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Along Abbey Road | A Lifestyle And Family Blog : August 2015


Let's Talk About The VMAs!

Taylor Swift at the VMAs 2015

I was planning on writing a post about hormonal acne, but that's BORING when compared to talking about the VMAs!

So, did you watch it? I mostly waited around until it was over so I could peruse the highlight reels. I did watch All About Eve on Netflix though, which is basically the same thing, but it doesn't kill your brain cells by the second like evil reality television and MTV does. In fact, it's quite the opposite. One could add it to their "I'm Cultured" manifesto by knowing lines from the Oscar-winning film. You should watch it.

Anyway, back to Miley and her shock factor outfit choices! Or lack thereof. Yes, she was neked practically the whole night, so no surprises there. Did you see her and Nicki Minaj go at it for a hot second? That was funny.

Let's see... what else... Oh! Justin Bieber cried. The Biebs is a boobie! Actually, I don't believe they were real tears, but I DO think his red carpet outfit was spot on. Like, I want that exact outfit to be my fall momiform. I am not kidding.

Justin Bieber at the VMAs 2015

Kanye! (Like how I am on a first name basis with everyone? We're old chums, all of us!) Not gonna lie—I thought his speech was endearing. He is just a sensitive, little dork like the rest of us, all the Yeezus-ing aside. Also, I was kind of waiting for him to bust into a stand up comedy act in the middle. Just sayin', bro.

Last thing I want to talk about: The Queen Bee Miss Taylor Swift! She was up there strutting her stuff like she owned the place. Her confidence is admirable, and she is absolutely gorgeous, but I still stand beside my statement  that she is not a nice person deep down inside. (YOU are a mean girl, you're a *$&%*!)

How do we feel about Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams" music video? I kind of had this face the entire time. Or at least anytime Scott Eastwood was not onscreen. Yikesabee, that man is foooiiinnnee! You do know he is Clint Eastwood's son, right? Clint, for the record, was a knockout in his prime, so it only makes sense he produces wildly attractive offspring.

I kind of think the whole video was a fantasy come to life after Tay-Tay finished watching The Longest Ride. Have you see that movie? Add it to the Nicholas Sparks list! After you watch it, you will see what I am talking about. I know it is based on the movie, Out of Africa, but I can just picture her being like, "I want to make out with that sexy beast of a man. And since he doesn't date crazies like me, I will swoon him for the sake of 'my music' with my cat lady powers of seduction in the wild sahara! With lions! And billowing tents! Mwah-hahaaa!" (Well played, Swift. Well. Played.)

I feel like she is kind of going for a Lana Del Rey sound and vibe, but less dark (obviously, she's Taylor Swift). Yeah? No? Just me? I do have to admit it's catchy and I've watched it six times now, so I guess I'm drinking the Swiftie Kool-Aid. Watch it for yourself and return and report!

Image sources 1 | 2

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5 Music Documentaries To Watch On Netflix This Weekend

5 Music Documentaries To Watch On Netflix

1. Austin to BostonThis one is for the indie folk lovin' people. It follows Ben Howard, The Staves, Nathaniel Rateliffe, and Bear's Den on tour throughout the US. They road trip in their old vans and live simply, doing what they love. It will make you want to pull out your Polaroid camera, compile a campy road trip playlist and drive with no destination in mind while belting out your favorite songs at the top of your lungs. (Kind of bad timing with it being back to school, but that's what weekends are for!)

5 Music Documentaries To Watch On Netflix

2. Muscle Shoals. This documentary has five stars on Netflix. I don't think I've ever seen that before, so you know it's good before even watching it. And it is. Muscle Shoals is magical little town in Alabama where a lot of the world's best music was recorded. As my dear, sweet Bono puts it in his fabulous Irish accent in the beginning, "You're gonna hear some of the greatest voices there ever were." Get ready for a killer soundtrack full of soul.

5 Music Documentaries To Watch On Netflix

3. Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin'. I haven't watched this one yet, but I've never been disappointed by anything about ole' Marbles. Apparently he received that nickname while working in Nashville because he constantly had his guitar with him and even slept with it, and people thought he was straight up nuts. Who cares? He was on a totally different level in all his musical prodigiousness.

5 Music Documentaries To Watch On Netflix

4. Beware of Mr. BakerThis one is highly irreverent, so the title aptly fits. Ginger Baker is the living definition of CRAZY EYES, and I am shocked he is still alive! Actually, no, I am not, because people as nuts as Ginger Baker always live to be, like, 104. P.S. "Sunshine of Your Love" by Cream is one of the best songs in the world. P.P.S. Where can I get a faux fur coat and boots like that? I'll take the whole look, Mr. Ginger.

5 Music Documentaries To Watch On Netflix

5. Greenwich Village: Music That Defined A Generation. I just realized most of these documentaries are about music in the 60s. What is it with my affinity for the 60s? This documentary made me think about the memoir Just Kids, and brought that era and lifestyle out of my imagination into visibility—made me feel as though I were really there! The music had me swaying and grooving around the room with my hands held in peace signs above my head, eyes closed. And then I went and bought striped bell bottom trousers, and had a close call with the scissors and self-cut bangs.

Image source 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5



How To Make Engineer Print Portraits For Your Wall

How To Make Engineer Print Portraits For Your Wall

I posted this picture of the boys playing in our living room on Instagram a few days ago, and I had smattering of questions about our engineer print portraits. I aim to please, so here is a little tutorial on how I did them!

More than likely you have seen them floating around Pinterest, and the genius who started it was Julia Marcum of Chris Loves Julia. I am merely a copying, literally and figuratively, with these prints, and I am glad I did!

The ceilings in our living room are enormously tall, meaning there was this giant blank wall staring at me every day. I needed something that was clean, crisp, yet impactful to go on there. I toyed with the idea of a gallery wall, but since I don't have a Smithsonian supply of art or pictures, it was a deal breaker.

One day I was scrolling through my home inspiration board looking for a very specific steel framed window, when, what to my wondering eye should appear! The engineer prints! Bing! It was a done deal.

Here's a list for my process of making them and putting it all together, because I am a list-maker and that's just how my brain works.

How To Make Engineer Print Portraits For Your Wall

Step 1: I started with buying the frames, which are the 27½ x 39¼ RIBBA frames from IKEA in medium brown. At $24.99 you cannot get a more sturdy and nice looking frame for that price. I promise, promise. We decided to go with three since my sister is a pulpit pounder about The Rule of Three. Good thing I obediently followed her command. We centered them and spaced them seven inches apart—I was also schooled about hanging objects—always space in odd numbers, she said! Yes, ma'am! I took the mat out because I wanted the drama of negative space and a laser sharp focus on the subject.

Step 2: Three months later after hanging the picture frames, I finally got my act together and took THE portraits to hang in the frames. I dressed Luke and Wes in neutral matching tank tops, and had them sit against a blank wall. The key to getting a good shot is the lighting. I shot in natural light next to a north-facing window around 3:30pm. That's when the light hits the sweet spot in that room and it worked like magic. I made sure to leave plenty of negative space on the top half of the portraits, so I would only have to make small cropping edits and have a better image to print.

How To Make Engineer Print Portraits For Your Wall

Step 3: Editing! I have a very intense passion for editing photos. Whether it is in Photoshop or on my iPhone, I love it all. Need someone to edit your Instagram photos? I will be your editing assistant! ;) Anyway, I edited the portraits of Luke and Wes in Photoshop. First and foremost, I cleaned up the lingering dirt smudges on their faces, because boys. Then, I used Pioneer Woman's B&W action. I did, however, delete the ugly edge burn. Next, I used A Beautiful Mess actions to enhance and sharpen. My favorite action is Stella, which does a mix of brightening and sharpening. After adjusting that action, I went back to the light on the B&W action until it was closer to a pure black and white, and vibrant.

Step 4: Resizing! I wanted the photo to be as clear as possible, so I made sure my resolution was 300 dpi. Next, I selected inches and sized it to my exact measurements of 27.5 x 39.25 inches. I saved it as a PNG image file (I always feel like they give my photos a better finish versus a JPG) to my flash drive and was on my merry way to Staples!

Step 5: The folks at Staples were friendly and helpful as always. Initially, they said the file wasn't showing up in the correct dimensions, but that it wasn't an issue and they would have them ready and cut down to the exact size. After twenty minutes of roaming the back to school supplies and waxing nostalgic about my Lisa Frank folders from third grade, I heard my name being called. They showed me the finished product and I was incredibly impressed with my skills. I felt like a professional! Such exhilaration! Upon calming down about my finest works of art (my children) I finally got to the register. Because I live in California and everything here is about double from any other state, my prints were $5 each to my surprise, instead of the $3 cost you will hear about engineer prints anywhere else. Meh. The $2 difference did not matter. The outcome is WORTH. IT.

