Archives for March 2011

Fun Fun Fun Fun Lookin’ Forward To The Weekend*

This weekend Sister and I are going on a little road trip to Mississippi State. Our college sorority is having an anniversary celebration Saturday afternoon, and we’re attending the festivities. And we may just show up at a spring football scrimmage Saturday morning because when it comes to MSU football, we tend to err on the side of crazy. Big fun in store.

I was initially a little hesitant about going to the anniversary shindig because I’m not usually a huge fan of big reception-type events where there are a great many people wearing name tags, but then my friend Daphne put together a Saturday night dinner for folks who were at State about the same time we were, and I went from on the fence to TOTALLY ON BOARD in the span of about four seconds. Wouldn’t miss getting to sit down and visit with those sweet friends for anything in the world.

(*We we we so excited. We so excited.)

So. This morning I decided that Sister and I need a special playlist for the drive to Starkville. Even though it’s damp and gray outside, it’s still springtime. And springtime + road trip to a college town + reunion with old friends = CLEARLY WE NEED SOME SPECIAL SONGS.

I have a few songs in mind, but mostly I feel like I’m dragging the same ten songs that I always classify as “fun” into a new playlist. Maybe I’m in a road trip music rut? Maybe I’m old? Maybe I’m in a rut and I’m old?

So I need your help, interweb peoples. What are your favorite road trip songs? The decade is completely irrelevant; the only qualification, I guess, is that it has a good beat and we can dance to it. And sing along, of course.

Fire away.

American Idol – Top 11 (Again)

I am so excited about tonight’s show because Elton John! Elton John! Elton John! He’s one of my all-time favorite singers, and so many of his songs are memory-specific for me. “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road” reminds me of my childhood bedroom and one of Sister’s Elton John albums playing on the stereo. “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” reminds me of driving back to college in my Buick Regal while listening to a cassette of Elton John’s Greatest Hits. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Because the show is way more fun than taking a stroll down my musical memory lane.

Here we go.

Scotty McCreery – “Country Comfort” – After the Casey debacle last week, I’m guessing that the first spot in tonight’s line-up wasn’t exactly in big demand. Given that, Scotty’s in a tough spot right off the bat, but it probably worked in his favor that he picked a lesser-known EJ song. I’m not sure that the playing the guitar added much to his performance, but he did his usual Scotty thing. Didn’t wow me, but he hit that way-down low note at the end and probably did more than enough to keep the teenage girls voting for him.

Naima Adedapo – “I’m Still Standing” – I’ve been on the Naima train since day one, but tonight’s performance was a little affected for me. The Reggae arrangement wasn’t terrible, but the Jamaican accent? And kind of talking her way through the verses? And the slow chorus? It was hard to follow. It was different, and she definitely made it her own, but this was an instance where someone’s personal spin got in the way of the music. And if everybody else has an “on” night, I’m afraid it might be hard for Naima to recover from what some people might see as a misstep.

Paul McDonald – “Rocket Man” – Here’s what I loved about this performance: there wasn’t a single forced thing about it. It was a great arrangement, and save a couple of notes, he sounded great, too. For some reason the fact that he dialed it back a notch or five made me like him more than ever. Thumbs up.

Pia Toscano – “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” – Y’all. I can’t take a single thing away from her talent. But I am tired of the ballad, mainly because seeing her sing them week after week feels like I’m watching another preliminary at another pageant and PIA IF YOU COULD JUST PLEASE SING SOME OTHER GENRE THAT WOULD BE FANTASTIC. The ballad thing isn’t bad – Pia could sing the phone book and sound great. BUT IT’S BORING.

Stefano Langone – “Tiny Dancer” – This isn’t my favorite Elton John song, but I didn’t mind what Stefano did with it. Somehow the whole R&B vibe made it better. The chorus sounded a little off to me, but I liked the bridge a lot. I don’t think this was his best – but it was good. I’m just not sure that “good” will be enough to keep him safe this week.

Lauren Alaina – “Candle in the Wind” – I really liked seeing Lauren do something more subdued and more mature. The arrangement gave her a chance to do some neat things with her voice, and I especially loved the ending. Parts of this performance reminded me of MIranda Lambert, but more than anything it reminded me that Lauren is crazy talented and poised for a 16 year-old. Good for her.

James Durbin – “Saturday Night’s All Right” – He really was born to perform, wasn’t he? Something about seeing him onstage makes me smile, and he works the crowd without venturing into cheesyland (though he does step on the cheesyland line from time to time). You could just tell that he had a blast tonight, and his joy was contagious. I enjoyed his performance a lot.

