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Chest Rigs Make Their Job Easier

When my husband told me that he was going to look at tactical chest rigs, I had no idea what he was referring to. He had been in the military before I met him, so I did not know a lot of the terminology that soldiers used both then and now. He went from being a soldier to being one of the lead team members in a search and rescue group that goes all over the nation to help people in need. He explained that the backpacks that the groups use are nice,but they are not exactly convenient in some of the situations that they find themselves in.

While soldiers use tactical chest rigs to help them in battle, my husband knew that he would be able to get a similar use out of it for the important work that he does now.

Shopping and Couponing at Walmart

If you are new at couponing, it is best that you start out at a store like Walmart because not only are the Walmart coupons amazing, but they are a good way to learn the business of couponing. One thing that I have noticed about Walmart coupons printable is that they have a price model that is none comparison. In other words, the pricing model of the Walmart coupons printable is not designed to cater to sales. Other stores require that you are a regular shopper, or that you have reached a certain limit before you can have access to a coupon. However, with Walmart, even if it is your first visit, you still have the chance to make use of their amazing coupons to access their incredible discounts. Below are also a few of the things that you need to have in mind while couponing or shopping at Walmart.

The first thing that you should do is read the coupon policy for the store. This is because; this is like an instruction manual that will help you understand how to get the best out of your coupons. It is one thing to get a coupon and it is another to know how to use it, or how it is supposed to be used. Therefore, by being familiar with their coupon policy, you will know exactly how to use the advantages that you have been given.

It is essential to note that the deals vary from one Walmart store to the next. In other words, if you get Walmart promo codes online, the deals at the store might not exactly be the same. Thought the difference might be small, it is essential that you have this in mind so as not to be surprised when you meet the changes.

If you ever find yourself in a position where the cashier at the store is not accepting your coupon, it does you no good to shout at them, as you will be standing in the way of other shoppers. The first thing that you should do under such circumstances is ask to speak to the store manager. The manager is usually less busy and will have time to explain to you why exactly your coupon has been declined. This is better than shouting at the cashier only to realize at the end of it all that your coupon had actually expired. In case the store manager is still not helpful, you can go ahead and escalate the issue to Walmart corporate.

What you need to understand is that Walmart promo codes, coupons and all other discounts are put in place for you to take advantage of. There is therefore, no reason why you should leave money on the table that has already been offered to you.

Celebrity Fashion

I was pleasantly surprised to see the newspaper today with photos of a leading Indian actress supporting the latest Jeremy Scott collection from Adidas.The launch of which in Delhi we covered just last month.So these celebrities too wear the brands we ” the ordinary” people do!!! hmmm… Nevertheless Jeremy Scott has done a good job, yet again  with a rising number of celebrities sporting his latest collection from Priyanka Chopra, Will.I.Am to Cara Delevingne( the model-Burberry girl)

 

 

Priyanka Chopra and Will.I.Am spotted recently in winged sneakers from Jeremy Scott’s collection for Adidas. The two collaborated last year for Priyanka Chopra’s debut music album, for the song In My City. The mutual admiration seems like has extended beyond music..
Cara Delevingne was seen wearing shoes from the same collection in New York. Pointing at them in the picture she looks more than pleased with them

Kidsports Coupons Help You Save on Entertainment for Kids

Parents the good news is we’re about halfway done the summer break.  The bad news is there’s another have to go. If you’re entertainment budget for your kids is already looking tapped out why not pick up a Funclips coupon book?

Funclips Oakville, Toronto and Mississauga coupon books have coupons for places like KidSports Indoor Playground between the 403 and the 427 where your kids can explore through three fun levels of tube tunnels and slides.   For younger children there was also a Wee Challenge and Wee gym, that includes a maze and play area built just for them.  Each Funclips book contains to 2-for-1 coupons allowing you if you go twice to save $17.70.  Those savings cover the costs for the Oakville book and almost covers the cost of the Toronto and Mississauga coupon books.

Got a birthday coming up? What kid wouldn’t love playing in a giant playground for there but they with their friends?  You can save with us to using the free pizza coupon with any Chaotic or Colossal Party.

This is just one way coupon in the Funclips 2012 coupon book series.  There are plenty of other amusement coupons in Funclips books.  Order your Funclips coupon book online today and start saving on your entertainment costs right away.

Catch One Of The Best Young Talents Around – Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande first rose to fame through appearing in popular Nickelodeon programmes Victorious (as Cat Valentine) and consequent spin-off Sam & Cat, but she was soon quickly noticed for her incredible singing voice. This was noticed on the soundtrack to one of the shows, and it was impressive enough for Republic Records to sign her up. It has been a very sharp rise to fame for the 21 year old from Boca Raton since then, as her debut record debuted at number 1 on the US Billboard 200. This album, titled Yours Truly, features popular songs including “The Way”, “Baby I” and “Right There”, with the latter track featuring vocals from rapper Big Sean.

This album was praised heavily by critics who were amazed by Grande’s vocal range, but this was just an early sign of things to come. Her sophomore effort, My Everything, was released in 2014 and would reach number 1 on the Billboard chart yet again. She was invited to sing at the White House Concert and then invited by Barak and Michelle Obama to again perform at the White House for the Easter Egg Roll event. Singles from My Everything include “Problem”, which features Iggy Azalea and debuted at number 1 on the UK charts, “Break Free” and “Love Me Harder”. The future is looking very bright for Ariana Grande, who has managed to shed her Nickelodeon performer label and she has instead established herself as a highly talented, creative singer-songwriter with a powerful voice. In her short career she has already been nominated for 2 Grammy Awards, won an American Music Award and an MTV Video Music Award.

In order to really appreciate Ariana Grande’s fantastic talent it is best to see her perform live. Here you can really appreciate her vocal range, and she also knows how to put on a brilliant live show too. You can get your Ariana Grande tickets now for her highly anticipated tour, and now is a great time to see the young talent as her future certainly looks very bright. Her tour includes places all around the world, with a handful of UK dates set for June in some of the best venues around.

There is something special about Ariana Grande, and the incredible success she has enjoyed since her debut record is a testament to that. It is difficult for young stars to establish themselves and stand out from the crowd, but with such a powerful voice and catchy songs it makes it very difficult to ignore her talent. Her rise to fame has been incredibly quick too, with Grande having the most top 10 singles in 2014 which have firmly established her as a strong presence in the pop/R&B genre. 2015 looks set to be another incredible year for the young singer, and you can now catch her in action as she embarks on a huge tour that will no doubt only boost her reputation as one of the best pop acts on the planet right now.

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Ariana and Big Sean are one of my fav couples and as Sean’s mom has recently acknowledged her as a good girl, I can’t wait for more! Meanwhile, you enjoy her latest and upcoming concerts by sourcing tickets from Bigticketshop.

How to Land a Job in Entertainment After College

There are a lot of people out there who want to make it in the entertainment business, but not everyone decides to go the college route. It’s one of those industries where some people are better off working as much as possible in the field, and some are better off getting a formal education. If you do go to college, then there are all kinds of ways that you can turn your studies into your profession, but you have to know how to work the system in your favor. Here is how to land a job in entertainment after college.

Choose an Appropriate Major

By now you know that the better your college’s reputation, the better your employment options will be, and the entertainment industry is no exception to the rule. However, a math degree from Dartmouth College is not going to help you become a Hollywood actress. You want to make sure that you major in a subject that is related to your talent. There are plenty of prestigious colleges with respectable programs in music, dance, drama and broadcasting programs, so there’s no sense in looking at those majors as though they’re pointless if they are indeed what you want to be doing.

Develop Relationships with Professors

It doesn’t matter what you major in, in most cases you are going to have professors that have connections. For example, if you are majoring in drama then there’s a good chance that your professors will have connections with casting directors and acting agents, so you should always maintain a positive rapport with those professors. Nurturing those relationships is definitely going to be the best way to start getting your first entertainment jobs out of college.

Audition Frequently

There are going to be a lot of jobs or roles that you are going to be dying to get and there will be others that you don’t really care for. Either way, you want to audition for all of them. The reason why is because you want to get your face and your name out to as many people as possible. Over time, people will start to feel like your name or your face rings a bell and they will want to learn more about you, even if they didn’t give you a chance in the past.

Attend Relevant Events

Another way to get your face known is to be present at as many events as possible. You just want to make sure that you are picking the right events, and you want to always practice proper decorum. You don’t want to be noticed for the wrong reasons, and you definitely don’t want to rub anyone the wrong way. Making the right impression on people is the best way to get yourself on the list and in the door for future events and private gatherings.

Get an Internship

Even if you can’t find paying work, you want to be working as much as possible. If you can find an internship as a production assistant or secretary, you can learn a lot just by observing and taking notes.

The Highest Paying Jobs for Communications Majors

Communications is one of those majors that a lot of people choose when they aren’t sure what they want to do after college but they know that they should go to college. However, as much as people like to joke that it is a major that doesn’t lead directly to any serious careers, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are all kinds of lucrative careers that you could make your way into with a degree in communications, it all just depends on what you want to do. Here are some of the highest paying jobs for communications majors.

Director of Public Relations

Communications is a great major if you want to work in public relations. You could work in the entertainment industry, the world of sports, the arts, politics, or a number of other different industries. Most people know right away exactly which industry is the most exciting to them, and if your work your way up in the right firm, you could be wining and dining with some of the biggest players in that industry. So while your parents may have thought that a public administration degree was more practical, they’ll definitely change their tune when you’re photographed with the rich and famous as a director of public relations.

Executive Producer

Another great reason to major in communications is that there are plenty of opportunities to work in the entertainment industry. Every major television show and movie needs and executive producer and if you have a talent for gathering funds and resources for these types of projects, you could find yourself behind some of the most exciting movies and TV shows – the ones that everyone can’t stop talking about.

Brand Strategist

Branding is a huge part of every business, and every business that actually wants to make it is going to need a brand strategist. This person is responsible for developing the personality behind the brand. This is everything from the logo, to the face or personality representing the brand, to the colors and the fonts associated with the brand. Anytime you see an apron or a plastic straw in a particular shade of green you will immediately think of Starbucks, and that is the product of a brilliant brand strategist.

Marketing Director

You don’t have to earn your degree in marketing in order to become a marketing director. In fact, you could earn your communications degree from Colby College and still find yourself working in the world of marketing. As a marketer you will work with business owners and their brand strategists to develop marketing strategies that will keep the brand relevant. This is all about staying on the pulse and knowing all the best ways to reach your target audience.

Associate Media Director

No matter what industry you work in, the market will always be fluctuating and changing, and that means that a company’s efforts to sell their products will always need to adapt to that market. As an associate media director you will constantly be developing strategies to keep your company moving forward with the times, so that they are ahead of the curve as technology changes the landscape that you are working in.

How College Students Can Spend Less on Food and Entertainment

For college students, daily living expenses can be overwhelming. When a student’s college fund not only pays for classes, books and project expenses, food and entertainment can cripple a budget. When parents leave it up to the student to figure it out themselves or when they provide minimal assistance, the student must use a variety of methods for eating regularly and having fun. There are many different ways college students can manage food and entertainment expenses. Some tactics require creativity, while others just take a little bit of time or discipline.
Coupons Restaurant coupons are one of the easiest ways for college students to save money. Online coupons or printed discounts are options for students to try new establishments. They may have buy-one-get-one deals or a percentage off of certain menu items. Some larger university campuses have student unions or dormitory housing with restaurants inside. In some cases, restaurant coupon codes are available either for purchase or as part of a college savings plan.
School Dining Hall Most colleges and universities have some type of meal plan attached to tuition. The student pays a given amount for food each semester or school year, and receives a set number of meals in return. This is helpful for those on a budget. Institutional food is traditionally known to be of lesser quality than restaurants and home-cooked meals, but edible nonetheless.
Work One of the easiest ways to lower expenses on dining and entertainment is to get a job at a restaurant or club. While meals are not always free, the employees are often given the chance to eat the establishment’s food while on shift free or for a reasonable price. Most restaurants and clubs allow free beverages and a menu item if the employee is working more than 6 hours. They may have a restaurant discount outside of working hours. At clubs, they may gain free admission and free non-alcoholic drinks or some type of discount deals.
Discounts Entertainment discounts are similar to restaurant coupons, but they often apply to places with more than just food. For example, bowling centers, arcades and movie theatres usually offer discounts for food, but the students must also play a game or watch a movie to get the cheap discount.
Home One way to spend little or no money on food and entertainment is to live at home with Mom and Dad. Most meals are free and entertainment consists of family game night, television and DVD collections. For those living off campus but not with their parents, pooling resources with roommates for groceries and entertainment is another option.

Save Up Your Budget This Halloween With Discount Coupon Codes

Are you looking for effective discount coupon codes? There are so many different ways in which you can access the fun night life and social life with these coupons. Once you get a hold of them it becomes a lot easier and faster for you to access all the fun options which are provided on Internet. Have any of you heard of the term discount coupon codes? Some of you may probably have but not really sure what this term means while some are completely clueless of this term. For those who haven’t heard of these term and those who have but aren’t really sure what this term means, well this article will explain it to you.
Discount coupon codes are a combination of letters and numbers that you can use when online shopping and when entered at any online shopping website during the checkout process, allow you to obtain a discount on the retail price, shipping cost or both. By taking advantage of these promotional offers and various discount coupon codes, you get to keep more money in your pocket. In short, promo codes and coupon codes give you the same benefits as your typical paper coupons without needing to cut out the coupons and carry it around with you.
In general, discount coupon codes are simple codes you’ll enter to avail of the discount offers by a particular online store. So if you are interested in buying Halloween costumes for you, your partner and your family, you can either go directly to your favorite online store or Google search what you’re looking for and be directed to an online store that displays these costumes including the one you’re looking for.
The main reason why you should look for discount coupon codes this Halloween is to save up some of your shopping budget. With discount coupon codes, you will have chance of getting discount starting from 10% to 70% depending on websites offering the promo. But no matter how small the discount is, you are still paying less than what you are supposed to pay – so it’s a good thing.
The best place to get discount coupon codes for Halloween costumes are several websites that feature thousands of online retailers and the various coupons and promo codes offered by each at a moment in time. You can also find discount coupon codes for both in-store and online shopping on third party coupon sites. There are a lot of these websites offering these coupons, so you won’t have a hard time finding them. Just use a search engine.
Going online is often the easiest and fastest way for you to save you the most money. Not only could you check out eBay to scout out big bargains, but there are plenty of specialty sites to choose from, from retailers to websites recommending specific costumes. The selection will beat anything you’d find offline hands-down. So if you want to buy Halloween costumes for less, going online may be just the ticket.

Some Of The Top Country Songs 2011

Every year there are really good country songs released on the market and now we will show several of the top country songs 2011. Among the finest country songs of 2011 is Ronnie Dunn’s “Bleed Red” which was the first solo launch of the musician. This song is a new starting point for the singer, as it has gotten really high positions in music charts.
Emerson Drive’s song, “Let Your Love Speak” is one of the top country songs 2011 that has fantastic lyrics and nice tunes. “A Little Less Comfortable” sung by Carter’s Chord is also one of several top country songs, that covers a girl who would like things in her relationship to be less comfy. The track is about that comfort that is likely to settle in after a few years have passed in the relationship.
Faith Hill’s “Give Into Me” is a version of the song with the identical title that is part of the soundtrack of the film “Country Song”. “Brown Chicken Brown Cow” sung by Trace Adkins is a really fun melody about having fun at the farm and although critics tend not to appear to really see what the musician wished to express with this track.
Sarah Darling’s “Something To Do With Your Hands” is a brilliant melody that may well get into the country music charts. It should be treasured by country music enthusiasts as it is one of the top country songs 2011. “Crazy Girl” by Eli Young Band is a great tune that is keeping the group on the right course to success.
Steve Holy’s “Love Don’t Run” is a song about a couple who would like to keep their relationship working and that should talk about everything and continue to sort things out. Despite the fact that the musician has not had any good hits throughout his career, this tune might be it.

Free Country Guitar Tablature – Where Do You Get It?

This is a brief note on how to sort through free country guitar tablature and use it to start yourself off as a guitar player. Some of the biggest solo artists in history have been country artists. Garth Brooks springs to mind immediately. But country music is not unique to the USA. Australia has country legends like Slim Dusty and James Blundell. Canada boasts Hank Snow, Shania Twain and Anne Murray. There are also country artists in Russia, The Middle East, England and Germany.
If you are a country music fan and want to learn how to play country songs on your guitar, you could start with this list of country standards as a beginning for your repertoire:
Achey Breaky Heart Am I That Easy To Forget? Deep In The Heart Of Texas Bonaparte’s Retreat Folsom Prison Blues Coward Of The County Jambalaya King Of The Road Green, Green Grass Of Home You Are My Sunshine Wabash Cannonball
As the internet is constantly changing I will be giving you the names only for these free country tab sites. If you type the names into Google or the address bar of your browser you will get to the site and you should be able to navigate to the appropriate page. It works, I have tried it.
Cowboy Lyrics is a site that has lyrics for country songs, guitar tablature for popular country songs, chord and sheet music. You can search through the genres of western swing, traditional country, progressive and outlaw songs, folk music, bluegrass, country gospel and, of course, cowboy songs.
The free country guitar tabs section at Love To Know.com has all the material you need to become a country guitar player. Their free country guitar tablature will have you playing your favorite songs in no time.
About.com is a huge repository of information and tutorials on any subject under the internet sun. In the country music archive you will find a range of guitar tabs, chords and lyrics sorted according to the artist’s name. There is also a list of the top five hundred country songs and the top two hundred most influential albums.
There is a large archive of guitar and bass tablature at Fretplay.com. There is also a comprehensive guide telling you how to read tabs. Visitors can also submit tabs that are not included in the collection.
Country Tabs.net boasts that it is the best music resource for tabs, lyrics and chords for your favorite country artist.
Tab Country.com is another site with a collection of free country guitar tablature. This site offers you the latest and hottest country guitar tabs without moving from your seat. You can read the tabs online or download them to keep. The tabs are filed under the name of the artist and by the titles of songs. Another feature is the lists available that show top rated country guitar tablature and the latest tabs added to the site. If all this is not enough, Tab Country is an online community where you can meet other country guitar players, share your knowledge and ask for advice.

