Date Night with the Foo Fighters

Last Monday I voiced how busy I expected my week to be (and I was right), mentioning that K and I were headed to the Foo Fighters concert on Tuesday night. Our concert was at First Niagara Pavilion just outside of Pittsburgh, PA, about an hour and a half from our town.

My hubby & I have seen many bands and singers live, but this was our first Foo experience.

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Overall it was a great concert and the people sitting on either side of us were pretty decent (which definitely affects the experience of a concert). I’d never heard of the opening band, Royal Blood, but they didn’t suck the dudes beside us were pretty jazzed about them.

stage
stage

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pavilion

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lawn
lawn

When the Foo Fighters came on it was past 8:30 so the old man and I knew we were in for a late night. Fortunately, the band is incredibly good, Dave Grohl is one funny dude, and the concert was very entertaining.

Did you know this summer is called “The Broken Leg Tour”? Dave Grohl spends the entire show on a guitar throne because he broke his leg. Not funny, but actually really funny.

I didn't want to be that girl with my phone out so I took one crappy picture of the band and put it away.
I didn’t want to be that girl with my phone out so I took one crappy picture of the band and put it away.

By the end K and I had newfound respect for Taylor Hawkins and his amazing, resilient drummer body. I can’t fathom playing that hard, fast, and consistent for 3 hours. Dang.

The lawn seats all lit up with phones/lighters.
The lawn seats all lit up with phones/lighters.

I am a firm believer in crowd to concert ratio. If the band has a crappy fan base then the concerts will be a pile of poo. For example, I dread country concerts. I love the music but some people just don’t know how to drink/celebrate/behave and it shows at concert venues.

I was pleasantly surprised by the FF crowd. And shocked at the diversity. Next to Dave Matthews, the Foo crowd might be my favorite. (Worst crowd I’ve ever seen? John Mayer. Rude, drunk, wanna-be hippies.)

In the end, we had a lovely date night and I’m so glad I could pry my husband away from his work long enough to enjoy the evening. Our drive home was quick, I took Wednesday off work, and we got to cross off another concert on our bucket list.

What’s your favorite band to see live? How was your weekend?

-Louise

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey
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A Life Inspired | 12 Months of Bliss

We’re so close to fall I can feel it! (Actually, it HAS been pretty chilling in Ohio this week and I am definitely not complaining.) Today wraps up month #3 in the 12 Months of Bliss challenge (hosted by the lovely Emily at Ember Grey) and I absolutely feel inspired & refreshed.

This month’s challenge was a creative and a personal dare. Participants were tasked with creating a physical inspiration board (no Pinterest!) filled with comforting, motivating, inspiring things! The board could be a cork bulletin board or an 8 x 11 paper- just so long as you filled it with quotes, pictures, & trinkets that inspire you! If you need some inspiration for your inspiration montage my friend Dana at the Creative Beastie gives some great advice on creating a “Vision Board.

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I’ve been meaning to make an inspiration board for so long, but this challenge finally inspired me! (Hehe!)

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I love cork board so I found this 17 x 23 board on Amazon for less than $15! My inspiration board includes my favorite quotes and Bible verses, pictures of foxes (always) and a thank you note from my best friend Erica sent after her baby shower in January. All these things make me feel happy and blessed every day.

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Of course I have a few specific “pins” as well.

I pinned a photo of Beetlejuice (Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!) because I’m already in the Halloween-zone and I’m totally feeling a Tim Burton-y party this year. (Check out last year’s bash!) Honestly, there is no better Halloween-esque movie than Beetlejuice. (Harry Potter doesn’t count because the plot spans the entire school year and because wizards/witches aren’t just for Halloween.)

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Enzo’s first collar is also hanging on the board because it reminds me of how adoption and rescue can save so many lives. I can’t wait to make more of a difference and open a shelter someday!

The Deathly Hallows (from Harry Potter) represents my love of reading and writing- which I credit to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone… since I was 11-ish when Harry first got his letter to Hogwarts. (Yep, yep. I am the real Harry Potter generation! These teenie-boppers don’t know nothing! Hehe.)

Ginnifer Goodwin is only on my board because I’m channeling that hairstyle when I head to the salon on Saturday! I can’t wait!

