Tuesday, December 8, 2009

it's okay to like the judds.

Listening to: Where Are You Christmas by Faith Hill
Great Read: Paste Magazine's Evolution of the Hipster. So funny. My favorite quote in the comments was, "I don't make enough money to pretend to be poor."

Someday my goal with this blog is to make it more topical. And to make each post shorter (and therefore more frequent). Someday is not today so please excuse me while I toss out some topics that aren't really related:

First. I don't know if you remember the Disney movie Mulan? There's a scene in the film where Mulan does something her father disapproves of.* And her father looks at her and says, "You dishonor me." And then he turns his face away from her. Remember that?

My brother does this to me from time to time.

Like when I told him I thought Robert Pattinson (everybody's favorite sparkleVamp) would so get the part of Jeff Buckley if they ever did a biopic. My brother gave me the look. He said, "You dishonor me." And he turned his face away. (Chase says if there is any justice in the world the part will go to James Franco.) There are two other times in particular when Chase says "You dishonor me.": 1.) when I say, "I'm full. I can't eat anymore." And 2.) when we listen to my iPod.

My brother has very cool taste in music. He has never been one to care what other people think of him, or like things just because someone else does but somehow, when it comes to the muzak, his taste swings cool. He likes random indie bands before they ever hit it big, or end up on a soundtrack. He can talk about why he likes an artist's early work more than later work. He likes great lyrics. He likes great guitar work. The other day when we were listening to his iPod, Ben Gibbard came on. Followed by Led Zepplin. Followed by something from Requiem. Followed by a musician called The Tallest Man on Earth (I think?). His selection is random but it's always good. Some of my favorite songs are songs I never would have heard if he hadn't tipped me off to them.

And yet. I hope my brother doesn't read this post because I got an iTunes card today, and I dishonored him. Big time.

I just downloaded the Mylie Cyrus song "Party in the USA" because I think it will be fun on my treadmill mix. I am positive Chase will not approve of Mylie. But he won't be surprised. Scattered throughout my iTunes library, there are songs that make him dry heave. We'll be driving somewhere, listening to my iPod, talking about various kinds of things like politics and people we know, when all the sudden ... my uncoolness will begin streaming through the speakers.

Like the Judds will start singing "Mama He's Crazy." (And I make this worse because sometimes when I hear the word me in a song I'll replace it with the word Steve. "Mama He's Crazy" is a good Steve song The best is "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night.)

Or Ariel will start singing, "Part of your World."

Or, and this is so bad but I believe confession is good for the soul: Ricky Martin will sing "Shake your bon bon." ("I feel a bad connection with your bah-deh!") I always try to skip past that one real quick, or just laugh and say, "that must have been, like, a free download that accidentally downloaded itself onto my iPod. Or something."

Chase isn't going to be a fan of "Party in the USA."

Secondus: I've been watching a new show called Chef Academy. Seen it? It comes on Bravo at a really bizarre time but it's also On Demand if you need something to do this weekend. Chef Novelli, a Frenchman who won all sorts of snazzy culinary awards, starts an academy in America with nine students. The show follows their misadventures as they work to become better chefs. Sounds very basic. It is. But it hooks me.

I'm not sure what it is about this show - maybe the chef, maybe the really awesome personalities they picked to be on there - but it is seriously hilarious. My favorite moment so far was when Chef Novelli was trying to make juice in a fancy juicer. The machine stops working and he screams, "All these Mickey Mouse companies making juicers and selling them to desperate people like me!" Then he crams it in a garbage can very dramatically. He is so very funny (and he seems like a really good teacher). The students make me laugh too. It's worth watching just to see how they play off each other. Anyway, in honor of Chef Novelli, I have a recipe to share! (One that would likely get me kicked out of his culinary school, but still.)

At the Ornament Exchange Party, Jessie (age 11) and her mom brought these amazing pretzels I think somebody (Jessica?) mentioned in the comments a week or so back. Only, in the comments, I underestimated the goodness. I will never do that again. The recipe is as follows:

Jessie's Fantasta-pretzels

Cast of Characters: A bag of pretzels. A bag of Hershey Kisses. A bag of peanut butter M&M's.

