Saturday, December 18, 2010

Now Playing: The Ladies

So here is another installment of what is "now playing" on my iPod.
And I wanted to do a nice mix of the ladies I listen to. They are all amazing women, with beautiful songs... so let's just sit back and enjoy!!

one. Erin McCarley - Blue Suitcase

two. Camera Obscura - Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken
~cute video too!

three. Florence & The Machine - Cosmic Love
~this one is an old favourite. It reminds me of a time in Maine... jumping up and down in the hallway... this song on repeat.

four. Ingrid Michaelson - Mountain and the Sea
~I am sort of hoping for a ukulele for Christmas... and this is one of the first songs I want to play.

five. Cheryl Cole - Parachute
~fun fact: this song was actually written by Ingrid Michaelson! (weird video though...)

six. Laura Jansen - The End

The End...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Filed Under: Everyday Life

I love the website and I love their 'Everyday Life' section even more. Here are some gems:

THE BEAT OF NEW YORK from tim hahne on Vimeo.

Warm from the oven from Lydia Esler on Vimeo.

And for comedic relief:

Parallel Parking from Yum Yum London on Vimeo.

Kick Ass Christmas Gifts

I'm not going to call this a Christmas wishlist, because generally I don't ask for much... or shove a list of things I want in front of my family and friends... Well, that is with the exception of last year when I desperately needed new glasses and a mouth guard (that's what happens when you have no health insurance and great parents).

So I am going to call this post simply 'Kick Ass Christmas Gifts' and even though I picked them because I love all of them... they would be awesome gifts for lots of people. So take notes...

This is probably the coolest craft book I have come across. This isn't your grandma's craft book.... these aren't Popsicle sticks and white glue crafts.... these are useful, hip (this word never looks cool but I am going to use it) and awesome.
If you put this under the tree it is like 150 gifts... on gift per craft idea.

See more HERE

I dig this back pack.... that is all.
Check it out HERE.

Now I know how some people feel about receiving socks for Christmas... but these socks are different. These are possibly the coolest socks I have ever seen. They have a million different colours too... weird colour variations. I like everything about these... this coming from a person who wears work sock over skinny jeans everyday... so I guess I have to remember my audience.
See more HERE.

This is just hilarious and genius and of course comes from one of my favourite online shops, Mod Cloth. They always have the most amazing things.... like this sandwich coaster set. Imagine your guests could set down their drink on a fresh slice of Wonder Bread, or hey on some lettuce! This would be an awesome gift for that quirky person who loves to entertain... or my dad.

Hungry? See it HERE.

How cool is this? I saw on of these at the mall the other day and I was blown away by how genius it is! They have taken the record player out of the box... or hey out of the coffee table (how are turntables in huge pieces of wood furniture helpful?).
You could easily move this, and easily play some great music. Love it.

Love it more HERE.

Oh! and happy shopping!!

ps... I know I said this isn't a wish list... but this is:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Now Playing: Christmas Playlist

'Tis the season right? So why shouldn't I fill my iPod with some beautiful Christmas music? Or how 'bout I help you fill your iPod with some seasonal songs?

I just love Christmas. I love making gifts for my friends and family, and I love the time you get to spend with all those you love. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.... like a Snuggie.

So here goes...

I will start it all off with my ABSOLUTE favourite! She & Him.... it is the brainchild of Zooey Deschanel (from 'Elf' and '500 Days of Summer' and M.Ward (a genius musician... look up 'Chinese Translation'). This is there rendition of the 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'

Second is a song I am always playing at the radio station I work for... People are always calling to ask what it is called because it is super adorable. It's Colbie Caillat and it's called 'Mistletoe'.

My love for music with banjo just overflows with this song... love it, live it.... Sufjan Stevens.

This is THE cutest music video that has ever existed... and it is not really a Christmas song but this can also be my winter playlist... this one makes me what to snuggle up with some hot cocoa. It Ingrid Michaelson and Sarah Barielles teaming up for 'Winter Song'.

And lastly, this is always one of my favourites... from a few years ago... Death Cab for Cutie with 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)'.

Happy Winter!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Top 5 Books to Buy for Christmas

So this morning on the Talk Show with Phil Main I talked about my list of five books that would make great X-mas presents.... so I thought I would post them here as well. I have read some of these, some of them are on my wish list, but they would make great presents.
From the fiction shelf:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The storyline follows a group of black maids and their white ladies. They are maids and nannies in Mississippi in the 1960s. The story takes a turn when one of the "ladies" tries to help the maids.
This is a great book, I actually got it for a Birthday gift and I just flew through it. Buy this book for the lady in your life over 18.

