Saturday, July 25, 2009

Time After Time... Attending “LOVE (as it turns out) is a Battlefield” benefit concert for Blood: Water Mission

While checking out the “what’s happening” collage wall at Portland Brew I saw a poster up advertising a free benefit concert “Love (as it turns out) is a Battlefield”. The only name that was familiar at first was Sarah Masen, then the cause “Blood: Water Mission”. Being an almost rabid fan of Jars of Clay, I had heard about it many times through the magical world of Myspace bulletins. If Sarah Masen is playing then I’ll probably like the other artists I thought. Later at Ugly Mugs, I saw the same poster and was reminded I shouldn’t miss it. FYI, I didn’t have coffee at both places…I do have a Mocha addiction but it’s under control. =)

In my house growing up, my parents “preferred” that I listen to music I could buy at the local Christian book store. I’d spend a lot of time at the listening stations searching for something that moved me and not in a vomiting from too much cheese kind of way. While my friends were listening to the likes of Beastie Boys, Pearl Jam, and Beck…I had Sixpence None the Richer, Hoi Polloi, Amy Grant and Jars of Clay.

Sarah Masen was a fav. Her first album I adored. She was only 4 years older than me and I gravitated towards singer songwriters that seem to do it all. And when I was nineteen I cut my hair like her….it turned out to be a hideous mistake. Being petite, you’d think I could pull off a Pixie…but you’d be wrong. So very very wrong. I remember my boss at the mall store I worked at saying I looked very “butch”. Umm, that wasn’t the look I was going for.

I’m in the process of purchasing a motor vehicle and so the ride situation I had not thought through. Thankfully after airing a distress call in the form of a Facebook status, one of my friends from the Art Fair circuit, that wanted to go too, offered to pick me up. Horray for Facebook!

My friend L, turns out, lives about a second away from me in East Nash. She drove us to the Downtown Prepaterian Church, a historical landmark and still functioning church, where the concert was being held. The structure has actually been rebuilt 3 times after two fires. The last fire burning it to the ground in 1848…but you can’t stop the church! Ha, take that fire, we’ll just rebuild!

Not being aptly prepared, I only had my MACRO lens with me so here is a picture from the Church’s website.

Interesting enough, when the inside was being designed, America was going through an Egyptian Revival Style period. L and I couldn’t figure out if it had been designed then added too or if someone actually thought it all through…but apparently they did…or thought they did. That Keith Green song “So you wanna go back to Egypt” kept playing in my head. =P

Sarah Masen’s husband, author David Dark was the Host for the evening. He described the meaning of the title of the concert and how the 80’s were very relevant. In keeping with the theme, a lot of the artists would be covering their favorite 80’s songs as well as some originals.

I can’t seem to escape 80’s music.

Sarah was first. She played the guitar and sang the REM song “Fall on Me” with her daughter on backup vocals. Familiar with the song, I don’t think I’d ever listened to the lyrics. What a beautiful song. Sarah sang two other covers before the next artist Justin Caldwell came up.

Justin Caldwell, I had never heard before but he had a great voice. It was very earthy, slightly jazzy voice with great melodies to his originals. I should have kept track on the 80’s titles people were playing. Perhaps someone will chime in on what he sang.

Between the mini sets, they played 80’s commercials on the movie screen next to the stage. Everything from the boom box cassette player that will change your life to car commercials to Arcade Games. It was quite enjoyable.

Up next was Sandra McCracken. She covered “Time after Time” which had much audience participation. I forgot to mention that the church was full to the brim and L and I were sitting in the second row on the right. =)

Sandra McCraken also played some originals and I knew immediately I would be visiting her CD table after the show. Her husband came to play the guitar with her, who was none other than Derek Webb, formally of Caedmon’s Call…another favorite of mine. The night just keeps getting better! I heart Nashville.

The final musician was Matthew Perryman Jones. He covered a few 80’s songs…one was a favorite and I can’t for the life of me remember which one it was…lol. I just remembered a Sting song but it could have been Justin who’d sung it.

Sarah Masen came up and sang backup.

The speaker for the night was “Blue Like Jazz” author Donald Miller. He and David talked about Blood: Water Mission and how the public viewed global consciousness and awareness in the 80’s and how they do now. Donald was saying that we’ve gotten very good with the awareness part…it’s the doing that we need to work on. As in, everyone likes to wear the T-shirt…but who is going to Africa and getting dirty?

Speaking of T-shirts, I bought one and I love it. I guess I have to go to Africa now so I’m not a hypocrite. =) The art is blood and water tricking down and turning into birds that fly. It super soft cotton too…I’m very impressed with whoever choose the design and fabric choice. I’d like to give at shout out to that person…it’s like totally awesome.

A little info about Blood: water mission from their website:
Blood:Water Mission (founded by the band “Jars of Clay”) is a grassroots organization that empowers communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and water crisis. They exist to promote clean blood and clean water efforts in Africa, tangibly reducing the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic while addressing the underlying issues of poverty, injustice and oppression. Blood:Water Mission is building clean water wells, supporting medical facilities, and focusing on community and worldview transformation, both here in America and in Africa.

Everyone came up at the end to sing an Elvis Costello song.

As L and I wandered out of our pews, I stopped to tell Sarah Masen the last time I saw her in concert I was about 15 and she replied, “I probably was too!”. =P I treated myself to a Sandra McCraken cd “Red Balloon” on my way out. It’s very good! I think you need to order it on my recommendation. If you don’t trust my taste…fine…check out her Myspace first than wussies.

L dropped me by “Decades” on Broadway after the show as “Bob” was playing in a 80’s cover band there, so the 80’s night continued and it Shook Me All Night Long.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Radnor Lake Hike just outside of Nashville

It’s been a long time coming but I finally got to explore a little bit of Nature in Nashville.

Located a mere 8 miles from the downtown area is a oasis in the lush Overton Hills (when I think of hills, I think of something you ride a bike down…these are small mountains) sits 85 acre Radnor Lake. Once we got off the highway we headed down Harding Place which led to the incredible Forrest Hills area. Forrest Hills is so beautiful it could be a life goal to own a home there. A girl needs a goal!!

Otter Road leads to the parking (one of two ways to get there) for Radnor Lake.
The trail map boasts of different trails you can take from easy to moderate to difficult. We decided to take the Lake Trail (easy) which goes around the lake then switch to the South Lake Trail (moderate) that goes up the mountain a little then back down to the Lake Trail to get back around the lake. There is also Ganier Ridge Trail and South Cove Trail that are labeled difficult. Both are a little over a mile and look to go across the top of the “hill”.

Not even ¼ of a mile into the hike we saw dear. They were very close to the trail and the 3 adults had a fawn with them. I of course was not prepared for wildlife so quickly and was fumbling with getting my camera out and missed them. Luckily just around the bend I heard the rustling of leaves.

The lake itself was a tad bit algaefied. It was bright green and with the bright blue sky was actually quite beautiful but I’d never want to swim in it. Besides, I’m sure its full of snakes or leaches…or shrieking eels.

The trail along side the lake was wonderful and clean with occasional walker mommies with their strollers going by. Besides a few spots where the sun beamed between branches, the trail was almost completely shaded. At one point I looked out at the algae that looked to be a lime jello mould across part of the lake, and I saw a small pink Croc sitting on the algae. It looked to be walking across the lake. How it got there…my guess would be an older brother threw it…just a guess. In my opinion it was a fashion choice and he did the world a favor.

The trail leading up the “hill” was lovely and serene. For most of the trail it was just us.

Just us and the squirrels, the turtles, the dear, the lizards, the chipmunks and the birds.

Anytime I heard the leaves I’d look for creatures. For the most part it was squirrels or Robins but a couple of times it was very fast moving chipmunks or another dear. The trees reached high above us and shaded our footsteps.

Half way into our trip around the lake we noticed this sign. They really are serious about it being a “walking” trail only. There is no mention of skipping however. And how exactly did they come up with the fine amount?

We stopped at a small deck with benches to snack on strawberries and cherries from “Trader Joe’s”. They were sweet, large and awesome by the way.

While sitting in this amazing setting and watching the lake, we saw a dear swimming across. How weird…I guess he is taking the shortcut. Watch out for snakes buddy!!

Another dear sighting a little closer this time.

It was a perfect day for a great walk. In all it was about a 3.5 mile trip. We took our time, walking, talking, looking for animals and of course stopping for pictures. =)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bryan Adams and Kelly Clarkson at Wild Horse Saloon…well people singing their songs.

Downtown Nashville is a Mecca of honky tonk bars, cowboy boots and street corner guys with a guitar and a story to tell. I’ve lived in Nashville now for 5 months and have yet to really explore Broadway. I’ve been to a couple of places when friends have a gig but that’s about it. My friend’s friend Thomas Youngblood from the band Kamelot was on a little vaca with his wife and daughter and gave us a ring. Meet us at the Wild Horse Saloon! A man I’ve been dating…let’s call him Bob since I don’t like to use real names of my inner circle. Bob was reluctant about going to a tourist filled bar with over priced chicken fingers but we got in the metal horse and headed out west…err East.

There was a line to get in, a ID checking security guard then a toll booth. They were charging a $6 cover….Bob asked the ticket girl…”so…it’s a $6 cover to eat at the restaurant??” Yup. That’s the perks of the big city. =) He made sure our out of towners where there first as the sign plainly stated “NO REFUNDS!”.

The place was HUGE! 2 or maybe it was 3…stories high, 3+ bars and a enormous dance floor complete with a line dancing instructor. 50+ eager boot scootin boogiers were following the steps and getting their inner cowgirl on.

After a few dances the band for the night took the stage. It was a cover band that covered 70’s, 80’s 90’s and current favorites. The female singer started with Heart, followed by Kelly Clarkson, Pink…etc. She was awesome and the band sounded great. I recognized the guitarist as someone “Bob” had played with before in the 80’s cover band “Bueller”.

About one set in, they announced the live Karaoke would be starting soon. WHAT!?!?! Live Karaoke!?!?!?! Being an avid watcher of American Idol and regular karaoke…live was just too exciting for words. But seeing as I can’t let you watch a video now, I’ll try.

Apparently “contestants” were supposed to sign up online as there was a $100 prize…(sheesh, that’s good for Nashville…I bet that’s as much as the band is making) then later in the night they would take 12 or so people from the audience. They called up the first 7.

Now be warned, if you are a fun lovin’ karaoke singer from your home town singing “Friends in Low Places” or “Delta Dawn”…this isn’t the Karaoke for you. This is Nashville and 95% of the singers are professionals. They came here to make it big and they play gigs like this to get noticed, and to get live audience experience.
The first 7 were all awesome…singing songs from Heart to the Wreakers to Travis Tritt to Martina Mcbride. They were all amazing show stoppers, some even better than the artist they were borrowing songs from. A stand out was the girl covering Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb”. Wow…

After two sets of “Professionals” (some with guitars even) left the stage it was time for the audience sign ups…ut oh. Amazing enough it was still awesome…that was until two teenage young girls got up to sing… together…. “Desperado”. It was obvious they were far to young to know this song and more obvious when they just stood there and fumbled through the words. The backup singers sang more of the song then they did. And we’re back to family living room karaoke. All and all only about 2 or 3 audience members didn’t get the “real singer” memo. An older woman visiting from Switzerland with crazy wild hair got up to sing a little Janis Joplin “Me and Bobbie Mcgee” and had the audience hollering in amazement. Bob explained “she is Janis Joplin!”.
Mr. Youngblood’s daughter, lets call her “Youngone”, was a very outgoing 6 year old getting up and learning to line dance, telling us who to vote for (real singers only) and very much wanting “Bob” to sign up to sing. Now Bob has been singing for more years than he would want me to mention and has a natural talent. He sings on stage nearly every week. However, Bob has yet to sing Karaoke in my presence though we’ve been on numerous occasions to such nights of glory. They were only taking 5 more people and Bob was being pulled and wooed by the cutest little face in pulling and wooing history. How could you say no to this....
Still he refused. When it looked as though a lot of people had signed up he finally gave in hoping they would be full and turn him away. He reluctantly signed up and they said they would do a lottery type deal as they had enough contestants.

They called up the final people and Bob’s name was not called. We were all simultaneously bummed and Bob was seriously relieved. They called the final singers up to the stage but one name turned out to be no show. Youngone ran up to the stage and told the organizers of her friend that wanted to sing…since there was an opening now. =P We laughed and laughed as it looked as though she was signing him up. Bob hung his head as he heard his name called. Youngone was ecstatic and pulled him to the stage. He waited in the singers corner for his turn.

When he was called to the mic we cheered as he started his song choice, Bryan Adams “Summer of 69”.

Bob comes to life on stage. As cliché of it sounds, he becomes another person. He’s confident, he’s the entertainer, he’s the front man. He’s amazing.

He was by far one of the best of the night that had signed up on the spot. Only shadowed slightly by the reincarnation of Janis Joplin.

When he left the stage people stopped him on the way back to our seats…”That was awesome man”, “You sounded just like Bryan Adams”, “great job dude”.
When the winners were announced not surprisingly someone from the first group won. People came up to Bob telling him how great he was.
Bob was starting to have a permanent grin on his face. A little more line dancing and our night was over. I think we got our $6 worth. =)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I don't want to hear that Chandeliers are out...

Before my last craft fair I created a few new designs to sell. I really should be doing this every time but sometimes I get busy...or frustrated...or frustrated and busy. Alas, the fair wasn't so great (it seemed to only be a Bobby Pin crowd) so no one took one of these beauties home. =) Most of my earrings that I make with roses are posts...that seemed to be the easiest and simplest look. I personally like dangles best so I was set on finding something to attach the roses too. I found some little metal filigree triangles and they are the perfect size for the little roses. I love it when ideas work out!

I've made two so far, "Ivy" a dark green and black, and "Robin" a light turquoise.
I don't want to hear that chandeliers are out. They're classic, they've been in since the Victorian era. =P So put your hair up ladies and wear your dangle earrings.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Marche Artisan Foods in East Nashville

For brunch today we decided to try Marche Artisan Foods in East Nashville. I only drive past this restaurant everyday and say to myself, “I should eat there”. It’s modern/Martha Stewart Country meets a place I normally can’t afford. We walked in for Saturday brunch around 1pm to a full restaurant. We only waited for about 5 minutes for a table. I felt special as the group a few minutes behind us was told 40 minutes. I wanted to say “na na na na” but I kept it inaudible.

As we waited we peeked (gawked and drooled) at the homemade breads and desserts. Mental note: I will be having one of each. The menu is a changing menu which for the safe orderer you are forced to try something new. Don’t be scared, its good for you.

The alcoholic choices were tempting but I decided on the Pomegranate Lemonade ($2.50) (fresh squeezed lemons).

It didn’t have a strong flavor but more on the light and refreshing side.

After perusing the menu I decided on the Quiche, the apple smoked bacon, roasted corn and goat cheese quiche. Oh my, you had me at apple bacon! Alas, it was sold out so with a suggestion from the waitress I decided on the Potato and Parmesan Frisco with Fried egg and Arugula Salad.

I died a little inside as I let the flavor of roasted corn and goat cheese leave my taste buds, but how can you go wrong with potato and parmesan. My friend ordered the Vegetable Curry with Green Tomatoes, Potato, Chickpeas and Basmati Rice. Our Entrees were $8 and $9.

The restaurant was full and quite loud. At times I could barely hear the conversation I was having but clearly could hear the table next to me. A group of 20 somethings overly excited to shout to the whole restaurant their experience at the Bonnaroo Festival. You sweated a lot, partied alot…got it. When their food arrived I noticed they each ordered something different and between our table and theirs was all the entrees on the menu. Briefly I wished I’d ordered the Croissant French Toast but I shook it away realizing why I didn’t order it in the first place.
1. I wanted dessert
2. It’s too “Me”.
I need to travel the flavor highway and explore the new.

I could smell my food arriving before it got to my table…I love that! The portions were “appropriate”. Though I’m not on board with America stuffing themselves into oblivion, I do like a full plate. True, I normally finish it no matter what the size and always have room for dessert, but sometimes I like a little take home portion option. It makes me feel like I got my money’s worth, even if it was well worth the price to begin with. Let’s be honest people…would you hunt for and buy all the ingredients and work in the kitchen for an hour when you can be served perfection and pay $10.

My food was delish, home cooking fused with fresh crunchy amazing. I would have never normally gone for something with a fried egg. Honestly I thought maybe it would have fried egg in it like they do with fried rice at a Chinese Restaurant but no…it was in fact a whole fried egg underneath the potato concoction. My Arugula salad looked to be an array of spinach with a sheen, but it tasted fantastic with a whole lot of flavor going on. I kept wondering where the flavor was coming from. It was an easter egg hunt, as if a leaf of spinach was hiding a chunk of cheese or bacon surprise and eventually I’d find it. I gobbled it up like a fat chicken. I stuck my forth in my friends food for the sake of the blog and it was delish as well. It was very Thai and the taste was very familiar, perhaps a soup I once had. Since both our plates were licked clean we opted for dessert as well.

