Sunday, 17 January 2016

What's Going On?

Hi y'all,

I'm just checking in to let you know what's going on in my life and some of my plans for the future.

First of all; I'm very busy packing up my home for our move next Friday. It's all going according to "plans". We've been packing a little bit now and then, but this weekend we are doing some more focused packing. We want most of it to be done by tomorrow night, so we'll only have bits here and there to pack during the week and only a few things to pack come Friday morning. I'm so excited!

My friends C, D and I had our monthly Girly Night tonight with films, foot baths, face scrub and popcorn drenched in butter last night, it was so relaxing and fun. Usually we do face and hair masks as well, but we skipped those yesterday because we were so into the films we forgot until it was too late. After we move we will live slightly further away so we might need to change our Girly Nights to Girly Sleepovers. Walking between our buildings now takes a minute in a gated community, but walking between our homes after the move will be 15 minutes in the dark streets, and doing that walk in our PJs in the middle of the night might not be a great idea.

I've got four more days of work before I've got 2,5 weeks off starting with the move on Friday, Next is Awards Night with work next Saturday, and then I'm off on my dream trip to see my sister, Home Free, Home Fries, London, musicals and who knows what else, on the following Wednesday. I've decided to cut my trip shorter than I originally planned because I am eager to come home to my new house to really start living in it before going back to work on the 8th. I'm on late that week which means I get to sleep in, and then sit in my office and do some writing before going to work. Oh, and my bf and I have our 6 year anniversary on the 7th.

So, how about the blog. Well, on the 1st of February, when I 'm in London, it's my blog's 1 year anniversary. As I will be away I'm not sure what time and possibility I will have to post something special, but I'll do what I can. When I come back I'm going to start working on a new series for the blog; I'm going to call it "5 reasons to watch ..." and I'm planning on doing one for every Home Free video (already released and new releases), every Chris Rupp video, some of the VoicePlay videos and whatever other videos I feel like doing it for. I will post at least one a week, some weeks more. I've been thinking about doing it for a while and I am really looking forward to it. I hope you will all come visit the blog to check it out. Oh, and those 5 reasons will not be the Guys of Home Free, because they are kind of obviously in all of them.

I also want to get back into my other writing, because I love to write. With my new home office I feel I will have an easier time to focus and be creative. Right now I'm doing most of my writing sitting in bed and it's not really inspiring in the long run.

I've mentioned my dad's writer's desk in previous posts and my plan is to have it here before my birthday in March. It's always been my dream to write a book sitting at that desk.

These are all things I am very excited about, and I can't wait for it all to happen. But in the meantime I am enjoying the ride just as much. All the planning and dreaming is just as big part of it all as the goals are. That's the trick to life, I think, to not only strive for and celebrate reaching a goal, but to enjoy and love the journey to it.

Today's video is a live video from the release party for Chris Rupp's debut solo album "Shine". This song is a fun swing style male duet, and it makes me smile and feel happy. Here's "Drinkin' With Me". Try not to smile. Seriously, if you didn't get this album yet this is the time to do so. You can find all the information about how to get it at Chris' website.

Thanks to Heidi Rancour for filming it, sharing it and allowing me to use it. You should check out her YouTube channel, she's got some really nice live videos.


Saturday, 9 January 2016

Moving On

Home Free's baritone and co-founder Chris Rupp released his debut solo album, "Shine"", yesterday and I must say I'm loving it. This album is filled with all sorts of songs; there are ballads, duets, country, soft piano, swing, fun, sadness, broken hearts, loving hearts and it's just so much fun. I always knew Chris had a very good voice, smooth and sweet, but on this album he shows sides of himself and it that surprises me. In a completely good way.

I will be writing a review of the whole album, but as I am in the middle of packing for our move as well as getting things ready for my upcoming UK-trip (including 2 Home Free shows and the Phantom of the Opera) I'm not exactly sure when I will have time to get to it. But you should still go get the album, so you can discuss my review with me when I post it. "Shine" is available for download on several different places, and as I'm not a fan of iTunes I used CDbaby, the only thing you need to think about if you use CDbaby is that you will need to download it to a computer as it comes down as zip files you need extract before transferring them to your mobile device. It's also on Spotify, but I only recommend that if you are already a Premium member since you can't really choose the songs you want to hear on there if you're not, and it's more expensive to become a Premium member than it is to actually buy the album. If you want to you can also get it as a physical CD from Chris' website, where you can also get his recently released piano CD "Setting the Stage", his "Thinkin' Calendar", and there's also a link to his Patreon page as well where you can support the making of more videos. We have been told there will be videos coming out for all 11 songs. You can find it all right here. For those of us going to the Home Free shows in the UK and Ireland Chris' has said that he will bring some CD's over for us to buy.

However, I want to mention one of the songs off this album right now. This is a song called "Moving On" and it's written from the perspective of someone lying on their death bed. I love everything about this song; the melody, the lyrics, the piano, the instrumental build up behind the piano and most of all the message. This song also has the honour of being the first official video off of "Shine" and it fits the song perfectly in mood. It's just Chris playing the piano, singing, in the dark surrounded by lit candles. As the song progresses the day dawns and it gets light.

I think it's perfect because that's how I feel when I listen to this song. It's almost like hearing my dad in his final days. He told us he was going to be ok, that he had lived a good life, and that his only wish was for us to live our lives to the fullest, to be happy. And that is exactly what this song is about. It was all darkness, but then the day came along with the light.

