MusicThe Mission Bell Tolls for Amos Lee

Now, I know it was released in January, but that is precisely why Amos Lee’s newest album, Mission Bell, is such a treasure…because I’m still listening to it! Like many of you, I’m sure, I tend to get burnt out on a playlist fairly quickly, but Amos has had a stranglehold on my ears for months now.
I was lucky enough to see him in concert the night before the album dropped, and he just might have put on the best live show I’ve ever seen and heard… seriously. Go see him! He was quite vocal about his excitement over the album release the next day, announcing to the crowd that he “felt like we were waiting for Santa to come down the chimney.” Fortunately, we must have all been good boys and girls, because Mission Bell is a soulful, heartfelt, bluesy-meets-folk-with-a-hint-of-jazz masterpiece.
Mission Bell is a very intimate musical portrait, capturing Lee’s soulful sound and poetic harmonies. A true artist, Lee forms a deep connection with every lyric and note, a union that comes through sublimely to the listener. A few of my new favorites are “El Camino,” “Flower,” “Cup of Sorrow,” and “Windows Are Rolled Down” (which has been stuck in my head for almost two weeks straight now. Not that I’m complaining). Here’s what the former Philadelphia schoolteacher had to say about the album-writing process on his Facebook page:
My last two records were a little rushed, because I was touring so much and running around a lot…On this one, I took a year and a half and I just sat at home and wrote. I spent more time alone with these songs than I ever did in the past, which I think was really helpful. It was like going to a yard sale or a thrift store—you go through the first time and you might see something, but then you have to keep going back and forth because you always find something else there.
At his show here in Chico, Amos was playing the song “Black River,” an especially emotional verse, when a loudmouthed concert-goer’s antics had him visibly unsettled. He stopped mid-song, put his guitar down, and announced, “I can’t do this.” He went on to explain how disrespected he felt by the laughing and shouting going on while he was pouring his heart into the performance. (To this, the audience erupted in applause. We didn’t want some loser messing up the mood either.)
You’ll be happy to know that the rowdy fan was escorted out of the building and the show went on. I wasn’t quite sure how to react to the situation at first; I think everyone felt a little awkward and embarassed that this had to happen in our town. But once Amos got going again, the tension subsided and the magical feeling was back. It just showed how seriously Amos Lee takes his art, and how important it is for him to connect to what he’s playing, so that his audience can connect too.
Like Mission Bell, his three previous albums, Amos Lee, Supply and Demand, and Last Days at the Lodge were similarly extraordinary. My favorites? Whichever one I happen to be listening to…But if I must choose, some of my most beloved are: “Colors,” “Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight,” “Truth,” “Sympathize,” and “Supply and Demand.”
Now, if you’ll allow me to gush just a teensy bit longer, I can’t leave you without praising Amos Lee’s voice. His vocal range is incredible and his sound will move you to the core. It’s no wonder Rolling Stone magazine named him one of the “Top Ten Artists to Watch” in 2005. I’ll keep watching, thank you.
PS: Check out his opening act: Vusi Mahlasela. Incredible.

GeneralCute Things To Do For Mama On Her Big Day

Mother’s Day is May 8th so don’t forget to mark your calendar and plan something sweet for your mama!
I always appreciate new and interesting ideas on how to surprise my mom and grandma every year so I did a little research to discover fun things I thought I’d share!

1. The classic chef – make your mom breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I think my mom naturally expects this since I have done it every year, but I know she just loves seeing a breakfast tray near her door with some fresh flowers.

2. Do something mom likes to do.
If your mom loves crafting, then make something with her. If she loves hiking or kayaking, do something outside with her! This day is her day, so let her choose what you guys do for the day.

3. Make her something. Moms love homemade things so don’t waste your money! Put your heart into something special that your mom will love. I love decoupaging cards and my mom looks forward to them every year! Or you can get a collage of pictures of your mom from years ago to create a special scrapbook, or a movie montage!

4. Reminisce about special memories.
Everyone likes to remember the past, so get your old home movies out and enjoy a few good laughs. This is a great excuse to take out old photos and joke about your mom’s 80’s hairdo.

I hope these suggestions help make your Mother’s Day planning fun and interesting!

What are you going to do for your mom this year?

BeautyBattle of the Balms: What’s your Preference?