The Way To Bring Ones Fireplace Back To Life

Years ago, folks used their fire places to keep warm throughout the long, cold, and dark winter season. The fire place was excellent for keeping folks from freezing and provided folks with a way to tough it out in winter weather. These days fireplaces are not a primary source of heat for most people. However, fireplaces still have a place in this world.
There are plenty of homes that still have fire places to create a pleasant atmosphere within their houses. Also, people buy electric fireplaces to provide supplemental heat to warm up certain rooms. There are many great fireplace mantel ideas that can add tremendously to the charm and appeal of a fireplace.
I wrote this post to tell you about some of the fireplace mantel ideas you might want to take advantage of. You’ll learn about the different types of fireplace mantel materials as well as the different items you can put on them.
There are a few different materials that have gained popularity in the construction of fireplace mantels. Wood has always been a favorite choice and this material can add an old world feel to your fireplace. If you’re seeking a more elegant look, you might want to go with a marble fireplace. Others opt for a brick or stone fireplace although you’ll find that most people prefer wood or marble.
At this point you are probably wondering what you can put on your fire place mantel. Over the next few paragraphs I’ll give you some ideas to get started.
There are many different items you may want to place upon your fireplace mantel. Some people make the mantel a place to keep memories such as family pictures and sentimental items. Having them on top of the fireplace ensures that you will see them on a regular basis.
Other fireplace mantel ideas consist of making the mantel a work of art. This can be done by placing sculptures and other art pieces on the mantel. Placing a painting over top of the fireplace would top things off nicely.
Adding a clock to the mantel would make the fireplace even more useful. Other people take it much further and place an entertainment system atop it. Be careful if you decide to place an entertainment center on a fire place that you use for heat, this could be very dangerous.

Decorating with Candles

Today’s candles come in such a wide range of sizes, colors and styles. You can find beautiful candles to use in every room in the house. Some people see a wonderful variety and are intimidated by the thought of decorating with candles, but they are really one of the quickest and easiest ways to freshen up a room.
Where to use Candles
There are no hard and fast rules about where you should use candles. Although tall, slender tapers are traditional accents in a dining room or on a mantle, you can put just about any style of candle anywhere in your home for instant interest and a touch of color.
Putting candles on your mantle is a wonderful way to dress up an otherwise boring fireplace. If it’s a tall fireplace, try using tapers in several different heights of candleholders to break up the strong horizontal of the mantle and play up the dramatic height of the area. In the summer time, you could create an unexpected touch of drama by placing a cluster of shorter pillar candles in an elaborate, multi-branched iron candleholder. Light them in the evenings for the dramatic flicker of flames without heat.
Candles are still lovely on the table any time you dine, but try something other than tapers if you like. A long row of votive candles down the center of the table is a more contemporary look, and one or two pillars wreathed with leaves, flowers or even pine cones will give your table a wonderful, seasonal appeal.
The bedroom is the perfect place to use scented candles to add ambience. Consider romantic scents like vanilla or patchouli if you’re setting the stage for a bit of romance, or consider lavender or a seaside scent to encourage relaxation. The low light provided by candles will add a touch of intimacy to your bedroom décor, which is bound to enhance your evening.
While most people don’t think of the bathroom as a place for candles, a few strategically placed pillars or votive candles can turn a regular bathroom into a spa-like retreat. Try placing several around the bathtub and on the vanity and light them all for a subdued, relaxing atmosphere that will help soothe away your cares while you soak in a bubble bath.
Dressing Up Your Candles
A single candle can look impressive if placed in a dramatic candleholder that’s chunky and massive. Look for hand-carved wood or oversized wrought iron for an Old World touch that works in almost any room. For a more whimsical look, try grouping together several different heights and widths of candles. The key to this working is to keep all of the candles the same color for cohesiveness and to prevent visual clutter. This kind of grouping looks wonderful as a focal point on a side table or at the end of a buffet table.
Once you’ve put your candles in place, you can dress them up by placing leaves or silk flowers around the base of each candle or creating an artful arrangement with sea shells, pebbles or almost any element found in nature. If you want something older fashioned, consider dressing up the candleholders in ribbons or thick tassels in a coordinating color. Just be sure you place anything like ribbon far enough from the flames for safety.
If you have large jar candles, you can show them off in their clear glass containers or set them down into the center of a nice arrangement of fresh flowers, fruits or nuts to set a lovely holiday table. Placing your candles on a small mirror is a great way to double the beauty and light of the flickering flames and gives a wonderful “fire and ice” effect.
Finally, be sure you decorate with top quality, scented candles to minimize smoking and give your guests the opportunity to enjoy wonderful, inviting aromas whenever they visit.

Fashion Trend Alert: Danskin Leotards

The fashion world is going gaga over Danskin leotard and skin-tight apparel. From leggings to footless tights to skinny jeans, everything, tight is in. Recently, fashion models are walking the runway wearing leotards. A leotard is a skin-tight garment, one-piece that covers the upper torso. It cuts off at the legs. It was originally worn by acrobats, dancers and gymnasts. However, today, it has been making resurgence in the fashion industry.
Most people think that Danskin leotards are a new trend, but the truth is that they have been around for a very long time now. It was first used in the 18th century by French dancers. In the 1920’s and 30’s, the leotard was the inspiration for swimsuits. It influenced bathing suit styles everywhere. It was also then that those who perform in Broadway shows wore leotards. In the 50’s, leotards took a break and were used simply as exercise garments and performance wear for dancers and gymnasts. They were usually paired together with tights for full coverage. However, in the 70’s, leotards played a major role in fashion. Because of disco and aerobics, leotards became very popular. They began to be made in nylon and spandex. Celebrities like Jane Fonda popularized the use of leotards as street wear. It was also then that Danskin flourished as one of the most trusted sellers of leotards.
Today, the queen of reinvention was the first to revive the leotard. Madonna wore violet and purple leotards both onstage and on her videos. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera soon followed the trend. Beyonce is also a celebrity who uses leotards in her performances. The infamous Lady Gaga also is popular for wearing leotards as every wear, and was quoted saying that it was ‘never too cold to wear a leotard’.
Some people are afraid to wear leotards, because they can be quite hard to pul off. However, there are some ways to make you seem less tacky and classier. The trick to wearing a leotard for street wear is never to go overboard. Stick to something simpler and you can easily pull it off.
You can get a lot of varieties on the leotard. However, you should avoid spandex one which are too dated and not really appropriate for everyday use. Leave those to the dancers and gymnasts. Stick to regular fabric or lace.
You can wear your Danskin leotard with any pair of pants or shorts, but they look best in high waist skirts and high waist pants. In fact, you can wear it with any bottom that you can tuck a shirt into. It provides a cleaner and even sleeker look than regular tucking. Leotards can also work if you wear them under corset tops. If you want an edgy, modern look, you can wear a corset over the leotard. You can also use it with a vest or blazer to update the look, and make it look more comfortable and laid back. There are a lot of fashion options when it comes to leotards.

Lounge Pants – Remember These 3 Tips When Wearing Lounge Pants Outside

At one time, it was considered only right and respectable to be dressed well when you left the home. However, lots of people are now dressing in lounge pants and yoga pants for more than just chilling around the house or going to exercise class. These pants can be a very comfortable option for attending to errands as well as for going to yoga. However, with this fashion, it can be easy to look unfashionable and not taken care of as opposed to chic. To look good in this rising style, there are a few tips that you should be aware of if you want to look stylish dressing in it.
Be Aware Of The Best Pants For You To Dress In — Several people by mistake think that this trend permits them to dress in their pajamas out in public. But pajamas beyond the home is a style that only is barely suitable in a university dormitory and should not be dressed in when doing errands or otherwise going out.
There are differences between pajama pants, exercise pants, and lounge pants. Pajama pants typically have a bright pattern, a relaxed cut, and possibly thin fabric. No matter where you go or what you wear with these pants, they appear as pajamas.
Lounge pants are generally made in a more relaxed cut than workout pants, though not always as baggy as pajamas. Again, some lounge pants might be designed with too baggy of a fit or be made of too thin of material. Some pairs do work well for dressing in beyond the house, but some should be kept within the home as well.
Workout pants are created for movement and working. Because of this, they typically are form fitting and stretchable. Still, some styles of workout pants are made with bootcut or flare styles, form fitting in the hips and thighs, then flaring out around the bottom part of the leg.
Search For Pants That Fit Ideally — It is always critical to choose the pants that look nicest on the one wearing them. Some people look good in a skinny pair of pants, some want a more comfortable cut or a flare leg. Try the pants on and imagine if you would wish to be seen in them beyond the home. If your answer is “not at all”, then you should not wear them out of the house. And if you choose a skinny style, watch for ugly panty lines. They are never attractive.
Only Have On This Style If You Are At Ease With It — There are several people who do not feel at ease wearing lounge pants or exercise pants outside of the house or the yoga studio. They might think it is unfitting, that it looks sloppy, or that it simply is not a good trend for them. If you are among the people who decides this style is not for them, then it is no problem. It is always important to dress in the styles that are good for you. If, however, you look attractive in these styles of pants and are perfectly comfortable with wearing them out of the house, then do it.

Choose The Best TV Provider And Get Full Value For Money

Several parameters have to be considered before you pick a good TV serviceprovider. Entertainment should be made available to you at the best price and quality. There are many players in the market that getting access to the best can be very difficult. You may have to do some research and make some valuable comparison.

Do not make any hasty decisions. There are many TV service providers that compete with online television like india tv live which again is gaining momentum in Indian entertainment industry. You must look for the following points to screen the various Tv service providers:

Package details

Firstly, look for the offers and packages. You no longer have to pay for channels that you never intend to watch. You must pick the package that covers most of the channels watched by you. There are also some who offer internet television like india tv live. Having umpteen channels is not going to entertain you unless you actually watch them.

Along with the channels there are player who offer other facilities like internet usage, telephone calls, video recording and so on. These will bring about comprehensive packages so that you can make big savings.

Signal consistency

Choose providers who can screen channels without many disturbances. Many technical hitches can cause poor quality of sound and visuals. Outages of signal may be due to the bad quality of cables or other technical issues. Such aspects can be better understood if you talk to your friends and relatives. This will gain better knowledge about several players and their experience.

Channels list

There are some providers who may not deal with some channels. If you are a sports lover then you will want all the channels of sports. Look for such providers who can cater to all your channel needs without much difficulty.

Customer service

Yet another major aspect that must never be ignored is customer service. In case of any issue the provider, must have a dedicated customer service team that can attend to issues without any delay. Similarly, the installation process must be properly handled by the technical staff of the provider without causing inconvenience to you.

Any hidden charges

Be prudent to check if there are any other hidden charges other than the so mentioned price. Some charge maintenance contract and separate installation charges whereas many give this for free which is beneficial for you.

 

Entertainment Online Coupons

Entertainment Online Coupons Details
 Yes, Entertainment.com ships internationally. It ships to most locations worldwide. Shipping charges for international orders have additional charge of $17.50. To find out more about shipping details on your country, call Entertainment.com Customer Service at 1-888-231-SAVE. Shipping cost for international orders does not include taxes, customs fees and others that a particular country may charges, Entertainment.com offers a mobile app for iPhone and Android. Here’s what you can do with the Entertainment.com Mobile Companion app Find merchants nearest to your location See merchants on a map view. View driving directions as well. Search by location, category, and brand. View merchant and offer info with locations, offers available, phone number and more. Create My Favorites lists of offers.

Colorado Ski Deals and Bargains

Colorado Lift Ticket Coupons

Lift ticket coupons can be found in a variety of places.  Online at various ski industry websites.  In Denver Area coupon books.  At the gas station.  Or from ski resort employees.

Don’t be a hillbilly. TIP a GREAT Ski OR Snowboard lesson

Online Coupons

  • Colorado Ski Country USA 5th Grade Passport page has downloadable coupons.  They must now be used in conjunction with a Passport.

Coupon Books

  • Entertainment Book – Denver Edition, sold online and at Walgreen’s.
  • E Book  – sold online.  No King Soopers sales for 13/14.
  • Gold C Book – sold door to door by Colorado schoolchildren.

Gas Station Coupons 

  • SkiFreeDeals – available in January.   Blackout days may apply.  Participating resorts vary from season to season.

Restaurant Coupons

  • Wendy’s Restaurant – available in late February.  Blackout days may apply.  Looks like this coupon is not being offered anymore
Bank Coupon
  • Wells Fargo BOGO Rocky Mountain Super Pass – available July 1 – Dec 1. Valid only for Colorado & Wyoming college students, staff, faculty.  College photo ID required.

Save Money with the Entertainment Book Coupons

Dear Vancity Girlfriends,

I wanted to share how I save money and support my niece all at the same time.  Every year my niece’s school does a fundraiser for the Entertainment Book and every year I buy one to support her and her school.

The Entertainment Book Vancouver and the Fraser Valley is chocked full of coupons for restaurants, grocery stores, entertainment, spas, and more.  They have the coupons in the book as a traditional paper coupon, or you can register your Entertainment Book membership online for web and mobile coupons.

I’m pretty old fashioned so I browse and use the paper coupons.  I bought the book this year for $30 which is pretty good since I always use the IGA coupons every month to save money on my local grocery store.  The IGA coupon is save $5 for a $50 purchase.  That alone pays for the cost of the Entertainment Book.

The Entertainment Book is sold at the end of October as the school fundraiser and the coupons are valid from the day you receive the book until the end of December 2015.  That’s loads of time to use up coupons and the more coupons you use, the more money you save.

So what Entertainment Book coupons do I look forward to using?
– IGA (save $5 for every $50 purchase)
– Neverland Tea (buy one high tea, get one high tea free to maximum $30)
– Las Margaritas Restaurant (buy one entree, get one entree free to max $15)
– Zennkai Hair Salon (save 20%off regular price of service to max $25)
– Graze Food and Drink (buy one menu item, get one free to a max $17)

And more…it is a great way to try new places and return to my favourites while saving money.  I can update on the Vancouver Restaurants as I go to them.

2014 Entertainment Local Coupons Book: Serious Savings for Your Family Everywhere You Go!

Stretching our hard earned cash is a full time job. My husband works a ton of hours each week to provide for our family. It’s my job to make sure that those paychecks take care of all of our needs and some of our wants. I do that by being frugal, being smart, and using coupons.
I go to the grocery store with coupons. We visit local attractions on half-off days. I’m always researching less expensive options for our lifestyle. The 2014 Entertainment Coupon Savings book is a resource I won’t go without.
For just $30.00 (this price is valid until December, 2014), you can have thousands of dollars in savings at your fingertips. With pages and pages of printed coupons and access to digital coupons that are added daily, the potential for saving is exponential.
The 2014 Entertainment Coupon Savings book comes with a plastic card that you can activate online or with a mobile device to get access to even more printable or mobile coupons! After quickly registering your card, it’s time to start saving!
I’m floored by the quality of coupons included in this book.
Usually, coupon books leave me with a bunch of coupons with specifications that are either really intense or for somewhere I’ve never even heard of. This is not the case with this program!
So far, some of my personal favorite coupons are for places like Dunkin’ Donuts, Arby’s, Dairy Queen, Boston Market, Boston Market, and Pizza Hut! Oh, yeah, I’ve definitely heard of these places! And, with a family of 6, we could certainly use some savings when we stop at any of these spots!
Don’t worry, the savings aren’t just for eats! There are coupons for retailers (like Gap, Sears, The Children’s Place, and Bed, Bath & Beyond, to name a few) as well as great travel coupons for car rentals, accomodations, cruises, and even vacation packages!
Probably my favorite part of the 2014 Entertainment Coupon Savings book is the savings to be had for entertainment purposes!  With a great list of family-friendly attractions and locations, I’ve actually used this book to make some family outing plans! Whether I’m headed to the movies, going bowling, visiting museums, or going ice skating…I’ve got a coupon for that! And, it’s not for 10% or 20% off. Most of these high-value coupons are for a FREE admission with the purchase of one. That equals a ton of savings for my family and that means we get to do more, more often.
Not sure what to get someone on your holiday shopping list? Surprise them with a gift of family savings for a whole year! They will love the 2014 Entertainment Coupon Savings book brimming with coupons for places they know and visit right in their own backyard..or even if they decide to travel! You’ll be giving them serious savings for everywhere they go too!

New Savings Trend of Trading Discounts

Taxes are coming due, oil prices are sneaking up, and the Fed is still hinting at further interest rate hikes. Yet consumer confidence is on the rise. North Americans are becoming all too familiar with the ups and downs of the economic cycle. As a result, they are developing innovative ways to save while maintaining a cushy lifestyle. Beyond traditional sales, discount virtual shopping and online communities for bargain hunting have grown exponentially in the past decade. Now, some savvy spenders have found a way to mix the web with print for even bigger savings. They have recently launchedwww.TradeEntertainmentCoupons.com, a new user-run website created strictly for the purpose of sharing printed discounts and coupons. It is free to use, and no sign-ups or memberships are required.

Frugal homemakers have known for years the benefits of trading grocery coupons. A dollar here, a dollar there, it really does add up. However, many people feel that this type of savings is just not worth the time. www.TradeEntertainmentCoupons.com was created to up the ante. Now consumers can share discounts for the top American expense, lifestyle. After all, grocery coupons certainly aren’t the only printed offers available. Think 2-4-1’s at restaurants, 25% off at top stores, and movie discounts.

Trade Entertainment Coupons has been migrating via word of mouth, and has already taken hold in a few major cities. The attitude of one current user: “If a single trade can save me anywhere from $5 to several hundred dollars on something I would have bought anyway, then why wouldn’t it be worth my time?”

