Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday MP3 Madness: Free-and-Legal Downloads from Sara Bareilles, My Morning Jacket, Bright Eyes, and lots more!

Happy Monday!  As always, to brighten the beginning of a new week we have some fun free-and-legal music to download!

First off, be quick about this one because there's no guarantee how long it will stay available -- Tone skincare is offering a free download of Sara Bareilles' "Uncharted" on their facebook page.  Also, make sure to enter a valid email address, because they will be emailing you your unique code to access the download.  Sweeeeet.

iTunes is also offering a great free sampler from the music festival Lollapalooza on their facebook page (facebook seems to be where it's at for free music today), so snag that for 15 tracks from My Morning Jacket, Bright Eyes, Skylar Gray, Best Coast, and Explosions in the Sky, to name a few.  My code said that it expired September 30th, so theoretically this sampler is available until then.... but why wait??  Download it now, and spend today rockin' out.  

Monday's are always better with new music!!

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Frivolity: Social Commentary... in LOLcat


Any actresses/models come to mind for this one?  Or should I say, which actresses/models DON'T come to mind for this one?

Wow, we are soooo deep here at Devastate Boredom...

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

iTunes Tuesday! Free-and-Legal downloads from Joss Stone, Falling in Reverse, Little Dragon, and more!

Just a reminder, iTunes released new freebies today!  You can find free-and-legal downloads from Joss Stone, Falling in Reverse, Little Dragon, Eric Church, Napoleon Solo, and Emily Qvistgaard.

A cool note about Emily Qvistgaard -- it would appear that her track, "Dreaming Uncontrolled" was sponsored by the Make-a-Wish foundation.  The artist is a fourteen-year-old Californian waiting for a kidney transplant... send prayers and best wishes her way, and GO DOWNLOAD HER SONG!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday MP3 Madness: Spin July freebies and more!

Everybody deserves a little vacation in the summer right?

My bloggy vacation lasted a bit longer than I meant it too, but I'm back now!  So, yay!

A quick catch-up:  first, rush over to the Spin Magazine site within the next 5 days to download the July sampler.  You'll end up with fourteen tracks... including great music from Anna Calvi, John Maus, and the Rosebuds.

You can also find a free download of the track "Little Bird," from Kasey Chambers, courtesy of Food Should Taste Good chips.

I'm also excited about the new Dangerbird Summer 2011 Sampler, which includes songs from Minus the Bear and The Dears.  Downloading that one myself right now, so instead of me telling you my favorites, how about you tell me YOUR favorites this time, mmkay?

Go and download.  And I'll try to be more on top of things again over here.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why Yes, We WERE Mad Scientists in Another Life: DIY Vanilla Extract and Hard Cider

I've always loved crafty projects, and tend to have a bad habit of going "Hmm I could make that..." on a regular basis.  My husband's DIY streak is of a much more of a science-y variety, which is totally cool with me since I seriously considered majoring in chemistry in college, and already had a habit of conducting science experiments in my kitchen from my homeschooled high school years.

Which is all to say, the husband and I were totally mad scientists in a previous life.

Our most recent projects are homemade vanilla extract (inspired by Simple Dollar, but these instructions were actually a lot more helpful) and homemade Hard Cider (inspired by Paupered Chef, who has excellent directions and a very science-y four-variation experimental run).

As you can see, we went with the big ol' jug of 365 Organic Apple Juice and have the fancy schmancy air lock mechanism (that thing that looks a bit like a torture device at the top) as well.  We even bought the lager yeast that the Paupered Chef ended up preferring.  Yeah, we're groupies like that.

We add a good bit of cinnamon as well, which should add a fun kick.  Its about half done now, but we already sampled it just to, you know, see how it was going.  It's... going.  As far as we can tell.

I'm also super excited about our homemade vanilla extract... we started the process about a week ago, and our vodka has already turned a promising vanilla-brown.

I just HAD to get the organic vodka, but hey there was a rebate offer on it so it was actually about as cheap as Smirnoff would have been... (and, spazzy girl moment: isn't this bottle just SO much prettier?)

We bought the vanilla beans at Costco.  They were pretty affordable but not organic... I'll probably hunt down organic ones online in the future.

