Thursday, March 28, 2013

Music to Make By...

I've had some discussions lately, and have seen others asking for suggestions, about what creative types listen to while they're being creative. I've found that at work, when I'm creating words and sentences and coherent thoughts and ideas, I have to listen to music that doesn't have many words. I have a couple of stations saved on Pandora and Spotify that are instrumental and acoustic. They create a little white noise so that I'm not completely alone with my thoughts, but they don't distract me.

At home, it's a different story. I need something with a tune to hum along with, and words to sing along to, and sometimes even a mood that will put my creative mojo into a place that brings about some inspiration.

I knew that Justin Timberlake was releasing a new cd (um, could anyone miss this information? He's been showing up EVERYWHERE lately!) so I pulled up The 20/20 Experience on Spotify to give it a listen. I also pulled up Justified, his 2002 release. And boy did THAT make me feel OLD!!! It was released over a decade ago, for pete's sake... and 12 years ago I took my then-6-year-old daughter to see N*Sync in Little Rock. I have to say, I think Justin has aged pretty well. :) I'm sure everyone has heard the song Suit & Tie, it's been playing on commercials, he's been singing it on guest appearances on television... and it's probably the most straight up "bringing sexy back" Justin Timberlake tune on the cd. I think it's my favorite, but I also really like Mirrors and Strawberry Bubblegum and Pusher Love Girl. The lyrics on the album are primarily about romancing a woman, and in that way it reminds me a bit of a dance version of John Legend music. I wonder what a collaboration between those two would sound like... hmmm.... *daydreaming*

I confess that although I love my mobile Spotify app, and am all about keeping up with the new technology that is popping up every day, I still want to own the actual cd. Maybe it's because I'm in my 40s and still have a stack of vinyl from the 80s in my closet... or maybe it's because I have lost photos and other stuff I had saved on my computer and on my phone, so I'm still skeptical of the permanence of anything I am not actually holding in my hand. I'm also a collector, and enjoy keeping things around me that help define who I am. I only recently added an electronic reader to my list of gadgets, but have hardly used it. I just love holding a BOOK, and browsing the aisles of my favorite used book stores. By the same token, I enjoy looking through my cds to find just the right music to inspire me as I sew, paint, or clean house. I am always reminded of a concert I attended, a road trip I took, or someone special who gave me a particular cd (or all three). I've never had that experience scrolling through my .mp3 files.

So, while I was doing a little shopping for last-minute Easter swag and dishwashing detergent at Walmart, I saw a poster for the CD and decided to grab it. I put it in to play while I made dinner tonight, and smiled as I looked at the liner and the CD itself. Way to go JT, he's not only brought sexy back, he's bringing vinyl back... sort of. :)

So if you're looking for a good groove to make by, I give a thumb's up to Justin's new release. Want to see more of my shopping trip? Click here. Get your own without the trip to the store - order it online! You're welcome.

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and #JT2020 #cbias #SocialFabric. That said... I really do love me some Justin Timberlake. ;)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Crafting and Coffee and Donuts, oh my!

The weather has been showing signs of spring, so when we saw that we had a Saturday of temps in the 70s coming up, my sister and I planned to spend  the day working on some re-purposing projects and pricing some stuff for our Junque Rethunque booth. First, though, we had to meet a guy in Rogers about a couple of tables I found on Craigslist. On our way home we stopped by Walmart to pick up some snacks to keep our energy up for the busy day ahead.

I’m not a two-cup a day coffee drinker, but  I have learned over the years to enjoy an occasional cup if it is diluted with lots of sweet creamy stuff. I guess you could say I like my coffee like I like my wine – light and sweet. When we saw this Delicious Pairings display in the Walmart bakery, we had to stop and check it out.

Walmart Delicious Pairings Display
Walmart Bakery donut selection
I was scoping out the donuts (mmmmm…. donuts…. I ignored my low-carb diet for the day) and my sister was looking at the Starbucks coffee to see if there were any new flavors on the shelf. She is a Coffee Drinker, and tends to like a darker coffee, but she suggested we look at a light variety to have with the donuts… it was only fair that if I was buying, I got to pick. :) And since you can't have too many donut pictures...

Walmart Bakery chocolate glazed donuts
The display makes it super easy to figure out what intensity each variety of coffee is – simply by putting them in light to dark order. The lighter flavors are in the yellow bags, then an orange design is next, then a kind of deep rose. The Blonde Willow Blend was at the very far end of the light options, so I took a chance. I've purchased the instant iced coffee mixes from Starbucks, and even have their app on my phone - I guess you could say those are the "gateway drugs" to buying a bag to use at home, right??

Starbucks Blonde Willow Blend coffee

Even though I rarely make coffee at home, I do have a coffee maker in case we have company who would like some. I pulled it out and dusted it off and we were in business. I put some milk and sugar in my cup and poured in the coffee… it brought back memories of my mom – the coffee she drank was always a light tan color too.

Starbucks Coffee and Walmart Bakery Chocolate Donut
The flavor was really excellent. It was a bit sweet even on its own without the sweetener in it, and had a tangy, citrus flavor. I felt like I was at a wine tasting - except that I didn't spit it into a bucket... It’s amazing how different GOOD coffee is from the run-of-the-mill kinds that come in the cans. I won’t name names. 

There was no bitter, burned taste to this Blonde Willow flavor. And drinking it with a bite of chocolate-glazed donut was a great combo. The citrusy flavor of the coffee went well with the chocolate – it reminded me of the chocolate oranges that I put in the kids’ stockings at Christmas.

After we spent the day painting and waxing and pricing and sorting, I was cleaning up the mess and found the bag for the coffee on the counter. (I had put the coffee into a vintage coffee jar to store in the cupboard.) I wasn't keen on the idea of throwing it away, since it's plastic, and I have been planning to try making a coffee cuff I could keep in my purse to replace the little cardboard ones you get at coffee shops... so I decided to do a little more re-purposing. It is National Crafting Month, afterall...

re-purposing a Starbucks coffee bagcutting out the coffee cuff piecesre-purposed sweater project

I used a cuff I kept off a cup of coffee (obviously around the holidays - I told you I don't drink it often! LOL!) and cut out a piece of the bag, and two pieces of fabric from the arm of a wool sweater. I sandwiched them together and sewed them up. Nothing fancy... I like the handmade look with little wrinkles and imperfections.
coffee cuff made from a Starbucks coffee bag
 It seemed to need a little "something" to finish it off (I'm fond of embellishing), and it needed a closure too, so I cut some circles out of the rest of the bag and made a flower. Isn't that black button cute for the center??

flower made from Starbucks coffee bag

All that was left was to sew it on. The plastic was very easy to sew through - on the machine and by hand. Ta-daaaaaa!! What do you think??  I kind of love it. :)

Coffee cuff made from Starbucks coffee bag

So, now you tell me... what's YOUR favorite Starbucks flavor - and have you done any re-purposing lately? Have you visited the Delicious Pairings display at Walmart?

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Community and have been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study. However, all opinions are my own and I only write about products that I actually use. #cbias #SocialFabric