2014 Pop Culture Year in Review

pop culture year in review

2014 was a fantastic year for entertainment! I laughed, I cried, I cringed in disbelief, and I tweeted out commentary as I indulged in these movies, concerts, and shows. This was an interesting year for me, because for the first time in over a decade, blogging wasn’t one of my primary sources of entertainment. I attended fewer blogging events and conferences, and spent more time with my family. And surprisingly, I haven’t missed blogging as much as I expected. I haven’t written a post since May, but to follow up with tradition, I had to make a post for all the things that kept me entertained this year.

2014 pop culture picksFavorite New Albums of 2014:
Ingrid Michaelson – Lights Out
Into the Woods Movie Soundtrack
Neon Trees – Pop Psychology
Coldplay – Ghost Stories
The Fault in our Stars Soundtrack
Jason Mraz – Yes!
Weird Al Yankovic – Mandatory Fun
Imogen Heap – Sparks
Maroon Five – V
U2 – Songs of Innocence
OK Go – Hungry Ghosts

Favorite TV Shows of 2014:
New Girl
Mad Men
Masters of Sex
The Mindy Project
Orange is the New Black
House of Cards
Pretty Little Liars
Switched at Birth
Gilmore Girls (full Netflix rewatch with Rosie – TV highlight of the year)

Favorite Podcasts of 2014
Gilmore Guys
Serial
Planet Money
Loveumentary
Mormon Stories
The Cultural Hall

Favorite Movies Seen in 2014:
Interstellar
The Lego Movie
Unbroken
Into the Woods
Guardians of the Galaxy
Divergent
Dumb and Dumber To

Concerts and Performances Attended:
Ingrid Michaelson, Royal Oak Music Theater
Barenaked Ladies, Caesars Windsor
Turandot, Detroit Opera House
The Piano Guys, Fox Theater Detroit
Pearl Jam, Joe Louis Arena Detroit

Favorite YouTube Videos:
Carl Poppa – Bad Lip Reading
Shake it Off – 1988 Aerobic Championship – Taylor Swift
Celebrities Read Mean Tweets – Jimmy Fallon
Flirting Academy – Studio C
Gilmore Girls Season 1 – Pop Culture Reference Supercut – Gilmore Guys
Wheel of Musical Impressions with Adam Levine – Jimmy Kimmel

Blogging Laryngitis


nicole bullock thinking
You know that feeling when you have laryngitis? Straining to make noises, a sore/achy throat, and feeling the effects of vocal fatigue? You know that you should probably rest your voice, even though you have a lot to say? That’s how I’ve felt lately with my blogging. I have said so many things on my blog over so many years, and I continue to think of so many things to write about. Even though I technically have a voice, I feel like a bit of vocal rest is best right now.

Micro-posts on social media have been just what the doctor ordered lately. I’m doing so much in my personal, professional, and private life, so blogging has been on the back burner. When I do write, my posts end up being saved unfinished in my draft folder. I have spent over 12 hours writing about a topic really close to my heart this month, but when it came down to hitting publish…I couldn’t do it. I did not feel ready to open myself up to the possible criticism and necessary explanations that it would begin. You have to have a thick skin to write about anything potentially controversial, and my skin is eerily thin right now.

The past 6 months since my move to Detroit have been a thrilling, fast-paced, up-down-and-sideways, and sometimes horrifying experience. With my professional career being Internet-based, the appeal of blogging has waned over the last year.  Knowing that business decisions can be influenced by the things that I publish, I have grown extremely cautious.

It’s weird that I feel like this right now, because I living in Detroit gives me SO much to talk about. I am falling in love with my new city, and I want to “say nice things about Detroit.” I love the history, architecture, and culture that have made the Motor City so interesting and appealing to me. I’ve been toying about starting another offshoot blog dedicated to all things Detroit (because I have an addiction to registering domains, and already have purchased a few for this purpose). But again, social media feels like the right place to share it.

Bear with me as I figure out my place in the blogosphere. I’m going to sip my icy drink and listen for a while.

