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The Circus Life Podcast

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The Circus Life Podcast

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Justin Trawick, myself, Levi Stephens & Nathan Cristler "Life is a circus and this is The Circus Life." Justin Trawick begins each of the podcasts he records with partner & co-host Sean Russell with this tagline before introducing Sean, the show's sponsors and the guests for the episode.

The Circus Life podcast airs its 35th episode today, with yours truly as a guest of the show along with the super talented Levi Stephens and Addverb Bottle Co. founder Nathan Cristler! The first Circus Life podcast aired on August 12, 2013 and all the episodes are available both on their website and via iTunes. I listen to the new episodes, which come out each week on Tuesday's, via the Podcasts App on my iPhone as I get ready for work. The episodes are comprised of interviews, stories and performances from musical acts, local business owners and generally interesting people who Justin and Sean come across in their daily lives (hence, my "in").

Justin is a local DC singer-songwriter and does quite a bit of work to help promote other local acts as well through his "The 9 Singer Songwriter Series" and a new video project with photographer/videographer Rafael Suanes, of RCS Photography, called "Unrehearsed DC" in addition to The Circus Life. He also has a band, Justin Trawick and the Common Good, with fiddler Pete Daniels, mandolin & banjo player Josh Himmlesbach and upright bassist Jean Finstad.

Sean is multi-platinum award-winning sound engineer (remember Paul Pfau from last week? Sean did his album, just as a point-of-reference for you, dear loyal reader). His bio lists his work with industry titans such as India Arie, Damien and Stephen Marley, Idan Raichel, KIX, Roy & Yvonne, and Dobe Gnahore.  He engineers for producers such as Gordon Chambers (Aretha Franklin), Rich Harrison (Christina Aguilera, J-Lo),  Jim Ebert (Butch Walker, Cowboy Mouth), Glen Ellis (TroubleFunk, Chuck Brown).

The podcast is recorded out of Cue Recording Studios in Falls Church and, though not the quickest trip from the city, I was happy to make the trek to Virginia for my first show recording a couple weeks ago. I studied Music Industry briefly at JMU and have spent a little time in the studio for various musical ventures. I have to admit, I was pretty excited to be back in the studio environment again.

yes, this is a car selfie. I forgot to take a studio selfie.

As I mentioned, I'm a fan of the show and have listened to most, if not all, the episodes, so I had a basic understanding of what I was getting into. I had never met Levi or Nathan before, and honestly, I think it was helpful to keeping the show interesting. Sometimes I think if people know each other too well, especially in a scenario where you are recording voices and don't have the option for video or audience participation, the participants may be too familiar with each other and make references to things that the listener may not understand. In our case, I think the fact that we didn't really know anything about each other allowed for genuine reactions and kept us engaged with each other while keeping it interesting for the audience.

Justin, with his trusty notebook containing all his guests' details

So, I'm not going to tell you about the show, because you should listen to it, but I will let you know that I personally chat about a lot of the different "hustles" I currently participate in - the DC MEETMarket, Ulysses Room and our amazing clients at Tea Time DC, event planning at Strawberry Milk Events and of course, this blog! I also tell my favorite WWII veteran story from when I used to run association reunions.

Murray & Sparky- you'll have to listen to the podcast to hear the story!

I am now accepting offers to work in radio by the way. Please comment below or contact me directly. Please & thank you.

I'll also be briefly appearing on next week's episode, airing April 8th with a bunch of amazing people- musicians Mundy & Paul Pfau, rapper Laelo, pie lady Jacqueline Francis, photographer Rafael Suanes and of course Justin & Sean. It's the Pie Show (yes, I got free delicious pie) and I provided the whiskey.

Paul Pfau & I recording episode #36

Drinking whiskey during episode #36

Be sure to listen to the show and check out The Circus Life on: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Additionally, videos of the musical performances are posted to their website and YouTube each week!

I highly recommend you also check out  all the guests, but because this post is fairly specific to episode #35 and I'm going to single out Levi Stephens. After spending even more time with him after the show, not only am I a fan of his music, but this guy is a great person as well. He's just kicking off his college tour but for for local DCists, he'll be at the Cherry Blossom Festival next weekend (April 6) and plays at Solly's on U Street fairly often. Dates for his shows are HERE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3C0p4sBWks&list=PL0266F1D2BB513C78

I'd also like to thank any new readers, led here from the podcast! Be sure to sign up for updates to the blog and follow me on Twitter and Instagram!

