Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of 2010 - Sky Sailing to Zac Brown Band

I'm sharing my favorite songs discovered in 2010 - 6 songs a day - I'll post the entire set in a YouTube playlist on December 31.

Sky Sailing - A Little Opera Goes a Long Way
"Where the page proclaims the end."

The title of this song pulled me in and I ended up loving it.

Steve Azar - Sunshine
"Says I finally got it right."

I still can't figure out how this wasn't a bigger hit this year.

Sugarland - Little Miss
"Little miss who you are, is so much more than you like to talk about."

Didn't love their latest album, but this song made me happy.

Susan Boyle - Wild Horses
"Fate has been suffered and tears must be cried."

Thanks to PG who introduced me to this song - it is awe inspiring.

Tift Merritt - The Things That Everybody Does
"But how could I go with breakfast not over yet."

This entire album was amazing - I had a hard time picking just one, but in the end this one won out.

Zac Brown Band - Free
"We'll drive until the city lights dissolve into a country sky."

Zac Brown Band has quickly become one of my go to bands I love pretty much everything they put out. Got my hands on their latest this week and feel completely in love with one more of their songs - I'll share next week.

I did it - got through the entire list of 60 songs I fell in love with in 2010.  Want to hear them all together, check out the playlist below.  Thanks for a years worth of support, comments and blog love, it is very much appreciated.

I hope you all have a happy and safe New Years, see you in 2011.

Pin It

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best of 2010 - Retribution Gospel Choir to Savoir Adore

I'm sharing my favorite songs discovered in 2010 - 6 songs a day - I'll post the entire set in a YouTube playlist on December 31.

Retribution Gospel Choir - Hide it Away
"You think you have what you own."

Love the band name and love this song.

Runar Eff - Take on Me
"Slowly learning that life is okay."

Heard this one playing in the background of a TV show and had to track it down.  I was a huge fan of the original back in the day - but I think I love this one even more.

Ryan Bingham - Country Roads
"Might have took a few wrong turns, down a few wrong roads."

Ryan Bingham has become a huge favorite of mine this year - mostly for songs like this that make me want to set off on an epic road trip.

Sara Bareilles - King of Anything
"I'm not the one who's lost with no direction."

Sara does no wrong in my book.  This is one of those songs I find myself singing at the top of my lungs as I drive down the road.  If I had put this list together this week - King of Anything may have been replaced by her "Let the Rain."

Sarah Sample - Everytime I Go
"My stomach in the sky, my heart a battle cry."

An up and comer - such a great song.  For someone who spends too much time traveling and away from the people I love, this song really hit home for me.

Savoir Adore - The Garden

Great melody, harmonies and oh, so beautiful. Pin It

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Best of 2010 - Mumford & Son to Ray LaMontagne

I'm sharing my favorite songs discovered in 2010 - 6 songs a day - I'll post the entire set in a YouTube playlist on December 31.

Mumford & Sons - Awake My Soul
"Where you invest your love, you invest your life."

The album this one came off of is one of my top five of 2010 - I love nearly every song.  This one makes me want to get up and do something.

Muse - Uprising
"Rise up and take the power back."

One of the best workout songs for me this year - it keeps me moving.

Neon Trees - Animal
"I kinda wanna be more than friends."

As luck would have it, today's set is full of great keep moving songs, Animal certainly fits the bill.  I remember listening to this one on the way home from the zoo with my niece and nephew - perfect song for the day.

OneRepublic - Good Life
"What is there to complain about."

Perfect song for a summer day - windows open driving down the highway.

Radney Foster - Angel Flight
"Come on brother, you're with me tonight."

I'll never forget the first time I heard this one.  My dad asked if I had heard it, I hadn't, he said it was a must listen.   We crawled into his car in the garage, along with my niece and nephew (1 & 3 who wanted to tag along) I had both kids on my lap as we listened to this one cocooned in the car.  The sound was amazing, but more importantly, this is one of the most moving songs I've heard in years.  I DARE you to listen, really listen and get through with out cold chills and a few tears.

Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs - New York City's Killing Me
"Gotta get me somewhere, somewhere where I can be free."

Without a doubt, my most played album of the year.  Love, love him and while I've never been to NYC, I simply leave you the New York part and sing that the city is killing me and dream of getting back to the country. Pin It

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Best of 2010 - Lady Gaga to Miranda Lambert

I'm sharing my favorite songs discovered in 2010 - 6 songs a day - I'll post the entire set in a YouTube playlist on December 31.

Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
"I want your everything as long as it's free."

This spring I decided I needed to figure out who Lady Gaga was and see if she was worth the fuss.  I ended up loving this song, but she's probably not going to end up on my must buy list.

Little Big Town - Lean Into It
"If there's a way to fight, I know I'm going to find it."

Little Big Town reminds of Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles - great harmonies.

Mary Chapin Carpenter - I Have a Need for Solitude
"I like the sound of silence coming on."

I finally saw Mary Chapin Carpenter in concert this year - it was well worth the heat.  I've said before that she writes and records the songs that define my life - this song is no different.

