Monday, December 31, 2012

Thank You 2012

{painting by Camilla Engman}

I am so thankful for everything that 2012 brought my way!  2 new albums for Japan (one of which I produced!), writing a theme song for the Japanese drama "Soko wo nantoka", visiting my family in South Korea, singing with the legendary Shin Joong Hyun, a memorable trip to Kaua'i where 1 not-so-small reef shark was spotted 20 feet below me, and now the start of my 3rd full-length album!  And all of these wonderful experiences would not be possible without the love and support from my friends, family, and beautiful fans.  So if you're reading this, thank you so much for helping me keep my music alive, and giving me these wonderful memories that hopefully I can share with you through my music somehow.

This year, like every year, came with ups and plenty of downs.  I have to be so thankful for those "downs" too, because without them, I'd have no challenges to teach me the much needed lessons and reminders of 2012, that *hopefully* I can carry with me into 2013.

Lessons on how to take better care of this planet that I live on and will share with my children.

Trials to test my patience and compassion.

Reminders that I'm not perfect, and sometimes that's ok {insert deep breath here}.

Reminders that people can and do change.

Reminders that even though we live in a sometimes overwhelming world of war, senseless acts of violence, corrupt politics, and everything else that's depressing on the news... there are still people out there who are, one by one, doing their best to make a difference.  

Here I am in the studio being a dork.  I am having SO MUCH FUN making this new album.  Some of these songs are quite intimate, and some are songs you can dance to (but not Pop!).  Although I was super stoked to see my name come up on the iPhone app SongPop!  Ha!  (A game that I officially suck at since it took me almost 2 seconds to recognize my own song!)

Since I'm in the middle of recording, that means no touring right now.  So instead I'm doing a live online show through Stageit, on Jan. 17th.  Tickets are however much you want to give.  A portion of the proceeds will go to My Sandy Hook Family Fund.  (Dress Code: sweatpants and PJ's appropriate)

And last but not least, I would LOVE to hear from YOU!  Please share with me one thing you're thankful for in 2012, and one new year's resolution/goal for 2013.  I'm always inspired by your thoughts and ideas!

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2013 filled with love love love!


{photo by Casey Curry}

 p.s. My new year's resolution/goal is to start journaling every day again.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gift Guide 2012

This year I decided to do a bulk of my holiday shopping online, and I wanted to share some of my favorite new purchases with you, in case you needed unique and pre-tested (by me) gift ideas!  ;)  
Happy Shopping!


Purl Soho's Learn To Knit Kit

I recently bought one of these, and the yarn is SUPER soft!  I've never knit anything in my life... so this kit is sort of perfect.

I'm really not that great at wrapping presents...this downloadable PDF is full of creative and fun ideas that have proved to be quite useful.


Bonjour Johanna's Pink Kiwi Porcelain Plates.

I bought two of these and LOVE them.  Each are painted by hand and quite unique.  I also adore her blog.

Uguisu: Fog Linen Coasters

I recently ordered these coasters, along with a matching Fog Linen placemat and kitchen towel.  They are extremely high quality and beautiful to boot!  Sold by another one of my fave bloggers, Jollygoo.

Her photography is stunning, her recipes are easy to follow, and the end result is as delicious as it looks!  My favorite thing about the book?  It's organized by the 4 seasons of the year!  And it's completely Gluten-Free!


Kathleen Whitaker: Earrings

Need to get something for a special someone?  You can't go wrong with any of KHW's earrings.
A very limited selection available online right now.
Check out where you can find a wider selection in stores.


Hoodie Buddies

Plug your mp3 player into your pocket, put ear buds/ hoodie strings in, and you're set to go!  My favorite are the fleece hoodies.  p.s. They're machine washable.

Vince Gauraldi Trio:  A Charlie Brown Christmas

My all-time favorite album to listen to during the holidays (and sometimes all year round).  :)


Juniper Ridge: Douglas Fir Tip Tea

Made purely from Douglas Fir tree tips from the mountains of Northern California (I know this because my friend is going harvesting with them in the Spring), it smells like you're in the middle of a mountainous forest.  The taste is gentle and clean, with a hint of lemon.

