Tag Archives: talent

Guilty Pleasure: Dancing With The Stars Edition

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Guilty Pleasure: Dancing With The Stars Edition

Hi! I have plenty of guilty pleasure TV shows that I am always eager to put on when I have the apartment to myself on Wednesday evenings. Johnny has band practice so when I get home from work I plop myself in front of the TV and binge to my heart’s content. We’re talking America’s Next Top Model, My 600 Lb. Life, Dr. Pimple Popper, and most recently: Dancing With The Stars.

I used to be a HUGE DWTS fan back in the day and would tune in season after season with my parents. This bonding time was officially dubbed “Middle Aged Monday” and I lived for it. Despite such fond memories of watching the show, I became uninterested after a while. I was so sick of all of the crappy reality stars and D list celebrities that the show just fell by the wayside.

However, when I learned that one of my favorite figure skaters, Johnny Weir, is competing this season, I snapped back like a rubber band and turned my free Wednesday evening into DWTS time. Because I haven’t been watching in forever and also COVID, I didn’t realize how much the show has changed.

Not only is Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews not hosting but Len Goodman is also not a judge, replaced by Derek Hough. Len will be popping in from time to time this season via video chat as it is not safe for him to travel from England at the moment. This switch is fine because I adore the Hough siblings. But if Tom and Erin aren’t hosting, then who is? Tyra Banks, of course.

Now, normally, when I hear “Tyra Banks”, I am stoked. I love her often times more than I love myself and I was ready to see her in action. Unfortunately, she was so GOTDAMN annoying I was almost ready to fast forward her talking. All she did was speak about herself, try to relate dancing to modeling, and give meaningless commentary. By the end of the episode, I had a Tom and Erin sized hole in my heart and felt completely unimpressed by this swap.

Despite not being a huge fan of the new hostess, I forgot how much fun DWTS is. The costumes, the fantastic music, excellent judges, uber talented pros, and (occasionally) enticing celebrities makes for TV heaven for me. I so enjoyed seeing stars like Johnny Weir, Nelly, AJ McLean, Skai Jackson, and Nev Schulman take the floor and all it made me want to do was take up ballroom dancing myself.

Dancing With The Stars is a perfect show for me to put on after work because I can still get chores done and make my dinner during celebrities I don’t care about. I’m already ready for them to “trim the fat” by eliminating the people who don’t have a change in hell of winning. But, for now, I am okay with sitting back and watching the spectacle. 🙂

Do you watch Dancing With The Stars? Who do you think is going to win this season? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

April 2020 Funky Time Jams

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April 2020 Funky Time Jams

Hello! We are officially one week through April and what feels like one thousand years in self-isolation. So, music has definitely been a big part of helping to make the time go faster. There’s something about playing a familiar song while tucking into a good book that is so comforting – especially when it’s so easy to feel unnerved even in your own home. This is the music that has been keeping me company as yet another day in quarantine passes by:

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to these songs or videos!

A random compilation, I know – but this has been such a random feeling time. Everything just seems so up in the air and I never know what mood I’m in. Sometimes all I want to hear is top forty hits all day. Other times, I want nothing more than to time travel back to the 50s and 60s as I eagerly await for the completion of another day.

While Ohio is under a stay at home order, I have been clinging to a schedule and normalcy. This means following along with my music listening times daily like when I’m in the shower or writing in the morning. It’s nice to hear something that puts me more at ease when I’m trying to relax or upbeat tracks when I need to get ready for work.

Familiar things are my friends right now and the songs above have all been there at some point during this whole ordeal. Whether that be to save me from boredom or to hype me up, there’s nothing better than some Old Faithfuls!

What have been your favorite songs lately? What do you play to fight the lock down blues? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

March 2020 Funky Time Jams

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March 2020 Funky Time Jams

Howdy! One of my clients at work absolutely loves oldies style music. This has definitely opened a whole new genre to me and I am actually pretty obsessed. I find myself humming the catchy, poppy tunes constantly and feel like I always have an earworm in my head of songs from the 1950s. Before, I was a-okay with just hearing this music for fifteen hours of my work week but I’ll be goddamned if I say that I’m not listening to it all the time now! Especially some of the following:

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to these songs or videos!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love music of all kinds. I dabble in all genres and I always enjoy hearing things that I haven’t heard before. But, after being exposed to this golden era of music, I can honestly understand why people say “they don’t make music like this anymore” because it’s one hundred and fifty percent true.

