31 January 2011

music monday: eli 'paperboy' reed

I saw this guy and his band on Rachael Ray's talk show (which I rarely watch) a while back, and I just loved him!  (As did Rachael.)   I love the old throwback sound, the well-done falsetto wail that reminds me of Jerry Lee Lewis, and he even rocks a pretty neat pompadour.  Check him out for yourself:

On the YouTube page I took this from, the top comment says:
(Are people even allowed to make songs like this any more?)
Apparently, it is allowed, and I'm lovin' it!

25 January 2011

top ten tuesday: best things i've won by mostly luck

Top Ten {Tuesday}

I've been a lucky girl.  I just won my second blog giveaway last week, thanks to Flip Flops and Combat Boots.  So I thought today I'd share some other cool stuff I've won in the past.

10. A jar of jelly beans.  This was the first thing I ever won, and I was probably 7 or 8 years old.  You had to guess how many jelly beans were in the jar, and my guess came closest (which is hilarious, because I've always been pretty terrible at estimating).  I actually hated jelly beans, so my family benefited.  But the jar was my favorite part (it had a hinged lid and a pretty neat closing mechanism).  We used it for many years until it finally broke when I was a teenager.

9.  Hair stuff for a baby girl.  This was the first thing I won from a blog (Confessions of a Sailor's Wife).  The hair stuff came from Keelan's Krafts, and I of course gave it all away.  I visited my friend and her newborn, and the hair bow instantly transformed her into a little girly girl.  Too cute.  I gave some of the stuff to my newborn niece too, but I haven't seen any pictures yet.

8.  Candles that smell like mulled cider.  Back when I did the Extreme Makeover build, the company that was providing the lighting for the house did a Facebook giveaway.  I ended up winning another "guess the number" type of game (more of a counting/detail-based though), but they wouldn't tell me what I won until I showed up at their business.  So I hiked it up to Shades of Light in Milton, praying it wasn't just gonna be a coupon since we rent and have no need for lighting fixtures.  But I was pleasantly surprised to receive two nice autumnal candles.  Their showroom was pretty cool, too.

7.  Movies and CD's.  I can't always remember where I got things, but I do own certain movies that I have absolutely certainty I would never buy.  One was Crash, I remember that.  The others, hmm . . . I'd have to look through everything.  And I might have given some away.  My most recent win was the Family Movie Night package (contains 3 movies), which is what I won from Flip Flops and Combat Boots.

6.  Money on scratch-off lottery tickets.  My family likes to give these to each other on holidays and birthdays.  I won $7 or so from my birthday ones last year, and at Christmas I won $13.  My family doesn't mind buying the tickets, because the Georgia Lottery paid my entire tuition all four years of college.  As long as they don't spend more than $20,000 or so, we've already come out ahead.  (My dad won $500 on a scratch-off once, by the way.)

5. Something at a bridal show I wasn't present for and will never know.  I'm sure it was fantastic, and my mother can take all the blame.  Basically, she went to a bridal show in GA (where my wedding was happening because it's my home) with one of her friends and friend's daughter, also getting married.  She put my name and non-spam email address down for just about everything (argh, I'm still on some of those darn lists!).  She and her crew left before the big drawings at the end.  I had gone to one of these in VA and there were some big-time prizes at the end--trips, nights in hotels, hundred-dollar gift baskets, etc.--but you had to be present with ID to claim them.  Well, apparently a gal I went to high school with was also there.  She Facebooked me the following day, asking what I won because she'd heard my name called.  All that said, Mom should've just put her own name (and my spam email address) down and stayed until the end.  Oh well.

4.  One hour in a limo.  This I did win from a bridal show, but not the fancy one.  The limo company was in Virginia, so obviously that wasn't going to help our wedding.  I decided to use it anyway, since neither B or I had ever been in a limo before.  We used it for B's birthday, and we just told the driver to take us around Norfolk for an hour.  It was kind of odd, to tell the truth.  We had the driver drop us off in front of an ice cream place in Ghent.  Neither of us wanted ice cream though, so we just walked back to B's apartment.  That was probably our last limo ride ever, and we're quite okay with that.