So, where does one find these discounts and coupons to trade? Consumers are bombarded with offers from newspapers, magazines, direct mailings, and local advertisements every day. However, the most popular trading target seems to be coupon books. Often found near the cashier in stores, given away for free, or sold for charities, coupon books come in all shapes and sizes and are typically community specific.

For those who need an extra incentive to purchase a coupon book, a long time favorite for top dollar discounts, the Entertainment® Book, is heading into their big mid-year sale. Starting April 17th, all 2006 Entertainment® Books in North America, regardless of location, will go on sale for $12.99. This price puts community Entertainment® Books within reach for locals and summer vacationers alike.

When asked their motive for developingwww.TradeEntertainmentCoupons.com, one of the creators/users replied, “Everyone should enjoy life, but why pay too much for it?”

Canadian Sculptors

The work of Canadian sculptors is an institution in Canada. For those looking to purchase or commission a sculpture, there are many points of consideration that should be taken into account, such as;

  • unique bronze art sculpturesLocation – where will the sculpture be located and what type of elements will it need to endure?
  • Material – both the durability of the material and the ability of the material to convey meaning should be endured.
  • Logistics – how big will the piece be and how will it travel from the point of creation to point of display?
  • Artist – who will help conceptualize and ultimately craft the sculpture?

An experienced local artist of international acclaim can help. Brett Davis stands out among Canadian sculptors as a master in his craft. With over 30 years of experience and artwork residing all over the word, including North America, Europe and Asia, Brett Davis can offer an outstanding experience in purchasing or commissioning sculpture.

bronze art concept for minimalistic modern style

Brett Davis chose to specialize in bronze sculpture due to its unique characteristics. Bronze is a metal that encompasses sturdiness while maintaining its elegant look. Bronze sculptures are timeless and can age the same way a fine wine might. It is able to express a wide range of colours to cater to specific requirements, which also allows for expansion of representation.

As a master bronze sculptor, Brett is able to cater towards a client’s specific requirements for theme and taste. For example, large-scale works should be site-specific, meaning they should be designed to fit into the architecture or landscape of the very space that it will occupy. This allows the art to become a centrepiece which enhances the atmosphere of the surrounding space.

 

Whether as an individual, or as part of an organization, corporation or government, commissioning a bronze sculpture from Canadian sculptors will allow the purchaser to obtain a work of art that will command a significant presence by providing a poignant association or representing the essence of the community.

 

Learn more about Brett Davis at www.ageofbronze.ca.

Amazing Party Themes: Essential Tips to Organise a Party

Organising a party will require you much time in planning. Indeed planning a party ahead of time will help you make it a very special one. Learning the following some party tips will surely help you save time in organising a party.

Determine Your Party Theme

Make sure that you choose a theme that will best reflect your personality. If you want to throw a formal cocktail party, you may select a theme that is something like a refined retro theme or Hollywood theme. However, If you want to have a party that will require you to dance all night then you may choose a 1970’s disco theme. Never be afraid of becoming adventurous to your party theme.

Get Your Invites Out Early

Sending your invites early will give your guests all the time to look for their party costumes especially when they have trouble in dressing up. Hence, they can look for the best dress to wear on your party without being in a hurry.

Appreciate Your Guests’ Costumes

Make your guests feel that their effort in looking for the best dress for your party is appreciated. You may create a simple contest perhaps that will allow your guests to showcase their outfit in front and award the most lovely outfit of the night.

Do Not Forget the Party Giveaways

Your guests will surely appreciate and treasure anything that they will receive during the party. A simple keepsake will do. Make sure that your giveaways will speak about your party theme that every time one of your guests sees it, he or she will surely remember the fun and excitement that they have experience during that day.

To lessen your burden in planning your party, choose to buy your party stuff at Party KingdomParty Kingdom provides you a with wide array of online party supplies to choose from. They offer party costume, caterings, giveaways, party decorations, party balloons and a lot more!

Should you wish to purchase any of their offered online party supplies, call Party Kingdom at (02) 4722-3793 Email : Sales at partykingdom.com.au or log on to http://www.partykingdom.com.au/

Importance of Painting and Painters Service in Brisbane

Many people have the wrong notion that they are just as good as professional painters in Brisbane. Such people usually take up painting in Brisbane as a do-it-yourself project after watching half a dozen YouTube videos. To their surprise, a painting job turns out to be more difficult and tricky than they ever thought it could be. Slapping a coat of black or blue paint on the wall does seem like a damn easy thing to do at times. However, there is a lot more to painting a house than just applying a quick coat.

Read on to know why it is important to hire professional painters in Brisbane to execute a painting job instead of doing it on your own!

 

Cost-effectiveness

A professional painter can execute a painting job in a cost-effective manner. They are aware of the different types of paints that can actually protect the house in the long term from deterioration.

Get the Lowest Possible Estimate

It is up to you to contact different companies operational in Brisbane and request quotes. While some companies offer a free on-site consultation, few others provide a free quote online after taking some basic inputs from you. Few painters in Brisbane can even help you to compare quotes if they do not sell such materials.

Since technicians and consultants with hands-on job experience in executing or supervising painting jobs have a clear idea of different types of materials and their costs, they can guide you well and help you to get the best estimate possible.

Warranties

In order to protect customers’ interests and assure them about the quality of work, reputed painters in Brisbane provide several guarantees. For example, if the warranty period is 7 years, the service provider will be responsible for carrying out all repairs free of cost for that duration. It is, however, important to completely understand the exact cover provided by a painting service provider.

Insurance

All painting service providers operating in Brisbane are legally required to have insurance cover. In extreme cases, if you suffer a loss due to the painter or any other crew member, your financial interest are protected by the insurance company.

Little or no maintenance is required

When your house is painted by a professional, you’ll need little or no maintenance for several years at a stretch. In other words, your maintenance costs are significantly reduced by first making a small investment on hiring a reliable company that has a team of experienced painters, technicians and design consultants.

 

The quality of work done by an expert painter is always better than an amateur or first timer. Only expert knows how to really control the paintbrush and add life to walls inside your home. Painting service providers always provide a clear time and cost estimate to their customers. Therefore, you can just let them know about your ideas, specific requirements and wait for expert painters to finish the job in record time or before that.

Find a Senior Date in Melbourne with CitySeniorDating.com

Technology has made the search for a perfect life partner easier by giving birth to online dating websites. However, most online dating sites were only meant for young people until a year ago. Fortunately, the nation agreed upon that the people in their 50s, who become single again – require a senior partner more than anyone and this led to senior match sites, where people will search and discover their partners and go for over 50s dating.

CitySeniorDating.com is here to introduce over 50s dating a lot easier than ever, with its packed features that will help you to meet your partner within your place. The website contains various city specific domains and you just need to click on your city name to narrow down the search. So if you are looking for a senior partner in Melbourne – just visit http://melbourne.cityseniordating.com and look for your senior partner.  Chances are huge to finding out one within Melbourne who fully meets your expectations. So like other dating websites, you no longer required to input your selected city name, age criteria etc. each time to look for your desired partner, because CitySeniorDating.com has already done that for you.

All the profiles you find at http://www.cityseniordating.com/belong to people over 50s alone, so no more of hitches while approaching a profile you like. These are not the only features with CitySeniorDating.com, since you will have real time chat facility, a dedicated 24/7 customer support line and what more, a 100% free access to the site and the profiles.

Packed with rich features that can’t be found anywhere else, CitySeniorDates.com can make your dating dreams become a reality.

About City Senior Dating

CitySeniorDating.com strives to eliminate the foremost aggravating issue in any online dating website –  i.e. fake identities. With its strong customer service and live chatting facility, CitySeniorDating.com assures you that the persons you meet up and chat are real. With its unrestricted free access and city-wise listing, seniors can meet up senior singles within their city and in their preferred place.

Audio Mastering Services in Toronto

Audio Mastering services Toronto
Audio mastering services in Toronto provide musicians and artists with an experienced set of ears to make the final changes to studio recordings. Professionals in the industry working in the most advanced and effective mastering studios are able to take a good song and make it great. The best in the business will also have an in-house team able to help with graphics and packaging, as well as creating the final disc package. It’s the last stop in the transformation from a ditty in an artist’s head into a beautifully constructed masterpiece ready for audiences and store shelves.

Mastering

The studio work is done, the tracks have been laid out, and it’s ready for production. Before burning off a bunch of copies, it can be extremely beneficial to have an outside set of ears take a listen. A listener who isn’t too close to the project may be able to identify issues and correct them before the big run. Simple things like changing the mixer levels, changing track order, fading in and out of tracks, and eliminating the buzz on the chorus can change an album in surprising ways.

Professional

Audio mastering requires a talented ear and experience with the equipment and tools available in a well-equipped studio. The ability to pick up on subtle sounds and reduce background noise can’t be done by an untrained ear. Duplium works with professional audio experts in the industry who are able to work in any music genre and have decades of experience with audio mastering. The final step in the process of writing, developing, and recording an album should be a couple of sessions with an audio mastering specialist.

Packaging and Duplication

The finest professionals in the industry provide more than just audio mastering. When the time comes, a strong in-house team of designers can help with album artwork and graphics, and prepare them for printing. There are several options available in terms of inserts, each made with the best paper and board stock available. They use industry standard sizes and high quality materials to ensure that the album being duplicated looks as professional as anything created by the big labels.
When it comes to disc duplication, there are a few options. Short runs are typically duplicated onto CDs, while larger runs are replicated with state of the art equipment. Limited runs and special editions can be created quickly and for a reasonable price.
Audio mastering services in Toronto should be able to make the subtle changes in an album that perfect the recordings and make them into the true works of art that the artist envisioned prior to recording. The service provided by the most dependable experts in the business shouldn’t end with mastering. When the album is done, the convenience of in-house design, packaging and printing takes the headache out of sourcing from several smaller companies. When the studio work is done, complete the album with one simple stop at the most experienced and advanced audio mastering studio with an in-house team that can get the CD shelf-ready at a fair price.

Celebrity Fashion Phenomenon

Celebrity Fashion Phenomenon, Who’s your preferred superstar or television star? Ever wondered what their personal existence was like? For those who have, you are certainly not by yourself. It appears countless us are curious about understanding the latest news or gossip about present day most widely used stars. Additionally to who’s dating who, lots of attention can also be put on celebrity styles. Lots of people, particularly teens, wish they could dress and appear like certainly one of their most favorite celebs. Although this feeling is very common, additionally, it leaves many more questioning why.

celebrity dresses

If this involves explaining the celebrity fashion phenomenon it is not easy to develop just one answer why it’s so popular. Different people prefer to look and dress like celebs for various reasons. Essentially though, there’s a feeling of idealism about celebs, that they’re living a existence the relaxation people could only imagine. Celebs are just like our alter-ego you want we’re able to be just like beautiful and popular also it appears when we have what they’ve, we’re nearer to achieving our dream.

There’s a disadvantage to being very popular and well-known though. Many celebs cannot leave their houses without having to be recognised or then paparazzi everywhere they’re going. This appears to become the cost of fame. However, you will find many “everyday” people wishing that they their very own fan following or were as common as their favourite star. Although dressing in a certain style or transporting a particular handbag is not always guaranteed to help you popular, many people, both males and ladies, goes to great measures to become observed in the most recent celebrity the latest fashions.

Recently, celebs have grown to be perfectly-recognized for their fashion options. Indeed some celebs appear to become renowned for very little in addition to that! Award shows have grown to be by pointing out fashion and each star who walks the red-colored carpet is requested “Who’re you putting on?” It’s considered a significant coup to possess your designs worn by present day most popular star. And amazingly, cheap copies from the gowns worn at these shows are for sale to buy within 24 hrs from the show being broadcast.

Finding celebrity gossip and knowledge has become simpler and simpler. You are able to switch around the television watching the most recent celebrity news program or look at the cover of the gossip magazine. But undoubtedly the greatest supply of celebrity newsand gossip may be the internet and you will find 1000’s of websites devoted to precisely that purpose.

Even though some might see the celebrity fashion phenomenon being an unhealthy obsession, there’s really absolutely nothing wrong with maintaining using the latest in celebrity styles. What you ought to bear in mind is the fact that simply because it appears good on the celebrity, it does not always imply that exactly the same factor will appear good you. While like a teen you will get away with putting on practically anything, if you’re inside your 20s, 30s and beyond but still blindly following a latest fashion trend no matter whether or not this suits the body shape, you might like to reconsider your fashion habits.

Also, you may not desire to be seen putting on something that’s instantly recognisable like a certain brand which lots of others may also be putting on? Getting ‘style’ is all about way over just your clothes and it’s important to decorate in ways that really suits not just the body but additionally your way of life and career.

Cost is yet another problem. Many celebs have limitless financial assets so the price of clothing and fashion aitems is not an problem on their behalf, however it may for you personally. Obviously you can dress just like a celebrity if you wish to, but you have to keep in mind that celebrity styles change regularly. There’s point breaking the bank attempting to pay the “most popular” trend that could only continue for a couple of days.

In a nutshell, as the celebrity fashion phenomenon will not be overessories in the near future, you need to approach with caution. Fame and fortune don’t always equal taste, so always choose clothes and acc which are flattering for you and right for your way of life

Pann] More questionable celebrity fashion

Nigerian celebrity Fashion : Must See Looks of The week

well, a few celebrities made some fashion statements pretty recently and here they are for us to judge;
First up is miss Mocheedah,

Shes rocking a jump suit showing a little cleavage and pairing them with white shoes as well. I think this look is perfection, its a little dressy but she made it look casual, and its perfectly snug fitting her petite stature, love love love. Note, if you decide to rock this look, then dont drink too water or eat feces stimulating food, or else you go shit or piece for body before you reach where you dey go.

Next up is Toyin Lawani

This is another good look, i especially love the lace trend right now and this is a cool representation but she always looks like a barbie doll, not like its a bad thing, just that, i will like to see what she looks like with her hair up and nude makeup, dont like her hair for this dress at all, not excited about the shoes either, but na she be the stylist, so what do i know right..hehehe, what do y’all think…

Unto the next,Funke akindele

Chai( my autocorrect recognizes Choi but not chai….smh), gorgeous, hmmm, i think she either has a new stylist or her former stylist is doing something different, she looks really good, especially love the hair and makeup though, accessories are pretty simple…nailed it, babe, if i be boy and i see you for road, i go toast you, SHIKENA….

Next up, Aunty waje, my egg roll model…

First of all, aunty waje, you no see where to snap, na for where dem dey sell soap abi, hian, the person wey snap you sef, no tell you, chai, all this world people. Anyway love the jump suit, love the shoe, hate the bag, not sure about the belt or scarf, i dont know about this look altogether oooo, i just think they are great pieces paired wrongly, but you don dey try these days sha, and your weight loss…inspirational, i like be like you ooo.

Next up is Daniella Okeke.

The actress is popularly known as the Kim kardashian of Nigeria, well, i disagree, you cant just be giving people name that already belongs to someone else na, yes the name belongs to me, and whenever i decide to leave up to the name, then you people will hear,. Now am confused about this look, is she trying to pull it off as a casual dress or shes like the rest of us, wey go try cloth, kon beg our friend to snap us to see how e be. Anyway its a lovely gown, but its an evening or dinner gown, that necklace shown be thrown into the bush behind her, the glasses are not great but okay, i think this has to be for a movie, but as i dey look you from far, its not a bad look.

Next up, Halima Abubakar

Really, Halima, Really, you had to do this abi, and i been like you before ooo, whats now this one na. Where do i even start from sef, is it the depression of being broke that is still worrying you ni, because i dont know what else to say ooo. hian, The pants show your camel toe and your skin, e just be like big condom i swear, the top isnt bad on its own, but on your body it is because it shows your nipples, like seriously, and that your life jacket does not help anything, even you sef no dey comfortable, if to say you wear the rubbish with confidence na, ehen, but you are using your hands to cover your body, and dont even get me started on that your glasses and slave trade necklace….infact you are the worst dressed this year but the year still plenty so maybe you can redeem yourself and maybe someone like denrele can share or take the award from you…..chai, the shoes are not bad sha. Note this isnt because you are rocking the crop top trend because you can rock it well without looking like this, even as a chubby lady..believe me…

Anyway these are the looks for this week, if you dont agree with me on any of the looks, then make i hear am, unless remain silent forever and forever…..Ciao dolls…kisses.

Fashion icon and celebrity fashion stylist June Ambrose made my day!!

Hello beautiful people and welcome back to Kchic Fashions. I’m a little late with this post but I couldn’t help but share this wonderful experience I had with celebrity fashion stylist June Ambrose with you all. As most of you know I am a fashion stylist and I absolutely love what I do. I love helping people look good and feel good about themselves. (I also have a social work background) I met this phenomenal woman on a bright summer day and she made me feel like I knew her forever! She was funny, vibrant, fierce, and I can’t forget Fabulous. I was able to purchase a brand new Cavalli dress from her that I can’t wait to wear! She continues to inspire me. She is an amazing mother and multitasking pro. I hope to one day work with her on fashion projects and create great things together.  I’m speaking it into existence! Lol

My outfit that day was the talk of the town and June loved it! I wore a kimono, muscle shirt, high waisted distressed jeans, bowler hat, and caged sandal heels. This outfit was sexy yet casually chic.
Where can I find this look????
Kimono,bowler hat, gold chain, h&m. Muscle shirt, old navy. Denim shorts, express. Shoes, bakers

Country Music Star Tim McGraw pushes for more gun control

Tim McGraw says that he is headlining a concert for Sandy Hook Promise, not because he supports gun control, but because he supports “education and safety” regarding guns.  No one disagrees with  “education and safety,” but the question involves the gun control regulations being pushed by this organization.  If McGraw is raising money for the group, he is helping achieve the gun control regulations that Sandy Hook Promise is lobbying for.  Nicole Hockley’s video here talks about her lobbying for “common sense” gun control legislation.

“Let me be clear regarding the concert for Sandy Hook given much of the erroneous reporting thus far,” McGraw told FOX411 in a statement. “As a gun owner, I support gun ownership. I also believe that with gun ownership comes the responsibility of education and safety – most certainly when it relates to what we value most, our children. I can’t imagine anyone who disagrees with that.”

