Monday, July 15, 2013

My "Stepping Stone" - The Love Story Behind the Song

I can't believe the day has finally come! My EP, "Stepping Stone", is now available on iTunes and Amazon MP3. You can also purchase a physical copy through my website. I appreciate all of the support everyone. Please continue to spread the word and help me out by rating and reviewing it on iTunes and Amazon.

Please follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on any future music...or to just see adorable pictures of my bunny. Whichever you prefer.

This is it. My final "Inspiration Behind the Song". I don't even know where to begin. There really are no words to describe how much the song "Stepping Stone" means to me.




The song is about my journey with my husband, Gwith. The beginning phrase, "There's a million sounds yet you're the only one I hear. There's a trillion moments, but I can only recall just one" was written before I ever met him. After I wrote that part, I never knew what to write next. I hadn't experienced it yet. Then, about a year later, I met him. Here are the lyrics for the first verse and the story behind them:

"There was something special in your eyes. The way you touched me, no words could describe. Your eyes danced in the moonlight. They shimmered and I shivered all over my spine." 

My family was traveling to Australia because my dad was racing as part of Team USA in a World's Triathlon. My mom decided that since we would, in her words, "never be in that part of the world again", we'd go to New Zealand too. Little did she know, I was going to find the love of my life there and most certainly be back there again!

My family stayed at a hotel in Auckland. This hotel had three different restaurants and the one we ate at the first night was so disgusting that we decided the next day to try the Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant. If my husband were typing this right now, he would love to tell this part. From the first moment I walked into the restaurant, our eyes locked. But because of my allergies to bell peppers (he was already cooking at another table), he couldn't cook for us. His best friend cooked for us instead. What I didn't know was after we had left, he told his friend that "Next time, I'm cooking for her." The next day, I encouraged my family to go back to the restaurant for lunch. After all, I wanted to get another look at this cute boy. This time, as fate would have it (or as Gwith made sure of it), he cooked for us. I can't explain it but there was this moment when I looked up at him and I knew. That little voice in my head said "He is going to be special to me." And I was right.

While cooking for us, Gwith offered to show my family around Auckland on his break. As he walked us down to the pier, he and I started to walk ahead of everyone else. Well, mostly everyone else. My older sister (who I love dearly) kept tagging along cluelessly! But she did get some photos of us from that very first day!


A few deadly glares later, she got the hint. Eventually, my family decided to head back to the hotel. Gwith and I decided to stay back for a little bit. Once we arrived back at the hotel, he asked me out. I remember thinking "I don't really know this guy. I'm not really sure if I should go out with this stranger in another country." So I told him: "I might be tired." Of course, that night, I went in to the restaurant to think about it and when he saw me, he was doing a juggling trick for a customer and dropped his spatulas. It was so cute that I knew right then that I had to go out with him.

We had an amazing night on the town. We danced. We talked. In just a matter of hours, we felt such a strong connection. But the next day, I left Auckland. That didn't stop us though. For the next 6 months, we wrote emails to each other every day and talked on the phone or Skype at least twice a day. There was never a day that went by when we didn't talk to each other. I remember, there was this one day we were on Skype for 12 hours just talking and telling each other stories. It was incredible.

And that's just verse one. Here's the inspiration behind the second verse:

"From the moment you came off that plane, the way you kissed me, I knew we were the same. Our lips danced, till the daylight. They flittered, my heart melted, throughout the night!"

After 6 months of waiting to see each other, Gwith flew out to the US for the very first time. I have two types of memories now every time I enter the airport. Our incredible hellos and our heartbreaking goodbyes. From the moment he came off the plane, we were inseparable. Even my parents have told me that after his 3 week trip, they knew he was the one. In those weeks, we fell so deeply in love.


Every time I read the lyrics to the next verse of the song, it takes me back to this amazing day.

"From the moment we sat by the brook, the things that you said, I knew my life had changed! Yeah my heart thrived in the sunlight. It pounded and I realized you'd be mine for life."

After Gwith's first trip to the states, I flew out to New Zealand a couple of times. The second time was for our one year anniversary. To celebrate, we traveled to Brisbane, Australia. Well, actually, we traveled to Coolangatta, Australia and quickly realized the error of our ways. Beds that felt as hard as blocks of ice, having to buy our own toilet paper in the hotel, and all of the restaurants and grocery stores closing at 5:30 (when we arrived from NZ at 5:35?). That adventure was pretty bad...in a funny way now, of course. Anyways, back to the romantic part of the story. And no. This is not when he proposed to me. But it was when I knew he was going to someday. We were walking along the brook in Brisbane and he sat me down on a bench. Yellow flowers were blowing around the bench, the water was drifting down the brook, and all I could hear was him. He looked me in the eyes and he told me, "There is one thing I want you to know. One day, I will marry you." That moment was the moment my whole life changed forever.


