Music To Do Laundry To: Shakey Graves

Most people hate doing laundry. It’s a chore that has four parts: washing, drying, folding, putting away. So it makes sense why people don’t want to do it. This being said, in the past few years I’ve kind of begun to appreciate folding laundry. Maybe it’s that I like organizing things into little piles and putting them away, but I think it’s mostly because it gives me time to just sit and listen to music while still being productive. Sometimes it’s the first time I discover an album, and sometimes I listen to something I love that I haven’t listened to for a while. I don’t remember exactly when I started to put some music on when I was folding the laundry, and I don’t do it all the time, but it’s become a fun little habit, and one that I thought I might share.

If you’re not the type of person to listen to music when you’re folding laundry, then the name “Music To Do Laundry To” might strike you as odd, but maybe it’ll give you a fresh perspective on a never-ending chore!

Recently I caught wind of the music of Shakey Graves, and I started to hear it more and more on the radio. One day not long ago he offered all his music as a pay-what-you-want download on bandcamp, so I got it all and decided to discover this guy and his music.

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Shakey Graves is the personality of Alejandro Rose-Garcia of Austin, TX, who apparently decided on the name after him and a group of friends gave each other native guide names around the campfire. His music sounds very Austin-y, and in a totally good way. It’s very organic, Americana blues-rock, and totally makes me think of summer nights in the wilderness around the campfire.

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You can listen and buy his music, including his newest album And the War Came, HERE.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first installment of Music to do Laundry To! I’m sure there will be more posts about bands I love and are discovering because, as we all know, the laundry never ends!

Cheers,
Lauren.

THRIFTED: Across the Rockies Tour

Last month we went on a little solo tour out to British Columbia and played six shows, with a trip to LA right in the middle. You may remember me writing about how I started off the tour sick as a dog, but luckily I was able to recover quickly! One thing I love to do when travelling is visit different thrift stores. It’s so fun to find treasures that remind me of all the places I visit. This tour was no different! We were able to fit in some thrifting in a few towns and I found some really great pieces including some really practical things for our home!

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Kelowna, BC – SPCA Thrift Store

On our way out of Kelowna we passed by this old building that looked like an outpost from an old western film. I saw that it said “Thrift Store” so we had to check it out! They were having a sale on books, so I picked up a copy of Anna Karenina (which I already have, but this one is in much better condition) and Farley Mowat’s memoir “Otherwise.” I also found three vintage books in great condition that I gifted my mom for her birthday (she collects them) and kept one of the covers to add to a gallery wall.

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White Rock, BC – Project Aftershock Thrift Store

We wandered into this cool looking thrift store after eating fish and chips on the beach. It was a small store, but what really caught my eye was the jewelry and a few antique wares tucked under a table. I saw this teapot set and knew that I had to get it. It’s made in England, and I just love the bright flower design. To top it off, it was only $7! I also scored the sailor necklace, which I thought was too unique to pass up. We had a lovely chat with the lady who was working there, so I hope we can stop by again sometime!

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Chilliwack, BC – MCC Thrift Store

You may remember from previous THRIFTED posts that I have a deep appreciation for MCC Thrift Stores. They’re usually much cheaper than other places, and they have some of the most unique items. Before our show in Chilliwack we had some time, so we hit up an MCC that was just down the street from where we were playing. We actually filmed this thrifting trip and it’s in the video we just released for our Exclusive Content Project. Anyway, that’s where I found this AMAZING cape for $5. I think it was my favourite find of tour. It’s so warm, and I love the simple primary colours. Every time I wear it I want to run away to the mountains!

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Burbank, CA – Goodwill

In the middle of our tour we caught a flight to Los Angeles for five days. We were down there to work with a producer on a new song, and of course enjoy some time in the sun! It was a pretty quick and busy trip, but the first day we were there we discovered a Goodwill thrift store just down the street from the airbnb we were staying at. I saw this print for $8 and knew it would be perfect for our house with the picture of a loom and a cat by a fireplace. (So it’s fitting that Maxine was sitting beside the picture as I was taking a photo.) Too cute. I also scored a pair of shorts, which was great because I forgot to pack shorts!

