Archive | November, 2012

Merry Christmas Tunes

30 Nov

Behold, my early (and, let’s face it, probably only) Christmas gift to you. I wrapped up some of my favorite holiday tunes in a neat 10-song Spotify playlist, no bow required. For the procrastinators out there, it’s a perfect backdrop for tree-putting-up festivities (you know who you are). For me, the mix — ranging from silly to spiritual — captures just a little bit of what’s special about Christmas.

Our tiny tree. Maybe the last year for it? Fingers crossed.

 Recommended Albums

Ok, you may have noticed a trend. Four of the 10 are by the great Sufjan Stevens. If the list is obviously imbalanced, it only proves that Stevens makes really great listen-to-it-every-second-you-can Christmas music. I just can’t get enough of how he emboldens old classics and creates new favorites.

Check out these great Christmas compilations:

Songs for Christmas

Silver & Gold

I talked about this album last year, and I’ll say it again: A Very She & Him Christmas sounds like a fireside carol session. Nothing is cozier than that.

Although Phil Spector has some serious issues, the man knew how to produce a song. Case in point? A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. The preppy, motown-tinged classics are just fun. Admit it.

The rest are a collection of (guilty) pleasures. Don’t judge. You like “All I Want for Christmas,” too.

Any recommendations? What should I add to my list?

According to Alexis: Recipe for a Great Show

23 Nov

Last Thursday I went to a GRRRRReat show! Dr. Dog — a folksy rock group with a dash of psychedelic edge — played the Rev Room in Little Rock. After a blissful hour and a half of fun tunes, I felt like I had taken a mini (and much needed) vacation from day-to-day life.

I don’t always feel that great after a show. But in addition to the great performance, several key factors came together to create a nearly pitch-perfect night.

No Smoking

Let’s face it. Lots of people in a small space is already smelly. We’ve already got the guy who bathed in cheap cologne and the kid(s) who forgot to put on deodorant and/or bathe regularly. Why add a pungent, cancer-inducing haze? Smoke free is the way to be!

Perfect Position + Minimal Jostling

I do like to be close to the front in a small venue. I love the energy that emanates from the band to the crowd and back. I don’t mind people who jump, shake their hips or sing along (I’m right there). But I will not stand for moshing. No amount of music is worth a chipped tooth or a broken arm. So the key is to find a good, energetic location surrounded by non-moshers. Expert Tip: Look for 20-somethings who appear to have jobs.

Earplugs

My hearing is sensitive. I remember not being able to fall asleep after a show (maybe it was N’SYNC, what of it?) because my ears were ringing. Earplugs solve that problem. I can still hear the band, but I don’t get a headache or lose my hearing. Where’s the bad? Also, all the cool kids (me, so far) are doing it.

By the way, hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and are enjoying the first official day of Christmas-music listening!

See ya next week.

House Hunting: Origins

16 Nov

It happened. I am an official house hunter. Minus the torrential downpour, it was exactly what I imaged. And on a positive note, I did find out that my new trench coat is water-resistant as promised. High five!

Despite the rain, Ike and I enjoyed walking through 5 houses on Sunday afternoon. We immediately eliminated 3 for major deal-breakers:

  1. A half bath in the master (I would KILL Ike if we had to share that…)
  2. A steep driveway on a busy street (I would never be able to leave!)
  3. Tiny living room, no place to entertain

There were a couple that caught our eye. Here’s the good and and the bad from our top two.

Option #1: Cute Kitchen, Charming Living Space

Source: zillow.com via Alexis on Pinterest

Source: zillow.com via Alexis on Pinterest

Source: zillow.com via Alexis on Pinterest

The Good:
  • The price is right! We could put an offer on this one without moving up our range or changing our mortgage plan, and I think we’d still have enough space.
  • It has a formal dining room.
  • The living room and sunny kitchen speak for themselves!
  • And you can’t see it in the photos, but the floors are a rich dark wood.
  • The back yard is really big. Lots of room for Buster!
The Bad:
  • The master bath only has a single vanity (I might HURT Ike if we have to share).
  • The laundry hook ups are in the garage (which is insulated, but has plastic walls, what is that?)
  • The driveways are all steep, so most people were parked on the street. It felt a little crowded.
  • The backyard is really big. Lots of work for Ike.

Option #2: (Nearly) The Complete Package

Source: zillow.com via Alexis on Pinterest

Source: zillow.com via Alexis on Pinterest

Source: zillow.com via Alexis on Pinterest

The Good:
  • Hardwood floors throughout.
  • Great Master Suite: Double vanity in bathroom, HUGE bedroom with 2 walk-in closets.
  • Great living room, love the vaulted ceilings.
  • Manageable yard with cool deck.
The Bad:
  • The kitchen flow was a little cramped (and that is a major factor for the Peters’ fam).
  • The guest bathroom could use some updating.

The bottom line: For now, we keep looking. We decided to move up the price parameters on our search to get a wider look at the market before making any decisions. Aren’t we responsible adults?

I’ll be back talking about something new next week! Be excited (that’s an order).

I’m Baaaack*

9 Nov

*And yes, it is best to read it with creepy “They’re Heeeere” sort of inflection.


I know. I’ve been gone for 10 months. But (for a while) I had a great excuse.

1. Head-on car crash (beware the left lane on Cantrell road, Little Rock folks)
2. Internal Injury
3. Fractured Spine (yeah, I’ve milked the “I broke my back this year” line, don’t worry)
4. 2 Major Surgeries
5. 35 Days in the Hospital

I don’t dare you to try to beat that one. Long story short, Ike and I were in an accident on our way to work. What followed was not fun (understatement alert) but from the ambulance ride to FINALLY coming home, I was constantly reminded of my family, friends and co-workers’ kindness and love.

And if I haven’t told you recently — thanks again for everything, I will never forget it! You helped me realize what is important and real in life, and I try to remember that everyday.

Why am I back now?

1. I missed sharing things with you!
2. Exciting things are happening (more on that in a sec)
3. You deserved more posts (right?)

No, this is not some sort of long drawn out WE’RE PREGNANT announcement. But we are getting close to one of our major goals…..drumroll…..
We’re (almost) househunting! We will either buy a house before the end of the year or next spring! If all goes according to plan, which I’ve learned to be a lot looser on these days.

So come back for (weekly-ish) updates on:

1. Our favorite houses
2. Stuff we’ve learned (you may actually need a credit card, there I said it)
3. And some random thoughts on what I’m reading and watching, favorite fall looks and any delicious recipes I find.

I hope with those tantalizing topics that you’ll be back begging for more. Have a good one! See you soon.