3.  A bottle of Curve perfume.  This one has a story too, and probably involved the least amount of luck and the most amount of skill.  Back when the Oxygen network first aired, I was in high school.  They had some afternoon variety-ish show that had a gameshow segment, and you could play along in their chatroom online.  The questions were darn easy for anyone who had ever paid attention in school, so of course my 4.0 GPA and I won.  You could only win once a month or so.  I won at least three times, and I remember getting the Curve perfume for winning.  I had actually never owned or even worn perfume before this.  I still have it (10 years later!), and it's still my favorite.

2.  $100 off of one month's rent.  The apartment complex that my roommate and I lived at in Virginia Beach (before I was married, obviously) would occasionally do some contests.  They did one around Christmas that both of us entered.  I believe roomie won a giftcard to Wal-Mart, and I won the $100 off January rent.  I split it with her, of course.  The complex B and I live in now does occasional giveaways, so hopefully we'll win the Valentine's Dinner I put us in for!

1.  11th-row tickets to see Michael Bublé in concert.  Yes, I already had tickets to the Norfolk show and had to drive to Richmond for this, but it was so worth it!  This remains one of the best concerts I've attended (read my review if you haven't).  Thank you, Nordstrom for $400 worth of tickets.

Have you had any lucky wins?

24 January 2011

music monday: pro-life

I'm devoutly Catholic, which means I'm also very Pro-Life.  It's probably the only "political" belief I firmly have.  If you don't agree with me, I'm not gonna argue with you in the comments.  Mostly because I hate arguing.  And also because, like my belief in God, this is one belief I've examined but on which I've never wavered.

Today is the March for Life in D.C.   I was fortunate enough to be a part of it last year while living in Virginia.

I want to share this song from BarlowGirl today.  It's very simple, yet a beautiful, beautiful song.

Have a blessed day, everyone.  I'll be praying for the unborn; feel free to join.

17 January 2011

music monday: my beef with barbershop

Last week, I decided to try something new.  And like most of my off-the-cuff adventures, it was, well, interesting...

 See, the thing is I wanted to join a choir here in Pensacola.  I've been missing singing in a group a lot lately.  I apparently missed the auditions for the classical choir that sings with the symphony, so I thought doing a 180 from that kind of music might be good for me.  Therefore, my Tuesday night this past week was spent with a chapter of the Sweet Adelines International.  Yes, I delved into all-female barbershop singing, and I walked away a bit confused and slightly scarred.

When I showed up, it was of course all old women (and I mean OLD).  There was only one gal remotely close to my age, who brought her 2-year-old and referred to herself as a "barbershop brat."  Where are all the people my age?  All those people I sang with in college?  Can they please join some choirs outside their church already so I stop sticking out like a sore thumb?

Anyway, besides the expected age gap, they first ran a voice placement test on me.  They cut my range test off at an E, which is only the top of the staff.  In hindsight, I should've read more into that.  They tried to get me to sing "Happy Birthday," but I refused because I hate that song and it doesn't show off any of my vocal assets.  I chose "My Country 'Tis Of Thee" instead.  I sang it in my head-voice soprano, and then they made me sing it down the octave.  (Weird?  Yes.)

They put me on the voice part called "Lead."  I had no idea what this meant.  When I actually got the music score in my hand, I was able to see the voice parts.  From top to bottom on the staff, there was Tenor, Lead, Baritone, and Bass.  Umm, I thought there were only women here?  Those are dude voice parts.  I guess women's barbershop means pretending to be a man?  The Baris and Basses were indeed reading Bass clef (which I have never done).  I found it really odd that women's barbershop made no concessions for actually being female.  (And I loathed the thought that my high A would be completely worthless here.)

We split into sectionals and learned our parts.  The Lead part?  Yeah, it's just the freakin' melody.  And it was pretty far down in my range, a lot of the notes sitting beneath the staff in traditional Alto range.  I was starting to come down with a cold, but either way my voice hated singing in this range.  Looking at the Tenor part, it seemed like more of a Soprano 2 (my usual part), and I found it odd they didn't put me there.  This one woman (a "snowbird" who comes down to FL for the winter and hangs out with the chapter here during that time) explained to me that there was only one tenor in this entire group (about 20 singers).  And that to do that part, you can't have any vibrato at all.  Well, that explains it.  (They tested my vibrato in the voice placement, and um, it didn't go so hot.)

The snowbird-lady also explained to me the over-arching goal of barbershop harmony is to create overtones, in much the way a piano can.  Great idea, and one day I hope to hear it, but on Tuesday night I just plain didn't.  Actually, all I could really think of the whole time I was there was this scene from The Music Man.

As I learned Tuesday, this really is all you need to know to sing barbershop.
But for me, I think I'll stick with classical singing.

p.s. this is my 100th [published] post!  Awesome!

14 January 2011

milspouse friday fill-in

Joining in the fun again, thanks to Wife of a Sailor.

1.  What are you looking forward to most in 2011? 
 We have some trips lined up, and more will probably be coming.  I guess I'm really just looking forward to our first calendar year free of underways or deployments.  Everything big that I do, B will be with me!
2. What is something random you do on a boring night when your significant other is away? 
When he was deployed, I loved going on walks with a friend.  Our new home isn't conducive to taking walks (no, seriously, it's ridiculous), so I've been missing that a lot lately.  I also would just watch my Gilmore Girls episodes or something ridiculous on Hulu (or from the library) that I know he would hate.  

3.  What has been your greatest adventure as a MilSpouse? 
I'm an adventurous person by nature, so my biggest adventures (moving from here to there to wherever) happened before we were married.  As a milspouse, the trip I took to meet up with him in Scotland last year is probably tops.  (And boy, was that an adventure . . .) 

4.  What is the ugliest fashion trend you ever bought into (I’d like to make fun of you, so can you please provide a picture as well)? 
Wearing everything wayyyy too big for me, especially in middle school.  I'll forgive myself for the wide-leg jeans, but a size-XL t-shirt on a 110-pound girl is completely inexcusable.  I've only gained 5 pounds since then, so I'm still definitely a size Small.  (Sorry, can't find any pics.  Actually, I'm not sorry.)

5.  What was the high point of last month?
Even though I was freezing cold through most of it, and we were only there 2 days, going to Chicago with B's family was really fun!  Also, hanging out with my nephew in Georgia was fun too.  He always makes me laugh.

B and me in front of the John Hancock building

10 January 2011

music monday: moondance

I'm starting a new thing on my blog:  Music Monday.  I'll discuss a musical artist or song on Mondays of my choosing.  (I'm not very strict on myself when it comes to blogging; you may have noticed from my other inconsistencies.)  Why?  I LOVE MUSIC.  I've been singing since I could talk, and have spent more time in choirs than I have doing any other extracurricular activity.  I sing along to music in my car like it's a job.  And I know music that a lot of people don't, for better or for worse.  And Music Mondays will examine the good and possibly the bad.  I think strong feelings either way are worth a discussion.  I might get into the technical elements of why it is good or bad, or I might just talk about my personal experiences with the featured music.  Or I might not talk about anything at all, and just let you listen and decide!
Okay, now that we have the ground rules laid out, let's get this party started!

I'm gonna start with my first dance from our wedding!  It was over a year ago (Oct. 3, 2009, to be specific), and the song was Michael Bublé's cover of "Moondance."

This song was originally written and performed by Van Morrison.  And while I love the idea of the song, I don't think Van Morrison quite hits the mark.  His voice is sort of a nasal-whiny, and I don't think any passion really shines through the way it does when Michael sings it (check my post about seeing MB in concert if you wanna read more about passion).  And Van Morrison just sounds so . . . ugh, dare I say it?, 70's.  And not in a good way.

The big band feel that Michael brings to it is just so perfect for this song.  Because of it, we definitely did a swing-inspired first dance with wrap-arounds, twirls, and a lovely dip at the end.  Everyone ate it up, and we loved every minute of it.

I'll let you be the judge of the two versions.  Here is Van Morrison's version:

And here is the wonderful Bublé version:

What's your preference?  And are there any other covers of this song that you think would blow me out of the water?

p.s. Any tips on embedding music onto my blog for this series very much appreciated.  That playlist site doesn't have as much variety as I'd like.

04 January 2011

open mouth, insert foot

Remember this post from a few weeks back?  The one about how I never believed my hometown would ever see snow on Christmas?  And that I would "seriously crap my pants" if it happened?

Well, if you hadn't been paying attention to the news lately, here's my self-shot 1-minute video to fill you in on the phenomenon that hadn't happened since 1882:

p.s. it doesn't officially take an inch to make it a white Christmas, I have since found out.

