Friday, April 29, 2011

Wedding Dress Masterpieces

In tribute of today's Royal Wedding celebrations of Prince William and his bride Kate.  I determine it would be fitting to feature a few breath taking wedding gowns via the talented designers and seamstresses from Etsy.

Marlowe dress from Etsy Shop Leanimal
First up is this little beauty from the shop(Leaanimal) of former Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall. This dress has it all for the bride looking to bare a little leg it's romantic, fun, soft, and flirty. Simply put this designer original wedding/party dress is simply stunning! Oh and the dress has a little secret it has pockets! How cute is that?

Photograph By Natalie Watson
On the Etsy shop so properly named "Yourfairytalewedding" you will find an array of designer inspired, vintage, and custom creations by seamstress Angela. I particularly love the one pictured above this full length, exquisite vintage inspired variation  is a heavenly vision of  soft, elegant lace.

Photography By Elizabeth Messina    Hairpiece By Twigs&Honey

Naturally enchanting is this simple yet delicately detailed dress from the shop of "hollystalder". Holly Stalder's designs have a vintage heritage in laced with her modern day designs making her work elegant and classic without overdoing it! All of her designs are rich piece of wedding day art at least that is my conclusion after looking though her shop on Etsy.

Photograph by Galaxie Andrews

Are you daring enough to step out of the box of tradition and into this whimsical blushing pink gown from the shop of "Ouma". This charming gown is hand dyed to pink perfection by designer Monique. If your not really sure pink is your color the good news is the dress can be customized in color, size, and length to fit your hearts desire, and complete your own fairytale wedding day dreams.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Meet The Easton Brothers{Merlin's Kin}

I have recently had the great privilege of reading the first drafts of two books written by aspiring author M.G. Stover. M. Stover has been a friend of mine for as long as I can remember, and a loyal, trustworthy friend at that. So, to see him complete not only one, but two really great works of fiction (with a third installment in the works) has been truly exhilarating. I feel genuinely honored that he has allowed me to be part of the selected few to read the books in their early stages. Might I say, after reading them, I have only gained more proof of M. Stover's creative ability to make stories come to life. He has made me love characters, dislike characters, feel sorry for them and relate to them. He has even made me start out disliking them and somehow twisted that dislike into loving them without really changing the personality of the character. It’s a very unique ability that you will find only great authors possess. He has formed unlikely heroes out of the bonds of friendship and brotherhood. He has taken me on a journey filled with magic, wonder, love, struggles and the desire to live, all without overwhelming the reader.

The collection of books titled “Merlin's Kin Series” is a journey where you will meet the Easton brothers. A couple of brothers not unlike many others who fight, stick their nose in one another’s business, look out for each other and simply drive each other insane, just for a giggle. However, Jon & Renny Easton, upon further examination, aren’t your typical brothers. They are descendants of the legendary wizard Merlin, and while this leaves the eldest brother with great and powerful magical abilities, it leaves the youngest brother cursed with a transformation that is the responsibility of the older brother to eliminate. This genetic curse has burdened the Easton family tree for generations and Jon and Renny are no exception to the curse of Merlin’s kin.

That my friends is the back drop for these creatively and well written books. I have enjoyed every page and every character, and my hope is that someday very soon you will be able to pick up your own copies from the shelves of your favorite bookstore, and allow the story of Merlin’s Kin to come to life in your imagination!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Portrait Contest

I normally don't do this kind thing, but I just couldn't stop myself from entering two of my amateur photographs on this adorable little blog called "Life Is Too Short Not To Wear Red Shoes". I think the name of the blog is what won me over to be honest(because I do love red shoes!). So here are my two photographs for my impulse entree in a photo contest!

If your interested in entering or just checking out her blog and the amazing entrees just click the button above. I know one thing I would sure hate to be on the judgeing end off all these AMAZING photographs.


Balloon Baby (Taken with 35mm)

My Curly Headed Munchkin (digital)

No Lunch Box Allowed???

"Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on" and illustrated by Mark A. Hicks

I recently read this article about a school in Chicago that is banning students from bringing their own lunches to school. You heard right, they are banning the lunch box. This new policy has parents, teachers, school officials, and the general public voicing their opinions on the matter. While health and the rising number of children whom are overweight in America is supposedly the heart of the matter, many are questioning if funding has anything to do with the unusual choice the school has made. However, the debate is: Regardless of the motives behind the decision, Are school lunches and restricting children's calorie count intake by forcing school lunches the correct move?