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Since we’ve been home, I’ve been working at a local Goodwill thrift store, and I’ve been trying not to buy all the sweet deals that come in, because there are lots! Have you found any treasures lately?

Happy Thrifting,
Lauren.

Staying Healthy on the Road

On Friday we hit the road on a two week tour out to BC. It’s been great so far, but the day before we left I came down with a nasty cold and I’m pretty sure I went through about three tissue boxes in done day. It’s really daunting to start a tour with a runny nose and spontaneous sneezing so I went on a rampage with hot liquids and essential oils to knock it off. Now, three days into tour I’m feeling almost 100%! Singing with a sore throat and runny nose is the pits, so I’m very thankful I was able to get healthy quickly.

Since the viruses are spreading like wildfire as they tend to do this time of year, I thought I’d share some of my tips and tricks for staying healthy on (or off) the road. It takes some diligence, but if you’re able to get it right at the beginning, you will hopefully not have to deal with weeks of congestion!

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1. Ricola – That natural cough drop that you can pop in a few times a day to help soothe the throat. It’s not something that really helps get rid of a cold, but it does make it more manageable!

2. Lemons & Honey – I try and have a “Hot Lemon” every day, just to get my day off to a healthy start, but it’s especially beneficial when you’re not feeling that great. A Hot Lemon is just lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon, a dollop of honey, and hot water. My mom would always make these for us when I wasn’t feeling well as a kid, and I would always try and add more honey. 🙂

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3. Apple Cider Vinegar – This magic liquid can be used for so many things, but I mostly use it when I have a sore throat. It’s the best! You can take 1 teaspoon with about an ounce of warm water and gurgle it as soon as you feel a sore throat coming on, but I also make like a hot lemon: 1/2 to 1 tablespoon with hot water and honey. It really does work wonders.

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4. Throat Coat – Any singer will know the benefits of Throat Coat and if you don’t, now is the time to change your ways and get on the bandwagon! It’s an Herbal Medicinals tea that has licorice root, slippery elm, fennel and marshmallow root (among other things) that are really beneficial to minor throat irritations. When I’m on tour for long periods of time I drink a cup of this every day, especially after shows when there are lots of people to talk to and my throat can get really scratchy.

5. Cold 911 by DAVIDsTEA – Over the holidays I worked for DAVIDsTEA and got to greatly improve my tea collection. One of my favourites is Cold 911. It’s an herbal tea with peppermint, juniper berries, and natural eucalyptus flavouring. The eucalyptus is great for coughs and any kind of chest congestion. I call this tea Cold FX in a cup. It’s soothing and slightly sweet. I’ve been drinking it religiously the past few days!

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6. Tiger Balm – This little jar of magic is a staple among many households. Not only is it great for muscle pain, but I’ve been using it every night on my chest to help clear my sinuses. It has eucalyptus like the Cold 911 tea, as well as menthol and clove oil.

7. Peppermint leaves – Lots of herbal tea blends include peppermint, but sometimes you just want the pure stuff. My favourite health food store (Community Natural Health in Calgary) has a bulk herb section so every so often I’ll buy a little bag of peppermint to have on hand. I make it like a cup of any loose leaf tea and add some honey. It’s great before bed, and also when you have a cold.

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8. Essential oils – These are your best friends when it comes to fighting a cold. As soon as I feel a sickness coming on, I take drops of oregano, and a blend called Thieves (from Young Living Essential Oils) that includes clove, cinnamon bark, rosemary, lemon, and eucalyptus oils. When I feel like I might be getting a cough I also use a drop each of peppermint and lavender on my chest at night. It smells so nice!

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I know there are so many ways to fight colds and other sicknesses, and I think the best method is to use everything! There are a few other things that I could have included on this list like turmeric, garlic, and the most important, getting enough rest! But this is what I have on hand right now and what has been helping me get better the past few days. I’d love to hear of any recipes or staples that you use for fighting sicknesses. Please share in the comments, and let’s stay healthy together!

Be well,
Lauren.