I just love the talent behind all of these short and sweet songs. The big band instrumentals, the amazing vocals, and the way I want to get up and dance to each song is something that I don’t hear or feel on the radio today. Hearing modern remakes of all of these classics would be cool but nothing will ever beat the real thing.

I feel like I’m traveling back in time when I listen to the oldies and from now on you can find me posted up at The Hop! 😀

What are some of your favorite oldies? What genres of music have you been exploring? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Essentials For Your Home Recording Studio

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Essentials For Your Home Recording Studio

Music has been a big part of cultures around the world for centuries, but it seems like independent and aspiring music producers have become more prevalent in recent decades. Thanks to innovations in technology and music-making equipment, at-home production is more accessible than ever before.

Even if you don’t have room for a full studio in your home, there are some fantastic instruments and music-making tools out there that don’t take up a lot of space. One of these is the Alesis v25, which is a 25-key MIDI keyboard with drum pads. Despite not being as popular as other 25-key MIDI keyboards out there, Alesis v25 reviews make it sound like an excellent choice for producing music and beats at home. It’s also one of the most affordable at $179 retail.

Top Keyboard for Recording Music at Home:

The Alesis V25 is a very intuitive and powerful MIDI keyboard for at-home music production. It has 25 keys, eight drum pads, and four rotary knobs to expand the melodic range and chords you can produce with the keyboard. You can even play bass lines.

  • Full-sized, semi-weighted keys prevent cramping in hands and fingers
  • Velocity-sensitive drum pads for adding beat patterns
  • Responsive rotary knobs to fine tune effects
  • Plug-and-play technology for a simple USB connection and digital audio workstation (DAW) detection
  • Compact, portable, and lightweight (5.4 pounds)

Once you have the ideal keyboard for making music, it’s time to stock up on some other home recording equipment to mix, edit, and refine your work.

Essential Audio Recording Equipment:

Your home recording studio or station should include some critical pieces of equipment, but you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg for it. The list of essentials is quite short and you can find proper quality equipment for affordable prices both online and in stores like Best Buy and even Walmart. The leading necessary audio recording equipment you should have includes:

Microphone:

Home music production cannot be achieved successfully without a microphone and long-lasting mic cables. For home recording, cardioid microphones are best because they help reject any sound coming from behind you. While you can easily spend over $1,000 on a quality condenser microphone and stand, there are several excellent options for $300 or less.

Mic Stand:

Be sure to get a quality mic stand as well! You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a high-quality microphone, only to knock it over and ruin it. There are excellent mic stand options for any budget, and you can probably spend less than $50.

Headphones:

Your smartphone earbuds won’t do for home recording, so be sure to invest in a good pair of over-the-ear headphones for mixing and monitoring when you’re recording. Before you buy, compare the specs based on your needs. Look into the headphones’ drivers, impedance, and sensitivity.

Audio Interface:

A USB audio interface is necessary to connect your headphones, microphone, and speakers to your computer for editing and mixing sounds. You can probably find what you need for less than $200, depending on the kind of system and types of features you require.

Pop Filter or Shield:

An inexpensive and essential piece of equipment for any home recording studio is a pop filter or pop shield, especially if you’re recording vocals. Pop filters not only protect your mic from vocalists’ spit, but they also block “plosives” and maintain the quality of your vocals. You can probably find a quality pop shield on Amazon for less than $30.

Speakers:

Decent studio speakers or monitors are a must for any home recording studio. Without them, you may find that your work sounds very different (and less-than-desired) when played outside of your studio headphones. There are countless different speakers to choose from, but a few things to consider are amplification, placement in your studio, size, listening distance, and connection to your audio editing equipment. For a direct link to your computer or audio interface, a USB connection will do, but for interfaces with balanced outputs, you’ll want a balanced XLR or jack input.

Acoustic Room Treatments:

When recording from a room or space in your home, you’ll need to think about more than just any sounds from the outside. The reverb of sounds within the recording area can affect the audio as well, so you will need to install acoustic panels and diffusers on the walls to create an accurate acoustic environment and make your sound better. You can make your own panels for a fraction of the cost of acoustic treatments, which can get pretty pricey.

Use the tips above, start recording your tunes, and maybe you’ll catch your big break!

Featured Image By: Reinhold Schlager from Pixabay.