About 8 months later, Gwith flew out to Denver and when he saw me again, he realized he never wanted to leave my side. He proposed to me on a beautiful horse carriage ride in Downtown Denver!


The chorus of the song is about our wedding day. 647,568,000 seconds went by in my life, counting down until our wedding. 675 days were stepping stones of the beginning of our journey together. I've always believed that life is a journey. Everything happens for a reason and leads you in a certain direction. At 18 years old, there were a million of other things I could have been doing in the fall of 2009, other than going to New Zealand with my family. Yet all of my choices up till that point put me on a plane and I am grateful every day that they did. I don't know where I would be in life without my husband. He is my everything.

"And every second of my life was counting down until this moment. Every day was just a stepping stone. Leading me to you."


I hope you enjoyed reading about my inspiration behind the song and enjoy listening!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Inspiration Behind the Song: "Cause of You", Learning to Cook (Sort of), and Graceland

I am so excited! My EP, "Stepping Stone" comes out tomorrow! My final "Inspiration Behind the Song" will be coming out tomorrow too and I'm very excited to share it with you as I've never written a song that means more to me than that one, so please read it!!

I'll briefly talk about "Cause of You". In all honesty, "Cause of You" was me daydreaming. I was listening to a lot of Savage Garden and was inspired by their song "I Want You" and also inspired by Taylor Swift's "Love Story". This song was about being in love and how amazing that feels: The idea that when you meet the right person, everything in your life seems to fall into place and you're in the clouds.

The song will be available for purchase tomorrow on iTunes as well as through my website for a physical CD. My website store (launching tomorrow) will also have some promotional merchandise that I've been working on.




Now, onto other topics. I'm attempting the crockpot again today! I probably never mentioned this but I have a gigantic fear of using the stove. However, I finally learned a few months ago to use the crockpot instead. I know. I'm 22 and it probably sounds like it took me a really long time to learn to cook anything for myself but, come on. I married a chef. You can't blame me for wanting to eat delicious meals instead of my amateur attempts at something supposedly called food. I'm not kidding. A few years back, I tried making spaghetti. It took three tries and to be honest, I still didn't get it. I even called my now husband (who was in New Zealand at the time cooking at work), and he was practically rolling on the floor laughing... I am pretty proud though now! I did finally learn how to make spaghetti a few weeks ago. And, my crockpot recipes are actually pretty good. Gwith even comes home wanting to eat my dishes. It's incredibly shocking! Tonight, I'm making a maple-cinnamon apple chicken. Fingers crossed that it tastes as good as it sounds!

What did everyone think of Graceland last week? My husband was a little annoyed at me because I fell asleep during it. Whoops. I did end up re-watching it with him though. I'm still feeling uncertain about the show. It seems like it might be starting to get more interesting, but then again, it seems like I might be saying that every week. I think the problem I'm having with the show is that the writers have given me no reason to care about any of these characters. I want to care. I wanted to watch the end of last week's episode and cry: "Poor Charlie! Her CI died and now I can't believe she's going to take drugs to get further on this case! How will she get out of this?" But instead, my reaction was more like: "Yup. Charlie found her CI dead. Oh. Now she's taking this drug? Maybe the show will get more interesting now? I hope...". I'm going to keep trying to watch the show. My hubby is enjoying it after all and who knows? Maybe if I watch it while I actually have some energy, I'll enjoy it too.

Two days until Covert Affairs returns on USA! I am psyched for some Annie/Auggie action. I feel like I've been waiting years for this...even though I only watched the entire show for the first time last winter. But still. It's been a long time coming!

What was your first attempt at cooking? Or were you just born with talent like my husband? Did you enjoy Graceland? Am I just missing something? Are you tuning in for Covert Affairs?

Chicken Quesadillas was the first meal I ever successfully made with the crock pot! Gwith loves Mexican food and because of my allergy to bell peppers, he can rarely have it. So this dish (pepper free of course) was a big surprise when he came home from work!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Who Do I Want to Be in Hollywood?