As a mother of two boys, one picky eater who takes his lunch to school every day and one who prefers the hot lunches offered at school, I find my own opinion leaning towards disagreeing with the new policy. I do agree that there is nothing wrong with making an effort to make our children healthier eaters. To be honest, I could use a few lessons of my own in healthy eating. However I don’t think putting a calorie number on school lunches (since every person’s calorie needs are different) or banning the option of bringing a lunchbox is the answer. Not that I am expert on the matter or that I have all the answers, but I certainly do have an opinion. Maybe the discussions should include offering classes teaching parents to cook in a more healthy manner, as well as pack healthier lunches for their children, ban sodas and candy bars, put a lot more support and funding behind our health classes and the educators who teach them.

All in all, I there is a better solution than limiting the involvement of parents in their children’s lives even in things as small as banning the lunch box from schools. I simply think big pictures wise it is a mistake. However like I stated earlier this is just the two cents of a simple stay at home mother of three little boys. I am by no means an expert!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Summer School Tips(Guest Writer)

Today's guest writer is Melissa Kowalewski an attorney in New Hampshire, and mother to a couple of beautiful children. Melissa is also the publisher of the Mommy Madness blog, and  today she was kind enough to share a few tips on the subject of summer school. Thanks Melissa for taking the time to write for  "Inside My Head".

Summer school is, perhaps, the most dreaded two words in any child's vocabulary, especially when combined. And for some parents, it may be the same, but for different reasons. Your child may be bummed that they have to spend a portion of, if not their entire, summer taking classes. And you may be concerned because you don't want them to get behind. The goal of this article is to give you ideas, places to start, in dealing with the situation in which your child is in summer school.

Please keep in mind that these tips are just general places to start. As with anything that relates to your child, you must tailor these suggestions to your own child, their personalities and their needs.

1. Good health – physical and mental. Make sure that your child is physically and mentally prepared to attend school that summer.

2. Review all the information – many times, summer school will send home a packet of information, including schedules and materials. Review it on your own and with your child.

3. Calendar, calendar, calendar. It pays to be organized and being organized yourself will teach your child how to be organized.

4. Make copies – of your schedule, all phone numbers and email addresses and other contact information for yourself and for your emergency contacts. Give copies to the principal, school nurse and anyone else that needs to be able to get a hold of you if something happens to your child at school.

5. Continue with the bedtime and mealtime routines. What is also particularly helpful is to turn off the television – do the flash cards, homework and any other things that will help your child excel. I find that using rewards is good motivation – half an hour of TV or video games once the work is done may work wonders for your child.

6. Find a place to do homework and stick to it, whether it is a quit room, bedroom or kitchen table.

7. Let your child know you care and don't overreact. Children pick up on our emotions very, very easily and respond to them. Breath, reassure them you love them and move on.

8. Do something fun – throw a party for them if they're doing well during the summer or get grades. It is positive reinforcement and might help your child emotionally in dealing with the fact that they have to attend summer school.

And remember that you will get through it!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sunday Drive Recordings

When Cody Smith thinks of Sunday Drive, he thinks about a family tradition spanning over several generations. A tradition that he admits as a child he took for granted. Now Cody is showing his appreciation to that easy-going feeling of being in a car with loved ones with no real agenda at hand by naming his recording studio Sunday Drive Recordings.

Sunday Drive Recordings, located about halfway between Knoxville and Nashville in the Middle Tennessee city of Cookeville. The Studio opened it’s doors for business in February of 2011. The Studio itself is about 2700 square foot with multiple isolation rooms to fit the artist/bands needs. For example A room is 570 square foot with 10 foot ceilings large enough to accommodate full bands looking to recording with the effects of sounding live.

The location of this Studio not only is a jewel for musicians and songwriters residing in the Tennessee and Kentucky area, Sunday Drive Recordings offers a rural feel with urban experienced staff. The staff includes Jessie Wooten from Nashville, TN, focusing largely on the harder materials of metal and hard rock. Caleb Barnes from Smithville, TN has experience in the indie world of music as both a studio engineer and a musician with his own band Temperance Hall. Dave Smith from Chicago, Illinois has not only studio experience, but Dave has also worked in the live sound world. Then there is Cody Smith, owner and operator of Sunday Drive, whom you will also find behind and in front of the sound board. All four of these guys have a love for the music as not only engineers, but also as musicians. They understand artist's needs and will use their knowledge, skill, and experience to make your music breathe life and emotion.

Sunday Drive Recording is about old school standards of making great music without the overpriced studio time. You will find a mix of vintage instruments, modern technologies, and an ever growing collection of gear to produce a never understated sound. As Cody says, “Sunday Drive is supposed to be about the free wheeling explorative experience!”

I got the opportunity to go a little further in learning about Sunday Drive Recordings with an interview with owner Cody Smith. We talked about his love for music, the people that support him, and why he chose Cookeville.

Interview with Cody Smith owner of music recording studio Sunday Drive Recordings:

Question: How long have you been interested in making music?
Answer: Though I got a guitar at twelve, I really didn't get the real itch until my junior year of high school. I played a whole lot, and even though I was in bands, I didn't really see the potential for doing it on a professional level. So, I suppose about eight years would be about right.

