tuesday tunes - lady a christmas.

let's face it, we've had 2 weeks of holiday tuesday tunes so far - might as well keep this going all through december!

next up: lady antebellum. the country trio released a target-exclusive christmas album called a merry little christmas. it contains 5 holiday classics, and one original - "on this winter's night" - co-written with the amazing tom douglas (they co-wrote "i run to you" & "hello world" with him) and featuring a local nashville children's choir.

you can listen to "on this winter's night" below...
(and if you don't want to go to target & get the whole album, you can download this song on the lady a site)


friday flicks - scarf ambush.

it's another round of style your scarf videos with amber. this time - we ambush our staff to show you how there's a fashionABLE scarf to go with every outfit. (i'm in part two!)
part one:

part two:

ALSO -- there's a big 25% off sale on all scarves this "cyber monday" - WRAP UP your holiday shopping with fashionABLE!


choose thanks; choose joy.

"give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." {1 thessalonians 5:18}
every time i see this verse, i just think: seriously, God? in all circumstances? even when i'm fighting to believe You are good? even when the same dreams and plans continue to be unfulfilled and unmet? even when it would be a lot easier to choose to sit in the doubt and disappointment?
yup... even then.
because today we choose to be thankful. we choose to see the glass as half-full. and not in an overly-optimistic-ignoring-reality kind of way. but right in the middle of it all. in the middle of the pain and the hopes deferred. in all circumstances. because that is where He is.
verse 19 of that passage above goes on to warn us not to "quench the Spirit" - so something tells me that our own thankfulness and the Spirit's felt presence are related.

the last thing Jesus did before facing His death was sitting down, breaking bread, and giving thanks (luke 22:19). in the greek, it is eucharisteo - which means thanksgiving. at its root it means grace and its derivative is joy.
deep joy that is found only at eucharisteo - the table of thanksgiving...His table.

we are given little moments and opportunities every day to give thanks- to choose to be grateful for what we have, and let the joy of contentment fill our spirits.
so today... choose thanks; choose joy.
happy thanksgiving.

"the greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. he who has learned this knows what it means to live... he has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything.” - Albert Schweitzer


things i love: caribou coffee.

yes, i know i was a starbucks barista in years past, but when it comes to warmth and charm, caribou coffee takes the win as best chain coffee shop. (and we all know i spend way too much time in coffee shops...)
unfortunately we don't have caribou up in nashville, so when i go back to atlanta to visit the family, i try to steal away some time there.
i'm obsessed with their tagline: "life is short. stay awake for it." -- and their most recent "make the cup" campaign -- where they give you the opportunity to say what you stay awake for.
and these new holiday cups? as mary catherine would say, "swoon"...


tuesday tunes - seabird (christmas)

i know thanksgiving is still 2 days away, but in keeping with last week's arrival of christmas tunes, i thought i'd continue sharing the merry music of the upcoming season...

my coworker jeff managed this band seabird for awhile, so he's constantly telling me about them. apparently they're great. but, i had yet to actually listen to them.
until last week... when i acquired their new christmas ep, over the hills and everywhere. y'all. i have listened to that thing all the way through twelve. times. (that's what my itunes tells me) so yah, i think it's pretty good. the album consists of classic christmas tunes in new arrangements - and not in a changing-a-classic-never-works way, but in a wow-that-sounds-really-fresh way!
you can hear "joy to the world" in this video (which was also used on an episode of grey's anatomy last season) and here's a clip of their version of "what child is this"...

seabird also happens to be doing a little mocha club christmas tour in december with another one of my favorites, mr. ben rector. check out those dates.


friday flicks - matty b raps.

do you know about this 7 year old kid? almost 3 million views on this video...crazy stuff.
(the girl, julia sheer, has a great voice, too!)


bittersweet giveaway winner!

thank you to everybody who entered in the bittersweet giveaway over the past two days!!
i love your vulnerability and willingness to see both the bitter & the sweet in your lives. i used random.org to pick the winner, and the winner is... #6 - tracy b! congrats tracy. email me at marisavh (at) gmail (dot) com with your address and we'll get your signed copy shipped to you!

if you're needing some more bittersweet in your life, here's shauna reading a chapter from the book, "what might have been"...

and, nashville friends -- don't forget about the bittersweet brunch saturday morning at 10am at edgehill cafe!


tuesday tunes - dave barnes christmas.

