Friday, April 29, 2011

God Save The King

Carole King, from Tapestry

Sorry in advance for all the videos. No, no apologies! I LOVE this woman!

I was ecstatic to discover Carole King’s songs were being featured on American Idol. Carole King is one of my most favorite singer-songwriters. Her songs have accompanied the important experiences in my life, from swooning over the first boy I dated in high school to trying to come to terms with losing my job just a couple months ago. What would I have done if my mom had never introduced me to Tapestry? Would it have found me anyway? 

 (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

I Feel the Earth Move

Through the vehicle of American Idol, a new audience has had the opportunity to discover Carole King. I will admit American Idol is the only tv series I specifically watch every episode of. Like my dad, who can’t carry a tune in a bucket, I enjoy singing along as talented young things belt out their dreams under the spotlight in real time. And I NEVER vote, because, well, I just can’t decide who should leave. I get attached to all the contestants. This year, in particular, I love everyone. I am a bad critic. So sue me!

Will You Love Me Tomorrow?

Up On the Roof
But back to the great CK - 

Now and Forever

Without Carole King, “The Loco-Motion” would have had an entirely different sound. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” would not exist. James Taylor never would have sung “You’ve Got A Friend.” Carole King has written and/or co-written 118 hit songs in her long career. During the early years she wrote with her then husband Gerry Goffin. I read somewhere (maybe in the liner notes of The Beatles Anthology? Or maybe I heard it on a documentary of some kind?) that John Lennon and Paul McCartney aspired to be like Goffin and King. McCartney was quoted as saying he wished he could write as well as they did. Goffin and King’s first hit was “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?,” written in 1961 when Carole King was just 18. Tapestry, her chart topping album from 1971, is an incomparable contribution to music. It is also my go to mood lifter. 

The Reason

Carole King’s songs are breathtaking and full of feeling and soul and meaning. They soothe wounds and incite to action. If you don’t know (you know) her music, go check her out! If you already love her, what's YOUR favorite song or album? I would love to know!

Bitter with the Sweet

God Save The King!!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shaping Up

It’s been a cool spring so far in Missouri, but that’s not keeping the idea of summer from nipping at my heels. I am feeling really motivated to cut out the bad and replace it with everything good. Good exercise moves, good moods, and good foods. What are you doing to get into tip-top shape for swimsuit season? I am pretty sure I’m going to reach my peak long after summer ends, but if I get to a place where I feel comfortable wearing tank tops in public by the end of summer, that will be a good start!

I have several health goals: 1) Cut down (WAY down) on sugar, my favorite drug. I will eat fruit, but I am going to hide the Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs underneath the frozen veggies in my freezer (or remove them from my apartment entirely, if need be!) ; 2) Add a tough daily exercise routine to the yoga and walking I do regularly; 3) Get outside and play more; 4) Lift weights and do weight-bearing exercises to tone my bod; 5) Spruce up my values a bit, so I emphasize doing and being rather than lazing and eating.

I know I don’t always do what I should in order to be at my own personal physical best. I have reached health goals in the past, but, as many of you probably know, they are difficult to maintain.  And it’s easy to grow complacent. My most recent pitfall was a nearly daily trip to the gas station for PopTarts and Pop. Once I gave up those “treats,” I lost fifteen pounds just in time to be a bridesmaid in my friend Brooke’s wedding last summer. I’ve held pretty steady since then, but I know tweaking a few more nasty habits will lead to an even better body and more energy. At the same time, I want to remember to feel good about myself wherever I am on this journey. Bad days are bound to happen (um, yeah, Easter candy, you haven’t helped!). The trick is to like yourself anyway and to keep on keeping on.  

Today, I did this workout I found on YouTube:

I am not sure if it is the best home workout, but it is definitely good! It gives a whole body workout, and there are many areas where I have (a lot of) room to improve: strength, balance, form, and stamina, for starters. DeStorm, a musician, entertainer and former trainer, has several other exercise videos I am excited to try out. I have several workout videos on DVD, but it’s nice to mix things up for FREE. Know of any other good workouts on YouTube? I would love to hear about them!