Last but not least, the comic on the right side of my board has been hanging on my wall/fridge/bulletin boards for a very, very long time. (You can see how the paper is yellowing.) It’s been a constant reminder that A) the planet is a precious, precious gift that we shouldn’t take for granted and B) though we may have opposable thumbs, we are not above other humans or animals in the grand scheme of things.

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I love that I finally have an inspiration board hanging in my office. I feel so awesome when I look at it!

What would/will be on your inspiration board? Want to join in for these last 9 months? Please do!
Check out the June & July challenges as well!

-Louise

EG's Twelve Months of Bliss

A Weekend Recap & A Grateful Heart

Happy Monday! This week is going to be c.r.a.z.y. but so fun! I have my full-time job, two shifts at the part-time place, a Foo Fighters concert (WOO HOO!), a day off and a visit to my mom’s classroom to meet her new kids, a hair cut (byeee long hair!) and a cookout with friends! Whew! That’s a lot to think about!

Before I jump into the next 7 days of craziness let’s recap my fun-filled weekend!

Friday I took a trip to a nearby city and did some unsuccessful shopping (great start to the weekend, right?) and then came home to enjoy some pizza with the husband. Saturday was a little better. I walked the pups, got some chores done, and went to a gorgeous wedding in Ohio’s back-country with my momma.

The obligatory wedding selfie!
The obligatory wedding selfie! (Last time curling this mane?)

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The beautiful venue!

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Mom & Me
Mom & Me

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The gorgeous bride!
The gorgeous bride!

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The wedding started at 1 o’clock and ended by 5. I spent the evening watching the NASCAR race (because what else would I be doing?!).

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Sunday was spent with my best friend and favorite baby at the local park! A wonderful way to end the weekend!

Elliot!
Elliot!

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Such an observant little baby!
Such an observant little lady!

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So that sums up my weekend! Feeling so grateful and blessed this week! Bring on the insanity!

How was your weekend?

-Louise

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

This Raw Life

Some of my favorite daily blogs are written by women who are incredibly honest and real. Sometimes they make a sponsored post or recap a vacation, but they usually talk about real experiences and feelings that have forced them to become a better version of themselves. They’re very good at writing about these things and it’s something I’d like to improve upon. I think this starts with meditation, devotionals, and actually taking time to sit in silence. Does that sound silly? I think it’s actually very necessary in this fast-paced world.

This Raw Life

I’m am a flawed human being. (We all are, actually.) My temper resembles a rollarcoaster and I am very argumentative. I have a husband that puts up with all that, but I’d like to be better. I’d like to be an even-tempered mom someday. I want to be a unbiased listener and a good friend to my loves. I want my decisions and my honesty to be guided by a grateful, patient, and open heart.

I would like to be invested in things that I truly care about. I want to watch less television and read more. I want to finish the novel that I’m writing and let others read it. I want to serve others (preferably those with cold noses and 4 legs) with a happy, energized heart. I’ve actually noticed my heart changing lately and I think it’s for the better.

I don’t want to completely change myself. I will always love Harry Potter and pull my dogs close when I lay down at night. I have an incredible support system made up of friends and family. Physically I feel good- You won’t see me in a bikini and my face looks like a hormonal teenager, but I don’t dislike me. I think that my goal is to turn my insides so positive that it radiates through my exterior and affects those around me.

How do you stay positive throughout the day? Any meditation advice? Who are some of your favorite bloggers?

-Louise

One Time, At Band Camp…

This may come as a shock, but I was a band kid. I started playing (saxophone) in 5th grade and didn’t stop until the end of my freshman year in college (as a vibraphone player). My brother was in band. My husband was in band. My mom and dad were in band. (Sensing a trend here?) I had my first kiss in the high school percussion room, I have only dated (snare) drummers, and I married the guy that I met on my first day of high school band (over 10 years ago!). To say band played a major role in my adolescence is a serious understatement. Did I mention that my husband now runs a business that revolves around high school, college, and independent band? Right, well, there’s that, too.

Band

So I was a band kid. When I started in 5th grade it was fairly cool- we were all very excited to pick instruments and sit in the dingy elementary school basement and learn how to squeak out a G, A, B, C, and D. We got to go into the gym and try out the different instruments and decide which one we wanted to play for the rest of our lives until mom and dad said we could quit. As I mentioned before, I choose saxophone.

