Monday, January 21, 2013

In Which I Call Upon Your (Visual) Opinion for a Good Cause

To make a long story short, some dear friends of mine recently learned some bad news about their baby. Her brain did not fully develop, so she's been going through countless tests and her experience with therapies has only begun (they've already been seeing some amazing results from therapy!). If you're interested in her story, or even making a donation, the link to her Facebook page is HERE.

Here's a picture I took of her when she was just born:

And a current picture from her benefit page taken by a family member:

To help with their medical bills, some family members are putting together a benefit event and silent auction. I'm going to donate a framed print or two, but I need your help deciding which ones. Since I took the pictures, I would hang all of them (ha!), but which ones are YOU attracted to? Which would you put a bid on if you were at said auction?

#1 - Red Bike of Florence - Black and White with color

#2 - Red Bike of Florence

#3 - Eye of the Colosseum

#4 - Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy - Tilt Shift

#5 - Boats of Cinque Terre, Italy - Tilt Shift

#6 - Marina, Cinque Terre, Italy - Tilt Shift

#7 - Street in Cinque Terre, Italy - Tilt Shift

#8 - Fishing Village outside of Shanghai, China - Tilt Shift

#9 - The Great Wall of China - Tilt Shift

Thoughts? Which is your favorite? 
I don't have all of these listed in my Etsy store, but I will be taking note of the popular ones and may add them soon! Thanks so much for your help!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In Which I Show My (Switchfoot) Crazy Side (Again)

When one of my critters asked which Switchfoot album she could start with, I realized I hadn't shown any blogging love to my all-time favorite band in quite some time! This could be because I haven't been able to go to one of their shows in a couple years and they are totally due for a new album, like NOW. *waits impatiently*

She asked, so she received... a very long email in which I broke down every album by favorite songs, complete with explanations of why as well as random outbursts of singing (but since I was typing, it just looks like the lyrics in italics #lame). And I thought I'd share this with y'all today, you know, just in case you were in the market for new music, or in case you needed a Switchfoot refresher course.

Mind you, not all of these songs were my favorites right away. I've been listening to these albums since I was a teenager, so I've had a lot of time to get tired of songs and find new favorites. This list reflects my current, seasoned thoughts.

*For the optimum blog post experience, open iTunes and listen to the song clips as we go so you know what the heck I'm talking about. :)

The Legend of Chin: 1997
This album is QUIRKY. They were YOUNG young young, not more than a garage band in San Diego. These songs are just weird, and while I love them, I doubt anyone that started listening to it now would love it, know what I mean?

Best songs: 
-Chem 6A
-Might Have Ben Hur  
-You -- This song has AMAZING LYRICS: I find peace when I'm confused, I find hope when I'm let down, but not in me, in You. I hope to lose myself for good, I hope to find it in the end, not in me, in You. -- If you only buy one song from the album, this should be it.

New Way to Be Human: 1999
Just a hair less quirky than Chin, but regardless of how old these songs may sound, it's amazing.

Best songs:
-New Way to Be Human
-Sooner or Later
-COMPANY CAR!! Love love love this song, and they still sing it live because it's a fan favorite. I'VE GOT THE COMPANY CAAAR, I'M THE ONE SWINGIN AT TWO BELOW PAR, YEAH I'VE BECOME ONE WITH THE ONES THAT I'VE NEVER BELIEVED IN, BUT I'VE GOT THE COMPANY CAAAAAAAAR (yes, you have to belt it like that...)
-Let that be Enough - one of their best songs ever ever ever ever. It still gives me chills. Jon Foreman is a genius with his lyrics. And all I see, it could never make me happy, and all my sandcastles spend their time collapsing -- I feel stuck watching history repeating. Who am I? Just a kid who knows he's needy. Let me know that you hear me, let me know your touch, let me know that you love me, let that be enough. Seriously? Amazing. 
-Only Hope - you'll know this song from A Walk to Remember. Another amazing amazing song. Sing to me of the plans that you have for me over again. Sigh. 

Learning to Breathe: 2000
This is the first Switchfoot album I ever bought, so it's very special to me. I quickly became completely obsessed with them. OBSESSED. And I haven't looked back. 

Best songs:
-I Dare You to Move (they play this one the radio a lot here, still)
-Learning to Breathe 
-Love is the Movement
-Innocence Again - this song I love mostly for the melody of the chorus haha. It's just one of those songs. :) 

The Beautiful Letdown: 2003
I waited for this album for SO FREAKING LONG, and it didn't disappoint. It's also extremely special to me, because Handy and I were just starting to sort of talk talk when it came out, and I got him into Switchfoot with it. SCORE! This is also their first album with SONY, so while they still sound like "them", they're stronger (read: more commercial).
Best songs:
-Meant to Live - who wouldn't love this rockin song? It put Switchfoot on the MAP.
-This is Your Life
-Dare You to Move - I guess they knew they had something with this song on the last album, and rereleased it with the new record label.
-The Beautiful Letdown
-GONE! Like yesterday is GONE! Like history is GONE! Just try and prove me WRONG! And pretend like you're immortal! -- They still play this live too! Fan fav!
-On Fire -- This song is one of my all time favorite songs PERIOD. It has been known to bring tears to my eyes. You've been warned. If you buy one song from this album, this is it. When everything inside me looks like everything I hate, You are the hope I have for change, You are the only chance I'll take, and I'm on fire when You're near me, I'm on fire when You speak.... GAH! He's a GENIUS.
-Twenty-fourAnd I'm not who I thought I was, twenty-four hours ago.... man, such a gorgeous song. 

