Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Winterize Your Nails {with Julep}

I've teamed up with Julep for a little guide on how to "Winterize" your nails. Dry hands and cuticles are an inevitable thing for me in the winter (I love this hand salve for when I'm working and washing my hands a lot) and with that comes dry, brittle nails and nail beds. 
Here are some manicure tips procured from Julep's pro's:
> keep nails short, smooth, and rounded for the winter
> soak your hands in a cuticle softener (try theirs: Vanish Cuticle Softener and Remover)
> push back cuticles with a cuticle pusher
> buff nails and trim hangnails & dry cuticles
> moisturize your cuticles daily with the Mighty Nail & Cuticle Serum
Who doesn't love dark nail colors for winter? I added a little glitter ombre to my tips. 
Julep's winter colors stay on point with that trend, while adding some unexpected shades too. 
(I love the ice blue metallic, KIKI - must try!)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mixtape Monday: Workout 6.0

January = Gym
Here's a playlist for that. 

1. This is Not a Game (feat. Miguel) - The Chemical Brothers
2. Heavy Crown (feat. Ellie Goulding) - Iggy Azalea
3. Begin Again - Purity Ring
4. Say My Name (feat. Zyra) - ODESZA
5. Open Fire - Kate Boy
6. Dead Air - CHVRCHES
7. Mary the Night - Lady Gaga
8. No One Is Lost - Stars
9. Froot - Marina and The Diamonds
10. Beg For It (feat. MØ) - Iggy Azalea
11. Big Mouth - Santigold
12. Sweet Dreams - Beyonce
13. Get Away - CHVRCHES

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Andreas Lie

Really into these moody ink silhouettes by Andreas Lie. They remind me of the opening credits of The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo

Monday, January 19, 2015

Moroccan Chickpea & Spinach Soup

Moroccan Chickpea & Spinach Soup Shop in Tangier Moroccan Chickpea & Spinach Soup
I've got a super healthy, satisfying winter meal for you to cook this week -
Moroccan Chickpea & Spinach Soup
I love when paprika becomes the main flavor in a meal, I feel it too often gets overlooked as just a garnish for deviled eggs. I'd made this soup again and again - it's packed with protein and flavor.
Tangier Moroccan Chickpea & Spinach Soup

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

holiday scenes

Anthro displays
red door
Chicago's still got their Christmas decorations and lights up and am begging them not to take it down. 
Renegade Craft Fair! where I got most my gifts
finding old letters to Santa
My dad and I building a snowman on Christmas Day (1995?). Notice our rubber gloves over our knit gloves. Thats how Southerners do. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mixtape Monday: Best Songs of 2014

This list is accounted separately from the Best Albums of 2014, because all those songs would qualify. Taylor Swift is NOT on this list FYI. 

1. Ready For It (feat. St. Lucia) - RAC (This is now the most played song on my iTunes and is my ringtone. Not getting tired of it anytime soon.)

2. Crazy - Sucre ("I warned you, I warned you, I'm crazy.")

3. Fade Away - Susanne Sundfør (My"lets get pumped"song of the year. Plus you can't help but dance - anywhere - when you listen,)

4. Wandering Back - Sucre (I wish this was more than an EP. All the songs on Loner are so glittery and wonderful.)

5. Rainbow - Emily West & K.S. Rhoads (Sounds like something Judy Garland or Rufus Wainwright would sing.)

6. I Need You - M83 (This band is made for cinema - this song was for Divergent.)

7. Cheap Sunglasses (feat. Matthew Koma) - RAC (summery and fun)

8. Seasons (Waiting On You) - Future Islands (Sort of became an anthem of mine this year - plus it's got a great 80's vibe.)

9. Cold Case - St. Lucia (St. Lucia songs will always make my "Best" list - and they're recording another album!)

10. Young and Free - Sucre (see above)

11. Left Hand Free - alt-J (Favorite track of their new album, This is All Yours, which is a quieter than their debut - with the exception of this rock and roll tune.)

12. Blue Moon - Beck (Morning Phase was a beautifully lush, acoustic album from a man who re-invents himself flawlessly with every album.)

13. Frogs Singing - Andrew Bird (How lucky are we to keep getting new music from Andrew every year?! Even though Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of... were all Handsome Family covers, they were all new to me.)

14. Completely Not Me - Jenny Lewis (Jenny + Rostam from Vampire Weekend for GIRLS. 'nuff said.)

15. Got Love - Tove Lo (great running song)

16. Far From Any Road (Be My Hand) - Andrew Bird (His cover of the True Detective theme song - another one of my "Bests of 2014.")

17. Avant Gardener - Courtney Barnett (She's like the female Ben Lee.)

18. Fountain - iamamiwhoami (MUST WATCH THE VIDEO)

19. Froot - Marina and the Diamonds (From her highly anticipated new album coming out in April!)

20. I'm Callin' - Tennis (Another great dance number. This band just keeps getting better with time.)

21. Birds Don't Sing - TV Girl (a Latin flavored, summer diddy)

22. Every Other Freckle - alt-J (very sexy song)

23. Pray to God (feat. HAIM) - Calvin Harris (like a spirit animal)

24. Higher - Lia Ices (Tropical influences pair well with her angelic voice.)

25. Kingdom (feat. Simon Le Bon) - Charlie XCX

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Best Albums of 2014

Best Album of the Year: Jenny Lewis The Voyager
My main woman, my heroine, my goddess divine, Jenny Lewis made my year with her first solo album since 2008. Each carefully crafted song was worth the wait. While Rabbit Fur Coat dealt with her mom and Acid Tongue was about her dad, The Voyager makes sense of the two - her dad’s death, insomnia and life as a child actor. Leave it to Lewis to turn these heavy topics into catchy, head-bobbing tracks. And with the help of Beck and Ryan Adams as producers, the songs gain a 70's vibe with some added edge. Ballads are aplenty, as are sharp social commentary - Lewis in top form. 
Thank you Jenny for this album and for releasing at a time when I needed it most. 

"I put my head underwater baby,
I threw my clothes away in the trash
I stood barefoot on the blazing concrete,
I was waiting for the gut of the thunder
I don't wanna bore you with how I feel,
But when the walls came down,
The shit got real"
- Head Underwater 

Check out: "Just One of the Guys" a GIRLS version of Single Ladies, "Aloha & The Three Johns" is like old-school Rilo Kiley, and "She's Not Me" sounds like a Fleetwood Mac recording. 
2nd: The New Pornographers Brill Bruisers
It's been interesting to see the progression of this supergroup and how their songs have withstood the test of indie music time. This album borrows heavily from the 80's and 70's and is definitely their most energetic one to date. The richly layered songs, tinged with a bit of synths, pack a punch that wasn't as evident in previous albums. The synth and mixing isn't forced though - or desperate. They've earned the right to play around with their sound and make it contemporary, but still very NP. Plus Neko Case kills on this album. 

"And if you see no hope for me
I still see hope for you
In the high rise of the morning
The exception that proves my rule
- Wide Eyes

Check out: "Champions of Red Wine" my favorite off the album, I love the concept of the title, "Brill Bruisers" such an alive song and is best enjoyed at a high volume, and "Another Drug Deal of the Heart"is too short and a phrase that should be used more often.   

3rd: Lykke Li I Never Learn
I used to describe Lykke Li albums in terms of art mediums - Youth Novels was painted with watercolors, while Wounded Rhymes was in charcoal, but I Never Learn is more like a fragrance. A tobacco and musk candle (you know, like an expensive one that is burning in some local boutique where the jewelry is resting on driftwood and the clothes are simple but well made they say). There's a haze among all the songs, and 80's sort of melancholy. Still, there are moments clarity and radiance, songs that sound uplifting in tune, but perhaps not lyrically. She never disappoints, nor do her videos

"Even though it hurts, even though it scars
Love me when it storms, love me when I fall
Every time it breaks, every time its torn
Love me like I'm not made of stone"
 - Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone

Check out: "Silverline" reminiscent of Phil Collins, "I Never Learn" truer words have never been spoken, "Gunshot" packs punch and will get stuck in your head.  
4th: Bombay Bicycle Club So Long, See You Tomorrow
This band has reinvented themselves with each album, and while I have enjoyed them all, I think they have found a sound that fits them best. Sampling bits of Bollywood and R&B, this album just puts you in a better mood and entices you to dance. Whenever, Wherever. Even on the slower tracks, they all end with a jam out session. 

"Your evening eyes the rain outside the way I know
No fear that I'll be fading out alone
It's hard to see it, for all the rust, 
But I saw it fading and I have some faith in us"
 - Come To

Check out: "Luna" is deliciously happy, "Home by Now" R&B a la Matt &Kim, and "Overdone" a lush, Bollywood number.

5th: HAERTS Haerts
I've been waiting for this album - no joke - for 2 years. Worth the wait. Lead singer Nini Fabi's vocals are unique and captivating. She gives the cold synths some warmth and emotion. With an undeniably 80's flair (this is a trend with me), they make me want to raise my fist in the air. Do yourself a favor, if you haven't already been introduced, and meet HAERTS. 

"People never smile to say goodbye.
Leaving means there's nothing left to try.
But I broke my wings for you.
I smiled as you untied our love for good."
 - Wings

Check out: "Heart" gotta dance to this one, "All the Days" is passionate and glittery, and "Giving Up" belongs in a John Hughes film.

6th: First Aid Kit Stay Gold
These Swedes are somehow able to master the modern Americana-indie sound. If their gorgeous album cover doesn't already tease you, it's going to be a mystical musical journey into the southwest. And just like their album artwork, their harmonies are a beautiful double exposure, layering so effortlessly on top of one another. Gold indeed. 

"What if our hard work ends in despair?
What if the road won't take me there?
Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold
What if to love and be loved's not enough?
What if I fall and can't bear to get up?
Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold
We could stay gold"
 - Stay Gold

Check Out: "My Silver Lining" fit for a spaghetti western, "Waitress Song" they mention Chicago, and "Stay Gold" see lyrics above, that's why. 
7th: Sia 1000 Forms of Fear
Sia is a lady of many musical transformations. I loved her depressing early work, but was disappointed with her last album which went in a more radio-friendly direction. 1000 Forms of Fear sort of marries the two, masking the super serious topics with skillfully composed pop. As a songwriter for big name pop stars, I'm relieved that she kept these songs to herself. Only she could sing them with as much intensity and fervor. 

"I'm gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I'm gonna live like tomorrow doesn't exist
Like it doesn't exist
I'm gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I'm gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
But I'm holding on for dear life, won't look down, won't open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, 'cause I'm just holding on for tonight"
- Chandelier

Check out: "Elastic Heart" great tempo/beat, "Free the Animal" is sexy and sharp, and "Fire Meet Gasoline" is like an Adele song. 

What were your favorite albums of 2014?

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