Monday, September 30, 2013

Music Mondays - Jeff Buckley "Hallelujah"

This post was originally supposed to be about one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, Jeff Buckley. However, as the days passed I began to notice that one of the songs that he was known for was getting a lot of attention. The song is "Hallelujah". Originally written and performed by Leonard Cohen in 1984, "Hallelujah" has taken a life of its own. So many musicians have performed this song since its release that every interpretation brings new life & meaning to the song. However, Leonard Cohen's original version stands out because of the lyrics. With references to David, Samson, and lyrics like "I'll stand before the Lord of song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah", this version is probably the most religious.  

While the original version is amazing, the cover that most people know is Jeff Buckley's. For his cover, Jeff went with John Cale's version (released in 1991) as opposed to Leonard Cohen's original. The new version kept the first two verses, but swapped the final verses for more sensual, erotic lyrics. This transformed the song from a somewhat religious piece into one about the intimate love between two people. Couple these lyrics with Jeff's performance and you have a song that's both spiritual and romantic. 

Countless artists went on to cover "Hallelujah" after Jeff Buckley's version became a massive hit. Of all the covers that I've heard of this song however, Justin Timberlake's version is my favorite (after Jeff Buckley's of course). Justin performed this song with Matt Morris in the Hope For Haiti benefit concert in 2010. While the lyrics remained the same, this version doesn't have the sensual feel of Buckley's cover. Instead, this feels redemptive. Enjoy.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Nail Polish Giveaway! [CLOSED]

This has to be the easiest one I will ever do, and probably the last. All you have to do is guess how many nail polishes I have. Check the photo and leave a comment with the number. 3 winners will be chosen.

Prize: set of E.L.F mini polishes.

Ends Tues, Oct 1st at Midnight (EST). Winner will be chosen and announced on Oct 2nd. US residents only!

Get to guessing.
- L

Monday, September 23, 2013

Music Mondays

I've had this song stuck in my head all weekend (well mostly JT.) I have no idea. But here it is. I hope its just as infectious for all of you, as it has been for me.

- L

Friday, September 20, 2013

Feature Fridays

Hey guys I feel like I'm bouncing all over with these posts. But I can't commit to FIT Foodie Fridays every week. I'll be alternating with Feature Fridays. It's just a way for me to introduce people and their accomplishments and work.

So for my first Feature Friday, I am introducing Lloyd Mitchell of Lloyd Mitchell Photography. I actually grew up with Lloyd in Brooklyn back in the day - circa late 90's/early 2000's. Back then we were just a bunch of kids running around without a care in the world. And now Mr. Mitchell is running around trying to make it a better place through his photography. While he photographs anything that catches his eye, one of his biggest projects is the Fire Department. Whether it be Buffalo Fire Dept (where he currently attends college), Detroit Fire, or good old FDNY here in the boroughs - he is committed to the cause and brings attention to what really goes on behind the scenes. He showcases the hard work of these men and women as they do what they do - save lives.

Take a look at some of his action shots: (All pictures used with permission. Do not reuse without credit.)

He is always busy working on different projects, including being a contributor to Backstep Fire Fighter. Follow his page on Facebook - Lloyd Mitchell Photography to stay up to date!

Buffalo An Alarm of Fire. from Lloyd Mitchell on Vimeo.

If you or someone you know wants to be featured, feel free to contact me!

- L

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Liebster Award: Round 2

Hey everyone I got nominated for the Liebster Award by Jasmine over at Ms. J Rivers (go check her out!) In case you missed it the first time around you can see my answers and questions here. I'll try not to repeat any questions if I can.

In a post, link the blogger/s who nominated you and answer the 10 questions they have given you. Those bloggers must have less than 200 followers. Be sure to let them know that you have nominated them.

Jasmine asked:

1. What does being a Christian mean to you? I'm not very religious, but I do believe in God. I was raised Catholic, but I respect/understand that everyone's faith/religious practices are different than mine.

2. When & why did you start blogging? I started blogging in high school on the now defunct Diaryland and Xanga. At that time it was because everyone else was doing it. Then I used it to express my feelings and gather my thoughts. Now I blog to share my thoughts and views, connect with people, let people get to know a little bit about me.

