Listen up, Indy

Listen up, Indy! I’ve got a challenge for you…

If you’ve been with this blog from the beginning (our existence hasn’t been too long), you have quickly realized how much music means to both me and Arin. For me, music is much more than listening…it’s an experience.

The Glass Identity Crisis interview for Local Music Only

Case in point, almost all of my major life moments and memories can be attached to a song. Even more, a simple song can bring back the smells, the scenes, the sounds and the moments of times long forgotten.

When I am sad, I listen to music. When I am happy, I listen to music. When I am angry, frustrated, bored, content, working out, reading, writing, driving…I am listening to music. It is literally all around me.

But even further than listening, being a part of the music obsessed club is taking part in the act of supporting, growing and being a champion of music and the bands you love. I take this to heart. If there is a new band that I can’t stop listening to (and yes, I do get obsessive and oftentimes listen to a favorite artist over and over again), I am the first person to pass that information to anyone I know that would enjoy that particular artist.

Ryan M. Brewer at the Sounds that Matter Couch Sessions

So, what does this have to do with Indianapolis? Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure to attend a lot of really cool musical events. From sitting on the floor and watching a “Couch Session” for a fantastic website called, Sounds That Matter, to interviewing some of the best local bands in Indy and asking on who they are, what they do and where they are going for a website called Local Music Only, I have been immersed into an exciting culture where talent and drive run rampant. Simply put, it is invigorating, exciting and inspiring.

One of my favorite questions was, “what do you like and how would you improve the local Indy music scene?” More often than not the same answer is given in some way, shape or form. The community isn’t where it needs to be. And by community that is more than just the fans, it’s the musicians, the local venues, local radio, local papers and local music champions/enthusiasts. It’s got to be LOCAL. Right now we’ve got the foundation. Radio stations X103 and 92.3 do a fantastic job of reaching out to the local musicians and becoming their champion. I love that as a listener and I love that as a resident of Indianapolis.

The Last Good Year interview for Local Music Only

This brings me to my final thought, a challenge to my fellow music lovers and musicians in Indianapolis. What’s stopping us? What’s stopping us from being the next Nashville, Austin, Omaha and Detroit? Surely it isn’t that we don’t lack the passion, the fire and drive to support our local musicians? We’ve got the talent. We’ve got the fans. We’ve got the drive. So let’s make it happen! It starts with us…

Check out the folks that are already starting the movement:

Local Music Only
Sounds that Matter
Six4Six
X103

The local bands that you need to check out:

The Last Good Year
Ryan M. Brewer
The Glass Identity Crisis
The Holland Account
Grace@Arms
Goliathon

Until next time…rock out!

Erin

Picture proof of me geeking out. Sad trombone.

PS-It is with great joy to say that over the weekend, I turned from confident rockstar into babbling tweenager after meeting one of my favorite Indy dj’s, Deuce from X103.

Re-think, re-define, re-everything?

As I write this, I have four large binders sprawled across my desk full of old media and press kits that span back to 2002. Like well-decorated generals, each kit is flagged and covered in post-it notes of what I believe works and doesn’t as it relates to design, verbiage and format.

The littered desk of a person with OCD. Ouch.

And as much as I hate to admit it, I am spinning my wheels trying to figure out how to bring our media kit (or as I like to call it…my company’s handshake) into an age where technology is constantly changing and evolving and those that are left behind are bound to never catch up.

For the last three years, I have been chomping at the bit to re-do our media kit. For the last three years, I always made it a point to bring plausible ideas, concepts and designs to every planning meeting, only to be hit with the phrase “if it ain’t broke…”

Finally, I got my wish. Finally, I am able to re-think they way we present ourselves to our industry. Finally, I can place QR-codes on all the pages and link them to innovative videos where I am holding the company logo wearing my black Chucks and thick framed glasses explaining how we are the future of the industry and by working with us you become the future.

Finally, I’ll be able to create so much white space that I will only have one word on each sheet and when it is all is placed together a simple phrase will be spelled out…”advertise with us—just do it.”

Finally, I can develop that mobile app, beef up our website, really blow out our social media efforts and make a change to the way we face our clients and how they view us. We will be hip, quirky, zany, fun and it will all show in our media kit. In the words of the late (and great…don’t hate) Michael Jackson, “This is it.”

Yet, here I am amongst my piles of notes, concept comps and sample designs, somewhat befuddled. With my notion to re-think, re-define and re-everything, at one point will I lose the voice of my company’s mission? Will our message fall short behind the glitz, glamor and smoke of being “hip and cool?”

For that I do not have the answer, but I do know one important thing when it comes to a redesign. As a marketing professional it is my job, my purpose to keep our identity and mission in tact and well promoted. So I leave this question to you, my faithful rockstar readers; when you are able to “choose your own adventure” in a redesign (of anything), how do you approach it? At what point do you move from the “now what” to the “here we are?” I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time!

Peace out cub scouts,

Erin

A 3 year old could run your marketing department.

Now, don’t be offended by the title. I’m sure your marketing department is just fine…I’m sure they have mad skills. This post is simply to explain something that’s been on my mind as I’ve watched my three year old step daughter interact with the world.

First, to explain where I’m coming from let’s look at the definition of marketing (because well, there’s nothing like going back to the basics):

Marketing:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. (Approved October 2007)

I’ve pulled from this definition what I believe to be the most important words in today’s marketing environment.

  • Creating
  • Communication
  • Delivering
  • Exchanging

    Imagination Mateys.

  • Value

So what can a three year old teach us about the five words above?

Creating

Anyone who has, knows or has ever been around a small child knows they have wild imaginations. Something we lose as adults when the analytical side

of our brains kick in. But the next time your around a kid, just sit back and watch them. Watch them create things with their minds that we can’t even

fathom. Watch as they draw a picture of what looks like scribbles and dots but to them is a creation of inexplicable wonder. Watch as they play with those action figures and

build magical worlds of heroes and heroines. Listen as they talk about what they want to be and where they want to go, as it is an expression of the endless possibilities they see in life. So the next time you lose inspiration on a project or hit a creative block- take note from a kid. Think outside the box. Never lose your imagination. Take a risk. Don’t take the power of creation for granted. What have you created lately that you’re proud of?

“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible” – Arthur C Clarke, Author & Inventor

Communication

Work and play makes for fun all day!

Have you ever had a problem knowing exactly what a three year old wants, when, where, how and why? Me either.  Watching a kid communicate can be fascinating. As frustrating as the stubborn, nearly narcissistic behavior can be, we always now what they are thinking. They want juice, not milk because milk comes from cows and they don’t want to take all the cow’s milk away. They fell down and now are “wounded” …you know like Mulan. They can’t take a bath right now because Dora isn’t over (but 30 seconds later when the credits roll it’s okay). They want to read 2 books at bedtime…by

themselves. Whatever it may be and whatever crazy explanation is behind it- we always know what they want. What about you? Does your audience know exactly what you’re pitching,

Who's the boss?

when, where, how and why?

Delivering

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that a three year old’s delivery is better than yours…I’ll let you make that decision for yourself. Despite the episodes of raging fits or innate need to yell “Mommy” or “Daddy” at the top of their lungs just so you can turn their light on, kids have impeccable delivery. Think about it. “I love you so much, Arin…We can have chocolate?” Notice this wasn’t phrased a question. It was more like butter me up and politely suggest in a questioning voice that we can have chocolate. Or how about “Spongebob’s on!” Notice the subtle excitement

about letting me know her favorite show is on. Or my personal favorite after doing something she’s not supposed to or causing an accident: “I’m so sorry, I’m not in trouble.” Kids know, or at least they think they know, exactly how to deliver what they are communicating to get what they want from us. Again, there is a degree of narcissism we can leave out as adults. But, when’s the last time you thought about the delivery of your message?