The problem is that her push to prevent access to what she calls “high powered weapons,” like an AR-15, and her desire to lock up guns can lead to more deaths.  Guns that fire .223 caliber bullets are not “high powered weapons.”  If she really wants to ban all rifles that fire that size bullet or larger, she would ban the vast majority of hunting rifles.  Mandating gunlocks emboldens criminals to attack people in their homes and makes it more difficult for people to protect themselves.  As criminals are more successful in committing their crimes, you actually see an increase in the number of deaths.

Attention Real Country Music Fans: We Are Winning  

Anyone who knows anything about country music knows that there is a longstanding and intense war being waged for the soul of country music. Tradition and fortune are at odds seemingly every day now. Traditionalists are fighting to keep country music rooted in the history that made the genre great, while moving forward to new heights. Mainstream country wants to make as much money as possible, while turning country music into a rock/rap/pop hybrid, citing claims of “evolution” and “progress”. While the fight has looked bleak for the true fans like me, the tides have turned. Not only are we making headway, I would go as far to say that right now we are winning the fight for country music.

The numbers don’t lie. When you look across the board, the big names in mainstream country music are all down right now. Sure, Sam Hunt is a new force on the rise, but most of the established acts are not bringing in the same numbers as they did a few years ago. Sure, Florida-Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean are still the biggest concert draws right now, but when you look at the impact they were making a few years ago compared to now, it pales in comparison. Why is this the case? The answer is pretty simple. Country music sold its soul to compete for the attention of people who really didn’t like country music. “Being country” became a trend, just like parachute pants and disco. Duck Dynasty was all over TV, kids in the suburbs traded their Camrys in for lifted trucks, and kids who grew up on a cul-de-sac were wearing camo pants and Muck boots. Inevitably, the trend has begun to pass. You’d think country music label heads would be intelligent enough to know that this trend, like literally every other trend before it, would pass. You’d think that the big shots in charge would think of that, but they decided to put all their eggs in the bro-basket. Look at CMT. They are laying off staff members as their ratings and revenue continue to decline. The ship is sailing fast. Many artists are resorting to EDM as the latest cling to relevancy. Sure, Sam Hunt is huge right now, and Gary Allan, Eli Young, and others are trying to follow in his club-infused direction, but this fad will probably die out faster than bro-country did. Why do you think carpet-baggers like Bobby Bones are going out of their way to defend Hunt, Fla-Ga Line, Bryan, and the rest of these goons? Because he is nothing without them. Real country fans can’t stand Bones and his moronic pop-culture themed joke of a radio show. When the yuppies go back to pop and hip-hop once this trend finally wears off, Bones will disappear into obscurity where he and his low self-esteem belong. I feel a little dirty for even mentioning Bones here, as he is a sad man who absolutely lives for attention, whether it is good or bad, so I’m actually playing into his game here by mentioning him. It’s still worth noting that though that the more he defends the bros, the more we know they are on the outs.

Even more important than the decline of the pop-drivel is the rise of the independent artist. Gary Overton, CEO of Sony Nashville, claimed that “you don’t exist” if you are not on mainstream radio. Well, Aaron Watson, Blackberry Smoke, Brandy Clark, and Sturgill Simpson proved him to be very very wrong. Although not technically an independent band, Blackberry Smoke took over the top of the country albums chart during the debut week of their latest album, Holding All The Roses. Aaron Watson then released The Underdog, which hit number one on the album charts and became the highest album debut for an independent artist of all time. His song “Fence Post” also shot to number one on the iTunes singles sales charts the day it was released. Brandy Clark recently performed on the Grammy Awards with Dwight Yoakam and was nominated multiple times despite no radio play. Sturgill Simpson’sMetamodern Sounds In Country Music has been a fixture in the top 10 for most of the past calendar year, all while selling out theaters and being nominated for a Grammy. He recently used his momentum to finally sign to a major label, Atlantic, which will hopefully lead to some radio play for the extremely talented Kentuckian. Not bad for a bunch of guys who “don’t exist.” But, if we focus on the guys who do “exist” on country radio, it seems far more of them have been leaning towards a more traditional sound rather than the pop sound. The latest singles from Tim McGraw (“Diamond Rings and Old Barstools”, “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s”), Jake Owen (“What We Ain’t Got”), Eric Paslay (“She Don’t Love You”), “The Band Perry (“Gentle On My Mind”), Randy Houser (“Like A Cowboy”), and Kenny Chesney (“Wild Child”) all lean towards the traditional side of mainstream country. Sure, not of all of those are exactly “Mama Tried” or “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, but they are good mainstream country songs that still feel at home in this genre. The fact that a few songs like these are slipping into rotation prove that enough fans want to hear it. Whether that is because the trend-chasers are leaving or because the traditional fans are getting louder (or, most likely, a combination of both) doesn’t matter. It’s happening, and country music is better for it. The aforementioned Bobby Bones has even tried to talk up guys like Aaron Watson (in between stirring up unjustified and fake controversy with him for ratings). Most likely so he can point to that when he gets the eventual boot, but that’s none of my business.

All in all, this is both good and bad news for country music. Good because we are seeing the end of the bro-era, but bad because as we lose fans, the income generated by the genre will be less, meaning less money to develop young stars. It can’t all be roses, right? That being said, I think that all of us true country fans can give ourselves a little pat on the back. I wasn’t around back then, but I’ve read how people like us fought off The Nashville Sound. We fought off Urban Cowboy. Now, despite it giving us our biggest battle yet, we are defeating bro-country. Don’t worry about this Sam Hunt EDM phase. It’ll be gone quicker than a young girl’s dignity at a Fla-Ga Line concert. Country music is once again proving that our traditions and history are not to be taken lightly. This doesn’t mean it’s over though. The remnants of bro-country and EDM are still floating around. Don’t quit on me now! Get out there and fight the good fight. Go to concerts. Buy albums. Tell your friends about your favorite country artist. Support independent bands and solo artists. Do what you can to keep our genre alive, and most importantly, keep it country, kids!

The Humming Bees from Texarkana

The Humming Bees – Blessed are the Pure in Spirit (Universal Artists UAR 1006), 1967

I bought two of the Humming Bees’ records from Mack Stevens in Texas, including this one. The Hummbings Bees were, to all accounts, a black gospel group from the Texarkana, Arkansas, area. Their style was much in the vein of the many bands recorded by Style Wooten in Memphis, although they never made it onto one of Wooten’s labels, as far as I’m concerned.

The Humming Bees were likely formed in 1949. They were active in the Texarkana area and also across the border in Texas, as an Paris, Texas, newspaper snippet from 1956 suggests. They still (or again) performed in 1990, celebrating their 51th anniversary. The Humming Bees recorded twice for their own custom label Humming Bee(s), first in 1960 and then in 1964. They followed up with at least two discs on Universal Artists.
Universal Artists Records was a local venture from Texarkana and only sporadically active from 1967 until about 1976. Later releases carried no catalogue number, just the Rite matrix numbers. Most of the material issued on the label was gospel, apart from some country and rock’n’roll. Also, Universal Artists was somehow associated with the Humming Bees, since the label on the Religious Five’s disc reads “Universal Artists Records – Hummming Bees – Texarkana, Arkansas presents“.

Universal Artists Discography
(all records pressed by Rite)

1001: Bill Gentry – Baby What’ya Say / If You Want My Love (1967)
1002:
1003:
1004: Vycounts – Can’t You Tell / I Need You Tonight (1967)
1005: Vicki Scott – I’m Not a Toy / I Just Lost Your Love (1967)
1006: The Humming Bees – Jesus Steps Right In / Blessed Are the Pure in Spirit (1967)

#: The Humming Bees – Jesus Has Done So Much for Me / Send It On Down (1972)
#: Willie Gulley, Jr. and the Bright Stars – Take a Little Time to Pray / Too Close (1975)
#: S. V. Hale – He Won’t Leave Me Now / Pass Me Not (1976)
#: The Religious Five – Guide Me Over / I’ve Been Changed (1976)

EXCLUSIVE: Is Country Music Superstar Tim McGraw Performing ‘Secret’ Concert Tonight on Coronado Beach?

Word today on the street, and the beach, is that country music megastar and actor Tim McGraw (left) will appear in concert tonight on Coronado Beach just outside the Hotel del Coronado. The stage is already built, and my sources tell me McGraw, who appeared and sangon Jimmy Kimmel Live last night in Hollywood, is performing, possibly at 9:00 p.m., possibly earlier.

But here’s the rub, y’all: you and I are not invited. It’s a private and supposedly secret performance held by one of the Hotel Del’s clients, presumably a very rich one. This of course begs the question: Did this client really think word wouldn’t get out about this show? In this age of social media, phone cameras and instant “news,” how in the heck do you hold a secret function on a very popular beach on a crystal-clear San Diego day when temperatures are in the 80s?

People walking by have already seen roadies unloading gear with McGraw’s name on it. Do the math, folks. Coronado Beach tonight is gonna look a lot like The San Diego Zoo.

This all puts the Hotel Del’s PR and marketing folks, who I know well and who are very capable and ethical people, between a beach boulder and a hard place. Does the hotel upset its obviously wealthy client and go on the record with info about the show? Or does it not comment at all and appear as if it’s not taking any responsibility for holding an event featuring one of America’s most popular entertainers adjacent to a public beach?

Sara Harper, the Hotel Del’s director of marketing, would neither confirm nor deny the McGraw appearance tonight. I got that confirmation from a local radio station and from Coronado locals who spoke with roadies unpacking McGraw’s music equipment. But Harper did acknowledge that there is an event taking place this evening on the section of the beach that is owned by the hotel, and that the hotel’s client is keeping the information about it strictly confidential.

“Our client is holding their private event on Hotel del Coronado property, not on the public beach area,” she said. “We have held many events on Del Beach over the years similar to this and there have not been any issues. The City of Coronado is aware of the event as they oversee the public beach.”

The Hotel Del would not detail which parts of the beach are private and public. But it looks like one big beautiful beach to me. And even if the stage and immediate area around it are on Hotel Del property, there’s an enormous surrounding beach area still within eyeshot and earshot of the stage that is 100 percent public.

In other words, fans of McGraw, a truly class act and loving husband and father of three daughters, will probably show up tonight on Coronado Beach in droves. Who can blame them? And if and when they do, should they not be given at least a general idea of where they can and can not hang their hats? I’m sure Tim will love it when he sees his real fans beyond the fences, ropes and cones.

I first found out about McGraw’s appearance on Coronado Happenings, the largest social media site about Coronado on Facebook. The site has been talking about the McGraw rumors for a couple days. I made a few calls to confirm the appearance, then subsequently posted on the site and asked people to comment.

It turned into a heated debate about who owns the beach. There are of course no dotted lines on the sand telling us where we can and can not go. But in the past, the hotel to its credit has been very good about letting folks traverse and enjoy the parts of the beach it owns.

None of this was meant to antagonize folks at the Hotel Del. It’s a lovely hotel and beach and a favorite spot for me and my family, as I’ve noted in past stories. The folks who work there are cordial and professional. But perhaps the moneyed client who booked a music superstar to appear on a local beach should have realized that, these days, word travels fast about stuff like this.

Neither the hotel’s client nor the best security force will be able to stop the potential stampede of country music fans when they make their way come hell or high water to Coronado tonight.

Said Danielle Biggins McCurdy, “I’m sure the hotel will try to block off the walkway to detour people, but yes, the beach is public.”

Added Coronado resident Bridget Dillen, “It’s going to be crazy down there tonight, and I’m excited.”

The best songs that weren’t singles: Little Big Town edition

The summer of 2005. The first time I ever heard Little Big Town. It was during CMA Fest or whatever it was called then and we were sitting pretty far from the stage and off to the stage so we really couldn’t see them all that well. It was a few months before they would release The Road to Here. Little did I know that this group was going to end up making a huge impact on me. I had no idea how many roads I would drive on, how many Little Big Town miles I would tack onto my car over the next few years. Thousands. It has to be in the thousands. I’ve seen many acts more than once, but none anywhere near as much as I’ve seen them. I didn’t know back then that I would end up meeting them time and time again and how much those meetings would mean to me. How much these four people would mean to me. Little did I know how frustrated I’d end up getting, wondering why they weren’t more popular than they were then.

Things have changed a bit. I’ve watched these guys and gals go from playing clubs and fairs to headlining arenas and winning awards. Their popularity has sky-rocketed. Took everyone long enough. I’m just saying. Their music has changed over the years; they’ve pushed themselves in directions I never would’ve guessed they’d go. One of my biggest hopes is that the people who have become fans in the

past couple of years either already have or will go back and check out their earlier albums. It is that hope paired with my love for these four people that fueled my decision to make them my next featured artist in this series. You can bet your bottom dollar that they will be featured again. As was the case with Chris Young, it was so hard narrowing it down to just five, but I did it. So without further preamble, let’s talk about some of my favorite LBT album cuts.

Starting with…

“Evangeline” This was included on what I still believe is the best album they’ve ever put out, A Place to Land. I consider this to be one of their forgotten albums since it didn’t get anywhere close to the attention and support that it deserved. It is a musical masterpiece. This is not a happy tune; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s a story about a girl named Evangeline who is in an emotionally abusive relationship. Now generally when people sing about abuse, it’s more about physical abuse. That’s one of the reasons why this song is so important. Abuse is abuse and it’s something that needs to be addressed. It’s something that needs to be talked about which is why I was so disappointed when it didn’t become a single. I can understand why it didn’t. First, A Place to Land as a whole kind of got lost in the shuffle when they changed record labels. And second, radio would rather play upbeat or romantic songs. I find this unfortunate because I know there are a lot of Evangeline’s out there who need to hear this song. “It ain’t love if it’s mean, Evangeline”. No. No, it is not. Plus from a musical standpoint, it’s aurally stunning. Kimberly sings lead and her voice is hauntingly beautiful in this. This has to be one of the best songs to highlight just how incredible their harmonies are. That last minute or so is everything.
We move from a song about emotional abuse to one about love. Actual, real love. “To Know Love” is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. Jimi takes lead on this one and what a fine job he does with it too. He’s good like that. If you are in need of a song to dance to at your wedding or know someone who is, this would be a great one. I mean:“‘Cause to know you is to know love/ And to know love is to know enough/ To walk with you through this life/ From now on ’til the day I die/ ‘Cause what better way is there to live than to live with you”. Gorgeous song, one that can also be found on my beloved A Place to Land. I’ve listened to a lot of their songs live over the years, but they never did this one at any of the shows I went to and that makes me sad because I just know it’d be even prettier live. Alas, it was not meant to be. But I love that this song exists. Songwriters, take note. More songs like this; less songs about hooking up, k?
I think we need to liven things up a bit here and I’m going to do that by taking you back toThe Road to Here with “Welcome to the Family”. A song about a couple of brothers welcoming their new brother-in-law into their family, who might just be a bit insane and scary. Basically if this guy ends up hurting their baby sister, he’s going to be in a lot of trouble. To say the least. This used to be a staple of their shows and it made me so sad when they stopped doing it. One of my favorite LBT concert memories is randomly hearing them do this live after not having done it for a while. This was at a club show and we were right up to the stage and we basically flipped out like the suave, mature adults we were. Ahem. Total over the top excitement going on there and it caught Jimi’s attention and made him laugh. Good times, good times. I know there’s people out there who can relate. In any event, this song was so much fun to see live. It would have made for a fantastic video and one of my favorite things about it is that Jimi and Phillip share the lead. Jimi taking the first verse, Phillip taking the second and Jimi taking the bridge. This song never fails to put me in a good mood.
Next stop? Switching over to The Reason Why and “Runaway Train”. Another song featuring Jimi on lead. I really didn’t set out to turn this into a Jimi Westbrook love fest, but here we are. This is one of those songs that’s just electric when performed live. It just cooks from beginning to end. It’s also the kind of song that begs for a video. The storyline is all laid out for you and it would have been so much fun to watch it play out onscreen. I believe it would have done well for them, as well.
Staying with The Reason Why as we come to out end. This last song very well might be my favorite Little Big Town song of all time, which is saying something. “Lean Into It” is all about how hard life can get sometimes and how overwhelming it can be. Sometimes we go through things that we don’t know how we’re going to get over. Sometimes we don’t know how we’re going to move on. In those times, there’s really one thing that you can do: lean into it. Know that everything will ultimately be okay, that the storm won’t last forever and that somehow, someway, things will work out. That it will be better someday. Little Big Town has always been great at deciding just who needs to deliver what vocal. Phillip takes lead on this one and he was the perfect choice. I love all four of their voices, but I’m not going to lie: Phillip’s has always been my favorite. It’s so soulful and filled with such warmth that you can’t help but believe what he’s singing. You can’t help but feel it. And then when it builds to both musical and emotional peak, holy smokes. Jimi kind of separates from the others and it takes it to another level. This is musical magic right here. This is my Little Big Town. I love it.
That’ll do it for this one. Expect much more of this series. I don’t know what order they’ll be coming in, but you can expect to see installments featuring people like Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kellie Pickler, Jake Owen and more. What are some of your favorite album cuts? Any particular artist you want to see featured? Let me know! You can leave me a comment or tweet me @countrymusicatk and I’ll add them to the list. I’m also going to be reviewing/talking about Rachel Potter’s new album Not So Black and White. Spoiler alert: it’s quite good! Very strong album and one that I’m betting a lot of you would enjoy. That girl has got some serious pipes, lemme tell ya. In addition, for something a little different, I’m going to be using my slightly insane love for VoicePlay’s Aca Top Ten Broadway countdown as a way to try and explain my love for musicals. That should be a fun one.

Interview: Lianna Rose

Hunter Valley singer-songwriter Lianna Rose recently released a wonderful new album, Travellers, which features a variety of musical styles within the country umbrella: some upbeat, some more contemplative. Recently I had the pleasure of speaking to Lianna about the album and her creative process.