This morning I was lying in bed and I was thinking: If I ever become known for my music what do I want my influence to be. When I was 13, my voice coach asked me that same question. I said I didn't want people to feel like they have to be like me. I want to teach them that it's okay to be themselves. I still agree today. Of course, I know that if I this opportunity ever arises, I'm bound to influence people whether I'd like to or not.

I'm not going to use the phrase "If I ever become famous". Let's face it, "famous" has a whole other meaning now. Fame isn't just about being known for your craft, it's about being known for your wild party habits, your drug and alcohol addictions, or dressing up in some wacky getup. I just want to be known for my craft. I want to be successful doing what I love. I know I'm never going to be in that party scene. I couldn't stand it in high school and I still can't stand it. Want to known my big high school party experience? Some friends invited me to a party. I went. It ended up being a party of their religious teenage congregation with parental supervision and playing games with paper airplanes. I kid you not. And I had a blast! Want to know my big high school drinking experience? I went to a restaurant, ordered a virgin pina colada and they served me one with rum accidentally. Two sips and I was giggly and tipsy. My tolerance has always been low. Final want to know: This was my clubbing experience when I turned 18. My sister and I went to a few clubs and each time sat around in a corner talking to each other about our future film project at the time. Each time we got up to try and dance with each other we looked around and there was no one on the floor. The other club we went to was so crowded and loud that I wanted to leave the first second I arrived.

See. I'm definitely not going to be known as the "party" girl. It's weird. Everyone I talk to out in LA is always asking me about what my "image" is going to be. One person looked at my promotional photos months back and said, "These are nice photos but there's really nothing special about them."


Can't I be the one celebrity whose actually known for just having a talent? It's ridiculous that Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and Katy Perry have become the industry standard. Don't get me wrong, I think Lady Gaga's outfits are fun to look at. I loved Britney's early music. I love Katy Perry's music and her crazy costumes. But I just want to be me. The girl who waited in line for 3 hours for the Chuck panel at San Diego Comic Con, the girl who helps her friends out when they need it, collects TV DVDs and stares at the collection longingly to relax, enjoys nightly strolls in the supermarket with my hubby, and sings and writes to let out my bottled up emotions.

I guess till this day, I still believe what I said when I was 13. I don't want to be anyone's influence. The only thing I want my fans to ever be is who they are. I want them to know that you don't have to party and drink to be special. That you're special just the way you are.

Hollywood seems to have this standard that everyone has to prove they're special and that they're the best. I don't ever want to do that. I don't want to pretend or be false. If I'm never the "Hollywood" version of "the best", I'll be just fine. I just want to do what I love. I want to know that a fan, even if it's just one fan, has listened to my songs and it has helped them through whatever experience they're going through.

If I can make it doing what I love and by being myself, it's worth it. It's not worth it any other way. If I can't, at least I know I'm still me.

Recording my EP in Boulder, Colorado.
Recording studio breaks with my husband who was obsessed with Angry Birds at the time.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fans, Music Videos, Santa Barbara, and Dexter!

I must start by first of all saying, I am super super excited! I've been running some Facebook ads the past few days for my music page and I'm incredibly pleased with the turnout! I've got like *actual* fans. (Enter squeal here). Besides seeing fans actually commenting, I am really enjoying using all of these different promotional tools. I've always enjoyed marketing so this doesn't come as too much of a surprise. It's interesting to see what's popular and what isn't.

If you're not a Facebook fan yet, here's my chance to advertise. And if you are, help spread the word and keep the numbers jumping! You guys are awesome! Also, follow me on twitter. Fair warning though, there will be a lot of adorable bunny photos mixed in with my music posts and TV talk. That's just the way I roll!

https://www.facebook.com/JustineThomasMusic
https://twitter.com/themeanjustine

One of the things I'm finding most interesting is the "post promotion". I tried two different posts: my blog and my photo album. My blog got a bit of a turn out through the promotion but what's really doing well is the photo! And it's not even my favorite of the bunch, so go figure. This makes me wonder: If a photo is doing so well, how well would a video do?

Naturally, I want to make a music video at some point. Besides my love for singing and entertaining, I also have my love for film and video editing, so this seems like a no brainer. I have no idea which song though to make the video of! Given my huge (and overactive) imagination, I dream elaborate things. I'm not kidding. When I was 8 I dreamt of having a Titanic themed birthday party. I actually thought my mom could fill the basement with water and have a sunken ship inside. Understandably, this party did not happen. But my mom did hang blue ribbons all over the ceiling and place a "treasure chest" in the basement for an under the sea theme. I enjoyed it just as much!