I ordered the Cornmeal Blueberry Bunt Cake with Lemon icing ($4) and my friend the Flourless Pistachio Lime Meringue double cookie with a White Chocolate center ($1.75).

Both could be on my “I’ll eat that everyday, thank you” list. The Bunt cake was really moist. The ‘cake’ part was sweet like a good honey cornbread but the blueberries and lemon icing made it sweet like a cake.

The pistachio cookie could almost force me to cheat on my main sweety, the chocolate chip cookie. In a way it reminded me of a super moist oatmeal cookie. It took me to very high highs with it’s flavor of perfection. My mouth is watering just reliving the moment.

I left the restaurant full but not in an uncomfortable way. I was wearing a dress though and not pants. I will be back to try more on the menu.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I guess I had a Flea Collar on...

As I’m still keeping an eye out for a fulltime job…or at least an almost fulltime job…or any job really, I still continue to show up at Art Fairs with my big recyclable grocery bags in hand. They are the perfect size to carry around my jewelry and displays with room for snacks.
Last weekend my new jewelry buddy and I split a booth at the Nashville Flea Market. Boasting thousands of visitors a month, we were stoked and also a bit nervous we wouldn’t have enough inventory. We spit the $110 fee which included 2, 8ft tables so I left my little 4 footer at home and my fellow crafter refrained from bringing her 6 foot folding table with the lumps in the middle from the Prehistoric Era.

We set up our tables at 6:45 AM on Friday amidst no one else in the building. I was beginning to think that the 7am start time was just a goal not a rule. They had just installed a new ac unit in our building after it went out last month and cooked all the vendors inside. I guess they were trying to freeze out the vendors this month as I could have stored all my refrigerated food under my table. My hot coffee seemed to turn to iced coffee almost instantly.
Here I am…you can’t see my cute outfit as I had to wear my emergency not cute velour jacket to keep the frost bite at bay.

Across from our table was the concession stand…not open of course. The hot dogs and pretzels were a great deal but the beer seemed a tad high.

It became an ungoing joke with me and the other vendors about the $27 beer. Later when the concession stand did open they realized someone had played a little joke and got a ladder to fix the numbers. The .50 cent hot dog became $4.00 and the beer came down to $7 and I became a non customer. =P

The Flea Market boasts 2,000 vendors…what they don’t mention is 1,995 of those vendors are selling the same crap. I saw the same Zebra print bag with a peace sign on it wherever I went. I thought it might be following me…like the ghost of bad fashion. It was a slew of Antique dealers and people with embroidery machines. It was actually a great place for antiques and I may go back when I have a house to furnish…the salt and pepper shaker selection alone….but as a vendor…never again. I counted about 3 booths were people sold hand made jewelry even though the organizer rolled her eyes when we told her our product and said, “oh gawd, everyone has jewelry”. Really? Everyone? The guy selling old mouthwash and Midol didn’t seem to have any.

The booths surrounding us were as follows: guys selling computers….also newbies and in the wrong venue, a man selling baby clothes and toys featuring Winnie the Pooh, and a man refinishing bathtubs. I became friends with all these guys. If it weren’t for these guys and their constant jokes and stories, I would have lost my mind. That and the big ass coffee I drank.

My new “Bee Love” bobby pin sets!! I made new packaging for the weekend that I thought was mighty cute, alas I only sold two. It wasn’t a “hair jewelry’ kind of clientele unless they were of the “scrunchy” variety.

My partner in over supplying the world in jewelry had to work on Friday so I was all by my lonesome. By Saturday, she had gotten really sick and had to come in late. I was fine, I had my constant joke factory around me. It was like hanging out with all my Uncles. I talked the computers guys into stacking their boxes like a Fort…they had nothing else to do. Oh….I didn’t take a picture of that. Rich came up for part of the day but was soon bored out of his mind and had to leave. When my jewelry Comrad arrived I walked around the Market…for research. I ended up buying a desk and matching chair for $25.

The guy was from Kentucky (or as my friend calls it “Kensucky”) and even loaded it up in my car for me, making me rethink my negative prior comments about the Flea Market. The Flea Market ROCKS!! I’ll be back when I’m I need of monogrammed baseball caps and dog clothes. ..which is often.