Step 6: I raced home and hung these bad boys immediately. The one downer was the stupid little groove thingamabobs jacking up my thumbnail. So, yes, word of advice: use a knife or something other than your fingernails to pry them up! There are like, 25, on each frame. Multiply that by three and that's one sore thumbnail by the end.

How To Make Engineer Print Portraits For Your Wall

Ta-daaaaaa!!! I think the wall looks beautiful. (And yes, our couch is ripped and peeling. 🙈 Don't look too closely! We are in the market for a new, sturdy couch that can withstand boys. Holla if you have any good suggestions.) For under $100, it's nothing short of a miracle.

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Do You Like Taking Personality Quizzes?

It all began in 7th grade. I would come home from school, drop my backpack in the nook between the wall and entry table, and run through the neighborhood and across the street to my friend's house. Instead of doing homework, we would bury our faces in the latest YM or Teen People and religiously take the personality quizzes. 

My favorites, without fail, were the "Is He Crushing On You?" junk and anything and everything to do with horoscopes—the best was the special insert of the Love Horoscope Booklet: Your Love Life for the Next Year Revealed! I was convinced my life's destiny would be unveiled through those neon, glossy pages. I religiously read that pamphlet every day. I kept it stowed away with my top secret diary (lock included) and one of those glitter pencils with the fuzzy feathery toppers that hurt your hand after writing with it for three minutes, leaving a gooey film once they were sharpened down. Remember those?

Not much has changed in the department of me taking WAAAAYYYY too much stock in the tests I take on the internet, and what they can tell me about my personality. I would like to think the quality of tests I take border on the more scholarly, research-guided side of things. However, I still find it tremendously important to know which Hogwarts House I belong in, or if I am Divergent. Balance in all things, people!

(I just lost my train of thought. There is a giant green moth drunkenly flapping around somewhere in our office. Seriously. It is the size of a small bird. It's hiding behind the computer desk, and I am now typing as far away as possible so it doesn't fly into my face!! Send help! Call animal patrol!)

Okay, let's try to get back on track here. 

Personality quizzes!

The best ones I have taken recently are "The Four Tendencies" and "The Big Five" personality traits. It blew my mind! You see, I am the person who—

(The bug jumped out! It climbed up the wall and then I spent a solid five minutes summoning the courage to pounce on him with a glass. I'm gonna take a wild guess and say I would not be Divergent. Or Slytherin... snakes. Ew. Yet, somehow spiders don't scare me. Where's the phobia quiz at?) 

So back to the personality tests. I am the person who wants my therapist to tell me what is wrong with me and what I should do. But I hate being told what to do. You see my conundrum? I am also the person who will take a test and then demand all of my close loved ones take it too so we can compare notes and talk about our feelings for 12 hours straight. Guess who I preyed on first? Of course it was Matt!

"Sweetie, it will be a wonderful way to strengthen our marriage! We can learn new things about each other, which will make us fall even more madly in love!"

It worked. Although, I had to grab him by the collar a couple of times and demand answers as I read the questions out loud and filled them in for him on our drive home from a date. (I'm always this much fun, I promise.)

I discovered "The Four Tendencies" quiz from a Gretchen Rubin podcast, and the "Big Five" from a book review on Snoop. It was actually very informative and helped Matt and I put gather a better, more concrete understanding of the way we individually think, and how that translates in our actions with one another. 

Have you ever taken these personality tests before? You should do it for a date night with your significant other, or just on your own for some introspection and self-growth! Or paranoid over-analyzing. To-may-toe, to-mah-toe.

Here is a list of my favorites! See you in six hours! ;)

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What Has Everybody Been Up To?

Sooooo... what is up? What's the 411? What has everybody been up to? What's the hot gossip? Tell me everything. What have you guys been listening to? What are the cool jams?

(God bless Mrs. George.)

HEELLLLLOOOOO, friends! I was kind of planning on never blogging again, but then I had a moment today where I really missed writing on here, so I guess that means my hiatus is over. Kind of. That, and everyone is going back to school this week. Even though summer isn't technically over until September 22, but whatever.

I guess I will address Mrs. George's list of questions, because it is actually a really good one.

Ready? Okay, me too. Here it goes...

What is up?

I just woke up from a nap, so that's always good news. Matt just made homemade brownies, so that's exceptionally terrific news. We also planted a small vegetable garden! My little plantlings are my other children now. Really though—those things are needy! But I thoroughly love and enjoy the world of gardening. Add it to my resume!

What's the 411?

I have this really sexy illness called sinobronchitis right now. There is also a friendly ear infection to go along with it. How's that for a fine howdy doody? Luckily, it will be saying adios soon, now that I possess an artillery of antibiotics, heavy-duty cough syrup, and an inhaler. I'm one humidifier and food allergy away from becoming Walter in Sleepless in Seattle. Where's the Kleenex?!

What has everybody been up to?

We've just been hanging out enjoying our summer, alternating our time between the pool and the beach. I've been working on getting The Butter Half on her feet. Are you following it? Is your sister, your mother, your brother following it? You all should be. It's my fantastically punny food blog and Instagram, and I have to admit, my pun game is getting stronger by the week.

We spent a few weeks in Utah at my parents' house, in Idaho at my sister's farm, then we journeyed to Arizona to visit my other sister and her family for my nephew's baptism. We are headed to Chicago in a few weeks to see Matt's parents! Good thing we live so far away from everyone—it gives us an excuse to travel around the US.

I am especially excited to go to Chicago. I love the Midwest. Mostly from what I see on all of those "hip and dreamy" Instagram accounts. ;) I am 37% serious. I have learned that when I see a home with sturdy bones and open windows, blanketed in neutrals with wooden accessories and baskets everywhere, accompanied by a sprawling, lush, green backyard, they almost certainly live in the Midwest. My intuition hasn't failed me yet. It's usually the trees and the tire swing that give it away.

I am one of those creeps who has no shame in looking to see how people decorate their homes when their windows are open and all the lights are on at night. Clearly, I love a good home inspo Insta. Does that make me slightly voyeuristic or simply human?

What's the hot gossip?

I read somewhere that the reason people love reality TV so much is because they lack a certain amount of drama in their lives. Thus the need to fill that ghastly void with junk à la the Duggars. (I'm looking at you, Josh.)

Have you been watching Bachelor in Paradise? That's where I draw the line, but I respect your decisions to watch it if you do.

What I really came here to say was have you heard about The Notebook TV series?! The CW has it in the works. At first I was appalled and stubbornly adhering to my purist principles. How can you touch the Holy Grail of romantic movies?! Ryan and Rachel FOREVER! But it's my kryptonite, those sappy, crappy shows. ESPECIALLY if it's on The CW. (I'm looking at you, Gossip Girl.) Apparently I will forever remain in the mental capacity of a fangirling teenager if we are analyzing my references to movies and TV shows. Although, I still don't understand how Tumblr and Snapchat work, so I guess there is hope for me after all.

What have you guys been listening to?

Classical music. It's the only thing that holds the miraculous capacity to take everyone from psychotic screaming to sleeping soundly in their carseats. In under five minutes. You should try it sometime!

I am also on this music documentary kick on Netflix right now, so my playlists are a mishmash of the music from those. A little Jimi, a dash of Mick, a lot of Aretha, and a newly-found love for The Staves, no matter how old news or cringeworthy the hipster affiliation is with that one. Stay tuned for the Netflix round up this Friday!

What are the cool jams?

Race to Erase by Son Lux. Have you watched The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby? OH. MY. BEATING. HEART. That movie chewed my heart up and spit it right back out, in the best way possible. Too many emotions to express. Just watch it. And that song! The tingles in my chest were uncontrollable and my eyes welled up with tears the first time I listened to it. That's the best kind of music. For the record, Son Lux hits it out of the park.

In conclusion, it is painfully obvious my life's passions, aside from my children, husband and random hobbies I latch onto every six weeks, are movies and television. I feel as though I have never wanted the term "couch potato" to be attached to my reputation, but I am trying this thing where I embrace all of my idiosyncrasies and proudly admit them. Wait, am I finally growing up? I can taste the irony here. And I kinda, really like it.