Wordless Wednesday: Ingrid Michaelson Tonight

Wordless Wednesday: Signs of Spring

spring daffodils by nicole bullock

april snow in michigan

Wordless Wednesday: Neverending Detroit Winter

never ending Detroit winter

Get Your Strike On With BowlingShoes.com

glow-in-the-dark bowling shoesEver since I was I child, I’ve loved going bowling. This love is in direct correlation between how many episodes of The Flintstones I watched and now much I loved wearing funky retro bowling shoes. Bowling with friends gives you the chance to strut your stuff in front of others while hurling a heavy ball down a glossy lane of ten pins. It’s fun, it’s retro, and it’s recreational.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try to get a good score in bowling, I’m lucky to break 100.

While I was in college, I took a bowling class to sharpen my skills. On the first day of class, before learning any rules or basics of the game, we got to play a free round of bowling. I scored 111, which ended up being the highest score I achieved in 4 months of bowling classes and volunteering with the Special Olympics bowling league. I gained some good techniques, learned the lingo of the game, and am aware of physics of being a good bowler. But the more I focus on technique, the worse my score is at the end of the game.

Therefore, I’ve learned to play for the fun of the game, and to wear rocking bowling shoes.

I was contacted by BowlingShoes.com to review a pair of shoes. Although I’ve had my own pairs of bowling shoes in the past, they were cheap, uncomfortable, and had an unnecessary amount of velcro. When I searched their site for a pair of shoes to select, I focused immediately on the Elite Neon Sun Ladies’ Bowling Shoes. Why? Because they GLOW IN THE DARK. If you know me at all, you know that I can’t resist the glow.  I think that nighttime cosmic bowling is the most fun, and these shoes are perfect for it!

elite neon sun bowling shoesThe shoes are matte black with a neon yellow/green tongue, logo, and laces, with white contrast stitching. When under black lighting, the shoes glow a cool greenish tint. The shoes are lightweight with a felty-bottomed universal slide sole. The fit is a little wider than the shoes you would rent from the bowling alley, which is good for my feet. I am not sure if the shoes are genuine leather or some type of vinyl composite…the descriptions on the product box and on other websites do not specify the materials.

In wearing the shoes around my hardwood-floored home, I did find them quite comfortable. The soles had just the right amount of grip/slide that I like for my game, and there was adequate support within the shoe. My only complaint is that the back heel portion of the shoe is very stiff, and made my skin feel raw after a few minutes. I think I’m more prone to that  shoe/heel rubbing than the average person, so next time I’ll wear some padded athletic socks to minimize the friction.

The Elite Neon Sun shoes are available for $49.99 through BowlingShoes.com, which is an affordable mid-range price for the casual bowler. Owning your own bowling shoes means that you don’t have to deal with the germs that the rental shoes can have. I’ve always hated watching bowling alley employees “spray and pray” away the germs with aerosol disinfectant, so I’m happy to only deal with my own foot germs.

I can’t wait to try these shoes out in action. I found a bowling alley less than a mile from my house that has cosmic bowling and karaoke on the weekends. Paired with some funky socks and a striped shirt, I’ll be glowing with pride in my new bowling shoes.

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary pair of bowling shoes from bowlingshoes.com in exchange for a review. Images in the review are property of their website, but opinions are all my own. Retail value of the shoes is $49.99.

2013 Pop Culture Year in Review

2013 pop culture year in review
Music, movies, television, live performances, and more. 2013 was a great year for culture in many genres, which made this raving pop culture junkie a happy girl. What were my favorite pop culture experiences of 2013*? Here’s my recap.

Favorite Television Shows of 2013
Breaking Bad (I still can’t believe it’s over)
Community
New Girl
The Mindy Project
Orange is the New Black
House of Cards
Arrested Development

Favorite Concerts of 2013
Muse – Rose Garden, Portland, OR
Muse – Energy Solutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Tegan and Sara with Walk Off the Earth – The Fillmore, Detroit, MI
Empire of the Sun – Twilight Concert Series, Salt Lake City, UT
Keane – Live from Berlin (it was a concert movie, but it was amazing)

Favorite Albums of 2013
Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob
Imagine Dragons – Night Visions
Keane – Best of Keane
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Phoenix – Bankrupt!
Lorde – Pure Heroine
Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
John Mayer – Paradise Valley
Frozen Soundtrack
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt

Favorite Movies of 2013
Frozen
Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Great Gatsby
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Ender’s Game
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Monsters University
Man of Steel
Oz the Great and Powerful

