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Posts Tagged ‘Charlottesville’

And now, a pictorial overview of what we’ve been up to.

Well, first we were up to this… Before we even moved our stuff in, Ryan and Brodie were already tearing the carpet up in our upstairs hallway.

Which led to this. Ahhhh…. much improved over the mint green shag that had been there.

And then we got into a little of this… that’s wallpaper being taken down, if you can’t tell.

And, of course, we couldn’t stop there. We had to do a little of this…

Thank god we got a new roof just in time for the wind storm…

But, we’re finally at the point where we can do a little of this…

It’s been one heck-of-a month, and we are immensely enjoying our new house—the good, the bad, and the ugly! I didn’t even get a picture of the trash pile that was in our driveway for a month and the industrial-sized dumpster that followed. Or, the deer munching and pooping in our backyard. Or, the spectacular fireworks from McIntire Park that we watch from lawn chairs in our front yard. Looking forward to sharing our updates along the way!

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I’ve been having a little fun recording some of my songs after work with the help of my co-worker, Matthew Carter. Here’s the latest addition. Thanks to Matthew for providing the drums— I love finally being able to hear some drums behind my songs! The vocals and guitar parts are all me. I also want to make sure I mention Thomas Gunn, who helped me edit this song—along with many others—and made some suggestions that I ended up using in the song.

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I go on a walk just about every morning that I can sneak it in. Routine can be a beautiful thing. Routine is part of what makes it so exciting to see dogwoods blooming after looking at those bare, gray branches for days on end in the winter.

But knowing that my brother has just embarked on a month-long trip to Europe also has me questioning the limitations of routine. The stability and comfort that come from years and years of dwelling in the same place, treading the same paths day-after-day, can easily be rivaled in our hearts and memories with one startling sunrise in a foreign city; one flash of a memory that forever changes how we think and feel.

I share my love of Charlottesville often on this blog. But, we also all need to get out every once in a while. Shake things up.

Speaking of shaking things up, I’ve make a commitment to play, as consistently as possible, at The Local— on Monday nights they have a singer-songwriter night. If you’re ever interested in coming out to see me (and other amazingly talented Cville ssw’s) play, just shoot me an e-mail and I’ll let you know if I plan to be there that particular Monday.

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Yesterday, it was rainy, dark and February. Today, is bright, sunny and March. Hallelujah! I decided I’d make everything in this hodge-podge-of-a-post fresh and sunny, too.

Ahhh, sunshine!

Yep, Ryan and I spent a long weekend in Siesta Key, Florida last week. We also went there last February with the Galls (you can read all about it here). And this year didn’t disappoint either. Heated pools, ice cream shops within walking distance, 75 degrees… I was a happy girl.

And while returning to Virginia did not exactly have the same level of excitement and anticipation as getting off the plane in Florida, I am constantly reminded by how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful and culturally rich area.

I decided to go for a walk on the Lawn this morning. This picture was taken around 9am. It amazes me that in the year 2012, with 20,000 students attending the University, you can still walk on the Lawn and be the only soul on it (okay, I saw a few people, but not many). It’s just downright magical. I’d like to think that even with all the construction and development, all the noise pollution, all the short-shorts and beer cans; on mornings like this, the light coming through the trees on the Lawn might look just like it did to Jefferson hundreds of years ago.

And, I have another reason to happy this morning (as if I needed another!). New art! Sitting at my favorite coffee shop, Cafe Cubano, early in February, I couldn’t help but notice Cory Gibson’s artwork. The abstract prints spoke to me, and (I could hardly believe it) the pieces were very  affordably priced. I snatched up one of them and asked if he had any other prints, not included in the installation, that I might see. And, of course, I snatched up one of those, too. Good things are better in pairs.

I’ve been playing with where I’ll put them. Maybe a mantel arrangement, like this, from one of my favorite Apartment Therapy home tours ever.

I’ll be back soon with some music updates (woohoo!). Until then, I hope everyone has a fantastic March.

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Remember this post about how I was going to make sure all my Christmas presents were USA-made this year? Let’s just say I started out strong and then, when I realized I only had 3 shopping days left, completely panicked and just started buying anything I could find that I thought the person would mildly like. That’s part of the fun, right?

