Friday, September 30, 2011

Dance Party Friday! Middle School Alt Rock Version

I can never claim to be an indie music fan like Nick Hornsby's character Rob Fleming, in his book & subsequent movie, High Fidelity, but I have listened to some great indie & alt rock in my day.

Semi-related: When I was in 7th grade (1991 or so), I had an english teacher who was SO. COOL. He was young, wore original Doc Martens (the low-top kind that just look like regular shoes) and sponsored the "alternative music" club, which I attended. I think I was the only girl, it was me and a bunch of skaters (skateboarders). He was also my homeroom teacher. I Googled him this week and found him! He's a masseuse in Iowa City. I have some friends in IC, so maybe when I visit them, I should set up a massage appointment and be all REMEMBER ME AND THAT TIME I SUBMITTED A POEM TO THE 7TH GRADE CREATIVE WRITING BOOK THINGIE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF SURFING, EXCEPT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SONG, TO THE TUNE OF THE THEME FROM GREEN ACRES? First - yes, I really did that. "Kahanamoku was one wicked dude/T&C make boards that are so rude" is a line I apparently won't forget, ever. Second - that would be so weird and icky. Hi, old english (OE!) teacher. Rub on me. Just . . . no.

Man. I thought I was sooooo in love with surfing back then. Yep. Me, growing up in KS, who had only ever seen the Gulf of Mexico when I was a toddler - I had a big ol' surfing posters on my bedroom walls and knew all the top surfer names and stuff. For about a year or so. I also adopted the yin yang sign as "my" symbol - wore it in jewelry, drew it on everything.

Dude, look. Steve Caballero, Tony Hawk and I don't know who else. 1990s. Skaters. Sk8 or die . . . or something like that.

Back to the point of this post: I had a couple friends who introduced me to some great bands/solo acts. The person who probably had the biggest impact on shaping my musical taste at that young age was my friend Justin. Justin and I met in 7th grade, became buddies and spent lots of time listening to music together. He was a skater and played guitar/bass. In college, he joined a popular local ska/punk band (more about him/them in a future dance party). He also made me several mixtapes back in the day - today I'm going to feature some of those songs.

I realize that all of this music may not traditionally fit into the (very broad) genres of indie rock & alt rock, but when I was in 7th grade, we just called ALL of this stuff, "alternative". What's interesting is that the definition of alt rock changed pretty quickly - or at least mainstream U.S. radio changed quickly - and soon called plain old rock - alt rock. Alt rock used to mean rock that could really only be found on college radio, but by the late 90s, everyone was listening to it and it was characterized by groups like Vertical Horizon. And, as I already stated, I'm no aficionado, these are just my opinions.

TRUE MEN DON'T! KILL COYOTES! Old RHCP - my favorite. Blood Sugar Sex Magic was the last full album I really enjoyed by these guys. I liked a song here & there from their later stuff, but their earlier songs are my favorites. I think that Justin may have also put Fight Like a Brave and Higher Ground on some of his mixtapes.

As I mentioned, Justin was a bass player. He LOVED Primus and if you listen to this song, you can hear Les Claypool's ridiculous bass playing. Man, I haven't heard this song in a long time. Say, baby. SAY, BABY!

24/7 Spyz - Understanding - I've actually been trying to find this on youtube forever. This was probably my first time really listening to anything with a reggae sound besides The Police. I remember getting this CD and being disappointed that the rest of their album was more punk than anything else. Nevertheless, this has been a favorite song of mine for about 20 years now, not only because of the sound, but because of the message. And the band themselves - there aren't that many Black punk bands out there, you know?

Ok, this is funny. I was trying to find this song, but I thought it was a song by the Dead Milkmen . . . another band that Justin had on my mixtapes, I'm pretty sure, but I don't remember which song. Anyway, this was a fun little ditty by Scatterbrain.

Look! More Black punk! I don't know if this is the Bad Brains song Justin put on my tapes, but I know he listened to this band, and I like this song, so . . .

I know with all the punk, you wouldn't expect this to find it's way onto a Justin mixtape, but it sure did! I loved this song so much that I bought their CD, devoured the whole thing, and it's still one of my favorite albums. Start to finish, awesome. Happy and melancholy indie rock from the UK. Gotta love it!