Melody Gardot - Who Will Comfort Me
"My soul is wearying"

I actually heard this song at Jazzercise one week.  It was the perfect cool down song and it stayed in my head for days until I finally tracked a copy down.

Mindy Gledhill - Whole Wide World
"I'm gonna live a crazy dream, as impossible as it seems."

An artist from my home state, such a beautiful voice.  This song has a wonderful message.

Miranda Lambert - The House That Built Me
"These handprints on the front step are mine"

The first time I heard this song I cried - serious tears.  After listing to it a lot I still find myself tearing up with each listen. Pin It

Monday, December 27, 2010

Best of 2010 - Jerrod Niemann to Lady Antebellum

I'm sharing my favorite songs discovered in 2010 - 6 songs a day - I'll post the entire set in a YouTube playlist on December 31.

Jerrod Niemann - What Do You Want
"If you've moved on why does it feel like I'm losing you again"

A new discovery for me this year, I love the blues influences in his music.

Josh Ritter - Change of Time
"The sails of memory rip open in silence."

What is it about musicians named Josh or Joshua, there are a ton of them in my iPod and I love them all. Josh Ritter is always a good pick.

Joshua James - Weeds
"You cut half your heart, it makes it hard to grow."

Another artist discovered at the Public Library, he's another artist that seemed to hit this year's sweet spot of raw, roots-based music with a touch of blues.

Joshua Radin & Schuyler Fisk - Paperweight
"Every world you say I think I should write down."

Joshua number 3 on the list.  I eagerly await new music from Joshua Radin - it is almost a given I will love anything he does.

Katie Herzig - I Hurt Too
"I believe there is peace up there in those hills."

One of the songs Katie wrote "Heaven's My Home" performed by the Duhks was nominated for a Grammy and is one of the most played song on my iPod - so I was thrilled to find some of her solo stuff. This songs beautiful and haunting melody gets me every time.

Lady Antebellum - Hello World
"Sometimes I forget what livings for."

This song can give me chills when I'm in the right mood.  Their harmony's are so beautiful in this song.

Can you think of a Josh/Joshua I missed? Pin It

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

And, a special thanks to Maegan for sharing her amazing papers so I could, finally, get the inspiration for my Christmas card this year.

Pin It

Best of 2010 - Gregory Alan Isakov to Jason Aldean

I'm sharing my favorite songs discovered in 2010 - 6 songs a day - I'll post the entire set in a YouTube playlist on December 31.

Gregory Alan Isakov - Unwritable Girl
"Wanna write one for you
The unwritable girl."

I've always wanted someone to write a song for me, it sounds like the most romantic thing in the world.  But being unwritable sounds intriguing too.

Griffin House - Waiting for the Rain to Come Down
"I wonder every day
Am I still on your mind?"

A prayer of forgiveness in the form of a song.  Pure beauty.

The Head and the Heart - Down in the Valley
"I am on my way back to where I started."

A band out of Seattle I discovered thanks to blogging friends.  One of those songs I want to listen to with the lights out, the way I listened to music as a teenager.  It gets richer with each listen.

Jakob Dylan - Nothing But the Whole Wide World
"I'm here for adventure whichever way it comes"

The voice of a Dylan - but not so raw you can't understand the lyrics.  I love the concept behind this song - focus on what you have to gain not what you have to lose.

Jamey Johnson - That's Why I Write Songs
"I remember all the times I felt
Like somebody knows me all too well
'Cause it was my life's story I was listening to"

If I were ranking my top songs, this one would make the top 10 and maybe the top 5.  I have a reverence for songwriters, I can't imagine having the kind of talent it takes to put thoughts, hopes and dreams to music.  Through their work, songwriters give us the songs we use to deal with emotions, songs we use to celebrate and songs we use to mourn.  Jamey Johnson's tribute to some of the best is simply beautiful.

Jason Aldean - The Truth
"Have some mercy on me."

Gotta be honest, I love a good heartbreak song every once in a while, and mostly I love that this one comes from the guys point of view.

Halfway through!  And to think, I thought this would be less stressful than writing normal blog posts.

I hope you have an amazing Christmas! Pin It

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Best of 2010 - Eastern Conference Champions to Grace Potter

I'm sharing my favorite songs discovered in 2010 - 6 songs a day - I'll post the entire set in a YouTube playlist on December 31.

Eastern Conference Champions - A Million Miles an Hour
"It starts as a battle of luck."

This one came off the Twilight: Eclipse soundtrack which made up a big part of my summer road trip music.  The soundtrack was my introduction to some great new groups this year, including Florence and the Machine.  The bass line on this one is amazing.

Eminem - Not Afraid
"I'm not afraid to take a stand
Everybody come take my hand
We'll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just to let you know that, you're not alone
Hollar if you feel that you've been down the same road.

Yeah, it's been a ride
I Guess I had to go to that place to get to this one
Now some of you might still be in that place
If you're trying to get out, just follow me
I'll get you there."

