Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Tunes Tuesday - Lindi Ortega

I'm just going to come right out and say it.... modern country music needs more Lindi Ortega!

This alt-country artist makes a big statement on her just released album, Tin Star, which is ironically titled in my opinion. In the male-dominated world of country music, Lindi shines brighter than any of the truck lights they sing about. She'll have you hypnotized with her fiery rasp and haunting melodies. Her voice is like a cross between Dolly Parton and Emmy Lou Harris. She's Johnny Cash meets Wonder Woman dressed all in black with her signature red cowboy boots. Have I got you interested yet?

She tells the tale of her struggles on the title track Tin Star... "Well, we don't got fame, no name in lights / No Billboard hits. No sold-out nights. / We got bills to pay, trying to make a way. / Some of us wait on luck; well, some just pray." She compares herself to an old tin star to the bright shiny stars in Nashville, Tennessee. “Well you don’t know me, I’m a nobody. / I sing on the Strip, for a few pennies. / I’ve got a busted string, and a broken guitar. / I’ve been singing for tips down at the local bar. / Like an old tin star I’m beat up and rusting, lost in the shining stars of Nashville, Tennessee / Well I wrote this song for those who are like me, lost in the shining stars, the shining stars." And this song just scratches the surface.

The opening track "Hard As This" could belong on a Quentin Tarantino film (that's a compliment) and is a lyrical masterpiece. "If you need time, here’s a clock / You can sit alone at night and listen to it tick and tock / When it stops, wind it up / I’ll be somewhere giving up on you." It's the ultimate break-up tune.

One of my favorite tracks is "This Is Not Surreal." She's so vulnerable and a little gloomy on the ballad. She draws you in with her emotional quiver. Her vibrato is fragile yet confident on "Something For You" as she tries to find the right words to express her feelings. I like the boot-stomping "Gypsy Child" which is probably auto-biographical.

The album is about chasing your dreams and doing what you love despite the struggles. You don't have to be a singer in Nashville to relate to a theme like that. It really is a gem of an album from start to finish. One of the best this year. Shine on, Lindi!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Our Trip to Disney

We've been talking about it for years. We should take the kids to Disney World! It's every kids dream vacation, right? Well, we wanted to go at "the right time." You know, when the kids are the right age and during the right time of year. But is there ever a right time? Maybe. We decided to go this fall. We found a time where the kids aren't real busy with sports, they had a day off from school, and it worked with our work schedules. So off we went on Saturday, September 28th.

The Fountains Resort
We bought a three day park hopper with two days free from the internet. We also decided to fly from our small local airport. Time was crucial as we didn't have much of it. It did cost a little more, but it was worth it! And we had an extra bonus with lodging. My parents own a timeshare. The kids had their own room and bathroom, and we had a kitchen so we could cook some of our meals. Publix was right around the corner.

We arrived in the afternoon and after the grocery shopping, decided to hit the pool. We grabbed some lunch and walked around the grounds. The Fountains is a great place. We really enjoyed it.

That evening we decided to go to The Magic Kingdom! I never saw so many strollers in all my life. Tip #1. No matter what time of year, Saturdays are BUSY!!! Be prepared to fight the crowd. We rode a few rides (Space Mountain was shut down!) and mostly just walked around. We only made it halfway around the park when we decided it was time to go. It had been a long day and we were getting hungry. We caught a glimpse of the Electric Parade. Yes, it's still happening! And on the way to the car, we saw the fireworks go up. I knew right then that we had to come back in the evening to see the show. The kids agreed. In fact, we found out that every park puts on some kind of firework show in the evenings.

Day two was at Epcot. It's Sunday and the park isn't that crowded. Lucky for us, a food and wine festival was happening! I saw the schedule on a Disney blog. Tip #2. Follow the Disney blogs so you know if any special events are happening at the parks. Pat and I certainly took advantage of that. I think this was the least favorite for the kids, but we kind of knew that was going to happen. We warned them ahead of time. We ate a late lunch at one of the restaurants which is something we had planned to do. The food was fantastic.

Day three was at Hollywood Studios. The kids are happy again! The wait time was only 10-15 minutes on even the most popular rides. So we got to ride everything and see everything we wanted fairly quickly. We headed back to the hotel for some swim time because it was a hot and humid day! That evening we went to Downtown Disney for dinner. Again, this was a planned splurge and really enjoyed our meal. Tip #3. We heard there are new plans in store for Pleasure Island. So look for that if you are planning a trip soon.

Day four we decided to sleep-in and head back to The Magic Kingdom in the afternoon. We spent the morning at the pool, went through a drive-through for lunch, and got to the park at around 2:00. Tip #4. The Wishes Nighttime Spectacular is a MUST SEE! The park gets busier and busier as the day goes on because everyone wants to see the show. I would try to get a table at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant if you can. We had an excellent view of the show. It was the perfect way to wrap up our vacation.

Some more tips... wear your walking shoes. We wore athletic shoes every day and were thankful for it. The fall is a great time to visit. Main Street was decorated for fall and Halloween. Try to visit the parks during the week. We NEVER used the fast pass. The wait time was minimal, so it was never needed. There is a Disney App called My Disney Experience that was very helpful. It contains maps, wait times, and descriptions of the restaurants. We used it a lot.

I think we did find the right time to go! The kids are 12 and 9. My oldest missed two days of school, and the youngest missed three. The weather was great, and the atmosphere was wonderful. Hope these tips are helpful when you plan your own trip to the happiest place on Earth!

September Photo a Day FAB FOUR

A little late with this post because I was on vacation this past week and without a laptop. More on that to come in a future post.

September Photo a Day was an interesting month. The prompts were all reader driven, and some proved to be quite challenging. That's what makes it fun.

Here are my favorite four photos that I took in September.

Top Left: Alone
Top Right: What Is This?
Bottom Left: Curve
Bottom Right: Gold

Oh, and that bottom right photo should give you a clue as to where I was this past week.

On to the next month! Can you believe it's already October? The months just seem to fly by. It's still warm outside so it doesn't feel much like fall. But it will be here soon enough, so I'll enjoy the warmer temps while I can. Here's the list for October already under way!

Are you going to play?


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