Favorite Songs of 2013
Imagine Dragons – Demons
Sara Bareilles – Brave
City and Colour – Thirst
The Killers – Miss Atomic Bomb
The Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather
M83 (featuring Susanne Sundfor) – Oblivion
Lorde – Royals
Lana Del Rey – Summertime Sadness
Daft Punk – Get Lucky
Biffy Clyro – Biblical
The 1975 – Chocolate
OneRepublic – Counting Stars
Barenaked Ladies – Odds Are
Bastille – Pompeii

Favorite Performances/Exhibits of 2013
Florencia en el Amazonas – Utah Opera
Watch Me Move – Detroit Institute of Arts
The Heidelberg Project – Detroit
The Fargo Tourist Bureau – Fargo, ND
Chris & Kevin’s Batman Wedding – Dana Point, CA

Favorite YouTube Videos of 2013

Hashtag – Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake
Walk Off The Earth – Red Hands
Tegan and Sara – Closer
Ylvis – The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)
Prancercise: A Fitness Workout
The Ragtime Gals – “SexyBack” and “I Wanna Sex You Up”
Christmas Jammies

*note: Some songs, albums, and movies were released in 2012, but they were heavily enjoyed in 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Stringing Christmas Lights

stringing Christmas lights

Settling Into Life in Detroit

blue berkley bullock homeOur family has been in Michigan for a few weeks now, and I feel like we’re settling into normal life. Well, as much as possible.

November was a month of transition. Packing, driving cross country, starting a new job, finding my way around, and trying to catch my breath. We were fortunate to be able to stay with the Mero Family in Plymouth for a few weeks, who we knew from our time in Michigan back in 2008. We did the one-car double-commute thing for two weeks, where we’d leave Plymouth, drop Taylor off at the airport in Romulus, I’d drive to work in Troy, and then go back to Plymouth. It was 120 miles round trip, and very exhausting and time consuming. I flew back to Salt Lake two weekends in a row to pack, attend a going away party, and get some last visits in with friends and family. On the second trip back, Rosie returned to Detroit with me.

I began working as an SEO specialist at Moncur Associates, a digital branding agency. I will be focusing on SEO, but working with the social media team to integrate social and content strategies for our clients. It’s been an interesting transition to go back to SEO after doing full-time social media at my last job, but I know that my social media experience makes me a better SEO, and vice versa. When I began working, the office was in Troy. Three weeks later, the office had relocated to Southfield. It’s a convenient location to my house, and a pretty snazzy contemporary office.

wooden dining room setOn the last day of November, we got the keys to our new house in Berkley. Our house is a cozy blue 1920′s bungalow with a white porch, squeaky wood floors, and a good backyard. Berkley is a suburb 11 miles north of downtown Detroit. I know this because we live off 11 Mile Road. When we drove out from Utah, we packed as much as we could into the cars. Because we had to coordinate the moving truck with Taylor’s company, we knew it would be a while before our stuff was delivered. Right now, the estimated arrival date is December 30th.

Our Black Friday was spent furniture shopping. We got some fantastic deals, and purchased a dining room set, couch, and beds. Other than our new furniture and the miscellaneous STUFF we’ve purchased on our multiple Target/Meijer/Costco/Walmart runs, the house is otherwise empty. It will be nice to have all of our dishes, kitchenware, dressers, linens, decorations, and clothes, but for now…we have enough to get by.

7 foot artificial christmas treeWe debated over a real vs artificial Christmas tree this year. I was set on getting a real tree…until I went shopping for a real tree. I don’t consider myself OCD at all, but I started getting frustrated at the “fresh” trees I saw in tree lots. Most were severely asymmetrical and patchy, and really didn’t look very pretty. The ones that were full and looked nice had very sharp needles. Four lots later, I gave in to Taylor’s pleadings and got an artificial tree. As a consolation, we bought a lovely fresh fir wreath. With the tree set up, full of lights and ornaments, this alone has helped our house feel like a home.

Christmas will be simple this year. Taylor will be on a 4-day trip, so Rosie and I will be on our own. Luckily, many new friends and people in our ward have invited us to celebrate with them, so we’ll have ways to be merry in our new city.

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