I'm not usually big on rap - but every once in a while I find one that grabs my attention.  Eminem's comeback song this year was one that made me stand up and listen.

Eric Church - Smoke a Little Smoke
"And put some feel good in my soul"

I fell in love with this song when I heard it during my summer road trip to Asheville, NC.  I was driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway in a blissful state.  A long weekend with no work, no stress and just time to breathe.  This song came on, and even though I'm not a drinker or a smoker, it just felt like the perfect theme song for the trip.  A song about chilling out and just being.

First Aid Kit - Ghost Town
"I swear I can be better"

A song about looking back, with a simple haunting melody and sparse arrangement.

Florence and the Machine - Dog Days are Over
"Happiness hit her like a bullet to the head"

How can I not love this song, it starts all girl singer soft and turns into something that keeps me dancing around the house.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - Things I Never Needed
"I don't want to be the one who lets you down."

Another artist I discovered this year, lovely voice, great song.

What new artists did you discover this year? Pin It

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best of 2010 - Dan Auerbach to Dierks Bentley

I'm sharing my favorite songs discovered in 2010 - 6 songs a day - I'll post the entire set in a YouTube playlist on December 31.

Dan Auerbach - When the Night Comes
"You don't have to be afraid
Of any choice you made
When the night comes"

I wasn't half-way through the first listen of this song before I downloaded the entire album.  Dan Auerbach is 1/2 of The Black Keys that made the list yesterday.  His voice is amazing and so full of emotion.  The lyrics to this one are so simple and profound, listening to this each night might actually be a very good idea.

Dan Mangan - The Indie Queens are Waiting
"Buy something to make you like me more"

Not completely sure why I like this song so much, I think it is the simple arrangement that lets the voices shine through.

Darrell Scott - A Crooked Road
"And a lonesome song will be my true companion
When all else has abandon me for singing of their own."

What a beautiful voice and song.  From the opening riff I can't wait to hear what is next.  The song is beautifully written and performed.

David Nail - Red Light
"This is what 'I don't love you' feels like"

I love that the songwriter of this one took a single moment - stopping at a red light, something we all do multiple times a day, and turned it into an incredible life changing moment.

Dawes - Peace in the Valley
"I want you to know why you hold me close."

The steady beat that runs through this one keeps me typing, but the lyrics keep pulling my attention way from work and I end up letting my mind wander into the song.  This one is stripped down, raw and powerful.

Dierks Bentley - Draw Me a Map
"Searching for answers to questions I can't find."

Dierks Bentley went against the grain this year and made an album of bluegrass music - for him it was a labor of love.  I know it didn't sell as well as his mainstream music, but the entire album was full of amazing songs and musicians.  I loved several of the songs, but this sweet one was the one that will stick with me for years.  Don't we all wish the person we loved would draw us a map and explain exactly what we need to do to show them how much we love them? Pin It

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best of 2010 - Beach House to Court Yard Hounds

I'm sharing my favorite songs discovered in 2010 - 6 songs a day - I'll post the entire set in a YouTube playlist on December 31.

Beach House - Zebra
"Anyway you run, you run with poise."

This song makes me want to hit the road for a summer road trip.  The opening riff sucks me right in.  Their voices are gorgeous together, the entire song feels as if it is made of layers that are beautiful alone but magical together.

Belle & Sebastian - I Want the World to Stop
"Let me step out of my shell."

Admit it, you've had those times when you've wanted the world to stop so you could catch up - I have at least one of those moments every day.  Aside from loving the concept behind this song, I love the way it feels like a conversation.

The Black Keys - Tighten Up
"Living just to keep going, going just to be sane."

Another bearded singer who rocked my world this year, his voice is raw and powerful, anytime I hear it I have to stop what I'm doing and just listen.  As a bonus this is an adorable video.  There is a reason this album is showing up on Best of lists across the web and in print.

Brandi Carlile - Before it Breaks
"Let it bend before it breaks"

I just love her, she's got a powerful that can break my heart.

Broken Social Scene - All to All
"You'll always find the lonely ray."

There are so many layers in this song I feel like I could listen for days and still hear something new.

Court Yard Hounds - Fear of Wasted Time
"I watch every frame of this life I've made
Take a picture but I miss the moment now."

Oh, how I've missed the Dixie Chicks.  When 2/3s of the group released an album this year I couldn't wait to hear it - and I wasn't disappointed.  While I missed the power of Natalie Maine's voice, the quality of the songs on this album more than made up for it.  I fell in love with this song before I heard it - the title alone speaks to me, but I fell head over heals at first listen.

Did any of these make your favorites list this year? Pin It

Monday, December 20, 2010

Best of 2010 - Adele to Band of Horses

I sat down last week with my iTunes account to put together my Best of 2010 list.  I kept it simple.  Anything added in 2010, regardless of when it was actually released, was eligible.  If the song moved me, made me want to dance or was just something I kept going back to it made the list.  I've already promised to give a copy of the list away to anyone who emails me with their Guerilla Holiday acts, but I'm also going to share it here over the next couple of weeks (yes, there are THAT many songs.)  Some are radio hits you'll recognize, some a random cuts that will never in a million years be released as singles.

Picking favorites of favorites seems impossible, so I'm just going to alphabetize by artist, no counting down here.  Rather than embed the videos, I'm just going to give you links, to keep the post size down.  I'm also planning to post an entire YouTube playlist on the last day.  Please tell me what you think about my choices - and share the songs I may have missed.

Adele - Rolling in the Deep
"Don't underestimate the things I will do"

This is a brand new song from Adele.  I've been waiting for new music from her for what seems like forever.  She's got an incredible voice and the driving beat on this one makes me want to stand up and dance around the room.  I've never had a breakup that made me wish this passionately for my ex to learn a lesson, but if I ever do, this will be on heavy rotation.  For now, I'll just play it when I'm working on building a little attitude.

Arcade Fire - Ready to Start
"I would rather be wrong
Than stand in the shadow of your song
My mind is wide open
Now I'm ready to start."

Another song with a great, driving beat.  This one makes me want to push forward, to keep reach for those goals.  Arcade Fire is hit or miss with me, but this is one of those time when the song was exactly right - lyrics, melody and beat, it's the full package.

Atherton - Sing You a Song
"If I could be the light
The shines on the house tonight"

This album was recorded in 2008 just down the road from me in Provo, UT.  I discovered it digging through the music collection at the Public Library - what a GREAT find.  Gorgeous music, reminds me of Ryan Adams and Wilco.  This is the kind of album I like to listen to at the end of a long day when I just want to kick back and breathe in life.

The Avett Brothers - Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise
"Decide what to be and go be it."

I could (and have) gone on for days about my love of The Avett Brothers, their songs are raw, powerful and insightful.  If I can't convince you to give them a listen, try reading this article and see if you aren't converted.  Their songs make up my walking music, I know that at least one song will click with something in my mind and will turn my walk into both physical and mental exercise.  This song rocked my world from the second I heard it.

Band of Annuals - Thought I'd Have Learned
"And if I wake tomorrow, honey, well, I'll be surprised."

Fair warning, this one is dark and moody, but I'm of the opinion that we all need some moody music in our collection, if for no other reason that to take us back to those days as teenagers as we laid in a dark room and listened to dark music thinking we'd never survive high school.    Depressing or not, the haunting melodies pull me right in and make me ever so glad I'm no longer that teenager.

Band of Horses - Laredo
"Oh, I'm at a cross roads with myself"

I love the entire Infinite Arms album, so picking a favorite was very, very difficult, I ended up choosing the first song I heard off the album, Laredo.  At first listen I thought it was a song about travel, which I loved.  Only through repeat listens did I really understand the song.  And I LOVE songs that get deeper and richer with multiple listens.

Did any of these acts make your best of list? Pin It

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Sunday Creative - Thaw

Here's the thing - melting snow is rarely beautiful.  Snow is beautiful when it first falls and is untouched.  But start adding in sand and salt so it will quickly melt off the road, then add in dirt and pollution and you end up with a muddy slush, not something I usually consider beautiful.  But add in a little PW Vintage Action and it looks a bit better.

We had a warm spell at my house for a few days and the snow was quickly melting - this is what I found near my driveway.  If you look closely you can see the blades of grass sticking their heads up.

Since winter isn't going away anytime soon, I'm choosing to try and enjoy it, with the help of some of my favorite winter songs - including this one by The Head and the Heart:
Pin It

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cooking 101 - Holiday Treats

This week I turned my cooking experiments to holiday treats and tackled a recipe I'd seen online at One Charming Party - Chocolate Carmel Marshmallows.  While mine didn't turn out nearly as beautiful as the pictures online, they are pretty tasty.

What are you doing for neighbor gifts this year?  Or do you do neighbor gifts where you live?  I know I didn't when I lived in Texas, Washington or Kentucky - of course they could have been because I lived in places where you didn't get to know your neighbors well.

While I made my treats this year I listened the the Holiday Mix we put together at I-Studio last week.  It's been on heavy repeat at my house.
Pin It

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A little frost

Frosted Dawn
I went out to shovel the walks early.  It was so quiet and peaceful.  After the walks were cleared I ran back in and grabbed the camera, knowing I just had a few minutes left before things started warming up and the beautiful frost would melt away.

I'm not a huge fan of snow and winter, but even I have to admit it can make the world beautiful.

This song, "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers, made me happy last week when I heard it on one of my favorite blogs: I am Fuel, You Are Friends and just can't help but share.
Pin It

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bird on a Pine

Bird on a Pine

I've never really thought of myself as a bird watcher, but when a group spent part of the day hanging out in the trees outside my window they gave me an excuse to ignore work for a while.  Not surprisingly, when I finally got up to grab my camera they all disappeared, leaving me just one shot of this little one before he deserted me too.

Pin It

Monday, December 13, 2010

Watching the Clouds Roll In

Clouds Move In 1
I've been remodeling a room off my garage to serve as a home office.  While I've still got a way to go before it is complete, last week it was far enough along I started working from there (working from there is a great way to keep me away from the kitchen and the associated calories during the day.)

Clouds Move In 2
The biggest benefit of the office is an enormous window that I put my desk in front of.  The view from this window is incredible - in fact the view from the back of this house is probably the reason I bought the house in the first place.

Clouds Move In 3
One day last week I found myself fascinated all morning watching the clouds roll in and swirl around the mountains.  At times the clouds sat below the mountain peaks, but over time they swirled up to meet the sky.  It was beautiful and distracting.  I feel so blessed to live in such an amazing place.

I heard this song on NPR last week.  Isn't it just moody and perfect for watching the clouds roll in?
Pin It

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Sunday Creative - Frozen

It's been a few weeks since I managed to come up with a photo for Maegan's Sunday Creative, so I decided it was time I jumped back in.

The prompt was surprisingly easy thanks to a turn in the weather which left me with a frozen porch railing.

Today's song was a debate - Madonna or Tegan and Sara.  In the end I decided to go with the one I liked the most - Madonna wins again.
Pin It

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cooking 101 - Warm Chickpea Vinaigrette

Thanks for all of your support and ideas on my new cooking project.  So far this week I've managed to make the world's easiest cookies (1 spice cake mix, 1 15-oz can pumpkin and 1 cup chocolate chips, mix together and bake) and completely mess up a package of jello pudding (who knew pudding wouldn't set up if you used Soy Milk?)

I also tried a new recipe out of a cookbook I won in a giveaway - Simply De-Lite-Ful by Alice Bolen and Janelle Woolley, find it here.  I've had a stash of chickpeas around the house because I want to try making hummus, but I can't seem to find tahini in Utah.  So when I saw a recipe for a chickpea salad in the cookbook I decided to give it a try.  It was super easy and would make a great side dish, although I used it for a main dish.

Warm Chickpeas Vinaigrette
 from Simply De-Lite-Ful
by Alice Bolen and Janelle Woolley

2 (15-oz) cans chickpeas, drained (I halved the recipe)
1 large shallot, diced (I'd cut back on the shallot, I'm not a huge onion/shallot fan)
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup large carrot, grated (I had baby carrots, so I chopped them)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leave parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

In serving blow combine shallot, vinegar, garlic and salt.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, blanch chickpeas in boiling water for 2 minutes and rain.  Add warm chickpeas, carrot, parsley and olive oil to shallot mixture and toss together.  Taste and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and additional salt if needed.

For those of you who asked, here's last week's recipe, along with our best google attempt and converting from the UK recipe, if you are in the UK and want the original drop me a line:

Tomato Soup 
Pret A Manager

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 Onion, chopped
4 cups Tomato, chopped (we've tried fresh, canned, and bottled - I prefer canned, I use 1 15 oz can and one 32 oz can, slightly more than the recipe calls for)
2 teaspoons Tomato Puree (I've only found it in a giant can, so I froze the leftovers)
1/2 cup Water
2 tablespoons Dry White Wine (I use cooking wine)
4 tablespoons Cream 
2 teaspoons Vegetable Bouillon (recipe calls for Marigold brand)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons White Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Oregano, fresh chopped
1 teaspoon Parsley, fresh chopped
1 teaspoon Thyme, fresh chopped (fresh herbs make a huge difference)
Black Pepper

Gently fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft, around 5 minutes.  Add the tomato, water, tomato puree, wine, bouillon, sugar and white wine vinegar.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Finally add the cream, herbs and seasoning and simmer for a couple of minutes before serving (I prefer the soup after it has simmered for hours.)

While I cooked this week I listened to Mumford and Sons - kept me hopping in the kitchen.
Pin It

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Accidental Bokeh

Christmas Bokeh
What  happens when you forget you left your camera on manual focus and try and get a couple photos of your Christmas tree?

Christmas Bokeh
Accidental bokeh.  Which, for some reason, I love (SOOC.)

I finally got my hands on the new Belle & Sebastian - love it.
Pin It

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Resolution Thinking

With January not so far away, New Years' resolutions are on my mind, which may be why this quote struck a chord with me recently.

"If you want to be found, stand where the seeker seeks." Sidney Lanier

I saw the quote on one of my favorite blogs Smart, Pretty and Awkward, a blog where I consistently find posts that make me stop and think on Molly's blog.

This quote has me thinking about not just setting goals, but making sure I am in the right physical and mental place to make reaching them possible.  Couple this quote with a line from a song I (surprisingly) fell in love with this summer and I think I have a good recipe for goal success.

"If you want more love why don't you say so." - John Mayer

Bottom line - my plan is to decide what I want, say it clearly and make sure I'm in the right position to make it a reality.

Pin It

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snowy Day

Snow Drifts
The snow has officially arrived in my neck of the woods.  I don't mind it much when I don't have to try and drive in in (and after I've done the work of clearing the driveway, sidewalks and balcony.)  

