Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Vacation

I'm a bit of a competitive person. It's usually less about the prize and more about the glory/bragging rights. However, sometimes such a competition comes along where you just can't help but wanna win. This is one of those times.

For those of you who are not prone to celebrity stalking, you may not be aware that John Mayer is conducting his Second Annual Interfaith Baking Contest. With the grand prize set at 4 meet and greet backstage passes, an autographed guitar and the Christmas sweater he wore on the Ellen Show, I can confidently say, I want to win.

Always supportive of my unhealthy addictions, my creative friends jumped in to help brainstorm a winning idea (last year's winner was a cake in the shape of the legendary leg lamp). The brainstorming session went a number of directions; a cake of John Mayer glittering like Edward Cullen; a cake of the infamous Borat swimsuit was another runner-up. But in the end, we stuck with what we know best - Christmas movies and great one-liners.

With Clark Griswold and Cousin Eddie on the brain, we went to work. It was a real group effort with lots of creative input: Mix vanilla and chocolate frosting for a realistic flesh color. A mini Swisher Sweet cigar would be a nice touch. Toast the coconut to make more realistic chest hair. I've never been more proud or so full of Christmas cheer. Here's to hoping JM gets our humor!

The real Cousin Eddie: our inspiration.

The Swisher Sweets took it up to a whole new level.

It's all about the presentation...and the lighting.

I think the Antler Mug is a nice touch.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fleet Foxes

If you're not familiar with the Fleet Foxes sound, my best attempt to describe it to you would be through various nouns:

Flannel, beards, woods, campfire, 1970s.

They have such a unique sound that I only listen to them when I'm in a specific mindset. Is this my go-to when I'm laying by the pool in the summer with a snow cone in hand? Definitely not. You can only truly appreciate Fleet Foxes when you are prepared to be mentally transported to a winter cabin in the woods of Vermont in 1972. (just speaking from my own personal experience here)

As we are expecting snow in Texas today, they are definitely in the mix. Conveniently, I just ran across an article announcing that they are currently in the studio working on a new album. The band's front man was quoted as saying,

"I guess people think we're already kind of a mellow band, so maybe the next album will be pretty boring to most people."

I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't get it, but there are a lot of people who do. The Bravery just remixed their own version of Fleet Foxes' White Winter Hymnal as did a coworker of mine! Copywriter by day and musician by night...go here to see his version and check out Ragged Wood below - this video is so entertaining and the sound is spot on.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Elephant In The Room

I try so, so hard not to be this girl. But I just can't help it. It's woven in my fabric; part of my being; a staple of my personality. And dare I say that it's just downright quirky and charming? I don't know about that.

Truth is, I'm fanatical.

My job doesn't allow me a ton of time to blog as I please, so I usually try to have something of substance on the rare occasion that I post. So my internal debate had convinced me that this shouldn't happen, that it is not a worthy topic. But, as I skim my various media outlets here in my cube, I just can't contain my absolute giddiness.

Ya'll, it's New Moon Premiere Week!

This isn't something to be ashamed of! It's a revolution! This is our generation's Beatle-Mania, and I will proudly join in. I never considered classifying myself under such a title, but this week I was reading an article about a woman who got to be an extra in the movie and it made a reference to something I completely understood. Apparently, urbandictionary.com has summed it all up for us:

Twihard: a serious and obsessive reader of 'The Twilight Saga' by Stephenie Meyer, one leap above Twilighters.

I rushed out the day Vanity Fair hit newsstands here in Dallas (which was, of course, a week later than New York...another perk to Manhattan life) because Rob Pattinson had an amazing photo spread in the December issue. He is, obviously, in my Top 5.

I've already committed to 2 showings of the movie within its opening week.

And reread the first two books in anticipation.

I scored "As Perfect As Edward" on the "Twilight Know-It-All" quiz.

Just this morning, my best friend admitted that all the New Moon buzz had converted her to Team Jacob. This also led to her saying, "I'm ashamed to admit that my morning has been spent looking at teenagers with their shirts off".

Hey, that's your prerogative. I just tend to lean towards the older, more sophisticated tween sci-fi hero.

So the proof is in the pudding. But I guess if the shoe fits, I'll wear it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

One Track Minded

It's the eve of a very big day for music lovers!

At midnight tonight, iTunes will automatically deploy my pre-ordered copy of John Mayer's Battle Studies. The Billboard.com review has already claimed it to be the "best and most adventurous of his four studio albums," and I'll cheerfully second that motion.

John Mayer is an interesting case study in the genre-segmented music industry. Guys love to hate him, girls scribble his lyrics in their diary, US Weekly is still talking about his love life and old-school players like Rolling Stone so desperately want to classify him as a pop sell-out. It's not really surprising that the Rolling Stone review gave Battle Studies 3 stars, but their average user rating was closer to a 4.5. But, even they had to admit that his new album "is a real study in craftmanship and understated guitar ninja-dom". At the end of the day, you can't deny what an incredible musician he is.

Thanks to a thoughtful friend in a high place, I got an early release of it a week ago so I've had some time to let it resonate in my headphones. If you're a devoted follower (like your's truly) you know that JM has a diverse repertoire that ranges from pop ballads and poetic love songs to full swing blues and hard rock. I think this fourth album is different because he's finally earned freedom from the record label and in turn has fused all those sounds into one coherent collection. He managed to reach the pop crowd with the "Half of My Heart" duo with Taylor Swift, the classic rock crowd with his interpretation of Robert Johnson's "Crossroads" and the US Weekly spectators with "Heartbreak Warfare". (Is he publicly jabbing Jennifer Aniston?!) And inevitably, girls will swoon as they deconstruct the other 50% of the album and try to interpret his quest to "find ways to keep the good alive" in romance. This is why I think it's brilliant, but I'll let you decide for yourself. My list of personal favorites is still evolving.

But consider yourself warned; this isn't his most upbeat and optimistic release. Once he set the album title Battle Studies, he took the theme to a new level and carried it out through other titles like "Heartbreak Warfare", "War Of My Life" and "Assassin". He said so himself, "(it's more) observations and a little bit of advice on relationships... kind of like a heartbreak handbook".

If you have better cable than I do, you should set your tivo to the Fuse Channel tomorrow night as they broadcast his first album performance live from the Beacon Theatre in New York City.

There are some other great things happening tomorrow as far as New Music Tuesdays go, but alas, I do have a day job...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chez Soi

I was challenged by some fellow blogging friends, to write a post about home. No guidelines, no rules. Too much freedom scares me, so I'll keep it simple.

Home is my family. Home is my friends. Home is that perfect song. Home is that favorite movie. Home is Texas. Home is New York City. Home is not defined by geography, and neither am I.

See I refuse to believe
That my life's gonna be
Just some string of incompletes...
Been holding out for a home life,
My whole life.
- JM

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Love Me Some Free

The Glee soundtrack came out this week! I'm sure it's the first of many volumes to come, but it's exactly what you expect...and maybe a little more. I would try to recap it and say something witty, but I'd probably fail in comparison to what's already out there. So, on that note, I'll just redirect you to NYMag's breakdown and ranking of the songs. It's extremely scientific with categories like "Meh", "Not Bad" and "Kinda Great" (which is where most songs fall, of course).

And try before you buy! Billboard has a Free For All page right now that lets you listen to newly released albums in their entirety, for free! You can listen to the whole Glee soundtrack, as well as new albums from Carrie Underwood, The Foo Fighters Greatest Hits, Weezer's Ratitude and a live Nirvana release.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Economic Stimulus

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Times are tough, I am well aware. Last October happened to everyone, and it was especially felt in New York. By February of this year, I had dodged the proverbial bullet at my company no less than 3 times - that's about the time I decided to cash in my chips and quit while I was ahead.


It was confirmed this month that had I stayed, I would indeed have found myself amongst the other 9.5% of the U.S. labor force in the unemployed category. (Counting those hidden blessings as we speak.)

Fortunately, for those of us who are just rich in relationships, there have been a lot of great things about our failing economy. It's now trendy to pinch pennies! My latest investment? A spool of blank cds. Enter, our Fall 2009 Music Stimulus Package.

Now, regarding the legality of it, I'm not really clear on all the fine print under the FBI Anti-Piracy Warning, but I'm fairly confident that Obama would back me on this.

This bill, like most others, came about from wasting time on the corporate clock emailing friends and googling stuff. We assessed the need (read: made a list of all the albums coming out that we collectively wanted), made the assignments and set the buy-in rate. Once you have purchased the cd(s) on your list, they become public property to share within the group. It's totally brill.

Now to the artists, who are loyal followers of A Musical Snack, who might be getting worked up about their royalties, don't fret. We are your biggest fans! We are the ones that sit in the upper tier at all of your concerts, in the rain! We follow you on twitter! We are your grassroots, word-of-mouth advertisers - so give us a break! Besides, we are cutting corners now so we can still go to your concert.

For example, if you pre-order John Mayer's cd from his website, you will also receive a pre-sale code for early access tickets for his Winter 2010 tour. Check! It's also being pre-ordered on iTunes so we get the exclusive bonus tracks and videos.

(A personal side note, go here to sample his songs - my heart literally flutters)

And the excitement is spreading! I recently got an early morning call from my good friend Robbie who, thanks to his persistence and excellent driving/emailing skills, won a copy of the New Moon Soundtrack from our favorite morning radio station! That's a $14.99 snag, people. I've bought all four books and have seen/will see all the movies - I think the Twilight franchise has extracted enough profit from me.

I also bought tickets to see Pete Yorn in November - and thanks to a contribution to the fund, I'll be singing along when he plays a new song instead of talking or twittering.


Friday, October 9, 2009


So I took to Wikipedia for a creative tie-in for the use of nepotism, and I'm thinking that may not be the appropriate word I was looking for in a title:

1) Nepotism gained its name after the church practice in the Middle Ages, when some Catholic popes and bishops, who had taken vows of chastity, and therefore usually had no children of their own, gave their nephews such positions of preference as were often accorded by fathers to son.

2) Nepotism is a common accusation in politics when the relative of a powerful figure ascends to similar power seemingly without appropriate qualifications.

So not entirely accurate, but you can get where I'm headed.

This week we donned our bomber jackets, flannel and boots in our best attempt at rocker-chic and made our way to the Kings of Leon concert. KOL consists of 3 brothers and a cousin, all with the last name "Followill" and all in their mid-20s. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to be on tour and still be able to see your family. And you don't have to worry about the band breaking up! (the exception to that rule being the Gallagher brothers of Oasis.) I can only imagine how their mother cringes at the thought of the things they do. But I digress...

The were fantastic live! It's pretty heavy rock, and he sometimes has to scream, but Caleb was spot-on vocally, every time. And considering that they have been touring and playing the same songs, night after night for nearly 2 years - you have to appreciate that they still do it and do it well. (and thanks to Kristen for bringing a real camera - this pic is very rock 'n roll, we even caught the drummer mid-swig!)

Another set of brothers that have recently peaked my interest are The Avett Brothers. They have a small cult following amongst our co-ed softball team, but now I'm also hearing about them through major media outlets. A departure from KOL's southern rock, The Avett Brothers have been labeled more folk-punk with grunge roots; and they lean towards the piano ballads, which is right up my alley. Billboard declared their new album, "I and Love and You" potentially one of the best new pieces this fall and said "(they have the) ability to lure comfortable yet elegant fireplace melodies from just a handful of guitars and one DNA strand,"mmmmm doesn't that make you warm & cozy all over? Check it out:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I'm overwhelmed by the idea of blogging about all the new music that's coming out this fall. To be fair, I have to tell you that I haven't purchased a single album on this list; mostly because my bank account is breaking just trying to list them all! I'll have to draw straws to figure out what to purchase first, but I'll leave the rest up to you. I'll cut right to the chase and just give you a list of my picks and links to their websites where you can hear some of the new stuff that may not be available on itunes yet.


David Gray - Draw the Line
If you've never really listed to David Gray, I'll give you a few of my favorites to start with. Babylon might be a song you recognize, but it's near the bottom of my list. I'd recommend checking out Sail Away, Kangaroo and The One I Love. I think he has such a seasonal sound and he's perfect for listening to when you're laying in bed with the crisp air blowing in your windows.

Alicia Keys - Doesn't Mean Anything
Besides rocking Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind, Alicia Keys has also just released a new single. I'm not sure when her complete album comes out, but I personally love buying the teasers up front...kind of spreads out the joy. :)

Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
I'm new to Phoenix, which is pretty obvious because this cd actually came out in May, but I'm totally digging 1901. I'm considering downloading the whole album...I'm open to thoughts & recommendations.

Paramore - Brand New Eyes
This is about as far as I stretch into the emo, punk genre, but this girl can sing. I typically really like a couple of songs from their albums and am not too interested in the rest. The album just came out today, so I'll keep you posted on my favorites. (hint: if it's featured in Twilight, I'll like it.)

Mayer Hawthorne - A Strange Arrangement
This guy has gotten lots of buzz in the music industry from other artists. It's kind of different and has a little 60s revival to it...

Muse - The Resistance
I've liked some of their stuff in past and they're opening up for U2 on their current tour, so they've got some big names in their corner...you know...me, Bono...

A Fine Frenzy - Bomb In A Birdcage
She's a quirky and cool songwriter/piano player, if you're into that kind of thing. A couple of her older songs that will give you a good feel for her sound are You Picked Me and Almost Lover. Her new cd is getting better reviews than the first, so I think it would be a safe purchase.


Michael Buble - Crazy Love
Brace yourself, he's taking that romantic voice and rat-pack style and doing a cover of Justin Timberlake's Cry Me A River. In his typical fashion though, he's mixing it in with a few originals and a few classics like Georgia On My Mind.

New Moon Soundtrack
Not only will I be re-reading the book and seeing the movie as soon as possible, I'll more than likely be buying the soundtrack as well. Call me obsessive, whatever. The lineup (in the movie and on the soundtrack) is even better than the first time around with big names like Thom Yorke and The Killers; as well as indie favorites like Bon Iver and Death Cab.

Death Cab for Cutie, "Meet Me on the Equinox"
Band of Skulls, "Friends"
Thom Yorke, "Hearing Damage"
Lykke Li, "Possibility"
The Killers, "A White Demon Love Song"
Anya Marina, "Satellite Heart"
Muse, "I Belong to You (New Moon)"
Bon Iver & St. Vincent, "Roslyn"
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, "Done All Wrong"
Hurricane Bells, "Monsters"Sea Wolf, "The Violet Hour"
OK Go, "Shooting the Moon"
Grizzly Bear, "Slow Life"
Editors, "No Sound but the Wind"
Alexandre Desplat, "New Moon (The Meadow)"

NOVEMBER (these all come out the same day, by the way)

John Mayer - Battle Studies
I can guarantee you that this one will be pre-ordered, but I'm sure you knew that. You can listen to his new single on his website and buy the whole thing on November 17. swoon...

OneRepublic - Waking Up
November 17 is going to be a busy day. This is another album that is going to be worth pre-ordering. These guys are so incredibly talented, not only is the lead singer responsible for Beyonce's "Halo" and one million other radio hits, his band brings a whole new sound to radio and pop music. Their first single, "All the Right Places" will be available on itunes next Tuesday, Oct 13.

Norah Jones - The Fall
Nothing beats her first cd, and I haven't heard anything from the new one, but I'm hoping she delivers on some smooth jazz.

Jason Castro - Let's Just Fall In Love Again
You know, the kid from American Idol with the dred locks! He's a fellow Aggie and a Dallas resident, so I'm tempted to support him regardless; but I heard him do a live concert on the radio morning show last week and he sounded incredible. I think his album will be sweet & upbeat...and he's including Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah, which will get you every time.

Kris Allen - Live Like We're Dying
Another American Idol alum; he was precious on the show and he did an awesome remix of Kanye, but I have to say - I don't love the new single he released. Let's hope he comes up with something that reminds me of why he was my favorite.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

When autumn comes, it doesn't ask
It just walks in where it left you last
You never know, when it starts
Until then there's fog inside the glass around your summer heart
- JM

Thursday, September 17, 2009

8. Anticipation

I'm wrapping up my favorite summer things because the weather started changing and I'm already in a fall state of mind. There are so many great things that only take place in the summer, but about this time of year I am always anticipating the fall. The boots; the jackets; the football; the colors – I just can’t get enough. But, since God didn’t think Texas needed anything but a hot summer and a mild winter, I’m forced to look elsewhere for my autumn enthusiasm. These are the things I just can’t wait for!

Battle Studies

The last time I was this giddy was September of 2006…anyone know the significance of that month? Yep – that was when John Mayer’s last album, Continuum was released. I consider myself to be a person who is excited by the simple things in life, so when the big things come along – I tend to lose my grip. The day he twittered the official date for his new album, I quickly installed a countdown widget on my blog – which proved to be dysfunctional and ugly. So you’ll just all have to mark your own calendars, or stick with me and I’ll send out a group text from whatever store I’m standing in at midnight. I kid. Seriously though: November 17, 2009. Write it down, it’s gonna be a good day. He recently twittered "the end of my experience is the beginning of your's..." it's about time.


Tell me you caught the teaser pilot episode following the American Idol finale in May…or at least jumped in on the season premiere last week. This show was made for someone like me (and probably you too if you’re reading my blog). Dancing, singing, high school drama, sarcasm, awkwardness! You can sigh a deep breath of relief that Fox TV producers have heard our cry. You can also check out the cast’s newly released single on iTunes, On My Own. As if I didn’t already love this show enough, they go and release possibly the greatest Broadway tune of all time – also the only song I’ve ever publicly auditioned with on a stage, solo. (Hallelujah, that’s one thing that can’t be found on YouTube!)

New York

My heart has had an Empire State shaped hole since I left the Big Apple in April. Unemployment left me destitute for the summer, but fall has arrived alongside a steady paycheck…New York City here I come! I’m going up for a 4-day Fall Fest that involves lots of shopping, friends, fall clothes wearing, brunching and a girls trip to Philly to watch Meg run her first half-marathon! My New York coffee cup runeth over…

Friday, September 11, 2009

Seemingly Small

I had already begun drafting a post declaring AutoTrader.com as my #7 favorite summer thing when I got a very touching email that changed my direction.

Since deciding to move back to Texas, I knew the car factor was eventually going to be a major decision. When I was 15 years old (you read that right - 15, didn't even have a license yet - which made me a popular high school freshman, for a few months anyway) my parents bought me a brand new 2000 green Volkswagen Beetle. (I even got it on St. Patrick's Day!) Take a minute here; go back to when you first saw that new Volkswagen body style driving down the street...it was huge! The new bugs were all the rage and I had the first green one in our little town. It was instant recognition, and in a town as small as our's, everyone knew who it belonged to.

That car saw me through some very formative years...awkward teenager with braces, bopping around to the latest Destiny's Child cassette tape; Varsity cheerleading (and allll the window paint that comes with that); college roadtrips and that inevitable "Freshman 15"...you name it, that car dealt with it. So upon my return this summer, the bug was pushing 10 years old, which is a pretty long and healthy life for a first car! But nonetheless, I decided I was ready to take that lunge into the adult world...and buy a Volvo. I set my nostalgia aside, spent a weekend restoring her to her former glory, and put her picture up on Craigslist - along with a note that said "Would be happy to sell to a good home"(I didn't want some scrub trashing out my car!).

So when the day came (literally 48 hours later) to hand over the keys, I was very pleased to find that I was handing them over to a 20-year old German girl ,who was new to the States, and boiling over with excitement waiting for the nod of approval as her father-in-law inspected it thoroughly. She was so eager that I enthusiastically showed her all the tricks and ticks and watched her drive away without so much as a tear!

People are funny about things. My New York friends never knew this side of me; they probably didn't even know I still owned a car! But people came out of the wood works to say their goodbyes to the bug. A friend I hadn't seen in 6 or 7 years sent her regards via facebook. Some of my closest friends said things like "I'm not gonna lie, I'm going to be a little sad to see it go...it's hard to imagine you in anything else!"; "I didn't even get to say goodbye!"; "We should've taken one last picture with it!". I considered setting up a message board for people to send their condolences; share their stories; connect with others who were having similar feelings!

But then I received a follow-up email from the family that bought her and I was reminded of how God works through the seemingly small and ridiculous things in our lives. The email read something like this:

We are the ones that bought your green beetle and I just wanted to tell you my daughter-in-law loves loves loves it. She is so proud of it and loves to go places. It is really nice and I wanted to thank you. I must ask...are you a Christian, because there is a fish symbol on the back of the car. My husband and I are Christians, but our daughter-in-law is not a believer. She was raised in Germany and does not believe there is a God...we are praying that she will come to understand how God sent his Son for us, and that He is our comforter, protector, cheerleader, everything we need. She asked what the fish was and what it meant and my husband said it was a symbol that showed you were a Christian. At first she wanted to remove it and I said that probably many prayers had been prayed and answered in that car. And I see she did not remove it. Her husband, my son, is a Christian, and is now in Afghanistan in harm's way...can you help me pray for her realization and conviction and most of all acceptance.

I have a very strong faith that everything happens for a reason and that God has intention behind the seemingly small things in life. My somewhat ridiculous love and attachment to a small, green piece of machinery is now a witness to another young girl who will no doubt, have as many prayers prayed and answered in that car as I did.

The new Volvo, already lovingly dubbed "White Chocolate", has some pretty big shoes to fill.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

One Man's Trash...

Is another woman's JACKPOT!

6. Garage Saling

Spell check is trying to tell me that saling is not a word, but that's not going to stop it from being one of my summer favorites. I'm not usually one who is willing to rummage to find a bargain. I do enjoy my cheap stores, but places like Ross and TJ Maxx always overwhelm me instantly. However, this summer I discovered the art of garage saling. Or maybe I just learned to appreciate the thrill of the chase. Either way, I have some sweet new furniture that cost me next-to-nothing...and I learned how to use a power sander, so lookout.

Exhibit A:

When I found this, it was a dusty cube dressed in a bad '60's woodgrain with a piece of tape declaring its $6 value. Diamond in the rough, people! I stuck a "sold" sign on it before any of my fellow church fundraiser shoppers could snag it, and dropped it off at my brother's garage. A quick lesson with the power sander, a couple days' worth of stripping and staining and now this retro gem is my nightstand and book storage cabinet. (Also for your own future reference - wood stain will stain lots of things besides wood; shoes, shorts, grass, hands. Consider this my public service announcement for your own "fixer-upper" success. )

Exhibit B:

My desk, in all its Pottery Barn glory. After a long hard morning of garage saling with Kristen and Bailey (I'm talking up with the sun here) we made an unplanned and half-hearted stop by a garage sale we just happened to pass. It was after 9:30, which everyone knows is on the downhill side of a good garage sale, and we stumbled upon this piece hidden behind an ugly chair. I paid a total of $25 for it and didn't have to do a thing to it! Of course the inside of the drawer has the name "Audrey" carved into it in no less than 25 places, but that is a secret between me & Audrey, because no one else has to know.

Exhibit C:

A splash of windex and the swipe of a silver polish cloth can work wonders. This fancy little bathroom tray cost me all of 2 quarters...enough said.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

5. Summer Concerts

By now I'm sure that you are well aware that nothing makes me happier than live music. Although I don't have pictures from all of them, here are my summer concert favorites.


Greg Laswell

I can't say enough about how much I love Greg Laswell's music. He's also a fellow Twitterer. Being the super fan that I am, I happened to notice early one morning that he had offered up some free tickets, via Twitter, to his Dallas show happening that night. I retweeted his message and sure enough, I was magic #15 which equaled jackpot! Not only did I get a personal tweet thrown in my direction, I also got my name on a VIP list with a plus one attached. The rest is history...this photo was taken on my iphone - no zoom needed for the concert-going elite like myself.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Numero Quatre

One of the great perks to the Texas lifestyle adjustment has been having a car! It's so nice being able to jump in, run your errands and enjoy a little personal space at the same time. And by enjoying personal space, I mean turning the music up as loud as I want (without annoying the person 6 inches from my face on the B train) and convincing myself that I could totally audition for American Idol if I only had the guts to sing like this in front of people. Because that's what everyone does when they're alone, right?


So in continuing with my favorite summer things countdown, it only makes sense that I would let you in on what I've been using to release my inner rock star.

4. Kings of Leon - Only By the Night

I know what you're thinking - I bought that album last year; they won a grammy for it like 8 months ago; yada yada yada. Truth is, I've had this cd since January of this year - and I listened to the couple of songs that I knew, but I never fully bought into it. However, early on in the summer a group of friends talked about getting tickets to their summer tour. Never wanting to miss a concert, or risk being the one who doesn't know the lyrics, I popped the cd into my car stereo. And I haven't taken it out...in about 4 weeks.

It started with an obsession of the song Frontier City. Then I slowly branched out to Revelry, Manhattan, and Be Somebody. (Because Sex on Fire is so 2008.) The whole cd sounds great with my busted car speaker in the backseat. It might even be to blame...I'm not really sure how that happened.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wedding Crashers

3. Weddings

My summer countdown would not be complete if it didn't include weddings. This weekend marked the end of wedding season for me this year. My whole Texas summer social calendar has been dictated by my blonde buddies’ wedding schedules. We’ve had parties and showers galore, but nothing compares to the thrill of the big day…even if you’re not the one taking the leap!

Mrs. Ali Schmid

Mrs. Stephanie Chapman

We kicked off the big events with a joint bachelorette party with a surprise spin...a spin around a pole that is! A great bonding experience for a group of innocent and out of shape friends. Let's just say that it's much harder than it looks and we left with an equal amount of bruises and laughs.

As usual, Robbie let the DJ know early on in the night that he would be the one calling the shots. From when to play "Disturbia" to the right time to dim the lights, Robbie always brings his A-game to make sure his friends have the most fun and memorable wedding ever.

The Wedding Troops

Family Portrait

The Send-Off

The Aftermath at Sunday Brunch

Monday, August 10, 2009

Summer Countdown

I have to admit, it’s been a little difficult to keep up with my pursuit of new music when I’m not pounding the New York City pavement everyday with my earbuds. I’ve also had KISS FM radio to brainwash me into believing that there are only 10 songs out in the world right now; 25% of those being by Lady Gaga. You are wrong Kidd Kraddick, you are wrong.

That’s my short list of excuses for not keeping up with A Musical Snack this summer. And since I’ve woken up to realize that it’s mid-August and summer is nearly over, I've decided to give you a recap of all the things that I’ve loved this summer but was too selfish to share with you. In no particular order...

1. (500) Days of Summer

Love, love, love this movie. It's the perfect blend of romanticism with a heavy dose of reality. Throw in a great soundtrack that mixes Indie with 80's and I am sold! Unlike my usual self, I've only gotten to see it once (as I write this, I'm watching 17 Again for the fourth time), but you better believe I'll be buying it as soon as it hits the Red Box. It will charm your socks off.

2. The Time Traveler's Wife

Look out Twilight, there's a new love story in town...and it's a lot steamier. They say you learn something new everyday, and I've learned that I apparently have a weak spot for sci-fi romance novels. There's something so romantic and tragic about this story, and it's just downright creative. I'm a little embarrassed that I never know about these books until they've been made into movies, but brace yourself Nicholas Sparks, because this is the next Notebook. I'm about 80 pages away from being done and I'm stretching it out as long as possible...I'm always a little sad when I finish a book that's grabbed my attention as much as this has. But consider yourself warned - it can be a bit graphic...that's all I'm going to say.

You didn't think I'd lay out all 10 things in one post did you? I haven't blogged in over a month, give me a little credit for at least getting back on the saddle. And stay tuned, more witty and exciting entries to come...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Strange Conditions

Wow...so it's been a month since I last blogged. It's not that I haven't thought about it. Truth is, I make mental notes all the time with every intention of finishing out the thought and blogging about it later, but it just hasn't happened. My time has been consumed with applications, interviews and thinking and talking more about what I want to do with my life than is probably healthy.

Amidst my job search, Kristen loaned me her copy of Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado and mentioned it was a necessary read in our current state. He very eloquently encourages you to stop and take inventory of the gifts you've been blessed with; find your uniqueness. What gets you excited? What things do you enjoy that seem to come easy to you?

So now I find myself stressed that I don't have all the answers, much less a clear career path, and I'm concerned with how today's decisions are going to affect my overall "big picture". Oh how I wish I had a very distinct talent or passion that was unmistakable. A talented athlete who has worked hard all his life and set his sights on the big leagues. A talented singer/songwriter with a passion for music who has never dreamed of doing anything else.

I recently read an article in American Way magazine on composer Michael Giacchino who is responsible for the music you heard in The Incredibles, WALL-E, Up, Star Trek, the Lost TV series and this year's Academy Awards. He worked in publicity for Universal Studios and Disney, but he wrote and performed music in his spare time. He took evening composition classes at Juilliard and then took a seemingly irrelevant position as an Assistant Producer in California. As his talent and reputation grew, it wasn't long before Steven Speilberg and JJ Abrams were asking for him by name and he was in high demand in Hollywood.

This month's Elle magazine is dedicated to women in the music industry. There are short profiles on several well known artists and Gwen Stefani is on the cover, so of course I set aside some specific time to devour it cover to cover. But, the most interesting article was on Atlantic Records COO, Julie Greenwald. The writer positions her as the one who is attempting to save the record industry from itself, but I couldn't help but be fascinated by her past. She's a Tulane graduate with a degree in Political Science who started out working with Teach for America...and then (assumed by divine intervention) landed a job as an assistant to a music guru who ended up partnering with Russell Simmons at Def Jam Recordings. And just like that, her career path changed and now she's on the top, leading people like Diddy to say "She's probably the coolest white Jewish girl in history".

So I'm learning that there are lots of different paths to get you where you're ultimately supposed to go. I wish I was let in on those divine plans, but I guess God doesn't really need my opinion - considering that it changes daily.

Do not despise these small beginnings.
- Zechariah 4:10

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

No, I'm not referring to Christmas...I'm talking about summer concert season. It's the hap, happiest season of all!

Like most music enthusiasts, my friends and I start making summer concert arrangements early...very early. Thursday night I kicked off the season under the stars at the Dallas Arboretum with a great cover band, Emerald City. Any band that can pull off Journey and Black Eyed Peas in the same set has my undivided attention.

Already purchased and inked in the calendar for this year:

- The long awaited No Doubt comeback tour featuring Paramore. I'll be there with all the high school emo kids just hoping for a guest appearance by Kingston.

- The Fray. We saw them in college at a small venue before they blew up...I'm sure it will be twice as nice the second time around.

- The American Idols tour. Because who doesn't want to hear tiny Kris Allen sing Heartless in person?? Love him. I'm also excited about Scott, because we all know he was my favorite.

- Coldplay. Ah, Coldplay. My junior year in college, I waited in 108 degree weather for about 10 hours at the Austin City Limits Music Festival waiting for my first brush with Chris Martin in the flesh. SO worth it. For a band that has most of my mellow favorites, they put on a surprisingly energetic and thoroughly entertaining show.

- Taylor Swift. The concert actually sold out in presale, but I'm bound and determined to find a way to see her this summer. (I'm also tivoing her Dateline special!)

My devotion to the summer concert season runs deep. Last year, Robbie and I set out for the much anticipated Counting Crows, Maroon 5 and Sara Bareilles combo show at Jones Beach in New York. We left work early and braved Penn Station rushhour to catch our train. Loaded with our favorite gossip mags and beverages of choice, we checked the board (all New Yorkers know the rush of checking the board at Penn Station) and darted for the appropriate track.

In our giddiness we hadn't even noticed that most of our car was snoozing in business attire - which would have been a great hint that this was a commuter crowd, not a concert-going crowd. An hour into the ride, we looked up as the Conductor announced that we were arriving in Farmingdale and that it would be the last stop. To this day, neither of us is sure how we ended up on the wrong train, but however it happened, we were in the middle of nowhere. In a panic that we were going to miss Sara Bareilles' opener, and considering that we were lost somewhere on Long Island, we opted for a $55 cab ride to our destination. A tad frustrated, but glad that we were beating the clock, we jumped out at the gate as it started to drizzle over the water-front stadium. We raced to the ticket taker and high-fived each other for making it, when the guy stopped us abruptly and said "Dude, these tickets are for last night's show."

After further inspection we realized that yes, indeed - our ticket agent had sent us the wrong tickets and we were not being allowed beyond the gate. If ever there was a time that either of us was at a loss for words, it was that moment. We drug ourselves to the ticket window, misty eyed, to be told that there was nothing we could do but purchase 2 new tickets, twice the original price, for seats in the nosebleeds. We painfully forked over credit cards and finally entered what turned out to be a $200 concert.

All in all it turned out to be a great night and we've had lots of laughs about it since then. We may have only been able to see shadowy figures from our seats, but this moment alone made it all worth it:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Vegas, Baby

I spent last week in Las Vegas for my sister's birthday, which was a blast! We laid by the pool for 3 straight days and soaked up the desert sun while the DJ entertained us with endless tunes that ranged from Rhianna and Journey, to a sweet mix of Coldplay's Clocks with a latin flair. (Speaking of Coldplay...did you know that they are offering their latest live album as a free download? Check out LeftRightLeftRightLeft here.)

For all the goofiness of Vegas, one thing they get right is the music. Everywhere you go, there are DJs and booming speakers! My absolute favorite thing to do there is just stand and watch the Fountains of the Bellagio at night - it's such a romantic experience! We caught several shows throughout the week, each time with our fingers crossed that the next would be Celine...but, no dice. We did get to see one choreographed to Elton John's Your Song, which was equally incredible and one of my favorite Elton songs!
We spent our last night at the Beatles' LOVE show at the Mirage. I actually saw this for the first time 2 summers ago and then subsequently became obsessed with the soundtrack. (Are you really surprised?) I would have never considered myself a huge Beatles fan beforehand, but how could you not be?! I highly suggest it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I'm not a great gift giver but I firmly believe that the best gifts come from the heart. In this case, Taylor Swift says it a little bit better than me. Check out her new video for her song The Best Day; she nails the mother daughter relationship right on the head. Also, you can send this to your mom in a personalized e-card...

So happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there, including my own...you know I wouldn't be who I am without you. XOXO

Should've Sold My Soul To Disney

On more than one occasion, I've found myself in a conversation with friends about how we would do life differently if we could start all over. Most of us usually come to agree that we are pretty happy with the way things have turned out and wouldn't really have too much to change. I might hold on to my 16 year old body a bit longer, but we could play that game all day long. However, my friend Robbie always says, "I would've sold my soul to Disney as a child!" Hilarious? Yes. Do I agree? Yes. Over the last couple of weeks I've paid my dues to get wrapped up in the frenzy Disney has created at theatres nationwide right now.

17 Again with Zac Efron? Check. (maybe more than once - don't judge me)

Hannah Montana? Check.

I have to say, I think I could have had what it takes. No, my Dad didn't have a terrible single in the 90's called "Achey Breaky Heart" and I'm not really fond of youtubing myself for the whole world to see, but I think I could have done Disney proud. Since that ship has obviously sailed for me, I think I'll keep the dream alive and pass it on to my son or daughter. Just look at how great Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears (or not) and all those other mouseketeers turned out! I think this idea has potential...like a new kind of pageant mom. I could still have the best of both worlds...(pun intended).