3. If you somehow inherited $1Mil what would be the first thing you'd spend your money on? That's easy - my bills! I would pay everything off in full, put some aside for taxes, and then go to town with whatever was left. Shoes, bags, the whole 9. Somewhere in there, I should say house (if I don't already have one) but we'll leave it at material things for now.

4. Favorite season. The fall! Because its my birthday is in the fall (Libras stand up!) And because I like the cool, crispness of it. The leaves falling off the trees, changing color. The fashion.

5. If you had a choice to spend one week under the ocean or in space which would you choose? Space. Because I can't swim or hold my breath underwater. That's assuming I get a space suit. Those are way more awesome than diving gear. 

  6. What skill or hobby have you always wanted to learn? There are so many. I'd have to finish the ones I've started and given up on - fencing, knitting, crocheting, ASL, drawing, volleyball - to name a few.

  7. What is your best physical feature and why? Ha! This is a good one. If I had to pick just one (slight conceited moment here lol) I would go with my legs. Because I look damn good in a skirt and heels, even if I don't like to wear them. They're about the only part of my I don't have to worry about when I go to the gym.

  8. What is the most important thing you could teach a child? I don't think I should be teaching a child anything. But it would be to take everything with a grain of salt, not everyone is who/what they appear to be.

  9. What defines a woman? There are so many things that define a woman. Her strength, character, physique. Those are just to name a few.

  10. Natural or processed hair? Both? I've never known or understood what constitutes natural. My hair isn't exactly 'ethnic' (I can't think of a more PC term here, sorry if anyone is offended) I take after my Indian heritage here, very strongly. I don't perm or relax my hair, but I have died it chemically. I use store bought regular shampoos, but oils and various home-made conditioners.

Here are my questions for those above who wish to take the challenge:

  • If you had the chance to change one thing in your life, what would it be?
  • What's your favorite childhood memory?
  • What's the most challenging thing you've had to do so far?
  • If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive, real or fictional) who would it be?
  • If you were Rose in the Titanic, would you have let Jack die?
  • What do you love about yourself the most?
  • What book are you reading now?
  • What's your biggest pet peeve?
  • If you had to choose between being frozen to death, or being burned alive, which would you choose?
  • What's the one thing in your closet you can't part with right now? No matter how raggedy or old it may be, and why?

I Nominate You!
  1. Iaisha @ MJFanGirl (again girl!)
  2. Moe @ Chasing Moe
  3. Regina @ Poised in Print
  4. Yaudy @ YCF
  5. Alexia @ Infinitely Indecisive
These are the few I can think of, off the top of my head. And I'm slightly lazy. LOL Have fun with it. If anyone else wants to answer these questions, feel free. There are no limitations. It's open to my readers as well. :)

Thanks for reading! Comment below and let me know if you've accepted and posted.

- L 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Music Mondays

It happens to almost every artist. They put out hit record after hit record, but there is always that one album that for whatever reason, just doesn't seem to capture the world's ear the way their previous albums have. Often times the songs on these under-appreciated albums are some of the best work that an artist has made, but because of the lack of radio play most of world ends up missing these songs. In this post, I will look at two under-appreciated albums - John Mayer's Born And Raised and Cee-Lo Green's The Lady Killer.

The first album we'll take a look at is Cee-Lo Green's The Lady Killer. Despite having a massive hit (2010's F*ck You) and receiving 4 stars from Rolling Stone magazine, most people don't know or haven't listened to The Lady Killer. Why have most people missed such a great album? It's hard to say...maybe F*ck You was too big a hit, maybe the album was overshadowed by the rise of Cee-Lo in NBC's The Voice. Whatever the reason, people missed this album and it's a damn shame. This album is full of gems like Wildflower, Bodies, Cry Baby, and the motown-esque standout Old Fashion.

Now we move on to the complicated, always interesting, John Mayer. With John Mayer, there's no question why Born and Raised was overlooked. Prior to the album's actual release, Mr. Mayer suffered from throat granuloma. Combine that with his string of highly publicized douche-baggery (2010 Playboy Interview anyone?) and you have the makings of an album that won't be well received. It didn't help that Born and Raised didn't have a "traditional" single for radio airwaves and it's a shame because this album is John Mayer's best work. His guitar playing is at A+ level and the lyrics are some of the most personal and introspective lyrics that JM has ever put to music. It's hard to choose a track to put on this page because every track on this album is gold, but I've chosen my favorites, Queen of California and If I Ever Get Around To Living.

