Life Update

I relaunched this blog at the end of March and talked about how I really had no idea what I was going to do with my life, but I wanted to do a little update now that I have a true direction!

I am going to graduate school! For those of you who didn’t see my Barbie-movie-themed announcement on social media, I officially got into Pace University starting later this summer. I will be getting my Master’s in Communications and Digital Media. The one thing I have always been passionate about is storytelling. Both consuming it through books, movies, TV shows, or music, and creating stories myself. I love seeing someone’s imagination come to life on screen or in the pages of a novel and I want to be a part of that moving forward in my life. This online Master’s program will help me do that. I start on July 13th and will be taking Creative Writing for Media Professionals and Communication Research and I am so excited to dive in! Getting back into the swing of schoolwork will be a challenge but because these are subjects I am very interested in, I genuinely can’t wait to get started. I’ll keep you updated on my graduate school journey throughout my time there, but for now, everyone wish me luck as I jump into a sea of papers and projects!

I am going to be an online literacy tutor! When I was starting to think about the kinds of jobs I wanted to do while in grad school, I was looking for flexible part-time work and BookNook fell into that category. I was actually a literacy tutor at the YMCA in college for a couple of years, so it is something I already knew I loved doing. Watching kids make progress in their reading skills and helping foster a love of reading at a young age are two of the most fulfilling things I have been a part of and I look forward to doing it again. It is online and I set my own hours, so it is a perfect side hustle to have. It also keeps me working in the book world from a different angle. Looking forward to starting this month!

I am going to be working at a local store part-time! While literacy tutoring is a fun way to earn extra money, my other source of income while I am in school will be working at Abode Mercantile, an incredibly welcoming home decor, gourmet food, and gift shop right down the road from my house in East Nashville. It is a part of a street of stores called The Shoppes on Fatherland which are some of my favorite places to support local artists and businesses. Some things I love about the store I will be working at: the support they show local artisans by selling their products, the ability to meet all sorts of interesting people who come into the shop, the fact that they are dog friendly, and the ability they have to make you feel welcome the moment you walk in. I start training this week and I can’t wait to get started. Having this steady source of income along with tutoring gives me the flexibility I need to complete my schoolwork and also still have a life outside of all of those things. I didn’t want to look for another more corporate, stressful 9-5, 5-day-a-week job that left me nights to do schoolwork and then absolutely nothing else. Being able to do school and tutoring on days when I’m not at the shop, will leave some nights still free to hang out with my friends and maintain some work/school/life balance that I’ve realized is so important.

I saw Taylor Swift! This is not really the same kind of life update about my new path, but it is something that just happened that I will never forget so I must share haha! My brother who came down from Maryland, one of my best friends who came over from Utah, my roommate, and I all went to The Eras Tour for Nashville Night 1, and boy was it everything I ever dreamed of. How Taylor Swift has the stamina to do a 3 and a half hour show with almost no breaks I will never understand, but I’m so grateful for it. We got to scream the lyrics to all our favorite songs and witness the surprise announcement of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version). And if that wasn’t enough we also got surprise songs from the two eras I wanted them from: Sparks Fly and Teardrops on my Guitar. Truly a perfect evening! If you want to see us all experience the day check out this TikTok I made!

Life this year has been full of ups and downs, but I’m excited about the path that has started to form for me. Anxiety surrounding change still hangs around every day, but an underlying feeling of contentment and gratitude is there as well. I appreciate you going on this journey with me. If you would have asked me at the end of last year, where I’d be now, I wouldn’t have said any of the things I just listed, but that’s what makes life so interesting. Looking forward to seeing how the rollercoaster twists next.

What have you been up to? Anything in your life you are excited or nervous about? How do you handle change? I love hearing other people’s stories so let me know!

Rachel (:

Fixation Mixtape #1

One thing I do that helps calm down my anxiety is going for drives and listening to music. Or coloring and listening to music. Or just listening to music in general haha! I am constantly finding new songs that I love and then fixating on them for a little while so I wanted to share some songs that I have been listening to so far this year! I’ll be updating this playlist every month or so and sharing why I love these songs/artists and I’d love to hear what music you are connecting with as well!

Songs I’m Loving at the Moment

Here are ten songs that I have fixated on lately. Definitely check out these songs and check out the other songs from these artists as well!

#1Blindsed by Kelsea Ballerini: I’ve been listening to Kelsea’s music for a long time but her newest EP Rolling Up the Welcome Mat is her best work to date. Incredibly honest, beautiful songwriting, and the hook on this song in particular, “Were you blindsided or were you just blind?” will stay in your head. A side note: this also reawakened my listening of her previous work that I obsessed over a lot in college and her song Graveyard has also been a fixture recently.

#2 Flowers by Joan: This is one of the songs off their newest album and I am just a big fan of this band’s vibes. Seeing them in concert this year and I can’t wait!

#3 20 Missed Calls by Braden Bales: He recently blew up on TikTok after Elyse Myers duetted his newest song Chronically Cautious (another great song!) but it led me to his other singles as well and this one has stayed in my brain. Super catchy. A bop with sad lyrics is one of my favorite things.

#4 Shoulder to Cry On by Alana Springsteen: She showed up on my new music playlist and I instantly fell in love with this song. I love a song with clever wordplay and country music often does it the best. I have also become fixated on her song Tennessee Is Mine in the past couple of weeks and the melody and the idea behind the song are just sooo good.

#5 Full Machine by Gracie Abrams: Gracie is my sad girl music of choice (lol) and her newest album produced by Aaron Dessner did not disappoint. This song in particular is some of the strongest songwriting on the album and one of the ones I have played the most since the album was released.

#6 Lonesome by Sabrina Carpenter: She released four bonus tracks adding on to her previous album “emails i can’t send” and the opening line of this song is one of the best lines I have heard in a song. I’m pretty sure my mouth dropped, it was so good. Also, the vibe of this song is watching tumbleweeds in a Western movie and it is so well done. All four of the songs she released in this drop sound different but she succeeds in selling it every time. She is definitely underrated as a songwriter and vocalist. Please check out all her music!

#7 All The Girls You’ve Loved Before by Taylor Swift: If there is one thing Taylor is going to do, it’s surprise drop songs and this previously unreleased track from the Lover era did not disappoint!

#8 Radiohead by Nightly: A native Nashville band who I have been loving for years dropped their newest song and it’s quintessential Nightly in terms of sound. Forever one of my favorite bands. Please go check out all their stuff!

#9 Waffle House by the Jonas Brothers: This song is just incredibly catchy and any song’s hook involving a restaurant chain wins in my book. They are releasing their new album this summer and I just have a feeling it is going to be the best one they have put out. Forever and always a Jonas Brothers fan.

#10: Lost the Breakup by Maisie Peters: I love her. She is great at making bops with scathing lyrics and this is no exception. It has gotten stuck in my head on multiple occasions since its release and I’m not mad about it.

Bonus: Daisy Jones and The Six from the incredible Taylor Jenkins Reid book is now an actual band with an actual album which is insane and the music is actually really good! Be sure to listen to the full Aurora album but Let Me Down Easy is the one I’m listening to most at the moment.

Honorable mentions:

Hyperfixations by Catie Turner

The Neighborhood by Grace Enger

Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? by Mokita

Five Three by Max Drazen

Think You’re Jolene by Emily Brooke

I’ve put all the songs mentioned in this post in my Pasted on Smiles playlist on Spotify so be sure to check it out! Let me know what you’ve been listening to. I’m always looking for new songs to fixate on for a while!

Rachel (: