What Do You Say We Leave For California

Last week, I had what may be my biggest adventure to date.

My friend Hannah and I flew to California to visit our friend Leah who had moved there after graduation. While there, we drove for hours each day across a stretch of the coast. We visited Half Moon Bay…



… toured spots in San Francisco where my favorite movie was filmed…


… and even attended an NHL game (go Sharks!!).


While we were driving, I took over the music, as that is my preferred place on road trips. And so, without further ado, here is Emily’s playlist for driving around California:

  • California – Metro Station
  • Starstrukk – 3OH!3
  • Collar Full – Panic! at the Disco
  • Michael in the Bathroom – George Salazar (from Be More Chill)
  • Animal – Neon Trees
  • From Now On – Hugh Jackman (from The Greatest Showman)
  • Waving Through A Window – Ben Platt (from Dear Evan Hansen)
  • Fall For You – Secondhand Serenade
  • Chocolate – the 1975

I feel that every situation can and should have its own soundtrack. One of my favorite feelings is letting the music completely envelop you as the world zooms by. Movement and stillness, chaos and calm, life and mere existence. Every story has a sound, and these songs encompass this one.


17 Highlights of 2017

As we usher this year out and bring in the next, I thought I’d take a moment to be basic and boring by making a list of 17 good things that happened in my life this past year. So here they are, in no particular order.

  1. I took four AP exams, one for a class I hadn’t even taken, and earned two 5’s and two 4’s, all of which qualified for college credit.
  2. I formed a production company which made an amazing short film as well as won a local competition and helped with my high school’s first women’s empowerment conference.
  3. I graduated high school with nearly a 4.0 and a solid friend group.
  4. I discovered more musicals, including She Loves Me and Be More Chill.
  5. I saw multiple live shows, including Welcome to Night Vale, John Mulaney, John and Hank Green, and all of the bands and other acts at Lifest.
  6. I survived one month of doing a new thing every day (and blogging about it).
  7. I got an internship working with my dream company and got real work as an editor.
  8. I was able to bond more with my mom’s best friends (my honorary aunts).
  9. I participated in the last-ever GISHWHES with two of my closest friends.
  10. I moved five hours north all by myself to start college.
  11. I became great friends with my roommates and other students on campus.
  12. I collected many videos of said friends dancing like lunatics around my dorm room which never cease to make me smile.
  13. I participated in a dance competition (I missed color guard so much) where my hall made up a routine to a mashup of “All Star,” “Wannabe,” and “We’re All In This Together.”
  14. I attended a Gatsby-themed Christmas party and realized I had found my people.
  15. I bonded with a professor over our similar interest in books.
  16. I was able to play my ukulele and sing along with my dad and his sister on their guitars at the family Christmas gathering.
  17. I made lots of plans for the next year.

Farewell, 2017. Though much of this past year has been objectively awful, this reflection has helped me to appreciate the little things. As Cecil Palmer said, “Remember, too, before you throw away an entire year, that any given unit of time also contains positive effects whose shape aren’t apparent yet. Because the universe doesn’t function in increments of human-made time, but on an unbroken plane of incidents and outcome.”

And so, as time inevitably marches forward, uncaring of our perception of it: good night, and happy new year.

New In Town

A few weeks ago, I moved from a relatively small town in Iowa to the bustling beauty of the Twin Cities for college. Today, I survived my first solo night out on the town.

As I mindlessly clicked past Snapchat stories, I ran across a girl from my campus and her story was a picture of a stage with the caption “ready to see John Mulaney.”

I stopped in my tracks.

John Mulaney, one of my top three favorite comedians of all time, was nearby, and I wasn’t there??? This situation had to be remedied.

I quickly got to googling. By this time, the 7 o’clock show had already started, but lo and behold, there was a 10 o’clock at the same venue the same night.

I was already on my way to see my school’s fall play (the production of Sleeping Beauty was lovely, by the way), but the moment we were out, I was on the phone with the ticket office. I hadn’t managed to convince anyone to go with me, so I snagged one ticket which ended up being in the third row, right up by the stage.

I would like to take this moment to thank the Lord that one of my roommates has a car.

The show was fantastic; I did not stop laughing from the moment the opener started to when John Mulaney himself said good night.

Being the nervous wreck that I am, I had pepper spray in my hand every second that I was outside. I never needed to use it, but I felt safer.

I got over a lot of my driving anxiety this summer by going on a three-day solo road trip. My anxiety about large crowds could be cured the same way.

At least now if no one will come with me to see John and Hank Green next month, I know I can handle going alone.

Here’s To Teenage Memories

The other day, I did a few new things. I also did a few stupid things. These just so happened to overlap.

I went to Perkins for the first time with my family. It was okay, bla bla, whatever. Afterwards, I went with my dad and sister to the 10:30 showing of Spider-Man: Homecoming. It was amazing. Kind of in love with Tom Holland now. It’s cool.

The movie got out at 1:00 AM. When we were walking through the parking lot back to our car, I noticed that it was actually pretty nice out. When we got home, my sister and I laid in the driveway and stared at the stars for an hour.

You know how in books they describe the sensation of falling up, up, up, into the sky?

That’s exactly what I felt.

I played some music, we got weird looks from the gang of teenage boys wandering down the street, and it was overall one of the most peaceful moments of my life.