Question: When did you know music would play a big part in your career?
Answer: The first time I got paid! I'm kidding, but only partially. When I transferred colleges, the band I was playing with was briefly signed to a label. I really banked on that, and when we were dropped, I found
myself scrambling to find another job to make up for the loss. I started doing session work and working as a hired tour musician, and I realized just how much it all meant to me to be making music. So I decided then and there to not do anything else.

Question: Where did you attend school and why did you choose that school?
Answer: I went to Lee University for my undergraduate, because the school had a great focus on biblical study, as well as a phenomenal jazz program. However, I went to SAE Institute a year and half ago, too. I decided to go to SAE because of the really great connections the school had, as well as the great collection of gear they had. Plus, anyone can tell how long they've done studio work on the pro level. Only a few have an accredited school to back them up.

Question: Can you imagine your life without music?
Answer: Not really at all. Showing people what Jesus has done in my life is priority number one, and though I'm not a gifted speaker or anything like that, I can make music speak for me. If I didn't have that, I don't know how well I could get my feelings and thoughts across otherwise.

Question: What songs can you currently not get enough of?
Answer: I found out--a little late--about 16 Horsepower last year while I was living in Nashville, and the album Secret South probably doesn't have a single bad song on it. Plus, it's one of the few unabashedly Christian albums that I really think avoids being contrived in anyway.

Question: Who are some artist/bands that inspire you the most?
Answer: Easily the Beatles, specifically Magical Mystery Tour, mean more to me musically than anything else. Bands and songwriters I fell in love with in high school and college like John Vanderslice, Wilco, Richard Swift, and Elliott Smith still mean the world to me as well. But as
far as writing to say exactly what you mean and still putting it out there in a really appealing way, I will always love Fugazi, mewithoutYou, and Neutral Milk Hotel.

Question: What made you invest in a recording studio in Cookeville TN?
Answer: Truth? It was easier to get a loan than starting it in Chattanooga!But, really, if I think about it more, I know I needed to start here.There's nothing professional outside of Nashville for a couple hundredmiles in this area. I worked myself to death to make good recordings in my garage when I was younger because I knew I couldn't afford Nashville at the time. I think there's a wealth of songwriters and bands who really are worth working with even if they're not in Nashville. So, setting up in a hub like Cookeville lets me help people out from Kentucky and Tennessee without dealing with the problems of being in a bigger city

Question: What are your current goals when it comes to your studio and clients?
Answer: There's a studio in San Francisco called Tiny Telephone that charges aflat rate of $350 a day for what may very well be a million dollarroom. It's one of the very, very few studios that's offering super-high quality service for very low rates. That's all I wanted to acheive here. You get free tape, access to world class instruments hat have been picked just for this, and engineers that have worked--or even still work-- in Nashville, for $300 flat. I just want to provide excellence without a ridiculously inflated over-charge.

Question: What should artists know about working with you?
Answer: That I'm an artist, too. Anything that leaves the studio has to be top-notch, or I can't stomach it. I want people to sound their best. However, that isn't to say I'm a slave-driver. I'm just trying to get the best out of people, but I understand that making records is way harder than it should be sometimes. So in the end, I think I'm someone a songwriter or player can trust.

Question: What makes your studio standout from others?
Answer: In Cookeville, I'm definitely the only person who's going to understand the music, and have experience to make the sounds in the artist's head come through the speakers on playback. But in comparison to say, Nashville for instance, I'm definitely one of the few who still wants to do this for the greater good. I don't say that at all as a dig, though. Making money is good, and Nashville's great at it. But $800 for eight hours in a room with no tape and no engineer is far from helpful to a music business where people are already struggling just to recoup what they invest into playing shows.

Question:Who has been your greatest encouragement while chasing after this dream?
Answer: My mom and dad. My fiancé, Chelsea, was always there and I knew it,but my mom and dad were the ones who were there with me when I signed the loan papers and assured me that this was a good decision that would be blessed.

Question: Tell us a little about the other engineers you have brought into the studio.
Answer: Aside from me, there are three other regular house engineers. Jessie Wooten is from Nashville, and has worked on a whole lot of harder material. That's great because I'm not exactly well versed in the ways
of heavy rock and metal, and I'm willing to admit it! He comes from a super musical family, as his father Joseph plays keys for the Wooten Brothers and Steve Miller Band, and his uncles Reggie, Victor, and Roy "Futureman" Wooten are all over Nashville. Caleb Baines is from Smithville, Tennessee, and is just an all-around nice guy. We met at SAE, and he actually worked on a lot of sessions with Jessie. He also works on a lot of indie recordings, as well as with his own band Temperance Hall. Dave Smith is from Chicago, Illinois, and actually works more in live sound than any of us. However, he's a great, hard-working engineer who legitimately loves every kind of music you could imagine. All three of these guys, while having their strong suits, are just really knowledgeable engineers. They're musicians, so they understand what players need, too.

Question: I noticed that several of the instruments are from a different era(50's, 60's, 70's). Can you tell me about this vintage collection and how important of a role does this collection play in the sound that comes from Sunday Drive's Recordings?
Answer: I figured out pretty quickly that I like to play as many instrumentsas I can pick up, so I'm buying them all the time. I'm also a big gearnerd, so I buy and trade a lot to get classic instruments that wereused on some of my favorite records. I've got 50s and 60s Zildjian cymbals because I love Ringo just as much as I love Led Zepplin, just like I have a 70s Fender Vibro-Champ because I loved when Clapton played with George Harrison at Concert for Bangladesh. I've got Rickenbackers because of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and a '55 Telecaster for Don Rich, who was the guitar player for Buck Owens and the Buckaroos. All these instruments, even though they're things that someone famous liked, are really well made, classic instruments. A normal band probably spends enough money trying to play shows andrecord that they can't afford to buy those kinds of instruments, so when they come here they can play some of the finest instruments they may ever touch. So, by playing here on my instruments, they really remove a weak link in the signal chain to making great sounding records. I guess it adds a vintage sound, too, which doesn't hurt!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Snippet{Happy Easter}

The boys coloring some beautiful one-of-a-kind Easter eggs.
Cooper suffers from three year old mood swings and was devastated that we finished all the eggs, but in true mood swing fashion he was smiling in .4 seconds!
We actually had our Easter Egg Hunt last Sunday since Wesley was having surgery on April 20th, and would be unable to participate this weekend. I love my family so much for arranging an early Easter for him!

Amongst all the fun and Easter celebrations may we all take the time to truly remember why we celebrate this Holiday! "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." Matthew 28:6. Christ love is precisely something worth celebrating! I am humbled, and thankful for his grace, truth, joy, and love that He has shown me. Wishing everyone blessed and Happy Easter this beautiful Sunday!

Couple of My Favorite Easter Quotes:

"The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world. Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice. But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice." ~Henry Knox Sherrill

"Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness." ~Floyd W. Tomkins

"Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there." ~Clarence W. Hall

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Covered With Icing

About a week ago I had a sweet little surprise message in my Facebook inbox. I had won a dozen chocolate covered Oreo cookies for becoming the 600th on the 'Covered With Icing' Facebook page. YUM!!!

Today, I received those cookies via UPS and they couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s been a bit stressful around the Garrett household the past few days with my middle son undergoing a Tonsillectomy, Adenoidectomy, and Myringotomy (tubes in ears). So needless to say, it’s been a bit out of the normal for us. So that little pink box filled with my favorite cookies was just the little pick me up that I need!

Not only was the little pink box cookies my favorite Oreo cookies dipped in chocolate delectable, but they were also notably pretty cookies decorated in a festive Easter/Spring fashion. They were seriously almost too adorable to eat! That is a big ALMOST!!!! Because you all know I had to eat one as soon as I photographed them.

Covered With Icing is a custom cake decorating home based shop owned and run by Heather Noble. Heather has been baking since childhood, and it has now become her passion and dream come true by baking her creations for the public's enjoyment. Covered With Icing is based out of Hendersonville, TN, but also serves the greater Nashville area, Clarksville, and Bowling Green, KY and are a 'by appointment only' establishment. Just in case you are in need of cake for your next special occasion or maybe even want to spoil yourself or someone else with a few chocolate dipped Oreo cookies to bright up a day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hello Again Blogging World

Writing again…after a small, unintended break from the blogging world I am writing again. I must say, it feels good to put pen to paper once again. Yes, I am terribly old fashioned and write everything down in notebooks before it ever reaches cyberworld. Anyways, it’s good to be back and I have many new ideas bouncing around inside my head for this blog and for my newer blog Lyrics & Love. I also have a few guest writers lined up that you aren’t going to want to miss. All in all it’s great to be back, and I hope you stayed tuned to see what comes up next here on Inside My Head!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday Wes Dean

Happy 6th Birthday Wes Dean
No matter how many birthdays come and go, you'll always be my little boy. I love you my sweet little boy. You bring so much life, and love to this family! I love your smile, and the twinkle in your eyes, I love the joy you spread like wild fire, I love your unbroken spirit, and the ability in which love with a whole and open heart. You have taught me so much about life,love, and strength! You are one of the greatest gifts God has intrusted me with! I thank the Heavens daily that I was allowed to be your Mommy!!! Happy Birthday sweet Wesley!!!!