Colourful Cotton Dishcloths

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I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like January is already flying by! We head out on the Across the Rockies tour on Saturday, so the past few days have been a flurry of working, cleaning the van, and getting ready to go. I’ve also been finishing up some little nesting projects including making some simple knit dishcloths! Knitting has kind of been on the back burner for me, as I’ve been putting most of my focus on writing and demoing new songs, and launching our new Exclusive Content project, which has been a lot of fun! I still love knitting and crafting, but I’m really excited with some of the other, more musical, projects we’ve been working on, and I can’t wait to immerse myself in it even more.

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That being said, making these dishcloths was super fun to do, and I absolutely LOVE the pop of colour they add to our kitchen! I’ve had a variety of colours of cotton yarn kicking around from making friendship bracelets last summer, so I thought I’d use it up and make something for myself. Not only are these dishcloths great for wiping down the counters, but they make great potholders as well! We had our roommates’ band (The Sweets) over the other night for a potluck and hangout/band meeting, and these simple little dishcloths looked pretty cute on the table, if I do say so myself.

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The pattern was inspired by the Purl Bee’s Soft Cotton Knit Dishtowels. I used some of their design ideas, but changed it to make it smaller and used the colours I had on hand. I’ve written out the pattern below if you want to try and make these for yourself! It’s the perfect project for anyone learning to knit, and even if you’re experienced, it’s totally an instant-gratification project.

Materials:

Cotton yarn in various colours

US8 straight knitting needles

Tapestry needle

Size:

Approximately 8-inches x 8-inches

Pattern:

Cast on 36 stitches in colour A.

Knit two rows in garter stitch, break yarn.

With colour B, knit in garter stitch for about 7-inches, ending with a WS row, break yarn.

Pick up colour A, knit two rows.

Cast off, and weave in ends.

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And that’s all there is to it! Do any of you have knitting or crafting projects on the go right now? This winter weather is the perfect time to bust out the yarn and paints and whatever else!

Until next time,
Lauren.

Bring on the New Year!

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Happy New Year, everyone!! I hope you had a lovely time ringing in 2015 whether you were out with friends or just at home. We stayed in and had a relaxing evening, which was just perfect.

It’s always exciting when the new year approaches. It’s a fresh start, a time to reset, make goals and dream about what the new year might have to offer.

This past year was a crazy one for me, personally and professionally. It brought with it some of the highest highs and lowest lows I’ve ever experienced and after all the ups and downs I am so thankful to be finishing off the year with stability and rest and so much hope and anticipation for the new year. All the long and windy journeys of 2014 taught me so much about myself, and put me through some tough situations that made me really evaluate my thoughts and motives. It’s really incredible how so many of the mountains we encounter in life can inspire change (if we allow them to) and can have such a positive impact on us in the long run.

So anyway, all that being said, I’m so ready to start a new year with new adventures. With everything that’s happened this past year, I really can’t wait to see what’s next! One thing I realized about myself is that I need goals in my life. I’m not the greatest at time-management (just ask my husband!) and I heavily rely on written lists and reminders to help keep me focussed and on task. Writing down goals is really important for me, but what’s even more important is to keep going back to those goals to see how I’m doing and remind myself to keep going, or re-evaluate and change things up.

Because I like writing things down, sometimes my lists can get a little long and overwhelming, so when I was thinking about my ambitions for 2015 I wanted to keep it short and concise and make some goals that I know I can stick to and hopefully expand upon! So, here are a few things that I’m going to work towards in the new year:

1. Make time for friends. Now that we live in Calgary and have a lot more time at home than we have in the past few years, I want to really invest in the friendships that have been more or less long-distance for the past few years. It’s so wonderful being able to hang out with people and be part of a community and I want to make a conscious effort to invest time into those people who have been faithful friends while we’ve been here and there.

2. Fit yoga into my daily routine. Last Christmas Zoltan got me a pass to yoga classes at the local studio in Brooks and I was hooked. I love how yoga focuses on both the mind and the body, and is such a great all-around way to build strength and balance and a positive state of mind. And it’s not restricted by time or place, which means I can do it at home, at a studio, and while we travel. I’m currently trying to find a simple morning routine, and something a little more in-depth that I can fit into my daily routine.

3. Cook or bake something new once a month. Last week I posted a little inquiry on Facebook asking for some suggestions of cookbooks that I could cook through to not only find good recipes, but also learn the basics of cooking. Zoltan does pretty much all the cooking in our house, and although I don’t expect that to change much, I’d really like to get better and more comfortable in the kitchen. I’m going to try and keep myself accountable by posting my progress and some recipes on the blog!

4. Learn how to take photos, not just pictures. I’ve always loved photography, and although I don’t expect to become a professional, I want to get more familiar with using a semi-professional camera so I can be more adept at documenting all the adventures we find ourselves on, and taking photos for blog posts, etc.

5. Fit journalling into my daily routine. I think this is a New Year’s goal every year. This year I didn’t write nearly as much as I have in past years, and I want to get back at it. There are so many experiences that I forget about when I don’t write them down, and just being able to go back over old journal entries is a great way to see how much I’ve grown, and relive specific memories.

6. Read one book a month. I unofficially made this goal when I started the As of Late feature in November, and although I haven’t totally stuck with it, I’m hoping to get better at it. Setting aside time to read is really important to me, it means I’m taking a break from everything else going on, quieting myself, and just being still. Not to mention, I’m a sucker for a good story!

I know it’s a short list, but I think these six personal goals will keep me busy all year! Have you made any goals or resolutions for the new year? I’d love to hear about them! It’s always inspiring to hear what other people are resolving to do. I think sharing our goals with each other is a great way to stay motivated and accountable!

I hope you all have a wonderful start to the New Year! Happy 2015!

Cheers,
Lauren.

Across the Rockies: A Solo Tour!

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We’re hitting the road again next week for a short little solo tour to British Columbia! It’ll be the first time I’ve played on my own since our very first tour in 2011, and although it’ll be weird not having a band or any other musicians, I think it’ll be a good challenge for myself to keep it interesting and come up with a dynamic set.

If you live in any of the places we’ll be visiting we’d love to see you at a show! You can find more details on the shows on our Facebook page, or website.

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See you on the road!
Lauren

THRIFTED: Winnipeg, MB

There will no doubt be multiple THRIFTED posts from Winnipeg because there are just so many great treasures to be found in that fine, wintery city. Winnipeg is one of those cities that I’ve really fallen for in the comings and goings of the past few years. We’ve met some awesome people and have been able to experience so many different parts of the city, and cold and snow aside, it’s a really neat place, especially for music! We were there for last year’s Juno Fest, and got to take in a bunch of shows with bands like July Talk, Hollerado, Rah Rah, The Strumbellas, Royal Canoe, and Imaginary Cities. And when we were there this past fall, we got to see Sarah Slean perform with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. There’s always some sort of inspiring musical event to go to.

So anyway, this edition of Thrifted is actually a combination of two Salvation Army trips. The first trip was last summer, when we didn’t even play in Winnipeg, but ended up there for a few days at our friend Greg’s house. We stopped at Salvation Army on one of the days off and I found this AMAZING velvet skirt. Not only is it velvet, but it’s Holt Renfrew (from probably 15 years ago) and it fit perfectly! It’s one of my favourite dressy pieces because I can wear it with just about anything and it adds instant class to the outfit! I’ve definitely fallen for velvet this season…it’s so classy, and has just the right amount of texture.

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These books were a pleasant surprise. It was nice to find vintage copies of a few Jane Austin novels, and the other three just looked so pretty that I had to get them. And this plaid scarf has become one of my go-to accessories this winter. I love how warm it is without being to bulky, and the large plaid with a pop of red goes with almost everything I’ve been wearing. I do like my scarves. One can never have enough scarves.

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Holt Renfrew Skirt: $3

Books: 5 for $5

Scarf: $2

Well kids, that’s all for today. Next time on THRIFTED I’ll be sharing some awesome things I found at a very unexpected shop in a city that caught me by surprise.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season! Has anyone started making New Year’s Resolutions yet?

