Tuesday, June 29, 2010

tunes i like tuesday: l´amour

I have to admit, I am fascinated by Carla Bruni.  If anyone can have it all, it may be her.  (I know, I know... you can't discount the whole grass is greener stuff... but still...)  Carla Bruni was rich, famous, beautiful and talented before she added wife to a world leader to her resume' in 2008 when she married Nicolas Sarkozy.  The French love her.  Somehow, I have to wonder if our First Lady was an Italian-born model-turned-singer-turned-actress with a laundry list of famous flings she'd get the same reception, but then again, the French seem to march to their own beat anyway.

Her music is actually very good.  Bruni puts a sultry and alluring spin on basic folk-blues.  For some, the idea of listening to music in a foreign language seems strange.  I actually find it to be enjoyable. Once you allow yourself to be freed from the lyrics, the singer's voice is simply another instrument.  You can then indulge yourself in pure emotion and sound.  

Have a listen to Bruni's L'amour.  Let me know what you think.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

when in rome...

I can think of few places I'd rather be on any given day than Italy. I love everything about it... the people, the food, the wine, the cities, the country, the history, the language, and of course, the coffee. The Italians are my peeps (coffee-speaking, that is).

The Italians take coffee seriously. Because coffee is so much a part of the Italian culture, not drinking coffee isn't even considered. It is not uncommon to greet someone in Italy with the phrase "Prendiamo un caffè?" (Have a coffee?)  They also don't worship at The House of Starbucks. Do not go to Italy and order a half-caf, skinny, sugar-free, caramel latte. (And for that matter, an Italian worth his salt espresso would only ever order a milky drink during the morning.  It's Italy.  It's mostly hot and not air-conditioned. The thought of hot milk sloshing around in the stomach isn't pleasant.)

If these tidbits have you concerned you may not be up to the task of ordering a coffee next time you're hanging out at a bar in Rome, be not dismayed!  Kate Appleton's video, How to Order Coffee Like a Roman will settle your nerves (at least until the caffeine kicks in). 

I wish I had seen this before my first Italian trip.  It would have made those first few mornings a lot easier (but no less memorable).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

top five

In case it went unnoticed, summer is officially here. Problem is... here in Maryland it's been behaving like summer for weeks. Today is only June 22nd and we've already had 13 days of temperatures above 90 this month!  Yikes!  Remember four short months ago when it looked like this?

Crazy, huh?

Now that summer is officially here there's lots of plans being made.  Weekends at the beach, trips to the mountains, visiting family and friends.  This is one of the best parts of summer living.... feeling like the world (and all the time in the world) is at your disposal.

Rene' over at Cottage and Vine posed the question, "If you are going away for the weekend and can only take five products in your cosmetic bag, what would they be?"  This took some thinking on my part but I think I've got it whittled down to just five.  (I am a notorious over-packer and have spent the last several years working on this.  I wonder if there's a 12-step program for people like me?) Join her linky party with me to play along.

Without further ado, here's my top five must haves for a weekend get-away....

St Ives Elements Protective Cleanser
Works really well and doesn't dry my skin out.  Has SPF 10 added protection.  (Yay!)

St Ives Fresh Skin Collagen Elastin Facial Moisturizer
This is a really light, non-greasy moisturizer that always leaves my skin smooth and soft.  The collagen and elastin are bonuses too, cause at my age, I'll take all the help I can get.
Maybelline Ultra Brow Brush on Color (in dark brown)
The one thing I've hated about aging isn't wrinkles or laugh lines, it's that my eyebrows seem to not be as full as they once were.  (Kinda weird, I know.)  I love this product and it is my #1 must have before I walk out of the house.  It's easy to use, lasts forever and really defines your brows.

L'Oreal Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner (in black)
This eyeliner is pretty much fool-proof (which is good for me). It lasts all day, doesn't bother my contacts, never flakes off and I like that it's easy to make the line thick or thin depending on my mood.  Comes off easily with cold cream.  My eyes are probably my best feature and I like to play them up with eyeliner.

Todd Oldham by Todd Oldham Eau de Parfum
Yes, that Todd Oldham.  Considering he has his hands in everything from children's books to FTD flower arrangements to Lazy Boys, it shouldn't surprise anyone that he has his own fragrance.  This has been around for a while now and I've been wearing it probably for about 10 years.  I always get compliments when I wear it (from both men and women).  It has a spicy, oriental scent that you can wear any time of the day.  I'd probably call it my signature scent (if I can pretend to be highfaluting enough to have one).

