Lennon & Maisy sing “That’s What’s Up,” OR: Why I Can’t Get This Song Out of My Head

I usually speed right past this kind of stuff on Facebook, but when my sister-in-law posted this video I clicked on it for 2 reasons:

1. She dedicated her post to my brother, John, along with her friends and family.

FB CM edited

2. I knew that if she liked it, I would like it, too. And it wouldn’t be some corny piece of crap.

I can’t imagine ever being this crazy talented, especially as a kid. But these two sisters sing so beautifully, and so well together, that this song is an instant Happy-Place earworm, as Linda Holmes likes to say. The song, “That’s What’s Up,” is originally by a band called Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Where the original reminds me of a tinny ode to School House Rock,  the girls’ version has a much more pure, sweet vocal melody and an engaging, natural performance.

Why can’t I get this song out of my head? Just listen; you’ll see what I mean:

Watching these girls, it reminds me of my Goddaughter and her sister – you can tell the girls love each other. It’s clear that Lennon & Maisy have been singing together since they were little (which you can see in their youtube videos). Their joy is evident.

And it scares the hell out of me.

Because they ARE so talented, I dread some skeevy “talent manager” getting a hold of them, and before you know it,  we see Lennon and Maisy wearing too much hair & makeup and stylist-induced designer outfits on The Today Show, like some E! network wannabes. And they get all stupid and slutty and spoiled.

PLEASE DON’T LET THAT HAPPEN! Please, parents of Lennon and Maisy, you seem like good people, you seem to be doing a great job raising these kids so far. I have to say, I have never heard of these two before they landed in my Facebook feed. (The duo are regulars on the series “Nashville,” and have made several television appearances.) So far, they are already off to a good start :) keep up the good work.

Don’t sell them out, don’t let them loose in the Hollywood machine. Care for them, raise them, make them do their homework, make them work shitty jobs to pay for their new car, make them respect themselves and their bodies, and don’t let them turn into slutty little brats.

miley cyrus before and after

Just let them grow up to be themselves.

If you’re still on the fence as to whether you like them or not, this song will definitely sell you.


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Thanks for stopping by (San Diego),



Catching up

This site is experiencing technical difficulties. If you are having problems viewing photos, please be patient, I’m working on it. Thanks!

I can’t believe how fast this year is going. We are already a week away from midterms. The Barrett-Jackson car show, the Phoenix Open, and the Arabian Horse Show have come and gone. It’s getting ready to be spring, and we’ve only just had our first rain of the year. Probably one of the more perfect times in our corner of the desert, and what people fall in love with when they come for a visit. Especially with the kind of winter everyone has been suffering through this year! Polar vortex indeed.

Chicago, I love you. But I’m so glad I’m not there right now.

It makes me glad to be here, but at the same time the snowbirds glory in our 80° February, what they don’t realize is that even for us, it’s unseasonably warm – and dry. It harkens to a tough year ahead for fire season, drought, habitat loss, and stress on wildlife. Not to mention a scorching May – September. I’m trying not to think of that now, and just revel in the glory of living someplace snow-and-windchill free.

salt margaritas

I feel a blog re-vamp coming on (again), so look for some changes coming up. While I have loved using WordPress.org, and having the customization freedom it offers, I am frustrated by the fact that when I read through some of my posts, half the time the pictures don’t show up (WTF?). And the whole hosting situation is a pain in the rear. So I’m looking to move the whole operation over to another web hosting site, hopefully with lots of improvements.

I’m taking Austin Kleon‘s advice from STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST, and stealing ideas for how to make this site better. Austin sends out occasional newsletters with a quick update on his projects, along with links to interesting things he’s found on the internet recently. Alex Yeske from Dreams + Jeans blogs beautiful pictures and product recommendations. I really like how both of these bloggers give a succinct post, paired with images, and suggestions from around the web, and hope to implement their best practices here. 

I’d also like to make to make this site better for YOU, my readers. Any comments? Suggestions on improvements? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.

Here are some recent photos:

My work wall before a re-do
my new workspace, ready for inspiration
a typography sketch
this is from my life drawing class.
I draw naked people.
one of the best things about Arizona: sunsets.
my chickens decided to lay their eggs in the compost pile.
more typography practice
another sunset :)
juniper, our new puppy, likes to hang out with Keira while she eats.
wax barbie molds I’m working on for a sculpture project.
me, posing in sculpture class – trying to figure out how to pose Barbie for my sculpture. Suffering for your art means sometimes exposing your true dorkiness.
barbie parts, a tree, and a desk…hmmm, what will it be? Stay tuned.
My #1 Monkey, winning a soccer game. Love the color combo.
I told him his Polish was showing :)
My #2 Monkey, hogging my spot. That’s ok. No matter how big they get, I still like to watch them sleep.
a birthday present for my sister-in-law. I’ve been really inspired by a uk artist found here: http://lexwilson.co.uk/
My first non-school exhibition
pretty mama Chroicoragh ♡
A reader came to visit. She’d never seen Gypsy Horses in person, and we had a great time playing with the girls. Thanks, Jordan!


Free Publicity? No Way! (Ok, but you have to buy me shoes)

If you have a blog, website, are a newly published author or some other type of quasi-professional needing free publicity, and would like your farm or book or thing featured, please send your website and email address to: wcgypsy(at)me.com or use contact form below. You will be contacted when space becomes available. I am also interested in emerging artists, and would be happy to consider adding a “gallery” category to the blog.

If you have a strong dislike for swearing and brutal honesty, you probably won’t like my site.

Writers: If you have an idea for a guest post, please send me a brief pitch and a link to your blog so I can see what your writing is like. With your post, you will get a link back to your site, social media promotion for the week it is posted and I expect the same from you. We help each other out. wcgypsy(at)me.com Make sure your idea fits in my blog somehow. No religion-themed writing accepted.

Only those with a website or blog will be considered. (If all you have is a Facebook fan page, step up your game and get serious. Facebook is essential for social media, but it does not substitute for your own website. There are tons of free hosting platforms. I recommend WordPress.com or Tumblr. My site is run on a self-hosted WordPress.org platform which I don’t recommend unless you: 1. really know your computer shit, in which case you already know about wordpress.org; or, 2. you are completely crazy, like me.) (Update: I no longer use wordpress.org for this site, but wordpress.com. I use Squarespace for my art portfolio site.)

I do not do paid promotions, I recommend things that I personally like and do not hire out my opinion. Anything and everything on my site that links to another site is either because it is information that I myself find useful; or I am giving credit to a source; or I know the author or business owner PERSONALLY and by talking about their craft, service or linking to their business, I am giving them my personal support.

If you like what you read or would like to thank me for linking to you or talking about you, Please reciprocate by sending people to my site.

Here is a link: http://westceltgypsy.com

(To share a link, right-click on the link, choose “copy” from the drop-down menu, open up a new email message, and in the body of the message, right-click again, choose “paste” from the drop-down menu, and a copy of the link should appear. Then put “Check out this awesome website!” in the subject line, and mail it to as many people as you know. You can also paste the link into your facebook status or tweet about it or PIN ALL THE THINGS!)

Also, I wear size 7 ½ shoes.



Bear with me

So…thank you to my readers. It’s been almost two months since my last post, and I can see by my stats that I still have readers, so, really – Thank You.

I have been working on my latest post for a while – it’s a tough one, and not quite ready. But I felt I should at least check in with you and give you something. I don’t know why…like your lives are so empty and meaningless with out my mindless blathering…

The past month has been filled with life-altering change. One  I’ll address later but the other (and both changes happened within a 24-hour period of each other) is that I am now a full-time college student. I’ll be talking a lot about that, but in the meantime, until the new post is ready I thought I’d give you a few things to read.

For my bookish readers, I must recommend two sites by my very dear friends and critique partners. (If you don’t know what a critique partner is: they are the very special people who you somehow trust enough to read your precious, precious manuscript-in-progress and love it when they point out to you the crappy parts that need fixing.)

PBookCrazy.com – Crazy about Picture Books


My friend Dawn is a picture book NUT, and will soon have her own manuscript gracing many an elementary students’ shelves. Her writing is so full of energy, character, and heart that kids will love it as much as Mo Willems or even Dr. Seuss. This is her ode to her chosen medium.

RMcCormackWrites.blogspot.com – Rhonda McCormack’s author site

You first met my friend Rhonda in my interview here. She is really getting some steam underway with the release of her YA mystery, Wildflowers. If you haven’t stopped by her site yet, now’s a good time, because she’s having a giveaway! Check it out.

And if you’re new to my site, I thought I’d pull a few favorites from the archives:

Focus, in which I discuss the useless information that may one day come in handy if you’re ever on Jeopardy.

Colicky Babies and Rookie Mistakes, in which I discuss horse colic, and show an embarrassing photo of myself, circa 1982.

What’s in a Name? Part I, in which I correlate Brock Lesnar, Maddox Jolie-Pitt, the storybook Heidi, and a vintage perfume commercial.

No, really.

So, enjoy reading, and bear with me. I’ll have something new soon.

Thanks for stopping by.



Frampton Comes Alive, Food, and Divorce.

Remember albums? Listening to a whole collection of songs, from A side to B? When’s the last time you listened to Frampton Comes Alive?

My brother John is going through his CD collection and rediscovering the joy of listening to an entire album uninterrupted. Recently I was lucky enough to be there for this classic, and while we jammed to Frampton, I put together a little nosh, and played with a new app: Evernote Food.

Evernote Food is an app for your smartphone. On it, you can document a meal: dinner out with friends, a new gourmet recipe you’re trying, or just hanging out with your bro, like I did here. Click to see our amazing meal of crackers and fresh midwestern cheese:

Our Dinner in the Woods

I think the idea of the Evernote Food app is to document more expertly-prepared food, but I used it just to document our time together. Which we don’t have often enough.

If you’ve read this post about my brother, you know that he was diagnosed with a brain tumor last December. He and I have lived 1800 miles apart since I was a sophomore in high school. It’s been hard to live so far away from one of the few people on the planet who knows you better than anyone else.

It’s even harder when you know you should be spending more time with them, being a part of their everyday life; a regular face among their crowd of friends gathered for drinks on a Tuesday night for no good reason. You should be a part of that.

When somebody in the group says, “Hey, remember that time we ___?” You should remember it because you should have been there. But you weren’t because you wound up six states away, one of the cons of your parents divorce.

If it sound like I’m a little bitter, I am. Divorce is just one of those things. When you’re a kid and it happens, you just have to make the best of it, like this scene from Talladega Nights:

Dad: Kids, we’re getting divorced.
Kids: Yay! Two Christmases!

But as you get older, and are raising your own family, you begin to think of the decisions your parents made. Right around the time your kids get to be the same age you were when your own parents split up, you start looking at the situation with new eyes.

You think, Would I have made the same decision? Would I have done things differently? Would I have split up my family?

I don’t know. It’s over 30 years ago for our family, and the repercussions still echo. At least they do for me and John. It’s hard. I mean, when you see people together who are obviously miserable, but are keeping it together “for the kids” sometimes you just want to tell them, oh give up already!

But then you see those same kids at the airport, with their backpacks and boarding passes, off to see their other parent. The one they don’t live with. The one who carries pictures in their wallet and shows the ladies at church or the guys at the work, “Here’s my kid,” in a wistful sort of I-wish-I-was-picking-him-up-at-the-schoolbus-stop-instead-of-the-airport sort of way.

And you wonder: If this parent knew how it would be, would they re-think that divorce? Probably not. I know in our case it would not have been different. But I just wonder sometimes. It’s hard not to. Wonder, I mean.

So John and I will do what we’ve done for so long, and continue to make the best of it. We will visit whenever we can. And unlike some siblings who’ve been able to grow up together and as adults, do nothing but fight with each other, we cherish our time together. We eat cheese and apples and double-dipped chocolate malted milk balls and call each other disgusting names and rock out. To Frampton.

What’s YOUR favorite listen-all-the-way-through album?  John can add it to his list – Leave it in the comments section below.

Get this App – Clearly

I’ve been playing around with some apps lately, and I came across one I have to recommend: Clearly by Evernote. I’ll be getting more into Evernote in another post, but for now, check out


I wasn’t too sure about it at first and was hesitant to try it since I don’t like to clutter up my mac with things I don’t need. But it’s so simple and beautiful. here’s what clearly does.

It will take a webpage that looks like this:

And make it look like this:

No Clutter, no flashing ads. Easy-to-read content.

And all it takes is putting a little extension button in your browser bar:

So easy. Try it! Your eyes will thank you.

Disclosure: I receive NOTHING from Evernote or Clearly. These are just my own un-paid recommendations. If you work for Evernote and want to send me presents, that would be awesome.


Welcome to the Barn – New Site Launch!

It has been a long, long journey to get here. As I write this I am listening to Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation,” and putting the finishing touches on this here brand new site that you are reading right now. Any posts dated prior to this are from my old Blogger address. Blogger has served me well the past few years, and was a great place to start a blog*. But the time had come to move on.

I had been considering a move to WordPress for awhile. While I loved my Blogger site, it was getting a bit outdated and cluttered. And when reading other blogs, I kept seeing themes and design that were just so  beautiful, modern, and streamlined.

beautiful, modern, and streamlined

During this time, Blogger had completely re-done their format with new design features and offered newer, more modern templates. Even a pretty cool Dynamic View feature. But I was still frustrated by limitations of design customization. So I started this: whenever I was out surfing the web, and came across a blog that had a professional-looking, beautiful and easy-to-funtion site, I would scroll all the way down to the bottom of the webpage, and look for the attribution, and this is what I usually found:

from "Your Guide for Moving from Blogger to WordPress" by Dave Clements

And then something else happened: Apple decided to move their MobileMe service over to iCloud.  I had been using my MobileMe account for email, and as a website host for my domain (www.westceltgypsy.com) ever since I moved from Homestead.com, where I first started my online career. So not only was I already looking at a new blog design, but now I was being forced to find a new web host as well. Up til now, my stand-alone site for my horses and my blog were two separate sites.

my old website, built with Apple's iWeb
my old Blogger blog

What I really wanted to do, if I was going to go through all this trouble anyway, was to take my horse website (westceltgypsy) and my blog (Chroi and Me) and blend them into one.

So I started really looking in to WordPress. Now for those of you new to it, there are TWO WordPresses:

  1. WordPress.com, where you can go and in about 10 minutes, have your very own blog for free, and
  2. WordPress.org, where you can go set up a self-hosted blog.

After starting with #1, WordPress.com, I got that same old Blogger frustration: I just couldn’t get it to look like I wanted it to look. I wanted certain fonts, certain design functions that I just couldn’t control at WP.com. So I looked into #2, WordPress.org, and although I knew it was going to be a HUGE learning curve, I decided to jump in.

*For those of you who are contemplating your own possible future in the blogoshpere, check around, and see what you prefer. There are other free blog sites out there (Live Journal), and some very nice pay-by-the-month sites (Typepad).  But my own recommendations, based on TONS of research, weeding out the garbage,  AND the fact that I am cheap, is this: stick with Blogger or WordPress.

Try Blogger if you:

  • are new to Blogging
  • need something simple; easy to learn and use
  • just need a free web presence that you can link to your other social media accounts
  • don’t know anything about code and don’t WANT to know
  • enjoy the power and reliability of Google (Blogger is powered by Google)

But go to WordPress if you:

  • are a little more web-savvy
  • are comfortable with tweaking a little bit of code every now and then (you don’t have to, but it helps)
  • are going for a more professional look (doesn’t look homemade; lots of design options)
  • like the idea of being part of something that is open-source
  • believe that this is just a jumping off point for you, and that in the future you will build your blog to something bigger and better

But most of all, like they say in the writing world, if you want to write a book, you need to read lots of books. If you want to start a blog, read lots of blogs. Find out what appeals to you, what turns you off; look at the attribution; read the comments; comment yourself. Be active and get involved. Just like the guy in the group that is so annoying because all he does is talk about himself, and promote his own projects, nobody likes the narcissistic blogger. You can only help yourself by being part of the conversation.

Why? Read on.

Right around the same time I started to learn WordPress.org, my bosses over at the catering company talked to me about helping them with their Social Media Marketing platform. At the time, they had a website, and a Facebook page that one of their kids had set up two years ago, and that no one could remember the password to. It had 6 likes. They were focused on just updating the Facebook page, but I told them that while Facebook is an incredible marketing tool, it is merely one spoke in the wheel of online marketing. I said, “You gotta have a blog.” Their response was, “Really?”


While the mainstream world is still just catching on to blogging (“what’s a blog again?”) and the blogosphere goes through hot-and-cold spells, it is my firm belief that a blog is the simplest, most important, and FREE online resource to entrepreneurs, artists, freelancers and just about anyone else who wants their presence known. Basically your blog is your online “hub,” where your audience can find you, and which links to all of your other internet “spokes”: your website, Facebook page (a Facebook fan page is different from your personal profile), your Twitter account (yes, you DO need to be on Twitter), your Pinterest page and more. More on all of that in an upcoming article.

I started online with a very homemade-looking website with Homestead.com, moved to a better looking site built with iWeb, started a blog with Blogger, a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and now this all-in-one totally sexy new WordPress self-hosted site. Along the way, I’ve sold 3 horses, started writing a novel, learned about writing, met some awesome people (who you will get to meet soon!), and now have others reading my work, and learning from me. In other words, I have been building an online presence, hopefully a positive one.

Part of the reason this latest chapter has taken so long is that I haven’t only been building one blog, I’ve been building two: this blog, the catering blog, plus a new Facebook Page and Twitter for them. Plus my fabulous job as a magazine and book merchandiser, driving for the caterers, feeding my boys and husband, laundry, housework, shopping, blah, blah, blah…yeah, I know, welcome to life in the 2010s, right? Everyone’s working about 12 jobs.

a delivery at one of my stores
your friendly neighborhood magazine lady

So to that end, I would like to say Thank You. Thanks for taking a little slice of ever-elusive time out of your busy day to stop by. I really do appreciate it. And I’m still surprised every time someone tells me that they read my blog. I still think it’s just me and my pajamas with a cup of coffee, blathering away into space. One thing that bloggers love? Comments. See that little box at the bottom of this page? Drop me a line, say hi, and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

For now, I am off on a much needed break. I’m heading up to the cool pines with my girl-friends for some R&R at a nice quiet, no wi-fi cabin. We will be reading gossip magazines, drinking wine, watching chick flicks and having pillow fights in our underwear.

Just kidding on that last one, wanted to make sure you were paying attention. :)

So welcome to the new WestCelt Gypsy/Chroi and Me site, please browse & read, and let me know what you think. I’ll be checking in on my phone.

Have a great weekend!