In closing, I hope that people give these two albums more spins. They are definitely worthy to be on anyone's playlist.

So sound off! Do you know any albums that don't receive the accolades they deserve? List them here!

- Juan 


Friday, September 13, 2013

FIT Foodie Fridays

So I've been slacking on the blog. Things have gotten pretty busy at work. From here until the holidays will be busy pretty much. I apologize in advance for the lack luster posts you may see. I also know I skipped last week's FIT Foodie Friday post because I've just been losing track of myself, and I had nothing to post. This one is a bit long, but here it is!


At my job we have the option to participate in this wellness program to get a rebate back on our health insurance payment. I enrolled and thought nothing else of it. They sent us out these "good carb" cookbooks and I thought it was going to be wack, so I put it to the side. One day I was home bored, and read through it. Some of the recipes aren't that bad at all. While most are generic and I have better versions, there were a few I wanted to try.

I went ahead with the Black Bean Soup. I went out and picked up a bag of black beans all hyped to do this. And then realized I didn't have everything, so I made a few tweaks. It came out very well and the Mister liked it!

I didn't realize I needed that many black beans. I only picked up 1 bag, which was only 2 cups of beans. I made adjustments to everything else to accommodate for that. It does make a lot of soup! Next time I will half the recipe since I'm only cooking for 2. I also messed up by not soaking the beans overnight. I let them soak for about 5 hours and some were still a little tough, but not inedible. I used 6 cups of water, but I probably could have used less. I didn't measure the bouillon, I just used one cube of beef flavor. I probably could have gotten away with 2 or 1 1/2, but I didn't want it to be too salty. I let it simmer, stirring very little.

Once it was close to the hour and a half mark, I started prepping my other ingredients. I omitted the green pepper since neither I or the hubs were thrilled about it. I took a medium sized onion and chopped it in the food processor and got about 2 cups. I ignored the bottle salsa (how is this healthy?) and threw a whole tomato and 4 cloves of garlic in the food processor in place of that. I threw it all into the pot and mixed that up. I didn't have cumin, and wasn't sure what to substitute for it, so no cumin. I don't measure my spices, I just throw them in there. I used chili powder and cayenne for a little extra kick. After the next 30 mins of simmer time, I used my stick blender to mash up some beans instead of pouring it out and blending it. Less time, less things to clean up. (I also didn't trust myself to work with hot liquids and not burn myself.) One last final simmer, and then done!

I did not garnish with sour cream and the onion/pepper. We're not fancy in this here house. Plus I didn't want to add any extra calories. It tasted delicious, just low on salt. Just a sprinkle of sea salt brought it to where it needed to be. As I said before, it makes a lot of soup! I ate for lunch and dinner a few times before I was sick of it. And there's still a big lot of it in the fridge. Such a waste because I didn't think it was going to freeze well. Maybe next time I'll use jalapenos and add some shredded cheddar on top. Maybe some crumbled bacon? Shredded beef? The ideas are endless. I may even mix the types of beans.


I've been trying different videos out. I still haven't really pushed myself in the gym either because I'm such a chicken shit and I feel like everyone is watching and judging me. :-\ Wack, I know! I'm working on it. The video of the moment right now is Jillian Michaels: 6 Week Six-Packand it is brutal! I never understood how much work she makes you do, but I am a believer! I'm on level 1 and still can't make it through the whole circuit 2x. I get to the warm up and first circuit, but then crash. I am getting there! I also do the Fitness Blender videos from time to time. I just have to be more diligent.

Until next time,
- L

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Light Bulb Moment

I swear sometimes I make things more complicated than they have to be. And then I have that "Aha!" moment where the light bulb goes off. It happened to me today and I just had to laugh at myself. I've been spending a lot of time on the spreadsheets for work, getting ready to export/import our contacts and data from one program to the next. Naturally I'm frustrated and feel like my brain is fried with all of these functions and cells in Excel. So when it came time to transfer from one workbook to the next, I failed horribly. I was copying columns and getting crazy error messages because of all the formulas. I searched Google for ways to take care of this with other shortcuts and functions so my data wouldn't change format or disappear into randomly coded symbols. It was time consuming and tedious, I was at my wits end. I thought to myself - there HAS to be an easier way to do this.

