The wonderful weirdness of Chappo



Here’s a quick feature I did on New York band Chappo this week. There’s some photos from the Dallas show, but also some tidbits about the band itself, since I also interviewed lead singer Alex Chappo.

Currently, the band is on a U.S. tour in support of Royal Teeth. They put on a pretty entertaining show, so catch them in your town if you can!

Below are some photos I took from the Dallas gig at House of Blues’ Cambridge Room, but click the link for more images from the photo gallery.

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January favorites

Since I’ve never done a favorites post before, some of these finds are from December. From cookies to lip butter to metal music, there’s a bit of everything included.

Orphan Black

Airing on BBC America, Orphan Black is a sci-fi thriller about a troubled woman who discovers she is a clone. There’s enough of twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end of the season, and Tatiana Maslany’s multiples roles as the clones almost had me forgetting the same actor was inhibiting each one.

Orphan Black

I was late to the show, which originally aired back in March of 2013, because it aired on BBC America, and I’m not fancy enough for satellite TV. It only took me two days, however, to catch up on all ten episodes of the first season because I was hooked from the beginning.

If you haven’t watched the first season yet, there’s still time to catch up until season two’s premiere in April.

The Hunter by Mastodon

Sometimes you need a break from an album so that when you revisit later, it still sounds fresh and invigorating. That’s what has happened with The Hunter. I haven’t seen them play live in almost four years, so going back to the last album before the new one is released this year seems like a great lead-in to a new tour.

"The Hunter" by Mastodon

It’s a divisive record for Mastodon fans. Some feel they have strayed away from their progressive roots and conceptual themes by penning songs averaging three or four minutes long, while others praised Mastodon for taking a risk by composing music that could be taken as more “mainstream.”

I personally love this album. I don’t necessarily love it more than the others, but in a different way. Kudos to Mastodon for not fearing the wrath of metalheads and taking a different approach to the sound.


When I heard the news about Spike Jonze’s new movie being about a man that falls in love with his computer, I was yearning for him to just keep making Arcade Fire music videos. Thankfully, this film was much more endearing than I thought it would be.

Joaquin Phoenix’s sympathetic character Theodor Twombly (are we in a Roald Dahl novel?) tries to navigate the world of intimacy and relationships in a nearby futuristic world that covets connections with technology more than person-to-person interaction. More than just a quirky romantic comedy, it’s a take on what it means to build a relationship in a world constantly replacing real emotional connections with technological ones.

Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser

The 1.7 ounce version of this product was my 100-point reward for Sephora’s Beauty Insider card, and I’m sure grateful I picked it! The orange smell isn’t all that great, but it’s quite faint. Personally, I’m not fond of a scent coming from my face anyway.

Clarins Exfoliating Cleanser

What sets it apart is the exfoliating power that leaves skin feeling baby-bottom-soft. Seriously. I felt the need to stroke my face several times after first using it.

The downside to this cleanser is that it’s indeed pricey, but worth it in my opinion since a small amount goes a long way. It lathers nicely, but if you have sensitive skin like me, I advise moisturizing immediately afterwards before the exfoliating beads cause any irritation or further dryness. Thankfully my sensitive skin actually cooperates with this cleanser, but it does cause a little redness at first.

Anastasia Brow Wiz

Anastasia Brow Wiz

Here’s yet another expensive item, but the results are incredible. Anastasia has great products to tame and shape eyebrows. This pencil and wand combo succeeds in creating realistic coloring and fuller eyebrows, while also being long-lasting.

Unlike eyebrow pencils, it’s a felt tip, so making mistakes are easier to wipe off, and it’s more a softened look compared to the intensity from an eyebrow pencil. If you’re really wanting to go further with taming those brows, the brow gel is wonderful also.

Nivea Lip Butter in Raspberry Rosé Kiss

Nivea Lip Butter

Hydrating and oh-so-lovely smelling, the Nivea lip butters are beneficial for drying lips in the wintertime.

The lip butter keeps my lips hydrated and soft for most of the day, but I will say that the raspberry flavor has a slight light pink tint to it. If you prefer no color whatsoever, caramel and vanilla flavors are also available. This is a great moisturizing lip product.

Forever 21 Open-front Shag Cardigan

Forever 21 Cardigan

Never did I think I would own anything related to the words “shag” or “faux fur,” but here I am with an exquisitely comfortable cardigan that I can throw on with a band T-shirt or nicer knit top when it’s cool out, but not too cool, which happens a lot more in Texas than actually being cold.

The cardigan is long, which comes in handy when I want to wear leggings to work and cover up what little butt I have, or to add more depth to a simple top.

Pepperidge Farm Milano Melts in Vanilla Crème

Pepperidge Farms Milano Cookies

So simple, yet so delicious. They’re like Oreos but less sweet. The only downside is that there’s not enough of them in each package!

I haven’t tried the other flavors yet, but the Dark Classic Crème and Boston Cream Pie sound like a mouth-watering foodie session too.

Related Links

“The Hunter” by Mastodon

Anastasia Brow Wiz

“Orphan Black”: Episode 1 [HD]

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Rack Room Shoes and DSW haul

Enough shoes? Never.

Enough shoes? Never.

Shoes seem to be my new obsession, but perhaps I have enough…for now. Here’s four pairs I picked up recently at an outlet mall’s Rack Room Shoes and DSW.

Rack Room Shoes

G by Guess Gavin Bootie, $14.99

G by Guess Gavin BootieThat’s right, $14.99. Rack Room Shoes had a “buy one, get one half off” sale, and since these were already on sale, it was quite a bargain. The original price was $79.99.

I’ve never owned anything by Guess, but they were a ridiculously low price, thus the urge to pick them up was too much. They’re a great way to wear something similar to a combat boot, but less heavy. It just takes a little more effort to put them on since there’s a zipper in the back and three buckled straps.

Nike Air Max Torch 4, $74.99Nike Torch 4

My pair of New Balance running shoes have been worn literally since middle school, so paying $75 every 10 years for tennis shoes seems level-headed in that perspective.

Out of the several pairs of Asics and Nikes I tried, the Torch 4s felt the most comfortable. There’s a lot of padding, so Air Maxes are great for people like me that need a lot of support when running.

There’s currently a neon phase when it comes to athletic shoes, and these were one of the very few pairs that didn’t have pink or purple details (I loathe both of those colors). Good luck finding athletic shoes in the women’s section consisting of just simple white, black, or gray.


Jellypop Artemus Oxford Pump. $13Jellypop Artemis Oxford Pump

I’ve wanted a pair of oxford pumps for awhile, but the majority of the ones I’ve seen were either too steep of a heel or too much money (ahem…Aldo). It was my lucky day in the clearance section of DSW.

It may seem like a tall heel, but they are actually quite comfortable, and don’t make you appear as if you’re attempting to walk on stilts. Since the lining is thin, wearing them in warmer weather will be suitable.

However, the laces are way too long. Having dual laces (one regular pair, and the other more like ribbon) is a good idea, but quite bulky. It’s a unique look that will take some getting used to.

Steve Madden Area Bootie. $59.99

Technically they were on sale, and $59.99 is more than I would normally pay for a pair of shoes, but my $13 pair of oxford pumps balanced the total out (at least that’s how I justified it). Because they are quite snug, I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone with wide feet. I have very narrow feet and they were form-fitting on me.Steve Madden Area Bootie

The cut-out style has been gaining traction lately, but what I liked about this pair in particular is the low heel and less clunky look. It’s a great casual shoe, and perfect for someone like me that wants to still wear boots in the spring and summer, but despises sandals.

The only qualm I have about them is that the zipper makes an annoying noise when I walk, so I’ll probably keep it tied with clear plastic stretchy cord. DIY for life.

I bought some clothes on another shopping trip, so I’ll post that somewhere down the line.

Which pair of shoes do you like the most, and what kinds have you bought lately?

Related Links

Soda Autry-S Leatherette Cut-Out Buckled Ankle Bootie – Black PU

Jellypop Women’s Artemus Oxford

Nike Women’s Air Max+ Running Shoe

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The Grammy Awards want variety for this year’s televised performances

Normally I wouldn’t be eager to watch the Grammy Awards ceremony, but this year’s roster of performers is surprising for anyone used to just sparkly divas and the latest pop sensation predominantly on TV. The 56th annual music celebration will have more alternative selections this time around.