Bonus: The movie is coming out next year starring Emma Stone.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
This story follow Jacob Jankowski, and old man in a nursing home who remembers his time in The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth travelling circus. Great drama ensues when you become embroiled in the plot line.
The best part is that Sara Greun really went to all lengths to make sure that she made the story historically correct in regards to travelling circuses back in the day. She also based the book on the biblical story of Jacob in the Book of Genesis. I just love when authors take their time, work hard, and make a thoughtful, multi-layered book.
Bonus: This is now being made into a movie starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon.

From the Non-Fiction section (my favourite):

They Fight Like Children, They Die Like Children by Romeo Dallaire

I am so excited to get this book, one of my favourite books ever was Dallaire's Shake Hands with the Devil. He was of course the Canadian who was in charge of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Rwanda during the genocide. So now he has come out with this book about his experience with and views on the use of child soldiers. He has made it his personal mission to eradicate the use of child soldiers world wide.
A big plus about Dallaire, he doesn't hold anything back. He says what he sees, what he knows, and what he thinks without fail. He is amazing.

Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela

There have been many books by Nelson Mandela out there but this one is being billed as one to watch for. It draws on an archive of his personal papers in his private life through the years. I have seen it described as "unhindered" and "unprecedented"... plus I love auto-biographies.

Bonus: a foreword by Barack Obama

For the younger folk:

This is super exciting... they have just come out with a new box set of Roald Dahl books. They picked out his top 15 kids books and smashed them all together into a colourful box set for like $40-ish. These are the books that will get kids into reading... for life.

Included in the pack: Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... and my fave.... Matilda. This would be an AWESOME gift... even for me. :)

oh... and Merry Christmas!

The Book: The Book Thief

I am going to go ahead and put this on the list of my best books of the year. It is going to go right up there with The Help and Bel Canto. How do I know this is worthy of that title? To me, books that are really spectacular are the ones that somehow make an impact on you life. Books that you can't stop thinking about months later. Books that teach you things that you retain. Books that change the way you act on a daily basis. And now, I will tell you why this book is all these things...

The Book Thief was published in 2005 and is written by Australian author Markus Zusak. It is set in Nazi Germany, but instead of that same old tale of a Jewish man or woman struggling against the Nazi's (not that these aren't important stories), this book takes WWII and spins it on it's head. It put you right in the action, starting in 1938, with an unconventional German family who struggle with how to react to a war they do not agree with. Leisel Meminger is the main character, she is followed by the narrator, who interestingly is some version of the grim reaper, and she soon becomes what he, almost lovingly, refers to her as "the book thief". She is brought to the Hubermann home as a foster child after her Communist mother drops her off and runs away. From there the book chronicles her life with Hans and Rosa Hubermann, her relationship with a German boy with hair the colour of straw, and a hidden Jewish fist-fighter along the way.

AND THAT, is all I am going to tell you about the plot.

What I will tell you is that this book is absolutely riveting. It is considered by some to be a children's book, more like a young adult read I would say, but still, this is really a book that anyone would enjoy. Markus Zusak takes literary conventions and completely turns them on their head. The most interesting part of this book is that the narrator, or Death, is constantly foreshadowing actions to come or he will just outright tell you what is going to happen before it happens. It is a very unconventional way to write, and it may seem, by just reading this, that it would be confusing... it isn't. Everything is very clear and concise, and at the end of the day once he tells you what is going to happen you cannot help but keep reading long into the night to find out HOW it happens. This is pretty genius I think. It keeps the read moving flawlessly forward, and at the same time the reader is constantly engaged and excited about what will come next.

The second thing that makes this books on of the best on the list yet is poetics. This book is by all standards written like a novel, but the narration is so smooth and often extremely poetic that is helps the reader to reflect on what has happened, and what you know is coming. Whoever thought Death could be to expressive (and I mean Death the narrator, not death itself). Here are a selection of my favourite quotes without giving too much away:

“Upon her arrival, you could still see the bite marks of snow on her hands and the frosty blood on her fingers. Everything about her was undernourished. Wirelike shins. Coat hanger arms. She did not produce it easily, but when it came, she had a starving smile.” pg. 31

"I am haunted by Humans."

"I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." pg 528

I can elaborate more later, but what I will say is... go out and get this book. Read it, learn from it, and let it take over, because you really can get lost in the world of Death and Leisel Meminger.