Ok, back on to the topic of music videos before I get sidetracked with my old birthday parties! My vision for a "Stepping Stone" music video is to have it set in the 1940s with my long lost love coming back from WWII. Now, if I could just find 1940s clothes, a WWII plane, and a 1940s themed town, I'd be all set. My "Worst Date Ever" music video vision is to have it set in the 1950s. Clearly I need a time machine!

I've got to figure something out! I feel like a video is key to the promotion at this point.

Switching gears, my hubby and I went to Santa Barbara the other day. It was so nice to get away from the city! We enjoyed a nice lunch by the beach and then strolled the zoo. It's a smaller zoo but that's what I liked about it! There were no crowds: Just me, Gwith, and the penguins. The penguins were adorable, by the way! There was also a bird that reminded me of Willow. That probably sounds crazy. How can a bird remind someone of their pet rabbit? But I swear it did!!



DEXTER TALK AHEAD. AVERT YOUR EYES NOW IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN SUNDAY'S EPISODE.

Dexter was AMAZING this week. As usual. Does anyone else not trust Dr. Vogel? I personally think she is the serial killer. My mom thinks she's trying to trap Dexter. I want to know what everyone else's theories are. We've been through 7 previous seasons of this show and I think we all know by now that someone who's been introduced this season is bound to turn up evil. It would be an interesting twist if it's Deb's boss! Oooo. Maybe it's Deb. Okay. Now even I think that's farfetched. I highly doubt Deb is coercing people to chop off heads.

END DEXTER TALK.

Should I do a music video? Which song? What is your favorite zoo animal? Do you trust Dr. Vogel? Is Deb's boss bad?

Here's my photo of the day:

Willow is feeling incredibly possessive over her carrot toy!



Monday, July 8, 2013

Behind the Song: "Worst Date Ever"

Ok. I've been having a lot of fun writing about my songs, don't get me wrong, but I have been eagerly awaiting writing about this one.

Worst Date Ever.





I'm sure most of you have had one of those awful, awful dates where you pretty much would do anything to escape it. This song, is a compilation of two of my worst dates ever. I was on a roll the summer I was 18. There are a few more I could talk about but I'll save those for another time!

Date #1
Let's call this guy George, ok? George worked valet at a local restaurant (keep that in mind that he moves cars and opens doors for a living). When he picked me up from my house, he picked me up in one of those trucks with giant wheels that lift the car way off the ground.


I'd like to mention here that I'm only 5 foot. So, I come out to the car and he stays in the driver's seat! I tried to open the door from my miniature level and as I'm trying to open it (and failing miserably), he says to me, "Oh. That door is a little sticky. You'll get it." What a gentleman. Eventually, I did get it. Of course, looking back, I should've taken that as my cue to say "See ya" and head back inside the house.

We headed to the arcade to play some games before dinner and a movie. I want to point out that even though I normally am not very good at pool, I kick ass on a bad date. Like, really kick ass. I guess it's my way of figuring out some way to have a good time! On this date, I made one of those shots where I put the cue behind my back and sat up on the edge of the table. It was awesome....ANYWAYS, back to the date. Every time I made a joke, this guy laughed in the falsest way imaginable. Literally. He'd throw his head back, put his hand on his chest and say: "Hah. Hah. Hah. Hah."

After we played the game, he turned to me and said:

George: "You ready to go to the movie?"
My thoughts: Um. What? I thought we were having dinner. You said we were having dinner!!!
George: "Oh. You wanted to eat?"
My thoughts: Ahhhh!! Now I'm miserable and hungry?? This is no good.

So, I convinced him to stop at the nearby sushi restaurant so I could pick up some food. Of course, when we arrived, and as we were still sitting in his car, he said, "I'll drop you off. I need to go have a smoke." Oh, lovely. First of all, I'm not into smokers. Secondly, he's dropping me off to eat while he can go smoke? Again, what a gentleman. I go into the restaurant and pick up my salad. Since we were in a hurry, I figured there wasn't time for anything else. After I pay for it, I stepped outside to meet him and head to the movie. But big surprise! He wasn't there. I looked around, very briefly for him, and then decided there was really no point to looking any further. So, I sat down at the table outside, in the lovely 20ยบ degree Colorado weather (Brrrrr), and ate my salad while listening to music on my phone. I can honestly say, this was the best moment of the entire date. I was freezing, my hands were going numb, but George wasn't around. By the time he arrived, 20 minutes later, he sat down and said: "Aren't you cold?" This was my proudest moment on this date. I turned to him, with numb hands, and said "No. I'm fine." After all, I was already numb and he was just starting to shiver! Needless to say, I made him sit out there with me for 15 more minutes so he would freeze.