Three Ways For New Musicians To Get More Exposure

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Three Ways For New Musicians To Get More Exposure

When you tell people that you want to be a professional musician, a lot of them will probably say that it’s never going to happen. The music industry is so competitive and only a tiny fraction of people that dream of being musicians actually make it, but why shouldn’t you be one of them? You could be, as long as you’re willing to put the work in.

There are a lot of different things that you need to do if you want to break into the music industry but one of the first, and most important steps, is exposure. If you’re going to make it, you need people to hear your music (and love it) so you can start building a bit of a following, that’s how you’re going to get yourself noticed by a record label. Getting that exposure is tough, especially when you’re up against a lot of competition, but there are ways to do it. These are the best ways for new musicians to get exposure for their music:

Focus On Gigging:

There are now more ways than ever to get your music out there and we’ll come onto those later, but for now, you need to focus on the old fashioned way; get out there and play for people. When you’re first starting out and you’ve got a few songs, you need to start playing as many gigs as possible. You’ll get people to hear your music and hopefully, start to build a bit of a fan base in the local area. You’re not likely to get booked for gigs if nobody has heard of you so open mic nights are the best place to start. They’re always running so do a quick search for open mic near me and start playing. You’ll get to play one or two songs and hopefully, if people like you, then you might be able to start booking more regular gigs.

The next step, is to get some support slots playing with more popular local bands. This is a great way to get your music heard by fans of your genre and if you play well, they’ll become fans of yours too.

Soundcloud:

Soundcloud is one of the best places to put your recordings so people can discover them. It’s also important that you have music online so if people come to your gigs and like you, they can download some of your songs to listen to and share with their friends. There’s a lot of stuff on Soundcloud so you need to do things to make yourself stand out. Obviously writing good songs is the most important thing but you should also ensure that you have good production values, as well.

Social Media:

Social media is the best way to promote pretty much anything these days and music is no exception. Start a dedicated musician page where you can post links to all of your new tracks when they go up on Soundcloud. You can also promote any gigs that you’re doing so you can get a bigger crowd to the venue.

These are the three best ways to promote your music when you’re first starting out and they should help you to build a following in your local area!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

The Digital Era’s Effect On Our Insecurities

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The Digital Era’s Effect On Our Insecurities

It’s hard to exist in a world with access to social media ‘round the clock. Instead of seeing real people, you see idealized versions of beauty and celebrities with unattainable airbrushed looks. Try as we might, natural beauty is not natural enough when they need to be on the cover of magazines. In this digital era, it seems like everyone’s insecurities are magnified. If all of the constant focus on beauty is making you feel insecure, here are some tips that you can do to start loving yourself a little more:

Hair Care:

Your hair is your crowning glory, they say. It makes sense that people want to care for their locks because of how much it affects their appearance. However, no matter how shiny you think your hair already is, when you see hair product advertisements, suddenly your hair is not smooth enough, colored evenly enough, or straightened sufficiently. Ads and commercials get some editing help, of course, but the message is already evident. You need to change your hair products, perhaps consider switching to herbal hair care, and love your curls rather than killing them with heat from styling every day. All of these changes you’re considering will be helpful because they are overall good for your hair and will show positive results over time.

Body Image:

Hair is just one part of the body, and it can already give you so much insecurity. What more if you don’t have the “perfect” body? Lots of people have uncertainties stemming from a negative body image, and this is brought on by the lack of love for different body types in the beauty industry. Even now that there is room for plus size models, we still see them conforming to the hour-glass shape that the industry has deemed ideal. Thankfully, some big names in the industry are choosing to release their unedited photos to show their fans that, though it might look like it in magazines, they do not have a perfect body. Everyone’s body is different and beautiful, and the more that this is normalized, the better for body positivity movements.

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Talent:

When you look at celebrities, they always seem to be oozing with talent. They have a good singing voice and can dance, too. They also look good in everything they do. Some are good enough to be chefs and others can speak several languages. When you compare your skills with them, you think you fall short. The thing is, you should not be comparing yourself with another person, be they a celebrity or not. Each person has different skills, and instead of telling yourself you’re not good enough, you should focus on self-improvement. Celebrities train rigorously to learn what they need for their craft; you should also try to improve your skills and not knock yourself if others do it better. They all started as beginners, too.

The digital age has given us some of the most advanced features and gadgets we could have asked for. However, it also highlights some of our biggest insecurities. It’s up to you to take that power away from them by loving yourself!

