Tuesday, April 30, 2013

EEYORE'S BIRTHDAY

As if I didn't get enough "Hippie points" after my review of The Black Crowes this weekend, we also packed up the Ruby-bug and attended the annual Eeyore's Birthday Celebration at Pease Park in Austin. 
Eeyore's Birthday Party began in 1964 as a spring party and picnic for Department of English students at the University of Texas at Austin. It was named for Eeyore, the chronically depressed donkey in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories who, in one story, believes his friends have forgotten his birthday only to discover they have planned a surprise party for him. 
The original event featured a trashcan full of lemonade, beer, honey sandwiches, a live, flower-draped donkey, and a may pole (in keeping with the event's proximity to May Day). For many years the party was a UT tradition, but subsequently the annual Birthday Party became a tradition in Austin's hippie subculture. It now boasts an annual attendance in the thousands. ( Thanks, Wikipedia)

We attended this event the first year we were in Austin. With our tiny infant strapped on, we were in awe of this peaceful gathering.  Tons of happy people, live music, little hippie kids running around in fairy wings, live music, delicious food, and huge drum circles.  Some pics of Ruby enjoying the fun...

There is the occasional run-in with the topless person. . .it is legal in Austin, after all. . . but during the daylight hours (I've heard it gets INSANE after hours), this event is kid-friendly and FUN. 

Ruby blissed out after a cupcake and face-painting...

Yes, it's a big hippie fest, and yes if you wander off into the woods you will probably disappear into a cloud of pot smoke, but what's so appealing to me is the sheer volume of happy people, flying their freak flag, and expecting nothing more than for you to have a good time. You will not hear a rude word uttered. No one is offended by anything you are doing. . . your kid isn't bothering anyone, and best of all, you aren't expected to buy stuff. This isn't a shopping event like so many summer festivals. It is simply a big group of people who want to get together and celebrate.  
After parking in a free parking garage, a friendly bus comes along and drops you off at the park and then takes you back when you're done. For a two mile radius approaching the park, there are throngs of smiling tie-dyed people, strollers, and party-goers decked out in their May Day finest. All in all...a fantastic event. 
Here's Ruby joining the drum circle. 


Cheers!
Rachel 


Sunday, April 28, 2013

REVIEW: BLACK CROWES, STUBBS, AUSTIN, TEXAS APRIL 2013

As you know I occasionally go off on tangents about music from time to time. It's a nice little break from throw pillows, paint colors and such. In an effort to keep it real and keep my true voice on this blog, I'm going to do a review of last nights sold-out Black Crowes show at Stubbs, here in Austin. 

To my usual readers, who may or may not love the Crowes, it probably will make mostly no sense, be mildly amusing, and hopefully you'll tune in again tomorrow to read about whatever I'm rambling about next.. To die-hard Crowes fans, you will find this an accurate and thoughtful review on the Robinson bros' latest adventure. I'm sorry I don't have pictures of the actual show because I think people who stand there and take pics on their phone the whole time are kind of missing the effing point. 

I never find thoughtful reviews of the Crowes. Ones I find are usually written by someone whose opinion I probably wouldn't listen to anyway. Taking matters into my own hands--I mean, who better to write an honest review than one of the die-hard fans who knows their history and catalog--I decided to declare myself a rock journalist and go with it. I have been to many of their shows over the years and even as a true fan, the last SEVERAL shows (prior to last night) I have seen have been somewhat of a disappointment. Yeah all the good songs are there, and yeah all the good-vibing, good-timing fans show up, but the Crowes I fell in love with seemed to be missing. 

I knew this show was going to be different from the get-go. They started with a mash-up of My Morning Song and Stare it Cold!  My initial thought, "Are you freaking kidding me? They are STARTING with this song!?"  They absolutely blew the freaking ROOF OFF.  Okay, it was outdoors, but still,  I could have gone home after the first song and been more satisfied than I was the last four shows. The crowd was bananas and clapped for what seemed like an eternity after the first song. Now THIS is the Black Crowes that I know and love. 

With the crowd sufficiently lit up, they moved through the usual pleasers, Seeing Things, Space Captian (Joe Cocker cover), never losing the energy of the opening number. Time to check out the new guitarist (and just when Luther was all trained in..)... Imagine if Dave Grohl and Jimmy Page had a love child (I wish!) and put a guitar in his hand, you would be staring at Jackie Greene

This guy looks twelve..maybe thirteen...ridiculously smooth next to the grizzled rockeryness of the Crowes. At times he was literally sweating bullets just to keep up. He was flipping pages on a music stand at the beginning of Wiser Time. Oh crap, I thought. This is not gonna be good. Well...it was. Yes, he is clearly still learning their catalog and upon further research today, I discovered at just, 32, he is truly an accomplished and able musician. He managed to step into some pretty big shoes for us old fans (I promised myself I would not mention M.F.), played with enthusiasm and brought a bit of his own style. Two thumbs up. Congratulations Son, you're a big boy now.  When your hair hits your shoulders and gets a little stringier, you are REALLY going to be something. 

I finally "heard" Rich's crunchy goodness on By Your Side. 
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Looking good, sounding good, ever the watchful band director, Rich is easy to ignore with all of Chris's insane twirly-ness, center stage, but last night's show found Rich smiling through songs, grinning widely at his band-mates, and proving further, that the boys have found the joy again. No surprise here, Sven Pipien continues to do what every great bass player does, Look cool, love the songs, and consistently play really freaking good bass. 

Descending was a nice little treat from the Amorica days, but it just makes me long for Eddie Hawrysch. Adam Macdougal (keyboards), you make real funny faces. That's all I have to say about that. I tried, I really did, but I just. don't. like. you. It's okay, you're living the dream, enjoy it.

I stretched and checked my phone through fairweather favorites, She Talks to Angels and Hard to Handle. I suspect they are just as tired of those songs as I am, but I get it, you just gotta play em. A huge explosion of torrential downpour added further mania to the crowd during Soul Singing, and the ever-awesome Remedy, but the real joy for me was seeing Chris come alive on stage. I caught his side act, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood a few months ago at Antone's, and while the music was solid, and the chemistry good, I longed for his particular breed of canned energy. 

Well, he was ON last night. Charles Manson eyes, devious grins and all the booty-shaking, funky chicken dance moves you expect and love from 'el capitano.  Yes, he actually looked like he was having fun. A lot of fun. And when all the big hits were played, they played some more. Steve Gorman (drums) ever present in the background, faceless behind two curtains of curly brown hair, knowing that if it weren't for his unwavering solidity, this whole rowdy ship would sink in five minutes.  

The last 3 times I've seen the Black Crowes, I thought, "This is it. This is the last time." But for some reason I just couldn't let go, couldn't say goodbye. They weren't giving me the show that I want to know and love them for for all eternity. So I kept coming back...hoping.. I took a chance last night. I pulled on my old Crowes t-shirt and a pair of jeans, drove downtown, walked through the crowd with my "need 1 ticket" sign and some cash and gambled that my old Crowes were back. 

And they were. Go tell the congregation. So there you go, my first rock review and I didn't even mention Marc Ford. OOPS! crap. Well, just the once. 

Cheers!
Rachel 

Friday, April 26, 2013

I BOUGHT A HOUSE

I bought a house. A beautiful old 3-story Victorian with a pink tiled roof. It's my dream house. It has beautiful Victorian details, and old fashioned tub, tons of built-ins, and an attic play room. It is unfortunately, very out of date, covered in stickers by someone named Monica, and well, filthy. At just 9.99 it was a steal, but needs some fixing up. 
The first stage of our remodel was demolition and clean up. Removal of old stickers and a nice hot shower for my house revealed original floors, and good bones.  
Wallpaper was a must for instant update. This leftover giftwrap brings a modern twist to old-fashioned architecture. It is important to have an inspiring work-space. This one is carved out of a niche at the top of the stairs. It is complete with interesting art, shapely mirrors, and an interesting rug (labels) Don't forget to include a green thing. The dog rests close to your feet while you work . 

A stair runner is essential for safety and introduces a bold design element. 

The kitchen is spacious and showcases original tiled floors, however it was lacking in interest. 

A lovely rug, some cabinet details and stocking the pantry did wonders for this space. 

The bathroom fixtures were left in tact, but metallic embossed scrapbook paper added instant glam for a spa-like retreat. 



The master bedroom really just needed some quality furniture, a stylish woven rug and a stretch of wallpaper. 



It is important to build in spaces that are kid-friendly, like this attic playroom

You can never have too many plants (place-card holder) or natural light. A couple of custom chandeliers are on order from the local jeweler (me). It's important to add sparkle. 



You must ask yourself, can you see the clients using the space?

Yes, I think so. 
I know what you're thinking... "that lady needs some clients."  What can I say, if you love design, no project is too small. 

Cheers and have a happy weekend!
A little showcase of new spring product coming next week! 
Rachel 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

COACHELLA ROCKS?


In case you live in a bubble, the Coachella music and arts festival took place over the last two weekends. Now, I consider myself somewhat of a music snob... I loved the Black Keys when they were just two geeks from Ohio. 
By the time they won their Grammy, I was over it (just kidding, I still love you, Dan and Pat). I used to pride myself on knowing the hot up-and-coming bands, I religiously listed to the Current, and the Man and I went to several shows a month when we first got together. In fact, he proposed to me minutes before we went to a Kills show. 

Music has taken somewhat of a back-burner since having a family. Now, I will pretty much listen to anything that isn't Disney or twinkle 'effin twinkle, but I digress. 

Despite being out of the loop on all things cool, I was still somewhat (okay a lot) nauseated by all of the buzz around Coachella this year..mainly because I haven't heard one thing about actual music or art. ??

The biggest buzz is of course that Kate Bosworth collaborated with Topshop to design a "festival fashion" collection, and then wore it to the shows to be photographed to death. I kind of threw up in my mouth actually typing that sentence.  Here's Kate and some other B-list celebs looking dewy and hip in her collection. 




Um, is it just me or is everyone kind of wearing the same outfit? They must have all gone to the same mall and shopped in the same "festival collection" section.  Perhaps no one went to the shows and everyone just walked around taking pictures of each other? 
Now I'm sure Kate is a very nice person and I know that fashion and music are for all purposes married...Even Eddie Vedder eventually married a supermodel...but it kind of makes me sick that what used to be the type of event where friends gathered to be free, have fun and rock their faces off, now has a mass-marketed uniform, consisting of the latest model-hipster's capsule collection.  
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Granted I'm approaching the age most cool people would consider "old" (I'm from Minnesota..it really was snowy and uphill to and from school) but back in my day, your "festival fashion" included a big cozy flannel to curl up in after you were covered in pit mud and some sturdy boots so you didn't get your ass kicked..or you could at least kick back... Yes, we put some thought into what we were going to wear (there were BOYS there) but mostly it was about FUN. Your wardrobe supported your main goal of gettin' crazy and shit. 
Do you think this girl cares what she looks like right now? 
This morning on my Austin radio station I heard a bit from Jimmy Kimmel from this year's Coachella festival. He and his crew interviewed festival goers about bands that he made up on the spot. Absolutely hilarious. I think this pretty much sums up my whole point here. Among my faves.."DJ Cornmeal" and "Regis and the Philbins." Here is the link if you haven't heard/seen it and want to laugh hysterically/cringe. 

You should hear these pretentious youngins waxing intellectual about bands that don't even exist!  If this is the new music snob group.. I'm out.  These people make me sad. So, if you've purchased any "festival fashion" from your local mall and find yourself searching myspace for DJ Cornmeal, I suggest you immediately pop in Sweet Child of Mine, play a little air guitar and get over yourself. 

In all of my festival ranting, I did not source any of these images.  Deepest apologies...:)

Rachel 

Friday, April 19, 2013

SNEAK PEEK & BOOKSHELVES

The gray is up. I am still working on the finishing touches.. rehanging the curtains (I need new rods), rearranging the art, moving lamps around. I can't show you the whole picture until I get everything all styled up again...otherwise what is the point here, right? :)

All I can say is that I LOOOOOVE it. It has a creamy glow in the evening and has brightened up the space in the daytime by tenfold. My accessories and art stand out and take on a new life.  I could not be happier!  A peek during the bookshelf chaos. 
This time around I painted out the trim, doors, and built-in bookshelves.. a move stolen from the incredible decorating GENIUS, Abigail Ahern.  She has an amazing decorating blog, that is refreshingly un-stuffy and candid, and a brand new book, Decorating with Style, that pretty much rocks my world. I will be mentioning her again, I assure you. 
By painting out doors and trim, it really helped unify all the spaces to feel like one grand space instead of being broken up by stark white doors and bookshelves.  
Now the only break in the gray is our stone fireplace. It looks much more clean and grand. Thumbs up.  Its not quite done here, but see how the whole vignette looks cleaner and reads as one wall? 
This is what it was before: Ahhhh!! 
I also welcome any opportunity to restyle my bookshelves. 

They get refreshed usually every 3 months or so  around here. More if little sticky hands have found their way to the shelves and done their own rearranging. 
Call me if you want me to do yours.. I'm kind of obsessed.  Some images of bookshelves that I use for guidance.
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Hooray for a new look! I promise I will reveal some juicier shots next week, but I need the weekend to style it up. 

Cheers and Happy Spring! 
Rachel