R.E.M. was around constantly during my middle & high school years. This is the song Justin put on a mixtape and I remember arguing with him about some of the lyrics. I think their album Out of Time came out around the same time, and I ended up finding most of their old albums and listening to them over and over. I also loved the album that came out after Out of Time, but after that didn't dig into their new stuff. Please note the hairstyle of the skater kid in this video - Justin and his skater friends all had variations of this hairstyle. :) The Justin Bieber-y boys of today got nothing on the original early 90s skater FLOP!

Sure, we all love Been Caught Stealing, but have you ever listened to this song? It's from the same album and it's beautiful.

There are other versions of this song, but this is the one Justin put on my tape, and this is the one I love. If you want to get to know late 80s, early 90s indie rock, go no further. Just get everything the Pixies ever recorded.

What were you listening to in the late 80s, early 90s? Do you have any great indie/alt rock songs to share?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Birthday Suit

My birthday is in about a month, I'll be 34.

Last year my work BFF and I, who share a birthday week, had a joint party. We went to a few bars - we drank, we ate, we made merry. We attempted to go dancing but it wasn't the best night for dancing and the club we ended up going to was kind of deserted and had a smoke machine going, which forced us to leave because one of our friends has bad asthma. Still, it was an awesome time, and we'll be doing the Ashley/Sara Joint Birthday Extravaganza again this year. Besides the normal dinner/drinks portion of the evening, I'm set on either going dancing or finding a karaoke spot, or maybe both, if we can find the right place(s).

I don't need a lot of cute casual clothes because most of my time is spent at work or at home where I rock t-shirts and pj pants or yoga pants. (Side note - are you a family that wears normal "I can go to the grocery store in this" clothing at home when you know you aren't going anywhere, or are you like my family? We come home and immediately change into SUPER comfortable clothing that doubles as workout gear or sleepwear). Anyway, I have office outfits and a closet full of cardigans and tees/tanks that I wear with jeans and flip flops, or boots, depending on the weather. When I go out with friends, it's almost always drinks right after work with co-workers, so I just wear what I wore to the office that day.

For my birthday this year I want to dress up a bit. I *must* be comfortable - I refuse to spend my special night worrying about how I look or in pain/discomfort. So here is the sort of look I'm going to be shopping for over the next month, which I think is sufficiently cute but would be very comfortable. Most of my friends have closets full of stuff like this, but I don't. I'm excited to see what I can find! What do you think?

Birthday 2011

Are you trendy? If you're close to my age or older, do you find it easy to wear the trends of today, or do you (like me) find it difficult to try something new?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How I Spent Six Years of My Life

I want to learn this dance. That is all.

(It's repeated several times, watch/fast forward until the dude? chick? in the blue shirt starts at 1:45 - s/he gets it!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dance Party Friday: Embarrassingly Obsessed Version

You may or may not know that I have dance parties in my bathroom late at night, usually after I've had some wine. It's just a fun bit of me-time where I listen to the same hot songs over and over again, dance around and pretend I'm 21 again, killing it at the club.

If you know me in real life or follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Livejournal, you also know that I get hooked on musicians and I get hooked on songs - I listen to them over and over and over until I get them out of my system. These phases can last a week, a month, a year. Seriously - a year, sometimes.

WELL. A while back I heard Miguel's song, "All I Want Is You" and I just. About. Died.

What an incredible R&B song! Simple but dynamic, smooth and hot, all at the same time. So I was in my bathroom one night, listening to the song on YouTube, and I noticed over on the right side of the screen, that someone had done a cover of the song, and it had over 100,000 views. Must be a good cover, right?

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I clicked on that video. ddb Turns out there is this guy. His name is Daniel de Bourg. He's a dancer, a singer, a producer and songwriter. And he is fine. I mean FOINE. I was blown away by his cover and began listening to the others he's done, and was so, so impressed. I mean, yeah – he’s hot. Like, really, really hot. But he’s also got an AMAZING voice. He's got range - technically and stylistically (is that really a word?). And many of his videos feature not just him doing covers, but re-produced versions of the original songs. Lots of the songs are considered “all vox” (all vocals), which means he used his voice alone to recreate the sound of all the backup vocals AND the instruments. Very cool.

And to my small biz friends - branding, right? Check out his videos and you'll see it.


