard it once sung by an acapella band and thought they made it up for the laughs. Now, I stand corrected. This song is very good for a laugh (especially when sung by a very sarcastic boys acapella group).

07/31: Blue by Marina and the Diamonds // This is the third song of hers I’ve put in this lineup but I can’t help it! She just has a whole host of amazing summer songs. I’ve always thought of this song as the answer to a breakup of the summer fling. The music video is also amazing; it was shot at a theme park and gives such an amazing summer amusement park vibe. “Give me one more night,” she sings. Yes, give me one more night of July please!

Okay. This was a lot harder than I thought it would be to only select 31 songs! I hope this gives you a little insight onto what I’ll be listening to this month, and you can find all of these songs on Spotify!

What will you be listening to this month? Do you have any recommendations?

Annika xx

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Stash tea

Who I wrote: Stash tea, which makes a whole bunch of different teas that you can find in your grocery store.

What I said: I explained that I had heard a lot of good things about their teas and would like to try them for myself, so I would really appreciate a sample or coupon to try it.

What happened: I got an email response explaining that they did not have any samples at the time but they would send a coupon. About a week later, I received a 50 cent off coupon.

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Naked juice

Who I wrote: Naked juice. They manufacture juices that are 100% natural, and are pretty tasty too.

What I said: I explained that I loved getting their juices as a treat and would love to have a sticker to represent their brand.

What happened: I did not get an email reply but about a week later I received a sticker and thank you note in the mail.

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