As the sun rises
My favorite time with the snow is the day after a snow storm when the sky is clear and the sun rises over the mountains in my backyard.  

Snow Crystals
The snow sparkles - it really is heavenly, at least in the backyard.  The front yard tends to get brown and slushy, not as heavenly.

I just picked up a 50mm lens (aka nifty-fifty) I'm struggling a bit with it and I'm not quite sure why.  I know many of you have them (and love them) any tips to help me get started?  Also - a huge THANK YOU for all of your tips on my dry hands.  I'm working my way through the list and have already seen a huge difference - no new splits and the ones I have are nearly healed.  

Pin It

Friday, December 3, 2010

Join Us - Guerrilla Holiday

My friend Jen from Gilding Lilies has launched her second annual Guerrilla Holiday.  It is a fantastic idea of spreading the holiday cheer through random acts of kindness.  I'm going to let her explain the concept:

Last year I decided to do a Guerrilla Holiday, and I want to do it again this year, and I'm hoping you will want to join me. Here is the idea. Have you ever heard of Guerrilla Artist's? Basically, they are artists that make art and install, preform, or attach it to public spaces, with the intention of affecting the world in a creative and thought provoking way (to paraphrase Keri Smith). These installations are often anonymous, and very unique. Do a web search for "guerrilla art" and you will see many wonderful examples. My idea is to remove some of the hype from the holiday and remind people of the simple joy of kindness. I think we all get so wrapped up in the stress of the season, we sometimes forget about small ways we can feel, and spread joy. I'm talking about some random acts of giving. Tiny stuff, sweet stuff, unexpected stuff. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Decorate a public and unexpected object. Put a handmade greeting card on a strangers windshield. If your a crafter, make something small, and stick it in a neighbors mailbox.  Go for a walk and stick a single shiny ornament on every tree that you pass. Tie a pretty tag, with a few kind words, on somebodies trash can (won't that just freak them out!). One of my readers tucked handmade beaded bookmarks in library books. There are a million possibilities. Make a sticker or a sign. Do you have something to say about the holiday season? Well, this is your chance! Won't you join me? I am really excited to see what you do. Send me some pictures, or tell me some stories, and I will try to post many of them on my blog at Spread the word, and take a Guerrilla Holiday Button. Let's see what we can do. This is going to be fun! 

I can't wait to get started and put the focus on something besides shopping this season and I'm really hoping you'll join in the fun. I want you to participate so badly I'm willing to resort to bribery.  Anyone who takes up the challenge, then emails me (see side bar for email address) with their story will receive my Best of 2010 mix - which is guaranteed to include at least one Ray LaMontagne song:

Pin It

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cooking 101

This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me - but I'm not much of a cook.  I'm convinced it is because I usually just can't be bothered.  I'm the type of person who is satisfied most evenings with some yogurt or an omelet.  But for the last few months I've had the desire to improve my skills just so I don't feel so clueless.  I decided to get a jump start on my New Year's Resolution and set a goal (publicly) of learning how to cook (at least a few things.)  I'm hoping that by sharing my goal and progress here I'll find the motivation to follow through.

I started simple - with one of my favorite foods - tomato soup.  From nearly as long as I can remember my comfort food was tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.  When I was a kid, Campbell's was my go to.  As an adult I discovered Pacific Organic Food's Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup - delish!  But recently I found a new favorite.

Last October my mom and I went to Copenhagen and London, such amazing cities.  While in London always wanted a quick (but WARM) lunch.  We discovered a restaurant chain called Pret a Manger - like Starbucks in the US there seems to be a restaurant on nearly every corner.  I had their tomato soup on our first visit and kept dragging my mom back there for lunch every day because I couldn't get enough of that soup.  On our last day I finally got my mom to try it and she fell in love.

We both talked about how we'd miss that soup.  My mom, being the go getter she is, decided to do something about it.  She got home and emailed the restaurant to see if they had a cookbook with the recipe in that could be bought.  Better yet, they sent her the recipe in reply.  We did some googling to translate the recipe to US measurements and started experimenting (well, she experimented, I tasted and commented.)  We've finally settled on our favorite version of the recipe.

I decided it was time I learned how to make it on my own, and I have to say, my first (and second) attempt at real cooking worked out well, even if I had to eat leftovers twice a day for four days.

Any recommendations on what this beginning cook should try next?

I think having the right music to accompany my efforts made the difference.  For this recipe I went with Band of Horses - just the right mix of mellow and rock for my mood and the soup.
Pin It

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

One of Those Days

After spending the better part of the past decade living in more humid climates, my skin has decided to reject Utah's dry, dry winter air.  Hit particularly bad are my hands, where my skin has started cracking and splitting open with the least little hit.  It seems I can't keep enough lotion on them.  I woke up this morning with a new split and decided to dedicate the day to layering the lotion on.

All was going well, until just after applying lotion, I tried to take a bowl of very hot oatmeal out of the microwave.  The bowl slipped and hot oatmeal poured over my hand and splashed all over the kitchen, leaving me with a mess and a burn right over the split and on my thumb.  I could tell it was going to be one of those days!

Needless to say, I gave up on the idea of oatmeal for breakfast and switched to yogurt.

I'm really sharing this story to ask your advice on lotion - anyone have a product that saves your hands in winter when the weather gets even drier than usual?  It would be a bonus if the lotion didn't leave my hands super slick so I can safely take a bowl out of the microwave!  And, equally important - I'm a big handwasher, but I have a feeling my anti-bacterial handsoap is contributing to my dry skin.  Any recommendations on hand soap?

I heard this artist while blog hunting this morning - she's new to me, but maybe not to those of you in the UK where she is touring right now.  What do you think?  Lissie - "Everywhere I Go"
Pin It

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fresh New Look

If you usually read my blog with a reader* take a minute and click over to the real thing tonight so you can marvel at the talents of Erin at Designer Blogs. For the second year in a row, Erin gave my blog a makerover. About once a year I feel the need to shake things up around here so when I discovered Erin last year I found a person who can take my random ideas and turn it into something amazing.

I decided to really treat myself this year with a few little extras - a snazzy flavicon (next to the web address) and at long last a button - so if you want a splash of orange goodness on your blog, feel free to grab the code.

Many of you have the skills to create your "look" yourself, but for folks like me who need a little help, I can highly recommend Designer Blogs. They do amazing work, are reasonably priced and an all-around joy to work with. If only my home remodeling projects were going so smoothly!

*Note: if you are wondering just what a reader is, drop me a line and I'll give you the details. Google Reader makes my life so much better. I read a TON of blogs and it is so easy to have them all in one place.

Here's a little Brooke Waggoner - "Fresh Pair of Eyes" in honor of my the fresh new blog before my eyes.
Pin It

Monday, November 29, 2010

Back in the Groove

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of yummy pumpkin pie!

Mine didn't go quite as planned - that unplugged week I had in mind?  Turns out I spent much of the week plugged in for a work project that just will not end.  But I was still able to spend some good time with my parents and even managed to see the newest Harry Potter (loved it!)

With Thanksgiving behind us, my thoughts have started turning towards Christmas.  My list is made and I'm ready to start decorating and shopping - I avoided Black Friday - but did find some great deals online over the weekend.  Did you brave the stores this weekend?  Were you successful?  This may finally be the year where I do all of my shopping online - hitting the malls or any other store this time of year tries my patience.

I'm still struggling to get back into the groove today, don't know what happened to my motivation, but this song is helping me get there, doesn't it make you smile.  Ellie Goulding, "Your Song"
Pin It

Friday, November 19, 2010

November Cheap Music

I'm unplugging next week and spending the holiday week with my family.  But thanks to Amazon and their gigantic sale of album's $5 (or less) I'm leaving you with a long list of musical options.

First up - album's I've picked up this month from the sale:

Albums I already own and can vouch for:

Albums still on my wish list:


Lotta great music at amazing prices right now!  And don't forget to give your library a try - I've found some great stuff there lately.  Best thing I heard this week?  The new Adele "Rolling in the Deep" it feels like I've been waiting for years to hear something new from her.

Pin It

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Recommendation

A few weeks ago I won a gift certificate for a great etsy shop, I had a blast picking out a pair of earrings, and I'm thrilled to report they are even better in person.

Gaby didn't miss a trick - not only are the earrings well-made and beautiful, they were beautifully packaged.

If you are looking for some beautiful and unique jewelry for a Christmas gift, I can highly recommend dropping by her shop, Gaby Burger Designs.

I've been listening to a bit of Sia lately - I love here voice and the fact that her songs aren't the run of the mill pop songs.

Looking for some songs to get you in a Thanksgiving mood?  Check out my post at i-Studio today. Pin It

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Maple Grove

The road home
One of my favorite places on earth is a small campground about 20 minutes from my parent's house.  When we were kids the family would go camping there quite often in the summer.  I have such amazing memories of the place.  All the time spent climbing "the big rock," the hikes to the "eye," the shows we produced at the amphitheater and walks we took on the trails that winded through the area.

Leaves in Snow
I missed the beauty of fall there this year (and for about the last decade if I'm honest.)  But my SIL and I drove out one afternoon anyway - and even with most of the leaves on the ground it was a beautiful place.  It was fun to share a few stories of our adventures out there with her.  I'm actually a bit jealous that she gets to live close enough to visit whenever she wants and I don't.

The rolling waters
I'm pretty sure this is the last of my autumn photos - which is a good thing since there is now snow on the ground.

I'm listening to this song as I edit photos and blog - it is so beautiful I just have to share.
Pin It

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Little Sadie

Curled up Sadie
One of the things I love about being home?  My little Sadie gets to live with me again.  Isn't she adorable all curled up?

She's a great companion, when she isn't barking at the neighbors, anyone who walks by the house, one of my paintings or her own reflection.  She's a funny little dog who loves nothing more than curling up on my lap.

I do admit I think she's a bit happier at my parent's house because she has their dog to hang out with, two people to shower her with love instead of one AND a backyard she can explore off the leash.  Still, I'm glad she's hanging out with me for a while and I'm very grateful of for my parents for caring for her while I travel.

Crooked Still - Little Sadie
Pin It

Monday, November 15, 2010


Black Eyed Susan's holding on for life

My wardrobe most of the year tends to be colorful, but come winter and I just can't get enough of black gray and navy.  So I couldn't help but be charmed by my mom's black-eyed susans which keep trying to add a bit of color to her hard even after most of the plant has turned black.

I couldn't help but think there was a message in there for me - even when the weather makes everything gloomy, it doesn't mean I can't keep trying to shine as long as possible.

Did you know Ingrid Michaelson has a new album coming out soon?  With songs like this I have a feeling I'm going to love it.
Pin It

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cemetery Mysteries

While in Aurora I took the dogs for a walk each morning - not only did it feel amazing to get out, it made the dogs so much easier to get along with.  My mom suggested that I walk laps around the cemetery with them so I wouldn't have to worry about cars or neighbor dogs (a challenge when you are walking two dogs.)

Aurora Grave
 a couple of days of this I started to notice the tombstones and found myself getting curious about a couple.  The first one is a single marker with the name:  Mexican Baby - no dates or any other identifiers.  This had me extremely curious, so I went to the information board to see if I could figure anything else out, but there is no other information on this plot.  And no one I asked knew anything more.  How sad.

The next mystery is much sweeter.  This pair of tombstones are new - within the past 5 years.  But no one knows anything about them - a last name for the couple or any dates.  It appears that they are newly marking an old grave, but none of the people asked have any idea who Jim and Ada are or how long they've been in the cemetery.  Even without knowing more of the story, I think these may be some of the sweetest tombstones I've ever seen.  So simple and yet so full of love.

I love this song - and it makes me think of the sweet love song Jim and Ada must have had.
Pin It

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Autumn in Aurora

I recently spent a week in my hometown housesitting for my parents.  It was a bit surreal to be there without them, but I enjoyed getting reacquainted with this tiny town nestled in a valley surrounded my beloved mountains.  And I loved capturing photos of the town in all its fall glory.

Koi pond
I love my parent's back yard.  They've built an amazing koi pond in one corner that puts me in the most meditative of moods.

Backyard Tree
This year, the tree over the pond that typically turns from green to yellow to brown had the most beautiful red leaves.  A tiny gift from nature.

Fall from the front porch
Even the view from their front porch is pretty amazing.  Nothing urban about this view, but it felt so right to be back where I belong as the seasons change.

I downloaded this song for free somewhere this this week and am loving it - Good Old War "That's Some Dream."  I keep singing the line - "it's alright, I'm okay," not a bad phrase to have going through my head.

Looking for a great workout mix? Checkout my post at Inspiration Studio, here's the LINK. Pin It

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In Love Again

When I lived in Seattle I had a subscription to Netflix and loved it - but when I moved to Brazil I canceled it and have missed it ever since.

When I moved back to SLC, I knew I'd be around for at least a couple of months so I signed back up - and I've fallen in love with it all over again.  This time around I can't get enough of the instant play feature.  I love that I can turn on my Wii or computer and instantly watch hundreds of movies and TV shows.  So far I've watched 4 seasons of 30 Rock (how did I miss this hilarious show?)  And am now working my way through 3 seasons of the BBC's Robin Hood (in a word - AWESOME!)

I've enjoyed instant play so much the first physical dvd I received (3 weeks ago) is still sitting on my TV.

Are you a Netflix fan?  Any movies or TV shows I need to add to my queue?

Have you heard the new song by The Decemberists?  I like it.
Pin It

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Snow? No Thanks

Even snow can't stop this

We had our first snow fall last week, it didn't last long (luckily) and we are now back to Indian summer weather.  But just after it snowed I noticed my mom's flowers were still standing strong - even covered in snow.  I hope I survive the snows this winter as well as this little flower did.  I also hope we don't see more snow for another month (I'm sure the skiers are hoping just the opposite, but I hate driving in the stuff.)

How do you feel about snow?  Love it?  Hate it?  Never see it?

All this talk about snow leads me to one thing - Snow Patrol!

Pin It

Monday, November 8, 2010

One Last Wish

While I was outside playing with my niece and nephew I noticed a lone dandelion in the lawn.  I got down on my stomach to get a photo of it.  I was hoping for a great macro shot with amazing detail.  I snapped one quick photo before starting my adjustments on the camera.  While the photo wasn't as sharp as I wanted, I thought it was decent.

M makes a wish
Before I got a second photo off, this happened.  Somehow adding a model I love to the mix made the photo that much better and suddenly I didn't care about the details, I cared about the emotion and the lovely morning light shining on her face.  Miss M got the last wish of the season - hope it was a magical one.

I've fallen in love with this artist and song.
Pin It

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...