Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Metropol Parasol

I've been meaning to share this awing architectural design for quite a while when I stumbled upon it a few months back. This structure, designed by J. Mayer H. Architects is incredibly unique in that it is the world's largest wooden structure. Located in Seville, Spain, the Metropol Parasol is a complete makeover of the Plaza de la Encarnacion. Complete with bars, restaurants, and a plaza below, and a terrace on the top of the structure, this piece of architecture leaves me longing to make another trip to Europe in the near future.

Photo sources J. Mayer H. Architects / HomeDSGN

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Music: Top Five Songs for a Sunny Day

I'm back to business with writing on the blog after our long ski trip weekend. And in case you were wondering, I made it through the weekend without any broken bones. I may have fallen once (which I entirely blame on an old lady that was pizza wedging down the mountain so slowly, that I did a tuck and roll just to avoid crashing into her), but not hard enough to cause any damage. Yes, there was snow, but quite a bit of slush and dirt too. Needless to say, it was a gorgeous, sunny weekend and great to spend time outside.

With all the beautiful weather we've been having of late, both on our trip and in Baltimore, I dedicate this week's music link up party to the top five songs for a sunny day. Feel free to play along and check out the details on how to link up at the end of the post! Here are my picks.

One of my more recent favorites...

One that is almost obligatory...

You can't go wrong with The Ramones...

Without a doubt...

And one song that could never be excluded. Done by a great, none the less...

What are your favorite songs for a sunny day? Grab a button from below and link up with the URL for your post. And don't forget to join next week as well. Next week's theme is favorite musicians that play in multiple successful bands. A few examples to throw out there would be Dave Navarro (Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers), Dave Grohl (Nirvana and Foo Fighters), or Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave, plus solo). However, my favorite is none of the above so you'll have to check back next week! ;) Hope you can join too!

Row House 14 Music Linkup Party

Friday, February 24, 2012

Weekend Ski Trip? and the Time I Thought I Was Hermann Maier

It's Friday which means time for another weekend adventure! This time we're headed to western Maryland for the weekend to go skiing. We're going with a group of friends and staying together at a house we rented for the weekend. The only problem (hence the title "Weekend Ski Trip?" with the question mark) is the weather. With a ridiculously warm winter we're a bit worried that snow will be an issue. And while it's supposed to snow there tonight, the forecast for Sunday and Monday is sunny and 52 degrees!

And even if there is snow, we're expecting horrible, icy snow. Or we're expecting to be pelted in the face with the snow-makers the whole time we're skiing. Neither which I am looking forward to. And I was spoiled with the powdery, fluffy stuff from early on, thus quickly coming to hate the East Coast ice. The second time I ever went skiing, I was tackling this mountain, above treeline, at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado.

Not to worry, you must be thinking, she must be a stellar athlete with natural skiing abilities. Don't let the photo fool you, as probably a mere three minutes later, I sustained the worst ski crash I've ever experienced. Let's just say, I flew sideways through the air much like Hermann Maier did in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.


Hermann and I had a similar, yet different crash. Hermann flew sideways through the air. I flew sideways through the air. Hermann's skis popped off like they're supposed to. My right ski didn't, twisting my knee with my foot (still in ski) next my head. Hermann flew through two snow fences. I was stopped by a snow fence on which the other side was a steep side of a mountain. Hermann was hospitalized and severely injured. I landed on my left hip and had a contusion the diameter of a volleyball on my outer thigh and hip. Hermann didn't ski for quite a while after his crash. I skied down the rest of the mountain without another crash. And somehow, despite my entire body aching worse than I can remember in a long time, I went skiing again the next day.

Ok. So maybe it really wasn't like Hermann Maier's crash, but in my head it played out that way. But I really did fly sideways through the air, really, I did. You can just ask Andrew who saw it all go down and had to take his skis off to hike back up the mountain and help me get out of my tangled mess.

Crazy? I blame Andrew and my sister's boyfriend at the time. I believe their last words (both as experienced skiers) were, "Don't worry, you'll be fine up there. You're super athletic and shouldn't have a problem."

So tomorrow I will go skiing down the icy mountain like a granny. Make fun of me all you want, but my normal, go get 'em attitude toward sports changes slightly with skiing. Instead, my main objective is to have fun, but leave the mountain for the day without a single crash. So far, since my wipe out at A-Basin, I've done pretty well with a few bumps and bruises. And so far I'm undefeated against Maryland's mountains.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Six Degrees of Separation

In this day and age of email, twitter, facebook, and all of that other lovely social media, I've come to realize that we forget about snail mail. And to be honest, it's way more fun to get a letter or card in the mail than it is to see a facebook or twitter notification on your computer screen or phone. The postal service is pretty amazing to tell you the truth. Write a letter, stick a stamp on it, drop it into a post box, and a few days later it magically gets to its recipient.