I really love the album. There are so many highs and lows emotionally on it, in a good way – there’s a real palette of things. Did it feel like that for you writing and recording it?

Thank you for your compliment, I appreciate that. And that’s how I wanted it to be – I wanted it to be a journey. And Travellers is about a spiritual journey through a lot of grief. There’s a lot of positives in there too. It’s a very personal record, actually.

I know the song ‘Travellers’ came particularly out of grief. Did that inform the writing of the rest of the record too?

Not necessarily, no. I think that I was pretty well halfway through the record before that song appeared. But I must admit, once that song appeared that was it – that was the direction it was pointing and it had to go there.

You obviously have a varied background in terms of musical styles – you can obviously draw on a lot of experience and influences, not just in how you sing but also the way the songs are written. When you write a song, do you start off with the music and the musical style that you’re looking for, or with the lyrics?

A bit of both. It’s swings and roundabouts. I can be driving along and I’ll have a song idea come to me and I’ll literally pull the car over and write that down. Or I’ll have a melody and I’ll record that in the car as I’m driving. But the joy for me is always once that instrument’s in my hands and I jam with myself, you know? If I’ve got a little riff that comes along. And then the lyrics comes afterwards, once I’ve got the riff happening.

With your voice the way it is – it’s such a strong instrument in and of itselfI’m surprised that you’ll go to another instrument to write on as opposed to just singing it out.

[laughs] Being a musician is a big part of what I do, so the guitar’s really important to me and the piano as well. But this particular album’s all been based around the guitar riff. I’ve been experimenting with resonators and amplified guitars and electric guitars, so I’m continually evolving in that department. I’m loving it.

So you obviously really love playing guitar as well.

I’ve been offered a few times over the years just to be a singer, to front a band, and I baulk at it every time because it’s so important for me to have that guitar in my hand. I don’t think I can express myself unless I have that guitar with me, vocally as well.

You were a back-up singer for a while, which must have seemed a bit strange considering you have such a front-of-band voice. Did you miss your guitar when you were singing back-up?

I did. I enjoyed the journey for what it was. It was an amazing experience and obviously working with the incredible artists that they were it was a really great education in how the older style of rock groups were formed. So I really learned to express and use that vocal way more than I had done before. But it was a bit intimidating standing there on stage with nothing in front of me [laughs]. I felt exposed. But I did really enjoy it. Working with the other vocalists as well and creating harmonies, that’s another beautiful experience again.

When you perform your songs live, do you prefer having a band around you?

I do. For many years I’ve created a living out of being a solo acoustic artist, but in saying that my preference is always to have a band, especially a band that really understands the songs and they’ll understand lyrically. And whenever I appoint new musos to come on the journey with me, I’m always stressing that we really need dynamic – we need to either make people cry or laugh, and we need to do that with the instruments as well. So it takes them a little while but once they see the audience response they say, ‘Oh, is that what you’re talking about?’ [laughs]

Particularly if you have anything to do with country music, that relationship with the audience is so important. There’s so much for artists that comes from the audience – not just the emotion but also sometimes even story ideas.

Absolutely. Country music’s always been relatable. Rock music is too and I love nothing more than bopping out to a good rock song, but there’s a lot of times I’ve listened to really good rock songs and I still, to this day, have no idea what the lyric is. But a country song, it’s integral – it’s the absolute pivotal point of the whole song, that lyric. So to me it’s telling stories and hopefully people can feel like they’re not alone while they’re going through something. That’s what country music does for me.

I read that you listened to country music when you were quite young, so has that always been where you thought you were headed musically?

Yes, I did the whole typical grew up young on the farm, I thought I was Loretta Lynn – I could have sworn I was the coalminer’s daughter! [Laughs] We were quite poor back then in the ’70s. But in saying that I thought I could have a family very young and travel around Australia, and of I went with my first husband. We were having babies and travelling through the Outback. And then the realisation hit me that that was just a movie [laughs]. It’s too hard to balance that in the modern world. So unfortunately I found out the hard way that that good old country music story is not always the best way to live.

It possibly is if you’re on a different continent, but I think travelling around Australia in particular is really hard.

Literally just five minutes prior to your call I was looking at a map of Australia and saying, ‘Where am I going to go now?’ Because I love the Outback more than anything and I really want to get back out there again, but I’m just weighing up, Oh yeah – there’s like five hours between that town, oh my god. [Laughs] So it’s a bit of a journey I’m just about to embark on.

So this is for you to take the album on tour?

Yes, hence the name [Travellers]. And I am an empty nester now as a parent so I really need to get out there and meet people, and literally take in as much of this life as I can because what I realised as I get older is that it’s going very fast. Losing people in my life has made me really appreciate every single day of it.

There’s a couple of things that have just come out of what you’ve said that I’d like to ask about. The first is going back to taking your kids on the road when they were quite young and you were young as well. That suggests that you are willing to pursue a dream, and certainly you’ve pursued the dream of music and that’s come off, but it’s a big dream to pursue a dream like that – a lot of people will think about it and talk about it but they won’t actually do it. So do you feel like you’ve really got the conviction of following your dreams?

Yes, absolutely. I have two daughters and I was always at them throughout their lives growing up, ‘If you have a dream or a vision, just go for it’, because that’s all we’ve got at the end of the day. If you’re just on the treadmill and generating something for somebody else’s dream, it doesn’t really fulfil you. Music fulfils me, and I don’t know how I fell into it – it was around me as a child but I feel so blessed by it and blessed by the gift, so to speak. I have to pursue this. And that’s where the song ‘Where the Post’ came from, because I got trapped singing a lot of cover songs for everybody else and then I realised, That’s not my dream. My dream is to be a songwriter first and foremost. And that’s what this album is about. You have to live your truth – you’ve got to be true to yourself otherwise the rest of it doesn’t work properly.

The other thing I was going to ask was about your children. When I was reading in your bio that you’d had children in the ’90s, I looked at your video and thought, Was she twelve when she had these children? So obviously, as you said, you’re now an empty nester and they’re grown up so you probably were about twelve. I’m wondering if any of them are musicians?

[Laughs] Well, thank you, but there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in those videos. I appreciate the lighting very much these days. But I was a young mum and like I said I had this little dream and hit the road very young and had children. But unfortunately both my daughters, they have the most incredible voices on them but they have said, ‘Mum, we just want a stable job, we want to stay home, we like being home’ [laughs]. They don’t want to pursue anything in a music career.

Except if they’ve got great voices maybe you can persuade them to join you on stage every now and again.

Look, that has happened in the last few years. My eldest daughter, Roxy, she’s an incredible little singer – she stops people in their tracks. And I know that if she wanted to, that gift is there for her as well. But at this moment she’s going through her growth period and she’s working out who she is as a young woman, so I’m just sitting back waiting to see if she comes back to it.

You’ve been an independent artist through your last couple of albums and I was wondering how much of your time – considering also that you’ve raised a family – is taken up with business and how much with creativity.

Unfortunately, especially of late with the release of the album, is leaning probably 80% towards business – maybe 85% – and less on the creativity. That does mess with me a bit. However, I went and studied for twelve months last year, doing a business course, just to get my head around the whole business side of life. That is something that’s not my strong point so I really wanted to investigate further and see how I can improve upon that. So I’ve been applying those lessons learnt and I am finding this journey a little easier now and I’m looking forward, in a few months’ time, to getting back to being creative again.

So when it came to the writing of the songs on this album, how do you manage your time? Do you find that if the muse calls you – for lack of a better term – you have to stop whatever you’re doing? You talked what happens if you’re in the car and you get an idea. But to follow up that idea, do you put aside everything else and sit down or do you have to schedule your creative time?

A bit of both. It is a bit of scheduling. My husband’s a musician as well and we have to share some space, so we’ve actually set up a little schedule and I have the music room for two days a week and so on. But, look, in saying that, that creative effort – without a word of a lie, at four o’clock this morning this song came into my head. I’ve asked to write for a younger artist in the country scene, so I went to bed with her on my mind and then sure enough, four o’clock this morning – bang – this song comes to me, so I was up at 4 a.m. writing this down. I try to be organised and scheduled, but when that energy hits you, you’ve just got to move with it. It comes at any point in time. So that makes me a little hectic, I must admit. I’m certainly not organised as much as I’d like to be!

It also suggests that you trust your songwriting instinct really powerfully, that it will get you out of bed and get you to write the song.

Oh, look, if it wasn’t for my songwriting … Like I said, it is a gift. I did suffer – as I’m sure a lot of people have – depression years and anxiety years, and I’m still learning every day how to cope with some everyday issues that can really bring you down. But I must admit that songwriting drives me. It gets me out of bed. It gets me motivated to be a better performer, a better person, so I’m so thankful for that.

I mentioned at the top about the emotions at the album. The first song, ‘Willy Wagtail’, is a very upbeat, jaunty song, and the tempos on some of the songs are that rockabilly, more driving rhythm, and then you have your ballads, some of which sound like your heart’s breaking on them, and therefore for the listener it sounds like heartbreak as well. How hard is that to summon in the studio and hard is it to sing it, if you have to do take after take?

I’ve never had [singing] lessons – I go into the song and I become a character in a movie that plays in my head. I really feel it, and sometimes those tears do actually appear, and I think that’s the only way to be honest. And when I’m in there and I am re-recording or overdubbing, it doesn’t take long to snap into it – I suppose it’s almost like an acting role and you become that character. I’ve never really had an issue with that. I’m not sure if that’s a gift, or what it is, but it just comes naturally.

EP review: New Life by Iain Archibald Band

Country rock can be a contentious genre amongst the country music crowd – it’s not ‘traditional’ country music but nor is it straight-up rock ‘n’ roll; usually the lyrics sit within the country music lyrical convention and the music is closer to rock, with country accents. Country rock also tends to be a genre that focuses on entertainment – it gets the crowd going, it gets heads nodding and feet tapping. Perhaps that’s at the core of some people’s objection to it: that it wants to entertain. But show me an audience that doesn’t want to be entertained and I’ll show you a crowd of critics.

New Life is a five-track EP by Melbourne outfit Iain Archibald Band. It is entertaining country rock with a lot of heart and a great lead singer – unsurprisingly enough, this gentleman is called Iain Archibald. And even within the genre of country rock we can classify further, so I’d say this band’s influences lean more towards Keith Urban than The Wolfe Brothers. They’re worth checking out, and I’m confident they are entertaining audiences across Victoria with more of Australia to follow.

Interview: Luke Sinclair of Raised by Eagles

Diamonds in the Bloodstream by Melbourne band Raised by Eagles has been one of the outstanding country music releases of recent years, and it was my great pleasure to talk to singer and songwriter Luke Sinclair about the band’s origins, finding the balance in a creative life, and about Tamworth.

It some ways it made me feel nostalgic but I wasn’t sure what for. It’s evocative of music I wished I’d heard in the past, if that makes sense.

[Laughs] It does. I like that – I like that a lot. I’ve always been accused of being overly nostalgic, in my closer family and friendship group, and I certainly write from that place as well. I’ve always loved that music. Probably my heaviest influences have been from the ’70s in a musical sense, so I’m glad that it maybe harks back to the past.

What sort of ’70s influences? I’m curious about your lineage as a musician.

It’s that classic story of Mum and Dad’s record collection, which I have a much better appreciation for now than I did back then. When you’re a kid you don’t really realise that these things are particularly affecting you the way that they might be. They had records that were probably the more conservative side of country music – there was the standard reference points like Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan and Neil Young, but they also had John Denver and Anne Murray and John Williamson and stuff like that that I don’t listen to today, but I still have a very nostalgic connection to those artists. It wasn’t until high school that I got hold of a good friend’s older brother’s tape collection that had all this John Prine and Steve Earle and Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, like the outlaw, grittier side of country music and I just really fell for it immediately and I’ve just loved it ever since, and always played that kind of music on guitar. I went through every music phase there was, growing up – glam rock, dance music even – but I was always a closet country music-playin’ dude on the guitar. And when I moved to Melbourne it just became fully realised when I found other people who loved it as well and started playing in bands. And here I am.

The Melbourne country music scene is very vibrant. Melbourne city seems to have a cohesive country music scene in a way that Sydney city doesn’t, and I don’t know if it’s because of the venues being the way they are and perhaps it’s easier to form a community, whereas in Sydney the country music venues tend to not be anywhere near the centre of the city. But in terms of that Melbourne scene, I can’t think of another act like Raised by Eagles so I wonder who you consider your contemporaries to be?

I feel like we have many. I agree with everything you said and often scratch my head about the difference between why Sydney doesn’t seem to have a strong Americana or alt-country scene and in Melbourne it seems to be a close-knit community and all the bands that are on that circuit are people I know – well, most of them anyway. We all sort of know each other. Half of us hang out together in the same social circles and party together and play together and all that kind of stuff. The country music community, especially in Melbourne, is really special and really close, as far as I’m concerned, and I suppose our contemporaries would be those people who have become great friends of ours, who are all on this circuit. Van Walker was one of the first musical connections I made in this town and certainly someone who has been very inspirational and very supportive to me as a songwriter and has always pushed me to write and to play, and it always helps when you have someone like that who you think is a great artist and a great songwriter telling you that you are as well. And that has happened in my musical life quite a bit and it’s really driven me to believe in the songs I’ve written and what I’m doing. And Liz Stringer and Sean McMahon – Down Hills Home, they were a huge influence on me, I always wanted to be in a band like that, and now we’re really good friends with those guys, but I was a fan first. My friends now are really my contemporaries and my inspiration as well; they’re all in bands, most of them. And I think it’s a really special thing to be part of – in Melbourne, anyway. I’m not sure why it’s a little different in Sydney – it’s certainly a lot harder to get people to come to the shows in Sydney. But I feel like it’s sort of getting better, but I’m not from there so I can’t really say.

The country music communities in New South Wales are really on the Central Coast and an alt-country community northern NSW.

Is that Maitland and areas like that, or do you mean further up – Mullumbimby?

Yes – Mullum and Bangalow. I’m thinking of Matt Henry, who puts together Late Night Alt at Tamworth, and Lou Bradley and others. And that community seems to take in Brisbane as well, so those guys all know each other, and that’s not unlike what’s happening in Melbourne in terms of collaboration and cooperation and support. But let’s move on and talk about your band and how your band started.

My wife is a musician as well – her name’s Tracy McNeil. She was on the same circuit and I was in a band called The Idle Hoes a few years ago and we used to play a lot in Melbourne. And then my writing partner in that band decided he didn’t want to push and take it any further, and his partner had a baby, and I could see that it was dissipating, but I still had all these songs that I really wanted to get out there to play with a band. And I was miserable and Tracy said, ‘You’ve got to put a band together and play these songs, so you can get them out and get them down’. She had a gig coming up, and she said, ‘Why don’t you put a band together and do the support?’ So I frantically put together a band of guys I knew through music who are the guys who are still in the band now, and we sort of really didn’t even have a name – we might have just settled on it just before we played. But it was Raised by Eagles – a friend of mine gave me that name. We were signing CDs for The Idle Hoes and he was giving us all nicknames and he looked at me and just wrote on the CD, Raised by Eagles, and I loved that name, even though I got it from my furrowed, brooding brow, I think. And so it stuck, and I thought, I’ll call the band Raised by Eagles for now and, as usually happens, those things tend to stick, and it did, and that’s kind of how we got started. Then we recorded that first album really slowly, no pressure, we were just going into the studio and plugging away at it for a few months, and that turned into the debut record. We released it and it ended up doing really well. So it’s just led to all of this, really.

You have a day job, as a lot of musicians do, and then there’s not just the recording of

the music but the business of music too. And you’re the main songwriter. I presume that’s out of desire and not necessity that you write the songs?

Definitely. That comes first, really, before everything else. It’s all really driven by desire and what’s necessary to have money so you can eat and pay the rent, so the day job is the necessity part, and the music and the writing is the desire to be an artist and to play music, really. I have friends who don’t have day jobs and they’re doing it really hard, and it’s really hard to be a musician and not have some other kind of income that isn’t just from music, just so you can pay the rent and have a heater and have hot water and all that kind of stuff. It’s hard, because I feel like I’m just waiting around – and have been for years – for one to consume the other and hoping that’ it’s going to be music and it’s starting to happen that way, but at the same time that’s a bit scary. You’ve got to start taking some risks and letting go of some financial comforts so that you can really the time to do what you’ve always dreamed of doing. It gets to this point where it can be a bit scary, I guess, because you get used to making some money.

The time that work takes up obviously detracts from time spent on creative work but sometimes there’s an argument for the structure of a paid job even if it’s a part-time paid job, and about the structure and security of an income facilitating that creative work, because sometimes when everything’s loaded onto the creative work – when that’s responsible for bringing in income as well as fulfilling dreams and other things – that can be too much pressure on that work. Everyone’s different, though – all creators are different. Some people like that structure of the day job and using a different part of the brain.

I agree. It’s all about finding that balance, which I haven’t actually found yet. I’m trying to do everything at the moment and it’s really quite all consuming, but as you said I know friends who just do music and they don’t have a day job or anything else, and they’ve told me that the time that I spend at work is time that mostly they just spend sitting around wondering what to do with themselves anyway. A lot of artists can be quite self-destructive and if you’re not given routine you can fall to self-destructive behaviours. I know that I’m pulled in that direction when I’m given too much time on my hands. It’s all about how you balance, but you need to have enough time to write and record and tour and all that kind of stuff. Those jobs that allow you to do all of that are few and far between and you’re really lucky if you’ve struck that balance, but I’m still working towards it, that’s for sure.

One of the reasons why Australian country music is so special and vibrant is that it springs from storytelling, whereas a lot of the American country music we hear most of seems to be less about that now. Australian country music, even if it’s quite commercial, still springs from this desire by the artist to communicate a story or information, or connect with their audience. I wonder if you’re a singer-songwriter and you’re in the bubble of not being out in the world every day – if you’re not working or doing other things that connect you to people – if that has an impact on the sorts of stories that you tell and your ability to tell them.

