Listening To: The Head and the Heart

The Head and the Heart (2011 Sub Pop Records)

I was first introduced to The Head and the Heart last winter on my way back from BlogShop Minneapolis with my photographer friend MacKenzie Jean (see Mac's gorgeous recaps here + here). She popped this album in and it really was love at first sound.

If you're not already familiar with The Head and the Heart, they're this amazing indie folk-rock band from Seattle. Up to that point, my interaction with the folk music scene was limited (at best). And, if I'm going to be honest, I was kind of afraid of it. I have always loved a variety of music, but Folkie tunes seemed like something cool, city kids listened to, not awkward country girls like myself. Yes, I was living in Winnipeg at the time, but I didn't feel like a true urbanite (and doubt I ever will).

After listening to The Head and the Heart's first album, though, I felt a connection with their music and my mind opened itself up to the possibility that I didn't need to be cooler to fit their fan profile. I could just be me. I think some of my fear and insecurity left me that night (emphasis on the word "some"). I'm still the awkward not quite country / not quite city girl, but I've started to embrace that quirky blend and accept it as part of who I am.

Folk is now one of my favourite music genres, and The Head and the Heart one of my favourite bands. Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing them live at Winnipeg's Burton Cummings Theatre. The experience was a surreal. I got chills. Actual goosebumps. It was truly the best concert I've ever been to, and even that doesn't seem to do the concert justice.

Have a listen to Another Story from their newest album Let's Be Still, and Rivers and Roads from their debut, self-titled album.


Be Like Salt

Somedays I am overwhelmed by all the bad in this world. Aren't you?

I don't make a habit of dwelling on disaster and disease, but in the age of social media where everyone's updating everything, all the time, it's virtually impossible to ignore. This is good, to some extent. I don't want to pretend like nothing's happening, just because it feels good to forget. I want to help. Do something. Make a difference. Anyone with me?

But, where do we even start?

This morning I was reminded that the small, ordinary, hum drum parts of our day can really make a difference. Even when we think we're just going through the motions, checking off that old to-do list, we may be impacting someone's day or life. We don't need to be celebrities, or politicians, or professional athletes. We can be influential in the every day. Salt for the Earth: preserving the world around us with kindness, encouragement, generosity and love.

"You are the salt of the earth..."  - Matthew 5:13 (NLT)


Living Made Simple: Addressing the Little Things

Watercolours in middle by Susan (my grandmother)

I have this problem, this tendency to procrastinate on the little things in life. I let small tasks on my personal to-do list pile up, spending too much time thinking about them, all the while insisting that I can't make time for them. We're talking really basic errands, here. Things like organizing papers and receipts, scrubbing scuffs off my apartment walls (I don't know what the last tenant was doing in here!) and running to Target for dishwasher rinse agent. I'm serious.

The weight of these things cause me stress and anxiety, and other icky feelings that I wish weren't there, cluttering my mind and my heart. So, when unruly weather cancelled all of my weekend plans, I decided to seize the newly, freed up schedule and knock a few to-do's off my list.

Here's what it looked like, more or less: 

Make to-do list ... Done.
Organize papers and receipts ... Mostly done.
Removing weird scuffs from walls ... Still not sure about this. But, done.
Buy dishwasher rinse agent ... Bought. Got a little excited and I now have two bottles!
Send emails ... Sent.
Hang wall art ... In progress. Thank goodness for easy and removable washi tape.
Clean apartment ... Cleaned. For now.

My real to-do list was a bit longer, and I really made a dent. I'm so pleased. Of course, all work and no play doesn't make for a very memorable weekend. So I squeezed in an at-home double feature starring Ginnifer Goodwin (I can always relate to the awkward roles she's known for playing), made a rather tasteless soup (kind of awful), and booked an exciting trip (kind of amazing)! But more on that later. #HappyMonday


Buying with Intention: FashionABLE Scarf

Etanesh Stripes Scarf in Ivory + Coral, from livefashionABLE.com

The calendar tells me its Spring, but it seems Winnipeg didn't get that message. We're still surrounded by snow and ice, and other depressing things. But let's not get it that right now. Instead, let's talk about something pretty, shall we?

Like this scarf from fashionABLE, a North American based company committed to fighting poverty by creating sustainable business in Africa. Their primary focus is on creating opportunities for vulnerable women. They work with women in Africa to help them start small business cooperatives, and they partner with and require manufacturers to employ women with fair wages, and fair hiring practices.

They sell these beautiful scarves that are handmade by artisans in Ethiopia. Each one is named after a women that fashionABLE works with, and comes with a short, handwritten note about the woman's story. Jenna at Eat Live Run introduced me to this amazing company last year, and I've already made a few purchases (one for myself, and a couple to give away as gifts). I love the quality, and that they're handmade out of 100% cotton. But most of all, I love that these scarves don't just look good, they also do a lot of good.

You can shop fashionABLE's entire line of handmade scarves here.


Starting Over (the first post is always the hardest)

Hello Friends! It's Amy here. Remember me?

Welcome to my new/old space. I did something kind of drastic late last year: I archived my past three years of posts. And by archived, I mean I deleted the entire history of this blog. The decision wasn't made lightly. It was the result of months of thinking and dreaming, and maybe some agonizing too. In the end I chose to free up some space around here. De-clutter. It's unconventional, but the process has been wonderfully freeing.

Around the same time as my blog meltdown, I moved into a new/old apartment. It's a tiny thing, located in the same charming neighbourhood that I've been calling home for almost 4 years now. Living here has meant purging a good many of my belongings. Um, did I mention it's tiny? The situation has it's quirks, but this new living space feels right.

This new blog space does too.

So, after a long hiatus, I'm stepping back into the blogosphere just in time for Spring! I'm not making any long term commitments to this blog, or to my apartment for that matter. Past experiences have shown me that life shifts constantly, and sooner or later (I'm hoping for later), me and my blog will need to pack up and change our surroundings once again. Here's to a new and unpredictable adventure!