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Home concerts are a MUST when it comes to middle school band…

Then middle school happened and everything got awkward. Like, everything. (Middle school should just be called awkward school.) The band class on my schedule added to my awkwardness and things were, like, double awkward. Plus there were zits and that stupid unmanageable frizzy hair, of course. Let’s just say middle school was not kind to me and by the end of 8th grade I was done with the sax. (Plus, it’s awkward to say “sax” when you’re 13 because it sounds a LOT like “sex” and we were still spelling that word out in a whisper at that point.)

Before my freshman year of high school I told my parents I was quitting band. They laughed and said, “No, you’re not. We’ve got a lot invested in you and you will rise to take over the band universe, just as we’ve groomed you to do.” (Kind of kidding.) So we struck a deal: I could change instruments and play whatever I wanted as long as I stuck it out one year in high school band. So I became a percussionist. And “stuck it out” for four years.

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I love this picture because it has my baby brother in the background (…still taller than me).

My first day of band was in June 2005 and it was just seniors and freshman. (It’s like a get-to-know-you day… or like a freshman-drool-all-over-the-senior-boys-and-discover-that-hormones-are-a-real-thing day.) That day I told the instructor that I’d like to be in the pitt (or the front ensemble, as it should be called). Essentially it’s a bunch of differently sized metal and wood xylophones. (No, there’s actually a lot more to it, but I’m trying to keep this short. How am I doing? 482 words so far? Not bad.) Anyway, I chose pitt. So I was handed a pair of cymbals by this skinny guy with spiked hair named Kyle Mr. Mattevi who had been introduced to us earlier that day as the newest percussion instructor (among other people). He had only graduated the summer before so he was friends with all the non-freshman kids. Anyway, this dude hands me cymbals and I’m like, “In 8 years we will be married. You can count on it!” (KIDDING. I said thanks and went back to gossiping about the snare drummers with my friends.)

Band 3
My days on staff. Can you see K and I standing beside each other in the upper right corner?

Needless to say, my first year was a great year. I never ended up quitting. All my friends were in band and I turned out to be pretty good at metal xylophone (vibraphone). The next 3 years weren’t too horrible, either. Then I graduated high school, went to college, and spent all my graduation money to march a weekend drumline that forced me to forfeit my social life for 7 months. It was awesome. (That is not sarcasm.) I met percussionist with more skill that I could fathom and competed on a world level. I also spent a few years at my alma mater during the summer, teaching the younger kids in the front ensemble (just like Kyle had done after he graduated).

My years spent in band, both as a student and a teacher, hold some of the best memories. Band camp was the best and drumline was the absolute best. I wouldn’t trade any of my time in a hot, starchy uniform for anything. I learned respect, discipline, hard work, and cooperation. I learned how to take direction and how to give direction. (I also learned how to kiss, how to understand football, how to french braid (no I didn’t), and how to survive on a bus for 17 hours (hint: it involves truth or dare).)

My dad is in the left picture, my uncle (his brother) is in the middle, and my aunt (dad's sister) is in the last one. My hs band director is also the 2nd person to my dad's right.
My dad is in the left picture, my uncle (his brother) is in the middle, and my aunt (dad’s sister) is in the last one. My hs band director is also the 2nd person to the right of my dad.

I saw an article the other day entitled, “6 Things I Learned From my High School Band Director” and I agree completely. Band was a learning experience and an amazing “class” (plus hobby plus extra curricular plus sport plus lifestyle plus club) to be a part of. And my band director was like a real life Mr. Feeny because he started with us in 5th grade, taught at the middle school, and became the high school band director my freshman year.

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That’s me at the bottom, being a badass.

On Thursday my husband, my brother, and I traveled to the same band camp we attended as kids and watched my cousin give her senior end-of-camp performance. All my memories of that annual 4-day camp came back to me and all I could do was laugh about them. Kyle was there for most of them so the entire ride I kept saying, “Do you remember when…” or “Wasn’t it so funny the night that……” or “These kids have a resort-like pool now? All we had was a lake and an algae-infested ceramic bowl!” (which my brother responded with, “I had a pool that was filled in with dirt.” Haha!)

So today I am grateful for these memories and the life that I’m living because of my involvement in band. (And also all the pictures that came from my 9 years behind an instrument!)

-Louise

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

Fall Movie Challenge

I’m not very good at these challenges… (Remember my reading one? Refresh yourself HERE. Yeah… I’m still getting through the first book. So embarrassing…) Anyway, practice makes perfect and this challenge is hopefully do-able. There are prizes and such, but I want to participate for fun so I’m not concerned about that! Plus, I have from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 so I’ll at least cross off one or two movies… ha!

