26 April 2010

So close!

Guys. Guys. Guys.

I'm graduating in 18 days.

This is my last week of classes - EVER. After the four more days of classes, I have two exams and I am home free.

Suffice it to say, it's a bit busy here in the Hoffman household.

So, I'm sorry that I haven't been around lately, but next week...oh, there will be blog posts.

Also, I'm looking forward to giving some reviews of SLU - no information withheld - that may give you readers a taste of why I'm SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED to be finished with it. Seriously. I'm not going to be one of those people that donates money back to them - any money I have to donate will be going to Rosati-Kain (my high school) or St. Margaret of Scotland (my grade school).

Anyway - sorry I haven't been around, but soon.

Here are some pictures of my graduation from high school (I loved high school...)

[oh hey, gums in my mouth. kind of a scary picture but as you can tell, I was pretty excited]

[some of my closest friends from high school]

[we can thank the ex-boyfriend for this shot...i like it]

[getting ready at my parents' house before heading over to the Cathedral...dad telling me something, me clearly zoning out, grandma maybe listening...]

[pandemonium outside of the Cathedral when it's over!!]

[at my graduation party, the Sunday before the big day (Rosati's graduations are on Monday nights). we didn't plan it, but the four of us are kind of wearing the same color scheme - this is my family, by the way...]

Rosati is across the street from the Saint Louis Cathedral Basilica. It's sad, because in my four years of high school we only used the church approximately nine times - twice a year for confession, and once my freshman year for the first mass of the school year. I was so excited that every mass would be there, because it's GORGEOUS, but we never had it there again.

But then there's graduation. So I guess that's ten times.

No one took good pictures of the actual church interior when I graduated, but I got some good ones when my sister graduated two years ago...here's what happens:

[beautiful church filled with beautiful people]

[first, two teachers freak out for a half hour while 100 girls are lined up outside, on a very busy street in St. Louis, and they try to figure out just WHEN to let the girls with the banners begin to walk]

[the girls that carry in the banners are always younger sisters of graduating seniors. cute :)]

[the graduates follow, single file, down the aisle. wearing white. i wonder if they planned that...?]

[it takes awhile]

[the Cathedral is huuuuge! the domed ceiling helps. oh, and the interior walls are made ENTIRELY of mosiacs. i'll write another post on it someday with some detail shots]

[this is the parent prayer - the moms and dads stand up, raise their right hands, give their blessing...love mom's old lady glasses]

[after, we went to a fondue place downtown. clearly, emme was tired]

Okay. Enough reminiscing. I'll be making some new graduation memories pretty soon. But for now, I need to work on this paper. So I can actually graduate on time.

I'll be back next week!

20 April 2010

Engagement Pictures, Round II

Okay ya'll. I have some more to show you. I'm pretty excited about them.

These are the photos that Ryan posted on his facebook business page (you should check it out and become a fan, because he's awesome), and I assume a blog post will be coming up soon. When it does, I'll link it here!

To begin, though - Pete and I had SUCH a blast doing this engagement shoot. It was so much fun, even though I was super awkward at the beginning (I mean, come on. The last time I got my picture taken seriously was for senior pictures in high school, which was over four years ago. I was a little rusty). However, I was so happy to see that we got some good pictures regardless of my (our?) general awkwardness.

Ryan was super easy to work with. He gave us some directives, but told us that in general, the pictures will look better if we just talk to each other, kiss every once in awhile and just look natural. Again, I'm awkward so it took me a second to get to that point, but once I did, I was very pleased with the results.

But back to Ryan - he, unlike me, was not awkward. We picked places we wanted to go, and once we got to each site, he gave us ideas of what to do. And they were really, really good ideas (as you will soon see). Basically, he knew what he was doing and now I am so, so, SO excited for the wedding pictures.

The places we went:

+ Rosati-Kain High School (where I went to high school, and where Pete currently works)
+ Downtown, near the entrance to the downtown bike trail

Did you like them? I hope so! I'm kind of obsessed...

19 April 2010

Engagement Picture #1

I like it :) When Ryan posts more to his blog, you'll be the first to know.

