August 31, 2010

Phoenix concert season gets even better

Arizona concert promotion group Stateside Presents continues to amaze me with the quality of acts they bring to the Valley. I mentioned before how stoked I was to see bands such as Best Coast, Land Of Talk, Surfer Blood and Ra Ra Riot, and the newest batch of upcoming shows is outta control. 

The who's who of indie and alternative music, including Deerhunter, Joanna Newsom, Jimmy Eat World, Oh No Oh My, Delorean, Frightened Rabbit, School Of Seven Bells, Holy Fuck, Portugal. The Man, Built To Spill, Matt & Kim, Deer Tick, Minus The Bear, Azure Ray and Sufjan Stevens are gracing us with their presence courtesy of Stateside.

The shows I'm most amped for:

Phantogram / Josiah Wolf / Jared Alan 
Friday, Oct. 8 | 10 p.m. showtime | Club Sanctum | $10 adv. / $13 day of

 Sleigh Bells
Wednesday, Oct. 13 | 8 p.m. showtime | Clubhouse Music Venue | $15

No Age / Lucky Dragons
Friday, Dec. 3 | 8 p.m. showtime | Clubhouse Music Venue | $12 adv. / $14 day of

August 30, 2010

A healthier me

Feeling sluggish, unmotivated and large suck, which is why I've decided to make a lifestyle change. And it starts with working out and eating better.

I realize it's probably not cool to bare one's soul on the Internet like this. But if I put my struggle out there, I can be held accountable and get support. Not having those are the main reasons I tend to slack off.

I'm far from the place when I was at the gym five days a week and running 5Ks, but I'm determined to get back there.

My former trainer stressed the importance of setting goals, so here they are:
  • Daily: Work up to 60 minutes of cardio.
  • Weekly: Exercise three to five days a week.
  • Monthly: Lose inches and pounds.
  • Yearly: Run at least one 5K. I have my eye on this.
What keeps you motivated? I'd love to hear your tips, meal plans, exercises, playlists, tricks and anything else that helps you stay on the right track.

Cross City Race: September 2008, Fresno

Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure: November 2008, Fresno

 We raced for my Mom, who is a breast cancer survivor!

August 27, 2010

Five for Friday: On the hunt

I'm in full interior design mode once again. But that doesn't mean I have a lot of cash to spend on prettying up the townhouse. Enter every bargain hunter's secret weapon, Craigslist.

The target piece is a Mid-Century modern-esque credenza/buffet/dresser I can revamp with paint and new hardware to house our TV/entertainment equipment in the living room.

Here's what my scouring has turned up thus far. Which one do you like best? Or do you like any of them? Any Phoenix-area residents know of a good, but affordable place for Mid-Century furniture?

1. Three-drawer, two-shelf dresser - $125 (Goodyear)

 2. Unique antique wood dresser - $375 (Queen Creek/Gilbert)

3. Mid-Century credenza/dresser - $100 (Mesa)

4. Nine-dresser drawer - $75 (I-17 and Glendale Ave.)

5. Darling shabby and European finds (

August 26, 2010

A Happy DIY Birthday

Trips to the Dollar Tree and Fry's Food Store and some strategic shopping around the townhouse produced the inexpensive, but fun setting for the fiance's 29th Birthday surprise fiesta, proving you don't have to spend a fortune to design a cool celebration. Personal touches such as his favorite candy and family pictures made it even more special, which no amount of money can buy.

Streamers + ribbon: $4
Balloons + ribbon: $2
Candy: $10
Flowers: $9
Candy dishes: $2
Candy cups: Free - Already owned
Flower vase and dish: Free - Already owned
Pictures + picture frames: Free - Already owned
Mason jar + candle: Free - Already owned
Wrapping materials: $5

Grand total: $32*
* Cards + presents not included in budget

Surprised + happy fiance: PRICELESS

August 25, 2010

Wazzu Wednesday: Feline and design

I was snapping a few shots of the pretty bouquet we got for the fiance's surprise birthday party and my new West Elm chevron plate when the little fur ball decided she wanted to model.

I'm loving how the zigzag plate compliments the polka dot plate I snagged from Marshalls a while back and the yellow, green and white flowers against the turquoise wall. Yeah for simple design pleasures ... And furry children.

August 24, 2010

Having fun with an indie power couple

You know that old saying "Don't Take Your Work Home?" Thankfully, Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice didn't heed the advice. The live-in lovers combine country, pop, doo-wop and surf rock on their debut album, "I'm Having Fun Now," which oozes audible chemistry in every shared strum, harmony and lyric.

I'm still not sold on Johnathan Rice, but Jenny Lewis' amazing musical presence makes up for his sometimes bland and awkward vocals. At this point, I'm convinced you could pair the Rilo Kiley frontwoman with Kenny G or Insane Clown Posse and she'd still kick ass.

And if you're ever thinking of attending couples therapy, save the money and play this record.

Stream the entire album at NPR before its Aug. 31 release date.

Top tracks: My Pet Snakes, Switchblade, Big Wave, While Men Are Dreaming, Just Like Zeus, New York Cartoon, Straight Edge Of The Blade

Spin's "At Home" series with Jenny and Johnny

August 23, 2010

Confession of a music flip-flopper

I've been the self-appointed president of the Anti-Katy Perry Fan Club from the beginning. Her cheesy lyrics, pander to whatever-is-hot-at-the-moment mentality and average singing ability give anyone with respectable music taste cause to hurl.

I don't know what is more disgusting. The fact she ripped off Jill Sobule's "I Kissed A Girl" and used it as sexual provocation for pervert straight guys or that her pathetic excuse for music enables lazy listeners too scared to deviate from the mainstream.

Katy Perry is the "Twilight" of the music industry ... Manufactured junk that non-discerning consumers waste their money on because some marketing douche tells them to.

The bigger issue is that anyone with a microphone and access to Auto-Tune can put out catchy crap-disguised-as-music and people will listen and make a Facebook group about it, shooting it straight to the top of the iTunes charts, plum for the picking for the 14-year-old with their parents' credit card and non-discriminating taste. The Katy Perry's of the world perpetuate this cycle, keeping truly talented bands and singers in the background and off the iPods of those with the buying power.

But, alas, I must come clean. I actually heard a tolerable Katy Perry song the other day. Don't get me wrong. My views as expressed in the above paragraphs still hold true. 

I even contemplated keeping my dirty little listening secret to myself, but I think there's a lesson here. People can and should recognize junk, but finding a meaningful listening experience in that junk is OK, too. It's when we start consuming things just because they are hip or at the top of the charts that we're in trouble. Expand your horizons and explore lesser-known bands. You may find something you like. Well, I took my own advice ... just in reverse.

Some songs were made for driving with the sun roof open, working out and summer days, and "Teenage Dream" is one of them. Although I am far from being a teenager, this tune transported me back to a time of three-week crushes, sneaking out of the house and feeling invincible. Think musical BOTOX.

Before you call me a hypocrite, know this is a conscious lapse of musical judgment. There won't be anymore slumming it in the world of manufactured music for this head of the Anti-Katy Perry Fan Club.

August 20, 2010

Five for Friday: Office space

I'm finally ready to reveal the office-slash-guest bedroom makeover, which is still so much a work in progress. I'm happy with how the room has evolved, considering it has been a major source of frustration for me.

It is by no means finished, and I figured this would be the perfect way to express the goals, looks, problems that need solving, etc. for the room.

The not-so-inspiring before:

The room was depressing and lacked everything I was trying to accomplish with the design, so I decided to start over. I cleared everything off the shelves, which really helped, and went from there.

The fiance hung the curtains ...

And I took care of the rest.

But as I said before, much more has and can be done to the room, which is where the Five for Friday comes in. Any and all thoughts/suggestions/ideas are welcomed!

1. Floored: The space is desperately lacking a rug. I wanted this one, but the last time I went to IKEA, the saleslady said they were sold out and discontinued. So why does the Web site taunt me and say there are three left?

2. Style and comfort: The amazing window seat, one of the features that sold us on the townhouse, needs a cushion. Not only would it dress up the space, but it would make the seat way more comfortable.

3. Space constraint: The area where the filing cabinet, floor lamp and Lack table are still doesn't look right. I'm thinking of adding a five-shelf bookcase from downstairs to that space. A bigger piece of furniture may do the trick. Plus, you can never have enough storage. I'm open to any ideas, too.

4. I don't love lamp: The current floor lamp is old, cheap-looking and boring. I'm thinking this would literally brighten the space and add some style via the pretty drum shade and modern tripod frame.

5. Trash collector: The room needs a real garbage can. In the meantime, an old plastic bucket will do the trick.
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