Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters


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5 Keen Observations

5 Keen Observations (If I do say so, myself)

Driving around lately, I’ve had a few thoughts that I can’t shake. They aren’t Earth shattering or super original, but I think they’re worth sharing. Here goes:

1. I’m a little shocked by Band Aid. I’m one of those Christmas-radio-before-Thanksgiving-listeners. I love it! I’ve said it before, the Charlie Brown Christmas album is the number one thing played in our house. That being said, I’ve heard Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid ten million times this month. And… I’m shocked by all of the sweeping/typical/cliche/and possibly offensive Africa references in that song. I understand the point, but still. I think it rains in some parts of Africa and there is for sure at least one famous river. Aaaaand not everyone loves snow.

I still love it. But jeeez!!

2. I’m a LOT shocked by Britney Spears’ new song, Perfume. I shudder to think that any teenage girl could be relating to this song. The point of perfume is NOT to “mark your territory” so that the (ex girlfriend!!!) girl he’s cheating on you with will know you exist. How demeaning and awful!!! Girls, let’s boycott this song for the greater good of humanity.

“And while I wait I put on my perfume, yeah I want it all over you

I gotta mark my territory.

I’ll never tell, tell on myself but I hope she smells my perfume.”

All I think of is dogs peeing, sadness, and the prayer that no girl actually does this, ever.

If you’re with a guy and you feel the need to mark him with your scent, don’t you think there’s a problem there? I’m still feeling the shock of having heard this song for the first time yesterday. Goodness.

(no way am I posting this song on here.)

3. Mumford and Sons lyrics, though pretty good, are very Yoda-ish. 

“My weakness I feel I must finally show.” Etc.

4. Organic food should not be labeled organic. Organic should be the standard and conventional and the only foods that should be specially labeled are the ones with chemicals or genetic alterations (GMOs). Yup. That’s about it for that one.

5. Radio music is nothin’ compared to the other stuff out there. The majority of people listen to about 1% of the music in this world (at least in the USA, I think.) I only had this realization because of a few KEY people in my life who shared other music with me. I was your typical top 40’s hits listener a few years ago and now I can say that I couldn’t name five songs on that top 40 list (except for Perfume, I guess.) Do me a Thanksgiving favor, completely make my day, and look up some of these bands/artists that you might not ever hear otherwise. I’ll include a list and some links to their “best” songs in my opinion!

Justin Townes Earle MAMA’S EYES

Middle Brother WILDERNESS

Shovels & Rope LAY LOW

Jeffrey Foucault CROSS OF FLOWERS

Brown Bird DOWN TO THE RIVER

*Wildewood ROPE

*Brush Strokes BLUEBIRD

*The Handsome Family SO MUCH WINE

If you were to study these lyrics, let them change your life, I’m positive that they would touch your soul and you will be changed in some way. That’s something Maroon 5 just can’t do for me anymore.

Have you had any thoughts you’ve been wanting to share lately?! Anything that shocked you or struck you as odd in some way? Please share… and share if you listen to any of these artists. :)

Love, Lou

*local Albuquerque bands… people I actually KNOW! How cool is that?

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Music = Life, Inspiration & Love

Day 29, Wednesday: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories.

It’s seriously very difficult to choose only five.

BUT if I HAD to choose only five…. these are the five I would choose.

1) Wilderness by Middle Brother

I could listen to this song every single day and not tire of it. My maiden name is Wilder, so that’s cool and sort of related. This songs speaks to me for many reasons. The first is that my twin sister Meredith and I have driven around, with this song on repeat, many times. It makes me think of her and the nights we spend, usually silent, simply enjoying a nice song.

I love it when the song says:

“Just because it’s honest, well that doesn’t make it true.”

It could mean any number of things. But it really makes me re-evaluate and think about the “Truths” with a capitol “T” I say in this life. It makes me think of what honesty is.

2) Boxcar by Shovels and Rope

“Don’t let the sorrow of it get you down, change your last name and try your luck around
And if they ever come to ask about me, tell em that you knew me and you kinda liked me
I ain’t afraid to go it on my own, you can make a run and make it all alone.
You’ll be alright.”

I think it’s such a romantic song and it has actually brought a tear to my eye. The woman in this song is being SO brave. Their plan didn’t work- they got caught robbing banks, acting like Bonnie and Clyde, and she tells her love… go, run for it! Let me take the fall!!!

Would you do that?

This song has made me take a good honest look at my actions and how loyal I am to Greg. If we got into trouble, how brave could I be?

3) City Limit Sign by Meredith Wilder

“It was a humbling experience when I swallowed all my pride.”