Chardon Polka Band

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Chardon Polka Band

Hiii everyone! This past Thursday, my client and I were truly living our best lives because we got to see the Chardon Polka Band perform at one of our local libraries. I try to take this client out to concerts and anything music related whenever I can because that’s his favorite and he plays the piano so beautifully. We have seen the CPB play twice before and they are so much fun that we had to see them again.

Now, I know what you’re thinking “a polka concert sounds like a nightmare”. And, initially, I thought so too. But, they are the most endearing, talented group of people that I’ve ever met and it’s impossible to not love them. They are so kind to everyone in their audience from little kids, the elderly, and people with special needs and that type of selfless attitude makes me a fan of them no matter what style of music they play.

I had no idea that the Chardon Polka Band was kind of a big deal in Ohio until now, but these guys go around all over the country playing polka everywhere from funerals, and christenings, to elementary schools, and senior centers. And, of course, any beer related festival that you can think of! I never thought I’d find myself as a polka fan until seeing these whacky guys perform and it’s so nice to consider them as my friends now, too!

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to these songs or videos.

Both my client and myself purchased a CPB T-shirt that we wear with pride and we are so excited to see our friends with an unexpected cult following perform again soon!

Who are the local celebrities in your neck of the woods? What are your thoughts on polka music? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Docplayer

January 2019 Funky Time Jams

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January 2019 Funky Time Jams

Hello everyone and welcome to the first Funky Time Jams post of 2019. One of the music related things that I’ve enjoyed the most for the past year is going to a vinyl record club at one of my local libraries. We play a record chosen by one of our members each meeting, talk music, and soak up each other’s company. Then, we often hit up a nearby bar after for the festivities to continue. It’s so much fun and I adore all of the new friends that I’ve made through the program. Seen below are some of the bands that I’ve had on repeat for the month and, who knows, maybe one of their albums will be featured at an upcoming record club!

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to these songs or videos!

This past month at record club, we had two very opposite artists featured during our biweekly meetings. I brought in AFI’s decemberunderground, as it was the band’s most commercially popular album and another member brought in a best of compilation of Aretha Franklin. And, that is the beauty of our little merry band of wanderers, because we get to hear such vastly different talent every time we have a get together. It’s fun to bring in an album that you enjoy so much and want to share with everyone and I was happy that decemberunderground was well received by my friends. I can’t wait to figure out an album for my next turn providing the entertainment for the evening!

What album would you bring in to a vinyl record club? Which songs have you had on repeat this month? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Butterflying Away

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Butterflying Away

Hi everyone and happy Thursday! We are so close to the weekend that I can taste it, but with that sensation can come a case of the blahs, because two sweet days off seems so close yet so far. So I decided to brighten up everyone’s newsfeed today with some pictures that my dad took of a big, beautiful Monarch Butterfly that was fluttering around the garden. And, soon, we will be Butterflying Away to the weekend in no time!

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^^^ Our butterfly friend isn’t in the sunflower picture, I just really like it! 🙂

There are so many different meanings that can come from spotting the gorgeous Monarch Butterfly. From good luck to a friendly hello from your guardian angels or a loved one that has passed on, Monarchs only carry the best vibes. That’s why it was so exciting for this little carrier of good news to be hanging around our garden, besides for the lovely pictures taken by my dad, of course!

I hope these pictures brighten your day and carry you to the weekend with a smile on your face!

What is one of your favorite surprises to find in nature? What is your favorite insect? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

A Summer Bouquet

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A Summer Bouquet

Hey hey everyone and TGIF! I hope that you all have had a fabulous week and are looking forward to a fun weekend ahead. Us Mushenheims are a plant loving people. My mom’s mom and my dad have the greenest thumbs of literally anyone I know, and they can make something grow out of nothing. It really is amazing.

Because of my dad’s talent, our front and back yards are simply overflowing with beauty. From flowers and greenery to herbs and veggies, we have a little bit of everything and can appreciate it from any window that we look out of in our home. Our supply of flowers grown by my dad never seems to run low, and almost every week he will arrange a lovely summer bouquet for the kitchen table – like the one below:

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For as long as I can remember, my dad has always been a master flower arranger, whether it be with bouquets from the garden or store. He seems to know exactly which bloom should be placed where and every arrangement turns into a work of art. The wild flower bouquet seen above is a particularly inspired one and it’s so lovely that I just had to share it with all of you!

What is your favorite flower? Who else has a green thumb? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah