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Day 51

>> Friday, October 30, 2009

I just spent 3 hours recording a vocal "guide track" for my song. Meaning, it's not even the final vocal, just a guide so I know how I want it to sound while I'm recording the other instruments. It should have only taken about a half hour tops, but my perfectionism won out yet again. (Some may call it obsessive-compulsive instead, but hey - whatever floats your boat . . . )


Day 49 - Piano time

>> Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I've been working on recording the piano track to "Go on" tonight. I was really excited as I was just about finished when I realized that my song was about 5 and 1/2 minutes long - which made it at least a minute and 1/2 too long! Although there is no perfect length for a song (and granted there are some that are 6+ minutes in length), most radio-friendly songs are somewhere between the 3-4 minute range. Anything shorter than that you can't really get into, and anything longer than that and the audience starts to disengage.

For me - this means I ended up cutting the intro. It did sound cool, but wasn't really needed and to be honest I don't think completely matched the feel of the rest of the song. I'm also going to shorten up the ending so it doesn't drag on too long.

I had to start all over again, but it's all good - it'll be much faster this time around as I know exactly what I want and how I want it to sound when I record it.

Back to it!!


Day 48

>> Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh thank the heavens - my hair is no longer green. After 2 and 1/2 hours at the salon tonight, my hair is still dark, but instead of a hint of green it now has a lovely hint of red in it.

The stylist was awesome and also gave me a trim and blow-dry so it's now nice and shiny and straight as well as a beautiful shade of brunette! She said it will fade a bit though, so if it doesn't totally stick I may have to go back in a month or so to get another semi-permanent wash put on it. That's fine though, as it actually didn't cost me nearly as much as I thought it would. Probably helped as I drove all the way out to a salon in Barrie to get it done (and things tend to be a lot cheaper out in the sticks). I knew it would just cost me way too much in the city, and the salon in Barrie "Pure Bliss Salon and Day Spa" also specializes in colour correction (which I discovered when I was googling salons the morning after my hair disaster). So if I do need the colour touched up sooner rather than later it's not too bad. The stylist mentioned that she has at least one client a month who comes in for colour correction - at least I'm not the only one who makes bad hair decisions! You live and learn, I suppose . . .


Day 47 - just another day in the life

>> Monday, October 26, 2009

Never, ever, ever try to dye your own hair dark if you're currently a blonde. Yours truly got it into her head late last night that my hair needed a change and "hey - I should dye it really, really dark brown!!" So off I went to the drug store and bought 2 bottles of Garnier Nutrisse hair dye in "dark chocolate brown". (2 bottles 'cause I have a lot of hair and knew that 1 wouldn't be enough). I was smart though (or so I thought) and even snipped off a bit of my blonde hair beforehand to do a "strand test" - basically to make sure that it would work and wouldn't turn anything other than brown. Sure enough, it seemed to take, so off I went (this was at midnight by the way) and started to dye my whole head. Well halfway through the second bottle of dye I realized that I was going to run out really fast, and at that point only half of my head was done. Thank goodness for my hubby though, as he rushed off to the 24-hr Shoppers to get some more bottles of dye. By the time he got home and I finished my whole head it must have been about 1am, and then by time I had let it all sink in and then washed it out it was after 2am.

Well . . . in the bathroom light at the time I thought it looked pretty good - it was darker than I had wanted and definitely wasn't the nice rich colour I thought it would be, but it was okay. This morning though when I saw it in the mirror under natural light, I realized it was worse than what I thought - I had definitely missed some parts, and some parts underneath were looking a little green. There's also some parts on the top that looked kind of patchy. It wasn't disasterous, but I definitely started to regret my spontaneous decision the night before to do it. I also quickly began to realize that if I didn't try to fix it, it would really start to bother me and I'd feel really self-concious. This time I was at least smart enough to know it was time to take it to the pros - I found a salon that specializes in colour correction and headed out this afternoon for a consultation (thank goodness I had the day off today)! The hair stylist took one look at me and said "yup - I can definitely see the green in there" (yikes!) but said that she could fix it by redying it with a colour that was more red (fine by me). Unfortunately she couldn't actually fix it today as they close early on Mondays, so I'm heading back there tomorrow afternoon for colour and a trim (figured I might as well kill 2 birds with 1 stone). Sadly though this means I have to face another day in public with this hair. If I just pull it back you can't see the bad parts though, so I guess it's fine. Keep your fingers crossed for me that the correction works and I end up with gorgeous hair!! And keep this story in mind if you ever find yourself thinking late at night "hey - I should dye my own hair!!" Trust me, it's not worth the hassle - just pay the money and get it done right the first time around . . .


