the biblio files

The Biblio Files: Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song

We all have celebrities that we wish could be our bffs. Don’t even lie! You know you do. Sara Bareilles is one of mine because she’s really goofy and is very fluent in speaking sailor like me (meaning we like to swear all the fucking time), so I think we’d get along fine. Plus she listed Miss Saigon as a musical she liked listening to in her memoir Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song, and that soundtrack was my jaaaam in 5th grade! I actually did a Dubsmash of one of the songs not too long ago either (watch me make a fool of myself here). Looking back on it, it really shouldn’t have been because it’s about a young prostitute who falls in love with a G.I. during the Vietnam War and Jonathan Price plays a pimp called The Engineer, and in the opening number it’s basically about how all the men are thirsty as fuck and how there’s a bevy sexy Vietnamese hookers they can get with. But I digress.

I was so excited to hear that Sara Bareilles was coming out with a memoir because I love her music SO MUCH. It took awhile for it to come out, but it just came out last month! Sara is one of those artists who gives me crazy “Killing Me Softly” vibes because it basically feels like she’s telling my whole life with her words (haaa… see what I did there?). Her first album Little Voice came out a few months after me and my first boyfriend broke up, and it consoled me while I wallowed away in self pity. During that time, my appreciation for music grew ten-fold as I finally felt like I connected to certain songs on a whole new level. Sara’s music really spoke to me at that time, and it still does. She was there for me again with her second album Kaleidoscope Heart when I was frustrated with being an undergrad with no sense of direction, and how I was trying to get over some stupid guy I knew wasn’t right for me. “Let the Rain,” “Uncharted,” and “Gonna Get Over You” were on constant repeat. “Let the Rain” and “Uncharted” are still applicable to this chapter in my life.

If I were to create a soundtrack to my life, 50% of the songs would probably be hers… or 95% if I didn’t feel the need to include other artists for the sake of diversity.

Reading her book felt very much like having a long heart felt conversation with a good friend, like the kind where you sit and listen while the other party confides in you. She writes about how she was teased for being “chubby” in elementary school and how it took a toll on her self confidence. While reading it, it made me recall old emotional wounds that were bestowed from the bullying I endured during my formative years. Sara also talks about her issues with anxiety and times when she constantly worried and was filled with self doubt. Even in essay form, I felt overwhelmed with emotion by her words. As silly as it sounds, I felt more of connection to her because while her songs tell a story and emote a certain feeling, essays feel so much more vulnerable to me, and she put herself out there in the 8 essays that this book is made of. In the introduction, she explains how it took her over 2 years to complete this book because “It feels infinitely more vulnerable to speak about life without the metaphor and mask of music or my singing voice. I had to take a look at who I am without those things.” Each essay is titled after some of her songs, and they either tell a story about how the song came to be, or something that happened in her life that is related to it.

If you’re a fan of Sara’s music, I highly recommend that you read this book if you haven’t already. 🙂


out & about

All Hail the Birthday Woman: Jenny Lewis ♡

On this day, thirty-nine years ago, the world was blessed with the presence that is known as Jenny Lewis (or as I like to call her, J.Lew). In case you’re not aware of the majesty that is Jenny Lewis (OMG WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW WHO SHE IS?!), please allow me to fill you in! She’s a former child actor (The Wizard, Troop Beverly Hills, etc), was the lead singer of the now defunct indie rock band Rilo Kiley, sang back-up vocals for The Postal Service, and she’s one of my absolute favorite musicians of all time! I mean, why else would I be writing a blog post about her on the anniversary of her grand debut to earth?

I list Jenny Lewis as one of my style inspirations too! Nine years ago I brought a picture of her to the hairstylist I used to go to in high school and said, “I want my bangs to look like hers.” And my forehead has hardly ever seen the light of day since. Also, homegirl has been rocking a pant suit lately that looks like the stuff daydreams and My Little Ponys are made of, and looks like a complete badass while doing so. <– this is where I’d insert an emoji of the two hands that look like they’re meant to be saying “PREACH” or “ALL HAIL”  if I could, but I can’t because there’s no option for that on WordPress. – shrugs shoulders –

Aforementioned pantsuit can be seen on the cover of her album The Voyager and promo pics for it. Or if you look at all the pics in this post, it looks like the backdrop of the stage, her guitar, the cloth on the keyboards, and whatnot.