Oh lip balm…we girls just can’t live without you. How many times have I realized my favorite tube or pot of balm was nowhere to be found and went into full blown meltdown mode? Pulling over at a convenience store with no actual cash and using a debit card to purchase yet another version of lip balm has happened more times then I can count. I felt like I couldn’t go without it for even the shortest of days.
Do you feel as addicted as I did? Well, as much as it may be a form of habit, not a real addiction, there is some evidence pointing to ingredients that dry out the lips making you apply more! Curious to find out a few brands that (in my opinion) are not drying and focus on more natural ingredients? Read on to find out more!
Smith’s Rosebud Salve has been a staple for balm junkies since 1895. Originating in Woodsboro, Maryland, this favorite balm became instantly popular and is now distributed all over the world. Known for it moisturizing and lightly scented rose qualities, this balm is thought to be an all-purpose salve and according to the website “is perfect for travel as an eye make-up remover, cuticle softener, sunburn easer, dry skin healer, and frizzy fighter. Use Rosebud Salve around the eyes and on the throat for severely parched, dry, or wrinkled skin.” I love multi purpose products and this balm is never drying and comes in handy for lots of beauty dilemnas!
Previously devoted to another brand, which I will not name, I found out that brand had a common ingredient of menthol. What menthol does is it dries out your lips, making you use more product, which then makes the company more money. With this in mind, I was super excited to find Burt’s Bees. I found that Burt’s was more moisturizing and contained natural peppermint oils to give it a minty sensation along with nourishing beeswax as the main ingredient. I don’t feel as though my lips are super dry when I am without this balm. That to me is the true test.
Another great minty balm, which is a favorite if mine if you couldn’t tell, is EO’s Organic Peppermint Lip Balm. EO is a family owned and operated  company founded on the principle of using organic ingredients to make high quality personal products. My best friend gave me a tube of this balm and I got instantly hooked on the slick and smooth application as well as the mild and minty taste. It is totally nourishing and full of shea butter and jojoba as well as avocado and coconut oils.
These are my three favorties over the past few years. Non-drying, natural, and nourishing to the body, these balms have stood up to my rigorous expectations!
What is your favorite lip balm? We would love to hear your recommendations!

ContestsName the Dress Contest #46!

When: This new unnamed and adorable dress needs to be named to be put online tomorrow evening!! (see above picture for this weeks’ dress)!

What: Monday through Tuesday by 5:00 PM PST enter your idea for a name for the dress presented! The winner will be announced tomorrow evening when the product goes up online!!

Where: Enter to win (as many times as you’d like!!) on our blog by leaving a comment with your name idea below.

PrizeYour name on a dress on and a $50 Gift Card!!!

BeautyProm Hair How-To: The Half-Up, Half-Down ‘Do

Good morning lovely Lulus ladies! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter with friends or family and are now fully charged for the week ahead!
As promised, my post today is the second installment in the Prom Hair How-To Series. For this look, I wanted to create a style that had a bit of a retro feel to it, a la Brigitte Bardot.
However, I also wanted it to be modern and classy enough to wear with a fancy dress to a prom or dance. My lovely friend Sarah was gracious enough to be my hair model this time, and together we came up with a look that (I hope!) mixes vintage, glamor, and elegance and only takes about twenty to thirty minutes to pull off.
In honor of our lovely sixties siren, I used Picnik‘s photo editor to make the photos look like they were from an old camera. Pardon my cheesiness, and hope you enjoy!
What You Need:
Curling Iron (1.5″ inch is good for big, round curls)
Bobby Pins (the color of your hair is best)
Claw Clips or Something Else to Section off Hair
Hair Spray
Headband or Ribbon
Step 1:  Starting at the bottom of the head, curl hair into big ringlets. It’s okay if the root stays straight because you’re going to flatten it out later anyway.
Step 2:  Once hair is fully curled, hairspray! These curls are going to get a bit mushed later, so they need staying power.
Step 3: Part hair at either the side or the middle. Using clips, section off the first third of the crown and your bangs. Brush the rest of the hair backwards.
Step 4: With a comb, gather small pieces of the swept-back hair and gently tease them to create volume. Push gently so you don’t damage the hair. (Note:  it also helps to blow dry your crown with some volumizing spray before you curl it.)
Step 5:  Continue around the crown of the head until you get a gentle poof all around.
Step 6: Leaving the front third of hair sectioned off, gently gather one side of the poofed hair, leaving a small chunk hanging loose, and secure with a bobby pin.
Step 7: Do the same on the other side, making sure to cover all bobby pins.
Step 8:  Gently twist back the loose strands from each side and overlap them to create a soft, twisted look like below. (If your hair is thick enough, you can twist the hair the first time without leaving strands loose. Sarah’s hair is fine, so we pinned the hair back first and then added the twists.)
Step 9: Unclip one section of the front third and comb it smooth. Leave bangs loose if you have any.
Step 10: Gently pull hair smoothly behind ear…
Step 11:  …and pin at nape of neck, under the loose curls. Do the same on the other side.
Step 12:  Add a sparkly headband or a pretty ribbon (you can leave bangs loose or hairspray them to the side, as we did), and you’re done!
Step 13:  Here is the look from the other side.
Step 14:  Ready for prom!
Step 15:  (Optional) In case you get really hot from all that dancing or you just want your hair off of your neck, stash an extra bobby pin or two in your purse for a quick side ‘do. Simply gather hair to the side and shove in a bobby pin upwards from the nape of the neck.
Step 16 (Optional):  Let the curls hang over the bobby pin, and ta-da! Two looks in one!
 And there you go! Another style to pair with your perfect prom dress and shoes!
What do you think ladies? Will you try a style like this?