tuesday tunes - ernie halter + one year of tunes!

well, blog readers, today marks exactly one year of tuesday tunes!! {my first one was june 30, 2009} here's to another great year of good music...

so it's only fitting that i highlight a dear friend today... ernie halter. ernie was on my trip to cape town last year, and i love him like a brother. we used his song "lighthouse" on this final video from our trip, and it still makes me shed a tear every time i hear it.

today, ernie's new album, franklin + vermont, hits stores. it's his 4th studio album (following low-fidelity, congress hotel, & starting over).

i saw him play last month when i was in LA, and this new stuff is just as good as his oldies-but-goodies. (i still think his cover of john mayer's "man on the side" is amazing!) ernie is so fun to see live, too, so check out his dates to see if he's coming near you! you'll be blown away with his voice, i know it.

go preview the new album on itunes, and then BUY IT! :)


a wee update.

well, 1 week and hours of traveling later, i am back on US soil. my week in the UK was a wonderful vacation with three of my best friends. many memories and stories, and the kind of laughs and experiences that you just can't recreate. sadly, somewhere between ireland & scotland (and our combination of a ferry + 3 trains) i lost my camera. (the last thing i remember taking a picture of is sheep out the window from the train - so i'm blaming those darn sheep!) so, needless to say, i only have a few pictures- those captured on my iphone. my other friends took lots of pics, so hopefully someday soon i'll have more. but, this will have to do for now... cheers!
first stop: mary katherine & i arrive in dublin...
{this is from the top floor of the guinness storehouse - "the gravity bar" = best view of the city!}
next up: a trip to northern ireland...
{this was my favorite - the famous giant's causeway. breathtakingly beautiful.}

[the rest of these are taken with my hipstamatic iphone app - i'm obsessed!]

then, we met up with sarah & bronwen in scotland...
{dinner in edinburgh - we definitely ate well & often, enjoying each other's company over fabulous food!}
{we toured edinburgh castle & climbed arthur's seat - this is the view from the top!}
{and what trip to europe would be complete without a stop at h&m? though we do have them in the states now, the european version is a little more fun...}
{not pictured: a day trip up to pitlochry, where we rented bikes & got lost in the highlands of scotland. many-a-visit to local pubs (the world cup on tv!) & cafes (including the elephant house - where jk rowling wrote a lot of harry potter!!). and the crazy hostels we stayed in (i'd recommend them all: isaacs in dublin, belfast int'l youth hostel, & art roch in edinburgh).}

if you happen to be on a train in scotland anytime soon and see a small, purple nikon, wouldya grab it for me? thanks.


UK 2K10.

"UK 2k10" - that's what we're calling this summer's trip.

my college roomies are reuniting once more..this time for an adventure across the pond. bronwen is serving with a church in scotland all summer, so it only made since for us to go and visit! we'll be starting out the journey in ireland for a few days, then traveling by ferry across to scotland. though i have been to england a couple of times, i've never ventured to this part of the united kingdom, so i'm super stoked!

in an effort to really "unplug" from my addiction to technology, i am not bringing my computer...which means i will not be blogging until i get back. (aka no tuesday tunes - my first one to miss in a year!) but don't worry -- i'll have stories & pictures galore when i return.

i'm off to the airport... have a great week!


friday flicks - ikea parody.

if you know and love ikea like i do - you'll find this little parody video hilarious (to the tune of "fireflies" by owl city)


snack time.

did you have "snack time" when you were a kid? it was a daily tradition in the van houten household. come home from school, grab your snack-of-choice, and sit down for some talespin or ducktales (in later years followed by lots of saved by the bell of course).
call me a creature of habit, but i still want snack time every afternoon. it has evolved to look more like grabbing something while i sit at my desk at work (i wish i could still watch saved by the bell though!)
one of my current favorites are popchips. but, not just any popchips. there is only one flavor i like -- sea salt multigrain. (they don't even list them on the site!) and the only place i can find them is target. so i usually grab 4 or 5 bags at a time to stock up! but these guys are so tasty - and each serving has 20g of whole grains - things like quinoa, brown rice, wheat, & barley. they're great plain, or dipped in some hummus if you wanna go crazy.

what is your favorite snack right now?