Day 42 - Back to the Daily Grind

>> Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Well I'm back, and not too happy about it I may add . . . ;)

Chris and I had an awesome trip - every single thing was just perfect - the rental car (my fave - a Jeep Wrangler!), the hotel room, the weather, the food, the scenery - we really couldn't have hoped for more.

Of course the time went by wayyyy too quickly, and we're now back to the daily grind and our mini vacay already seems like it was months ago! It was so great to get away though - I highly recommend Mont. Tremblant and the Laurentians in general to anyone who hasn't experienced that location yet. It's just absolutely gorgeous and so nice to have a mix of getting back to "nature" yet having the luxury of nice hotels and great food and shopping!

I'm now back to a hectic schedule at work - we started 6am starts this week (normally the earliest shift is 7-3) - not good as my body has gotten used to staying up really late these last few weeks, so I'm sure it will be quite a shock tomorrow when I have to wake up before the clock even strikes 5am! (Yikes!) We've already started getting our Christmas stock in, and that "pressure" feeling I get when the Holidays are upon us continues to build and build. I keep reminding myself to not get stressed and everything will get done, but it's sometimes hard to do when there seems to be an overall sense of panic throughout the store . . .

I am excited though 'cause November 1st for me means the start of . . . Christmas decorating!! Last year, both Chris and I were so busy that we pretty much forgot about Christmas decorations in the house altogether - I don't even think we put up our tree! This year though I am determined that we're going to have a good, down home Judge Christmas - complete with a tree with all the trimmings and the house decorated both indoors and out. I may even go crazy and actually do some Holiday baking this year! (shocking for anyone that knows me I'm sure)

I'm also . . . dum, dum, dum . . . planning to enter a contest in December! That's right - I have decided that I will be entering the song I'm working on now into the Canadian Radio Star National Songwriting Competition! The deadline is December 11th, so I know I need to finish recording and putting all the finishing touches on my song soon. I know it's a longshot as it's a really popular annual competition for Canadian songwriters, but everyone has to start somewhere, right?

BTW - I finally have a name for the song - it's called "Go On" - you'll know why when you hear it.

Anyhoo - I guess I should be trying to get to bed soon - 4:45am will be here before I know it!

(The pics above are from our weekend - Chris doesn't like pics of him on the 'net so I didn't post any that he was in)


Day 39

>> Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm lying on the couch by the fireplace in our suite at the Mariott in Mont. Tremblant, Quebec. Chris is watching a movie and we're just chillin'. Doesn't get much better than this.

I don't want to come home . . .


Day 36

>> Thursday, October 15, 2009

If you're ever bored, just google yourself. I was overcome by vanity just now and decided to google my youtube name "sjdisneyfan". Wow - the amount of crazy pages my videos have somehow ended up on is pretty hilarious. My actual name doesn't really come up with anything too exciting - apparently SJDisneyfan is much more interesting! ;)

So I'm off on my mini vacay with Chris tomorrow - Mont. Tremblant here we come! We are both pretty stoked to get away for a few days and just do some serious chillaxing - read, sleep, watch movies by the fireplace, shop, play guitar, take the gondola ride up the mountain and look at the leaves, and eat a whole lot. We leave tomorrow morning and I may not be able to post while we're away - we'll see how well our internet stick works. Hopefully it's good and I can post some updates and pics.

Here's to 4 straight days of downtime!

(I've posted some pics of the Tremblant area for your viewing pleasure!)


Day 35 - Taylor Swift

>> Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Home from work and watching my PVR of today's Oprah - Taylor Swift is being interviewed and performing - how great is she? Seems so grounded and focused. I bought her CD "Fearless" awhile ago and love it. Current favourite song would have to be "Breathe", her duet with the fabulous Colbie Caillat. Apparently her tour is coming back to Toronto in the spring - think I may have to get tickets this time around!

P.S. They showed a tour of her house in Nashville and she has a blue guitar too! Love it!


Day 34

>> Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I had insomnia last night. I lay in bed all night, tossing and turning and trying to will myself to sleep. I finally must have drifted off at about 4am, but it was kind of pointless as I had to get up at 5am. It was the worst - knowing that I had to get up early and that I needed to sleep but just not being able to. I was exhausted all day and pretty much felt "off" during my entire shift.

I'm sure I'll sleep like a baby tonight. I'll probably be silly and end up staying up late anyway, playing my guitar or fiddling on the piano, but I don't have a crazy early shift tomorrow so at least I can be fast asleep past 5am!

I'm eagerly counting down the days until my mini vacay - 2 more work days and off we go!


Day 33 - so much to do, so little time!

>> Monday, October 12, 2009

I've been feeling a little time-deprived lately. There's always so much to do and so little time to do it all in!

I've had a very busy few days. We had the concert at the church on Friday and it was awesome! Long day, but so worth it. Quimi, Lanae Hale and Matt Brouwer were all amazing, but I was particularly inspired by Quimi and Lanae. I got to spend quite a bit of time with them as I picked them up from the airport and was responsible for taking them to and from hotels, making sure they were fed, helping with merch sales, and so on. I had some really cool discussions with them, and as a songwriter just feel even more motivated now after hanging out with them for the day. They're living their dreams and lifting up and inspiring others by doing what God put them here to do, and it really doesn't get any better than that. If you've never heard any of their songs (or Matt Brouwer's), do yourself a favour and check them out on youtube or through MySpace - you won't regret it.

After the craziness of Friday, I had to work all weekend, but thankfully the store was closed today for Thanksgiving and I had the day off with my hubby. He took me on a really great drive in the country and by the lake, and we came home to have yummy leftovers from the amazing Thanksgiving dinner he cooked for me last night - how lucky am I?

Tomorrow it's back to work first thing in the morning, but in three days we (Chris and I) leave for a 4-day weekend in Mont. Tremblant in Quebec!! We're going to celebrate Chris' birthday, and to enjoy one last "mini vacation" before the craziness of the Holiday season starts and life gets even busier. We're super stoked, as we went there last year in the summer for our anniversary and completely fell in love with the place. This year we'll see the fall colours and we're staying at a really nice resort hotel right in the pedestrian village, which should be awesome.

I have a lot to do before Friday morning though - lot's of chores to do around the house, but I also want to get in a lot of guitar practice time, and really want to have at least the piano track recorded and locked in my computer before we leave. I was up way too late last night experimenting with some instrumental effects on my home studio recording software (Cakewalk's Music Creator) and figured out some cool things I want to add to this song I'm working on. Before I get there though, I have to get the regular piano track recorded exactly the way I want it. Once that's done, then I fiddle with the rest of the instrumental, then finally I'll add the vocal track. Lots of work, but hopefully it'll be worth it with the finished project!

Alright - I'm off to practice guitar! (That's a pic of my lovely lady at the top of this post!!)


Day 29 - Out of my mind!

>> Thursday, October 8, 2009

There are a lot of technical aspects that go into writing and recording a song, whether you're an amateur or a pro, and whether you're recording at home or in a recording studio. It's not just about writing a song that captures a certain moment and emotion, you've got to have certain musical elements that make the song easy to listen to from an audience's point of view. One of these things is tempo, or the speed of the song.

I have a tendancy to get really hung up on the technical aspects of a song, especially when it comes to tempo. The speed your song is played at and sung determines what kind of song it is, and really whether the song is going to work or not. Sometimes when I'm writing, I'll start out writing a fast-paced song, only to change it later so it has a slower, more melancholy pace. Or, I'll start writing what I think will be a slower, emotional song, only to have it morph into a faster upbeat melody.

The song I'm working on now has had me obsessed with it's tempo for the better part of a week now. First it was on the slower side, then faster, then I became obsessed with what the exact BPM (beast per minute) would be when I recorded it. I literally dreamt about it last night! Finally tonight I found the perfect tempo - 86 bpm. 85 was too slow, 87 too fast, 86 hit the spot on the nose. I finally found the song's natural cadence, which is good as I was almost at the "throw my computer out the window" stage earlier on today when I just couldn't find that perfect rhythm.

I've also decided that I'll probably be adding some strings and a wee bit of percussion to this track, which will probably delay it's posting by a week or so. I'm a perfectionist, and although I know that I can only do so much from my little home studio, I do want what I post to be "listenable" (hmm, probably not a word I know) so I don't want to rush it. I'm also going to be starting a MySpace music page, so it needs to be MySpace worthy!

I'll be working behind the scenes in a music-related capacity tomorrow - Chris is producing a concert at the church and I'll be helping out. It'll be a good one: Matt Brouwer is the headliner, with Lanae Hale (love her!) and Quimi as the opening acts. We had Matt Brouwer at the church last year for a concert, and he's had an amazing year touring, so this year's concert should be even better. I probably won't have time to post at all, but I'll try for an update on Saturday before I head out to work in the afternoon. I'll also try to post a picture of my beautiful blue gui-tar!!


Day 28 - I'm obsessed

I learnt how to play "Ode to Joy" on my guitar today.

Yup, that's right - watch out now . . .