So how about you?  What five items would make the cut for your weekend get-away?  Click over to Cottage and Vine and play along.  All this talk about packing and traveling has got me thinking....

tunes i like tuesday: i should have known it

After eight long years, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their newest effort, Mojo, last week. The nearly 60 year-old Petty is still kicking it and with the release of Mojo, the perennial rock and rollers have given their fans what they've long been waiting for... a blues album. There's so many great tunes on the album, but the two stand outs for me are Candy, a JJ Cale-esque number and I Should Have Known It, which almost boarders on early-Zeppelin with an enticing riff you won't soon forget.

You can listen to Candy here (and please do, you won't be disappointed). The video below is for I Should Have Known It.  The videography is not quite the same caliber as Don't Come Around Here No More (circa 1985) but I'm still good with it.  Have a listen to both songs and let me know what you think.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

kind and generous

Just a little tribute to Countrymouse, my dad and all the wonderful men in my life... My life and the lives of my sons have been blessed with so many good men to learn from, spend time with and love.  Thank you.  Happy Fathers day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

just like on youtube

I have a habit of driving fast.  I know I shouldn't but when I get behind the wheel I just drive how I'm comfortable.  It just happens to usually be between 60 and 70 mph.  I am also very blessed in that I never seldom get stopped and have a squeaky clean driving record. (This fact is not lost on my little sister or Countrymouse, who can just think about speeding and end up with a ticket.  I think they kinda hate me some days. Well, not really, but just saying...)  

After work last night, Countrymouse and I headed to a neighboring town to stop by the Farmers Market and grab dinner at the Market Street Public House.  All was well until I passed one of Maryland's Finest.  

Trooper: License and registration, ma'am.  I also need to inform you that this traffic stop is being recorded and video taped.
Me: Yes sir.  Here they are.
Countrymouse: Hmm?  Where's the video camera?
Trooper: In the car.
Countrymouse: Really?!  Just like on YouTube?!
(I'm thinking, just like COPS.  All that television Countrymouse watches and he doesn't know this?? )
Trooper: Excuse me?
Countrymouse: You know, just like on YouTube.
(Now I am thinking, please just shut the eff up.)
Trooper: Yeah... just... like... on... YouTube.
(Now I'm thinking, so much for my squeaky clean driving record.)

The Trooper doesn't say another word and just takes my stuff back to his car.  (You know, the car with the video camera in it.) Once he's safely out of earshot, I turn to Countrymouse and try to figure out just who is actually sitting next to me and what he's done with my beloved spouse because I know my husband would have more sense than to get cocky with a State Trooper at my expense. 

Countrymouse: What?  I just thought it was like you see on YouTube all the time.
Me: What!  I do not watch videos of people getting pulled over on YouTube all the time... (Ummm, make that never.)

The Trooper returns and hands me my license, registration and a little white slip of paper.

Trooper: I just gave you a warning.  Slow down out here.
Me: Yes sir.  Thank you.

I'm extra careful pulling off.  The Trooper turns around and heads in the opposite direction.  It's all I can do not to speed to get to the Market Street Public House and order a nice cold Blue Moon.

Countrymouse: You know why he gave you a warning?
Me: Why? (I'm still kinda miffed at Countrymouse, but mostly relieved.)
Countrymouse: Because he feels sorry for you for being married to such an ass. (I laugh and agree.)

And that is why I love this man. (That and the fact that I still have a squeaky clean driving record.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

tunes i like tuesday: tiny light

What are the three best things to come out of Vermont?
  1. Maple syrup
  2. Ben and Jerry's ice cream
  3. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Grace Potter and The Nocturnal's newest, self-titled album came out last week and it's actually getting some air play. (Yay!)  Grace's sound is a combination of funky 60's style blue-eyed soul with a heavy dose of good ol' rock and roll. You can hear them do a killer cover of The Rolling Stones Paint It Black here. It's definitely one of my favorite songs right now, but I'm also digging the first release off the new album, Tiny Light. Have a listen and let me know what you think.

Monday, June 14, 2010

where the buffalo roam

I had a doctor's appointment this afternoon in a neighboring town so I took a different way home at the end of the day. I've driven this road many times but wondered if my usual route was the fastest, so I turned on the GPS.  Now, you already know I live in the boonies, but the GPS had me driving on roads I didn't even know existed. After a certain point, I was at the mercy of technology because I had no clue where I was. I began wishing I had thought about leaving a trail of crumbs or at the very least had paid more attention over the years. I was winding my way through the countryside when I rounded a bend and saw this....

Are you kidding me?  I live in Maryland not Wyoming or North Dakota.  I was about 5 miles from my house.

It was pretty awesome though.  I pulled over and snapped a few photos.

