Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009-The "Best Of" in Laura’s World

I’ve already blogged my accomplishments in 2009 and my resolutions or goals for 2010. Honestly, I’m so excited and in awe that we’re seeing another century turn! Everyone seems to be doing top-lists for the decade so I decided to join in and make my own ‘best of’ lists. Are you ready?

Inspirational Women
I’ve never considered myself a feminist; but I do believe in equal rights and treatment of women. However, I do feel that we’ve advanced so much that we’re doing great! In many industries, women make more income than their male colleagues in like positions. That’s fantastic! Over the past two years I’ve really grown to become more aware of how important It is to be in touch with women in the world and to help other women grow and be the best they can be. These are some of the women that I’ve paid attention to in 2009 that I find inspiring for many different reasons:

Megan Kelly- Fox News correspondent.
I’ve never really liked women news anchors. I don’t know what it is; perhaps it’s the women anchors I have followed were fresh into the field, inexperienced, or just not that great. This year I discovered Megan Kelly on Fox News Channel’s America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer. Why do I like her and find her inspiring?
-She’s in a male dominated field and dominating.
-She’s educated
-She’s witty (a must for a woman, I think)
-She’s a lawyer
-She’s passionate about politics; and a Republican
(Did anyone catch her comeback at the Playboy hate-sex article? If not, I highly recommend you check it out. http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2009/06/fox_news_report.php)

Sarah Palin- If you don’t know, you don’t know (sorry- I find her inspiring for a few reasons)
Yes, she speaks with a heavy accent. Yes, she made mistakes in her campaign; what politician doesn’t make mistakes? But the fact is since my interest in politics she is the first woman President elect that I would consider voting for.
-She’s also in a male dominated field (President-elect)
-She’s a governor
-She’s a trooper- for dealing with all the crap-media over the past few years
-She’s a Patriot

Politics is a relatively new interest in my life. Prior to 4 years ago I could care less about politics. I tried to care, and there were some topics I had a natural stance on, but it seemed like too much stress for me. I’m starting to care more and more every day about what happens to our, and in our, country. After all- this is the greatest country in the world, is it not? These two women are Republican, opinioned and passionate; something I think the right lacks in. It’s great to see women with right values who are willing to speak their mind and stand up for what they believe in.

Taylor Swift-Singer/Songwriter
Let’s face it- she’s adorable. I wanted to be in her shoes (when I was that age). She writes her own music. She can sing, very well. She’s a very talented, driven and successful young woman. My favorite story about Taylor Swift is when she tells of going to Nashville-Music Row when she was 11 years-old to hand out demo tapes. She knew she wanted to be famous and knew the basics of what to do to get herself there; and at a very young age.

Lady Gaga
Ah yes. Controversial. You either love her or hate her. I happen to love her. I’ve fought my love of pop music for many years and recently succumbed. My name is Laura Murphy, and I love pop music. It’s the stuff that puts me in a good mood and get’s me dancing. So, why Gaga?
-She’s different. Way different. When was the last time we saw someone with red carpet style like this? So…she wears a bird on her head. Bjork wore a swan dress at the 2001 Oscars. Elton John dressed as Donald Duck on stage. Who cares? It’s entertainment. At least she’s not sporting the same dress as J.Lo and Shakira at the same event (yes, it happened at this year’s VMAs).
-She’s inventive. Google Lady Gaga once- she comes up with lots of her outfit ideas on her own.
-She’s catchy. Doesn’t everyone know the words to Bad Romance by now?
-She worked hard to get where she is; and she’s done most of it herself. Promoting herself, her outfits,
-She has a heart. She sent pizzas to her fans that were waiting overnight at Best Buy to buy The Fame Monster. Who does that? She wrote a song for her father who needed open-heart surgery. Look up the lyrics to Speechless; you’ll tear up.
-She actually does it all- writes, plays piano, dances…and yes she sings *live* on stage.

Music of the Year-Favorite Albums
Some of these weren’t released in 2009, but they were the albums that got the most play on my iPod this year. They are in no particular order.

Will.I.Am-Songs About Girls
I love Will.I.Am’s production. I love everything Black Eyed Peas does…this has the same flavor. Very upbeat. Very danceable. And…there’s a song featuring Snoop!
Favorite track: Get Your Money (please don’t read the lyrics J)

Black Eyed Peas-The E.N.D.
Again-I love everything these guys put out (or just about-there was a song or two on the Elephunk album I never liked). I love how funky their tracks are; I love the old-school sampling. My favorite tracks are the ones when Fergie belts it out.
Favorite track: Out of My Head (favorite line-“I’m gonna hit the bar, get some vodka, some Red Bull…”)

Britney Spears-Circus
Another love-or-hate artist. Lots of people hate her. I’ll be honest: she doesn’t have the best voice. But…her music is pop. This was one of Brit’s best albums. It’s hard to avoid tapping your toes to Womanizer, If U Seek Amy, Circus, Lace and Leather, Phonography and Kill the Lights (all of which, in my opinion, are the best on the album).
Favorite track: Toss between Circus and Lace and Leather
Favorite Line: “If you’re feeling froggy, leap” (from Kill the Lights)

Atmosphere-When Life Gives You Lemons, Paint That Shit Gold
The Minnesota-based Ant and Slug have had my hip-hop heart beating ever since I first heard them in 2005. Not only are they from my home-state, they are good. Clever righting, killer beats and tracks. They make you laugh and really think all in one song. This is one of the, if not the, best albums this duo has ever released. They have great versatile style; from chill tracks like “Like the Rest of Us” to the peppy beats of “You” this album has it all. I’ve heartd that Slug’s storytelling on this album is based off fiction, not like some of his previous content. I’m still discovering new lyrics from this album while writing this blog post!
Favorite track: I honestly cannot pick. I love every track on this album for different reasons. Please- don’t make me choose.

Taylor Swift- Fearless
I didn’t like Taylor Swift before this year. Truth is, my kind of country is more old-school with lots more twang than the “pop-country” they play on the radio these days. Stuff like Johnny Cash, Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, George Strait, Merle Haggard. But something caught my ears this year and I picked up this album. This is the CD that brings me back to my teen years- before I was involved in relationships. Everything revolved around feeling deeply about life. I can relate a lot of the lyrics to my earlier years (especially the song Fifteen).
Favorite track: Fearless

Lady Gaga-The Fame, The Fame (Deluxe Edition), The Fame Monster and The Cherrytree Sessions
The Fame was late 2008, but the rest were actually released in 2009. I put them all on the list because they are all re-releases for The Fame with additional tracks (why do artists do this, by the way)? The album is ¾ good stuff and ¼ okay, so the re-releases with new content was highly-welcomed to my iTunes. Some of my favorites came from the new stuff (Bad Romance, Telephone, Speechless, Starstruck). I could go on forever about these tracks, so I’ll just stop right there.
Favorite track: Monster
Favorite line: “Cuz Im out in the club, and Im sippin that bubb, and youre not gonna reach my telephone!” from Telephone

Lessons Learned
We all learn lessons. For some of us it’s easier than for others. It took me a long time to learn the value of a lesson learned. My parents tried to save me from making mistakes and decisions I would regret. And while I appreciated they’re concerns, I knew I had to make mistakes to learn lessons. It’s how I work. I need to explore and if I fail, lesson learned! Here are some of the lessons I learned in 2009.

If you want something, ask for it
I used to hate it when people would ask, ask, ask. Why do they always ask? But then I realized- if you want something you have to ask. We aren’t mind readers! I’ve learned to ask my husband when I want something from him (a hug, a kiss, some help- he’ll oblige to almost anything I ask of him-because he’s wonderful). I also learned to ask my boss to let me work from home after I moved to Key West. She liked it. She agreed (temporarily). Seriously- did you hear what I said? It was my idea. How would I have ever made that dream come true if I didn’t ask?? After all- I keep telling myself, what is the worst response I could get? Answer: no.

Chase your dreams- no one else will
Again- based off our move. It has been my dream to do something different. I want to see the world. I never thought I could afford vacations…now I realize with a little hard work I can. And that grew into the realization that if I wanted an adventure I had to move towards it. No one was going to hand it to me. We had to work h-a-r-d to get here and yes- we’re enjoying it to the fullest! Now the question is: what’s the next adventure? Only we know! (snickering)

You are the captain of your Destiny
That’s right. You’re a captain. A captain sails the open seas. A captain calls the shots. A captain gets as much rum as he wants and doesn’t have to share (but it’s nice to). So…I’m the captain. The open seas are my life. I call the shots. And I get to drink the rum and share with whom I choose. The time is now to realize that whatever I want…I can have. It won’t be handed to me and it won’t be easy, but the rum will taste that much sweeter.

Being happy is better than being rich
I was making good money when I left Minnesota. I was making really good money. My husband and lived a nice lifestyle. When we decided to move to Key West we knew that would change. However, there are plenty of perks in the life we chose here.
-I don’t have to commute to work; Matthew’s commute is minimal. We live on a 2mix4mi island…the commute is not bad even on the worst days.
-I can swim in the ocean whenever I want.
-There’s something relaxing about enjoying a drink and a cigar on the pier after dark.
-I see my husband more than I would at home.
-Life seems to be more laid back here.
While there are times when I miss MN because of my paycheck, I do have more time for other things in my life. These things that have been missing and now can fill the large void in my heart. Money is satisfying and helps you live a better life, but money also changes people. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll gladly take a massive raise or a lottery check. But for the time being I am content.

Revived and Revisited
When I was a child I would sing to my dad’s tapes. I’ve been singing my whole life. When I became a teenager I realized how much large this passion was. I wanted to be famous. I let that go for awhile and now it’s back. Creativity and singing. Someone told me performing is like crack. They weren’t joking. I’ve never really felt that I crave the attention to be on the stage; I just love to open my mouth and sing. Once I started singing karaoke I realized how much I love it. I can’t wait for my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 10th return to the stage during our karaoke outings. In my resolutions I’ve aimed to make music a bigger part of my creative life. 2009 helped me re-discover that love and need.

Favorite Discovery

Android. I had heard of the G1 awhile ago. But because it didn’t have a household name tied to it like “Motorola” or “Samsung” I dismissed it. Matthew and I went to look at Blackberries and we looked at a live demo of the G1. I fell in love. I bought it and have loved it ever since. It wasn’t until months after being an owner that I realized how much I love this phone. Now I’m a sponge when it comes to Android. I’ve created my own group on Facebook dedicated to Android and I’m the first person to light up and give lengthy testimonials about my love for it. I cannot wait to see what new developments come for Android in 2010. But 2009 will be the year of the “Droid” for me.

And that’s it. The best of 2009. I’m planning on 2010 to be a huge year for Laura Murphy. Stay tuned!

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