After experiencing it, well I wasn't all that impressed.  I mean, it's just snow.  I didn't find any "magic" in it.  It just complicated things since people freaked out about driving (meaning we had to move dinner up to early afternoon).  And nobody showed up for mass the next morning, even though there was nothing on the roads.  I still don't wanna sing a song about it or close my eyes and wish upon a star for it to happen again.  But, if anything, it gave me some small talk with my in-laws.  Whoopy doo.

However, I will note that I did not seriously or even un-seriously "crap my pants" as I claimed. Since I knew you were wondering.

03 January 2011

litany of babies 2010

I'm an aunt again!  My niece was born on Dec. 29 while I was in Chicago with B and his family.  This year the stork has been working overtime, at least with my family, friends, and acquaintances (my inner and outer circles, meaning anyone I Facebook-stalk).  I've had a pregnancy prayers list on my fridge all year--well I actually had to make a few, since the list kept growing. 

I thought I'd give you a list of the first names chosen by these wonderful (mostly new) parents.  A handful were on the 2009 SSA top 10 list, but I'm curious to see what the outcome for this year will be.  The list is in chronological order of birth, with nicknames or middle names that they're being called in parentheses.

Liam • Autumn & Olivia • Jack • Oliver • Cecilia • Grace • Francis (Franky) • Sophia • Lorien • Aidan • Leah • Anthony • Adoration • Noah • Thomas III (Trey) • Haley • James • Kyle Andrew (Drew) • Jilliann • Lila • Sophia • Graham • Emma • Thomas • Liam &  Blake • Edwin Jr. (Anderson) • Chase • Constantine • Katherine (Katie) • Liam Jr. • Sophia • Emma

Me and my new niece Emma!
Yep, that's 34 babies.  That's kind of insane, but I'm 26 years old so it's definitely the season of life here.  I'm a stats-and-detail kinda person, so let's mess around with this a bit. 
  • 19 boys, 15 girls.  Including two sets of twins.  
  • Most common birthday was October 29 (also my mom's birthday) with 4 boys born on that date (includes one set of twins)
  • The most popular months to be born in were April and August, with 6 babies for each month (and no twins for either)
  • Most used names: THREE Sophias, THREE Liams, TWO Emmas, and TWO little boys named Thomas (alright, you caught me, I couldn't figure out how to pluralize that name...Thomases?)
Here's a BabyCenter article about their best predictions of this year's top names.  I also found their "movers and shakers" article interesting, as it showed which names are gaining and losing popularity nowadays.  But remember that the Social Security office holds the hard-and-fast data, so we'll have to wait a bit for that.  (Their site is addictive to mess around on as well as BabyCenter's.  And I'm not even pregnant!)

Now I'm off to start my 2011 list.  I already have a name to add who was born on 1/1/11, which is pretty much the greatest birth date ever.

I think I have a pretty representative sample going on.  Do you know any 2010 babies that share names with any of these?  

01 January 2011

the past decade!

A Decade (2000-2010) -- okay, technically that's 11 years . . . but still.  I took this idea from Faith & Deployments.  Check her blog out; you won't regret it.

For each year, I will put an accomplishment  that I have made in the last decade.  Okay, I admit, some years have more than one!  (My birthday is right around the halfway mark, so the age I put is what I was at year's end.)  This is basically my life in a nutshell!

2000 (16 years old)- Got my driver's license and my first job (waitress at a diner...ugh)
2001 (17 years old)- Got early-accepted into the fabulous University of Georgia!
2002 (18 years old)- Graduated high school 4th in my class, cross-country road trip #1, started college, earned my Gold Award
2003 (19 years old)- Became an aunt!
2004 (20 years old)- Studied abroad in Verona, Italy; cross-country road trip #2
2005 (21 years old)- Visited Alaska
2006 (22 years old)- Graduated college, summa cum laude, with two degrees, moved to Jacksonville, FL
2007 (23 years old)- Finished my AmeriCorps year, cross country road trip #3, bought a car, and moved my butt up to Norfolk
2008 (24 years old)- Landed my first big-girl job, survived B's first deployment, got engaged
2009 (25 years old)- Got married!
2010 (26 years old)- THRIVED through a second deployment, traveled to Scotland, did my first Navy move

I've been extremely blessed in my life, so thank you to God for all the great opportunities and loving support from everyone around me.

What have you accomplished in 10 (or 11) years?