Once we arrived at the movie theater to see Saw 5, he bought himself popcorn and a slushie. Nothing for me. We got into the theater and sat down. I really hope this guy didn't expect me to cuddle him. First of all, I mostly find horror films ridiculous and amusing. I watch for the special effects. Second of all, this guy? There was no way I was going to even lean near him. So, I sat in my chair and intentionally leaned the opposite direction. Part way through the movie, as a huge Buffy fan, I suddenly thought: "Wait! Isn't that Julie Benz?" So, I did what any normal person wouldn't do and got up, left the theater, and walked around the main room, looking at IMDB on my phone. When I discovered it was in fact her, I decided to go back in and at least watch the movie as a big Buffy geek. After the movie, he brought me home, dropped me off, and I practically ran to the door.

It's hard to believe that was only ONE of the inspirations for this song.

Here is Date #2:
Let's call this guy Steve. Steve was a waiter. Of course, while we were in the car on the way to mini golf, I asked him what he dreams of doing. It seemed like a normal question. His response: "I really want to lift boxes for UPS. But there's a lot of training that goes into it so I don't think I'm going to do that." Huh. I have nothing against people who want to take those kinds of jobs. The world needs people who do that, obviously. But, his drive to do it wasn't all that inspiring.

When we arrived at mini golf (which I paid for!), this was literally the fastest game I ever played. There was no conversation, at all. Once we finished, 15 minutes later, Steve turned to me and said: "So (nod nod, wink wink). What do you want to do now?" Ummm...not that. Being polite though and realizing the sun hadn't even gone down yet, I said, "There's an arcade nearby. We could go there." He disappointedly said, "Ok." When we arrived at the arcade, we went to play one of the machines. As we stood at the game, he turned to me and said, "Can you pay for this?" It was one dollar. Talk about a cheap date. So, I paid. I had to entertain myself somehow! Of course, since he had no money, he made sure we quickly went back to the car to figure out what else to do. This is the part where I felt a bit like a mother trying to talk to their child:

Steve: "(Nod, nod, wink wink). What do you want to do now?"
Me: "Do you want to go walk around the mall?" Window shopping doesn't cost a thing.
Steve: "No. I work near there so I see it every day."
Me: "...Okay. Are you hungry?"
Steve: "No. Not really."
Me: "...Okay..."
Steve: "So, (nod nod, wink wink), what do you want to do now?"
Me: "You know, I have some money. Why don't we go back in the arcade and play a game of pool?"
Steve: "Oh...okay."

When we got back in to play pool, he turned to me at the beginning of the game and said, "If I win this game, I get to kiss you." Ha ha (enter George laugh here)! Yeah, right. As I said when I talked about the last date, I kick ass at pool when I'm on an awful date. So of course, I won, and he missed out on his delusional chances.

As we left the arcade and the sun was just starting to set, I turned to him and said, "You know. I have a lot of work to do tomorrow so I should head home." He was disappointed but agreed to take me home. Once we were in his car and driving, he turned to me and said: "It's a shame I don't have my own place yet. Otherwise we could go back and watch a movie." Oh, darn. Bummer. Wait. No. YAY!!!! He's run out of options. Woohoo!! Or so I think... As we're driving back to my house, this lovely conversation begins:

Steve: "So. What did you think of me?"
Me: "Ummm..." I'm so polite. "You're nice. I just don't think we have a lot in common."
Steve: "So...how would you rate this date?"
Me: "Uh...."
Steve: "Would you go out with me again?"
Me: "Uh...you know, I'm really busy with work right now."
Steve: "Oh. Okay. Well maybe I can swing by later tonight and pick you up. There's this pool near my house. We could hop the fence."
Me: "Uh...I'm really tired."

Luckily, we just arrived back at my house. He tried to kiss me goodnight but again, I darted out of the car and into the house.

To all the women out there: What are guys thinking? I hope these guys grew up A LOT and have since learned the error of their ways.