Cheers,
Lauren.

A Time to Reflect

Time moves so quickly sometimes, and when it does I find my focus shifting to only looking ahead to what’s next. I’m always preparing myself for the next tour, the next project, the never-ending list of things to do and I’m so focussed on looking into the distance that I forget about the present moment that I’m in.

I think it’s really good to look to the future, set goals, and be expectant of good things to come, but too much focus on the future can turn into an unhealthy preoccupation, and then we lost sight of all the good things around us right in that moment.

I noticed this a few weeks ago when we were moving to Calgary, and I was looking forward to a new season of living in a new place, a new change of pace, and some changes in lifestyle. In my conversations with people I kept saying that I was excited to start something new, when one day it dawned on me that I was in that new season. I didn’t have to expect it anymore, it was here, and it was my responsibility to respond by fully embracing where I was.

One thing I love about December and Christmastime is that it’s a season of reflection and living in the moment. We gather with friends and family, we spend time together decorating, our focus is on our families and our communities, and for a few weeks of the year, our thoughts are centred on those in need. If only we would live this way every moment of our lives! How much richer would we be, in love and grace.

This Christmas season has inspired me already to embrace where I’m at, and appreciate the moments around me that give life so much brilliance.For example, I walked out the door to take the bus to work the other day, and it was COLD. Just as I was thinking about how much I didn’t want to take public transit to work, I noticed that everything around me was covered in frost. It was a little bit like Narnia, and I was blindsided by the beauty of the moment. The thing is, those moments are everywhere and I wished I noticed them more. They’re at our fingertips, but it takes a special kind of awareness to notice them.

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I’m reading a book right now called A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and I think I posted this quote in December’s “As of Late” but I’ll share it again, since it’s been quite meaningful to me lately.

Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.”

It’s a journey of discovery, and I hope that you will all keep discovering more and more of life’s beautiful and fleeting moments.

Cheers,
Lauren.

Christmas Shop Update!

Hey everyone! I finally added some items to the Cabin Knits Shop just in time for you to get any Christmas orders in! There’s a little bit of everything, so take a little gander and see if there’s anything that suits your fancy (or a friend’s fancy). If you’re in Canada, make sure to place your orders by December 17 to make sure it’ll get to it’s destination in time for Christmas, or by December 12 (TOMORROW!) if you’re in the US.

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I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season. Don’t forget to make times for the ones you love; it can be easy to get busy and overwhelmed in a season that should be about peace and stillness. Wherever you are, and whomever you’re with, may your days be merry and bright!

Cheers,
Lauren.

THRIFTED: Niverville, MB

Thrifting is in my blood. I grew up going to thrift stores, and despite a brief time during my adolescence when I found the idea “gross” and “totally uncool,” I’ve always loved hunting through a store to find one-of-a-kind gems and wicked deals. When we’re on tour, one of our favourite pastimes is stopping at tiny little thrift shops in the many small towns we go to. We don’t often have a very free schedule, but we manage to fit in quick trips to find treasures.

I’ve found everything from clothes to books to practical home items on these little thrift store trips, and I thought I’d chronicle some of my findings. It’s fun to be decorating the house or put an outfit together and remember where I found something. I guess it’s like a scrapbook for me, since I’m definitely not a scrapbooker. 😉

Anyways, here are a few findings from Niverville, MB. We played at Providence College on our last tour and drove back to Winnipeg after the show, but Zoltan forgot is coat at the college. So the next day, we drove back (45 min) to the college and stopped at the Niverville MCC Thrift Shop, and I’m glad we did!

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This jacket was one of my all-time greatest purchases. It was marked at $25, and I didn’t really want to pay that much, but it was sooo rockstar and it fit perfectly, so I brought it to the till, and for some reason the lady took 75% off, making it $6.25!

Leather Jacket – $6.25
Maxi dress – $3
Platform boots – $2

Note to all avid thrifters, do yourself a favour and visit the MCC Thrift Stores of Manitoba. It’s probably the best thrifting in the country!

What are some thrifting victories you’ve had? Please share!

Cheers,
Lauren.