Day 27 - guitar heaven part deux

>> Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Just wanted to state again that . . .

I have a new guitar . . .

. . . and it's blue!!!!

(Seriously, how cool is that???!!)


Day 27 - guitar heaven

I got a new guitar today.

It's blue.

I'm so excited I could pee my pants.


Day 25 - Really?

>> Sunday, October 4, 2009

Had one of those days when all you can really say is . . . really??

People deciding that the bottom of the escalator is a great place to just stop and have a chat - thereby almost causing a human pile-up . . . really?

Parents leaving their young children in the store while they leave to shop elsewhere in the mall . . . really?

Someone getting offended 'cause I referred to them as the "next person in line" . . . really?

Having to clean up poo on the floor in the women's washroom . . . really?

I'll leave it at that.


Day 24

Nothing much to report today. Worked all day and didn't get much of a chance to work on anything else - although in the shower this morning I did finish up a song verse - yee haw!!


Day 23 - Bad Mommy!!

>> Friday, October 2, 2009

Ohhh, I've been a bad mom . . . thank goodness I only have a dog and not any real children, otherwise I'd probably be arrested for neglect.

I came home from work today and went straight to my recording studio (aka my "office") as I had some ideas for my song. I then thought I heard someone pull into my driveway, so I quickly grabbed Franklin and put him in the bedroom and shut the door (so that he wouldn't jump all over whomever came to the door). Anyhoo - turns out it was nothing, so I sat back down and continued working on my song. Well . . . that was 5 and 1/2 hours ago, and I just looked at the clock and couldn't believe that much time had gone by. I didn't get up once to go to the bathroom, haven't eaten a lick yet, haven't done anything, including . . . letting the dog out of the bedroom! I actually even forgot where I had put him. When I saw the time, I jumped up and yelled for Franklin to come so I could let him out to pee. I was waiting at the door yelling "Franklin, come on!" and then heard him let out a very sleepy and far-away sounding bark. "Franklin? Where are you? Stop being a sleepy head and come here!" I yelled again. In response I got another whimperish and confused "woof?" Then it dawned on me - he's still in the bedroom! I ran to open the door, and there he stood - all alone in the pitch dark, with his head tilted and looking at me like "what the heck happened mom? Thanks a lot!!" I have now let him out, fed him dinner, and gave him not 1, but 2 milk bones to help make up for my lack of good dog-caring skills.

I blame it on the music though - seriously - the house could have been on fire and I probably wouldn't have noticed. The good news is I'm almost done! I figured out how I want the musical transition from the end of the chorus to the third verse to go (which had been bothering me), and even started recording it to see what it sounds like with both music and vocal in playback (it sounds cool although it is in very rough format thanks to my lovely sick, stuffed-up sounding voice). Still trying to name it though - I never feel like I really "own" one of my songs until I name it, so it usually takes awhile for the right title to dawn on me.

Alright - I'm signing off now to go eat something and force myself away from my computer and piano. I'm obsessed I tell you - obsessed!!


Day 22 - still sick, not quite as grumpy

>> Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hi all,

I am still sick, although I think I'm starting to feel better. My sore throat is (mostly) gone, although I've now developed this awful hacking cough that kind of makes me sound like a honking goose. If it didn't hurt so much every time I cough, it would actually be kind of funny. I went back to work today, although I probably should have stayed at home as everyone was avoiding me like the plague. I have upgraded from Benylin to Buckley's though, and although it tastes horrible (the commercials don't lie!), it does help the coughing for about an hour after taking it. After that it's back to goose mating season for me.

I also seem to have passed it on to my hubby, although on my defense I did warn him to stay away from me (but what can I say, I'm irresistable) ;) I'm currently writing this on the couch in his office at church, listening to him cough and sniffle, and feeling quite bad about it. I guess it's one of the side effects of marriage - passing on (and receiving) every single cold/flu you get for the rest of your life!

Being off of work the last 2 days, I did manage to be a little bit productive. Although I did spend about 48 hours either in bed or curled up on the couch, I was a good songwriter and did it with a pen and my notebook by my side. I managed to get another verse, the bridge, and the chorus done for a song I'm working on. It doesn't have a name yet, but it's about following your dreams and never giving up on yourself (how fitting!) I'll probably have it finished in another day or so, so I plan on having a demo (re: rough) version recorded and posted on here in maybe about 2 weeks. I've been having some difficulties with my recording software so it'll take me a few days to figure that out. Then once I have my voice back I can record again!

That's it for me for today - I'm off to go listen to our youth worship practice for awhile, then it's home for a bath and bed.

Hope everyone out there in Internet-land is having a good one!


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