I got hooked on Rilo Kiley 11 years ago when my sister and her boyfriend gave me a copy of Take Offs and Landings for my birthday, and my love for the band and Jenny grew from there. Rilo Kiley and Jenny’s solo work were an integral part of my college career. “Breakin’ Up” was my anthem after I finally got over my first boyfriend in my early 20s, and again more recently as I’m getting over my last relationship. That song is ridiculously infectious, heartbreaking, and empowering! Some people listen to Beyonce for that kind of thing, but I have J.Lew (and Sara Bareilles, but this post isn’t about her). 😛

Anyhow, I’d listen to Rilo Kiley and Jenny’s solo projects while on the bus, in between classes, while I was doing homework, etc. Since I studied creative writing, some of my pieces were heavily influenced by her albums Rabbit Fur Coat and Acid Tongue, and some Rilo Kiley tunes.

Rilo Kiley disbanded before I ever got a chance to see them live, and I’m still crying on the inside about it! Despite the fact that Jenny toured often and always had a show in San Francisco, I was never able to go. RUGH! It was always a case of having no money, no one to go with, and no way of getting back home (Daly City buses always ran too early). Without fail, the shows would sell out immediately once I figured I could go. I came to the conclusion that I was just never meant to see her in concert and begrudgingly accepted it.

Thankfully, that changed last October! When I went to San Diego to visit my sister, I planned it so that I’d be there the same week Jenny Lewis would be at the House of Blues, and the show was miraculously not sold out yet! Needless to say, it was the BEST. SHOW. EVER. I was up on the second level and saw these girls down in the front row losing their shit — they were singing along passionately, reaching their arms longingly towards Jenny (I felt so bad for that poor security guard that was standing in front of them) — they were pretty much an outward reflection of how I was feeling on the inside. She opened the show with “Silver Lining” and I was seriously about to start ugly crying. It was like, “Holy shit. THIS IS HAPPENING!” And when she sang “Acid Tongue” and “A Better Son/Daughter” … ugh! She sounded like a sad little angel that just had their wings ripped off. <– I mean that in a good way. She’s just so brilliant live!

Hopefully that won’t be the only Jenny Lewis concert I ever go to, but if it is I’m quite content. <– no, but seriously, that really better not be the last J.Lew concert I go to.

Happy Birthday Miss Lewis! And thanks for everything 😀


PS: Are you a Rilo Kiley/Jenny Lewis fan too? Lemme know in the comments section so we can fangirl together! Or if there’s a band or solo artist that you love oh so dearly, tell me about ’em.

all pictures were taken and edited by moi


Nearly Hibernating Grizzly Bear

Last night Tim took me to see one his favorite bands, Grizzly Bear, at the Fox Theater in Oakland! I’m not completely familiar with their catalog, but I’ve heard some of their music prior to the show and I dig it. Their latest studio album Shields came out last month, so they’ve been touring to support it.

I felt really bad though because I got really sleepy in the middle of their set. It’s not that I found them boring or anything of that nature (I think they’re an awesome live band!), but it didn’t help that some of their songs were on the mellow side. I felt my head bob a few times willing to take my body into complete submission, but I fought it! I suppose if I happen to wake up at 5:30 am the day I’m going to a concert, I should find some time to take a power nap beforehand. The woman I stood by was completely immersed in the music, making elaborate gestures as if she was conducting the band; she was also drunk by way of 4 cups of Stella Artois, but I was still quite envious of her energy as I struggled to remain conscious.

Here’s my favorite song, “Yet Again”, off their new album:

Despite my sleepiness, I had a good time at the show. 🙂


Sara F*CKING Bareilles!

I’ve been wanting to go to a legit Sara Bareilles show for the LONGEST TIME. And I say legit because I’ve only been to an in-store signing/performance (her first ever in-store signing at Virgin Mega Store in SF back in ’07, and I was the first in line… not that that matters) and last year I saw her at the Now & Zen Fest in Golden Gate Park. Those can count as shows, but they weren’t part of any headlining tour or anything. I wanted to go to a show that required her to be on stage for more than 45 minutes. I have missed so many opportunities to see her in concert, and every time those days came up I would think, “Dammit, I’m missing Sara! RUUUUUGH!!!” I was even in the city when she had her show at the Fillmore which was filmed for her DVD Between The Lines. Can you imagine how pissed I was to miss that particular show?

Tim surprised me with tickets a couple weeks ago. He said we’ve been talking about going to one of her concerts for so long, and she’s been to San Francisco how many times, and who knows how long until she comes back… needless to say I was overjoyed. WORLD’S BESTEST BOYFRIEND EVAR.

