Good Listener (IV)

1. Horse Feathers - "Curs in the Weeds"
If Iron & Wine turned folk, this is what it would sound like. I love this song, with all of the wonderful string instruments and the great lyric (rightly used for the title of the album) "It's like marrow without bone/ to live in house with no home." Unfortunately, I envisioned a different video, so I recommend closing your eyes and just listening to the beautiful music.

2. Phantogram - "Mouthful of Diamonds"
Just listen. Period.

3. Yoshida Brothers - "Overland Blues" & "Kodo"
The first video is a song called "Overland Blues." It sounds super cool- asian/blues. The second video is the remix version of "Kodo" (awesome), but I included a third video (of "Kodo") that you have to check out because it shows them playing their instruments. It's amazing to watch.



So my parents are currently building a house, and my mom was asking me what kind of decorating style she should go with. The house is out in the middle of the country- a fact that was stearing her toward a completely rustic design aesthetic. I'm not too keen on the idea of going all out rustic. It seems so dated and usually pretty dark. However, some rustic elements are great, so I told her about this new rustic/luxe design concept that i'm completely obsessed with. It incorporates elements like reclaimed wood floors/walls/doors/etc, chandeliers (made from antlers/twigs/etc), and animal wall mounts (real or not). I'm not sure if she's going to go for it, but I thought i'd share a few images with you, and you can tell me what you think.

It's all about the color/distressing of those wood floors. Love 'em.

I love the fireplace and the wood stack. Not to mention the wood beams.

Cowhide rug? Duh.

Some cool bedrooms.

Twigs, real antlers, or fake antlers for a chandelier. Awesomeness.


Good Listener (III)

1. Ben Harper - "Welcome to the Cruel World"
I used to be really, really cynical, and maybe I am drawn to this song because it takes me back to that place. I just have to remind myself to take the lyrics with a grain of salt.

2.The Head and the Heart - "Down in the Valley"
I feel dumb for not knowing who The Head and the Heart was until about a month ago, but even I have faults. Don't be like I was... check 'em out now. Now.

3. The Joy Formidable - "Whirring"
This one's over a year old, but you should listen to it if you haven't ever heard of it. I'm such a big proponent of female-fronted rock groups (just imagine how I feel about all-girl groups), and The Joy Formidable's Ritzy Bryan is one of the reasons for it.  Anyway, this is just the raddest song.


Good Listener (II)

Are you a good listener? Here's what's up this week:

1. Jessica Lea Mayfield - "Our Hearts are Wrong"
Thanks to my friend and fellow music-junkie, Faith, I was introduced to this gem. I believe I had it on repeat in my car for about two days straight. Jessica's heart-heavy, country folk style, which is paired oh-so-nicely with swells of atmospheric guitar, is just what the doctor ordered.

2. Givers - "Ceiling of Plankton"
This song is a fighter. Despite it having, hands down, one of the dumbest music videos I've ever seen, I just can't hate it. In fact, I love it. A lot. The lyrics are sweet and thoughtful, and if it doesn't put you in a good mood, well, I think you're a lost cause.

3. Nero - "Promises"
Definitely not trying to offend all of the Skrillex groupies out there, but the original version of this Nero song is much, much better than the over-synthesized one you've probably heard. Anyway, I got it free on iTunes a while back, and I just recently heard it on an HP commercial. Looks like I'm not the only one who thought it had potential.

4. Greg Laswell - "Nicely Played"
You might think me too bold for saying this, but I believe Greg Laswell is my all-time favorite artist. You may not know it, but I can guarantee that you've heard his stuff before (unless you live under a rock that doesn't have a television). Although popular in TV shows and movies, his songs have yet to hit popular radio stations - at least around these parts. His new album, Landline, is amazing, and "Nicely Played" is one of my favorite jams off of it. (But don't stop there. Seriously, don't.)


Book Clutches

My name is Valerie, and I am a book-a-holic.
It's safe to say that I have a decidedly unhealthy relationship with books. I can't get within 50 feet of a Barnes and Noble for fear of depleting my already waning checking account. I have so many books, there's no way I will ever be able to read them all before I die - and that's even if I outlive Methusela. So, it's no suprise that I would get overly obsessed with these book clutches that have been carried by the likes of Natalie Portman, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Michelle Williams, and the list goes on.

Unfortunately, Olympia Le-Tan's versions will run you a whopping $1500, and the cheaper ASOS version is currently sold out. But never fear, I found a DIY solution (courtesy of Runway DIY) that won't break my bank and will keep me on an unhealthy, but much desired, book high (at least until the next time I walk by a book store).

UPDATE 1: Whilst shopping around the historic Granbury square, I found some really great old books that would be perfect for my new book clutch project. I'm hesitant to cut out the pages though because they're so beautiful. They've survived this long, and a big part of me wants to just put them on the shelf. But i'm determined to have a book clutch, so I'll post more photos when I complete the project.

UPDATE 2: And I have a book-clutch. Really didn't take a lot of work, except for cutting out the pages. (I highly recommend the most wicked X-acto knife you can find. I got one for paper, and it only cuts about five pages at a time!)


Good Listener (I)

Since my biggest passion is, without a doubt, music, I want to dedicate most Monday's to songs/artists I am currently obsessing about. While I do enjoy a lot of "popular" music, most of what I listen to has never been, nor likely will ever be, aired on the radio. But, I figured if I get enough people liking what I like, maybe, just maybe, it will end up on some obscure station you can only pick up in Austin. So, here are three songs (with links) that you should be listening to if you know what's good for you:

1. The Echo Friendly - "Same Mistakes"
I heard this song on an episode of HBO's Girls (great show with great music), and I can't stop listening to it. The lyrics are, I think, really easy for most people to relate to (you know, unless you are Jesus).

2. Cat Power - "Naked If I Want To"
I absolutely love Cat Power, and this cover of the Moby Grape song epitomizes all of the reasons why. Her voice is seductive and alluring, and even though I heard this song quite a while ago, it still makes every one of my playlists. I hear it and can't keep from busting out in song (I'll go ahead and apologize to those of you who may happen to pull up next to me at a red light).

3. The Cinematic Orchestra - "To Build a Home"
This song is slow and somewhat depressing, but I swear it is really good! I love the piano and the melancholy sound of lead singer Patrick Watson's voice (if you like, you should check out some of his music as a solo artist, too).