Metallica and pianist Lang Lang will perform a rendition of "One" from 1988's "...And Justice for All."

Metallica and pianist Lang Lang will perform a rendition of “One” from 1988’s “…And Justice for All.” (Photo Credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba)

The heavily nominated Daft Punk will be joined onstage by a groovy, funky bunch consisting of none other than Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, and Chic’s Nile Rodgers. Both Rodgers and Williams made contributions to Daft Punk’s record Random Access Memorieswhich has been nominated for Album of the Year.

Of course, Pharrell sang on the huge summertime hit “Get Lucky,” but also provided vocals for the second single “Lose Yourself to Dance.” In addition to putting his disco mark on the previously mentioned tracks, guitarist Nile Rodgers also contributed to album opener “Give Life Back to Music.” This group of musicians makes perfect sense, considering they all have such nods to funk and soul (and if you’ve never heard of Pharrell’s previous group The Neptunes, definitely take a listen).

In a very different style lies Metallica’s performance of “One” alongside Chinese pianist Lang Lang, which will obviously bring a clash of styles, but at least it won’t be a worse collaboration than Lulu. Maybe picking a pianist that has played his share of Liszt to coincide with a thrash metal band isn’t such a bad idea.

Just a few days ago blues maestro Gary Clark Jr. and country star Keith Urban were additionally announced as a performers. Though I’m not too fond of Keith Urban, it’s a relief to see a veteran indie musician like Gary Clark Jr. able to attain more national visibility. His latest album Blak And Blu from 2012 is a good starting point for anyone interested in a modern take on soul and blues.

However, the performance I’m looking forward to the most is the finale consisting of Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, Dave Grohl, Nine Inch Nails, and Queens of the Stone Age. Considering Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails alone took up approximately half of my listening pleasure last year, this superband is going to be one fantastically heavy way to end the awards show.

All I’m worried about is that there’s going to be an excessive amount of guitarists on stage. Just because one is able to put five guitarists on stage together doesn’t mean one should. Whatever the case may be, bring on the noise.

For more information on all of the performers, click here. Which performance are you looking forward to the most?

Related Links

Discovery by Daft Punk

…And Justice For All by Metallica

Sound City – Real to Reel [+digital booklet]

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Sherlock is back!

Anglophiles rejoice! The BBC hit show Sherlock has returned, and last Sunday night was the premiere of season three’s first episode on PBS. Titled “The Empty Hearse,” the much-awaited episode picks up two years from where last season’s frustratingly suspenseful finale left off.

It has been two years since "Sherlock" was last originally broadcasted in the UK.

It has been two years since “Sherlock” was last originally broadcasted in the UK. (Photo Credit: Colin Hutton)

In the last few minutes of season two’s finale, viewers discovered that Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) was indeed alive after jumping off of a building that had everyone believing he committed suicide.

Creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (who also happen to be writers on British TV institution Doctor Who) have created a snickering way to reveal (well, kind of) the secret of how Sherlock faked his death.

This episode’s crime that needs to be solved includes a terrorist aiming to bomb Parliament and a mysterious baddie with dangerous plans for Watson (Martin Freeman), but the center focus is the humorous tug-and-pull friendship between Sherlock and Watson. In the words of Moffat himself, “the friendship between Holmes and Doctor Watson is right at the heart of it.”

The most arresting aspect of “The Empty Hearse” is how Watson has spent the last two years coping with Sherlock’s death, and suddenly has to deal with the emotionally vague Sherlock’s surprising appearance. Watson’s disgust with Sherlock’s dishonesty slowly begins to dissipate as he realizes he’s missed all of those good ‘ol crimes and near-death scenarios!

The next episode this Sunday will reveal what happens when Watson requests Sherlock to be his best man. It’s probably not the best idea he’s had.

If you missed the episode or just want to watch it again, it’s available for streaming on PBS’ website. You can also check out exclusive videos.

What other TV shows do you recommend?

Related Links

Sherlock: Season 1 (A Study In Pink) [HD]

Sherlock: Season 2 (A Scandal in Belgravia) [HD]

Doctor Who- Asylum of the Daleks [HD]

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