Daniel competed on the X Factor when it was on in England, and made it to the finals. You can download his recordings – he’s got covers and original music. He’s also done a ton of collaborative songs with other musicians.

ddb tweetSo are you hooked yet? Just wait – I have a treat for you. But first, some more foolishness, aka TRUE AND MATURE LOVE.

Slide1 So do you want to check out some of his music? I know you do!

Here's the first song of his that I heard: All I Want Is You – Miguel ft. J. Cole

This is another Miguel cover, and maybe my favorite of Daniel's - it's the song that caused many of us to fan ourselves starting at 0:44 . . . Sure Thing - Miguel

Rolling in the Deep – Adele


Without You – David Guetta ft. Usher (this Daniel de Bourg version includes another singer, J Rice) - Happy pop! I love, love, love this song. Such a great singer's song!

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol - Daniel's version

Fall for Your Type - Jamie Foxx ft. Drake - Daniel's version - Sigh. So pretty.

Until the End of Time – Justin Timberlake - Daniel's version

LoveSexMagic – Ciara & Justin Timberlake HOT DANCE TRACK - Daniel's version featuring a dancing cameo from a friend

Sooner Than Later – Drake (this Daniel de Bourg version includes another singer, Josh Lehman) - Quiet, acoustic guitar

Head High & Smile – Daniel de Bourg – From Daniel's YouTube page: "A good friend of mine wrote a poem for his son a while back now. Little James was battling cancer and Brian poured his heart into a lyric that, when I heard it, I felt compelled to compose and perform a song based on that same poem. This is the resulting song, HEAD HIGH & SMILE. Much love to you James, Brian & Michelle Hatherley. DDB"

Let the Sun Shine – Labrinth – Daniel's version - quiet, piano, passion!

One (Your Name) – Swedish House Mafia – Daniel dances on this one and has a lot of fun making ridic faces AND it was filmed in his bathroom! I KNEW WE WERE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER - Daniel's version - Listen to the SHM version for a few seconds and then listen to Daniel's and see how he replicates the sound with his voice. Love it!

Say It – Ne-Yo – Daniel's version - Ok, this song is hot in the first place, but then him SANS SHIRT in the background . . . MAN.

Celebration – Tank, Trey Songz, Chris Brown & Drake – Daniel sings this one w/Josh Lehman. Pretty & simple. This song? #GrownFolkMusic

And now? I hide from everyone who will ever read this.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fabric Love – Sharing is Caring!

Here’s some great fabric friends have given or sold me in recent months.

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Lovely houndstooth from the lovely Hannah of Peggy Ann Design.

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Some nice thick upholstery-style fabric in one of my favorites – black and white. This came in a package of scrap fabric from Ali of Apearantly Sew. The rest of the scraps are so cute, can’t wait to use them in a variety of little projects.

And now, the Box O’ Wonders from Alicia in Iowa City (who guest hosted Dance Party Friday a while back).

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Here we have an Anne Lamott book (love her), a DVD about the Lost Boys of Sudan and a little booklet about Miss Pearl who runs a daycare on the South Side of Chicago which offers free services to young moms who are finishing school – high school, college, technical training. Miss Pearl began this years ago and her daycare has grown into a large one, known in the community, funded by donors, grants and the state. Church groups and college kids volunteer at Miss Pearl’s – Alicia did, years ago. She’s the person who told me about Miss Pearl.

What else did Alicia send in her box? Let’s see . . .

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(Alicia drew on some envelopes that contained loose items)

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All kinds of knitting needles

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A little handmade paper booklet

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Seriously cool business cards from Alicia and her husband Tony’s print shop, Cicada Grove

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Cicada Grove postcards

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Fabric! Vintage fabric.

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A skirt to wear or use for fabric

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Fabric pinwheels

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Fabric ribbon

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Sequins on a rope! Sequiny trim. I don’t know what to call this stuff, but I like it.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Dance Party Friday?

Hey, y'all, I'm busy at work & about to leave to go to a work picnic where I plan to blow everyone's mind with my haven't-played-soccer-since-high-school-but-I'm-still-the-bomb skills . . . so I don't have a dance party for you today. I know - sad face.