Thymes: Frasier Fir Candle

My favorite holiday candle for the past 3 years.  Most Christmas Tree candles smell too strong and synthetic, which is why I've avoided them for so long.  This candle is an exception to that theory.  It smells just like a real Christmas tree in your house.  

At the end of this long list, I'd also like to remind us that this holiday season is not solely about the giving of physical objects wrapped in shiny paper and multi-colored MT tapes (as pretty as that is!).  With religions aside, it's a season of love, to each other and ourselves.  A time to slow down from another year that flew by and take a much needed break to spend with friends and loved ones, and remember how truly lucky we are to have each other.  (And thank goodness -- that's one gift that doesn't require a paypal login!)

Happy Giving

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Personal December Reminders!

Things I need to remind myself of daily in December:


  • Traffic is going to get a little nutty.  Just expect it.  Be prepared for it's inevitability, and aim to leave 15 minutes earlier than normal so that you're not stressed about time.  (If you live in L.A., add 30+ minutes!!! *sob*)
  • If you find yourself in mind-numbing traffic or long commutes, be sure to have your ipod or favorite cds.  I like listening to my 2 favorite podcasts, "This American Life" and "Radio Lab"

  • They are going to be more congested!  I spent 20 minutes on the roof of a parking structure looking for a space (and it wasn't even December yet!).  When that anxious, claustrophobic feeling starts to come on, try to take long, slow, deep breaths. 
  • If possible, avoid the parking lots altogether!  Find a space on the street and enjoy the extra exercise.  

  • Everyone's trying to mail packages and gifts out to people this month, so lines are going to be longer.  Be prepared!  
  • Waiting in line is the perfect time to catch up on Instagram, Facebook, or blogs.  
  • Try to mail presents and cards early if you can.


  • I've decided to do most of my Holiday shopping online this year.  For one, I was sick for 2 weeks and had nothing better to do.  And secondly, I just didn't have the time to drive around searching for the perfect gifts this year.  (Some of my fave online gifts will be in my next blog post!)
  • But don't do what I do, and buy gifts for someone...then forget that I ordered it and it's on it's way in the mail, and then buy them another gift.  
  • Also, the earlier you place your order the better, so you don't have to pay extra shipping costs to get things delivered faster.  
  • Personally, I'm on the lookout for gifts all year round.  If I see something that makes me think of a friend, I snatch it up and stash it away for when Holidays or Birthdays come around.  (Just don't forget that the gift is ready and waiting!)


  • Tis the season...  If you know you're going to throw a party, find a day the week before to do a big clean of your place, so you're not up til 2am the night before mopping and scrubbing.  If the majority of the bulk work is done, there won't be much to tidy up last minute.
  • Prepare the menu in advance and buy food, drinks and decorations (I love fresh flowers around the house) the day before, so you're not running around the day of the party.  
  • I found the last goop newsletter to have some useful tips for entertaining.  You can read it here

Breathe...and avoid The Grove*.  ;)

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* For those of you who don't know what The Grove is... it's an outdoor promenade in Los Angeles with lots of stores... sort of like an outdoor mall.  A lot of tourists, families with little kids, and young people on dates like to come here to have fun and shop.  

Many holidays ago... I decided to quick drop by a few days before Christmas to buy a few last minute gifts.  On this particular night, they had a stage set up in the middle of the Grove for a band that was about to perform.  I could care less about seeing a show that night.  I wanted to get in and get out.  But the security guards practically herded us together in front of this stage, and wouldn't let anyone leave!  I was smothered on all sides with other peoples' bodies and their bags of purchases.  In a moment of panic, I stepped up onto a wall and looked for a way out.  A security guard told me to get down.  I yelled, "You can't keep me here!" and I leapt off the wall and ran away.  

me + Grove + December = no thank you