13 April 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Most Terrifying Trips I've Taken

Thanks, Bridgett.

1. The horrible storm on the way back from the first year that we went to Pitchfork. Pete and I trucked up to Chicago for the Pitchfork Music Festival in July 2007. It was great, it was fun, it was so freaking hot. And now I'm sad, because I looked through the happy notions archives to link back to an original post, but there is none. I know what I'm doing this afternoon...

After Pitchfork ended on Sunday, we stuck around until Wednesday to see The Decemberists play an orchestra show in Millennium Park. It was amazing. But it ended probably around 9:30/10 PM and we had planned to drive back to St. Louis after the show...meaning we would be getting home around 2:30/3 AM. Which isn't bad - we have made that drive before - but there was a horrible, horrible storm. Like, there were flashes of green lightening in the fields of Illinois. We called Pete's mom to look at the radar for us, and tell us how much longer we would be stuck in the storm. Pete was driving, and even his feathers were a little ruffled - so we pulled over to a Burger King in Joliet (which is 45 minutes away from downtown Chicago) to "wait it out". Running from the car to the front door, we became SOAKED. My Coach wallet was ruined (it was okay, though - I only spent $19 on it at an outlet store) because an orange ticket I had inside of it bled all over the purple leather, because of the heavy rain.

We got some fries and milkshakes at BK. Then the power went out. And the whole place was quiet. It was like no one else was around. I was convinced zombies were about to eat me. But then we got back into the car and drove. The storm lasted probably another hour or so before it stopped raining. And then we had horrible, horrible fog the rest of the way home.

I was never so happy to return to SLU.

[the two pictures above are from the drive home. I was terrified, but, as Pete says, "not too scared to take pictures of yourself." (it's true)

2. Driving down to Houston for my cousin's wedding in April 2006. The ride started off gorgeous - Missouri's hillsides aren't too boring. It was a gorgeous spring day. But once we crossed the Oklahoma border, the skies turned dark grey (at like 4 PM) and a huge storm started. The sky had green splotches in it and there were less and less cars on the road, because they were all pulling off, since THERE WAS A TORNADO. My parents have an Acura (honking SUV thing) and it's pretty much a tank. But the car was being tossed around like nobody's business. Emme and I both had on our headphones with our heads down between our legs, because we were both so terrified to look outside. Eventually, mom, Emme and I convinced dad to pull over and check into a hotel. It was somewhere outside of Tulsa. And as soon as we checked into the room, dad switched on the weather channel and we found out, lo and behold, the worst was over.

Of course.

3. My family took a trip out West a few summers ago - I believe it was 2003. We flew into Albuquerque, rented a car, and drove all over - Grand Canyon, Taos, Phoenix, Santa Fe...we went everywhere. It was beautiful.

My favorite part was the Grand Canyon, I think (although I also loved Santa Fe). But getting there was pretty scary. We were probably about 50 miles away from the park when dad said that the no gas sign clicked on. I mean, it's okay - we're close to the park, there has to be a gas station, right? Right.

Or not. No gas station. So we're basically in the middle of nowhere. With very little gas. It's getting dark. Ahhh! But we made it. We got to our hotel (in the park) and got gas in the morning.

4. On a boat. Last summer, at Rend Lake with the Wissingers. I'm not a big boat person as it is. In summer 2007, I went on a boat at Rend Lake and LOVED it! It was wonderful. But last summer (2009) I was not into it at all. The waves were choppy and even though Jeffy was going relatively slow, for a boat, I felt sick to my stomach. And then it started to rain and I felt like I was going to pass out. Luckily, Jeffy went back to shore. Just as we docked it began to pour.

I didn't go back out at all, even though it got really nice and sunny again.

5. Smoky Mountains. I was maybe eight or nine. It was raining. We saw three or four trucks take advantage of the "run-off" areas in the mountains. I asked dad what the trucks were doing - after 100 yards or so, the trail stops. Where were they going? He told me what they were for, and I realized at that time that we, as humans, cannot always control our vehicles. And it was pouring rain and the slopes and turns were a little scary.

Hmm. That's all I can think of. Only 5. Guess I haven't had too many horrible experiences. However, we'll be driving to California and back this summer. I'm sure that'll be good.

11 April 2010

And speaking of adorable things...

So, thanks to LouFest 2010, Zooey Deschanel (well, her band, She & Him) is coming to St. Louis.

And I have taken it upon myself to meet her.

How could you not want to? Look at this video!

Plus, I'm a sucker for anything that happens within schools - fashion photoshoots, videos, movies, you name it. So that helps (even though it didn't need it).

The Girls With Glasses Show

Have you seen this? It's super cute.

I want to make stop-motion animation videos while dressing up like Audrey Hepburn and Mother Theresa and Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe!

I want to play with globes and puppies and typewriters!

I think I shall call myself a "girl with glasses", even though I've never worn glasses or contacts. Hey, it's not my fault the bad-eye gene skipped me.

Anyway. This is adorable. The video is great, the premise is even better - keep an eye on these two!

via black eiffel

10 April 2010

Only Three Months to Go!


Okay, here's some stuff we've gotten done since I last checked in.

1. Had one bridal shower (once I get pictures from mom, I'll write a post about it), and set dates for two more - one in Cape Girardeau on May 23rd with Pete's family and one here in St. Louis for my girlfriends on July 27th.
2. Bought shoes! They're cute. I didn't go with colorful shoes, because mom made her thoughts on that pretty clear (she was extremely against them), so they're white and they match the dress perfectly.
3. Received the invitations that we ordered - they're super cute and happy and stuff.
4. Decided on a hair and make-up place and set up trial run appointments for me and actual appointments on July 10th. We also put down a 50% deposit (is this normal? I was surprised by that...)
5. Picked out gifts for the majority of the people who will be helping us with wedding-related things. It's a long, long list...

Hmm. That's it. It feels like we've done more. Oh well. There really isn't a lot left to take care of - once we get the RSVPs in, we'll have to assign seating. My dad has been paying off the reception venue. We're getting engagement pictures in a little over a week, and we've made appointments to go in to ring places and look for wedding bands. Techically we've ordered our cake (right, Lindsay?) and we pretty much have the entire ceremony planned out, although we can't get a hold of the priest doing the ceremony, which is a little nerve-wracking. It is only three months away, after all.

Actually, one big thing we have left to take care of is transportation. Pete just wants to us all to drive around in our individual cars for pictures between the ceremony and reception, but my mom and dad (and sometimes me) want to have an actual bus or limo or whatever. I just think it would be nice to have all of us together in one vehicle. That way no one will get lost, and then the wedding party can just celebrate by themselves.

photo provided by the ever-so-talented ryan gladstone

09 April 2010

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 22

a song you listen to when you're sad

Oh, this is a GOLDEN story.

So, does anyone remember when Gavin DeGraw hit the scene? I think it was in 2004. He played a huge Toys for Tots concert here in St. Louis the year his first album came out, with Hootie & the Blowfish and Barenaked Ladies and some other people that I don't remember.

My friend Sam's parents bought tickets for the concert for us and two other friends - they are so awesome - and so it was the first big concert that we went to, by ourselves. We got quite a few lectures from all of our parents - "don't set your drink down!" "don't let your purse out of sight!" blah blah blah.

Gavin DeGraw was one of the first acts to play - he was one of the least well-known - and after his set, he was wandering around the Pageant. My friend Katherine and I ran into him.

He was DRUNK. So, so drunk. He was hitting on us. We were 15. I wasn't cute; I was super gawky and awkward. Because I was 15. Katherine, on the other hand - has ALWAYS been one of those pulled-together, super adorable, blonde hair/blue eyes type of girls. I think I was just along for the ride.

"Hey, you guys should TOTALLY come to New York with me and the band!" Gavin DeGraw exclaimed. He could hardly stand up straight - he was swaying all over the place.

"Well, I don't have a driver's license," I said. (See? What a geek.)

"Oh it doesn't matter, you should totally come up on our bus! There's so much room!" he continued.