I first heard of Sara Bareilles when “Love Song” was the free iTunes single of the week in the summer of 2007. I looked up her debut album and listened to snippets and instantly fell in love. That’s also when I was coping with my first big break-up, so Sara Bareilles was basically a godsend to me and my form of therapy. Little Voice and Kaleidoscope Heart are two of my favorite albums ever. I’ve said on numerous occasions (mostly to myself) that if my life had a soundtrack, hella songs off both those albums would probably be on it. I mean, “Gonna Get Over You” was my love life’s theme song for almost an effing year. Thankfully that doesn’t apply to me anymore though. *phew* “Let The Rain” is my quarter life crisis jam.

Oh, and you know what else I love about Sara B? She swears like a sailor and is utterly hilarious. Her and Mindy Kaling need to be my BFFs. This is the part where I could go off on a tangent about all the amazingly girly BFF things we’ll do together, like get our nails did while sipping on Mimosas, but I’ll spare you, dear reader.

The concert on Saturday was the very last show of her tour, and she said it’s the biggest venue she’s ever played. So I was there for another milestone in her career! She also said she got laryngitis a few days before and was injected with a massive amount of steroids to finish off her last two shows (LA and SF). And her performance was f*cking flawless. That lady just knows how to put on a good show.

Here are a couple of songs I recorded at the show:

This one is a new song. I’m not sure if she’ll ever record it due to all the profanity, but it just makes me love her even more. And I didn’t know that it was possible to love her more than I already do. I can think of a couple of people I’d like to dedicate this song to… *manical laughter* BTW, this was an all ages show and there were a couple of 11-year-olds in the front row. Some really awesome babysitter brought them to the show. If you’re easily offended by foul language, you probably shouldn’t watch the video. x___x

“Come Round Soon” is one of my favorite Sara B songs, and this version of it is rad as hell. OMG. I thought it was a new song until I heard her start to sing. She also did an awesome rendition of “Bottle It Up” where she’s banging on the bass drum, and the rest of her band are playing the piano. I didn’t get to upload that video. And my camera cut it off anyway because my SD card didn’t have enough space left. Oh well.

If you haven’t heard any of Sara Bareilles’ music, or heard of her at all, I suggest you go correct that.

PS: This is my 100th post! HOLY SH!T!

geek style · out & about

Chateau Cronie

Yesterday was quite eventful as I FINALLY got to see Agent Ribbons live at Harlow’s in Sacramento! I even dolled up a bit for the occasion; I usually like doing the jeans-n-cardigan thing for shows, but not for this one! I totally forgot to put nylons on though, so my legs were like fleshy popsicles by the end of the night. Also, the photo above marks my first legit self-portrait. Huzzah for tripods and my mother’s fancy SLR with the self-timer button! They make life so much easier.

In case you’re wondering who the frak Agent Ribbons are, I shall give you a primer: they’re an indie duo-turned trio-turned duo again from Sacramento, but are now based in Austin, TX ,whose sound has been described as [from what I’ve read in random reviews] a mix of vaudeville, baroque, 60’s garage rock, and cabaret. One of the songs off their album Chateau Crone was featured on The Vampire Diaries not too long ago, and it’s actually available on Amazon for FREE. Mod Cloth even sells a dress that’s named after them.

About 4 years ago, my late friend Jim told me about them because he had recorded and mixed most of the songs on On Time Travel and Romance, which is brilliant by the way. “Call Me Margaret” was the default song on his MySpace page and he said to check it out. So I did, and I fell in love. Whenever I make mix CDs for friends, I include at least one or two of their songs on them. Just trying to spread the gospel of Agent Ribbons, y’know? I actually got to talk to Natalie (lead singer/guitarist) for a bit before the show and she was so effing sweet despite the fact that I was awkward. I hate meeting people I admire, any sort of social skills I have (and I don’t have a whole lot to begin with) completely go away. Other people who have experienced my awkwardness: Sara Bareilles, Greg Laswell, and Nathan Fillion. I hope I never meet John Krasinski.

I shall leave you all with a video I took at last night’s show:

PS: Check out On Time Travel and Romance and Chateau Crone and thank me later. 😉

outfit details:

  • cardigan: H&M
  • dress/belt: Target
  • shoes: Charles Albert
  • necklace: thrifted
  • glasses: Tilly’s