Definitely. You need to be experiencing so that you can have things to write about. It’s funny that you said that our album makes you feel nostalgic because I feel like I write from the past, basically, not really now or the future or anything like that. It’s a bit scary because if you’re busy all the time with the one thing or a day job or a routine that isn’t particularly varied you feel like you might be running out of material. I get scared of that sometimes, that I’m just going to end up making songs up out of necessity. I feel like the music in America, though – commercially, I know what you’re saying, but there’s still a lot of great country music or Americana coming out of that place that still holds the storytelling very dear. All my favourite bands, and where we try to write from, is all about stories and poetry and turning those into songs. That’s what all great country music was. It’s a real shame to think that’s disappearing out of the genre; I would hate to see that happen. I guess that’s why the coined the term ‘alt country’ because I feel like that part of the music is where the good stories are, so maybe that’s why it’s called ‘alternative country’ because commercial country aren’t telling the real stories. What’s commercial country music about? Driving down the road, going to make your girlfriend …

[Laughs] What’s interesting to me is that Americana is a specific sub-genre of country music in the US but in Australia I still see a lot of the really big acts still engaging in proper storytelling, whereas in the US those big stars are, yes, driving down the road and so on. Troy Cassar-Daley is still telling stories. For me it’s always really stark at Tamworth, to see who gets the crowds. It’s such a diversity of stories and songs and it is that which unites the audience – they want the stories.

That’s good to hear. We haven’t played Tamworth – I haven’t even been to the festival – and everyone’s telling us now that that’s crazy and that we need to get up there. It’s nice to hear that it has that vibe still. Down here, to tell you the truth, I’ve always felt like Tamworth was the mecca of commercial country in Australia, so it’s nice to hear that it’s not.

I feel now that it’s a very powerful creative hub that lasts the rest of the year, to the extent that I reckon someone should do a PhD on the influence of Tamworth on creative relationships in Australia. So many people I’ve talked to either meet a producer there or a band member there or a songwriter they work with, and those relationships spin out through the rest of the year. Then they come back together again in January and those relationships become other relationships. There’s a lot of excitement in Tamworth now and it’s people your age and his age, slightly older and slightly younger, who have respect for the traditions of country music, who love it, who love telling stories and just want to get up there and play. And that’s a new wave of country reaching its crest now. So even if you were to go to Tamworth as a punter, or to play, it would be an amazing experience.

Sophie, I’m sold! I’d love to do it with the band. I’d love people to hear the band if I could get that happening. I love playing solo – there’s quite a sense of freedom to that – but I’d love to get up there with the band.

Interview: Steve Eales

Steve Eales will be familiar to many country music fans as the lead singer and main songwriter of Sovereign. Flying solo since then, Steve’s latest album is The Open Road. Steve took some time recently to talk about songwriting, mysterious guitars and road testing songs.

Congratulations on the release of your album. An album takes such a long time and effort and thought and energy, I was wondering if it now feels like a relief that it’s out or do you now move into planning a tour and thinking about the next album?

It’s actually the latter. I’m in a constant state of writing and recording, because you constantly get inspired. As a songwriter there’s something or a predicament or an environment or some personality that’s influencing you and inspiring you, so I’m constantly writing and being inspired that way and in order to keep it fresh I record in some kind of fashion. So I’ve got this huge catalogue of songs that are ready to go for the next album and even the one after that.

When you get ideas – some people might sing a line into their iPhone, but do you go in and properly bed down a track with a guitar or something else?

It’s a different way every time. I’ve got ideas that I’ve sung into my phone. I’ve got riffs that are just a guitar riff that I’ll play over and over. If I go back through songs that I listen to on the album I can remember how every song was seeded – I can remember how I came up with that riff and it reminded me of that thing I was thinking that day. So it’s different every time. If a song wants to come out, if it wants to be a thing somewhere in the world, then it’s going to come out. It’s a weird thing. It’s not like you intellectually sit down and think, I’m writing a song now, and then you come up with something. I think if you did that you’d end up with a really poor-quality product. For want of a better word it’s more spiritual – or emotional, I guess, that’s the best way to describe it.

It sounds very much as if you exist in a state of constant creative flow. A lot of people struggle to get to that state and often it’s because they’re trying to make that intellectual decision that they want to write something or they need to write something, but that’s the wrong way to go about it. Whereas it sounds like you’re open to the stories and the songs that come to you and that’s why they can continually come, because you’re not trying to force them.

You’ve nailed it there. It gets to the stage with me where I’ll say [to a song], ‘I’m not ready for you to come out yet – you can just stay in there a bit longer’, rather than sit down and wrack my brain and try to come up with a word that rhymes with ‘hay’, you know. I don’t do that. I used to stress about it – I used to think, How am I going to construct this song? And I would listen to other people’s music and wonder, How did they write? What did they do? And I guess it’s probably a good way of getting your grounding as a songwriter, but I’m at the stage now where there’s so much going on inside of me and anything could come out at any time that I’ve got to control what comes out, to the point where I will half-write some songs and think, That’s going nowhere, and I won’t let the rest of it out.

At what point in your life did this start? Because for some people this point will never arrive. Is it something you’ve had since childhood?

Yes, it is – it’s something I’ve had since childhood. When I grew up – my dad is heavily into the church, he’s actually now an ordained minister. But I remember way back in the day a friend of mine – who was much older than I was – was getting piano lessons and he was sitting around this organ playing some tunes, and I would make him go over the same thing over and over again because I was getting lyrics and melodies forming in my mind and I was humming and singing them along. I probably would have been seven or eight years old.

Has it always felt like a gift, to be able to do that, or has it sometimes felt like a burden?

Interesting question. I used to be a carpenter back in the day and I can remember hanging upside down from the rafters on one particular job – I was three stories up – and I was trying to handle a power saw and I’ve got lyrics going through my head and I cannot focus on what I’m supposed to be doing. My mind just would not stay on the job. And I’ve had similar experiences when I’ve – I love playing sport, and I’ve got some ability, but I have never been any good because I don’t have the focus that you need to be a great athlete, simply because I’ve got music inside of me all the time. It just pours out, basically.

Did you grow up around music?

Not really. We had a piano in the house that we weren’t allowed to touch. We’d wait until Mum left the room to see if the lid was locked. But no one ever played it. And there was a guitar that was kept in a canvas bag behind the couch. No one was allowed to touch that either. So there were instruments there but nobody played.

So where did they come from, these mystery instruments?

I had this guitar – I’ve recently just given it away. It was literally a priceless guitar. It was a handmade Spanish guitar that’s over a hundred years old, that ended up in our family probably before I was even born, from a friend of my dad’s who used to do a few burglaries. He ended up getting locked up and he stashed a whole heap of stuff around different people’s places and my dad ended up with this guitar. Now Dad has never known if this guitar belonged to the guy or the guy ripped it off from someone else, but when this friend of his got out of jail Dad said, ‘I’m sorry, mate, I can’t have you round my family’, but he didn’t want the [guitar] back either. So it stayed in the family for years. I think that’s the reason we were never allowed to get it out and play it. But I remember being about two or three years old and sticking my hand up inside the broken zip and pulling on the strings to make a noise.

That guitar sounds like it deserves a song of its own.

Yeah, well, I named it Matilda and I’ve written heaps of songs on it, but I recently passed it on to another family member.

Back to the album – the first single, ‘Cos I’m Country’, was about living in the country, but I’m wondering if it also applied to your musical tastes. Having said that, the song ‘Love it When it Rocks’ suggests that you’ve never been just strictly country.

Well, that’s true. When I wrote ‘Cos I’m Country’, that’s more about the actual life of living on the farm rather than being country music. Country music has such a broad brush these days, when you swipe something with the country music sound it could be anything from Slim to Big & Rich, for instance, that have a rock and rap in their songs. So that song’s not really about the country style, that’s more about growing up on the farm and having the ethics of a farmer passed down from son to son, not just the skills of farming the land but actually ‘this is why we live in the country, this is why we do what we do’. Whereas ‘Love it When it Rocks’ is, when I’m playing live and I’ve got a couple of hundred or a thousand people in front of me who just want to move their feet, there are some types of songs that I can’t play because they’re, like, ‘Will you hurry up? We want to dance’. So there are some songs that I’ve got to bring out for that kind of environment, and that’s what ‘Love it When it Rocks’ is all about – not everything is going to be a country ballad.

On your album the ballads are really lovely. When I heard them I thought we don’t get a lot of ballads. A lot of alt country albums, the songs are a slower tempo and you can’t really classify a lot of them as ballads. On a lot of country rock or country pop the pace stays really upbeat or the slower songs are really melancholy so they don’t have that ballad feel – they can feel like a dirge sometimes. So you obviously like that balance of ballad and up-tempo yourself.

You do. There used to be a time when you’d buy an album and you’d like two or three songs, and then you’d put up with the rest or they’d grow on you. I don’t think that belongs in today’s era. Most people will say, ‘I like that song so I’m just going to download it and the rest of it I don’t like’. So now the challenge is there for artists – if you’re going to put out an album with twelve songs on it, all twelve of them have to be a song that people want. You can’t think you’ll pad out this album with some stuff that doesn’t really matter. You can’t do that any more.

It’s a lot of pressure, though, isn’t it? Part of the beauty of an album is to have that ability to have it telling a story across the whole work, but when you’re thinking that people are perhaps accessing just one song at a time, the entire story needs to be in that one song and whatever you’re trying to convey to a listener has to come across in that one song.

You’re right – every song has to encapsulate the thought that inspired you to write the song and if you are smart enough or it just happens to work that way, all the songs on the album will sort of tie in to a similar theme. And that happened when I brought the Battler album out: every song was a handshake to the next song or somewhere on the album it sort of belonged. And the next album I brought out – This is the Life – was more about, ‘I don’t want to be boxed in to only sound like this sound’ or ‘Don’t think that I’m just that kind of muso’. So the album was eclectic as far as styles go. I had 1920s, 1930s style swing songs on there as well as the country ballad and country pop sound. This album is a little more mature – I’m not trying to prove anything like I did on the previous album. Now I’m putting the songs on that I’ve road tested and I know people want to hear.

Although I would think it’s a bit of a comfort to know that you have a vault of songs – as you said, you’ve been banking them up. So you can go to the vault if you need a song.

That’s true, too – I’ve got so many that I can just say, ‘Hang on, this song doesn’t exactly fit on this album – let’s try that one over there’, knowing that that song works in front of a crowd as well, because one of the most important things is to write a song, get familiar with it so you’re comfortable playing it, and then slip it into a live show and see what people’s reactions are. You can’t do that on the bigger shows but every now and again I do some more intimate pub-type gigs where it’s laidback or sitting on a stool and I’ve got good crowd reaction going on, so I explain that this is a new song I’ve just written. If people are tuning out and just talking amongst themselves, I know it’s not going to be any good on an album either. I haven’t got a good enough hook.

Has there ever been a song you’ve really loved and you’ve road tested it like that and it’s gone down like a lead balloon?

Yes, it’s happened a lot [laughs].

I suppose if you write a lot of songs then you’re less attached to each song than if you didn’t write many at all, but does it still hurt?

I don’t really feel hurt. The best way of describing it is that if I was to assume that the gift of music was a gift for me I would probably have that approach – ‘well, you people just don’t know what you’re listening to, it’s a great song’. Once you get through your skull that the gift of music is for everybody else and you’re the conduit for it, then it kind of brings things back into perspective where it’s, like, ‘okay, this song may be for another era or it may never come out’. But the reality is that you’re playing for people’s pleasure. You bring it back to the basics – what is a song? If somebody buys a song from you, what are they buying? It’s not like they can take it home in their hand. Or if they come to a show they can’t stick it in their pocket and take it home. They’re not taking anything. It’s an emotion, it’s a feeling, it’s an idea. And if people can’t connect with that on a level that affects them, then either you haven’t done your job properly or it’s not a good enough concept or melodically it’s not sound. You haven’t allowed the gift to develop properly.

That’s a great way to put it. I also love the idea of the song not being in the right time or of the right time. That’s a very philosophical way to see creative work. But I think we’ve already established that that’s how you approach it anyway.

That was a trial-and-error thing. I’ve got songs on the first album that I brought out with Sovereign, back in 2000, that would be better now. They’re good songs – they’re great songs – but they didn’t make it as a single, they were like a B side, whereas the music now has caught up.

I’m going to ask one last question: the album is called The Open Road – what are your plans for taking it on the open road?

That’s a good question [laughs]. I’m always on the road. Pretty much every weekend I’m out gigging somewhere. And the plan is for the second half of the year to take the Open Road band and album up the eastern coast and then down through the centre.

Given that Tamworth gigs get booked quite far ahead, are you thinking of Tamworth already?

Definitely. I haven’t been to Tamworth since 2008. I’ve been in the [United] States pretty much every year or on tour somewhere else in the country, so yes, definitely.

Carl Conner – Columbia 15076-D

Carl Conner / Columbia 15076-D
Jones And Bloodworth Case / Story Of Gerald Chapman
recorded April 23, 1926 in Atlanta, Georgia
Here`s another artist that recorded only one disc. I have no information about Mr. Conner. Both of the songs are topical type songs about murders. I haven`t done an internet search about the cases, I doubt it`d be too difficult to read about these cases.

Click here to download Carl Conner – Columbia 15076-D

Grandpa Jones – The Man From Kentucky

Here`s a neat Grandpa Jones LP, all the tracks are taken from the old color Gannaway “Country Show” TV show from the early 1950`s. For most Grandpa Jones fans there`s not going to be anything new on this LP, but it`s a good one just the same.

Click here to download Grandpa Jones – The Man From Kentucky

The Bill Ring Show – #25&26

Here we go with the next “episode”—

Show #25—
1. Countrified – Bill Ring
2. Panhandle Rag – Doc Martin
3. Forever And Always – Slim Wilson & The Tall Timber Trio
4. Boquet Of Roses – Bill Ring
5. Detour – Speedy Haworth
6. Little Children, Hope Of The World – Bill Ring

Show #26—
1. Nothing Is As Sweet As My Baby – Bill Ring
2. Red Wing – Speedy Haworth
3. Midnight – Sally Briggs
4. I Traded A Heart Full Of Love – Bill Ring
5. Leaf Of Love – Doc Martin
6. Remember Me, I`m The One That Loves You – Bill Ring

Click here to download The Bill Ring Show – #25&26

SUNDAY, MARCH 29, 2015

Wright Brotheres complete Columbia recordings

Wright Brothers Quartet / Columbia 15402-D
God`s Message To Man / What A Glad Day
recorded April 17, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia
Here`s another group I know nothing about. Interesting they call theirselves “brothers” when there is obviously a woman`s voice in the mix. They sound like what I`d imagine hearing at a country church at the time. The mandolin is kind of a neat sound for them. I think all the songs would have been common at the time in Stamps Baxter type song books, which would have been commonly found in country churches then, as now.

Wright Brothers Quartet /  Columbia 15587-D
Mother Is With The Angels / Somebody`s Boy
recording information same as above

Click here to download Wright Brothers Quartet complete Columbia recordings

The Bill Ring Show – #23&24

Here we are with the next episode!

Track list show #23—
1. Hillbilly Rhythm – Bill Ring
2. I`m Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes – Doc Martin
3. Headed For The Open Range – Slim Wilson and The Tall Timber Trio
4. Kentucky Waltz – Bill Ring
5. Mud Hut – Speedy Haworth
6. Isn`t He Wonderful – Bill Ring

Track list show #24—
1. Free Home Demonstration – Bill Ring
2. Skiddly Boo – Speedy Haworth
3. Dreams – Sally Briggs
4. You`re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You – Bill Ring
5. My Adobe Hacienda – Doc Martin
6. Don`t Ever Take The Ribbon From Your Hair – Bill Ring

Click here to download The Bill Ring Show – #23&24

Andy Griffith – Just For Laughs

Here`s a little countrified comedy. Any Griffith`s comedy on albums kind of reminds me of some of Archie Campbell`s material. One thing they both did was to make a story out of a country boy seeing something in the city for the first time that he`s never saw or heard of before. Here, Andy Griffith describes a football game, Archie Campbell done a hockey game. I wonder which had the idea first, or if either one even wrote the story on their own, or borrowed it elsewhere. Anyhow… happy listening!

Click here to download Andy Griffith – Just For Laughs

THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2015

Elry Cash – complete Columbia recordings

Elry Cash / Columbia 15399-D
My Old New Hampshire Home / Won`t You Come Back To Me
recorded April 18, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia
Sorry, I have no information on Elry Cash. My Old New Hampshire Home is an old “left my love in my hometown” type love song. Won`t You Come Back To Me is familiar to me as a Riley Puckett song similar to this under a different title that I can`t bring to mind at the moment.

Elry Cash / Columbia 15457-D
Then My Love Began To Wane / When You`re In The Graveyard And I`m Away Downtown In Jail
recorded same as above
Both tunes on this disc are sort of a comedy love songs.

Click here to download Elry Cash – complete Columbia recordings

The Leverette Bros. – Lonesome Mandolin

Here`s a pretty neat LP. These guys are sort of in the style of the 1930`s brothers acts, but are also entertainers with comedy and broom playing. I`m not going to try to tell you about playing the broom, just download the music and check out the LP pictures. Happy downloading!

Click here to download The Leverett Bros. – Lonesome Mandolin

The Bill Ring Show – #21&22

Here`s the next Bill Ring Show. Enjoy!

