Archives for June 2010

One Camera, One eskimO, and Two Nearly Dead Batteries

I love music.

I am, however, leery of music in the age of AutoTune and wizardy sound engineer gurus. In the studios and remixing stages, magic is worked to make a band or an artist sound amazing — and then you see them live and you realize the wool has been pulled over your eyes. Shucks, with the amount of available technology I could even make a hit record.

So, my yardstick to measure an artist’s talent has always been the live performance. If I love the disc, awesome — but if they can BRING IT in a live show? I’m sold.

One eskimO? They brought it.

I would show you pictures of how they they looked on stage, but I was limited to a point and shoot. Stern signs warned that SLRs would be taken away (and shoot, I only just got my Canon, and ain’t nobody taking my baby away from me!). Okay, fine fine. I’ll use my point and shoot.

But wait.

What’s this?

I forgot to change my camera’s batteries?


One eskimO has a very layered, mellow atmospheric sound. These guys were playing their own instruments – none of that pre-recorded track nonsense. Not only were they playing their instruments they were playing them phenomenally. The drummer? He was awesome – and played like nothin’ I’d ever seen. Here. I’ll show you.

Um. We could blame my camera and its low batteries and the low light setting — or you could just believe me when I say that he NEVER stopped moving. He had this percussion set up like nothing I’ve ever seen before and it was really hypnotizing to watch him do his thing (he brought it back out later when he headliner helped Michael Franti & Spearhead close their set).

The lead singer was kind of adorable – and his sound was consistent with the album, which made me happy. I loved seeing the guitarist with a guitar in one hand and a trumpet in the other – and being able to play both. A band that plays their own instruments – and plays them well? Bonus.

And while I’d originally found the CD to be fairly average, I find myself enjoying it more after having seen the band live. The album, One Eskimo, can be found on Amazon or iTunes. While I would have loved more interaction with the crowd, I think that’s something they’ll easily pick up with time. If they happen to swing by your neck of the woods, give them a listen.

I received complimentary tickets to this concert through my (unpaid) partnership with One 2 One Network.

Making it work at Fabric Care University

This Monday, I had the opportunity to fly to Cincinnati to attend the Tide/Downy Fabric Care University and visit some friends and make some new ones as part of an event sponsored by Proctor & Gamble. Over the course of the two days in Cincinnati, we got to see the Proctor & Gamble archives (including John Wayne’s HAIR, y’all!), and learn about the history of many of the P&G brands.

One of the things I had been looking forward to with the event Monday evening – and when we arrived, we were assigned to teams and challenged to take a plain white tee-shirt and a bag of extra doodads (think: paint, zippers, glue, buttons, and the like) and create an “innvative design”  a la Project Runway. Oh, and uh… Tim Gunn was one of the judges.

Challenging us and encouraging us to “make it work” as we scrambled for a half hour, he provided feedback just as he does on the show (including tell our group at one point, “You don’t HAVE to use everything in the bag!” Okay, guess we’ll edit!). In the end we didn’t win, but our shirt exhibited our style philosophy of “Playground Elegance”. This challenge was definitely a difficult one – though I’m in love with Project Runway, I’m sort of not very fashionable.

That shirt features a lovely zippered v-neck which allows you to take the shirt from day to night with just a swipe of your zipper, revealing an elegant peek of lace just beneath. Gosh. I don’t know why we didn’t win (Except the winning team’s shirt? WAY awesome).

We then got to mingle with each other and with Mr Gunn (or TG, as Jenny calls him) – including getting our picture snapped with him.

I, of course, am NOT looking in the right direction, which I assure you is totally par for the course with me. Oh well! This event was amazingly well thought-out, the space was gorgeous (it took place in a downtown Cinci art gallery), the hors d’oeuvres were fab (BTW – I spelled “hors d’oeuvres” right on the first try – can I get a whoohoo?!), and the desserts were phenomenal. I had a lot of dessert. Lots. Yum.

After an evening I can only describe as surreal (in the BEST possible way), we returned to our hotel.

The next day? Fabric Care University!

The Proctor & Gamble peeps are awesome and taught us a lot of amazing things – mostly that I have been doing laundry ALL WRONG for the past 15 years or so.  Whoopsie? Also interesting to note is that while I felt like I was one of the last people on the planet with one of those archaic top loading washing machines… I’M NOT! (Brief survey – what kind do you have? Please don’t tell me that you all have those fancy front loading machines that I want so badly!).

I finally learned what the difference is between all those different bottles of Tide on the shelf are. I’ll be checking out the Tide with Bleach alternative – my current laundry pet peeve is whites that look yucky. “Yucky” is not the technical term, mind you. Also hadn’t realized that there are formulations for the special materials used in modern day workout clothes especially tailored for those special designed fibers.

We were all shocked to learn about all the… uh… “matter” that remains on your clothes after a day of wear (and be oh so grateful that I’m leaving it as matter, because the actual terminology of all that stuff your body produces that ends up on your clothes is enough to turn almost anyone into a germophobe!). I’m going to blame that “matter” for why I weigh so much more when the day is over. I’m not heavy, I’m just carrying around dead skin cells.

It was an incredibly informative AND FUN event, and I look forward to sharing more of what I learned in the future. Yeah! I’m gonna talk laundry with you. And maybe I’ll try doing my wash the right way and see how it works. And, I may just go to the store and do a Tide smell test (yes, I pick detergent based largely on its scent. I’m weird).

Disclosure: I was provided with airfare and hotel accomodation for this trip, but the opinions expressed are my 0wn, as always.

Thursday Ten: Like a Hummingbird Edition

1. Once someone told me that I’m like a hummingbird, in constant motion – that I don’t slow down and would fall into a deep torpor if I just stopped for a second. (Don’t worry, I had to google torpor, also). I’ve since google’d hummingbirds also – and it turns out… they’re just fine if they stop. Either way, I’ve been moving at hummingbird speed this week: first the AWBC, then an awesome trip to Cincinnati (I’ll share those deets with you tomorrow), as well as an awesome One eskimO/Michael Franti concert last night (again, details to follow. Soon. This week has been awesome for kicking my writer’s block in the keister).

2. My feet are still hurty, but so much better than last year at this time. I pre-wrapped most of my toes in bandages pre-walk in the hopes that it would prevent blisters, and it worked for the most part. I have four blisters – one on each heel (HOLY FREAKIN’ COW DO THOSE HURT) and one on each little toe. But overall it was a less painful experience for me, so that’s a good thing.

3. I purchased the book Ask the Pilot in hopes that it would abate some of my fear of flying for my flights to and from Cincinnati. The flight down was actually pretty wonderful – smooth, nearly clear sky with very minimal turbulence. The way back to Michigan? I thought I was going to cry. Guess I should have finished reading the book first, huh? It’s on my pile – still have a ways to go to finish it.

4. Speaking of books… Someone just gave me a gift card to B&N (oh, one of the ways to my heart). What’s new? What are you reading? Are you on GoodReads?  If so, lemme know and we can connect.

5. Twice this week, I have gone out with nearly dead camera batteries (in my point and shoot – my dSLR has a remarkably fabulous battery life. The P&S? Not so much. I feel like I’ve missed so many moments because of my forgetfulness. Particularly at last night’s concert. Sad face.

6. Right now I am craving a toasted bagel with drippy melted butter. I do not have any bagels. I do have butter. Eating a stick of butter by itself doesn’t appeal to me. Yet.

7. I missed the season finale of Glee because I was on a plane. I have yet to track it down on Hulu or Fox. And I need to do that soonish. If you saw it, what did you think? I don’t get my knickers in a twist over spoilers – just wondering if it turned out well or if you were so mad you threw stuff at the tv?

8. New music for the week – I’ve been listening to some Sarah McLachlan, some stuff from Glee, and Michael Franti & Spearhead’s “Sound of Sunshine” (Which I canNOT believe they didn’t play last night).

9. As I was travelling, I missed the live blogging and tweets for the iPhone announcement, but I’ve had a chance to kinda sorta catch up in the moments I’ve been able to sit still, and uh, yeah. I want one. And then I want to kick myself in the shin for wanting one because my phone is JUST FINE. RESIST THE URGE, SARAH. DON’T DO IT.

10. I haven’t picked up my guitar in a week – I’m kind of going through withdrawal, but I’ve just been so busy. And I’m on break from my lessons for another week. I think I’m gonna have to remedy this soon.

This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon, and the blood sweat and tears of a distracted writer who took about two hours to put this together. When i say it’s been a long week, it has REALLY BEEN A LONG WEEK.

In It To End It – AWBC, Done and DONE.

This weekend was THE weekend.

The weekend I’ve been waiting for since I hobbbled across the finish last year. Sure, at the time I wasn’t 100% sure I could put my body through the experience again — but I think in my heart, I knew that the adventure and the benefits far outweighed the fear of blisters, aching feet, and missing toenails.

I was right.

This weekend marked my second Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Two days, 39.3 miles. Actually, I think Avon has a faulty mile measuring system – our team is sure it’s more like 40 or 41 miles. Nevertheless, we came, we walked, and we had a great time doing it.

I was lucky to be on a great team – I found them via Twitter last year (Isn’t the internet INCREDIBLE?) and over the course of time, I have gotten to spend time with a couple of these women outside the walk, and I adore them. Good hearts, good humor, good people. It’s funny how things work out – and I was happy they let me join them again.

Our team raised over $18,000. Chicago as a whole? Over $7 million. Chew on that a bit. SEVEN. MILLION. DOLLARS. In the midst of this gruesome economy, millions of dollars was raised. Millions of dollars that will benefit local (Chicago/Midwest area) programs for research and treatment programs for breast cancer. Those are the kind of numbers that can make a difference.

Every three minutes, a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer. During the walk, a “three minute” ribbon” is placed on a walker at the three minute interval — it’s an eye-opening visual cue to see the extent to which lives are affected by this disease – just how large the number is. It further drives me to want to continue to participate in the walk – so that one day the stat becomes “every five minutes” then “every ten minutes” then “once a week” and then “remember when there was a thing called breast cancer? Thank god that doesn’t happen anymore.”

To walk among these strong survivors and their families and friends — as well as those who have lost someone to this disease – it is an experience difficult to put into words. It is an uplifting experience, and at times it’s sad. To see the streets lined with people to cheer us on and thank us for walking… feels good. And to know that we’ve raised money that can hopefully make a difference? That feels good too.

We had rain on Saturday. More than a little rain.

Rain makes for soggy socks and blistered feet and bad hair and wet clothes. Rain makes for spirits that are dampened. But we kept on (I admit, I may have complained a little bit). Sunday the sky was blue, the weather was gorgeous and there were ice pops along the way.

Through it all, we kept putting one foot in front of the other (and yes, live tweeting our progress. I’m a geek, what can I say?).

To cross the finish line with our team felt good. Very good.

I was cheered along the way by @ replies and DMs via Twitter. By text messages. By emails. By messages on Facebook. By cupcakes at the finish line. The support meant the world and I appreciate those who sent good thoughts our way. To those who financially contributed, I am grateful as well, and if I didn’t say thank you for your contribution know that even though I can be an unorganized jerk, from the bottom of my heart, I am grateful.

In it to end it.

Avon Walk, June 2010. Chicago.

Thursday Ten: Nothing Kills Productivity Faster than a Migraine Edition

1. The next two weeks are pure insanity, schedule-wise, and yesterday I was completely sidelined for most of the day by a migraine. A full day to work and accomplish things… wasted. I curled up in a fetal position in bed – if I sat upright, my queasiness was magnified, when I lay down my headache was worse. LOSE-LOSE. Eventually the pain subsided – right in time for the school bus to bring The Princess home from school. Go figure. BTW – if you have any tried-and-true migraine remedies or pain relief, please share ’em with me!

2. This morning, I attended Field Day at The Princess’s school. That was… interesting. I actually felt horribly for the sub running The Princess’s class — he’s pretty fresh off the college thing — and seemed pretty overwhelmed by the bunch of kids. I don’t blame him. There are many reasons why I’m not a teacher, and the lack of patience is one of them.

3. With warmer weather comes… MOSQUITOES. Ow. They’re like the state bird of Michigan. (Does every state say that?)

4. I know that at nearly five-years-old, it’s totally common for a kiddo to phase out taking a nap, but I miss naptime. Kind of a lot.

5. I don’t need to mourn the end of this season’s American Idol too long because, uh, “So You Think You Can Dance”. And how amazing is this contestant? Jarrell Robinson from Illinois – completely deaf – but still rocking his audition (he starts dancing at 1:48 – and yeah, this clip runs way longer than it should). AMAZING.

6. Currently, I’m reading Ann Hood’s “The Red Thread” and am loving it. It’s a fast, easy read (so far – I’m about midway through) – and my pile of books to read is growing faster than I can keep up with. What are you reading now?

7. New music of the week? Jack Johnson’s new album “To the Sea”. I make no apologies for my Jack Johnson love, and nothing says “summer” quite like his laid-back melodies and beachy tunes. I’m liking it – especially his revisited version of “Better Together”.

8. The new issue of Room 704 hits today… and this month’s theme is Sultry. Maybe you wanna mosey on over and check that out.

9. So, Suri Cruise got an iPad?  I guess when you’re rich and famous and can wipe your butt with hundred dollar bills, it’s not a problem to gift your kids with all those techy goodies… but, just because they can, does it mean they should? (Also, I may be more than a little bit jealous).

10. For lack of anything better to say for item 10 (face it, I’m thinking of all the work I SHOULD be doing right now) – let me know if you have any ideas of recipes/food projects you’d like me to bake/cook/share for a Monday recipe post. We’ll make it a food challenge. Tell me what to cook, and I’ll tell you how miserably I failed. Fun for everyone, no?