Finally- support local music, myself & Justin this Friday at The 9 Singer Songwriter Series' first UNPLUGGED show- Friday, April 4th at Hierarchy in Adams Morgan. Doors at 8pm. Show at 8:30. Details HERE!

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Family Friday: The Petersens

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Family Friday: The Petersens

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I'm about to get personal with y'all. I'd like to tell you about my family.

I totally lucked out when it came to my family. I have the most supportive parents a girl could ask for... and let me tell you, I know that over the years that has required a lot.

I've always been a bit feisty and that showed in my teen years (as I recollect fights with my mom over things I can't remember what for). I've had several times in my life when I've been very very sick and needed quite a bit of taking care of (including a brain disease my senior year in high school that put me in the hospital and a wheelchair for a time). I dropped out of college halfway through my junior year. I got married too young to the wrong person and they supported me not only through the wedding but through a very painful divorce as well.

They've helped me move countless times (only once do I think I've done it without them). They supported my decision to quit my job and go back to school (and yes, paid my rent so I could concentrate on finishing). My car basically only gets fixed when my dad reminds me or simply takes it to the shop for me when I'm home visiting.

I was exposed to piano lessons, viola lessons, voice lessons... softball, basketball, soccer... girl scouts, school trips, vacations...

and all of these experiences have made me who I am today. I hope I'll make them proud because I want to show them how grateful I am for not only these things, but showing me unconditional love, allowing me to continually express myself and explore who I am in the world.

Now, I don't want to write a post about family without mentioning my brother Seth. Seth is much more private than I, so I'll make it brief and tell you, reader, what I tell everyone. My brother Seth is one of the smartest people I've ever met. He went to UVA and studied Psychology. The only thing he ever has said to me using that education is that I am "the most dependent independent person" he knows. Fair assessment, even years later. Seth joined the Navy after college and now flies F-18 Super Hornets. He's a back-seater, aka a Weapons Systems Officer. He lives in Japan. As a gift, he flew me out there to spend a month with him last spring. He's totally hilarious. Very tall. Blonde. Blue eyes. Single... ladies, let me know if you want to connect. :)

For the first time in a very very long time, my family was together this January. The Navy somehow got wind that it was my 30th birthday and decided that Seth should have to fly to Norfolk over the same dates I'd be throwing my birthday party. I knew this had to be documented.

So here, reader, are the results of my family being together for the first time in years, battling the freezing cold in Washington DC.

A special thank you to my super talented photographer friend Leigh Burnette, Who came from Virginia Beach for the occasion. Please check out his website www.leighburnettephotography.com

And one last thing- Mom, Dad, Seth- I love you.

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Weekly Recap: What Made Me Happy This Week Feb. 14-20

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Weekly Recap: What Made Me Happy This Week Feb. 14-20

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20140221-033234.jpgI had such a great (though exhausting) week! Here's what put a smile on my face!

    •  Celebrating Valentines Day with one of my best girlfriends: Valentine's Day gets a bad rap from single people. No need to sit and whine people! Grab your bestie and make a day of it! This year I grabbed my go-to girl MB and we packed the day full of fun. We started the day at Red Door Spa in Pentagon City where I had a body scrub treatment and massage (thanks to my clients Cindi & John who gave me gift certificate for doing their wedding 3 years ago that I lost then recently found!). I had never been to Red Door and it was quite pleasant, I still prefer Bliss Spa at the W though- that steam room and the brownies in the waiting room are my favs). Next we headed to Lincoln for a Valentines Day Lunch- more on Lincoln in a future post. We took a couple hours to nap & shower then met up again at The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for a great event called Sparkle Lounge (with a bunch of AMAZING event industry folks) that then turned into the Washington DC International Food & Wine Festival (with a bunch of free wine and liquor tastings)- more on this in a future post as well! We ended the night at The Loft at The Hamilton listening to music, dancing and entertaining a group of 21 years olds visiting from Vermont. 
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  • Trips Home: My Navy-jet-flying brother Seth has been back in the States from Japan for the last few weeks for training in Norfolk so I had to make a last trip home to see him before he heads to Nevada for more training today. I was super lucky that he arrived the day before my 30th Birthday party so I had seen him once before. Here's the thing about home...  I had a great night with my brother and his long-time Navy buddy Dan eating at our favorite Mexican place in Virginia Beach then seeing a movie. Then I got food poisoning.  It was TERRIBLE... but I was home. I was in my parents house, the house I lived in more than any other home in my life. I was miserable, but I was home. I was able to curl in a ball on the couch and still participate when our dear friends came over for our traditional pizza night (a tradition since they 3rd grade) - no I did not have pizza. Maybe this sounds ridiculous but if you have to be sick, I recommend doing it at home. **Shout out to my mom who always takes the best care of me**

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  • Capitol Romance:  I should potentially subtitle this one "Social Media Stalking" since it's pretty much why I met Bree, who is the Editor and Founder of this creative, fun and beautiful blog/brand. Bree has been super supportive in the social media realm of some of my work ventures and I have been and on & off reader of her blog (I go through wedding blog phases). She had a meet-up to celebrate her 3 Year Blogeversary and it was open to the public, so I showed up. I'm surprised we hadn't run into each other previously but am excited we've finally connected (along with all the other awesome people I met). We actually have a meeting later today, so I'm sure I'll be gushing more about her then. She's original, smart, dedicated to her mission of helping DC couples and entrepreneurial in all the best ways. Please check her out and keep tuned! @CapitolRomance Capitol-Romance-Logo5
  • The 9 Songwriter SeriesI met Justin Trawick at Tea Time DC's premier event at the Ulysses Room a couple weeks ago and as a folk music addict and live music lover in general, I was pretty thrilled. Justin is a local singer-songwriter who shortly thereafter won the Washington Area Music Award's Song of the Year (see a video of "All the Places that I've Been") and Folk-Contemporary Vocalist of the Year. Justin has his hands in many pots (also check out his podcast, The Circus Life & newest venture unrehearsedDC) but on Tuesday I was able to support him and experience my first 9 concert series at IOTA Club in Clarendon. The 9 was founded in 2008 and is a touring live music event, based in DC but with performances up and down the coast. The premise is to get 9 artists together in a venue they may not be able to book as solo acts, and then perform rotating sets (the lineup is picked from a hat right before the show). The show is intimate, engaging and full of talent. The artists sit in with each other and also randomly invite each other up on stage allowing for spontaneously inspired moments. It was one of the best musical experiences I've had in DC and I'll definitely be hitting up another show soon! Check out the set list below for the artists I heard! @Wearethe9
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Happy Friday friends!!

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Real Love: Family

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Real Love: Family

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20140214-013300.jpg My family recently at my 30th birthday party. I'm a lucky girl to continuously have their support & love. The love of your Family, whether family by blood or by choice, is a very powerful thing and I'm grateful everyday.

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Passion

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My first passion in life, that I can remember, was music. I could be found playing pots and pans as drums and singing at the top of my lungs from a very young age. I carried a cassette tape recorder around and would record myself singing along to my dad's Beatles records. Piano lessons started when I was 4 or 5, viola when I was in 4th grade and in high school I  discovered that I was a singer.

When the time came for college, I knew that music was my path. I would study music and singing and then I would get a job in music, probably singing. See that solid game plan I had in place? I actually ended up dropping out of college and started working in hospitality. Music and singing were quietly filed away in a subconscious "hobbies folder".

Today, I do not in fact have a "job in music". I do still sing- karaoke mostly but also at home among binders of sheet music downloaded from the internet, on my parents piano, the same one I played when I was 5. I've been privileged to sing at some of my best friends' weddings and to hum lullabies to my newborn nephews. I realize in these moments that when I filed my music away into that "hobbies folder", other passions were also filed away. I took things that I felt true passion for- helping others (I was a missionary in Honduras), being part of a well-rounded community and bringing people together (I was always the kid running between her music friends, church friends, school friends and lifelong friends and inviting each to be a part of the other)- and subconsciously told myself that these things are "hobbies", not life pursuits or the way to make a career. My life's path wasn't going to be one of passion but a life of hard work, that I was good at, though may not ever love.

As some point in the last couple years, I recognized that being good at something that I wasn't passionate about just wasn't going to cut it. Happiness meant more to me. Doing something meaningful was important to me.

Now, I didn't make this decision in one overwhelming emotional moment of self-discovery (how awesome and less time consuming would that have been?!). I did however, put a plan in place to get myself moving in a different direction and to find those passions that I had pushed to the back of my mind's filing cabinet. I went back to school to finish my degree, choosing to study something business oriented in order to create a more well-rounded resume and background and to give me a springboard for future endeavors. While in school, I took the opportunity to work at a non-profit, which reignited the fire I had for working with people who are making life better for others. I developed a strong passion for my local community, for networking with local businesses and for bringing people together from different walks of life, simply to share a drink & a laugh together.

I am lucky to be able to pursue my passions via various career endeavors (which I fondly call "hustles") and I now recognize that the passions of my childhood are my calling in life.

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