{don't forget - yesterday's giveaway contest is still going on - just enter a comment to win a FREE book!}

i know, i know... i don't like to even mention that december holiday until after we've all eaten our fair share of turkey (i tried to "save thanksgiving" remember?), but this one is just too good to wait!
(and i am hosting a thanksgiving potluck tonight if that means anything...)
but i just have to tell you that our friend dave barnes released his christmas album last week, very merry christmas, and this usually-strict-on-no-christmas-music-til-after-thanksgiving-girl has been giving it some major love.
i've had some stressful days at work over the last week, and this album, with it's perfect combination of old classics and new originals, has peacefully delivered me out of the chaos and into christmas bliss.

you can go grab the album for yourself on itunes for just $6.99! and enjoy this great little video for the single "christmas tonight" - a catchy duet with hillary scott... (yup, that's jennifer love hewitt in the video!)

dave will be joined by drew holcomb for a little mocha club christmas tour, too - check out the dates & go see this fun, festive show!


bittersweet - review + giveaway + event.

if you follow along on my blog, you know that i've been talking about shauna niequist and her new book, bittersweet, for the last 2 months. i knew that i would blog more in depth about it - but i couldn't limit it to just one post. so, i decided to take chapters from the book and apply them to my own story. i titled them "bittersweet reflections" and you can read them here: one: "things i don't do" ... two: "twenty five" ... three: "join the club"... four: "love song for fall" ... five: "ravenous".

and now i get to go more in depth into why my love for this book runs deep. it's rare that you find an author who speaks volumes to your heart through their writing. every page echos the story that is being written through your own life, and each chapter reinforces the themes that you yourself are living and learning.
and shauna does that. she does it with the way she writes and invites you into her journey, telling the tales and adventures to you as if you were sitting across from her over a cup of coffee. and with each chapter you just want to shout "me, too!" and "i know, girl, i know."
sure, the circumstances vary, and the characters are different, but the lessons are the same. it's the same Big Story that we are all living.

so, why "bittersweet"?
in shauna's words, "bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich when it contains a splinter of sadness. bittersweet is the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, earthy." (p. 11)

man. how true is that? i think about the hardest days i've lived, the deepest valleys i've walked, and the loneliest times i've sat in... yes, in most respects they are dark and difficult, always involving heartache and usually the death or deference of dreams and hopes.
but it is those instances that have defined and refined who i am. i think about the verse in isaiah that talks about turning "ashes into beauty" and the mourning and heaviness into praise and gladness. because it's true that nothing beautiful or alive is born without the pains of labor; without the shifting, shaping, and carving of creation and change.

"this is what i've come to believe about change: it's good, in the way that childbirth is good, and heartbreak is good, and failure is good. by that i mean that it's incredibly painful, exponentially more so if you fight it, and also that it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God's hand, which is where you wanted to be all along, except that you were too busy pushing and pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be." (p. 13)

and that's what it's all about: balancing the sweet and the bitter. thankful in every circumstance. finding the joy, grace, and "shadow of hope" in each moment. gaining the wisdom to expect change- seeing it, as shauna puts it, as "one of God's greatest gifts, and most useful tools".
so, obviously, i'm a huge fan of this book, and highly recommend it to all of you.
and here are a couple of ways you can continue this conversation...

first, i'm giving away a signed copy of bittersweet to one of you lucky readers! just leave a comment about something in your own story that has been bittersweet, and i'll randomly pick the winner! you have until wednesday evening to enter (ends 7pm on 11/17), and i'll announce the winner on thursday! {want to read some of bittersweet for yourself? here's a sample chapter (one of my favorites): "things i don't do"}

second, shauna is coming to nashville this weekend! i'm hosting a "bittersweet brunch" saturday morning (10am) at edgehill cafe, and shauna will be reading some excerpts from the book, doing a q&a, as well as signing books! it's a free event, and we'll have some brunch food there, too. please join us and spread the word!