So, that's the inspiration for my song, "Worst Date Ever". Be sure to listen to the track. It will be available on iTunes, along with the rest of my CD "Stepping Stone", on July 15th!

Friday, July 5, 2013

4th of July!

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! It is getting so hot out in California! I got my hair chopped off to fight this heat wave. Of course, yesterday, my husband decided it was the perfect time to take a walk to my parents house, instead of drive. For some reason I decided to wear the one top I got recently that covers the back of my neck which totally defeated the purpose of having short hair. Yup. I'm just brilliant.

The walk was nice though. Especially the first half before it got too hot. Then we stopped for Menchie's midway and when we left, the sun was beaming. We had a great day though! Once we got to my parents, we had a barbecue and spent most of the day in the pool. Gwith and I were attempting tandem noodling. It mostly ended in chaos, but it was tons of fun! Then, we drove up to Topanga Canyon to try and find a great view of the fireworks. Note to self for next year: Do not drive up the canyon to watch. It sounds great in theory but first of all, it's super crowded (and a truck decided there was enough space to pull in right where we were standing with my sister and her boyfriend, and it nearly hit us) and secondly, you can barely see the fireworks! They're so tiny from that high up. After Gwith and I arrived back home though, we were pulling into the garage and started hearing fireworks. Thus began our yearly tradition of firework chasing. We got lucky and found them in a park not too far away!

Last year, our firework chase led us in the direction of these people in my parents neighborhood who were setting them off. We stopped at their location to watch and the second we arrived, they'd jump in the car all freaked out, and drive off. We kept finding them in different spots to try and watch...and they kept leaving. It was pretty funny. They must've thought we were going to call the police or something.

You should know that I was worried about Willow freaking out from the sound of fireworks so I turned on the Castle marathon for her. Ironically, she decided she wanted to wait to watch the fireworks and hopped over to the window and eagerly looked out.


Today, I'm planning to FINALLY watch this week's episode of The Bachelorette. Yay! I feel so behind and I'm sad that I haven't read the EW recap of it yet. I love those.

This week, a friend and I are going to see Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. I'm very excited to check it out and see Fred and Wes reunited!!

It appears I've run out of things to say today. Must be the heat! I think it's melting my brain.

Anyways, how was everyones 4th of July? Did you see fireworks? Have you seen Much Ado About Nothing?

Willow waiting for the sun to go down!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Best 4th of July TV Marathon

Not everyone plans the same thing for the 4th of July. Sure, for some the holidays are all about family, friends, barbecues, swimming pools, yada, yada, yada. My favorite part of the holidays? Watching TV marathons. I do it every year for every holiday. Thanksgiving it's every Thanksgiving themed episode of "Friends". Halloween, there's nothing better than "Buffy". Christmas and Chanukah it's any holiday themed episode of my favorite shows. Valentine's day, episodes where my favorite TV couples fall in love. 4th of July? Well that's what I'm hear to advise you on today!

Given the theme of 4th of July is our independence, I think it's highly appropriate to have a binge marathon on TV shows where the characters are fighting for their beliefs. Especially the episodes where they rise to the occasion against all odds.

Here's my suggestion of 8 great shows to marathon or 12 selected episodes to include in your perfect 4th of July marathon:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer-
For the super Buffy enthusiast, power watch the show starting bright and early Thursday morning. As someone who watched the 4th season of Angel in just one day, I know it is entirely possibly to enjoy at least 4 seasons of Buffy over this four day weekend! If you don't have that much time on your hands, I suggest including these episodes in your ultimate 4th of July marathon:


S2x21/22: "Becoming Pt. 1 & 2"
No friends. No family. What does Buffy have left? Herself.


S3x1: "Anne"
After Buffy runs off to LA, she realizes that no matter where she runs, she will always be the slayer and fighting against evil.


S7x22: "Chosen"
The First may think it's all mighty and powerful but in this episode, an important choice is made that empowers each potential slayer.

Angel
If you're already a Whedonite, chances are, you've already seen it all. Change up your usual marathon and watch the first season of Angel and the fifth season back to back to really highlight the rising moments of our hero! No matter what, don't forget to watch the final episode:


S5x22: "Not Fade Away"
This show was about fighting for the greater good, fighting for a cause. Whether Team Angel would win or lose this final battle, it didn't matter. What matters is they got to work and they fought.

24
If you're going to pick a season of 24 to binge watch, pick season 5. Not only is it, in my opinion, the best season, Jack also came back to town from on the run because he needed to save the day once again. If you're going to stick with my 12 episodes marathon, switch to season 1 and watch these two amazing episodes:


S1x12/13: "Day 1: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm" & "Day 1: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm"
It's impossible to choose just one and hard to choose just two episodes of 24 but these episodes were the only true ones where if it ended at 1:00 pm, Jack would have saved the day.

Castle
There is nothing better than Kate Beckett trying to find the answers to her mother's murder. I'd suggest watching the episodes that showcase Beckett's greatest cause and don't skip out on this gem of an episode:


S3x24: "Knockout"
Sure, Captain Montgomery was involved in some bad stuff way back in the day but he died a hero: sacrificing his life to try and save Beckett and put an end to the coverup.

Chuck
One of my TV favorites! Chuck is the perfect way to spend 4th of July. It's got comedy, it's got drama, and most importantly, it shows the rise of a hero, in a mostly non-supernatural setting (we'll pretend the intersect is a real thing). If you have the chance and don't depend on sleep, you can watch this show in four days. Hit the play all button and don't look back. If you have to pick a season though, pick season 2. It marked Chuck's change from a guy stuck as a hero to a guy who truly wants to save the world. Pick just one episode? Go with this one:


S2x22: "Chuck vs. The Ring"
Becoming the intersect wasn't Chuck's choice but becoming a hero was.

Friends
Amidst all of the other shows full of drama, you're probably a little surprised to see Friends on this list! Independence though doesn't always have to be about fighting battles and saving the world. For most of us normal people, this show represents what independence is truly about. Getting out into the world and surviving on your own. Pick your favorite episodes but don't forget this classic:


S1x1: "The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate"
Not everything you watch today has to be filled with explosions. Rachel did cut up her father's credit cards in this episode and it doesn't get any more independent than that!

White Collar
Neal may not be free but he's got a pretty sweet deal and who knows, maybe one day he will get to independently choose to be an agent with the FBI. If you don't have the 4th (and latest) season saved on your DVR, you can watch the first three, which are all on DVD. No matter what, be sure to watch this episode:


S3x16: "Judgement Day"
Will Neal wake up tomorrow and only answer to himself? Or will his independence still remain years away?

Dexter
4th of July just took a massive turn to the dark side - or should I say, dark passenger? Yes, Dexter is a serial killer. Yes. It's not good that he kills people. But honestly, isn't he just Superman without superpowers and a cape? He still kills the bad guys. Dexter struggles with his independence every day. He thinks he's without a soul and yet he doesn't want to let go of Harry's Code because he truly does not want to hurt the innocent. Enter your binge marathon of Dexter with the first season and don't miss it's concluding episode:


S1x12: "Born Free"
Who is Dexter Morgan? Is he a super hero or a serial killer? Dexter is always trying to figure out who he is but when given the choice to save Deb's life or finally have his long lost brother, he battles himself and his code and chooses.


Don't own any of these on DVD or have Netflix? Don't fret. There's always an "NCIS" marathon happening on USA, a "Castle" marathon on TNT, a "Star Trek: TNG" marathon on BBC, or if you don't feel like seeing people battling for the greater good in solid story lines, there's always the show where self righteous characters battle for their own greater good, "Beverly Hills, 90210" on Soap. If you're not into a TV marathon, my final suggestion is to watch a Die Hard movie marathon. Just skip the latest one and pretend it never happened.

Have a great 4th of July everyone!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Meeting People in LA and Ray Donovan

How do you make friends in LA? My husband and I have been out here for a year and a half and it seems like it's impossible to meet young 20somethings or 30somethings. Yesterday, we went to our first dance class in hopes that we'd meet some nice people. Unfortunately, when we arrived, almost all of the other class members were over 70. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with elderly people, but we do really want to make friends closer to our age. My husband and I aren't really bar/club people either, which makes it even more challenging.

So, does anyone have any suggestions on how to meet people in LA? Everyone we talk to seems to say it took them a year or two to start meeting people and making friends. I'm grateful for the couple of friends we have managed to make but with my husband's work schedule, it's been nearly impossible for us to even try meeting more people this past year and half. I'm all opened to suggestions! Concerts? Sporting events? Other types of classes?

If there was some magical way to move all of my friends out to California, I would do that too.

Ugg.

Okay. Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I feel better. Let's move on to the regular scheduled programming.

I watched Ray Donovan. It was really good! Dark. But really good. After this season of Dexter, I'm going to need a dark show to take its place! The character of Ray confuses me. He seems kind of like he's supposed to be a good guy but he's also kind of scummy. I guess I'll be able to have a more conclusive theory after some more episodes. Boy, does he come from a troubled past though. The show seems Dexter-like, just with a different theme. Ray isn't a serial killer or anything but the sentiment behind the show reminds me of Dexter. Maybe it's the childhood trauma portion. The acting was great! I found the characters a lot more exciting than I find the characters on Graceland. I could tell instantly that I'm going to get very into this show! I'm excited to see next weeks!

Today, I'm looking forward to playing some more guitar! I've been on the search to find a teacher, which also seems surprisingly difficult in a city full of musicians. I swear, there is something weird about LA. It is so frustrating. But, at least I feel like I'm teaching myself fairly well! I even wrote my first song with the guitar the other day! I'm very excited.

What is there to do in LA? Did you enjoy Ray Donovan? Does it remind you of Dexter?

Tomorrow, I've got a special blog coming for the 4th of July weekend, so be sure to check it out!

My little Willow can always bring a smile to my face no matter what!

Monday, July 1, 2013

What Went Wrong, Dexter, and Dance Lessons!

Today is Monday, which mean I get to talk about another one of my songs today! Today, I'm going to talk about the inspiration behind the second song on my album, "What Went Wrong".

I wrote this song when I was 17. At 17, being dumped felt like the end of the world, even if in retrospect, I can't for the life of me figure out why I even liked this guy! We only dated for about a month, but at 17, I suppose a month felt like an eternity. Regardless, the feelings of heartbreak are the same at any age and it's something we all have to go through. Shortly after this guy dumped me, I was sitting in my parents basement, crying. The previous song I talked about, "Mystical Vibe", was as I said, inspired by the love I dreamed about. Before "What Went Wrong", every song I wrote was inspired by dreaming and fantasizing. Finally, with this song, my feelings became very real, and for the first time, I wrote from my heart and my own experience. Looking back, there's nothing that I did wrong. There's nothing that any of us do wrong. But it sure does feel like it at the time, doesn't it? "What Went Wrong" releases on my CD "Stepping Stone" July 15th on iTunes! A ringtone version will also release the same day.





Do not read ahead if you have yet to see this week's Dexter.

Wow! It was a great start to the finale season of Dexter! We've seen Dexter unravelling more and more the past few years and now it's all crashing down. Deb was right. He needs her. Without her, he's slipping. Unfortunately, Deb is no longer in a place where she can help Dexter. I feel so terrible for her. Of course, is it odd that since after 8 years, I'm naturally on the side of Dexter, that I want her to forgive him too and come back to being his sister? I miss the Deb/Dexter bond. It's very hard to see her so angry at him and also having a death wish.

Boy. Harrison is really growing up! I'm curious how at his age, he's going to play into the season. If Dexter has to throw out Harrison's favorite toy, do you think anyone will notice it's gone missing? It's the little things that could cause Dexter to slip up even further.

Doctor Vogel. Do you think she's good or evil? She clearly knows about psychopaths, Harry's Code, and Dexter's drawings, which leads me to believe that she knew Dexter as a child. By the previews, it seems like she supports Dexter. But, I never know what to believe by the scenes. Somehow, this show always seems to surprise me by the end.

What do you think is going to happen? How do you think this season is going to end? Will Dexter die? Will he go to prison? Will he finally be rid of the Dark Passenger? Since I can remember, I always thought that maybe eventually Dexter would get rid of his dark passenger. But now, I feel like that is becoming harder and harder to believe. He seems like instead of getting better, he's getting worse. Things are going to come to a head one way or another by the end of the show and I can not wait to see it all unfold!

End of Dexter talk.

Final topic for today: Gwith and I are taking a dance lesson tonight! We're so excited! Whenever I go to fill out those forms though at dance studios about "what I'd like to learn", it's always so hard to choose! I want to learn salsa, swing, waltz, samba, etc. etc. Basically any dance that we can be taught, I want to learn it. I also have this silly fantasy to dance the full dance from Dirty Dancing. Although, I'm pretty sure I'd freak out trying the lift! But hey, maybe one day. I definitely want to learn this spin eventually:


Did you ever date a Mr. Wrong who seemed so right? What do you see Dexter's fate being? Or Deb's for that matter? Is there any type of dance you want to learn?

Have a great day everyone!