Tuesday, November 30, 2010

From A Terrace

I consider myself lucky to have the friends I do. I look at my life and where I've been and I look at those who I have pushed away, and those who refused to be pushed away. I look at those who have held me in the tough times, and those who have peed their pants from laughing with me so much. 

To those who have been such awesome friends that you would willingly cup your hand over my mouth to prevent me from releasing a resonating
laughter in a library—I thank you. Sometimes I forget about my surroundings.

I write all of this down because like you, I have bad days and lose sight of the great things I have in life. I have forgetful days. I have busy days. I have days where I just want to throw my laptop across the room because my alarm is going off at an ungodly hour . . . but of course I don't, because well let's get real—I love my Mac too much. Also, in the same vein of IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE, if I throw my laptop across the room, I'm going to cry for hours.

and if I cry for hours, I'm going to want some chocolate
and if I get some chocolate, I'm going to want some coffee
and if I get some coffee, pretty soon I'll just start crying espresso . . .

You know how it is.
(you do, right?)

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you all about 2 of my friends who are doing some great creative stuff right now.

Chris Hair
I met Chris years ago through another friend and have stayed connected over the years. Right now, he's pursuing his passion in music and has been posting some new songs, as well as some cover songs, on his YouTube account. But, if you'd like to add to your Christmas music collection, you can head over to his Noise Trade page and download his free cover of HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS.

Here is one of his songs, ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER:

Joshua Curtis
I met Joshua during my 1st year as a student in MCA and we have been friends ever since! He is by and far my best guy friend ever! He has always been one of my biggest encouragers and never fails to make me laugh. He is also an amazing photographer! Recently he spent a long time living in Africa, serving the community there alongside some great people in Days of Elisha Ministries. Here is some of his work:

 ^ i actually own this one and it's hanging up in my room ^

As a side note: If you (or someone you know is) are looking for a great gift for the holiday season, you can buy an 11x14 print of his PHOTOS for $25 each. Simply click on the images below to enlarge and see which one you would like:

And then send him an e-mail at joshuainafrica@gmail.com. In the e-mail, let him know the number listing of the photo you want, along with your mailing address. He'll work out payment with you over e-mail.

I really want to spend this holiday season celebrating others who have meant so much to me, so I think I'll be posting more about fun stories, photos, and projects that my friends and I are working on and just celebrate good times as we head into 2011!!

And just so we're clear, it's gonna take me
all of 2011 to get used to saying,

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Good Life

Happy Thanksgiving!!

There are so many things to be thankful for today and I decided that I should write down a list of things I'm thankful for so that if I ever start to whine or complain or think I have a bad handle on life, I can refer back to this post and get over myself. So technically, this post is more for me than you . . . but maybe it'll help you think of some things to be thankful for as well. Bear in mind that this is not a complete listing, it's just as much as I could think of in about 5 minutes before I get dressed to go celebrate the holiday with the Jones clan!

I am thankful for:

  • being alive
  • family
  • friends
  • my faith in God
  • chocolate
  • my job
  • music in general
  • pizza
  • stretchy pants on holidays
  • my phone
  • my clothes
  • having a space heater in the winter
  • the snow falling this morning
  • my MacBook Pro
  • education
  • peacoats
  • books
  • coffee
  • technology
  • more chocolate
  • running water
  • blankets
  • jack's mannequin
  • my ability to laugh in tough situations
  • ice cream
  • the way my parents raised me
  • scarves
  • the youth at Westside Church
  • my aunt's broccoli rice and cheese casserole
  • more coffee
  • shoes
  • parachute
  • my housemates
  • creativity
  • my neighborhood
  • my co-workers
  • swimming pools
  • airplanes in the night sky that look like shooting stars
  • coffee with honey
  • paramore
  • the internets
  • mamo's christmas cookies
  • the academy for even allowing me to be nominated for this award
  • 24 hour fitness
  • toilet paper
  • is chocolate on this list yet? 
  • YOU!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

White Dress

As you've probably gathered, the Pacific Northwest is wearing a very hefty sparkly white dress of snow today! My neighborhood have gotten 4-5 inches of snow already. But as I sit at home enjoying the view of it all from my warm living room, I figured I'd share my adventures from my sleepover at work!

The snow had already started falling when I got into work yesterday and the buses had chains on them, and re-routed to suit their snow routes. Part of the trouble of working in Queen Anne, is that when it snows (and it rarely does in Seattle), it becomes incredibly dangerous the buses don't run up the hill. So throughout the morning, the opportunity to stay in the building overnight was presented to me and I decided I would do that instead of risking missing work hours during the high point of our publications cycle. Then, around 11 a.m., the surge protector in my office made a constant beeping noise. Shortly after that, all the computers in my office shut down, along with the electricity in every outlet. We tried to find alternatives to get the computers back up and running, but nothing was working. Shortly after, my boss noticed a smell coming from the area just under my office. It smelled like burning sulfur. We weren't sure exactly where it was coming from, so we checked around and waited to see if the smell would dissipate. Apparently, there was some kind of electrical fire brewing inside the walls close to my office. We had talked to someone and they said it shouldn't be a problem, so my boss and two others stayed overnight with me.

We went out for dinner at a great Indian restaurant called Roti and we rented a movie from Blockbuster so that we could have a fun time waiting out the snow. When we got to the store, we were torn about renting either THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT or PIRATE RADIO. We walked to the counter with Pirate Radio but right at the last moment, one of the other co-workers ran to switch it out with The Kids Are All Right. We decided to spend the evening on the couches in the lobby area so that we could be present if the smell of the electrical fire continued to grow. We made it about 20 minutes into the movie and decided to turn it off because it was just too sexually graphic for our liking, there was too much bad acting, and it just wasn't a worthwhile movie. So we watched THE KITE RUNNER on Netflix instead.

After e-mailing a few people earlier in the day, we got a call later in the evening from an electrician that told us to shut down the power to the building and get out of there. We turned off the movie and moved all of our stuff to the next building over, and just stayed up talking and laughing and having a fun time!

We woke up this morning safe and sound and my boss gave me the day off with pay! So now I'm here at home, relaxing with a hot latte, watching the people walk in the snow, and finishing up watching The Kite Runner (and crying like a baby from the story).

We found out that it was part of the remnants of The Great Pen Fire of October and they got the problem fixed. All in all, my Snowpocalypse Sleepover at work was a lot of fun and it gave me a chance to build stronger relationships with my co-workers. I think we all agreed that we should each keep a change of emergency winter wear handy at the office though . . . just in case.

Here are some of my pics from the snow storm. Enjoy!

"Sorry, we're closed!"

 It was crazy watching cars slide down the hill

Don't worry guys, I wore my snowshoes

 As I was waiting at the bus stop,
I saw this news crew filming a segment
about a traffic post that a car had
taken out when it skidded off the road

Snow covering the Experience Music Project Building

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Back In Your Head

It snowed today!!

Well, at least for a little bit. It was definitely fun while it lasted.

Heather J. let me borrow her camera to work on a project this morning at Westside and then let me hang onto it until Tuesday. So naturally, I decided to take it out for a little photostroll this afternoon. While I was walking, I found this sweet little house with a little artsy display out in front of it. It was all very vintage and kind of melancholy, but I decided to take advantage of the rare neighborhood art and take some pics. It kind of reminded me of some of the artsy decorations in some yards back home in Austin. I love stumbling across little treasure troves like this! I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I do!

this is my neighborhood!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Something To Believe In (My Parachute Concert Experience)

Rock and roll music has been a major part of my life for many years now and nothing creates that sense of euphoria, to me at least, quite like dancing and singing along as your favorite band plays live. It’s an even better experience when you are surrounded by other people that care about and love that quality music at the same level that you do. There is something wonderful and magical about experiencing a great rock concert and Sunday night’s Parachute concert at the House of Blues in Dallas was exactly that!

My set list autographed by the band

Hailing from Austin, Texas, I moved to Seattle two-and-a-half years ago. My first time to see Parachute in concert was at The Crocodile in Seattle. Once I experienced one of their rockin’ shows, I knew I had to go to another. I joined their street team and promoted them heavily to everyone and anyone that would listen. I realized that as they announced tours, Seattle was not one of their frequented cities. I would follow them on Twitter and hunt down videos on YouTube in hopes of sharing a second-hand experience of this band whose music meant so much to me. After waiting for what seemed like forever, they finally announced that not only were they going to be recording a new album, they were going to be touring in the fall again! Sadly, Seattle wasn’t on the list, so I did what I had to—I hopped a flight to Dallas, Texas to spend my birthday weekend with my best friend, and to go to that concert at The House of Blues.

Will Anderson & Nate McFarland

I had already bought my tickets to the show when they announced they were doing a fan contest where you could win tickets to the show and access to an exclusive meet and greet to hear the studio versions of songs on their unreleased album. My Seattle friends helped me enter the contest, and after waiting anxiously for the results, I found out that I had won! Not only was I going to go to an amazing show, and be able to hear the new songs, but I got to bring two friends along for free! My best friend’s roommate, who is also a fan, joined us and we were all extremely excited as we set out for the show and the Hear It First Listening Party!

Alex Hargrave & Johnny Stubblefield

As Parachute’s tour manager, Chris Jones, led us into the Cambridge Room, Johnny, Kit, Nate, Alex, and Will were there waiting for us and they welcomed us to the party! To say I was excited might be the biggest understatement of the year. After getting to say hello and hug the guys, they quickly led us all over to some couches along the wall (set up had run late and cut short our time by a little bit) and let us listen to a couple of the tracks off of the new album. The songs were amazing! First, we got to hear “Something To Believe In” (a track noted as Jeremiah on the set list). The gospel tracks laced into the song were astounding and added a strong layer of fullness to the crisp recording. Then we got to listen to “White Dress” (a song they referred to as Bumpin’ Jam on the set list). I suggested to Will that they should definitely add “bumpin’ jam” into parenthesis after the song title because it was so true to the nature of the song. It was one of those songs that make you want to drum on the steering wheel as you cruise down the highway and bob your head to the beat causing passersby to stare, wishing they were having as much fun as you are. Having heard the live recording of it on YouTube, I had already regarded it as a song made of gold, but after listening to the studio recording, I’m more apt to consider it a Scrooge McDuck-sized vault of musical gold! The lyrical depth and overall arrangement of both songs made it clear that these guys were pushing their music and style to a new level of excellence. The fact that Kit and Johnny were dancing around in the background made it an extra special experience.

Kit French

After the listening party, we waited anxiously for the show to start. The moment Parachute took the stage, the night of fun had come full circle. We all cheered loudly as Nate, Alex, Johnny, and Kit stepped on the stage to lay down the intro to White Dress. Already brimming with excitement, the energy in the crowd was intensified as Will joined the band front and center to lead us all in the truly “bumpin’ jam.”

The performance was packed with fun and excitement thanks to a solid set of both old and new songs. We clapped and sang along to songs featured on their first album, Losing Sleep, and danced as we listened intently to the newer ones like the deceptively catchy upbeat chorus, She’s in love with someone elsein the song What I Know. As Will took a moment to introduce the song Square One with the insight that it was written as a result to being “played” in a relationship, a united groan of understanding was echoed by the majority of guys in the crowd. It was clear that everyone in the crowd could relate on some level to the songs blasting from the speakers. From the sweetly refreshing acoustic version of All That I Am, to the punchy vocals on the funk-infused Halfway, to the fist-pumping powerhouse of a song, Under Control, the band’s stellar stage presence and showmanship propelled the show to an amped-up out-of-this-world level. From talking to fellow fans (both old and new) in the crowd afterward, I think it’s safe to say that the entire experience left a positive, indelible impression of what a quality rock show is all about.

Our Listening Party group:
Johnny, Chad, Will, Katie, Me, Diane, Kit, Kelley, Nate, Alex

Here are more photos from the show taken by my friend Chad, who graciously relieved me of camera duty so that I could enjoy the show with no distractions!

It truly was a night I'll never forget!
I can't wait until they release dates
for more touring in the beginning of 2011
and I for SURE cannot wait for the new album to drop!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Close To You: A Birthday Post!

On the day that you were born,
the angels got together
and decided to create a dream come true . . .

Not too shabby, eh?!?   ;p

I decided that since my parents were pretty much the major part of this day being a thing, I'd call them up and ask them to share one of their first memories of the day of my birth. So without further adieu, the story of me:

From mom: 

You were born in the afternoon and you were two weeks early. I was so surprised when I realized I was going into labor that I just packed a bag real quick and jumped in the cab wearing my pajamas and my hair rollers. It was like a Carol Burnett moment! And I gave birth to you in my pajamas and hair rollers too! You weighed 6 pounds. And we gave you your name—we had it picked out and it's the one I really wanted to give you. I wanted a little girl so bad and I got what I wanted! I was very happy to have you. You had jaundice, so I had to keep taking you back to the hospital for check-ups. I told the doctors that I'd keep bringing you back, as long as I could bring you home! I wouldn't trade you for anything in the world.  You were very smart, very cute, very everything we ever wanted.

From dad: 

The day before you were born, I was out in Stuttgart, which is almost 2 and a half hours away from Nuremberg Hospital. I worked that morning on the 2nd and then I went home to get some sleep. When I finally got home, my sergeant called me and told me to call him back. When I did, he said, "Hey boy, somebody called and said your wife is going to have your baby! You need to come home right now!" I was half asleep, but I went home, got packed as fast as I could through the snow, and drove to Nuremburg. I was so tired, I stopped all along the way at three different Gast Hauses to get some espresso to make it to you! I finally got to the hospital and asked if the baby had already been born, and they said no, and I was so relieved! After you were born, I was so excited to see my baby girl! You had a tremendous amount of beautiful black hair. You were so beautiful, my Mandy Pandy.

They also shared some other milestones with me and some of their thoughts of who I was as I was growing up. It really made me appreciate the way they navigated through my shenanigans. I have truly lived a blessed life full of ups and downs and I am looking forward to another year of wonderful milestones and memories!

Today's wonderful birthday wouldn't have been as awesome without hearing their stories, and without the love I got from ALL of my friends! Here are some other great moments from my special day:

 A sweet note from one of our work volunteers, Gale

 A fruit tray that Gale got me—she knows I'm doing the game on diet, so she brought me fruit with Greek Yogurt! Then she and my boss sat down and told me all of their favorite things about me and what they appreciated about me. :) 

Then I went over to Alisa's house and she treated me to pizza from my favorite pizza joint, Pagliacci Pizza! She also baked me a cake and invited some people to come over and join us for a nice evening before my big trip—PERRRRFECT!

My friend Maggie brought over this creative snack tray for me!

 This is the AMAZING cake that Alisa baked for me! It was yellow cake with chocolate frosting—my fave!! I had told her daughter that I was turning 4, so they got me a 4 candle to blow out.  ;p

 All my cards and my birthday balloon from the evening!

And I finished the night, coming home to
this sweet birthday message from my housemates!

Today, I truly felt celebrated! I'm looking forward to many more years of celebrating!