Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nothin' on earth that'll get me hummin'...

... Like a heat wave comin', I'll come runnin'...

Any Clint Black fans out there? Oh, 90's country. Love you so.

Anyway, summer's coming folks. No doubt. And I'm proud to say that I, with a little help from some friends, successfully managed to bring my patio back from the dead. Maybe my thumb isn't as black as I've always thought. Time will tell. 


Before:


After:
Weeded, pressure-washed brick, hung ferns and flowers (from local Produce Place down the road)

Knockout Roses, Salvia, and Marigolds in the bed (with Ronnie II the AU gnome keeping watch).
Planted white azalea to remind me of home in the bucket.
So while I'm planting and gearing up for summer, I've been working on a summer playlist. I tend to listen to music in seasons... while sometimes particular artists lend themselves to more, um, melancholy winter days, mostly I've found that particular albums make their way into rotation when the sun comes out. We all know I love sad singers and slow tunes, but some days you just need upbeat and cheery. And this year, I've got some good'ns for my summer tunes. You can scroll through and sample my (always in-progress) YouTube mix below. 


And here are some of my current favorites from the mix (not repeating some of the musicians/bands I post on the reg, but you know they make the list):

This whole album is my anthem for the summer.


Seeing them in 2.5 weeks!

Obviously.


I think Johnny would approve.





This Man.



I think I'm sweating vicariously now.


So what am I missing? Anything you disagree with? (Don't forget, lots more here.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Traditions

Check out my lastest guest post at The Uncontainable Truth: "Church, Lunch, and Dolly."

Easter priorities, people.

(Dang, I should have added Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs to that title.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Best Weekend of 2011 So Far

I headed over to Atlanta this past weekend, to celebrate Sara Beth's birthday, visit with friends, and (what else?) see a show. What I didn't anticipate was discovering THE most legit honky tonk I've ever stepped foot in.

Friends, let me introduce you to Southern Comfort in Conley, Georgia, just south of Atlanta. And yes, this is coming from someone raised in southern Alabama and who lives in Nashville. At Southern Comfort, the waitresses call you sweetie and the old men just want to dance. The dance floor is huge, as are the hairdos and derri√®res. The country crooners on the stage played nothing but good old country, with a little Fleetwood Mac thrown in for good measure. I was in Heaven. In all seriousness, I'm beginning to think my version of Heaven is in some form of honky tonk.

Borrowed from southerncomfortbar.com
Here are a few pics I took (forgive the quality... it was dark and smoky inside):

First thing I see when I walk in. Cowboy band. Big fans. Jukebox. 
Dance floor. Can you see the dude with the black tshirt toward the middle? He was a STUD. 

It was a fun time. I wanna go back.

On Sunday, we donned our red and blue and MARTA'd over to a Braves game (my first since probably 1994 or so). Unfortunately we watched the Braves lose, but I did enjoy my stadium dog and big ole' Dr. Pepper. Got my Tomahawk Chop on.
Sara Beth has skills, plus a view of the rest of the nosebleeds.

But there really is nothing like the view from the cheap seats.

And seeing downtown Atlanta in the distance.


But my favorite part of the day was seeing the Avett Brothers, who played a free show at Turner Field after the game (the primary reason I ventured to ATL in the first place). Now, you all my remember I saw the Avetts on my birthday back in October at the Ryman, which was undoubtedly one of the best times I've ever had at a concert. Sunday rivaled it. We scurried down to get seats close to the field (it was free-for-all general admission after the game for the show), and had a pretty decent view. I was worried about the sound in the stadium, but those worries were in vain. The poor NC boys were hot and sweating up a storm, but mannnnn they sounded good. Nothing. NOTHING makes me dance and stomp and jump and scream and beat on chairs or railings or people around me with reckless abandon more than hearing the Avetts live. It's an unrivaled music experience for me that I cannot recommend more if you enjoy their music or any music with a banjo and fiddle.

Here's a pic the band posted on their Facebook. They are literally in air. Jumped around the whole time. They each have their own unique foot stomp/jump technique that is hard not to embody when you're watching.

Photo via Avett Brothers
And a video I took of them performing "Shame," one of my favorites. I tried to stand still, but it was quite difficult. Didn't even attempt another video.



They also played a good bit from I and Love and You. One of my favorite moments in their shows is when they sing the ending lines of "I and Love and You," and they, along with the audience, hold up three fingers during three words that became hard to say and count off I and Love and  You. It's pretty cool to see 25,000+ people all together so into something like that. You can see it really well in this video (not taken by me), from Sunday.



And a pretty cool image I stole from their fan photos on Facebook.

three words that became hard to say...
Followed the day with grilling out, card games, and sitting around listening to friends play music.

Best. Weekend. Ever.

An Open Letter to 18-Year-Old Me

I can't claim this as an original idea... totally stole it from my internet buddy Kevin. But I do think it's a pretty good exercise. I wonder if 10 years from now, 38-year-old Me will want to punch 28-year-old Me in the face as much as 28-year-old me wants to do the same for the recipient of this letter.

Dear 18-year-old Lauren,

It's your senior year in high school. You're about to go to college, leave home. Embark on this crazy life. And it's gonna get weird. The next 10 years aren't going to be anything like you expect them to be. But don't freak out. I know you want to, but don't. Because they're going to be even better. Here are a few pointers and things I wish you'd known:

+ Quit trying to plan everything... especially your life. You're setting yourself up for lots of disappointments and will potentially miss out on lots of surprises. 

+ You are sooooo going to regret that cheesy senior quote in the yearbook. Please get a clue and start expanding your musical tastes now. It's for your own good. Plus you look a lot less silly tearing up over emotional songs and having crushes on singers when you're 18.

+ This is probably the last time in your life when you are absolutely sure you know what you want. Relish in that, even if what you want is kinda lame. 

+ You know how there are all these people who you really want to impress now by not being yourself? Most of them turn out to be pretty douchey. Embrace that inner dork. She's weird, but pretty cool. 

+ Start forming your own opinions. You'll need them later. 

+ Lauren, honey, you are no where near fat. You don't even weigh enough to give blood at the school blood drive, for the love of God. So embrace that metabolism. Your future self will thank you if you start appreciating exercise now, though. Oh, and steer clear of Big Blue Bagel freshman year in college. The honey mustard is NOT worth it.

+ There's nothing wrong with aspiring to be a wife and mother, but it would be pretty cool (and very convenient a few years later when you don't have a husband/baby daddy lined up) to have discovered real career aspirations earlier in life. So start really thinking about that. (PS: You want to be a librarian. Or an English teacher.)

+ PUT DOWN THE DANIELLE STEELE. Sure, you do read books that are worthwhile and all, but really? You're going to stay up until 2am on a school night reading something with a Fabio cover and then bitch in English the next day about how much you hated Heart of Darkness? Oh, wait. That's not gonna change. That book sucks. But seriously - I know your boyfriend is away at college, and you're sad and need a romance pick-me-up happy-ending novel, but try some Jane Austen instead.

And you know what? You're pretty cute. And have pretty great skin. Work it, sister.

Love,
You at 28