And then it hit me. I could simply keep the same sheet I had, and change the title of the columns to match the sheet where I was trying to transfer the data. It was that easy the whole time. I felt so stupid for wasting all that time and energy! But I had to laugh it off. At least I learned new functions and cheats for Excel. I've just improved my skills. There is a silver lining!

- L

Goofy light bulb
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Music Mondays - House Music

Hello everyone, I would like to announce my first guest blogger! Music Mondays will be taken over by Juan R, from BrooklynEar. He works in the music industry for a well known company as a producer, and has a great love of music. Who better to take the wheel on these posts? Here he is!

The past year and a half saw me become a fan of a kind of music I didn't think I would ever become a serious fan of - House music. Specifically Progressive House music. I always ask my friends "How did we become house music fans?"  The answers always range from Jersey Shore (which we are HUGE fans of) to the gyms we go to, but that's besides the point.

There's no denying that House music has taken over the radiowaves lately. If I had to point to a specific DJ/Producer who started this rise, it would have to be David Guetta. Guetta has always been popular over seas, but he never really found mainstream success here until his album Nothing But the Beatwhich featured performances from Nicki Minaj, Usher, Lil Wayne, and many other artists. My favorite song on that album was Titanium, which featured Austialian singer - Sia. From then on, I became a House Music junkie.

After Titanium, I liked a handful of House songs, but none really connected with me. Until I discovered the now defunct supergroup Swedish House Mafia. Consisting of DJs/Producers Axwell, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso, Swedish House Mafia had two major hits off of their last album Until Now. These songs were Don't You Worry Child and Save The World.  After hearing those two songs, I quickly started searching for more music from the members of Swedish House Mafia, either together or individually. As I did, I discovered artists such as Hardwell, Avicii, Steve Aoki, and Zedd.

Zedd is a Russian-German producer and he currently has one of the biggest songs in the United States (and one of my favorites) - Clarity. Featuring English singer Foxes, it's no surprise that Clarity became one of the biggest singles released this year. It has everything working for it! First, the song has top notch production that starts slow and slowly builds. Second, it features a singer. Don't get me wrong, I love House music that doesn't have vocals, but it is extremely difficult for a sans-vocal House song to gain mainstream success. Lastly (and this is going to sound silly) it has chants. It's a personal theory of mine that any song will become instantly successful if it has a chant that a crowd can participate in during a live performance (see The Wanted's Glad You Came and The Lumineers Ho, Hey)

Ultimately, I'm glad that the US is finally catching up to what the rest of the world already knew. I'm glad that House Music is here and I hope it stays for a long time.

- Juan R.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

The past few weeks have been hell and this has been all I can think about. I need a new direction in life - career wise. I'm at that crossroads where I want a new job, but I'm not sure what kind of job I want, or if I want to give up the money and benefits I'm getting at this one. I'm only 25 (26 next month!) and I still have 40 more years of work before I can retire. That alone gives me a headache. I want to do something I like, but then I'd be broke. And I still need to have some kind of stable income. I'm at a good place financially because I'm finally able to pay off my debts and save a decent amount. I don't want to jeopardize that, but I don't really want to stay in the field I'm in for the rest of my working years. [Corporate life does not become me.]

There are those days where I want to up and start up my own business. Be the next success story of someone who gave it all up and made it big. But I need investors, money and well tons of money. If not, then my second choice is owning a farm in Montana on a hippie commune. Seriously, I would love to have the ability to grow my own crops and raise my own animals. Get away from noise and air pollution in the city, the crowds and people. I would of course still keep my internet. :)

It all comes down to prioritizing everything, and right now I'll take the money. However, I will keep exploring plausible opportunities for career advancement or change in direction.

Have you hit this point? How did you get over it?

- L

fork in the road
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Monday, September 2, 2013

Music Mondays

It's Labor Day!!! I wish I was out there partying and all that good stuff. But it's really not for me. I'm old before my time. So here are the songs that make me wuk it! No matter how old. Also I'm not up on the newer stuff :'( Tek a drink and a wine fi me nuh!

- L