Nothing is Sound: 2005
This came out during my last year of college, so I'm emotionally attached to it almost as much as The Beautiful Letdown. When I hear these songs now, I can see myself driving home from work at the mall, in the dark, in the rain. Isn't music great the way it holds on to your memories for you? While it has a few of my all-time least favorite Switchfoot songs, the good songs overshadow those. 

Best songs: 
-Lonely Nation
-The Shadow Proves the Sunshine - If you haven't noticed by now, Switchfoot really really excels at the slow songs. They're so thoughtful. Written while they were on a trip in Africa (I'm pretty sure it was Africa), the cool ethereal sound to his voice in certain parts was from him singing into the guts of a piano! SO FREAKING COOL.
-The Blues - another amazing slow song
-Golden - one of those that took a while to become a fav, but it's golden ;)
-The Fatal Wound
-We are one Tonight - a belter on those choruses!
-Daisy - seriously, the slow ones... SO GOOD hahahaha.

Oh! Gravity: 2007
It felt like I was waiting a long long time for this album, and at first, I didn't like it. It took me quite a few listens to really attach to the songs, but it's a fun album. I think it was just a little more commercial than I was used to from them. But, there are some good songs to work out to haha. 

Best songs:
-Oh! Gravity
-Dirty Second Hands
-Head Over Heels
-Yesterdays - this song will make you cry if you really listen to the lyrics. I believe it was written about a friend that passed away.
-Let Your Love Be Strong - another one of those slow gems!

Hello Hurricane: 2009
This album is really special to the band, (probably because they finally broke free from SONY to go Indie) and it prompted a headlining tour of them singing the COMPLETE ALBUM START TO FINISH. I've never ever ever heard of that before, but it was a really neat experience to witness live. 

Best songs:
-Mess of Me
-Your Love is a Song - this is potentially my ALL TIME FAVORITE SWITCHFOOT SONG. The chorus combined with the guitar melody... gah I have chills right now. It's gorgeous. If there's one song you buy from this album, this is it. 
-The Sound 
-Enough to Let Me Go 
-Free - the second best song on the album, for me -- INSIDE THIS SHELL THERE'S A PRISON CELL!!
-Bullet Soul
-Yet - another slow one I love
-Sing it Out - GORGEOUS. My soul, my soul, I sing with what's left of me.
-Red Eyes

Vice Verses: 2011
There was a long wait for this album, but I fell in love with it pretty quickly. And since it's their newest one (THEY BETTER COME OUT WITH ONE THIS YEAR OR I WILL BREAK SOMETHING), it's the one I'm listening to the most right now.
Best songs:
-The Afterlife - great guitar, great chorus, great lyrics. just a rockin way to start the album
-The War Inside - the first song on this album to get put on repeat. LOVE 
-Blinding Light
-Dark Horses - This song was used for some football promos last season! Great song
-Vice Verses - another slow beauty, though I admit it took me quite a few listens to click with.
-Where I Belong - something cool about this song is how they conclude it by going back to the first song... they sing the bridge of the first song to the melody of this one... brilly.

HOLY MOLY that was a trip down memory lane. As you can see, I'm so very desperately in love with this band. A bond that can't be broken. For those of you that actually experienced this madness with me, thoughts? Anyone love this band as much as I do?  

*all photos in this post were found randomly with Google image

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I've Been Interviewed!

Today I would like to direct you to Kristin Lynn Thetford's blog for a super fun interview! She was so sweet to ask me to be a part of her Newly Agented Writers Series.

And Kristin is a newly agented writer herself, recently signing with Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Agency, which means her and my critter KM are agency buddies, and that's pretty cool! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year, New Goals

Every year I say I won't make resolutions because I'm afraid I won't stick to them, but I do have some goals in mind this year. And the best motivation to stick to them is proclaiming them publicly! So here goes...

1. Writing: For the month of January, my goal is to write 1k words a week. I know most of you can write that in an hour, but my average is in the 200's per hour, so I have to be realistic and set a goal I can actually reach. Next month I'll see if I need to stick to it, or if I can push myself more.

1-2. Finish first draft of WIP by the end of April.

2. Health: I start every year with good intentions, but somehow over the last six years, I've put on 30+ extra lbs. Pathetic, yes. BUT the scale is finally starting to go backwards, and with the clean slate of 1.1.13, I'm happy to say I'm making major lifestyle changes. I haven't had bread, pasta or sweets since LAST YEAR!! So what if that was only four days ago, it's happening and I'm doing it! I'm staying strong until the weekend of my 30th birthday at the end of February (there will be cupcakes!), then picking back up again.

3. Fitness: No longer a paying gym member, I've devised a home workout calendar I may actually stick to. It's a hybrid of Turbo Fire, Hip Hop Abs, free weight workouts clipped from magazines, and I've started power-walking two miles a day (while listening to audiobooks! I'm not a great book 'listener' so half the time I don't know what's going on, but it's a nice distraction from the reality that I'm getting exercise haha). I've printed it all out on a calendar and check off each day. Great motivation to see those check marks!

4. Selflessness: Maybe it's a symptom of being an only child, but it's extremely easy to be me-focused. And the fact that this is the fourth goal I thought to type and not the first proves that I need to work on it. I want to be more considerate, pray for the needs of others above my own, and learn to help where I can.

5. Thankfulness: I am so so so fortunate for the health of my family, to be surrounded by people I love, to be able to drive a functioning vehicle to the grocery store any time of day or night and hoard food under a protective roof with heat, air conditioning, and plumbing. I take all of this for granted far too often. There should be no complaining, only thankfulness.

Of course there are lots of other things I'd love to happen this year, but those are the biggies that I have control over. Are you setting any goals for 2013? How are you staying motivated to stick to them?