BUT! I bet you haven't caught all the dance parties, ever, so just go over there to the right, where I have a search bar on my blog,


type in "dance party" and you'll get pages of old dance parties that you can go through. There's surely a dance party for whatever mood you're in today. Have fun and tell me what you want to hear next week!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Things To Make You Laugh

Here are a few things around Ye Olde Internets(e) that gave me a laugh:

From McSweeney’s:

An Open Letter to Pumpkin-Flavored Seasonal Treats

“Dear Pumpkin-Flavored Seasonal Treats, So you’re back. You just come waltzing into town like nothing has happened, like nothing has changed. Don’t look at me like that. You’re the one who left for a year with no explanation, no warning. No note. And I’m just supposed to be okay with that? . . .”

It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers

“I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash . . .”

From Kristen of Rage Against the Minivan, at Aiming Low

Homeless, Hipster or Redneck: A Guide to Distinguishing the Younger Generation (I’m still wondering if there is a guide for telling the difference between Appalachian Hipster and Dust Bowl Hipster)

“ . . . The hipster mustache was already alarming to me, and the hipster beard has frequently made it difficult for me to distinguish between film students and homeless people. There have been occasions where I’ve seen a guy with an overgrown beard and torn jeans and assumed he’s an indigent, only to observe a few minutes later that he’s listening to NPR on his iphone 4 and wearing Tom’s shoes.

If I’m honest, there was also an occasion where I saw a scruffy guy and thought he looked pretty hot in an artsy, rock-star way, only to watch him lay down on a cardboard pallet next to a shopping cart of his belongings.


From Awesomely Luvvie

10 Things that Happened at the 2011 VMAs

“ . . . THEN she came onstage to perform. She started with “I want you to feel the love that’s growing inside of me” and I ain’t gon lie. My thug went “SCREECH!” AAWWWWWW!!! Then she proceeded to SLAY in a performance of “Love on Top” that felt so joyful. And she sounded all good and stuff. Pregnancy coated Bey’s throat with ambrosia and nectar of awesome. I was all “Aight, come thoo and GIVE then Queen Yawnce!” And as she finished, she opened up her #sequence jacket and . . .”

From The Bloggess

Dear Portlandia, Really?

“ . . . Also, I really hope that they don’t get sued by Portland for intellectual property rights, because that shit would be unacceptable. Satire should be supported at all costs. Unless it’s a parody of satire. Then things get murky, apparently. . .”


No idea who created this, but I love you.


Don't forget, I'm offering a 25% discount on all items in my Etsy shop until the end of the day. Just use the code: 25forU at checkout! Hooray for 250 sales!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Y’all. I just received my 250th sale. For reals! It was for this sweet cup cozy:

To celebrate, I’m offering a 25% discount on all items in my shop, today and tomorrow! Just use the coupon code 25forU when checking out your order.

Thank you all so much for the support, purchases, feedback and promotion – I couldn’t have gotten this far without you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thrift Store Fashion

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I like to buy clothing at the thrift store, especially one just a couple blocks from where I live. It’s massive and has great finds, from vintage to name-brand to everything in between. The other day I was there with my daughter and we came across a shirt that she liked, but it had a big hole in it (actually unusual for this store, most merchandise isn’t damaged). She’d already pointed out a dress she liked that had tiered ruffles, so I decided to try to recreate the look of the dress with the top she liked.

You’ll have to excuse my messy photos – I didn’t bother to clean up my work table before starting in on the project. Now you see what my small IKEA sewing table looks like 95% of the time, including when I’m sewing. It just collects so much crap that I don’t have a good space for or am too preoccupied to put away. My husband, the neat-freak, has somehow learned to live with my messy chaos. Poor guy!

Besides buying the damaged top, I also bought a like-new black tank top to use as the base of the top. Without detailing every step, I’ll give these basic explanations about how I constructed the top:

The plaid blouse had a cowl neck, smocked front and little puffy sleeves. I cut off the sleeves, cowl neck and back of the shirt, so I only had the smocked front. I cut the neckline until it was the shape I wanted, hemmed it and sewed it to the front of the tank top.

I then cut the lower portion of the top into equal sized strips to be the ruffles, hemmed the (visible) bottom of each ruffle, and sewed the top part of the ruffle to the tank top. I created gathers as I sewed the strip so that it would create ruffles and not just hang flat. I believe I created 6 ruffles. Then I sewed down the sides of each ruffle along the side seams of the tank top. She’ll wear the tank alone or with a cardigan over it. The end!2011-08-16 11.48.222011-08-16 11.48.42 (1)

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2011-08-18 20.11.37 Cute, huh?

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