As my mom says, we all know what to do to lose weight and be in good shape. We just don’t always do it. She also repeats these five words of wisdom a lot: “Move more and eat less.” That’s the way you get to your happy weight. I am not sure where she first heard that line. Probably on Oprah.

Good luck in reaching YOUR health goals this season,

Alison :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Before & After

 I was overdue for a new ‘do, and I always return to two things hair-wise: bangs and bobs. I’d been wearing my hair shaggy for awhile, but I was ready to add a little more polish to my look. I returned to my old pal, the bob. I am going through a lot of changes. My hair needed to follow suit. Bobs give a lot bang for their buck; they are stylish, hip, cute and cartoonish all at the same time. And there are so many variations! I love them! Oh, and here’s an added bonus - this particular cut really emphasizes my cheekbones, making me feel like I look a few pounds slimmer. Can’t beat that!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Painting it White with Quixotic

I am falling behind, and I’ve barely started my blog. I have (at least) three posts to make, but I will start with the most recent activity of note and work backward. My newest spring goal? Post regularly!

Erica airbrushes Angelina's hair. The trick is to coat hair with hairspray first!
I just love how well the bow-like up-do goes with the origami hair ornament.

Last night, I helped my friend Erica paint dancers from my favorite Kansas City-based music and dance ensemble, Quixotic. Quixotic puts on wonderful multimedia performances that employ a blend of music, dance, aerial work, video, creative lighting, costuming, makeup, projections, etc.

I have helped out with Quixotic-related projects on several occasions. I always have a great time, mostly due to Erica’s good company. Usually, I work on small, yet time consuming, sewing projects for Erica. Erica is the very talented Costume Designer for Quixotic. This time, it was really fun to get a behind-the-scenes peek at Quixotic’s latest video shoot, while assisting Erica as she styled and airbrushed the dancers. My job? Paint white lines on the dancers’ bodies and give white paint touch-ups. The most common reason the dancers needed touch-ups? Eating chips. Yeah, those girls are in great shape from dancing all day, but sometimes they actually eat like the rest of us. Yay! 

 The dancers wore white bikini-like costumes designed and created by Erica. They danced in front of a green screen, improvising dance moves based on loose instructions. The poise and control the dancers had over their bodies impressed me. At one point, three dancers were asked to hold rather lopsided positions, while a fourth danced around their rigid forms. They were like statues! I don’t know how they stood (posed?) so still in such uncomfortable-looking positions! Truly amazing! I don’t want to give away any details, but the videos will be modified and used in upcoming projections during live performances. 
After working hard to ensure a good shoot, Erica and I topped off the night with a glass of white wine and three Dove dark chocolate eggs apiece. Mmm, perfection.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Easter Eggs, Round 1??

Easter eggs in a bowl on the stove.
 Getting together with my girlfriends to work on crafty projects is one of my favorite activities of all time. Tonight, my friend Kate and I decorated Easter eggs. We chose to boil our eggs, rather than blow them out. For the base color of the eggs, we used Wilton food coloring, warm water and vinegar. Because a couple of the dyes did not dissolve as completely as they should have, some of the eggs wound up with mottled finishes. This added an unexpected realism to our brightly colored eggs (think robin eggs). After dyeing the eggs, I rolled some of them in a medium-sized silver glitter to add some bling. Dyed eggs would look absolutely stunning if rolled in fine glitter. I also thought it might be fun to paint on some of the eggs with kids’ watercolors. I did it. It WAS fun. Some of the motifs I used were stripes, flowers and lips. I think I could get really lost in painting an egg, if I let myself. I kind of hurried through the watercolor painting tonight, though, because Kate had prepared korma chicken for dinner. It smelled so good it distracted me, and that shows in my final product. But YUM, no regrets. The meal was delish!  

I feel really inspired to paint more eggs. Good thing there’s a little time left before Easter gets here, so I’ll have a chance to make some more. But what am I gonna do with all those eggs when they’re finished!?