For the record, these are bison.  Buffalo live in Asia and Africa.  (Yeah, I didn't know that either.)  They were pretty curious about me standing on the side of the road taking their picture, but considering it was about 90 degrees out, they weren't moving a whole lot.  Just looking at them made me hot.  After I had been there a bit, some of them started snorting.  That was my cue to get moving.  I figured if I was lucky the fence was electric but either way I wasn't so sure they notice with those big thick coats and hides. 

What a nice reminder that even an ordinary day can turn into something spectacular. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

godspeed, matt

One man of you shall chase a thousand, 
for the LORD your God is He who fights 
for you, as He promised you.  
Joshua 23:10

We got up early yesterday morning to take Matt to the airport to return to his base in Hawaii, Schofield Barracks. The whole drive to the airport and back was pretty quiet. Every time I tried to talk about anything other than generic stuff, I got choked up and started tearing up. I knew I was sending my boy off to war. The truth is, he leaves for Iraq in 15 days, on his 20th birthday. (I think he processes in via Kuwait and then he's off to Iraq.)  I've had plenty of time to get used to the idea but standing there crying in the airport as I hugged him goodbye the reality of it all was overwhelming. I kept hugging him, like somehow if I squeezed him hard enough I could transfer all the love in my heart to him and it would protect him. 

Becoming a parent changes who you are.  The moment your child enters the world, you are transformed.  Your immediate love for this new little person extends to every category of life. You will do anything to protect your child.  Maybe it's that mother bear mentality... I know if anyone ever messed with my kids, I was ready for a fight.  Just because my "little boy" is 20, doesn't change anything.

Ultimately, I know it is God that will protect Matt.  Countrymouse gave him the scripture above on an index card to keep in his wallet.  We'll be keeping him in our prayers (and I'd appreciate if it if you would too).  I am very thankful for the time we got to spend with him the past two weeks. Those memories will be a comfort to my heart for many months to come until I can squeeze him tight again.

Friday, June 11, 2010

eveline tarunadjaja

The artwork of Eveline Tarunadjaja is delicate yet provoking. I find her simple style very intriguing.  Her website says, "Her artwork evolved from a procrastinating hobby to a passionate love affair with sugar-coated loneliness and mischievous imagery".  What a romantic notion!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

the boys of summer

Ocean City was wonderful!  We had such a nice mini-break, it almost feels like it was a real vacation. The last time all the pups were together was Father's Day 2009.  They've all changed so much since then.  Life in general has changed so much since then. Of course, Matt (Pup #2) is home but so is Pup #1, Thomas. They both leave on Saturday morning to return to their lives... lives away from "home".  It's been such a treat to have them here but it is also very obvious that their lives are their own. I can't think of them as just part of The Boys any more.  This whole adult children thing is very odd sometimes.  No matter how old they become, you don't stop worrying about them or wanting to help them... and even though you have the ability to do so, your entrée and opportunities aren't the same.  I wonder if it ever gets easier? In any case, words don't begin to express how happy I am to have them all in my home, even if it's just for a brief moment.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

tunes i like tuesday: telephone

Telephone is the second release from Jamie Lidell's album, Compass, an album produced by Beck. What sold me on this tune is that it features Nikka Costa on background vocals and Beck on guitar.  (How cool is that?) Lidell has the whole funk-blues-electronica thing down. The video is a little reminiscent of The Constellations one I wrote about here but with it's own spin.  This is definitely a tune to include in your summer playlist.  Let me know what you think.

Monday, June 7, 2010

casate conmigo

"I have loved you since the moment we met and all I want 
is to make you happy everyday for the rest of our lives."

Today Countrymouse and I celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary.  He is still the person I want to see every morning and lay beside every night.  He is my best friend.  I am thankful every single day for his life and his love for me.

We are off to the ocean with all the pups today to spend a couple of days at the beach.  I can't think of a more perfect way to celebrate.

Countrymouse proposed to me Christmas week 1981 in the front seat of his Camaro parked in front of the house in which we now live. It was a quiet, special moment... and I was thrilled beyond words. The video below is of Claudine's marriage proposal.  Not my style but incredibly sweet and unforgettable.  I think Claudine is a lucky girl and her married life is bound to be filled with love and adventure... just like mine.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

slow down

There is more to life than 
just increasing it's speed.

~Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

tunes i like tuesday: the high road

I thought it would be fun to have a little purpose behind some of my musical posts (and not be so random...hehehe), hence the birth of Tunes I Like Tuesday.  It's a fun opportunity for me to share music I happening to be liking at the moment, so it could be old or new, depending on my mood.  

The following video is from Broken Bells, a dynamite collaboration between James Mercer, lead singer of The Shins and Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse).  The High Road is the first cut from their debut effort, which was only released just about 3 months ago.  Let me know what you think.