Nevertheless, I thought I’d share some of my finds and my grand tally. Out of THIRTEEN gifts that Ryan and I purchased, EIGHT were Made in the USA and FOUR were purchased from locally-owned businesses. We also purchased FOUR additional gifts that were experiences or services, like tickets to a basketball game (for our dads) or getting Ryan’s car detailed for him. While these don’t exactly fit in with the “Made” in the USA theme, they certainly promote our local economy.

I purchased a good number of things from Etsy this year, like this adorable bracelet by junghwa that I picked out for my cousin Rachel. And while the artist isn’t local (she’s based out of Washington state), I love the idea that I’m supporting a small-business and hopefully giving someone the chance to make a living doing something she loves. And, how cute is the bracelet? I mean, c’mon!

That was easy, though. How about trying find something Made in the USA at Bed Bath & Beyond? My mom suggested I might get my dad some K-cups as a stocking stuffer because she was getting him a Keurig. And, she also recommended that Bed Bath and Beyond had a good selection of flavors. I approached the wall, literally wall, of options and started turning over boxes… Made in Canada, Made in China, etc.

Before long, though, I was able to find a few good options of K-cups that were Made in the USA, like Green Mountain Coffee’s Breakfast Blend. I have to say, I was most encouraged by this find. It gives me a little hope that shopping at big-box stores (that seem to value out-pricing their competitors more than anything else) and buying USA-made are not completely incompatible. Like I admitted in the first paragraph, I am definitely one of those people that, at times, panics and just throws anything into my cart, but if you take a little time on one trip to find a brand you like that’s Made in the USA, hopefully that can be the brand you blindly throw into your cart in your next shopping frenzy.

For the record, the only two gifts that I was able to buy both locally from a small-business and USA-made were a silver bracelet, that I bought and had engraved for our god-daughter Lacey, and a picture frame I had engraved for Ryan. Both were purchased from The Engraving Shop in Charlottesville.

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I had the chance to lay down a recording the other night at work. It’s soooo much better than any recordings I’ve ever had before that I wanted to share it.

I chose to record this song because I think it works well with just vocals and guitar, though, in an ideal world I’d add some strings, soft in the background and then surging in the chorus; some bass; and maybe some background vocals, too.

Here it is.

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Ryan and I have been talking non-stop about american manufacturing after recently watching The Last Truck, a documentary about the closing of a GM auto plant in Morraine, OH. What can I say? I am my father’s daughter.

Living in Charlottesville, Ryan and I think about, talk about and probably buy locally more often than the average American. We live in small town with a lot of high-quality, family-owned businesses and we’re surrounded by farm country, which provides us with good, local food options. But this documentary opened our eyes and made us realize that we need to go one step further and not only buy local (supporting local shops) but also buy products that have been manufactured in America (which could be at a local shop or a big box store).

It’s rare that I pick up a piece of clothing, for instance, and look at where it’s made. I was surprised, then, after watching the documentary and inspecting my wardrobe, to pick up the level 99 jeans I’d recently bought at Bittersweet, a clothing boutique on the Downtown Mall, and find that they were made in the usa!

Doesn’t my ass look good here? JK, that’s not my ass.

I was pretty elated: supporting a local business- check; buying American-made products- check! level 99 is also available at Nordstrom and Anthropologie— who both also carry AG jeans which are made in the USA.

Ryan and I can’t afford to buy everything local/ USA starting today— we’d be the best dressed, most well fed Cvillians with no dinero— but we can make little steps and changes gradually. And, you know we won’t be throwing out our Chinese-assembled iphones anytime soon in protest!

Christmas is coming up and, like most families, Ryan and I will spend a nice chunk of our disposable income over the next two months. I’m going to challenge myself this year to make sure that all of my gifts are either purchased locally or made in the USA. Yikes! This could be tough, but I’m up for it! I hope I can share some of my good finds over the next few months. And, if you’re on my Christmas list, it looks like you’ll be having a very, merry American Christmas!

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