Thia Megia – “Daniel” – At first I thought this song had some promise for Thia, but by the time she got to the chorus, she’d lost me. For whatever reason she’d lost her momentum by the end of the song, and it all just sort of faded away. That being said, I was tickled that she didn’t pick “Can You Feel The Love Tonight.” #thatisprogress

Casey Abrams – “Your Song” – Well. That was beautiful.

Jacob Lusk – “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” – This wasn’t a bad performance, but I really, really, REALLY wish he had started the song in a lower register. It was so high at the beginning that it didn’t get to build like it could have, and as a result I felt like Jacob didn’t play to his strengths as much as he did last week. It was just a’ight for me, dawg.

Haley Reinhart – “Bennie and the Jets” – I thought starting off on the piano was a bad call (YOU HAVE TO SOMEHOW FIND A WAY OFF OF THAT THING), but her voice was fab, and for the first time I felt like I understood why the judges seem to believe in her so much. So, bottom line: she sounded great, but as a performer Haley still hasn’t won me over. However, I think that tonight she bought herself a little more time.

Best of the night: Paul, Casey
May have cause for concern: Scotty (sang first), Naima, Stefano, Thia
Just so you know: I totally enjoy Jimmy Iovine’s pre-performance comments. He is dead-on.

So. What did y’all think?

And by the way, I’ve been trying to vote for the last forty minutes – and haven’t gotten through yet. Anybody else having any luck?

A Few Things

– All the winners of the Passion – Here for You giveaway have been notified and have claimed their prize. It was one of the fastest giveaway wrap-ups ever; all five winners emailed me LICKETY SPLIT and had their prizes by the end of day Monday. So fun. Here are the winners, by the way.

Congratulations to Kim, Marcia, Laurie, Elizabeth and Lydia!

– I’m oversharing about my obsessive pre-travel list-making as part of a giveaway sponsored by Slim-Fast.

– Meg says that marriage is not what she expected. And her post a must-read for anyone who’s married or who wants to be married. So good. (link via Dedra)

– I’m loving the before & afters from sweet AJ’s remodeling project. Can’t wait to see more.

– Tonight on American Idol it’s the songs of Elton John. And – AND! – tonight also brings us the finale of Top Chef All-Stars.

THIS IS ALL SO VERY EXCITING.

The Early Bird Misses The Restorative Snooze Button Nap

This morning I woke up before my alarm went off, and since I felt pretty rested – and since I knew it was probably just a matter of minutes before the alarm started to blare at me – I made the uncharacteristic decision to get out of bed a little early and make some coffee. Granted, my eyes are almost always half-closed for the first ten or fifteen minutes after I wake up (the phrase “bright eyed” rarely applies to me before 7 AM), but after years of practice I am able to make a fine pot of coffee while squinting and bleary-eyed. I like to think it’s one of my more marketable skills.

(And yes, I know I could get the coffee pot ready before I go to bed at night.)

(But there’s something about water sitting in the coffee pot all night that gives me the heebie-jeebies.)

(Remember: I am a person with many annoying quirks and hang-ups.)

Anyway, after I got the coffee going and was walking back through our room so I could get in the shower, D rolled over and said, “Are you okay? You can’t sleep?”

And I just sort of grunted that I was fine because that, that is what I do in the mornings, I SPREAD CHARM AND GOODWILL TO ALL WHO KNOW ME. But after a few seconds D’s questions started to sink in and I thought, Wait. What time is it? I haven’t even looked at a clock. What time is it?

I grabbed one of D’s watches off the dresser in the closet and looked at the time, but then I realized that I was holding the watch upside down. So I flipped it around and tried to remember if he’d set the watch since the time changed and sure enough I figured it out and OH MY SWEET MERCY IT WAS 4:45 IN THE A.M.

FOUR FORTY-FIVE.

Now I’m guessing that many of you would bask in the blessing of being awake at such an early hour, that you would relish the chance to have an extra-long quiet time or just sit and read in peace until everybody else in your house got out of bed. BUT NOT I. I hopped back under those covers quicker than you could say ‘WATCHES ARE HANDY” and slept the sleep of angels for the next hour and a half. It felt like bonus sleep even though really it was just regular ole sleep. But I’ll tell you what: it was a COZY GIFT.

Which reminds me.

This past Saturday D and I had a conversation about the snooze button. He contends that the snooze button is a waste of time, that you should just hop out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off because the sleep you get after that isn’t quality sleep. And since it isn’t quality sleep, he says, it’s better to just get up and face the day.

Personally I could not disagree with him more. Love him though I do.

