what they wore :: she + him

Who doesn't love this Zooey Deschanel/M. Ward combo?! She + Him is a unique pairing of two individuals who love music and wanted to dive in together... and success just happened to follow. It doesn't hurt that they are totally adorable, either. Exhibit A below:

[all images via weheartit]
They are just the cutest. They do sweaters and casual wear and dresses so well. Not to mention their music is dreamy! Check out their Volume 3 album, out now. And their Christmas album, since the season is coming up soon! (PS - it makes an excellent gift for anyone that has a remote interest in music.)

the talk :: music for your brain

[image via google]

I recently came across this article, which explores the effect of music on the brain. Specifically, learning an instrument before the age of 7. We all know there are a lot of "math & science" vs. "english & arts" oriented people. I definitely fall into the english & arts category, seeing as I have struggled with math and science my whole life, and began playing music in third grade. I really think there is something to be said for the positivity that music has for children as well as adults. When states or counties talk about cutting their arts and music programs in schools, it breaks my heart. Having grown up in band from elementary to high school, competing and learning and developing my skills, I can't imagine other kids not being able to have that chance.

Let me get on my soapbox for a minute. If you live in a district where the legislation is thinking about cutting the arts programs in a school, please take a minute to sign a petition, make a phone call, or attend a meeting. Even if you don't have kids. That may be a lot to ask... but that's how important I feel this is. I'll give you a few reasons (from a personal standpoint) why keeping music alive in our schools is crucial:

1. The obvious: skills. Having music skills later in life is, in my humble opinion, the best thing. It's all about expression and passion and writing and sharing something the world communally appreciates. Also, it has been proven to be positive for child development in many different ways, especially for kids who have disabilities or struggle with learning.

2. Socialization. Call us band geeks, but we stick together! :) I had some great friends through my various band programs in my schools. And we weren't considered the nerds of the school by any means... it was a fun group. The best part is that you have music in common right off the bat, so it's easy to make friends. Plus, there's something special about sharing in competitions and practicing together... I believe it gives kids a sense of purpose and camaraderie.

3. Confidence. Kids so deseperately need this when they are growing up. Even high schoolers need it! Music is such a good way to build people up. Starting them early (if they stick with it) means that they will be able to do something really well by the time they are adults. Maybe it could lead to a career... but even if it's just for fun, they will know they are good at it and can share it with someone. They can even teach it!

In case you couldn't tell, I am a big supporter of keeping music in our school communities, whether through an actual school or outside programs. Being 27 years old now, I really appreciate that my parents started me in music so young. The truth is, I don't know one person who doesn't like some type of music. So parents: I encourage you to at least explore the idea of putting your kids in a music program of some kind, and seeing if they have interest in it. It's okay if they don't, of course. But I believe it's worth trying and seeing what they get out of it, even if it only lasts a year.

And to end this post, here is one of my favorite pieces I used to play in high school:


music monday :: HAIM

On Friday I posted some of my favorites for the week, and this video was on there:

Today, I'm introducing you to HAIM! Now, I love a good girl band. As a female musician, I'm all about it. It's even better if they are all related (like Eisley, one of the best sisterly bands out there). The band is made up of Alana, Este, and Danielle Haim. I had a chance to see them when they were an opener at a show I went to over the summer. I immediately fell in love with their unique sound.

These chicks are most like indie pop 80's kids to me. They are the coolest... their sound is really different and so interesting. They string words together in such weird patterns and structure their rhythms in a strange but awesome way. And they have so much talent among the three of them... from guitar to bass to drums, these girls do it all. They are also talented writers... I like their style and the lyrics they come up with. One of my favorite lines is from their song Falling: "When it gets rough, it's time to get rough." That's how I feel... when life gets crazy and hard to deal with you just have to face it and conquer it.

Give HAIM a listen today! If you make it to a show, enjoy Este's "bass face." (Google it!)

throwback thursday & friday favorites :: combo!

Guys, work was crazy yesterday. When I got home, I just wanted to relax. So this morning, I'm making you a combo post! Enjoy & many, many thanks for your patience.