Track list show #21—
1. 12th Street Rag – Bill Ring
2. Fireball Mail – Doc Martin
3. Sparkling Blue Eyes – Slim Wilson and The Tall Timber Trio
4. Crybaby Heart – Bill Ring
5. Hubcap Roll – Speedy Haworth
6. Peace In The Valley – Bill Ring

Track list show #22—
1. Texas – Bill Ring
2. Speedin` West – Speedy Haworth
3. Guess I`ll Be Leaving – Sally Briggs
4. It`s A Sin – Bill Ring
5. Monotonous – Doc Martin
6. That Pioneer Mother Of Mine – Bill Ring

Click here to download The Bill Ring Show – #21&22

SUNDAY, MARCH 8, 2015

The Bailes Brothers – Early Radio Favorites

The Bailes Brothers were a brother group that were most well known in the early and mid 1940`s. I believe there were as many as five brothers and they played music with different combinations of brothers and also as more than one group of Bailes Brothers (sounds confusing!). They sang in a style that could be said to sound Roy Acuff-ish and sang many Acuff songs. They have sort of an intense sound with their harmonies and use it to good effect, especially on “moral message” songs. They didn`t have the polished sound of the popular brother groups of the 1930`s. They recorded off and on on up into the 1980`s as solo acts and different brother combinations. Give it a listen and enjoy!

Click here to download The Bailes Brothers – Early Radio Favorites

Canadian Artists

The definition of an artist is wide-ranging and covers a broad spectrum of activities inclusive of forming, practicing or demonstrating a creative work. The word “art,” derived from the Latin “ars,” means “skill, method, technique, or craft,” is understood not in the functional aspect of the object created, but in its beauty. During the Middle Ages, the idea of the artist already existed in some European countries, but the meaning was something resembling craftsman for both the utility of the objects and their attractiveness. An artist was considered someone who was able to do a given work better than others, so the skill at the activity was underlined, rather than the activity itself.

 

In present day, the word “artist” is a descriptive term applied to a person who engages in an activity deemed to be an art, such as sculpture. An artist can also be defined as, “a person who expresses themselves through a medium,” such as bronze. The word “artist” has a qualitative meaning – in the sense that people who use imagination, talent, or skill to create works with real aesthetic value are artists.

 

Art historians and critics define artists as those who produce art within a recognized or recognizable discipline; these disciplines are extensive and include forms such as dance, painting, or even bronze sculpture.

 

Artists are often associated with particular societies and their cultures. In Canadian culture, artists enhance and define the value of the country they live in and are held in esteem as national symbols of greatness. The presence of the works of “great masters” in museums all over the world helps nations to further their influence. In this sense, all the works of these artists will become “public” within their nationality. Recognized Canadian artists uphold a certain status and are considered ambassadors. Examples of famous modern Canadian artists include:

  • AA Bronson (mixed media)
  • Ken Danby (painter)
  • Nina Raginsky (photographer), and
  • Brett Davis (sculptor)

These are but a few stellar examples of modern artists who will join other renowned artists such as the Group of Seven, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Frances Loring, and Walter Seymour Allward in their Canadian iconic status in the annals of time.

 

In the case of Brett Davis, his uniqueness comes from his understanding and mastery of the bronze medium. He understands the importance of art within the community and has worked to integrate site-specific bronze sculptures and bronze water features into the landscape designs. His art is also displayed in the form of public monuments to immortalize a significant person, family or historic event; monuments that have become landmarks in the community and have been key in the promotion of culture and tourism. He is a Canadian artist who you can further explore on his main website at www.ageofbronze.ca.

A Different Kind of Entertainment

Almost three months ago, I received an e-mail out-of-the-blue from a sweet woman named Joy. Joy “knew” me from my blog, and she said she had an oak entertainment armoire she was willing to give me if I thought I could do something with it (she had been unable to sell it).

Umm…free furniture? Yes, please!

CWTS

Yep, that was three months ago. Even though I knew almost immediately what I wanted to do with it, it was a BIG project (the armoire is over 7 feet tall), and it took alot to get me motivated to tackle it (enter Crafting with the Stars, Round 2).

Of course, the reason these entertainment centers are virtually unsaleable is that the new TVs don’t fit in the same spaces. So here you have a perfectly good piece of solid wood furniture with beautiful moldings, lights, and leaded glass panels, and no one wants it.

Well, I thought, what if it housed a different kind of entertainment?

I envisioned this armoire repurposed as a sewing cabinet, or maybe one which would house a computer (those are two of my favorite forms of entertainment at least).

The first step was to build a big box that would fill the open space in the armoire. I had a friend help me (OK, it was really the other way around…WAY around) with this part. The idea was to have a pull-out shelf at working height, so all the other measurements were secondary to that.

CWTS2

Look, it fits! Always such a relief.

The other “building” part of the project involved the top drawer. See all those nice plastic dividers? They were meant to hold VHS tapes—remember those?

baby 010

There were no sides for the drawer, so some spare plywood was used to create the sides and a back.

Next step was to remove the leaded glass. I wasn’t a big fan of the brassy gold trim, so I used Rub n Buff in pewter and black to stain the metal. (And my fingers.)

CWTS3

Then—I removed all the hardware for sanding, priming, and painting! Did I mention this armoire is HUGE? And I couldn’t ignore the inside of this piece. EVERY SURFACE had to be painted. That’s in addition to EVERY SURFACE of the insert!

CWTS1

The exception was the crown and base molding. My friend suggested that those be sanded down and stained dark, and of course this is a look I love. It was a MAJOR ORDEAL to sand it all down! …but I did it.

CWTS4

You may notice that I had already primed before I tackled the moldings. I covered them with plastic wrap and painter’s tape to protect them during painting.

The upper display cabinet was backed by a mirror, but Emily from Décor Chicksuggested that I cover it with beadboard to cut down on funky reflections. Since I had already planned on backing the main cabinet with beadboard, it sounded great to me! Especially since then I could ignore trying to keep the mirror clean (I would never have succeeded anyway).

SewingArmoire 017

I used Liquid Nails to adhere the beadboard directly to the mirror. It helps to use a spatula tool to spread a thin, even layer over the whole back of the beadboard.

SewingArmoire 018

Then I balanced precariously on a chair and held it in place and prayed and held it in place and taped it and held it in place and prayed some more. Sorry, no pictures of that…my photographers have to go to school sometime!

I also thought a “working” armoire needed a chair to go along with it. I have three chairs in my garage that were a curbside find—would you believe they actually match my kitchen chairs??—except they’re pretty well thrashed (mine are only a little bit thrashed). But hey, that means less sanding for me!

SewingArmoire 019

I painted a chair first green (to match the insert), and then in the same creamy white as the armoire. To give the chair a little more pizzazz, I used my tried-and-true overhead projector method to paint a vintage French advertisement that says something about corsets (it appealed to my sense of humor). I got the graphic fromThe Graphics Fairy.

I distressed the chair to show some of the green underneath, and glazed the whole thing.

Whew! So are you ready to see the end product?

collage1Wr

Two functioning drawers, lined with a pretty botanical paper…

SewingArmoire 027

A completely extendable shelf (we used this slide from Rockler).

SewingArmoire 032

Chalkboard cupboard doors (these actually retract into the cabinet so you don’t get claustrophobic while you’re sewing/blogging). One side will be a magnet board when I can get some sheet metal cut for it.

SewingArmoire 048

A beautiful lighted display cabinet (that was fun to stage)…

SewingArmoire 035

An integrated work light and a power strip (found at Lowe’s)…

CWTS5

And of course the chair.

SewingArmoire 038

So, what do you think?

collage2

Would this be your kind of entertainment center?

IMG_3152v_1

 

Dresser to Entertainment Center

Hi all!  I know I have been a bad blogger this month with only 1-2 posts a week and I am sorry for that but I have been busy working in the shop on furniture makeovers.  The blog is the first thing that gets neglected when I get busy with work.  My house cleaning duties are second…we won’t talk about the laundry that sat on the end of my bed for more than a few days.  This week will be better!  The house is clean and blog posts are already written!

Today, I have a quick look at a dresser I turned into an entertainment center.

A repeat customer found an amazing Thomasville, solid wood, 9 drawer dresser and wanted it turned into an entertaiment center.  I love projects like this.

Here is the before shot.  And yes, I know this is a bad picture.  And yes, its the only one I have.  Again, bad blogger.

Here is the after.  The client is getting new knobs for the top drawers and doors.  I’ll get her to take a picture when the entertainment center is set up and I’ll update this post.

 

So pretty.  I love this color and can’t wait to see it in it’s new home.

I hope everyone has a great Monday!  Safe travels and shopping to everyone getting out today.

Entertainment Center Furniture

Some Products pages may be in the process of being updated & any items pictured usually represent only a small fraction of the inventory available at our warehouse, so contact us at 917-776-5743 or 718-567-0155 for more product options
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#CCC1 – 700280 TV Stand
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#CCC2 –  700281 TV Stand
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#CCC3 – 700290 TV Stand
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#CCC4 – 700291 TV Stand
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#CCC5 – 700321 Dark Brown TV Console
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#CCC6 – 700609 Transitional Media Console with Doors and Shelves
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#CCC7 – 700610 Transitional Media Console with Doors and Shelves
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#CCC8 – 700611 Contemporary Metal and Glass Media Console
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#CCC9 – 700612 Contemporary Metal and Glass Media Console
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#CCC10 – 700615 Casual Contemporary Media Console with Bracket
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#CCC11 – 700617 Casual Contemporary Metal Media Console with Bracket
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#CCC12 – 700619 Transitional Media Cosole with Doors and Shelves
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#CCC13 – 700636 Classic Media Console with Doors and Shelves
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#CCC14 – 700644 Contemporary Media Console with Shelves and Drawers
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#CCC15 – 700645 Contemporary Media Console with Shelves and Drawers
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#CCC16 – 700647 Contemporary Media Console with Glass Doors
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#CCC17 – 700649 Contemporary Media Console with Shelves and Drawers
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#CCC18 – 700112 Modern TV Console
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#CCC19 – 700113 Modern TV Console
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#CCC20 – 700133 Mission Style Media Console with Doors and Drawers
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#CCC21 – 700231 TV Console with Doors and Shelves
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#CCC22 – 700650 Contemporary TV Console with CONNECT-IT Power Drawer-RTA
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#CCC23 – 700649 Contemporary Media Console with Shelves and Drawers
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#CCC24 – 700656 Transitional Media Console with Glass Doors
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#CCC25 – 700657 Transitional Media Console with Glass Door
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#CCC26 – 700658 Fullerton Transitional Corner Media Unit with Glass Doors
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#CCC27 – 700659 Transitional Media Console with Glass Doors and Shelves
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#CCC28 – 700664 Contemporary Metal and Glass Media Console

Kids’ Kitchen Entertainment Center

I was surfing some craft site that let people show off their crafts when I stumbled upon the best idea for reusing an old entertainment center(See here for the project that inspired me). When I moved to the new house, I no longer needed my entertainment center, so I worked on converting it to a child’s play kitchen.

My mother bought the cheapest store-bought play kitchen she could find for my nieces for Christmas for $80, but most are more than $150! Pretty pricey! I spent $6.22 for mine. (If you don’t have a stockpile of screws and such and an old entertainment center, it might cost a bit more. I would ask on freecycle or look in used furniture stores or garage sales for a TV center.)

First, I marked off the areas that I wanted to paint white. I painted the sink, stove, fridge and oven door area white. I used masking tape to keep the paint from straying off onto areas I did not want painted. Paint was leftover house paint from the previously owned house. I then took a peice of scrap drywall (Could use plywood or cardboard) and nailed it into the back of the unit so there was no hole and a place to put my “window” and painted that white as well.

Paint job – $0

Then I had to find a faucet. The cheapest at Lowe’s was $15, didn’t want to pay that much; found a sink and faucet at a thrift store for $2.oo. Later when I bought my new house I had extra faucets galore. Now, I would probably ask on freecycle first. I bought a small steel mixing bowl at the thrift store for $.25 for the sink. I got out my hubby’s jigsaw and cut a circle just slightly smaller than the bowl to let the bowl lip sit on the wood and then used my hubby’s cordless screwdriver and hole saw bits to make three holes for the faucet pipes to sit through and used the nut to fasten on the faucet. I bought an old dish drainer at a thrift store for $.25. Leftover washed soap container and scrubbie that I got for Christmas went to complete the sink.

Sink with real turning faucet- $2.50

Next was the stove. This was a bit tricky. Stove knobs were pricey too. So I went to a place that sold used appliances and asked if they had any old stove knobs. They did; they were pretty bent from whoever tried to pry them off and one knob of the set was missing, but they gave them to me for free. The burners are four Folgers Coffee Lids that I cut small “burner hole strips” to make it resemble an electric element burner. Underneath where I attached them with a screw to the TV center, I painted the surface red to make it look like it was on fire. My hubby drilled a hole through the top of the knobs and attached them to the TV center with a screw. Then he filed off the tip so there was no sharp edge projecting below the stove. Bought a tiny skillet from thrift store for $.25.

Stove with turning knobs – $.25

 

For the Window/Wall area, I took some leftover wall paper trim and glued it behind the sink. For the Stove Console, I painted it black. When it dried, I painted on a green digital clock. For the window, I had a broken mirror frame left over from the previous tenants that I used to make the window frame. For the outdoor scene, I used tempera paints and my imagination. To make the cross hatches for the window panes, I first layed out masking tape in the area, painted the whole scene and then tore off the masking tape to take away the paint “behind” the window frame. I made curtains out of an old Victoria Secret nightgown just by cutting the gown into two rectangles and straight sewing a hem at the top which I threaded through with yarn. I attached the yarn to the top edge of the picture frame so that the curtains could slide open and closed. I placed two nails at the top right and top left of the painted window and hung the window frame on it.
For the Towel Ring, I found this one at the dollar store. It was adhesive, so I just stuck it on there. I bought some $.97 adhesive hooks to hang up my pot holders. I found the potholders in the After Easter Walmart Clearance aisle for $1.00. I tore one apart and made it into a miniature pot holder mitten with my sewing machine. The matching towel was $.50.

Window Area with working curtains – $3.47

For the oven, I moved the hinges to the bottom, so the door would open down. I made a new hole for the doorknob at the top of the oven door. I filled the old doorknob hole with paint. All accomplished by a screwdriver and drill bits.

Oven – $0

For the sides, I hung one of the adhesive hooks to hold an apronthat I fashioned from an old skirt. And on the “pantry” side, I used ice cream buckets to organize kitchen accessories and attached a phone that I got from a thrift store on free day. I kept all my used spice containers and kitchen containers to help stock up the pantry.

Pantry with phone and apron – $0

One happy make-believe chef – Priceless

Paint Your Laminate Furniture

Thank you to Kirsten from 6th Street Design School for linking our library bookshelves on her blog yesterday. She is one talented designer and it was an honor to be on her blog!

When my husband and I were newlyweds we went to a furniture store and paid good money for our entertainment center which had cardboard backing with big holes in the back for wires. We were thrilled just to own furniture and I hadn’t been properly introduced into the world of thrift stores and seeing how furniture with a bit of paint or refinishing can make an older piece new again. However, the cardboard backing of the entertainment center always bothered me.The armoire in the middle hides away technology when you don’t want to see it, which is something I like. We decided to fix up what we had instead of go out to buy something new.

BEFORE: Fake blonde and cardboard

AFTER: A real looker!

 

 

Now there are no holes in the back that you can see since my husband and I put a bead board backing and drilled small holes in hide away spots.We also changed the hardware, which helped give it an updated look as well.


TUTORIAL ON PAINTING LAMINATE:
You really can paint laminate! Here’s what I did:

1. Lightly sand all surfaces.
2. Patch any area that might need it. We used patch to fill all the side holes, which makes the bookshelf look seamless. You’ll need to sand the area you work on if you do need to fill holes.

2. Use an oil based primer so it can really adhere to your laminate. This is the key to painting laminated wood. You will need to paint outdoors, or a well-ventilated area (this is the stinky stuff). I would use a paint brush of not great quality so that you could throw it away after the priming. Also, a spray primer is great if you are doing a smaller piece of furniture.  Jenny recently talked about a new BIN Zinsser primer that she used on an Ikea closet which had a lot of shellac. This is helpful information if you are painting anything from IKEA.The great thing about using an oil based primer is that once it dries you could start painting. You don’t need it to “cure” for a while like a water based primer.
3. Paint! Use any color your heart desires. Plan for about two coats of paint, making sure you leave time for it to dry. I used Creamy by Shermin Williams. The paint on the bead board is a mix of  colors we had in our paint supply store in the basement.
4. Poly coat it to make it scratch resistant and ready to stand up to the world.
5. Sit down and marvel at what you accomplished. Trust me- you’ll be thrilled with how some effort and paint can change the whole look of your out-dated furniture.

Our Painted Entertainment Center Reveal and How To!

Earlier this week I shared my favorite paint supplies, which was all in preparation for today’s post {and entertainment center reveal}.  I know there are a lot of friends out there that are looking to makeover a piece of thrifted or outdated piece of furniture, and are just having a hard time taking the plunge.  I think the first piece I ever painted, I did ALL wrong.  No primer.  Brush streaks and drips… but, I learned.  I learned that the next time I better do my research, lol.  And as much as I have done research on painting, I still feel like I grow a little more each time I do it. {If you are wondering how we painted our trim, cabinets and doors, you can check out that post here.}

For this project, this crazy big lovely Craigslist find was my victim.

We started out by taking everything off, removing shelves and cabinet doors…

And finding dust, Legos and Lincoln logs under and behind the piece that has been sitting for a year without being moved…

Step one is to wipe everything down to ensure there is no dust on the piece.

Because the piece itself was in great shape, I opted to skip the sanding step.  However, if you have a piece that has rough patches or imperfections, sanding is a good step to include.

I went straight to priming.  I really like Zinsser Cover Stain Oil Based Primer {and no, I didn’t get a dented can discount, I tried…}:

I use inexpensive brushes with the oil based primers, since they aren’t all that easy {or fun} to clean, and after a couple of uses, they typically end up being discarded.

Thin, even coats are key.  I start with the outside frame….

And then use a small foam roller for the larger, smooth surfaces:

Don’t panic when you prime and see brush marks.  This is OK with primer.  The photo above is a picture of our piece all finished up and drying the recommended time before we began coating with paint.

A quick sanding with a fine grit wedge in-between coats will also help with any imperfections you find {not sure which grit to use?  This will help you}.

For this project, I just ran to the local Ace Hardware and picked up some of their wall and trim paint:

I like to paint furniture in a satin finish and always use a latex enamel.  Again, just follow the instructions on the can as far as how often you can re-coat.

Speaking of, I did two coats on this project.  Nice, thin, even coats…

Coat 1:

Still streaky, but those streaks were completely M.I.A. after the second coat:

When it came to the cabinet doors, I forgot to photograph that process, but I did it just like I did with our kitchen cabinets…

Lay out drop cloths, place cabinet doors on 2×4’s and prime, sand and paint just like you do the other parts of the furniture piece.  Wait for the coats to cure before flipping and repeating on the other side.

In the photo above, you could see how I used the painters tape to tape out the new blue backdrop, which took not one…

Home Entertainment with Glade

Thank you Glade for sponsoring this post. Feel Glade’s Blooming Peony & Cherry and scents from the Limited Edition Spring Collection, Poppy Groove and Hello Spring!

Recently one of my girlfriends hosted a baby ‘sprinkle’ at our house with just a few of our closest friends in Florida. We made it a couples shower because I wanted to make sure Ryan and Braydon were fully involved with the celebrations! As you have seen on instagram we are doing a modern woodsy nursery. I will be posting pictures of the nursery next week, btw! We went with an outdoors theme for the nursery as well! Lots of owls, pinecones and greenery! I love how it turned out and my girlfriend did such a good job putting it all together! That being said, hosting a party in your house can be a little stressful trying to get the house spotless-just for people to come over and make a mess- as my husband would say but no one likes to have people into their home when they aren’t prepared. One of the things I did to prepare was place Glade candles and wax melts around the house to make sure it smelt fresh anywhere people went! We used the Hello Spring and Poppy Grove scents due to it being an outdoor theme and I wanted it to smell fresh, playful and green.

Film Distribution and Home Entertainment in 2015

There have been some very interesting articles recently predicting how consumers will be entertaining themselves five years from now.  The implications are significant.  Let me give you some highlights, and then make some quick comments.

– Displaybank, a consumer electronics research group predicts that sales of 3D televisions will grow by 91% this year, making up 3% of the world televisions by the end of the year.  The study projects there will be 83 million 3D displays in homes by the end of 2014.  That represents 31% of the world market.  Those are really huge numbers.

– GigaOM Pro is predicting that by 2015, 60% of the TV’s sold will have a direct internet connection.  This year, 3.7 million applications designed to be run on televisions will be downloaded.  However, by 2015, that number will grow to almost 1 billion!  That is an enormous number!

– The Los Angeles Times reports that Google is about ready to launch its Smart TV software that will allow consumers to navigate between TV, streaming content, home videos and any other number of media formats and sources.

– Last week, Hollywood studios won a ruling from the FCC that clears the way for streaming first run movies directly to consumers on the same day that they are opening in theaters.  (Businessweek’s coverage of the implications of that ruling is pretty good.)

You can see the trend here.  Conventional wisdom in 2010 says that within 5 years consumers will be fully connected and entertained without leaving their favorite chair.  The implications for our collective physical fitness are frightening.  But aside from that, what does it mean for the entertainment business?

Are theaters wasting money installing digital 3D systems and amazing sound?  Are consumers just going to buy a giant 3D TV and 7.1 surround system and watch everything at home?  Click the Domino’s app in the corner of their screens and have their favorite pizza show up in 30 minutes or less — for a fraction of the cost of popcorn and Coke at the cineplex?

Despite these projections, I don’t believe that the theater business is dead — but it is definitely facing some challenges.  On the one hand, I believe consumers experience a palpable excitement when watching a film in a dark room with a few hundred strangers, on a giant screen with seat-shaking sound.  And I think people will always want to get out of their house and “do something” other than watch TV.  Going to a movie is the primary way they fill that need.  But I also think that theaters have to work hard to continue to deliver a high-quality experience at the right price.

The problem is that the distributors who already take the bulk of the ticket price from the theaters may soon become direct competitors.  If the distributors make more money piping the film directly to consumers’ living rooms, then they have no incentive to help theater owners fill their seats.  That makes it very hard for theater owners to deliver a superior product at a reasonable price.

For the next few years. there will be a real wrestling match between theater owners and distributors and consumer electronics companies.  I think  Sony wins either way as it will continue to sell TV’s and distribute films.  But Regal and AMC are facing a much bigger challenge that might even result in another round of downsizing for those major chains.

I welcome some comments and other points of view.

Home entertainment system monitoring and auto switch off

I have few devices which are creating my home entertainment system:

  • NEC monitor (sometimes good monitor is better then TV)
  • Yamaha HTR-4065
  • PC Zotac
  • Evolveo DaulCoder DVB-T
  • XBOX 360

All those are connected to network via ethernet and there is some way to monitor or even to remotely control, lets start one by one:

DVB-T and PC

As you might know one of the easiest way to check if device is up or down would be to ping it, however in case of audio/video systems it’s bit hard because if they are in Standby mode they will answer to the ping.
In some cases I don’t even give the device permanent IP(DVB-T and PC). However there is the way to discover them via UPnP.

There is linux utility gssdp-discovery which use ssdp to discover UPnP capable device and as far as each device have unique identificator uuid we can check if device is running by checking if device is responding to ssdp discovery.

Below is small script which check based on uuid if device is running, which IP it was assigned and on which port UPnP is listening and record this to sqlite database.

#! /bin/bash

#test if device can be discovered using SSDP
#IMPORTANT return true if device is down
testUPnP()
{
  return `gssdp-discover -n 10 -t uuid:$1 | grep "resource available" | wc -l`
}

HFILE='/var/www/monitoring/device_upnp.list'
DBFILE='/var/www/judo.db'

if [[ -z $HFILE ]]
then
  echo "$HFILE doesn't exist"
  exit 1
fi

while read line
do
  uuid=$(echo "$line" | cut -d, -f5)
  mac=$(echo "$line" | cut -d, -f4)
  new_polls=1
  prev_status_polls=$(sqlite3 $DBFILE "SELECT cur_state,polls_in_state FROM dev_status WHERE mac = '$mac';")
  prev_status=$(echo "$prev_status_polls" | cut -d| -f1)
  prev_polls=$(echo "$prev_status_polls" | cut -d| -f2)

  #remeber testUPnP returns true if device is down
  if `testUPnP $uuid`
  then
    new_status="Down"
    if [ "$prev_status" == "Up" ]
    then
      sqlite3 $DBFILE "UPDATE devices SET ip = NULL, upnp_port = NULL WHERE mac = '$mac';"
    fi
  else
    new_status="Up"
    if [ "$prev_status" == "Down" ]
    then
      location=`gssdp-discover -n 10 -t uuid:$uuid | grep "Location:" | sed 's/ *Location: http:////g'| cut -d/ -f1 | sed 's////g'`
      echo "$location"
      ip=$(echo "$location" | cut -d: -f1)
      upnp_port=$(echo "$location" | cut -d: -f2)
      echo "$ip:$upnp_port"
      sqlite3 $DBFILE "UPDATE devices SET ip = '$ip', upnp_port = '$upnp_port' WHERE mac = '$mac';"
    fi
  fi

  if [ "$prev_status" == "$new_status" ]
  then
    new_polls=$((prev_polls + 1))
  fi
  sqlite3 $DBFILE "UPDATE dev_status SET cur_state = '$new_status', polls_in_state = '$new_polls' WHERE mac = '$mac';"
  echo "$uuid,$mac,$new_status,$prev_status,$new_polls"
done < ${HFILE}

 

Yamaha HTR-4065

Even though Yamaha have UPnP we will rather use YNC to get the status, because we also want to know which input is actually active. Below is python script which finds the status and input and store that in sqlite database.

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#! /usr/bin/python
import sqlite3
import sys
import httplib, urllib
import re
from xml.dom import minidom
from xml.parsers.expat import ExpatError
conn = httplib.HTTPConnection("10.0.0.36:80")
xml_req_power = '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?><YAMAHA_AV cmd="GET"><Main_Zone><Power_Control><Power>GetParam</Power></Power_Control></Main_Zone></YAMAHA_AV>'
xml_req_input = '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?><YAMAHA_AV cmd="GET"><Main_Zone><Input><Input_Sel>GetParam</Input_Sel></Input></Main_Zone></YAMAHA_AV>'
params = urllib.urlencode({'q': 'set'})
headers = { 'Content-Type': 'application/xml', "Content-Length": "%d" % len(xml_req_power)}
conn.request("POST", "/YamahaRemoteControl/ctrl", "", headers)
conn.send(xml_req_power)
xmldoc = minidom.parseString(conn.getresponse().read())
xml_input_element = xmldoc.getElementsByTagName('Power')
#print xml_input_element[0]
for node in xml_input_element:
  power_status = node.firstChild.nodeValue
conn.close()
#=================================
#Geting input
headers = { 'Content-Type': 'application/xml', "Content-Length": "%d" % len(xml_req_input)}
conn.request("POST", "/YamahaRemoteControl/ctrl", "", headers)
conn.send(xml_req_input)
#response = conn.getresponse()
#print response.status, response.reason
#response_data = response.read()
#print response_data
xmldoc = minidom.parse(conn.getresponse())
xml_input_element = xmldoc.getElementsByTagName('Input_Sel')
for node in xml_input_element:
  av_input = node.firstChild.nodeValue
conn.close()
print "StatusttAV Input"
print power_status + "tt" + av_input
select_query = "SELECT cur_state,polls_in_state,input FROM dev_status WHERE mac = '00:a0:de:92:6b:78';"
#print update_query
new_polls=1
judodb = sqlite3.connect('/var/www/judo.db')
cur = judodb.cursor()
rows = cur.execute(select_query)
for row in rows:
  prev_state = row[0]
  prev_polls = row[1]
  prev_input = row[2]
if prev_state == power_status and prev_input == av_input:
  new_polls = prev_polls + 1
print prev_state + "tt" + str(new_polls)
update_query = "UPDATE dev_status SET input = '" + av_input + "', cur_state = '" + power_status + "', polls_in_state = " + str(new_polls)  + " WHERE mac = '00:a0:de:92:6b:78'"
cur.execute(update_query)
judodb.commit()
judodb.close()

 

NEC

NEC responds to ping in Standby and of course don’t have UPnP, however the NEC remote control over ethernet let us find out the actual status.
Below python script check the status and store it in sqlite database.

?
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#! /usr/bin/python
import sys
import socket
import sqlite3
monitor_ip = '10.0.0.35'
port = 7142
buffer_size = 2048
data_on = 'x01x30x41x30x41x30x36x02x30x31x44x36x03x74x0d'
new = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
new.connect((monitor_ip, port))
new.send(data_on)
data = ''
#message is split over several packets so need to get all content, message we expect have 25bytes
packet = new.recv(buffer_size)
data += packet
while len(data) < 25 or not packet:
   packet = new.recv(buffer_size)
   data += packet
new.close()
#Reponse OFF
#00AB120200D60000040004q
#Response ON
#00AB120200D60000040001t
off_response = b'x30x30x41x42x31x32x30x32x30x30x44x36x30x30x30x30x30x34x30x30x30x34'
on_response = bytes("x30x30x41x42x31x32x30x32x30x30x44x36x30x30x30x30x30x34x30x30x30x31")
#there seems to be some not printable chars because of packet fragmentation
#using index is dirty hack but don't care
if data[23] == off_response[21]:
  power_status = "Off"
elif data[23] == on_response[21]:
  power_status = "On"
else:
  power_status = "Unknown"
#Now we need to update sqlite with status
select_query = "SELECT cur_state,polls_in_state FROM dev_status WHERE mac = '00:25:5c:2e:36:39';"
#print update_query
new_polls=1
judodb = sqlite3.connect('/var/www/judo.db')
cur = judodb.cursor()
rows = cur.execute(select_query)
for row in rows:
  prev_state = row[0]
  prev_polls = row[1]
if prev_state == power_status:
  new_polls = prev_polls + 1
print prev_state + "tt" + str(new_polls)
update_query = "UPDATE dev_status SET cur_state = '" + power_status + "', polls_in_state = " + str(new_polls)  + " WHERE mac = '00:25:5c:2e:36:39'"
cur.execute(update_query)
judodb.commit()
judodb.close()

 

XBOX 360

For monitoring of XBOX 360 I’ve have to use arping and UPnP, because of limitation of XBOX 360 OS more can be find here including the script.

Automatic Switch Off

Now as we have ways of getting status we just use crontab to run the scripts each 10 minutes and to get the status and store it in to sqlite database. We are storing also how many time we see it consecutively in current status. (polls_in_state column in table below)

sqlite> .schema dev_status
CREATE TABLE dev_status(mac TEXT, cur_state TEXT, polls_in_state NUM, input TEXT);
sqlite> select * from dev_status;
00:25:5c:2e:36:39|On|3|unknown
00:a0:de:92:6b:78|On|3|HDMI1
00:ce:39:b5:48:9e|Up|4|unknown
7c:1e:52:c2:6c:a7|Up|3|unknown
00:01:2e:3a:a3:b2|Down|1214|unknown

Last thing we have to do is set crontab to run script, which check status based on the status of devices finds what is running and if no device coresponding to AV receiver input is running, (means that AV receiver is running for nothing) it will switch it off. Same for NEC.

crontab -l

#Monitoring of home network
*/10 * * * * /var/www/monitoring/judo_icmp_monitoring &> /dev/null
*/10 * * * * /var/www/monitoring/judo_upnp_monitoring &> /dev/null
*/10 * * * * /var/www/monitoring/HTR-4065_State.py &> /dev/null
*/10 * * * * /var/www/monitoring/NECStatus.py &> /dev/null
*/10 * * * * /var/www/monitoring/XBOX360Status.sh &> /dev/null

5,15,25,35,45,55 * * * * /var/www/monitoring/autostop >> /media/nas/public/autostop.log

autostop script

#! /bin/bash

HTR_MAC='00:a0:de:92:6b:78'
NEC_MAC='58:C2:32:97:3A:48'
Evolve_MAC='00:ce:39:b5:48:9e'
XBOX_MAC='7c:1e:52:c2:6c:a7'
Zotac_MAC='00:01:2e:3a:a3:b2'

CGIDIR='/var/www/cgi-bin'
DBFILE='/var/www/judo.db'

getDeviceStatus(){
  SQLQUERY="SELECT cur_state,polls_in_state,input FROM dev_status WHERE mac = '$1';"
  SQLRESULT=`sqlite3 $DBFILE "$SQLQUERY" | sed 's/|/ /g;'`
  echo "$SQLRESULT"
}


ACTION='No action'

echo -n ""

read HTR_STATUS HTR_POLLS_IN_STATUS HTR_INPUT <<< `getDeviceStatus $HTR_MAC`
echo -n "$HTR_STATUS $HTR_POLLS_IN_STATUS $HTR_INPUT"

#Example of output
#00:a0:de:92:6b:78|On|51|HDMI1

if [[ $HTR_STATUS == "On" && $HTR_POLLS_IN_STATUS -gt 3 ]]
then
  case $HTR_INPUT in
    "HDMI1")
       #echo "Check Evolve status"
       read Evolve_STATUS Evolve_POLLS_IN_STATUS Evolve_INPUT <<< `getDeviceStatus $Evolve_MAC`
       echo -n "$Evolve_STATUS $Evolve_POLLS_IN_STATUS $Evolve_INPUT"
       if [[ $Evolve_STATUS == "Down" && $Evolve_POLLS_IN_STATUS -gt 3 ]]
       then
         $CGIDIR/NECOff.py
         $CGIDIR/HTR-4065_Off.py
         ACTION="Switching HTR-4065 and NEC off"
       fi
       ;;
    "HDMI2")
       #echo "Check XBOX 360 status"
       read XBOX_STATUS XBOX_POLLS_IN_STATUS XBOX_INPUT <<< `getDeviceStatus $XBOX_MAC`
       echo -n "$XBOX_STATUS $XBOX_POLLS_IN_STATUS $XBOX_INPUT"
       if [[ $XBOX_STATUS == "Down" && $XBOX_POLLS_IN_STATUS -gt 3 ]]
       then
         $CGIDIR/NECOff.py
         $CGIDIR/HTR-4065_Off.py
         ACTION="Switching HTR-4065 and NEC off"
       fi
       ;;
    "HDMI3")
       #echo "Checking PC Zotac Status"
       read Zotac_STATUS Zotac_POLLS_IN_STATUS Zotac_INPUT <<< `getDeviceStatus $Zotac_MAC`
       echo -n "$Zotac_STATUS $Zotac_POLLS_IN_STATUS $Zotac_INPUT"
       if [[ $Zotac_STATUS == "Down" && $Zotac_POLLS_IN_STATUS -gt 3 ]]
       then
         $CGIDIR/NECOff.py
         $CGIDIR/HTR-4065_Off.py
         ACTION="Switching HTR-4065 and NEC off"
       fi
       ;;
  esac
else
  #AV reciever is Standby for more then hour and NEC is On for
  if [[ ! $HTR_STATUS == "On" ]]
  then
    read NEC_STATUS NEC_POLLS_IN_STATUS NEC_INPUT <<< `getDeviceStatus $NEC_MAC`
    echo -n "$NEC_STATUS $NEC_POLLS_IN_STATUS $NEC_INPUT"

    if [[ $HTR_POLLS_IN_STATE -gt 6 && $NEC_STATUS == "On" && $NEC_POLLS_IN_STATUS -gt 3 ]]
    then
      $CGIDIR/NECoff.py
      ACTION="Switching NEC Off"
    fi
  fi
fi

echo -n "$ACTION"
echo ""
#HTR-4065 HDMI1 : Evolve Down,3 => OFF: NEC, HTR-4065
#HTR-4065 HDMI2 : XBOX_360 Down,3 => OFF: NEC, HTR-4065
#HTR-4065 HDMI3 : PC_Zotac Down,3 => OFF: NEC, HTR-4065
#HTR-4065 HDMI4 : Not Assigned