{note: unlike annie's pita chips snack post, i did not get free popchips for writing about them. but hey, popchips people - if you stumble upon this & want to send me some free samples, let me know!}


½ birthdays.

growing up a december baby, the rest of the year is pretty void in celebrations. so my family started the tradition of celebrating my half-birthday in june. what did that mean?
a cupcake + 1 present.
and bless my mom's heart, she's continued this tradition to this day. i may not still get a cupcake (though we celebrated with a petit four at the office today!) but my mom asks me every year "what do you want for your half birthday?"
this year? they're helping me get a new phone. yay for 28½!!!!

did you celebrate your half-birthday growing up?

butterfly circus.

sunday at church, the message began with us watching a video - the butterfly circus. while we watched, the staff would periodically pause the video, and use it as a platform for their message, taking turns between our 3 teaching pastors. at first i was like "why are we watching this weird thing....?" but the more we got into it, and the messages started to emerge, i really loved it.

director joshua weigel says this about the film:
"at the height of the great depression, the showman of a renowned circus leads his troupe through the devastated american landscape, lifting the spirits of audiences along the way. during their travels they discover will, a man without limbs who lives out his life in a sordid carnival sideshow, far below his aspirations of the grandeur of the great circuses. having only known a life of limitation and discouragement, will is struck by an intriguing encounter with the showman that leaves him with a drive to hope against everything he has ever believed."
it's so cool to relate this story to the gospel, and the hope and truth we all seek that helps us fight against the lies we have always believed. to hear and accept the One who calls us "magnificent".

it is 20 minutes long, so give yourself some time, but definitely worth a watch. enjoy...


tuesday tunes - patty griffin.

{1st - for all you rss feed readers - the blog got a little makeover! so click on thru to see her updated look...}

in honor of going to see her at the ryman tonight (insert excitement!!!), today's tune is the legendary patty griffin. patty has seven albums out there, so i'm sure you're familiar with some of her songs ("heavenly day"? amazing.) her most recent record, downtown church, highlights the gospel roots patty says are the foundation to all music (read more about that here) and was actually recorded inside the downtown presbyterian church on 5th avenue in nashville! built in 1849, it is a spectacular building with a ton of history. so it'll be pretty incredible hearing her recreate the album just a block over (the ryman is on 5th avenue, too!) oh yah - and patty will be joined by her producer, buddy miller. the album is stylistically diverse, with a common spiritual heart, including a closing hymn attributed to st. francis of assisi.

click here to watch the video of the "making of the album" and here's a video of some behind the scenes shots....


happy campers.

"you all look like happy campers to me. happy campers you are, happy campers you have been, and, as far as I am concerned, happy campers you will always be." -dan quayle

thanks to a groupon, some girlfriends and i headed down to cleveland, tn this past weekend for some outdoor adventure! our $40 deal got us white water rafting, rock climbing/repelling, & camping through the company O.A.R. we had some downtime between our rafting & climbing appointments and just lounged in the sun & played in the river on a rope swing we found. we also befriended some guides who, after climbing, took us on a sunset tubing ride down the lower part of the river to close out our day of adventure (with an extra tube for our cooler of beer of course!). after exiting the river soaking wet and without shoes, we found the only place still open - a local pizza joint - and laughed and bonded with our new bearded hippie friends. migrating back to the outpost, we hung out by our campfire all night, until we passed out from exhaustion in our tents. (note: my first time to actually have a sleeping pad -- makes sleeping on the ground so much better!)

because i just loved this post - check out my "lessons from the river" after my white water rafting trip last fall!


friday flicks - newsie gaga.

this is the original video of "seize the day" from the disney classic, newsies:

thanks to my friend annie parsons, i give you this video...the same dance, this time, to lady gaga's "bad romance"...
{and yes, i do still own newsies on vhs. thanks for asking.}

open the gates & seize the day, people.


phone envy.

oh man. iPhone4 announcement yesterday. (see the timeline of the announcement from the worldwide developers conference yesterday)

does anybody else have phone envy?

here's to hoping i'll have better luck this time around (because we all remember my tragic story trying to get my first iPhone 2 years ago...)

tuesday tunes - brett younker.

remember this wedding last november?
the groom, brett younker, is a very talented musician. and his new album, the time has come, is out today! aynsley (his wife) sent me a copy last week, and i've loved listening (and worshiping!) to it. brett co-wrote most of the songs on there with some very talented worship leaders, including chris tomlin, matt redman, louie giglio, todd fields, and steve fee.
my favorites are definitely "bless your name". "arms open wide" and "our God"...but the whole album is great.
{go preview - and then buy - it on itunes!!}


plan b.

according to wikipedia, "plan b" is a popular term used to mean a reserved, secondary plan, in case a first plan (a hypothetical "plan a") fails.