Exchanging

Exchange: To give and receive reciprocally. Who better to know the power of exchanging than a three year old, who, thus far in life, has built relationships on reward systems and give and take.  Eat half of your peas and you get a piece of candy. Go potty all day an

Smile. It will make someone's day.

d get a cupcake. Be good all year and get sweet presents from Santa. Kids know what they are doing when it comes to exchange. Have you ever seen a three year old perk up when negotiating exchange? The excitement they get out of getting that toy for helping daddy clean the yard or that piece of candy for eating all their veggies, is unmatched by us as adults. Do we really believe what we have is worth the exchange? If so, what would happen if we got as excited about landing that client as a three year old does about candy?

Value

Recently, my step daughter slammed an entire cup of milk. Not a big deal for most three year olds except she swears she doesn’t like milk. So why did she drink it? She saw the value. After drinking it in maybe three huge gulps (undoubtedly to get through it as quickly and painlessly as possible), she says “Now I will get big and I will be a big girl.” Now, did she really know that what they mean is that milk will gradually build your bones and keep you healthy as you grow up? No. She more than likely thought she would wake up in the morning two feet taller and in school already. But that’s beside the point. Children see value in the most miniscule of things we take for granted daily. Whether it be milk making them big and strong, pushing the bubble mower across the lawn to help daddy keep it nice and neat or keeping lights off to save “nergi” (that’s energy for those of you who don’t speak three year old), kids are very aware of the value of what they do on a daily basis. Do we? Are we sitting back and making sure what we do is of value to our clients, company’s, and networks?

I hope you found value in the little reminders I provided here. And remember, the next time your around a child, pay attention. You just might learn something.

Until we meet again,

Arin

Cupcakes, music…kapow!

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you two of my favorite addictions are sugar (in all forms and sizes…I do not discriminate) and music (seems to be a reoccurring theme of this blog these days).

More often than not,  I find myself combining these two delicious and delectable  interests to create a fantastic mash-up of rock n’ roll tunes and tummy pleasing treats.

So without further ado, I present to you Erin’s Boozy Air-Guitar Cupcakes (also known as, Bailey’s Irish Cream Cupcakes) and the playlist that went along with it!

Enjoy and be sure to comment and let me know how you like the songs and the cupcakes (if you dare to make them!)

Note: Check out the starred bands.  They are local to Indiana and will definitely make your ears happy!

xoxo,

Erin

The Playlist:

Tunes to Bake To

An odd mix for an odd recipe.

People in Planes– Get on the Flaw
Satellite Stories-Helsinki Art Scene
The Whigs-Kill Me Carolyne
Grace@Arms-Brighter Days*
Horse Feathers-Starving Robins
We Were Promised Jetpacks-Short Bursts
Flogging Molly-Black Friday Rule
The Fallow (Ryan M. Brewer)- My Evil Ways*
Win With Willard-Sympathy*
Murder by Death-The Desert is on Fire*
Cursive-The Recluse
The Distillers-The Young Crazed Peeling


Bailey's Cupcakes

You're going to want to bottle the yummy smell up and save it for later!

The Cupcakes:

2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
12 tbsp butter, at room temperature
2 whole eggs + 2 egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream

For the Bailey’s Buttercream:
1 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp Bailey’s Irish Cream

Ta da!

Frost those suckers and pig out!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add eggs and egg whites one at a time, beating on low between each addition. Add vanilla.

Add flour slowly in 3 additions, alternating with Bailey’s, starting and ending with flour.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake 15-17 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

While still warm, brush a little bit of Bailey’s on the tops of each cupcake.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, beat butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, until completely mixed. Add the Bailey’s and beat until well combined.

Poke holes in the tops of the cupcakes and brush some Bailey’s on each before frosting.

Load frosting into a piping bag fit with a large tip and decorate as desired.

Unsung rockstar

“…you now must find your passion and pursue it with gusto! What makes you happy? What wakes you up in the morning with the feeling that you can’t wait to get started? Pursue your dreams with a single mindedness and uncompromising faith in yourself. Go forward in life with faith in yourself and the knowledge that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to…”‑Rick Couch, my dad.

My dad grew up in Greenfield, Indiana. He was the eldest of four in a blue collar family that worked with their hands and souls to get food on the table and to keep the lights on in the house. My dad was also the first in his family to go to college; surprisingly against my grandparents’ wishes who felt working at the local foundry would make a better life for him.

Rick Couch

My dad...the long lost Allman Brother

My dad paid for his books and tuition by working in a factory and bar-tending up until he graduated at ISU.

My father is my hero and as with many other phenomenal, hardworking dads out there, he will never receive the notoriety other “dads” may get. My dad may not be on stage with a guitar in his hands, rocking out to millions of people screaming his name…but he is my own personal rockstar. For that I will always be grateful and indebted to the man with a heart of a lion that has always listened to my worries, held my hand when I was scared, was smart enough to lead me when I needed to be led and brave enough to let me stumble into the path of “life’s hard educational lessons.”

So to sum things up and to go along with Arin’s fantastic post about her father, here is my Soundtrack of Rick Couch and the memories that fall along with these epic songs.

The Allman Brothers “Jessica”

If you couldn’t tell from the first picture above, my dad was a little bit of a rocker.  “Jessica” will always remind me of being crammed in the backseat of my parents Berretta and traveling up to northern Indiana to my grandparent’s farm. My dad is famously tone deaf and he would always hum along, off-key and off-rhythm while banging his fingers against the steering wheel to the main hook of  “Jessica.”

Eric Clapton “White Room”

Yes, I have air-guitared with my dad and it was to this song. Eric Clapton, Derek and the Dominos, Cream…were on a constant rotation growing up, but this song…this song is what will always remind me of my dad. I can almost picture him now, knee up on the ottoman, head bent, eyes closed and fingers strumming the air to one of the best guitar riffs in rock n’ roll.

Billy Joel “The Downeaster Alexa”

My dad used to sing this to me when I was little before I went to bed. I will always hear this song and be comforted, immediately.

Mark Knopfler “Darling Pretty”

When I was in middle school I was suddenly very ill and a lot of times I had to be picked up from school and taken home. It was a very rough time on my whole family and my dad would always put this song on when he’d tuck me into bed before going back to work.

Joe Cocker “You Are So Beautiful”

Rick Couch and O

Dad with my niece...that's a whole 'lotta love, right there.

We aren’t a very sentimental family and we normally stay away from conversations that would ultimately lead to happy tears and smiles. But one summer at a family reunion up at a lodge in northern Indiana, only a few miles down the road from my mom’s family farm, we were sitting outside on the porch,  smacking mosquitoes, drinking beer and listening to music. This song came on and my dad, placed his beer down, took a long hard puff of his cigar and said that one day he hopes to dance with me on my wedding day to this song. Cue happy tears and smiles.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Father’s Day. Next post is covering my favorite boozy cupcake recipes, new music you MUST listen to and the best deals in Indianapolis.

Peace out rockstars!

Erin

Music, Moments & My dad.

By now you have realized that music is the utmost passion of my soul. If you didn’t know, you haven’t been paying very close attention or you’re new around here. So I’ll say it again. Music is the utmost passion of my soul. My parents swear I started singing before I could talk, I asked for a piano before a Barbie and a new guitar instead of a car. I was in my first musical at age 5 (the teddy bear brigade in the Anderson Mainstage Theater production of Teddy & Alice.). I started singing in a professionally trained choir when I was 7 (Anderson Area Childrens Choir). I was the president of my show choir in high school. I studied jazz & popular music at the University of Hull in England while in college. Now, I could go on and on about my musical accomplishments and how kick ass I am- but then you would wonder why this post is called “Music, Moments & My dad” so I’ll restrain it for now.

For those of you that think you are smart and can predict where I’m going with this- “My dad was the biggest inspiration of my musical life and I wouldn’t have music without him, blah blah blah.”

Wrong.

I would have music without my dad because music is the utmost passion of MY SOUL, not his. However, my dad did teach me at a young age to find that passion, whatever it may be, and never let it go. So this post is a tribute to my dad- in song. Those top 20 bands, songs and musical moments that have reminded me of him throughout my life. I love you, dad- mullet and all. 🙂

In no particular order:

Alvin & the Chipmunks – Yes, I listened to this on vinyl record as a child. My dad sang the Christmas song in his best chipmunk voice every year.