I know some people will cry out of sadness from this song, but I cried out of joy and love the first few times I heard it. It just makes me happy, because I feel like I am living my life to the fullest and I am happy, just as my dad wanted. He didn't want to me be stuck in grief and sadness, he wanted me to go out into the world and be the very best I can be.

This song is so amazing I want it played at my funeral when that day comes, in 50-60 years from now (I have a lot of life left in me yet). It says what I would want to say to the ones I might leave behind. Don't grieve me, celebrate my life. Be happy, I will be ok. Actually, I will be great.

Anyway, here's "Moving On". I hope you like it as much as I do.

Oh, and if you happen to be in the Mankato, Minnesota area tonight go to Buster's and check out Chris' release party if there are any tickets left.

Now that I think about it, the title of the song is very fitting when I'm in the middle of packing to move on to a new home. I'm Moving On, in this life. :D


Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

Choose the story you want to write!

I have a friend that sets a motto for every year, and for 2016 her motto is "choose the story you want to write". It pretty much sums up how I have lived my life for the past few years and I wanted to say something about just that.

I try not to leave anything to "coincidence" or chance, I try to make real decisions. Conscientious decisions of what I want in my life, or not. By that I don't mean that I can control everything that happens, but what I can control is how I react and act on everything.

I'll take the most recent event in my life as an example. A few weeks ago my boyfriend went to pay our rent and was told that our landlord had decided not to renew our contract when it was up for it in mid February. Only minutes after he got the news he spoke to a friend and mentioned it to him and our friend then told my boyfriend about a house that was available in the area where he lives, so when my boyfriend called me shortly after he told me that "hey, we have to move", and "hey, we might have the chance to move to a house".

Here's where the decision on how to react and act comes in. I had a choice between getting upset that we had to move from a place where we have lived for almost four years, or to get excited that we had the chance to move to a new place, possibly a house. It's all about where I chose to put my focus, right?! So I chose to be happy about it, to see the opportunity brought to us. We viewed the house, we payed the deposit for it and we are moving in in three weeks time. This will give me an office of my own where I can sit and write, my boyfriend will have his own office and man cave, the layout is a lot better than what we've got now, I can put a small table in the kitchen, there is a small porch and good space both in the front and the back, there is space for a work shop and storage in the garage and it's for the same rent as we pay now.

So, how does our choice of reaction and action make a difference here? In the way we felt about it. We could choose to be upset with our current landlord for making us move, or we could choose to be grateful to him for making us move. We choose the latter, because it makes us feel better, and, let's face it, we're getting a house instead of a cramped apartment. An apartment we love in many ways, but it's still not as good as the new house.

Now, if you hadn't already noticed I am all about finding the silver lining to anything and everything that happens in life. Even my dad's passing seven years ago has the silver lining of me getting my life together and deciding to change it to something better than it was. That does not mean I don't miss my dad every day, it's just a better feeling way to look at things.

And that's the rub to it all. Whatever story you choose to write, choose the one that makes you feel better out of the options you have. Every situation, every second of every day, has the option of you choosing how you want to feel. Always, always, always choose the option that makes you feel best, and always, always, always remember to be grateful. Because gratitude makes you feel good.

Feelings don't choose you, you choose your feelings by choosing your thoughts. Try it. Think of something and check how it makes you feel, then think of something else and check how it makes you feel. Now, choose the good thoughts and you will feel the good feelings. Whenever you feel bad it means you are thinking thoughts that makes you feel bad, find better thoughts and you feel better feelings. Choose the story you want to write.

My story for 2016 will be better, bigger and happier than ever before. It will be filled with love, joy, laughter, friends, family, prosperity and creativity. I will keep growing; both intellectually, creatively and emotionally. I will do more things that make me feel good, and I will become even better at living my dreams. Dreams are meant to be lived (if you don't believe me ask Home Free, or your artist of choice if other), and that is the second part of choosing the story you want to write. Follow your dreams, write your own life, make decisions that will make you treasure your life more (even if it is already perfect, or even if it seems impossible). Do things that will make you feel better.

Years ago I made the decision that every new year will be better than the year before was, and even through the rough years I have managed to find silver linings to make it so. So as I am leaving a fantastic 2015 behind I know that 2016 will be even more fabulous. Because I choose the story I want to write.

I'm starting my new year by having a lazy day. I have done some writing (as you can read, hehe), I spent some time sunbathing up on the roof terrace, I have listened to some music, I've meditated, I made some carb-free bread, and I am about to have a nice warm bath with candles and some soft calming music. All things that make me feel good. Because isn't that what life is all about after all? To feel as good, and be as happy as you can be? So don't let outer circumstances control you, choose the story you want to write. Take control of your happiness and your life and be the best that you can be.

That is my only new year's resolution. To Choose the story I want to write, and to feel as good as I possibly can at every given moment.

What is yours?

Thank you to my friend G for letting me use her motto for today's post. I am so looking forward to meeting you in London!

Today's video is by another one of my favourite artists, and he is not a cappella, nor is he country. However, I would love to see a collaboration between him and Home Free at some point.

Here's Bruno Mars with a song perfectly fitted for today; The Lazy Song. This is also one of my favourite videos as it's cute, goofy and it makes me happy. (There is an alternative official video for this song, but I prefer this one). I have shared this song and video once before, but it was last year so ... here you go!

Happy New Year, friends!