1. Preheat your oven to 325. That's what I did when I tried last night, but I bet you could go a little bit lower and still be okay.
2. Lay out your pretzels on a cookie sheet.
3. Place one Hershey Kiss on each pretzel. Like so:

Looks like a bunch of cute little sorting hats, no?**

Originally, I had these pretzels turned all different directions because my friend Sarah reads this blog and she's somewhat OCD and I thought it would be funny. Funny in an evil way. It makes me smile to think of her looking at the picture and flailing her arms about wildly because the pretzels weren't facing the same direction. But I decided to be nice and crank them back around, mostly because I really want Sarah to watch the holiday classic "Smoky Mountain Christmas" with me. You can only abuse your friends so much before they stop watching corny movies with you.

4. When the oven is preheated turn it off.
5. Put the pretzel/kisses into the oven for 3 minutes.
6. Pull them out and immediately start smooshing a peanut butter m&m into the center of each Hersey Kiss. The kiss will still be pointy, but it will smoosh easy (I really hope that sentence isn't one blogger decides to lift for my blog description). The smooshing is weirdly fun (or that sentence). Once you finish, the fantasta-pretzels will look bright and colorful like this:

7. My mom thinks they taste great just like that, all melty and what not. But I think they taste better when the chocolate blob has had time to cool. If you like chocolate covered pretzels, or just need a quick and easy treat to take with you for a movie night with your friends, give these a try. They went fast here. We kept passing them around and getting bigger handfulls. (Hence the reason I'm downloading new songs for my treadmill mix today.)

Thirdly. My other iTunes purchase just came on - a piece from Edward Scissorhands the Musical. Did you know that movie was a musical? Is it weird that I really like that movie? I've been listening to the soundtrack while I work on a new project.

Even though music inspires everything I write, I can't actually listen to music with lyrics while I'm writing. I listen to lyrical stuff when I'm taking breaks, when I'm driving around thinking about my project, and when I'm thinking about character development. But when I write, if I hear a song I like, I start singing along with it. Then I start to trip through a scene. So. For this new project ("That"?) I wanted instrumental music that was wintry and whimsical.*** Edward Scissorhands is a good match. Now that I've downloaded that, I would love some suggestions for some new songs.

So here's my request for you - tell me five songs you think I absolutely must have in my iTunes library. I'm always looking for new music. Or just old music I forgot I liked. And as you can see, my taste is pretty varied. I like artsy/lyrical. I like country. I like rock. I like Top 40 stuff. I like indie stuff. I like worship (as long as it's not a song with one lyric repeated sixty-seven times). I'm down for some new Christmas music too. So you're bound to hit on a few songs I'll go crazy over :) And if you're in the mood to confess, let me know the song (or songs) you're slightly embarrassed to have on your iPod. I can't wait to hear what you're listening to. (Disclaimer: I do not like rap music. Unless I am the one rapping.)

Fourth. My dad's birthday was yesterday. In addition to being the sweetest, kindest, most hilarious guy ever, my dad is also a fan of the blog. *waves to the padre* Love you, dad :)

Hope you're having a good week so far! I'll be back later to talk about some fine young regency bucks.

* Speaks before she's spoken to. Scratches her nose. Something like that.
** Have you seen the Deathly Hallows footage on the new DVD?! I cannot wait!
*** I posted that question on Facebook recently. "Anybody know of some whimsical wintry instrumental music I can listen to?" And most people left great answers. But my friend Bethany only left a link. Remember: wintry, whimsical. And Bethany sends this. I love my friends. I truly do.


  1. Those pretzel thingies are also great if you stick a mint kiss on it with M/M. Or maybe it's a mint M&M? No, I think it's definitely a mint kiss. So then you have a yum snack AND fresh breath.

    Probably most embarrassing song on my iPod is Will Smith's Gettin' Jiggy With It (na-na-na-na-na-na-na...) But it's good to run to.

  2. That's so cool that you read Paste! My Uncle Josh was one of the creators of the mag and he's the current Editor in Chief (look him up under Josh Jackson).

    Here are 5 songs you must have:
    - One Day by Trading Yesterday
    - This Side by Nickel Creek
    - Joseph's Lullaby by MercyMe
    - Don't Worry Baby by The Beach Boys
    - Love Train by The O'Jays
    The are random, but amazing!

    Frannie :)

  3. Jenny, mint! This is brilliant! And Will Smith's music is fab. I might have to put that on my treadmill mix too.

    Frannie, Hug your uncle Josh for me because I love Paste. The writing in that magazine is gorgeous. I've discovered so many great bands that way. I am a Nickel Creek FREAK. I love that band. I still tell myself they haven't split because the shock was way too much for me ;) The beach boys make me so happy too. And it's crazy to me that they still mostly sound the way they did back then! I'll be sure and check these out. Thank you so much for the suggestions!

  4. I haven't watched the Deathly Hallows footage yet, because I'm forcing myself to watch HBP again first (I'm watching it right now). Not that I don't want to watch the movie, but I'm tempted to rush ahead into the special features. I paid a lot for the two disc edition at Target, and I intend to watch every single special feature on that disc tonight. =)

    Embarrassing songs on my iPod: that whole Annette Funicello CD that I (honestly!) accidentally bought. I'm not embarrassed about the two "Parent Trap" songs, but that other CD is humilating. My collection of Disney songs and musical soundtracks might be embarrassing to some, but not to me. =)

    Five songs I definitely recommend (although you know what kind of oldies style music I'm into, so you might not like them, LOL):
    1. White Christmas, by the Drifters (as far as Christmas music goes). It's totally unique in that old be-bop sort of way, and Elvis mimicked it in his version. They play it in "The Santa Clause" movie, during that scene where Tim Allen has burned the Christmas dinner and he and his son are eating at a diner.
    2. Feeling Good, by Michael Buble. It automatically puts you in a good mood.
    3. Comatose, by Skillet.
    4. Sahara, by Relient K.
    5. Singin' in the Rain, by Gene Kelly ("Singin' in the Rain" soundtrack).
    Can I have one extra? =)
    6. Your Love Is a Song, by Switchfoot.


  5. When my brother got married this summer, my mom was in charge of all of the reception food. One of the last minute little treats she had us make were very similar to your pretzels here, only instead of kisses we used those little Rollo chocolate caramels, and once they'd softened smooshed walnut halves on top. They were delish! I've gotta say kisses and peanut butter M&Ms sounds like an even more decadent option.

    Your story about your music "dishonoring" your brother CRACKED ME UP!! Let's see - 5 favorite songs that have been in heavy rotation lately...

    "Undo It" (Carrie Underwood, Play On)
    "Heaven Song" (Phil Wickham, Heaven & Earth - the whole album is AMAZING)
    "My Hands" (Leona Lewis, Echo)
    "Wild At Heart" (Gloriana)
    "He's a Pirate" (David Garrett)

    Can't wait till the talk about fine young regency bucks. :)

  6. My top 5 favorites... Oh goodness where do I start?!

    Okay. I'll pick ones that you may not know.

    1. Spotlight by Mutemath
    2. When It Rains by Paramore
    3. She is love by Parachute
    4. Paperthin Hymn by Anberlin (or "Adelaide" by them)
    5. My Savior by Sarah Reeves

    As for Christmas music, David Archuleta's album and Frank Sinatra's albums are so good!

    I am so going to make those pretzels for a Christmas party this weekend!

  7. Kristin, thanks so much for these suggestions. I'm all about some oldies! Especially for Christmas music. I love the faded sound old songs have :) That's a reason I love records too - I think artists had to be more talented years ago. WIth nobody to jazz up sound quality, I bet the sound of a song was way more authentic. I like that. Let me know what you think of the special features!

    Ruth, just when I thought the recipe could not have another delicious variation you added one. Rolos! Oh my. I do love the rolos. I'm a big Phil Wickham fan, but I haven't heard his new album. Need to check those songs out. Thanks for mentioning them! (PS - Are you going to the pioneer woman's book signing in Nashville?)

    Steffanie, thanks for these suggestions! I have MuteMath's Control on my treadmill mix and really really like it. I'm also a big fan of Paramore Hayley's voice. And her hair. If I could do some funky color with my hair and make it look that awesome, I would so do it. It would be frowned upon because I'm an adult, or whatever, but I would try :) Thanks so much for these suggestions! Looking forward to listening. (Let me know how your pretzels turn out!)

  8. Yay, I love giving music recommendations! Even if it's unbelievably hard to pick just five...so I doubled it. Haha, sorry--I couldn't resist! These are some of my current favorites:

    1. "The Saltwater Room" by Owl City. (Actually, anything by Owl City, 'cause he's amazing. "Meteor Shower" and "Vanilla Twilight" are also among my favorites.)
    2. "Gotta Have You" by The Weepies. (Or, if you want Christmassy, "All That I Want.")
    3. "Down" by Jay Sean. (I have to throw in the suuuuper mainstream one. That song is so addictive, at least for me!)
    4. "She's Got A Boyfriend" by Boys Like Girls. (It's catchy. Enough said.)
    5. "Everything's Right" by Matt Wertz. (One of my all-time favorites!)
    6. "Jump Then Fall" by Taylor Swift. (Yes, yes, I like Taylor. I love this song so much, just because.)
    7. "Love is Waiting" by Brooke Fraser. (I love her in general, but this is one of my favorites.)
    8. "Mona Lisa" by the All-American Rejects. (Just 'cause it's good.)
    9. "You Remind Me" by Andy Shauf. (Not very well-known, but I loooove this song!)
    10. "Good Goodnight" by The Fold. (From their new EP...I like.)

  9. Natalie, nope, I didn't make the booksigning. Not only was the weather here HORRIBLE, but it was some ticketed event and I decided I didn't want to fight the crowds. Oh well...thank goodness she won't stop blogging any time soon. :)

  10. I forgot one of the songs I was going to recommend. I bought it the other week on iTunes, and I love it. It's Jon Schmidt's piano version called "Love Story Meets Love Story." I don't like Taylor Swift, but I love that piano song...it's so amazing. I like his "Viva la Vida Meets Love Story" better, but that's not available for download yet.

    I watched all of the special features last night! The Deathly Hallows footage was great, but of course, much too short. It shows little clips with the directer/producer/somebody important talking about it, and then a tiny sort of mini-trailer. But of course, it was not enough (have I emphasized that yet?). I loved the "Close Up" special feature. The guys who play Neville and Dean host it, and they're so funny and cheesy that it makes you wish they had more parts in the movies! The "What's on Your Mind" feature was also interesting, and the additional scenes were good, but much too short (and only one or two of them were important).


  11. 5 awesome songs!!!!!

    1: Please, Mr. Postman (The Carpenters)
    2: Fireflies (Owl City)
    3: Welcome to the Show (Britt Nicole)
    4: Last Christmas (Taylor Swift)
    5: Cannon in D (Pachelbel)

  12. I haven't been on here in weeks!! It's good to be back!! I've obviously missed alot!!

    My fave 5:

    1.Have Your Way by Britt Nicole
    2.Headphones by Britt Nicole (Good song to sing into your hairbrush....just sayin'.)
    3.Always Love by Addison Road
    4.Music Box by Regina Spektor
    5.Come in with the rain by Taylor Swift

  13. Kristin, I'm super excited about watching the special features. I think Neville looks way different when he isn't on the movie (and when his name isn't Neville ... :).

    Michelle, thanks for this fun list!

    Candice, glad you're back! And no worries. It's pretty easy to get caught up around here .. ;) I'm all about some good hairbrush singing songs, so I'll be checking these out for sure.