Shirly Temple – As if it wasnt bad enough that I was obsessed as a child, my dad sat through every 2 hour movie I owned with me…at least 5 times.

Amazing Grace – This was alway my dads favorite song to hear me sing when I was young, even though I always tried to sing like Leanne Rimes.

Grease – One of my favorite musicals growing up. I can still see dad mocking the scene in the auto garage…smooth like Grease Lightnin.

Foreigner– The first cassette tape my dad ever gave me.

The Spice Girls– My first concert. Yes my dad took me. Yes he danced.

Elton John, Crocodile Rock. – This was one of the first songs I learned on my keyboard as a kid. The keys lit up which notes to play. My dad always sang along.

REO Speedwagon – I still remember the day my dad told me boy bands have always been around. “REO was our version of that whiny sh*t they put out there now”

Michael Bolton – My dad always rolled his eyes and left the room when my mom would blare Mr. Bolton during spring cleaning.

James Taylor – One of the best things my dad ever did for me.

ZZ Top– My dad liked to play a game in the car when we were kids. He would turn up a song real loud on Q95 and when it was over he would turn it off and ask us who is was. It wasnt until later in life I realized that 99% of the time it was ZZ Top.

The Commitments Soundtrack– A good portion of my early 90’s musical influence. Mustang Sally, Try a Little Tenderness…I’ll stop here for fear of embarrassing the old, er…young, man.

Stevie Nicks, Janis Joplin, & Heart – The three female acts my dad always loved. I guess there is a reason I started smoking cigars in college to try and make my voice sound more like Janis Joplin. Don’t worry dad, no one blames you 😉

Motley Crue, Smokin in the Boys Room – The day I realized this may have been my dad’s theme song in high school.

Johnny Cash, A Boy Named Sue – There was a good chunk of my middle school years where this was constantly playing in the car.

Ray Stevens – My dad showed my brother and I this video compilation of his when we were kids. We watched it so much it stopped working. “oh yeah they called him the streak…”

Joe Cocker– Dad just loves Joe. The father/daughter dance at my wedding was to his version of “You are so beautiful”.

Any country music from the 1990’s – I was a shy and awkward elementary student…my dad would line dance in my living room when I would have friends over to loosen me, and everyone else, up. Talk about sacrifice.

The Other Side of Grace – My first album. Yes I recorded an album. I was 18, it was terrible, but my dad was so proud.

ACDC– Simply one of my dad’s all time favs and for good reason. Also, when I was a kid I had no idea what they said in “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. I would always say “Dirty Deeds” really loud and trail off with made up words so my dad would think I was cool.

So there you have it. Me, my dad and our musical journey through life…so far.  Thank you, dad, for showing me passion, excepting mine in music and encouraging me to pursue it with all my heart.

Have a happy Fathers Day, stop reading this and go spend some time with your family! 🙂

Cheers,

Arin

The Three B’s.

A blonde, a brunette and a blog.

Erin here and if there is one thing you need to take away from this post it would be that I love alliteration.

I love it so much that I can even describe myself in an amazing alliterative phrase: A bitchy, brazen and brainy bottle-blonde bent on beer, books and blogs.

The alarmingly awesome and awe inspiring Arin and I will be serving up the best of the best of what we think you should know about: music, marketing (it’s what we do…we are obsessed) clothes, food, cupcakes, books, antiques, vintage, bad etiquette, rock n’ roll and whatever else we feel like saying.

Guaranteed you’ll laugh, learn and be crying out for more, more, more (Billy Idol…the original brazen blonde).

So grab a beer (I suggest a fantastic local favorite called the Hubbard & Cravens Porter by the Thr3e Wise Men Brewery ) or a crown on the rocks (whiskey makes the world better and much more entertaining) and enjoy the ride because you’re about to get rocked!

Hasta luego rockstars,

Erin