Emily’s playlist for staring up at the stars at 1 AM:

  • City of Stars – Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (from La La Land)
  • For Forever – Ben Platt (from Dear Evan Hansen)
  • If I Could Fly – One Direction
  • The Mortician’s Daughter – Black Veil Brides
  • Amnesia – 5 Seconds of Summer
  • Night Changes – One Direction
  • Six Feet Under The Stars (Acoustic) – All Time Low

By the time we got inside, I was ready to go to sleep. I took a quick glance at tumblr-

-and saw a picture of a cheeseburger.

Instantly, I was wide awake. I texted my friends (who also had completely screwed up their sleep schedules for the summer) and asked if I should go to McDonald’s. Leah bet that I wouldn’t do it–at that point, I just had to.

I walked into my sister’s room–the light was still on and she was on Wattpad, she also wasn’t going to sleep soon–and asked if she wanted to join me. She gave me a weird look but ultimately shrugged and joined me.

We drove to the McDonald’s about five minutes from our house, noting the empty streets and the way the sky was illuminated with lightning every few seconds.

Sadly, no one was there. We were about two and a half hours too early. Too awake to go home, we just drove. We followed a road out past our house, past all the houses, till everything around us was farmland and darkness. After several minutes, we turned back around and headed home.

I’m honestly not 100% sure this actually happened. I wouldn’t believe much of it if I didn’t have the texts and timestamps to prove it.

This is the kind of stupid but harmless stuff that I love. This is the best part of being a teenager. I’m glad that with this blog, I’ll be able to look back on this several years from now and remember that time when I just really wanted a cheeseburger.

If you don’t do anything dumb, you won’t have any stories to tell. And what are we, in the end, if not stories?

30 Days Has June

The new thing I did today I’m doing right now.

I’m writing my 30th consecutive blog post, having successfully done one new thing every day for a month.

It’s been weird. There were definitely days when it would be 8 at night and I would just stare at a wall and repeat to myself “I need to do something new today” over and over again.

This has been quite the experiment. One month was a good amount. I won’t have much internet access for the next week or so, so I’m ending the challenge now. However, I’m not giving up on this blog. It’s just that now I can write about things other than just recaps of my day.

Sincerely, Me

The new thing I did today was to show my younger sister Dear Evan Hansen.

Well, kind of.

I’d already forced her to listen to most of the songs on the soundtrack (her and anyone else who’s been around me for the last few months). However, yesterday, she was listening to them on her own and singing along so I figured if she wanted to watch the show, she should be able to.

I’d found a copy on YouTube and we only got through about twelve minutes (just after “Waving Through A Window”) when the rest of the family got home so we had to pause it.

I’m glad I can share my musical loves with my sister. We’re really similar, and it’s gonna be tough being away from her. We’ll just have to talk on the phone. (Ew.)

Take Cover

A lot of these new things are turning out to be accidents.

Today I had to wait out a tornado warning in a movie theater.

It was kind of weird. I’ve been working there for almost two years, but I’ve never had to do that before. Besides, there’s a manager there who had a reputation for always being the one working when weather disasters happened, but he no longer works there. Everyone was joking that either it was his revenge on the company, or that he’d come to see a movie and brought it with him.

There were about five people there who work with me but were just there to see movies.

We hung out for about an hour. It wasn’t too bad. I tried to chat with some people I hadn’t seen in a while, but they were there with friends so I didn’t want to pull them away.

I was pretty nervous, considering the entire front of the building is made of glass. This definitely isn’t something I want to repeat.


Today’s new thing was an accident. I stayed up till about 12:30 last night catching up on podcasts, but today I didn’t wake up until around 1:30 in the afternoon.

I don’t recall ever sleeping that late.

For the last few months, no matter what time I went to bed, my internal clock would wake me up between 5 and 7 every morning. It got pretty annoying. In the last week or so I’ve been sleeping till 10, but 1:30 is a bit excessive.

I spent most of the day remaining in bed, working through re-reading one of my favorite books for the seventh time. It never ceases to pull me in and I always end up emotionally entangled with this sad, broken, beautiful couple.

At The Market

This is just turning into a chronicling of my adventures in adulthood. The new thing I did today was to basically go grocery shopping for myself.

How sad is that.

Okay, so my mom was technically at the grocery store with me, but she spent a lot of the time filling a prescription at the pharmacy counter. Besides, it was my idea to go to the store in the first place.

Along with my whole forgetting-to-eat thing, I’ve also noticed that whenever I do eat, it’s really unhealthy, and then I just feel guilty and return to not eating. Therefore, I took it upon myself to pick up a bunch of fruit and other healthy things I could eat as snacks throughout the day.

Why are groceries so expensive? It’s kind of ridiculous. The healthier the food, the more it cost. No wonder people with lower incomes tend to be overweight–the only thing they can afford is the overly-processed carb-filled junk.

I can’t wait until I’m on my own to pay for food. It most likely will not end well.


The new thing I did today was kind of a mistake? And also something not necessarily good.

I… forgot to eat?

Anyone who knows me knows that I can eat. As a kid, I was called a bottomless pit (haha, very funny, thanks for destroying the self esteem of an eight year old who just liked mashed potatoes). But today, I was so busy that I just never got around to it. I normally don’t eat breakfast, so that wasn’t much of an issue. I had a donut after church, and usually we go home for lunch, but today we had to run straight to a graduation party. I had a bag of chips there, but it wasn’t long before I had to leave for work. I don’t eat there, because it’s way too expensive and way too unhealthy (candy and fried food isn’t quite the same thing as fruits and veggies). By the time I got home, it was almost 9:30 and I had yet to eat an actual meal.

The weird thing was that I wasn’t really hungry. I had some toast before bed but that was it.

That’s one weight loss technique, I guess.