Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Songs: Best Movie Soundtracks

One of the best creations ever was movie soundtracks...not only do they heighten emotions in movies, but they can be some of the best mixes other than your own.

Here's a few of my faves, in no order:

This mix will sure to bring you to every emotion possible - hate to love to freedom to death. Fab compilation. My faves are "Kissing You" by Des'ree and "You and Me Song" by Wannadies.

This mix always reminds me of walking to class during college. I can't pick a favorite song...they all are amazing. However, I do have a bit of a soft spot for "Blue Eyes" by the Cary Brothers because during that time in my life I was dating a blue eyed boy (and my future hubby)...

One of my favorite movies ever. Plus, this reminds me of high school (I'll be honest - it's great to make-out to)! Great tracks: "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John, "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynrd and "The Wind" by Cat Stevens.

Mediocre movie, but great soundtrack to chill to. "Hard Times" by Eastmountainsouth has amazing harmony.

Another mediocre flick, but I absolutely love this mix of romantic music with a bit of country. "Chances Are" by Detroit-native Bob Seger and Martina McBride and Garth Brooks' rendition of "To Make You Feel My Love" = GORGEOUS.

It just makes sense that I adore the soundtrack of my favorite movie of all time. It's all my favorite hippie-era groups, too: The Doors, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Mammas and the Pappas, etc. Can't get much better than that!

The soundtrack makes the movie worth seeing, although the books are still better. Love Linkin Park, Paramore, Muse and Iron & Wine...but my favorite track doesn't even have words and it was written for the movie: Bella's Lullaby. It's beautiful and fits the books/movie to a T.

Like the movie, this soundtrack is fabulous. I esp. love "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" by Al Green feat. Joss Stone and a remake of "How Deep Is Your Love" by The Bird & The Bee. I just bought vol. 2 and hopefully it's just as good!

There's many, many more I adore, but this list, my friends, are what I consider the cream of the crop. Are there any others out there I should look into?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Detroit People Mover Art

One thing downtown Detroit has going for it is the People Mover. It's no L-train, but it does the job of transporting out-of-towners to places such as the Ren Cen, Joe Louis and Cobo in a clean, efficient and safe manner.

My favorite part of taking the short ride around the city? The beautiful artwork in the stations.

It was hard for me to pick a favorite, but these two are absolutely gorgeous in my eyes (information/photos taken from the People Mover Web site):


"This piece was originally designed to be blue to depict the skys, since the images are of constellations. However, it was changed to orange to blend in with the colors of Joe Louis Arena. The artist painted a mural and sent the painting off to Crovatto Mosiacs, which is located in a little town in Italy. The town's chief industry is making venetian glass mosaics (too expensive to have done in the States). To make venetian glass workers pounded out very small pieces of colored glass and glued each piece with the flat side directly down onto sheets of paper. A wooden panel was then placed on top of the jagged sections, and shipped to Detroit. The panels were then installed on the station's walls. Then the sheets of paper were removed from the glass pieces to give us this finished art piece. The design is based on astrological signs from the 17th century."


"A profoundly rich green hue emanates from luminous arches, which are surrounded by Pewabic tiles that had been originally fired for the Stroh Brewery in 1955. The mural is interspersed with tiles depicting Detroit workers, which were originally installed in Detroit's Northern High School in 1926. The bronze plaque of Madame Cadillac entering Detroit after her canoe journey from Quebec is by Carlos Romanelli, dated 1903. It is presently on loan from the Detroit Institute of Arts."

Take a look at the site. What's your favorite piece?

Note: Apparently guided art tours are are available for groups of 10-30 by appointment through the tour season (May-October). Hmmm....may just have to get some folks together to learn about the art/history first hand!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday Songs: The Ultimate Workout Playlist

Alright it's Monday, so I'm a little late for a Sunday Song, but I'm still calling it that.

In honor of myself trying to get my butt in shape, I've decided to share with you what I consider to me the ultimate workout playlist. Mind you, I fell off the treadmill listening to it (v. embarrassing), but that just means it's that good. So, without further ado, here's my mix, in order of intensity:

1. Paolo Nutini - "New Shoes" : gym shoes?
2. Fedde Le Grand - "Put Your Hands Up For Detroit" : our lovely city.
3. Jamie Lidell - "Little Bit of Feel Good" : goes along way.
4. Caesars - "Jerk It Out" : kick it old school.
5. Silvertide - "Blue Jeans" : makes me want to drop a few sizes in my blue jeans.
6. Rusted Root - "Ecstasy" : Spanish/Carribean-influence vibe. Muy bien.
7. Jamiroquai "Canned Heat" : Yes, Napolean Dynamite made it famous, but this song makes anyone wanna dance.
8. The Killers "Mr. Brightside" : destiny is calling me...
9. Skillet - "Rebirthing" : this Christian band's song rocks my socks off. love the strings!
10. Linkin Park - "Faint" : ultimate anger song...but anything by LP rocks, really.
11. OutKast - "B.O.B." (Bombs Over Baghdad) : nananana

Cool down =
Alicia Keys - "Superwoman"
Damian Marley and Bobby Brown - "Beautiful"
Robin Thicke - "Lost Without You"

Please share with me what songs you like to workout to. I need some kick booty inspiration to continue this recent spurt!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ring-A-Ling...It's that time of year!

Yes, whether you like 'em or loathe 'em, it's the bell ringing time of year!

I've volunteered to ring bells for The Salvation Army in the past, but none has been as much fun as ringing with my partner in crime, Nikki. We wear Santa hats and act goofy and play music, but more importantly we walk away knowing we did our part to contribute to the greater good.

