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.