{if you don't win the giveaway and/or you can't make it to the event-
definitely go get a copy of bittersweet on amazon!}


friday flicks - hello world.

from the first moment hillary played me the recording of this song, i knew it would be my all-time lady a fav. and i still cry and get chills when i hear that bridge.. every. single. time.
the first television performance of "hello world" was wednesday night during the country music awards, and it was flawless. seriously. enjoy...


tuesday tunes -- winner, winner!

thank you guys so much for all of your entries yesterday for the brooke fraser giveaway! it really was hard to pick just 3. but, alas, i had to choose...
so here are my favorites:
1. lyndsay - i mean, she listed 5 characters -- including both god and me (xtra points!)
2. sarah - i'm a sucker for disney, and xtra points for being the first commenter!
3. grace - girl, i've never heard that song but i can feel the emotion just reading the lyrics!

ok, so i did a random number generator, and the winner is (drumroll, please...)
#3... GRACE! grace - email me at marisavh(at)gmail(dot)com with your address and i'll tell brooke's people to send you your signed album!
grace said she lives too far away to go to the show, so the second number gets to go!
and that was #1.. SARAH! sarah -- it will be your name +1 on the guest list for the show sunday night! congrats!!

thanks again to everybody who left comments.
i'll be doing another giveaway on monday... this time for a book by one of my favorite authors! so come back here next week :)


tuesday tunes - brooke fraser giveaway!

so i told you i'd be giving away a signed copy of brooke fraser's new album, flags, as well as 2 free tickets for you and a friend to go see brooke here in nashville at her sold-out show at the belcourt this sunday night (november 14). so, here's your chance...

the video below is brooke talking about writing for this album, and about all the characters these songs are about.
in the comments, tell me your favorite song that involves a character. it can be any song by any artist - it just need a character. i'll pick my top 3 favorites, and enter you into a random drawing to win the signed album & tickets.
*you have 24 hours from the posting of the blog, so all eligible comments must be received by 7am central time on wednesday november 10. (i will announce the winner on here on wednesday evening.)
*you must provide your own transportation to/from the show, and it will be your name +1 friend on the guest list.
good luck...!!

(ps my favorite song on this album is definitely "flags" -- listen to it here if you don't have the album yet!)


affordable + musical = nashville.

travel and leisure released it's best & worst cities...
nashville is #1 in live music/concerts and bands (big surprise), affordable hotels, & affordable getaways and also ranked high in most friendly & best barbeque. apparently we are not great for diversity or ethnic food.
and huffington post points out that we rank #10 in most attractive cities (while our neighbor to the west, memphis, was #1 in least attractive - ouch!)

check out all of the best & worst cities at travelandleisure.com - and have your favorites battle it out against each other in all the categories!


2 things.

1st: heading to boston today for a long girls weekend in the northeast, which always makes me sing this song...
2nd: please go read annie's post about our concert experience monday night. mumford & sons. a-maz-ing.

have a great weekend!!

(and don't forget -- this coming tuesday tune (november 9) is the brooke fraser ticket + signed album giveaway!)


tuesday tunes - taylor swift.

confession: i bought taylor swift's new album speak now.
yes, some of her singles in the past have been catchy, but i would not have called myself a fan.
then i had heard talks of this whole album really taking it up a notch, and y'all...it's good...like, really good.
proof: either annie or i have had it on repeat in our office all week. (thanks to amazon - we each got the album for $3.99!)

favorites? "dear john" (yup, it's really about john mayer), "mean", "innocent", and "haunted". and whether you're a fan of her singing/playing or not - you can't deny that this girl (20 years old may i remind you) can write some dang good songs. she wrote every song on speak now all by herself (super rare to not have any co-writes!) and i think she has really matured with this album.
so, if you don't have it yet, i recommend buying this one.

here's the video for the first single, "mine"...


gifts & accessories show...

if you live in nashville you should definitely swing by the style blueprint gifts & accessories show this thursday. all of the proceeds from the event are going to mocha club, plus fashionABLE will have a table (our first event to sell scarves!) ...AND all of the vendors have some pretty sweet stuff they're selling, too.
there's also a patron party wednesday night from 5-9pm - $50 gets you in before the public, wine + cocktails + small bites from burger up, AND a complimentary fashionABLE scarf. (you can order a ticket here)