You can find the official rules HERE. Essentially I have to pick 25 movies that had/have theatrical releases and watch them. I can’t watch any that I’ve seen before. My goal is pick a few that I know K will watch with me!

Fall Film Challenge

| one: any set in new york city | One Fine Day
| two: any incorporating hot air balloons in the story | Mysterious Island
| three: any featuring a child as the main character | The Sandlot
| four: any Disney film | Tangled
| five: any set in Egypt OR that has an Egyptian character OR that stars an Egyptian actor/actress | Death on the Nile
| six: a close friend or family member’s favorite film | Crazy Stupid Love (my brother’s favorite)
| seven: any with the word great in the title | The Great Muppet Caper
| eight: any starring Harrison Ford | Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
| nine: any featuring an idiot as the main character | National Lampoon’s Vacation
| ten: any mentioned in levis strauss’ list: Denim in the Oscars: A Look at Jeans in Cinema | Rear Window
| eleven: a film about a knight | Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
| twelve: a love story | Chocolat
| thirteen: a movie about something miraculous | Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (because it’s a miracle his parents never found out)
| fourteen: any starring an actor/actress with the same first name as yours | Roman Holiday
| fifteen: a film about the Olympics | The Cutting Edge
| sixteen: a film on Time magazine’s list: The Top Ten Newspaper Movies | All the President’s Men
|seventeen: any with a question in the title | How Do You Know?
| eighteen: any with a score of ninety percent or greater on Rotten Tomatoes | The LEGO Movie
| nineteen: a film about a superhero | Fantastic Four (the new one) or Antman
| twenty: any with subtitles | The Lunchbox
| twenty-one: any incorporating unicorns in the story | Inkheart
| twenty-two: a film about a personal victory | The Grand Budapest Hotel
| twenty-three: a film with black or white in the title | Dear White People
| twenty-four: any set in a country you would most like to visit | The Queen (England!)
| twenty-five: a film set in a zoo | Zookeeper
.  .  .
A few afterthoughts: No, I have never seen Tangled. That’s a little weird for me, especially since I love Disney movies and K has actually seen it. I lucked out sharing a name with Audrey Hepburn! Can you tell I don’t like movies with violence? I think half my picks are kid movies… I don’t know if The Grand Budapest Hotel has personal victories, but Wes Anderson tends to give his characters little victories at the end so I’m going with it 😉 I pray most of these are on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime… ha!
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Want to join me? Here’s the original page, again. Have you seen any of these movies? What’d you think? What would you have picked??
 -Louise

Today I am Simply Grateful.

I hate divorce. I don’t know any celebrities personally, but the half a dozen divorces that have been announced this summer break my heart. It makes me think about these people on their wedding day… I’m sure they were swimming in love and joy and gratefulness and celebration. How did it ever end up here, at a divorce? My heart breaks into a million pieces for those going through a divorce- both celebrities and friends/family.

I am fortunate in that my parents are married and happy. (My in-laws, too!) When we were young my brother used to cry when M&D would argue because so many of his friends had divorced parents and he was terrified ours would end up apart. (My parents didn’t fight often. They had occasional, healthy arguments, just like any other couple.) I don’t think I ever thought about my parents splitting up so it’s a good thing they didn’t; my world would’ve been crushed.

Grateful

Last weekend during dinner at Red Lobster I told K how much I hate divorce. I told him that I can’t imagine losing that feeling I had on the day we said, “I do.” I don’t blame anyone for getting a divorce, but when I see solid couples go separate ways I think how vulnerable all relationships are… Nothing guarantees we’ll celebrate a 50th, 60th, 75th wedding anniversary but I pray we do. For that reason alone today I am grateful.

During our lighthearted (sarcasm) dinner conversation I told K that I can’t imagine leaving him (or him leaving me). When I think about all the things in life I want to do- travel, start a family, grow a business, build a house, adopt all the dogs in the world- I imagine myself doing it all with him. I can do it on my own, but it takes the fun out of life. There’s no one else I want to travel, parent, fail, succeed, or live with.

This got mushy gushy real fast, but it’s 100% true and it’s why I love loving Kyle.

So today I am incredible grateful to love my man and to be loved in return. My heart goes out to those struggling with love right now.

-Louise

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey