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Avec Amour : October 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Free and Almost Free Music!

i LOVE music. Let's talk about it. Anytime.

For some reason over the past few days i've found out about
a bunch of free or inexpensive albums or shows.

And as much as i love music... i ALSO love a good deal. So i'm in heaven & felt compelled to share!

#1 - NoiseTrade

A great friend of mine just happens to be a fantastic musician... in an amazing band.

They're amazing. If you like the indie folkey stuff... you'll be in love. If you just like music,
you'll be in love. And the best part? Their album is currently FREE (yes i said it - FREE) on NoiseTrade.

If you decide you'd like to pay them for their awesomeoness, you can do that too
(Noisetrade gives you the option, which is killer!)
Download it here.

They're also offering the new Jars of Clay album for FREE (yes again, free).
but i believe it is for a limited time, so get on that here.

NoiseTrade is just an awesome way to check out and support artists.
Some others you might like are the Carey Brothers, Civil Wars, Josh Rouse and Ben Rector.

#2 - TicketFly.com

I got an email from LiveNation telling me that Fitz and the Tantrums were coming to Orlando - yay!
Turns out it's this Sunday, and i'll be in Chicago - bummer.

BUT i need to share the news that they are playing at The Social in Downtown Orlando, and giving
2 for 1 tickets. YES THAT'S RIGHT - $18 for 2 tickets to the show! You honestly cannot beat that.

So if you live anywhere in FL... i'm guessing it's worth your time to get to Orlando this weekend.
But get to TicketFly first to get your awesome 2 for 1 tickets!!!

#3 - iTunes

I know, i know. You probably think i'm crazy right now. But every week, Starbucks has these
little cards that say "Song of the Week", where you punch in a code and get a free song.
Once i got one that was an entire "Summer Playlist" - and it was awesome. 

But what most people don't realize, is there is this handy little button in the iTunes store
 that says "Free on iTunes" - that takes you right there. 

It offers a song or two, a music video, sometimes a behind the scenes thing... you just never know!
Plus they update it every Tuesday, so you can find some pretty cool bands on there from time to time. 

The other thing is the "sale" items in iTunes. Sometimes it's 60's music, sometimes it's One Hit Wonders,
but this week, it's the jackpot: Alternative/Rock Albums for $7.99 or less

We're talking Mumford & Sons. Kings of Leon. Modest Mouse. 4 different Coldplay albums. Bon Iver. Phoenix. Broken Bells. Raiohead. Manchester Orchestra. MGMT. Young the Giant. Joy Formidable. Foo Fighers. Mat Kearney. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. Black Keys. Death Cab. Wilco..... 

.......need i say more?

Most of these albums started at $14.99, and most of them are pretty recent. So i'd take this deal while it lasts!

#4 - Amazon.com

I have a few friends who swear by Amazon music, but i've never really done it myself. I'm also skeptical, because Amazon ran a $1 special a few months ago that resulted in bad 80's covers, foreign heavy metal, and nothing at all i'd ever listen to. But today  i read something about $5 music.... so i figured i'd give it a shot.

What i found was the 100 Albums for $5 page! What a gem.

Some of the albums are She+Him, Drake (getting that!!!!), Katy Perry, the Swell Season, Ellie Goulding and Cold War Kids. Also, if you've got different taste than i do, they also had Jimmy Buffet, Rage Against the Machine, and Tim McGraw. So i think there is something for everyone! The important thing was that I recognized most of the artists... so it's probably worth your time to check it out HERE!

#5 - Spotify

Have you tried Spotify yet? If not, just give me a shout and i'll send you an invite.

The great thing about Spotify (let me clarify - i have the free version) is that you can listen to full albums, rather than the 30 second preview, so you know if you like it or not. For example, i just listened to the new James Morrison before i jumped right in. Which i think is a pretty great option. PLUS they are always showcasing new albums that have been added. So you'll always be kept in the loop.

With Free Spotify, you can't download songs. I've heard rumors that you can download
with the upgraded version, but i'm not too sure how that works.

However - you can have Spotify on computers, your phone, or iPod touch - and take playlists on the go.
So who needs to download anyway?

This was kind of like Extreme Couponing.... for Music. 

Be Amazed. And enjoy!


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Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Favorites

I've never done a Friday Favorites blog... but a lot of my favorite blogger friends do! (check out Ashlee, Maria, and Alicia)

1 - Finishing my Second 10K!

Post Run!

For all of you Marathon and Half Marathon runners out there... i know a 10K is really nothing. To be exact, it's a 1/4 Marathon :)

But it's still a great feeling to know you cross the finish line, knowing you did it! I've been running (on and off) since i was 14, and up until a year ago, the furthest i'd ever run was a 5K. And mentally, i didn't really feel like doing much more. But once i started training, i realized i could totally do it... and did!

Race Day 2010!
This year, with the craziness of moving and the rest of life, i hadn't carved out much time to hit the pavement. So the week of, we tried out a 4 mile run and it went well! 6 miles that Saturday turned out great!

Although it took me 7 more minutes to finish this year, i felt AMAZING at the end of the race and even talked Tara's ear off for the last three miles. I NEVER talk when i run! So that was accomplishment enough for me.
Our Coffee Bar Team

Over the past three years, it has become tradition that i go to Chicago for Halloween. Or as Chicago calls it.... Chicagoween. (good one, chicago :) We spend weeks prior to the trip planning and constructing our costumes.
Chicagoween 2009 -  Swine Flu (get it? :)
Chicagoween 2010 - Peter Pan and a Trophy Wife
The original plan for 2010 was to be M&M's... but after we started buying all the accessories to amke the outfits, we were sick of spending money - so we retunred them all, and made costumes from our closet! Everything you see here we owned... with the exception of the sward and trophy :)
We've got our plan for this year, and are finishing costumes this weekend! You'll have to stay tuned to see how they turn out :)

3 - Scarf Season is here!!!

this is a pathetic collection compared to mine :)
Cold weather is my favorite! All my fall/winter clothes are my favorite. i feel most fashionable in layers. It was a crisp 57 this morning, and i'm in love! Just so you all know, i'm fully aware that 57 is not that cold - but it was in the low 90's last week, and it doesn't have to be very cold... as long as it's not very hot :)
Last year i fell in love with Cowl neck scarves, and i'm happy to report they are VERY much in style this year as well. They're actually popping up all over the place. The one i'm wanting to get my hands on more than ANYTHING, is the FashionABLE Mulu Infinity Scarf (in every color, if i had my choice!)

yay, scarves!!!!

And for those of you with a problem with my scarf addiction, i'll just have you know that i already have 2 trips planned to the cold weather.... so they will get good use :)

4 - Music that sounds like Winter

I adore a good seasonal playlist! These are a few favorites over the years that make me think of cold weather (or remind me of times in cold weather):

Bloc Party - "Signs", "Biko"
Bon Iver - "Lump Sum", "For Emma", "Flume", "Rosyln"
Jimmy Eat World - "Ten"
Death Cab - "Tiny Vessels", "Transatlanticism"
Frou Frou/Imogene Heap - "Let Go", "Just For Now" (if you've ever seen the Holiday - you know what i'm talkin about!)
Snow Patrol - ""Make This Go On Foverer", "Run", "You Could Be Happy", "Set Fire to the Third Bar"
Juliana Theory - "White Days"
Postal Service - "This Place is a Prison"
Copeland - "When You Never Thought You'd Stand Out", "The Last Time He Saw Dorrie", I'm Safer on an Airplane"
Damien Rice - "Cheers, Darlin'", "Cold Water"

That's a lot of them... but i'll continue to add more. Check out Winterymix (the full playlist on my Spotify Account)

5 - Bob and Mary, my new roommates (aka, my parents)

No pics of them handy... but they're awesome. Everyone always dreads the idea of living at home (myself included) but it's been nice to see them. Even if it's just for a few minutes in the morning.

That's all! I hope everyone has a great weekend!


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Monday, October 17, 2011

All The Rage: Oregon's Uniforms

This might be the most unconventional fashion blog post of all time. And i know this is totally a girly take on football.... but i swear, i love the game! This just cannot be ignored.

I'm not from Oregon. I've never been to Oregon (although, i'd love to!) - but i am seriously contemplating taking the University of Oregon as my favorite College Football team..... completely based on their uniforms.

Check it out.

These are just a few of their uniforms.

They first really caught my eye in September when the played the first game of the season in these:

The neon on black is SICK. I know their colors are traditionally green and yellow, but this was an amazing twist. Needless to say it was love at first sight.... and i've been keeping my eye on the Ducks for more awesome designs by Nike.

Yellow and grey. L O V E I T.
This might be my favorite one. It's easily done, since yellow and grey are two of my favorite colors :) The wings on the shoulders look awesome in this one. I didn't see this game against Missouri State, but i've obviously been keeping up with the Ducks on the fashion front.

The white with just a little silver and yellow? Awesome.

And finally, last night. Pretty much sealed the deal for best uniforms ever.

24 just so happens to be my favorite number.

The helmets are so sick!!! Nothing else out there like them.

Aaaaand that was for the win.

I couldn't find any pictures of the back, but the players names were very subtly on the back of the jerseys. Just making them that much more awesome.

One of the guys i was watching the game with said "You've only commented on their uniforms.... i don't think you've paid attention to a single play - you're too distracted by the colors" 

it was 100% true.

Needless to say, my new favorite team is ranked #9, and has a 5-1 record. And their only loss is to #1 LSU. So.... i'd say that's a pretty good season so far. 

Not to mention..... they look good. Thank you Nike..... QUACK QUACK!!!
(i've gotta read up on what the fans say)

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

is is well with my soul....or is it?

Have you ever heard the worship song "It Is Well With My Soul"? I'm sure you have, even if you didn't grow up in church. These are the lyrics:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul

Now, it's really really easy to sing these lyrics. The music and melody of this song are very pretty. But if you listen to the lyrics, it doesn't really sound like a happy time. If you've never heard it before, this is the story behind the man who wrote this hymn. And for me, it always makes this song a little harder to sing.

"Horatio Spafford was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures.

At the very height of his financial and professional success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.

In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy. Spafford sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected last minute business. Several days later he received notice that his family's ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.

With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words, When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul "

 A few weeks ago, i went to Adore, a worship session they do once a month at Riverside Church. A handful of my friends were musicians, so i was glad i was finally able to check it out! It was a great night. When they played this song (and this happens every time) i became totally overwhelmed by the lyrics, and thinking about the meaning behind them. I mean, This man slowly lost everything over the course of a year. EVERYTHING. His possessions, his company, ALL of his children. And he wrote a song saying it was ok - that he still had God and because of that, everything would be ok. Tooootally a Job situation.

And i am totally not there. Not even one little bit.

I wish i was. I wish i could truly say it is well with my soul. Unfortunately, i haven't been able to fully surrender the things in this world. I think about how crazy blessed i am... that my biggest problem right now is waiting until November 1st to move into my new place. Until then, i'm displaced. Living with my parents. Which i might add, is rent free, my own room with plenty of space, an extremely comfy bed, fully stocked kitchen of free food, air conditioning and satellite TV. Wait a second.... was i actually complaining about this? is *this* an actual problem?

There are people all over the world who haven't eaten today. Some people lost everything they've ever had. Some people never had anything to start with, and lost a loved one. That is true loss, need and lacking.

I have none of those things in my life.

I'm not really one to "blame" God, but i do question him. I also don't think i have a hard life. I know i don't have a hard life. Anyone who is reading this blog, most likely doesnt have a hard life. But this guy really impressed me. He skipped the blame game. He skipped acting like he was entitled to a perfect life. and he said "Ok God... this is ok. I have you".

I was so overwhelmed thinking about what this man might have felt.... to actually say "Lord, i have nothing left. But that's ok, because i have you" - and truly mean every word. enough to write a song about it... that we still sing to this day.

I was talking to a friend of mine not too long ago and he said that this world has nothing for him. Nothing on this earth would make him want to stay here a minute longer. He'd go to heaven right now if it was an option. And based on his life and his actions, i truly believe him.

That is the attitude i want. I want to rely on God and nothing else. I want to be fully content in that, rather than always wanting something more.

I know this is a total ramble. but it's been something i've been thinking about a LOT lately. There are all sorts of worship songs with lyrics like "this world has nothing for me" and "nothing i desire compares with you"... but i dont feel it in my life. I'm just being very honest. What about you? Do you feel like this, maybe it's just me? Do you feel like in the face of loss and pain, you would say "it is well"? I am praying for this for myself, and hopefully soon i'll come to the realization that the things of this world will pass away, and none of it will matter anymore..... but He will still remain. It's like Paul says... what i want to do i do not do, and what i do not want to do... i do. And i'm hoping that soon, my first instict will not be to rely on the things of this world.... but i'm working on it.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

DIY Decor

Since a new apartment is around the corner
(hopefully signing the lease at the end of this week!!! yay!!!),
i am just dying to redecorate.

Our living room is going to be black and white with accents of dark purple, maybe some grey.
Our kitchen doesn't have a lot of wall space - but will have a vino theme to it. Greens, redish-purples.
My bedroom will now be primarily yellow and grey - i've decided the dark purple wall (RIP) would be such a pain in the butt to paint back... i'm just not sure i can commit to it.

 So after many hours on Pinterest, and seeing Cait with Pretty&Fun post her upcoming decor inspiration, i decided i'd follow suit. Here are some of the craft projects i'm cooking up!

Redecorated Tray

this isn't the pattern i'm using. BUT, i found a plain unstained wood tray,
which i have spray painted white, and will be adding a black&white patterned paper to.
We'll be adding purple accents, and this will go on the coffee table in the living room.

Jewelry Organizer

A few old frames. Some paint. A staple gun, and chicken wire. And perhaps a few hooks at the bottom.
I'm making one for myself, and one for each of my roommates!

Old Frame + Chalkboard + Corkboard

Mine won't look like this.... but it was my inspiration! I took an old frame, and used chalkboard paint, scrapbook paper, and a cork board. You'll see :) This will either go in the kitchen or hall by the laundry room.

Those are just a few of the DIY projects i've got going so far.... i'll post pictures once they're done!

Also - i've got options for bedroom furniture.
This is what my comforter looks like. And the color scheme of my life, basically.

I also have a lot of yellow accents - cabinet, mirror, end table etc.
I have dark grey sheets.
And deciding on which grey to use for the walls.
(i'm thinking the 3rd grey for all walls, w/ an accent wall of somewhere between the 1st & 2nd. thoughts?)

Now my question in - white furniture (antiqued) or black furniture?
I feel like it could go either way... but that the white might pop more next to the grey walls.

Any other recommendations?

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

So Far So Good - 2011

I just thought back to the beginning of the year, when i wrote a blog on my New Years Resolutions. I thought it'd be good to see how i'm doing so far...

This year (2011) i'm trying to ignore the fact that it's a new year, and just get on with the things i resolve to do. They include but are not limited to:
- travel somewhere every month (this can be in state, in the country, or in the world)
- blog more (my goal within my goal is once a week... It's January 19th, so i'm kind of already behind on this must.not.psych.self.out)
- successfully complete my Project 365 (i've got a lot of accountability on this one)
- stop biting my stupid fingernails
- build up my portfolio at work.... and land new clients
- keep up with the crafting (check out my store at avecamourpaper.etsy.com :)
- learn to fly! (hey, you gotta aim high sometimes)

 #1 - Travel:

This isn't a hard one for me. Comes almost as naturally as breathing or eating. So i shouldn't have worried too much about that.

I've visited only 1 country (England) and 5 states (Illinois, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Kansas) driven thousands of miles on my 2 road trips, and been all over the state. Mission accomplished. Upcoming trips: Chicago, New York. Hopefully Savannah and St Augustine somewhere in there...

It's kind of like writing things on your to do list that you know you will definitely do, like "make dinner", just so you KNOW you'll have something to cross off (nobody else does that? just me?)

#2 - Blog More:

Well, we all know the truth here. I have blogged more, but haven't quite stuck to 1 per week. I'll keep working on it.

#3 - Complete Project 365:

This i am happy to report is in full swing! I love this project. I really think i'll miss it next year (i guess i could go for round 2...) - if we're friends on Facebook, feel free to check out Part I here and Part II here.

#4 - Stupid fingernails:
Essie Fall Collection - Love.

As my nail polish collection grows, my nails get longer and stronger! I've found that keep polish on them stops me from biting. It's a pretty great method, and i highly recommend having to-go nail polish remover and spare polish around if you're trying this method!

#5 - Build up work portfolio/land new clients:

Done and done. Work has become amazingly enjoyable, and i love every single one of my clients. Seeing them in the paper multiple times in a week has been a great experience, and it's even better to hear someone ask who they are working with... because they love what's being done! It's been a pretty awesome year.

#6 - Keeping up with crafting:

My focus has changed a little... but i've jumped into design a little and i'm enjoying it. I guess as long as i'm creating something, i'm a happy girl.

#7 - Learning to Fly:

Other than the Lady A cover of the song, i've got nothin. But i think i'll keep working on that one...

until next time. xo.

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