remember my plan back in february to move to the gulch? well, so far, all signs point to "no". though i've had a ton of showings (with no negative feedback besides "not quite right") nobody has put an offer on my current place. and here i am, almost 4 months later, feeling like a failure. didn't i hear God say move forward? didn't all the timing make sense? doesn't God know my dreams & desires? these and many more questions run around my mind and heart as i fight for contentment. (because, after all, isn't that what i declared this year to be all about?)
so i'm learning what it looks like to keep hope when we resort to "plan b" - and (if we believe that He is sovereign and in control) that it's really God's "plan a".

i finished reading ruthless trust (remember when i started it? - i've seriously loved every page.) and i'm realizing that i took a risk...and in all practical senses, yes, it failed...i am not moving. but who defines failure? who's to say that God's purpose wasn't this process of waiting and trusting all along?

do i still cling to the certainty that God is with me and loves me in my struggle to be faithful and believe? yes. and i continue to ask God to open my eyes to what i've already been given. like habakkuk in the old testament, i, too, shout at God "how long?" and "why?" -- but God is answering me in the same way He answered the prophet -- to encourage me to look around and see what IS happening. that God is speaking and doing things all around me...exactly where i am. because God is always speaking and moving (not to be confused w/ me moving...), even when He seems silent.
and He is always providing.

my prayer these last few months has been that God would provide. {and that has been His promise all along.} i knew that if it wasn't a buyer, then it was a roommate.
so, He has provided me with my sweet friend, adria. she has been a constant in my nash-life since the beginning, and i'm looking forward to what this next season holds for us. adria is in a transitional period, so it's definitely not long-term, but we are both learning to rest in contentment and take each day's provision as a gift.
to trust God's plan for today.

so here's to plan b.

p-p-p-poker face.

you're welcome.

i cannot stop listening to this version from GLEE (featuring idina menzel, my all-time favorite showtunes-er!)


friday flicks - maddi jane.

a friend showed this to me about a month ago, and i literally got chills. i mean, she's 11. prepare to be amazed...

(a few weeks later she gets asked to be on the ellen show! watch it here)


i scream, u scream, we all scream for...YOGURT?

that's right. fro yo. so hot right now. the days of ice cream stores like maggie moos and coldstone (and the fat grams & calories that accompanied them) are on their way out. say hello to the newer, tarter (healthier) wave of frozen yogurt.

here in nashville, my favorite spot is sweet cece's. but credit has to go to the west coast for starting this recent craze. while out there this last weekend, i had the chance to sample some of the popular fro yo spots...
pinkberry vs. yogurtland.
pinkberry gets points for superior quality and the original fro yo trend setter. they also have created a cult following and have some innovative marketing (i mean - "what type of pinkberry eater are you?" - really?)
but yogurtland offers a ton more flavors & toppings and a lot better prices.
(pinkberry is set price for a certain size, where as yogurtland is based on weight)

so as much as i love options and saving money...you can't deny that this song pushes PINKBERRY FOR THE WIN!

do you have any favorite yogurt places in your town?


standin tall this summer // TOMS wedges.

ever since my first splatter-paint pair back in 2007 (i've added 3 more since - it helps having a friend who works there!) i've loved living life in my TOMS.

and today is the day. the new TOMS wedges are here..."heels with heart"! i'm trying to decide between these 2 styles... any opinions?
vote stripes vs. solid in the comments :)

LA in pics.

in addition to some lazy beach time, autumn and i had a wonderfully diverse LA weekend. here are some highlights...

{tomorrow's debate: pinkberry vs. yogurtland. stay tuned...}

hiking in the pacific palisades:
seeing my friend ernie play at hotel cafe:
and one of the coolest things we did was go to the annenberg space for photography (a free museum!):

we went to see their latest exhibit- water: our thirsty world. based on the special issue from national geographic, water is life, this exhibit features the work of award-winning
photographers looking at our most precious resource from environmental, social, political and cultural perspectives.

after seeing flow a year and a half ago, my eyes were opened to the reality of the crisis our world is in when it comes to fresh water. and seeing the spectrum of the situation in pictures - telling stories from india to california - was another reminder of the severity (and lack of attention) of the problem. if you're passing through LA in the next 2 weeks, definitely check it out, or at-least grab the national geographic issue and see a much smaller-scale version.

"a photograph is usually looked at –
seldom looked into."
- ansel adams


tuesday tunes - addison road.

today's tune is another mocha club artist - addison road. these guys went to college with my coworker, missy, at baylor (sic em bears) and it's been fun to watch their journey the last few years.

their first album (self-titled, march 2008) had some great singles, like "hope now" (see the video here)

their sophomore album, stories, comes out in a few weeks (on june 22), but the first single "fight another day" is available on itunes now! see the band talk about the new album here.

{lead singer, jenny, has her own blog you can follow, too.}

and here's jenny giving the story behind "fight another day"...