One of our clients at the PR agency where I work is The Salvation Army, both of metro Detroit and for Washtenaw County. I don't serve directly on the accounts, however, I hear the banter that goes back and forth and am amazed by the passion my teammates put into the work they do for the organizations. (yes, they are paid for the work, but not for the millions of hours they over service)...

It's on the news everyday: times are extremely tough in Michigan right now and unfortunately, the Salvation Army is experiencing it first-hand. Not only is the need for their services up more than 20 percent across the board (especially in the 'burbs, folks), but donations to their annual Red Kettle fundraising campaign is down a good chunk of change.

I've told my colleagues from time to time -- I think the issue is people just simply don't understand what their donation go toward. Let me tell you one thing -- it's not just thrift stores, people.

In 2007 alone, The Salvation Army in Metro Detroit utilized Red Kettle contributions to help provide the following:
  • 7,811 meals

  • Shelter for more than 2,110 men, women and children each night

  • To purchase 9,951+ winter clothing items, including coats, hats and mittens

  • To purchase 111,030 Christmas gifts for kids and seniors.

Additionally, donations also funded rehabilitation and after school programs, provided utility assistance, free legal aid and helped to make many more other beneficial programs possible.

So here's my thoughts on three ways to help TSA:

DONATE. Drop a few pennies into the bucket. Or maybe even an extra buck if you're feeling frisky. So you can't get a taco at T-Bizzle. At least you can feed a hungry, local child. Or maybe even two for that matter.

VOLUNTEER. What is 2 hours of time in the scheme of life? Not much. Bell ringing is great fun and is wonderful people watching. (sign up at

SAY THANKS. It's a small gesture, but believe me, when you're standing out in the cold, hearing those words warms your soul right up.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Song: "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana

I won two tickets this week to see famed musician/composer Leonard Slatkin direct Carmina Burana today with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, so Jason and I went to check it out for our 6-month wedding anniversary. It was AMAZING! We had awful seats (upper balcony isn't recommended), but it didn't even could've heard a pin drop during the performance because the entire audience was in absolute awe with the talented musicians and singers.

The highlight of the entire piece, which is made up of 24 medieval Latin poems, is "O Fortuna." If you haven't ever heard it, go here NOW. It'll raise the hair on your arms.

We rounded out the night with dinner at Slows BBQ. As always, we had to wait nearly 45 minutes, but the amazing food totally makes the wait bearable. It was a perfect night to end a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This Post is Brought To You By The Letter R

Sometimes you just need to "fluff" it up and do a fun post. Hence, why I asked the fab Supergirll to tag me for a post based on a letter of her choosing...

Here's the scoop-a-loop:

You leave a comment on this post, and I’ll assign you a letter. You write about ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter, and post it at your place. When people comment on your list, you give them a letter and the chain continues on and on.

So here’s my list, all starting with my assigned letter -- R.

1. Random. I am pretty sure that sums up my personality well. I can be so off-color but be so "corporate" if needed.

2. Rabbits. One of my favorite books as a kid was Runaway Bunny (pretty profound when you read it as an adult). As a kid, I also had a recurring dream of visiting the Easter bunny's house. It was my favorite dream and I recall praying to have that dream over and over. I later read in a dream book that dreaming about rabbits signify luck.

3. Rent. One of my favorite musicals of all time!

4. Red House. This song by Jimi Hendrix was what inspired me to check out more blues music. I absolutely love the sound. It's just plain sexy.

5. Ring of Fire. Johnny Cash's hit always reminds me of Jason's family and more importantly, our "burning" love for each other (haha).

6. Raspberries. My absolute favorite fruit. Too bad they're so expensive and go bad so quickly.

7. Rainbows. Cheesy to say, but there's always one after a storm...and they amaze me.

8. Reading. It's the only way I can truly turn off my brain at the end of the day!

9. Romance. Some say it's dead, while I see the glass as half full. Everyday I see/read of romance. It does exist, it just may be a bit different than it was "back in the day."

10. R-e-s-p-e-c-t. It means a lot to me.

Whew, that was not as hard as I thought it would be!

So, who's next?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Learning the Joy of Cooking

I have a recent obsession: COOKING.

As most Americans, food is a passion of mine. I enjoy finer food, but as mentioned in an earlier post, I am also completely satisfied with Coney Island fare or Taco Bell on occasion. Regardless, one thing I've learned over the past few months is there's just something so satisfying about making a meal on your own that actually turns out the way it looks in the cookbook.

Thoughts of cooking all started when Jason and I moved into our house last year. We decided that with an official "big kid" kitchen, we needed to start utilizing the space for something other than a spot to throw mail. Although we still do have empty cupboards, we're getting there.
It's really tough to find the time to cook and since we generally don't get home until about 7 p.m., we need to make dinners that are both quick and tasty.

Enter Kraft Food & Family magazine. We only get the mag because the prior home owner got it and let me tell you, it's a lifesaver! Although we're fans of Top Chef, it's virtually impossible to cook quickly and on a budget with the ingredients needed for the extravagant meals they create.

Instead of going gourmet, we've made all kinds of things from the magazine's simple pages plus many others from additional cookbooks...recent meals have included tuna pie, beef stroganoff, chicken and biscuits, chili, bruschetta chicken bake, garlic ranch chicken...and the list goes on.

I highly recommend giving the mag and cooking in general a try. It truly gives you something to look forward to each day...and provides a great escape from daily stress.