As you can see, our apartment is quite the temple to culinary experimentation at the moment.  If you've heard of any other interesting/weird edible/drinkable DIY projects lately, do please tell... we might try them next.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday MP3 Madness: 15 Free-and-Legal Downloads from Spin Magazine!

Spin Magazine's June sampler is available until the 30th, featuring:

I think my favorites are "Own Side" by Caitlin Rose (but, warning! its sad) and "Cement Slippers" by Dengue Fever (upbeat and entertaining).

Click on the image to see the track listing expanded... too small to read is what I get for being too lazy to type it all out...  =/

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Quick! Pay $5 for $20 Worth of Digital Downloads!

For my music-loving friends out there (and who doesn't like some kind of music, be it ever so specific), you should totally check out the daily deal site plum district.  Today through Monday their "everywhere" deal is $10 for 20 song downloads from Hip Digital Music Store... and better yet, there's currently a coupon code available for $5 off at plum district, so you're overall cost is just $5 for 20 downloads.  SWEET DEAL!

Check it out -- they have downloads from literally EVERY genre and popular artist, with a full catalogue of over 3 million mp3s.  If you decide you want the deal, sign up with plum district and use the coupon code 'winwin' (which should be good for $5 off any purchase through July 13th).  Then buy the deal and download away!  :)

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review of Zevia Natural Soda: Calorie-Free and YUM!

My husband and I were both super psyched when I got picked to do a Mambo Sprouts product review for Zevia All-Natural Soda -- for the last couple of years we've gone all-natural on almost everything, and organic when possible too.  We had thought that choosing natural and organic options meant giving up soda all together, and boy was it HARD!  Even when I was waitressing and broke right out of college, I still used to find enough loose change to keep my fridge decently stocked on soda.  I more or less gave it up cold turkey after we made the natural/organic shift, but I still miss that sweet, bubbly goodness on a hot day... which, lately, means pretty much every day here in Atl.

Enter Zevia!

Zevia is all-natural, but doesn't carry a load of calories due to the fact that it's sweetened with Stevia, a South American herb that is naturally extremely sweet (100 times sweeter than sugar!) and calorie free.  I did a lot of research on Stevia a few years ago and added it to my first attempt at gardening -- I even tried to brew sweet tea using fresh stevia instead of sugar -- but basically I discovered that it can be a little tricky to isolate the 'sweet' without keeping the 'herb aftertaste', so I shifted my energies on to other things.  It's a great herb though, and Zevia was one of the first brands to utilize its potent sweetening-without-fattening abilities in soda form.

I received samples of six flavors of Zevia:  Mountain Zevia, Cola, Cola Caffeine Free, Grape, Grapefruit Citrus, and Cream Soda.  Other flavors on the market include:  Ginger Root Beer, Dr. Zevia, Black Cherry, Ginger Ale, Lemon Lime Twist and Orange.  Here are my impressions of the six flavors my husband and I tried, roughly in order of preference:

Cream Soda:  OH MY GOSH SO GOOD.  And heck, I don't normally even like cream soda.  But it was AMAZING;  the soda had a perfect balance of flavors and a wonderful creaminess.  My taste-buds thought they had died and gone to heaven.  My husband's quote:  "The Cream Soda was divine.  Transcendent.  It was exactly what Cream Soda was always meant to be."

Grapefruit Citrus:  Crisp and refreshing, and even more than that, this soda tasted FRESH.  I'm not talking about the carbonation here either (though it was plenty bubbly), the flavors themselves had a fresh edge that I'm not accustomed to finding in a can.  It was certainly a pleasant surprise though!  My husband called it "better than Fresca" and thinks it would make a great mixer.

Grape:  Neither my husband nor I had previously had much experience with grape soda, but we found this one was surprisingly good.  It was just as fruity as we would have expected, but not in a "generic purple candy" kind of way, but more reminiscent of actual fruit juice.  Yum!

Mountain Zevia:  You can probably guess which mainstream soda this one is meant to evoke, and since I'm a pretty big fan of that mainstream soda (or was anyhow) I can say with authority that it does a good job in evoking it.  I thought that this one had a veeeeery slight herb-y aftertaste, but then it was the first of the samples that I tried and I was sort of expecting an aftertaste due to my previous experiences with Stevia, so I might have been projecting my expectations on it.  I thought it was still really good, but  Husband wasn't as impressed.

Cola and Caffeine Free Cola:  These two were my least favorite simply because colas always tend to be my least favorite soda option.  So what can I say but... they tasted like cola.  They were quite refreshing.  I would certainly drink Zevia Cola while eating popcorn or pizza and I'm sure I would enjoy it just fine, but I would also be keeping my eyes open for someone with Cream Soda that I could trade with.  My husband on the other hand liked them a lot more than me, and said that they were everything he would expect from a cola.

Overall, our Zevia tasting party was a lot of fun, and definitely an eye-opening experience.  Stevia-sweetened sodas can be DELICIOUS!!  And even better, Zevia is 100% natural (no nasty chemicals or excitotoxins), calorie-free, gluten-free, Vegan, and certified Kosher.  If you want to try them for yourself (which you SHOULD by now, have you been READING this blog post???) you should hop over to the Zevia facebook page and print the $1/1 six pack coupon you'll find there.  Zevia is sold at Whole Foods, Kroger, Sprouts, Sunflower Farmers Market, Henry’s, Fred Meyer, and Earth Fare, to mention a few.  And may I recommend the Cream Soda?  It is, after all, transcendent.

Why look!  Proof that Zevia wrote the book on tasty, healthy, and refreshing.  (I entered this photo in the recent Zevia facebook A-Z photo contest... sadly, it didn't win.  I wonder why?)

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Hanna and Spreepark, a Journey into Innocence and Decay: A Film Review

We watched Hanna the other night, and I simultaneously enjoyed it very much and was very unsettled by it.  Given that it's a movie about a teenage assassin, the former is probably more surprising then the latter, but oh well.  Part of the appeal for me arose from the fact that it is filmed in several different countries, including Finland, Morocco, and Germany, and that we see them through the eyes of an innocent yet lethal girl, who has been completely isolated from the world for her entire life.  Somehow the sights are more captivating, the people more fascinating, and the colors more intense, juxtaposed as they are with the primitive white wilderness where the film begins.  Towards the end of Hanna we encounter an abandoned theme park in Berlin that I found especially haunting... especially because I vaguely remembered that it was an actual place called Spreepark, photos of which I had seen online in the past (I'll just confess now, I have a morbid weakness for urban decay).  So after the movie ended, I went and googled them up... and spent the next 45 minutes weirdly entranced. Take a look!

In case you're too lazy to click a link, here's a peak:

Flic Flac im Plänterwald

In Hanna, this rollercoaster is a wolf's mouth, a la Little Red Riding Hood.

Spreepark  #01

Schwanenfamilie im Spreepark

I'll just tell you now, an evening of Hanna + an hour spent glued to photos of abandoned Spreepark = really, REALLY weird dreams that night.

As it turns out, Spreepark has quite a sullied history, complete with a bankrupt owner who smuggled amusement park rides to Peru, which seems rather fitting given the violence it witnesses in Hanna.  Abandoned in 2002, the amusement park's website is even still in existence.  It's currently fenced off rather thoroughly as I understand it, and there may or may not be a caretaker who lives there with a dog to keep out nosy tourists and photographers, so if you're planning a spur-of-the-moment trip to Berlin to investigate you may want to keep that in mind.  I wish they would open it for walking tours or something.  As a piece of history and evidence of how nature takes over once people step out, it really is an intriguing site... and of course, it's deliciously creepy too.  Even aside from Hanna, Spreepark certainly will capture the imagination!

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Frivolity: Thunderstorms and Traumatized Kittehs

Over here it is about to rain *cough* puppies and kittens.  We've got the thunder, we've got the lightening, we've got the crazy wind...

No but seriously, there's water coming down in sheets... and bedspreads... and comforters.

All joking aside though, the rain makes me think not only of lolcats but also of North Dakota.  :(  Praying that everyone (humans and kittehs alike) are safe and dry there tonight.

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