T H R O W B A C K S  and  F A V O R I T E S !
photos via weheartit & google.
i mean really... who doesn't want this to happen?! 

my little pony. YES. sonic rainboom!!!

my dad's favorite band. good old Styx.

i still need to get one of these. every christmas i think about it.

i'm thiiiiiis close to getting an epiphone hummingbird.

these home music spaces. dream.

and this... my obsession of today. HAIM, "The Wire."
Have a lovely weekend & I'll be back Monday!

what they wore :: lorde

This seventeen-year-old isn't rising to the top just because of her singing... girl's got style! Today I wanted to take a look at how someone of her age and (now) fame gets dressed. She definitely dresses beyond her years, and she's a great example of what teenage fashion should look like. If only the rest of the world's kids would realize this is the real version of "sexy" they should be embracing:

that hair! L O V E.

the queen of prints.

casual, yet making a statement. 

dressy meets grunge without going overboard.

and classic everyday. <3
[all images via weheartit]
I can't admire Lorde enough for what she puts on her body... as her fame undoubtedly grows (well deserved, I might add), I just hope that she doesn't lose the amazing sense of self and class that you can see through what she wears. If you haven't heard her new album, it's definitely worth a listen! I have a feeling she'll just get better and better :) Here's a taste for you, enjoy!

the talk :: when the going gets tough...

... turn up the music.

Life has thrown me a few curveballs lately. I don't know what to do with most of them. Some of them can't be easily fixed. But I do find that a good playlist can heal a lot of wounds, whether momentarily or long term. I wanted to share some of my go-to songs that I use to get through a rough patch.

Audrey Assad - New Song. I've been singing this one a lot lately. It reminds me that sometimes I'm the one that needs to make a change.

Erin McCarley - Re-Arrange Again. This song has a really good message... "it's time to say goodbye and start over." Sometimes that's necessary.

The Civil Wars - From This Valley. This is my cheer-up song. It's upbeat and happy, yet talks about needing to get out of a hard place.

Sia - Breathe Me. Such a melancholy sounding song. I think that's why I like it in general.

Copeland - When Paula Sparks. Because it's my favorite and heals my heart.

Daughter - Medicine. I just love the way this song is written. It makes me want to stay at home while it's raining and do absolutely nothing but play this whole EP.

Gavin DeGraw - Stealing. The absolute best for anything heartbreak related.

Hope this wasn't too depressing of a post for Tuesday! Not my intention at all... just wanted to share what's on my mind this morning :) If you're not in a hard place in life right now, then just think of these songs as overall good music!

music monday :: my exclusive interview with matt wertz!

I am overly excited about this post for so many reasons. First of all, it renewed my faith in humanity that the tour manager for Matt was so sweet and would let me sit down and talk with him before his show. He was wonderful. Secondly, Matt is a great person and so willing to share. Third, I get to share it with all of you! And I would have taken a picture with him for this post, but we were in the green room by ourselves and I refused to be that girl that asked him to take a selfie with me :)

[images via google]

S: Can you tell me a little bit about how you started playing music?
MW: Well, I started playing music when I was 15 and grew up in a house where my mom would sing all the time and my family [sisters] thought it was cute for all of us to sing together. So we did that, and then when I was 15 I got a guitar and started playing along. I kind of taught myself how to play guitar, and then when I got to college I started writing songs and I kind of started singing again... I stopped singing when I was 12 or 13, took a few years off of singing. When I got to college I tried that again, and found my voice again. So yeah, that was it, and I got encouraged that people liked listening to my songs, and I just kept doing it, and here we are. 

S: My friends want to know about your relationship with Dave Barnes... you guys are still friends?
MW: Yeah, so what happened was I had moved to Nashville, and when I was in college still, I stumbled on his website. He was still in college... actually, he was a year out of college, kind of working some odd jobs in Nashville and writing songs. He hadn't recorded anything yet officially, he had a couple of demos and I liked the way they sounded, I thought he wrote good songs and I liked his voice. So when I got to town I reached out to him and we got some tacos and started hanging out, and basically, I was like, "Hey man, I've been traveling around and playing a lot by myself, and it's not that fun... what if we did this together? What if we join up and I open for you, where you've got a fan base?" So we did that, and then that kind of initiated a friendship, even from us playing out... we would hang out, and I think we both kind of found somebody who was in a similar place in each other's careers, just starting out.

S: You guys do really well together musically!
MW: Yeah, there's a degree of mutual respect that is really fun and we are both fans of what each other does. That has been, especially early on, huge. I think that helped both of us because it told a better story than each one of us on our own. And it got to the point where we needed to separate from touring together because it was becoming a packaged deal, and it was like, Matt and Dave, Dave and Matt... so we had to kind of say, "No, we are separate artists." So we took a necessary break and then we did an official tour in 2007, where we shared a band and we switched off playing songs. It was so fun... it was a very unique thing. That was the Two Birds, One Stone tour. The Gabe Dixon band opened... it was just so sweet.

S: So I write, and I'm always interested in how the writing process works for other people... your latest album, Heatwave, has kind of an 80's vibe... did you aim for that?
MW: So you picked up on that totally unsolicited? That wasn't from any kind of press?
S: Oh no, I started listening to it, and by the first two songs... the second song on the album reminds me so much of Michael Jackson, Black or White.
MW: Yeah, the riff is so reminiscent of Black or White. I love 80's pop music, the singer-songwriters from that era... Kenny Loggins and Bryan Adams, and Richard Marx and Lionel Richie. I love the way that his record sounded, and the music that's really interesting to me now are all people who are incorporating 80's pop music into their modern thing. There are a bunch of people doing that, so it's fun.

S: Do you have any favorite songs off the album?
MW: Yes, I do... I love "Get To You", I love "Whenever You Love Somebody", I love "What I Know Right Now", and "Thing About Freedom". I mean, if I were to pick songs that would go on the Greatest Hits record, I feel like... "Get To You", "Whenever You Love Somebody", and maybe "What I Know Right Now".

S: Those would be my three, honestly. Those are the three I was hoping you would say because I love "Get To You", and the other ones, I really like how you wrote them, the lyrics of them specifically. Those would be my picks, to be honest. So overall, you've written a lot, you've done a lot, you've put a lot of things out there... do you have any overall favorite songs you've done, or albums?
MW: Yeah, you know, I think the record that I feel like has been the one that is impossible to recreate, there was was so much that lined up... is 23 Places. That record happened in a time where I had just moved to Nashville, it was actually probably nine months into me moving to Nashville. Dave and I were hanging out all the time, and Ed Cash, that was who produced it, it was the first record he and I had done together, and I was like, I'm a huge fan of him and so stoked to be working with him. And Dave would just hang around and throw his two cents in.

S: That's probably good, having his two cents!
MW: It was great, he has excellent instincts. So that record, by the time we had gone to record [it], there were a lot of songs that had just been stockpiling, me writing and playing. So there were several songs like "Counting to 100" and "Red Meets Blue"... those two for sure were already anticipated songs. I had been playing them and I knew, "Okay, if nothing else, people are going to buy this record because those two songs are on there." And then, I have to give it to Ed and Dave, they just have an ear for songs and were able to hear them in raw form and bring them to life. "Wesley Why" is on that record, and Ed heard what that song could be. It was just a really unique time and I feel like at that point I didn't have much of an audience, so there wasn't really pressure, and I wasn't thinking about who was listening to it. After that record, I felt like... Everything In Between, there was a lot more pressure to make that one, because I knew people were waiting for it. And I really hadn't been writing much, I had been touring constantly for 23 Places, so I decided to make that record not because I had all these extra songs to record... it was because it was just time. It had been a year and a half and I knew that by the time the record was done it was going to be two and a half years or whatever, and it ended up being longer. But that record turned out awesome too. I think the While We're Becoming EP is something I'm really proud of. If I'm putting the two things up that I'm most proud of, it would be 23 Places and my Christmas album.

S: Really? So funny... Christmas albums are something I feel like people kind of just throw in there, but your album turned out really good.
MW: I didn't want to half-ass it, I feel like a lot of people do that. I don't want to put anything out there that hasn't been thoroughly considered and thought out, so we did due diligence on that record, and I love it.

S: What have you been listening to? I know you said a lot of 80's...
MW: Yep... the most recent: St. Lucia, I like HAIM, I like Tegan and Sara...

S: Oh, they're so good!
MW: Are you a Tegan and Sara fan? Do you like the new record? Were you a fan of them before?
S: Yeah!
MW: So you were okay with the transition?
S: Yeah, I was okay with it. And I thought I wouldn't be, honestly, because I'm picky. I like their old sound, you know, it's so original. When they came out with the new stuff, I was very skeptical but I do like it. It's really great.

MW: Yeah, it's really good! I like a couple of Sky Ferreira songs, the record isn't really my thing but there's a song called "I Blame Myself" on there, it's amazing. There's this producer Dev Hynes, and his project's called Blood Orange, and I like the stuff that he's doing... and he produced Solange Knowles' stuff, and I like that. I basically like anything that's got a really great pop melody that has some tinges of 80's stuff to it. That's what I'm currently geeking out about.

S: Yeah! I like that I know half of the people you said, that's good stuff.
MW: Churches... do you know Churches?
S: I've heard a little bit! Not extensively.
MW: It's mostly women right now... the St. Lucia thing... I love that M83 record too, that thing is still awesome. And I love Bon Iver, those two records were incredible. I love the arrangements. I love music.

S: I love who you're touring with, by the way! [Elenowen] They're really good. You and Dave both pick really good openers... the kind where you go to the show and even if you don't know who the opener is, you know it's going to be your style, so you're going to love it no matter what.
MW: Yeah! You just want to turn people on to good music. And it reflects well on us too, that we have talented people. And I'd rather those people be people that I'm a fan of, and people don't know about than ones that people know about now.

S: Can I ask how you know them, or met them?
MW: We've known each other for a while, we went on a trip with World Vision to the Domincan Republic, and we got to spend that time together.

S: Great! I really appreciate you meeting with me.
MW: Of course! Thanks for being here.

Thanks for sticking around through that whole thing (if you did)... I just loved his insight. It was so wonderful to pick his brain, and of course the show was amazing. Please, please listen to his latest album, Heatwave, and his others (the older stuff is so good... 23 Places like he mentioned!).

friday favorites :: winter treats!

One of my favorite things about fall and winter is the warm treats we get to consume! Nothing makes me happier than drinking something toasty out of a cute mug. So today I wanted to share some of my lovely & cozy thoughts with you.

These Anthropologie mugs. I have the "S" one, it's my favorite! Even more so because it was given to me as a bridesmaid's gift from a dear friend.

Marshmallows dipped in Baileys and being toasted in a fire. GENIUS!

Microwave S'mores! Of course they're better over a campfire... but if it's freezing outside and you don't have access to flames, go for the microwave! They aren't as toasty, but everything does get super melty, which is better sometimes (in my opinion).

Apple cider with rum! Only one way to make this... on the stove with lots of spices so the whole house smells delicious. See this recipe!

[all images via google]

I've shared about this vegan chili before, but I have to share it again. I've already made it three times this season for other people, and they love it! I need  to make a batch for myself!

If you don't have to be at work today, bundle up in a blanket and make something nice and warm for yourself! And I'd love to hear about your favorite cold-weather treats too! Happy Friday!

throwback thursday :: that time i was obsessed with a boy band

Okay. Any now-twentysomething girl had a boy band crush back in the day, right? You really only had three choices: BSB, *NSync, or 98°. (Let's actually just forget about that last one.)

When middle school rolled around, my friends and I had a field day with our boy band obsession. I'm talking posters in lockers. Bedrooms wallpapered in teen magazine pages. Baking a cake to celebrate each band member's birthday at lunchtime. (I'm sorry, is that not normal?) We even designated which of us got to "date" certain boys in the band. You can tell that we were not super popular. I'm also not sure why I'm making a choice to confess this to the internet right now.

Anyway, this is what all the hype was about:
[all images via google]
How could we resist those tinted glasses and the bleached hair?! Impossible, I tell you! I made my poor father take me and my best friend to see them twice for my birthdays. I feel like I might still owe him for life.

Oh good Lord, my eyes! 14 year old me liked this?!

Things got better as time went on... except for everyone's hair. And their "model faces." Yikes.

I'm happy that Justin still has a successful career, though. Awesome music, movies, SNL... good job, love of my middle school life! However... the rest of them have fallen off the face of the earth. Except for reuniting at the VMA's for all of three minutes.

To end, I'll just leave you with this gem:


what they wore :: eisley

This is basically a combination of a throwback and and WTW! Eisley has been around for a long time, and they're so unique in that they are sisters and a well-received girl band. (That's a hard status to achieve, in case you didn't know!) I think one of the best parts about being in a band like their's would be sharing clothes and styling each other... how fun?! That's how I always picture these awesome ladies... dressing each other up for shows and loving life. They all have their own personal style to bring to the table!

[all photos via weheartit]

These girls (and the guys!) are such a fun mash-up of whimsical and classic. From gorgeous dresses to fun tights to pink hair to t-shirts, they wear it all. If I was an Eisley sister I'd be borrowing all the time, just sayin' :) And as usual: if you've never heard these girls before, please go listen! They have an incredibly different sound and voices to die for (harmony heaven!).