I think we’ve all had a moment like that. I want to follow my dreams- step beyond the city limit sign. I LOVE this song, and not only because my sister Meredith wrote it and sings it :) It brightens up my morning. I listen to it at least a few times a week, if not every single day.

…There are so many more important things I should be worrying about.

4) Yuma by Justin Townes Earle

HE IS MY FAVORITE!!! JTE is incredible. He’s an amazing songwriter, great singer, and an overall cool guy. I love his interviews. There is something about his attitude that makes me like him even more. You should listen to every single one of his songs. But you could start with this one.

Did you cry? It’s a crazy sad song. But it’s SOOOOO good. I probably listen to this song every day, too.

I <3 you, Justin Townes Earle.

5) International Players Anthem by UGK featuring Outkast

I know, this is kind of a wildcard. Are you surprised?

Greg showed me this song the first year we dated and ever since it has been OUR SONG!!

No joke.

“I choose you babe.”

“I hate to see ya’ll frown, but I’d rather see her smiling.”

It’s hilarious. I love it. I know every single lyric.

You should, too.

(I put the censored version here, just in case a youngin’ visits the old blog…)

CAN I DO ONE MORE??? Please! Just one more? 

I have to.

The BEST <3 love <3 song in the world.

Here it is. I cannot keep this to myself.

It’s one of the only songs I can play on the guitar.

“So I will take these old shoes to get to you.”

How sweet is that? And pretty badass, if I do say so myself.

Again, this song makes me wonder what I would do for love. How hard would I try…. to see Greg? Would I go through all of that, and then still walk to get to him?

I think I would ;)

 

I hope you enjoyed these songs!

Love,

Lou


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My Hippie Experience

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On The Road!!!

Why do I look so happy?

It’s because {about a week ago} I was on the way to my very first Tie-Dye Festival aka Road to Rich’s (Rich is the guy’s name who has a festival on his property in the mountains every year! How cool is that?) aka Weekend In Ramah, New Mexico!

The car was packed. I mean, like sardines. Poor guys had to sit in the back and could hardly even hear each other.

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poor alex

All of New Mexico’s finest musicians travel a few hours out of town and camp out (in tents, real rugged-like) and 300 or so people come to listen, make their white clothing tie-dyed and do all sorts of other recreational activities. ;) ;)

We set up camp and soon realized that we were the only ones who’d forgotten to bring something: Chairs.

But at least we had our quilt.

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Wildewood, practicing.

The first night, while the awesome Saltine Ramblers were playing, glow lights were tossed around. It was a real party, up in the cool mountain air, and I danced for hours. This is the only occasion I’d EVER wear something around my head in this way. But it was glowing. And I was at a tie-dye festival. I mean, come on.

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I wasn’t really that crazy, it was just the picture! haha

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showin off our bling

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greg was hilarious. that necklace kept growing

The next day Wildewood and SO MANY other bands played. The stage was in front of Rich’s house.

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Meredith, Greg, Alex

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wildewood rocked it

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what it looked like!

The best part about going to something where other bands play is the fact that I can force ask Greg to dance with me.

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I LOVE IT!!

And sit back to watch the show.

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we hijacked some chairs

I didn’t bring anything to tie-dye, but that’s okay. I will always remember our first Ramah experience and all of the awesome people who were there.

Oh, and it was Rich’s 60th birthday. That’s why the festival even exists… for his birthday party. I have been going about MY birthday all wrong for years, I realized. ha

My favorite part about it all was spending some time “away from it all” with my best friends, Meredith, Greg and Alex. We even shared a tent. Talk about getting comfortable with people. So many laughs were shared. Lots of beer was consumed. Wildewood got a bottle of Whiskey for playing. We ate food constantly and there was always music, whether it was on stage, or people sitting around in circles jamming.

I can’t wait for next year!!!

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Wildewood and Lou

Love,

Lou


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Can You Find What’s Missing?

Sometimes people ask me one simple question:

How do you find time to write?

And workout? And read an entire book in less than a week? And cook all of my meals from scratch? And spend a large portion of my day just sitting outside, watching birds or gardening or hanging up the laundry to dry? 

Okay, I added all of the others, after the first simple question, How do I find time to write? But I’ve had at least a few people ask me these questions at different times. I really have. And I will be the FIRST to admit that I don’t have a perfect scheduled out system to my life. I forget things, I make mistakes and I do waste time.

Just not very often.

Let me give you a clue as to WHY.

Here are some pictures, taken at different angles, of my living room/dining room.

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Piano and bookshelf

Greg plays the piano ALL THE TIME!!! Coolest thing about it? I grew up with my dad playing this very same piano. My parents recently bought a new vintage piano and gave us this one. Also- this bookshelf is inside the wall. No space is wasted and it is beautifully carved out of wood.

Here’s a close up of the picture of my grandmother, which is sitting on the piano.

My lovely Grandma, Pearl, sitting at her typewriter :)

My lovely Grandma, Pearl, sitting at her typewriter :)

Okay, more pictures. Keep looking to find out what’s missing!!!

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“Dining room” and front door

Best part of this picture is the table that my parents bought when they were newlyweds. I wouldn’t buy a new one, ever.

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Christmas trees and music :)

Yes, we keep our Christmas tree up all year long. We’ve had it up since October 31st, 2010, when we bought it on sale at Hobby Lobby. This room is usually filled with band equipment for Wildewood.

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Where I read!

And there you have it. The rest of the house is similar. We have a small bedroom with hardly anything inside, a laundry room with a computer for Greg to work on music recordings, and another room that stores most of Wildewood’s equipment and Greg’s big drum set. It’s a modest, yet amazingly comfortable and spacious living arrangement. Oh, it’s also on a half acre. Don’t ask me how we got so lucky. But ask me how often I thank God for such a home. Answer: Every single day.

Did you see it? Or NOT see it? Have you guessed it yet?

I can read, write, blog, clean, sit in the warm sun, garden, workout and spend time with my husband ….ALL BECAUSE…

We have no TV. There it is. This is not a TV bashing blog, either. But will I ever own one again? Not for all the money in the world. (Okay, come to me with a million dollars and I might buy one. But that doesn’t mean it’ll be where anyone can see it) 

In our last place, a small apartment, I really tried to evaluate why I was either unhappy (at times), felt lazy or fat (at times), or felt disconnected with the world around me (almost all the time.) I remember this specific moment. I was watching a “reality” show. Maybe it was The Hills? I’m not quite sure. But what I do know is this: I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh. Here I am, watching someone else live their life. How lame. I need to go live my own life!” And there you have it. Greg and I moved into this place, got rid of our TV, and we’ve never looked back.

I know what some of you are thinking. But, Melinda, The Hills is trash reality TV and I watch great shows or the Food Network or the Discovery Channel… I don’t waste time. I learn and laugh and relax after a really long day. 

Well, I say HOORAY for all of those people who do exactly that. I would say in the beginning that I did miss those “good” TV shows. I like watching other people cook. I love a good special on Abraham Lincoln or a newly discovered animal in the ocean. But do I still miss it at all? Does it even EVER cross my mind? No.

In fact, I am still very busy and on the days when I have zero time to relax, I often wonder how in the world anyone has time for TV. I know that most people are on even tighter schedules than I am! Explain that!

Having no TV hardly makes me a hermit, either. We have Netflix and we watch movies on our laptop. Um… we have the INTERNET… so, yeah, it’s not like we miss out on any news. Simply having a twitter account makes me weirdly more informed about the world than I ever wanted to be.

I recently read this awesome blog about budgeting money. It made me think. I may not be the best at budgeting money, but I have become really good at budgeting my time. It’s something I can truly say I’ve grown to be good at, and I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. Here’s what a typical day looks like for the Williams household:

A.M.

Greg and I try to wake up together, and unless he has to work at 5 (yikes!), which is rare, we make this happen. Our usual wake up time is anywhere from 6:00 to 7:00, depending. We wake up at LEAST an hour and a half before either of us have to leave. Why? So we can do this:

-Greg makes the coffee

-I made the breakfasts

-Weather permitting, we sit outside to eat and drink

-We might both spend 30 minutes reading

-We might start chatting, which I always love

-I’ll go for a thirty minute run or do a workout at home

-We talk about our days, challenges we might face, and how excited we are for the relaxing evening to come

MID DAY

Greg and I both work. He works full time and I work part time. (I do, however, spend more than a full timer’s worth of time writing.) If we happen to have a day off together, you can bet we’ve done these things:

-Pulled weeds/gardened

-Gone on a short walk

-Made some more coffee and sat outside (bird watching is our new hobby)

-Read more

-I write

-Greg will practice harmonica/drums/piano

-Whip up a good and healthy lunch

-Do laundry, sweep the floor

-Laugh our heads off at least three times (Greg is the funniest person I know)

P.M. 

This is where life really gets busy. Greg, being in a band, has lots of practices and shows. On a rare evening when we have “nothing” to do we’ll make time for:

-Making dinner together

-Talking about our day

-Getting caught up on life… dishes, putting AWAY the previously washed laundry… etc

-Reading some more

-Writing some more

-Practicing music some more

-Going on that run, if I didn’t get to it in the A.M.