Those are the pieces of conversation I remember.

Gavin DeGraw got much more famous in a small amount of time and he came back through St. Louis a lot. Katherine made a point to go see him anytime he was in town. I did once. Kind of.

Emme (my younger sister) had heard the whole story about Gavin DeGraw and wanted to see him in concert. Plus, she just liked his music. So, when we heard that he was making a stop in St. Louis at Mississippi Nights, we bought tickets.

I won't lie. I don't remember exactly what happened. But we got to the show, Emme was really excited, I was excited, we watched the opener, and I was like, "okay, time to go!" I HONESTLY don't remember why.

But we left, and Emme had no choice since I was driving. We got home and our parents were PISSED. "Kaylen, I'm so disappointed in you," my dad said. "I can't believe you went all the way there and then left," mom said.

I was angry and embarassed. So I went up to my room, locked the door, turned off the lights, and turned on Rooney - "Losing All Control".

I'm losing you
I'm losing all control
Just let me be
Let me be alone for now
I want to be alone tonight

So emo.

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 21

a song you listen to when you're happy

The first song I am thinking of is "Happy" by Snowglobe. I vaguely remember hearing of Snowglobe on a music blog (oh, the music blogs I used to read...that's one thing that has stopped in the last two years or so), downloading three of the mp3's the blog had, and just falling in LOVE with "Happy".

I mean, it was a big deal. It was my Myspace profile page song for awhile.

I ain't left my happy home
And I ain't ventured out alone
No I won't leave my little comfort zone
But I walk around, I lie a lot
They call those things that I ain't got
Mid-life crisis waiting down the block

07 April 2010

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 20

a song that you listen to when you're angry...

Oh, easy. Anything loud and hard.

But here are some specific examples:

The entire album Crimes by the Blood Brothers

The entire album Aha Shake Heartbreak by Kings of Leon (by the way, does anyone know what happened to them? How they just completely exploded onto the scene and are now super popular and playing things like the Scottrade Center?)

Anything by Jimi Hendrix or The Doors

and finally, Love is Hell by Ryan Adams - especially "Love is Hell", "World War 24" and "Anybody Wanna Take Me Home"

Lots of angst in those songs. Good for feeling angry.

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 19

a song from your favorite album

I would say my favorite album, one I can always turn to, is Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens. I first heard Sufjan Stevens back in my senior year of high school, when my editor at playback:stl said to me in a meeting - "Hey, Kaylen, do you want to review Sufjan Stevens at Mississippi Nights this week?" I was wary. I hadn't reviewed a show before - only albums.

But I said, "sure, okay - what kind of music is...that...person?" (SOOF-yan is how you pronounce his first name but I wasn't even sure if this person we were talking about was a boy or a girl or a group or what)

Laura said, "well...he's, uh...indie?" And I suppose that's true. She knew that I was into indie rock (The Decemberists, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Go! Team, etc), so she figured I would enjoy it.

God, that is such an understatement.

I was nervous the day of the show. I knew I had a free ticket for someone other than myself, so I called my friend Sam to see if he wanted to go with me, because I didn't want to go alone and for some reason Domenic (boyfriend at the time) was busy. Laura had given me Seven Swans to listen to before the show, so I could maybe catch some familiar melodies/lyrics within the two-hour set.

I met up with Sam before the show and we stood in line for an hour before we got up to the front door. I didn't know what to say; I had no paper tickets, I was on will call.

"Um, I think I have tickets reserved for me?" I said, looking at Sam. "And a plus one ticket, as well?" (Note: I still get uncomfortable asking for tickets at will call. I'm always afraid that there will be a mistake and there sometimes are.)

"Yeah, who are you with?" the scary-looking bouncer asked me. I told him playback:stl and he said, "oh yeah, are you Kaylen?"

"Yes," I answered.

"How many tickets do you need?" He had a wad of them in his hand. For a sold-out show. Interesting.

"Just one, I think," I answered.

So then he stamped our hands and in we went.

I had been to Mississippi Nights many a time. I miss it SO MUCH. Within the last couple of years, St. Louis bulldozed over it to make from for Lumiere Casino. Mississippi Nights was my favorite venue. It was dark and smoky and cramped and falling apart.

And perfect.

I don't remember who the opener was - I have a Moleskine notebook, and seven pages of it are filled with my review notes from this concert. I didn't make any notes about the opener, though - just Sufjan.

He appeared in a red, white, and blue jumpsuit with blue stairs and stripes. He sang. He and his "Illinoise makers" made human pyramids and jumped around and did dances and pumped arms. It was a beautiful thing.

He sang a lot of songs from Seven Swans. And I had a hard time "recognizing" the music as he sang, because...it sounded so incredibly different from the album. Maybe because I was present, or because...it was surround sound.

Seven Swans is a very, very spiritual album. Sufjan tends to shy away from discussing his religious beliefs in interviews, which I think is probably a good idea. I don't think he wants to be pigeon-holed into "Christian rock" or whatever other genres exist.

And I will crochet you a hat
And I have a red kite
I'll put you right in it
I'll show you the sky

I cannot pick a favorite song from this album, but "Sister" comes close.

It reminds me of the first time that I went to Camp Ondessonk. New Years Eve, 2006. Pete and Steve (Pete's twin brother) both worked at Camp O for years, and every New Years Eve, past and present counselors are invited back to part-ay and ring in the new year in style.

I'm not a big outdoors girl. We never really went camping as a family when I was younger. I like having a bathroom nearby, at all times. So because I wasn't sure what it was, and it was new, I had some horrible, horrible anxiety. Also I think I was sort of carsick.

So as me, Pete, Steve, and Mary (Steve's wife) chugged along towards Camp, someone put on Seven Swans. And it soothed me. And it was wonderful.

Thank You, Nan Lawson

She made us look pretty darn cute, don't you think?

I already have a frame. Once it gets here...this baby is going up on the wall.

06 April 2010

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 18

a song that you wish you heard on the radio

Ha. I could say, "any song that I like" because it's kind of true - St. Louis doesn't have an "indie rock/alternative" station, so it's extremely rare when I hear a song that I constantly listen to with iTunes/my iPod.

But I'll narrow it down a bit and say "Girl" by Beck. I've heard it twice on the radio - both times in Chicago, while listening to 93.1 XRT. I would move to Chicago JUST to have a good radio station. (Okay, there are lots of other reasons, too - we're working on it.)

But "Girl" is such a happy, summery song - I can picture driving down the street with the windows down, my crazy-long hair flying through the breeze, singing along to the lyrics with Pete. Because only Pete really, really understands my love of Guero (the album that "Girl" is on).

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 17

a song that you hear often on the radio

"Telephone" by Lady GaGa.

Okay, let me just say this: I am so, SO sick of Lady GaGa.

It's kind of my fault. I do listen to the local "popular music" station, Z107.7 from time to time. And stations like that play the same stuff over and over and over again. Hence, it seems as though every third song is Lady GaGa.

When I first saw her on SNL awhile back, I was smitten. What a cool orbit thing! She's talking to the crowd; that's cool! I was fascinated. I didn't really understand her but it seemed like she was okay.

But then she just EXPLODED (I guess technically she already had) onto the scene and everyone knew her and even old people knew the whole "Ga ga ooh la la" melody for her song "Bad Romance".

Ew. I am just so sick of her.

And the video for "Telephone" is so weird. Emme, my little sister, told me it was weird. So did Pete. But I watched it anyways and grossed out for awhile. I'm not even going to embed it here because that's how much I DON'T like it.

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 16


Day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate

OK Go - "Here It Goes Again"

Have you heard this song? It's super catchy. Also, the video is amaaaazing. Look.

See? It's awesome. But it totally became super overplayed. And it got super obnoxious. And the video was everywhere - just looking for the actual video on youtube gave me a ton of parody results, like The Simpsons and high school talent shows...I mean, it's cool. I'm just sick of it.

In other news, Ok Go has another new video and it's pretty mind-blowing - all one take - and there's lots of stuff going on. I'm not sick of it yet, either, so I'm still loving it.