I got to wondering just how far a card could travel. Now couple that with the fun game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The end result? Six degrees of separation-- snail mail style. So I designed ten of these lovely cards.

Inside each card is a space to jot down your name, location, and a small note. Then you send the card on to another friend. My goal? Have each of these ten cards eventually make it back to me in Baltimore and see just how far they traveled. At first I thought I would just send ten of them to family or friends, but on second thought, I decided to open it up to my readers as well as it seemed I could diversify a bit that way.

Sound fun? Just leave a comment below with an email address so I can get in touch with you to get an address, or send me an email at rowhouse14{at}gmail{dot}com with your full name and address. I'm willing to send a card internationally as well, so those of you not in the U.S. feel free to join in the fun! :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Music: Favorite Grammy Artists

With last weekend's Grammy Awards, I felt it fitting to dedicate a Tuesday Music Link-up Party to my favorite Grammy Artists from both past and present. Feel free to join in on the party (details at the end of the post)! I'd love to hear your picks as I'm always up for some music! Here are my Grammy picks.

This year, my favorite Grammy winner was not Adele, like most people (Although I do love her music! Don't get me wrong!). I was most excited about the Best Blues Album winner-- Tedeschi Trucks Band with Revelator. Here's a little look at the making of Revelator.

I'd be silly to skip U2, the band with a whopping 22 Grammys.

1988 Best Performance Music Video

Remember my love for the Chili Peppers? Couldn't leave them out!

1992 Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal

I also can't leave out the Foo Fighters, another band of my generation. From a music nerd standpoint, the production on The Pretender is phenomenal. It's one of those songs that sounds better with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.

2007 Best Hard Rock Performance

I loved the Alison Krauss and Robert Plant collaboration and was even lucky enough to see them play together live. I should add, that with 27 Grammys, Alison Krauss is the most winning female artist.

2008 Record of the Year

I love Seal. Seriously. I'm a rock girl at heart, but I've got almost all of Seal's albums!

1995 Record of the Year

And another time capsule...

1997 Best Rock Song

Little fun fact: In 1997 the same year Jakob Dylan won 2 Grammys for One Headlight, his father, Bob Dylan, also won 3 Grammys, including album of the year.

1997 Best Male Rock Vocal Performance

What are your favorite Grammy artists from the past and present? Grab a button and link up below! Don't forget to link up to the blog post and not your blog home page! Looking forward to listening to your favorite award winning music! And don't forget to link up next week! Next week's topic will be High Fidelity style-- top five songs for a sunny day. I thought I'd stray from the more gruesome top five songs about death (thought maybe I'll revisit that for fun later on).

Row House 14 Music Linkup Party

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Presidents' Day

How do you get back into blogging after leaving your readers hanging for an entire week? By nerding it up big time and talking about cool presidents. I just can't quite help it. I teach U.S. History and get into this kind of stuff, and since I'm at home on my butt instead of teaching today I thought I'd share some silly little things about U.S. Presidents.

Bill Clinton is my favorite President from my lifetime. He may be a player, but he's a player that can reverse the national debt. And as far as smarts go, he's one of the most fascinating people to listen to talk about current day politics. I always make sure to tune in when he's got an interview somewhere on tv-- this guy still knows his stuff.

Do you know Grover Cleveland? I like this guy only because he's got a pretty neat thing to boast about. He's the only President to have had two terms that weren't back to back. That means that people must have hated him enough to give Benjamin Harrison a go, but then realized that even he wasn't as Benjamin Harrison. So they let him come back for a second term. (That's how I like to imagine it went down, but then again, I'm probably wrong.) Another interesting fact? This guy was a bachelor-- and the White House, I must say, is one pretty big bachelor pad. But not for long. He's the only President to have gotten married while in office.

How about Rutherford B. Hayes, on the grounds that he knew the beard would be in before Brett Keisel.

Without Teddy Roosevelt, we wouldn't have the National Parks we do today. So I'm pretty thankful for that considering my love for the National Parks!

And what about a shout out for James Garfield and William McKinley, the other two Presidents that were assassinated. We all know about Lincoln and JFK, but most Americans probably don't even know that these guys had a similar fate.

Happy Presidents' Day to you all! Hope you have a day off to enjoy! And P.S. don't forget to join me tomorrow for my Tuesday Music Link-up Party! The topic is favorite Grammy artists from past or present.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Music: Love Songs

This week's music picks have to be love songs. I mean, today is Valentine's Day so I don't think I could have had it any other way. Despite the fact that I tend to not be overly sappy about this holiday (or love songs for this matter) I thought it'd be a fun theme for a music linkup party. And surprisingly, I found it a lot more difficult than I thought I would. Here are my picks.

I Believe - Stevie Wonder

Seriously can't get enough of this song. I got hooked on it because of the film High Fidelity, one of my top favorite movies (and books!). The film ends with this song and it plays into the credits as well. And yes, I had to include that clip as well.

Your Song - Elton John

A bit of a sad one...

The Scientist - Coldplay

A classic...

Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton

Less conventional...

Daniella - John Butler Trio

Even my favorite band, Midnight Oil, has a love song?

Shakers and Movers - Midnight Oil

And just for good measure because Stevie is a total love song master...

What are your favorite love songs? Grab a button and link up with me! Be sure to include the direct URL for the blogpost, not your blog home page! I'd love to see what love songs you're listening to this Valentine's Day.

Row House 14 Music Linkup Party

Monday, February 13, 2012

Syracuse Weekend

Hello there! I'm back from what I expected to be a cold and snowy winter wonderland. But instead, as we drove up to Syracuse, we were greeted by not a single bit of snow on the ground. My first reaction was that something must truly be wrong with the world if there is no snow in Syracuse.

We spent Friday night eating pizza at Varsity and hanging out at one of our old college bars with some friends.

Saturday, we enjoyed a latte and cappuccino at Freedom of Espresso, the coffee shop I used to work at back in the day. Then we spent the late morning on campus before heading to the Carrier Dome for a basketball game.

Saturday night, we enjoyed dinner and drinks at Empire Brewing Company followed by a pint at The Blue Tusk. It was an enjoyable long weekend, but it flew by much more quickly than expected. And now we're back in Baltimore, diving right back into another week of work. Hope you all had wonderful weekends as well!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Music: Winter Songs

Last week was the first Tuesday in which I hosted a music linkup party. I was so excited about those that participated and loved listening to your music selections! This week's theme is winter songs and I'm looking forward to listening to some music from others yet again!

Music definitely carries me through the cold winter months. There is a certain time of year when the furnace kicks in, and you find yourself in the cozy kitchen cooking a hearty soup with some music on the stereo. And some music completely reflects that mood whether or not they truly are about winter or if they're songs that warm you up through their musical phrases and tones. It's funny, too, because I realize that some of the same artists I listen to on these cold, winter nights are the same as what my parents would put on the stereo in that same season. It becomes a nostalgic thing as well. Here is a listen to some of my favorite winter songs as of late.

Hounds of Winter - Sting (specifically this live version which you can find on album as well!)

The Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler always makes his way into these months either in Dire Straits or solo form. Something about his calming voice and effortless guitar licks is comforting.

The Fizzy and the Still - Mark Knopfler

Growing up we always had bluegrass playing in our house-- on the stereo or coming from my father's own guitar. Something about it is warming for the cold winter months.

Paper Airplane - Alison Krauss & Union Station

And one of my most recent favorites in general, and perfect for winter.

January Hymn - The Decemberists

What are your favorite songs to get you through the winter months? Link up below! Be sure to include the direct link for your post and to grab a button to share the fun with others! And don't forget to stop back by next week. Since next Tuesday is Valentine's Day, the music linkup party theme will be favorite love songs-- I've already got some fabulous ones in mind! :)

Row House 14 Music Linkup Party

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Shop Update

It's been a while since I've given an update of all the awesome things I've been working on for my shop. Here are a few of my faves.

You can click on the photos to take you directly to the items in my shop. And don't forget, The February Sale Event is running throughout the entire month! Check out the SALE section in my shop for items up to 50% off. Plus, use the code FEBRUARY10 to receive 10% off of anything in the shop, including sale items!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Streak of Good Luck

I don't tend to think of myself as the luckiest of people. I'm not unlucky either. I just kind of sit in the middle between good and bad luck, chilling out, sort of hoping that I might get some good luck or dodge the bad. But recently I've definitely had a good luck streak. I thought I'd share my good luck in hopes that I can pass it on and you'll find some of the luck rubbing off on you.

It started last week with a giveaway win. I NEVER win giveaways or contests. Never. So imagine my excitement when I won these super cute magnetic bookmarks and butterfly stationery from Kristen of By the Book Paper.

Next, to continue my giveaway luck, I won an amazing letterpress calendar from Smock Paper in a giveaway on Discover Paper. There were four types of calendars and they were randomly set to the winners. I was lucky enough to open my package the other day to find that my favorite calendar, the one I had been hoping I would get, was indeed the one I got!

I've decided to put this calendar in my new studio, but I just need to find a simple frame for it first.

Think I couldn't get any luckier? Think again. After the giveaway fun, I received a super awesome email in my inbox one morning. What did the email say? I'll have to get back to on that. Let's just say it was one of those emails that I just don't want to jinx, but I'll be sure to let you know what went down if all works out. And yes, I love leaving people hanging. The suspense, the suspense. :)
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