See what I mean? Nowhere in there do we have space or a care to “budget” our time to fit in TV watching. Books are better, anyway. It might seem boring. I’m sure what I’ve just described, as a life being lived, seems utterly unexciting to the untrained eye. However, it is anything BUT. We spend quality time. I’ve learned to appreciate the sound of birds and learning what type they are. I’ve learned to savor each moment of silence I can muster up in a day, preferably with Greg right alongside me. I’ve learned to garden and I actually look forward to picking weeds. I get to be outside, I’m healthy and have a body that’s able, and I am caring for something that will provide me with vegetables and fruit to eat.

One drawback, if you can call it that, is how sensitive I have become to too much noise and distraction. I feel just a tad overwhelmed when I am somewhere with TVs blaring or a hundred different sounds buzzing around my head. I feel as if I can’t even listen to or hear the person sitting right next to me. Even in the car, if Greg and I have music playing, we’ll usually both reach to turn it down at the exact same time, and laugh and say, “I couldn’t hear a word you were saying.”

I guess that means I’ve learned to give my full attention to one thing at a time. Plus, I’m addicted to reading. This past month we got our Netflix DVD in the mail and we put off watching the movie for two weeks because each night, when it came down to it, Greg and I both opted for our books instead.

I’m not saying you should go throw your TV out on the curb today. I realize that for some people, this is extreme. (Like the lady who told us we were practically Amish for not owning a microwave… I think she’d faint if she read this.) But just like my last post about phones, I guess the reason for writing this is to encourage people to follow their dreams and not have distractions from those dreams. IMAGINE what you could accomplish if instead of watching TV for two hours a day, you did something productive… something you’ve always wanted to do. Like…

-get in shape (those two hours could be spend hitting the pavement)

-WRITE (it takes tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime)

-sign up for an art class

-volunteer

-go outside and TAKE A WALK (the most therapeutic thing on the planet, in my opinion)

-or whatever it is you’ve been putting off!!

JUST DO IT! (like Nike says…)

Your brain, body, and family will thank you for it. I promise! Feel free to ask me anything about my no-TV household. It’s a topic I’m very passionate about and I have a LOT MORE to say, believe it or not.

Let me know how it goes, or if you do something similar!

<3 Lou


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How Legends Are Made

Lemon Moon by Wildewood

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Alex, Meredith and Greg

GO and LISTEN to this song. Study it. Think on it. Imagine if this folk tale were to be true. (And realize, that it could be…)

The Lemon Moon has become a popular topic in our group of singer/songwriter friends. There are at least five Lemon Moon songs. They all tell different tales of the legend, the stories of who was left behind and the reason the Lemon Moon exists at all. I will be posting the short story (you guessed it, inspired by this legend that Meredith Wilder from Wildewood came up with), chapter by chapter, in the coming weeks!

So really, go listen to this song. Your life will only be better for it!

:)

 

 

Lemon Moon Lyrics

All the people come out and are wandering around

thinking, “Oh, where is my love?”

Everyone who remains is alone

The Lemon Moon has come back to take every better half

where they go, nobody knows

But the sky sees each on his own

[Lemon Moon, take me too, though I am not what you want

I did try to be kind but my dark heart it will not do]

His eyes were the deepest blue and he used to sing for you, how easily you let him in

Always thinking that he would escape

Now his garden’s turned to disrepair, no more flowers anywhere

but the birds continue their rounds

In the uninspired parade

[Lemon Moon, take me too, though I am not what you want

I did try to be kind but my dark heart it will not do]

Had I known, would I have looked lower, lower to find somebody not so fine

Fine like the breeze, easily the best being I ever laid my eyes upon


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Three Days of Muses

I had the best three days EVER!!!! Thursday, Friday and Saturday were amazing in every way. I wish I could experience them over and over, but I’ll settle for writing about it and holding the memories in my heart forever! <3

Basically, I had a chance to see live music. Not just any live music, either. But three musical groups/individuals who inspire my writing. I mean… literally, I have written characters and entire short stories based on their songs. These three above all others. It didn’t even really dawn on me all the way until the very last night. I was brought to tears. It seemed very meant to be and I felt lucky… so lucky!!

Here’s how it went down:

THURDSDAY: WILDEWOOD

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Kate Burn Photography…Wildewood

Here is where you can check out some of their music. My short story, Proud Mothers, has a strong relationship with their original song Goodbye Morgan. Lemon Moon is another song for which I’ve written a short story…but that one is a work in progress :) In one of my (currently :) ) unpublished manuscripts, a character named Mason Andrews has characteristics and plot surrounding him- all based on another original by Wildewood, a song called Keep My Distance. When I listen to their music at each and every show I make it to (which is most!) I never fail to get inspired to write something, whether directly related or not. They’re just that good!!!

