Bright Friday Links

I was suddenly inspired to share some links with you today because it’s Friday and I want to try to brighten your day and remind you that yay, the weekend is almost here!

Just a little reminder! Get the print here.

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade peanut butter cups? Why not!

Dog & Panther. A band you should check out. Bright. Spring-like. Sweet. Oh and you can download a free song, “Giant Hands,” here.

Because Monday brings the silliest holiday of the year: Valentine’s Day By The Numbers.

Kitties getting down like woah. I know I could use a little free falling and dancing this weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m looking forward to a weekend of testing chocolate chip cookie recipes, getting some new SmartWool socks (yes that excites me. It’s almost as good as buying new underwear.), going for a couple of runs in the warmer weather, and rehanging some things in my house with Miss Jen. What are your weekend plans?

Song of the Week

I’m a little bit worried that this song of the week thing (which is more like a song of whatever week I remember it) should become Music Recommended by Carol instead. The song I have stuck in my head right now is from her most recent set of mixes. She sent me three and they’re all amazing. In fact, I’ll probably post a few more songs from them in the coming weeks.

So, considering this, I’ve asked her to do a little guest blog for this song. Ladies, and gentlemen, my stalker.

So- You and I (it’s by Ingrid Michaelson).

I love this song—who wouldn’t? Except my mom I guess—the first time she heard it, she thought it belonged on a Target commercial.

This song is such an innocent little diddy but also kind of more. I love the lines “so I will help you read those books if you will soothe my worried looks and we will put the lonesome on the shelf”. It’s this kind of child-like lyricism sung by an incredibly mature voice and totally not pretentious. I also love how the song builds from one voice to a duet to a chorus/percussive kind of thing. Maybe that’s too much analysis- I just love Ingrid Michaelson- thanks to YOU.

And here’s the song – You and I by Ingrid Michaelson

Song of the Week

Hi! Hi! Hi! I’m going to North Carolina today!!!! I’ll have been to North Carolina three times this year!!!

I just realized my keyboard is embarrassingly dirty. I’m so glad only my cat and dog can see it.

Anyway, I’ll be off reveling in the joys of Charlotte, one of my best friends in the world, the mountains, camp, and horses. This is a vacation to clear my head.

And this is a song for my weeks. Maybe for yours too. I have this friend Carol. She’s a freshman at Cornell. And despite the fact that she’s 8 years younger than me, she gets me in a pretty awesome way. She’s a very insightful girl. She posted this song on my wall on Facebook about a month and a half ago. I love her.

And right now I love this song. Noah and the Whale is a good band from the few songs I’ve heard. And this one, well, blue skies are definitely calling. I’m so ready for them. I’m so ready to leave this slightly crappy year behind. So listen to this song. I think it’s hopeful.

Songs of the Week

Well I have been slacking on the songs of the week. Plus I have two concerts to review. So here is one big happy music post for you!

Guster
I discovered this band when they were the opening band at Barenaked Ladies concert I went to in 2000. I fell in love with Brian and the bongos. These guys and their music have gotten me through a lot and are always there for me. Seeing them live two weeks ago was like seeing old friends. Hearing those familiar songs, the ones I know all the words to by heart and in my sleep, felt like coming home. Does that sound silly or do you have a band like that? So the concert was great. And the past few days I’ve been glad to have Guster in my ways-to-feel-better arsenal. Particularly these two songs from their new album.

I woke up with this song in my head this morning.

Last weekend we saw Band of Horses in concert. I felt kinda like crap that evening and probably didn’t enjoy the show as much as I should have. But this song did touch me for some reason. It’s really kind of a sad, aching song, but gives me shivers anyway. The way their voices blend and weave in and out of each other, and the simple guitar. Beautiful.

Fake Empires Apple Pie

First off, my friend/coworker Jen and I are taking a work trip out to L.A. on Thursday and Friday. We’ll be carrying four giant checks with us to present to a school as prizes for our art contest. Two of my close high school friends live in L.A., so we’re going to spend some time with them. Does anyone have any suggestions on must-sees, amazing restaurants, or anything else for us? This’ll be my first trip to L.A., and California, and Jen’s second I think.

I’ve kind of wanted to name baked goods after songs or bands. Saturday night, as the National rocked my world in concert (I may have had a religious transcendental experience or two … I swear, and I totally touched Matt when he came into the crowd and walked around as he sang the last song), I came up with my first baked good with a song name after The National’s “Fake Empires.”

Stay out super late tonight
Picking apples, making pies
Put a little something in our lemonade and take it    with us
We’re half awake in a fake empire

Hence, Fake Empires Apple Pie. Oh hey, and it doesn’t hurt that there’s an apple called the empire apple.

I don’t have a strong attachment to how apple pie should taste. It doesn’t evoke childhood memories for me. But I know it does for so many people. Apple pie is one of those dishes that people feel very strongly about. It’s a classic, an all-American standby. So, though I contemplated doing things like throwing in some rum or mixing in ribbons of caramel sauce, I didn’t. I figured best to get down the standard, delicious apple pie first because that’s what people love. You don’t mess with a classic until you know it well. So I figured I’d need at least two attempts at this pie before it was worthy of bringing to a Coffin or Goodman Thanksgiving. Lo and behold, I fricking hit the jackpot on my FIRST TRY. You guys, this pie, it’s sweet and tart, it’s gooey, it tastes like autumn, dare I say it? It’s a classic.

A quick note on the apples you may want to use. I highly suggest either finding a local orchard and picking your own or buying local apples at your farmers market or grocery. You usually want to use some tart apples and some sweet apples. You can’t go wrong with Golden Delicious/Granny Smith mix. If you want to get creative, here are some tips. For a nice mix of sweet and tart, use Jonathan, Stayman-Winesap, Cox’s Orange Pippin, or Jonagold. Straight up sweet choices are Golden Delicious Braeburn, Fuji, Mutsu, Pink Lady, Suncrisp, Rome Beauty, or Empire.Tart baking apples are Idared, Macoun, Newton Pippin, Granny Smith, and Northern Spy. Stay away from apples that become mushy when cooked like McIntosh and Cortland.

And a quick note on your filling not being soupy. (I’ve had this problem and it BLOWS.) Bake the pie until the filling is really bubbling. This will give your thickening agent (flour, tapioca, or cornstarch) time to activate and work. To prevent the crust and top from burning, make a little tent over the top of the pie with foil about 15 minutes in. Let the pie cool ALL THE WAY, like an hour at least, before you slice into it to let all the juices thicken up.

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Song of the Week

I have this AMAZING apple pie recipe to share with you guys, but today I can’t. This pie deserves to be written about with the same excitement and enthusiasm with which  it was eaten. And today I just do not posses any excitement or enthusiasm. Only a sense of weirdness and unfairness. So, I’m begging you to please stick with me with great anticipation for the apple pie, the one that will be gracing your Thanksgiving table this year. Instead I’m giving you a song of the week.

The National

I’m sorely behind on songs of the week. They’ve been more like songs of the month during September. I give you no excuses. Instead, as an apology, I give you The National. This is quite a gift I give you, and I hope you cherish it. The National is this super band with kind of a haunting sound. The lead singer, Matt Berninger, has a very unique, deep voice, almost calming in a weird way. I think I must have first heard these guys when I was working in the coffee shop in Raleigh. The manager had good taste in music and our playlists were always filled with the newest and coolest bands. When I moved home and met Adam, I was excited to find that two of his friends were also into The National. Lucky us, we’re going to see The National in concert on Saturday with those friends! I’ll try to take some pics or vids. (haha, see how I shorten things to be cool?)

So please, soak in fall with this band, and dream about apple pies.

The National, Secret Meeting

Song of the Week

Guster’s new album comes out in one month!! Excitement? Yes, I think so! They’ve put out a video of one of the songs on that album called “Stay With Me Jesus,” and it’s this week’s song.

This song really made me stop and listen. First off, Guster is not a Christian rock band. Quite the opposite in fact, as all three members are Jewish. So I wonder why they wrote a song basically all about Jesus.

A quick excerpt from their newsletter in which they debute the video. “Track 5, “Stay With Me Jesus” — sounds like a Christian Rock title on the surface, but it’s not.  Guster is not Christian Rock.  Guster had Bar Mitzvahs.”

I listened to the song and came to the conclusion that I really like it. And that the song’s not so much about Jesus in the Christian religious sense. It’s more about Jesus being the name for some inexplicable protecting force, the comforting idea that something is watching over you and snatching you up, or stepping in, or keeping you sane at the last crucial second. And that is a universal sentiment. I do wonder why they chose Jesus as the way to explain that feeling though. I’m not at all pissed. (though honestly, I may feel a little weird belting this one out at their concert. But hell I’ll do it anyway. It’s just a word here.) Listen to the song, I doubt you’ll be offended once you do, because you’ll probably be able to relate to the lyrics, whether you believe in the actual and literal words they’ve chosen to sing or not. And maybe that’s their point. It doesn’t matter what word, person, belief you associate with that feeling of being protected and saved. That feeling is still the same across the board.

Or maybe I’m reading way to much into this song. Just listen, OK? And leave me a comment. Tell me what you think. Because I’m extra curious about this song!