I think that post-snooze button sleep is meant to be savored. It’s dreamy. It helps me ease into my day as opposed to jumping out of bed the first time I hear THAT RUDE ALARM. Post-snooze button sleep helps me adjust to the idea of facing the day, and every single time I hit that button for ten more minutes of dreamtime, I feel like I’ve given myself a little present. A sweet little drowsy present. Wrapped up in a turquoise bow.

On an average morning I hit the snooze button twice, by the way, so that’s twenty minutes a day of extra sleep. As far as I’m concerned it’s kind of like having a hobby.

So what about you? Are you an up-and-at-’em person? Or are you a snooze button person?

And if you don’t need an alarm to wake up early in the morning, then please accept our collective congratulations and feel free to share your sleep secrets with the rest of us.

Thank you and amen.

It Never Hurts To Be Prepared (A Slim-Fast Giveaway)

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Slim·Fast.

Since I know what I’m about to say is sort of weird, I think the best course of action is just to say it. Put it out there. Jump into the deep end of the community pool that’s chock-full-o-crazy.

Ready?

Here you go.

There are few things I enjoy more than packing a suitcase.

Seriously. I sort of adore it, in fact.

And it’s not that I just like packing my own suitcase. Oh, no ma’am. I like packing suitcases for other people, too. I love the whole process of figuring out what to take on a trip, getting everything organized, sorting all our stuff into categories, figuring out the best bag for what needs to be packed – the whole thing.

And because I love packing so much, getting ready for a trip can be almost as much fun for me as the trip itself.

(Maybe I should stop now.)

(I fear I’ve overshared.)

(My only defense is that I’ve never claimed to be even remotely normal.)

So given all of that, you can probably understand why our recent family trip to see a very large mouse pretty much reduced me to a quivering pile of trip-planning anticipation. After all, there were just so many things that needed to be done ahead of time! So many, very fun things!

Keep reading & enter the giveaway

Just Because It’s (And You’re) Awesome: A Giveaway

A couple of days ago on the Twitter, Melanie mentioned that the new Passion – Here For You CD (from the Passion 2011 conference) is well worth the purchase. I’d been meaning to download it for about a week and just hadn’t followed through, so Mel’s reminder was timely. I bought the CD, put it on my iPod and figured I’d listen to bits and pieces of it whenever I could.

However, what I didn’t take into account is that I would LOVE THE CD INSTANTLY. And that I would listen to it straight through the very first time I played it on my iPod. And then immediately listen to it again. And again.

Oh my goodness, y’all. It’s so, so good. And as I was listening to it for the second time, I sent Melanie an email that said something along the lines of PASSION CD!! SO GREAT!! MY WORD!! CAN’T STOP LISTENING!! And then she responded with something along the lines of I KNOW!! TOLD YOU!! SO GOOD!! And then we stood up at our respective computers in our respective states and did hitch kicks as we sang along with the soothing vocal stylings of the lovely Christy Nockels.

Only not really.

Anyway, yesterday Mel and I were talking about how Passion – Here For You is one of those CDs that you want everybody you know to hear, and at some point in the conversation we decided to have ourselves a little giveaway. Because it’s fun to share.

(Did I mention how great it is?)

(I wasn’t sure if I made that clear or not.)

So. If you’d like to win one of five free copies of Passion – Here For You (via download), just leave a comment on this post (you can enter here and at Melanie’s blog – just FYI). I don’t even have a clever prompt, so just tell me some fun detail about your day. Like maybe you ate bacon this morning! Or maybe you get to meet an old friend for coffee! Or maybe you’re going to get to take a nap!

(Or if you’re not feeling particularly inspired, just type a few letters in the comment box. I’m totally flexible.)

I’ll leave comments open until Sunday afternoon-ish, at which point I’ll use random.org to draw for five winners. I’ll contact the winners by email, so make sure you leave an accurate email address when you comment. Once the winners respond to my email, I’ll send them the mp3 version of the CD through Amazon. Because technology is a wonder.

And just to be clear: no one contacted me about mentioning this CD on my blog. No one offered me free copies of the CD. I’m buying the downloads for the winners on my blog. Mel is buying the downloads for the winners on her blog. Nobody in the Passion organization has had any contact with me whatsoever, unless you count the time I saw Louie Giglio at an awards dinner and couldn’t think of anything to say to him except for “LAMININ!”

But I’m guessing that he probably doesn’t think about that too often. Unless it’s on those rare occasions when he has to come up with a definition for the word “awkward.”

Good times. Good times indeed.

Love,
Me

This giveaway is now closed – I’ll email the winners Monday, March 28th!