FRIDAY: DEER TICK

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Deer Tick

This picture was taken on my really old school flip phone, but hey! It’s a picture of them! You should check them out here. The lead singer of Deer Tick is also in a band called Middle Brother (favorite songs? Wilderness & Blood and Guts!!), and many of their songs inspire my writing, too. It’s also the Deer Tick song, These Old Shoes, that just so happened to be the first (and maybe last?) song I really learned to play and sing on the guitar. It was fun! To me, that’s the greatest love song of our time.

Bonus: For one song, they called a guest singer onto the stage. Guess who it was? Vanessa Carlton!!! Yeah!! I know!! It was weird. I can only picture her sitting at a huge piano, can’t you? But there she was, at a small-ish bar in Albuquerque, singing along with Deer Tick. She sounded awesome!

I would walk 1,000 miiles....

I would walk 1,000 miles….

and… drum roll please….

SATURDAY: MARK ERELLI

mark erelli, music

OMG! I was shaking!

The name may not ring a bell, but I promise you, if you listen to his music you will not be disappointed. Especially the album he recorded with Jeffrey Foucault (another person you should listen to every day!), Seven Curses. THAT album is the REASON I began to write short stories.

That’s a pretty big deal!!! At least to me it is! So you can imagine what it was like to hear Mark Erelli sing in person. The show was at a house … about fifteen people were there. A new project called “The Standing O” had him come into town and they first interviewed him, then he sang! It was just amazing. It’s the songs The First Mrs. Jones, Wyoming Wind, and Ellis Unit One that made me write my first two short stories ever, I Looked Over Jordan and Wilde Wood Saloon!! I had him sign my short stories!! How cool is that?

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“Keep on writing.” Oh Mark, I will!!

The paper stapled to the top is an e-mail I printed out from over a year ago. I wrote to him and he wrote back! I never thought I would get to meet him.

And there you have it. In three days I had beer sloshed onto my feet, sweaty people mosh pitting beside me, fancy chocolate served on a table in a living room, hard cider, sparkling lemonde, and lots of awesome music (I’ll let you figure out which things go with which shows….) ;) .

Thanks Wildewood, Deer Tick and Mark Erelli!!!!!!!

And as ALWAYS, thank YOU for stopping by Hey Lou!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Honky Tonk Dancin’

Last night I went dancing in a real country bar. Greg (hubby), Meredith (twin) and I went to see our friend Alex play with an old time country band, Honky Tonk Deluxe, on the other side of the mountain. We even took a road trip to get there!!

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Mer and Greg (uh-oh, our driver looks asleep) 

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after eating all our traveling snacks

 

By road trip, I mean we drove an hour to the East side. Why is it that any drive lasting longer than thirty minutes seems to require snack food? I wanted to buy a huge back of dried mangos, some nuts, and of course, bring plenty of water. We didn’t actually need anything, though! We wound up stealing some Nut Thins from my in-laws on the way out of town. Yum.

This is what the bar looked like! The Mineshaft:

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the two lous

The best part of the entire evening was by far the DANCING!!! I love to dance. It used to be hard to get Greg to dance with me, but lately he’s been pretty up for it. That makes me so happy and excited. The interesting thing about this particular bar was that it was filled with older folk who knew how to dance. Twirling, two stepping, line dancing… the whole bit. Every man had a handlebar mustache and boots… every woman had on a studded belt and fancy hair. It was that kind of bar. Even I was hesitant to get on the dance floor, and once we did, I felt totally in the way of the pros.

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do we look scared?

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We scooted our way over to the corner of the dance floor. There’s Alex of Wildewood, playing away!!

best picture of the night...

best picture of the night…

Here’s Meredith and me, enjoying the music, food and entertainment (those handlebar mustaches, to be exact.)

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twins!

Overall, it was a great night. We laughed and had so much fun. Every once in a while it’s nice to get to the other side of the mountain. You never know what you’ll see!!

Oh, and did I mention how great my husband is? Not only does he dance with me… he doesn’t leave anyone out! <3

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my two favorite people!!


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Wildewood

Here is why WILDEWOOD had inspired me. Get ready for your musical world to be changed forever with this music. Here is their EP, which the three members spent so much time creating for YOU! Thanks Alex, Meredith, and Greg for making such amazing music.

While the Light Lasts cover art

These are the iconic boots Meredith has worn at many a Wildewood show.

I drew them. She wore them. We’ll always be a team :)

LEMON MOON and GOODBYE MORGAN short stories coming soon. If the songs don’t give you shivers, you aren’t human.