Monday, December 14, 2009

Vermont Music for Holiday Gifts

One of the things I love most about Vermont during the holidays is how easy it is to buy gifts for people out of state - everyone loves the Vermont brand so you really can't go wrong with Vermont product gifts. Last year I wrote about some Vermont product gift ideas and this year I will again - only this year I ask you to think about Vermont music gifts!

Support a Vermont artist and buy some CDs for folks you love - plus CDs are wonderful gifts that fit in that difficult "under $20 mark."

Gordon Stone - who cannot know of Gordon Stone now that his fab tunes are on satellite radio!? The newest CD - Night Shade - is an uncanny rhythm bound exploration of Gordon's pedal steel and banjo second skins folding in the shadows with the lurid sounds of a variety of other musicians to create the well entitled - Night Shade. A much different sound of Gordon Stone than while picking blueberries in the summer twilight and a very welcome sound to hear on the stereo while eating holiday leftovers and contemplating returning other gifts.

Cody Michaels - Vermont's best solo piano artist who combines raw, earthen beauty with glorious piano chords and progressions. The newest CD, Winter Suite, is full of threshold moments like finding the gem of unfinished business with others. While listening to a live performance of Winter Suite with my eyes closed, I envisioned swirling around in a blaze of colors capped with white, filled with awe, and exhaling sharp breath and compassion for life. I even created the new design for my garden next summer. While the CD does skip the lovely musings between songs found at live performances, it is the best companion music I can think of for nature visions on a cold afternoon inside.

Myra Flynn - Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon meet
Alicia Keys and Erykah Baduh - in Vermont. Pick up Vermont's vocal siren's debut CD - Crooked Measures and enjoy the soulful, mature, and creative sound Myra seduces audiences with. She performs extensively around Vermont and catching a live performance would be in your best interest and a CD in a friend or relative's hands would be in theirs.

If you're looking for a bit of a Vermont Vibe adventures to go along with your music shopping, visit Vermont's Classical Music Haven, Brandon Music in the former Warren Kimble Gallery in Brandon, VT for a cup of tea and an eclectic mix of classical music CDs from the Divine Art Recordings Group.

Peace, Love, & Light Throughout the Season...

Friday, December 4, 2009


I MUST be quick because The Mitch and I are supposed to be leaving to have a weekend of dinner with friends (I did post a while back that's what I really wanted to spend my time doing and now that The Mitch and I have manifested it, I am being bad and blogging!) case you all didn't know, The Mitch and I are getting married! Of course we got engaged on September 3, 2008 - not this fall, but last - oh how time flies. So we are WELL on the way of planning our wedding - in fact, we are so planned the wedding might as well be this July. That's how I roll. But, instead, the wedding is in July 2011 so I can spend a year and a half telling you about all of the awesome components to our localvore wedding while the stressful planning parts have already been completed.

To start, the wedding is at The Sleepy Hollow Ski & Bike Center in Huntington - just a town and a half away from us located deep in a mountain hollow on a couple of well-trodden dirt roads. Check out their wedding gallery to get a glimpse.

Next piece of Big News is that my beloved band moe. - whom I sometimes can squeeze in commentary about even though they are not a Vermont band, are playing the most fantastic ski festival this March in Rutland, Vermont and Killington - Snoe.down. Stay tuned to the Vermont Vibes Blog for some groovy insider scoop to Rutland and Killington and if you've ever wanted to experience the rock star life I love so much - in a Vermont atmosphere of skiing and riding - this is your big chance!!! Check out all the details at and by golly, buy tickets and book a room!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Blessing of Thanks

Without wordy prose from this chatty Vermont PR gal, I give thanks and offer gratitude to:

Paying It Forward
Being in My 30's
Fee for His Loyal Devotion
Tela for Her Sneaky Love
Bonham for His Engagement of Tela and Fee
People From the Past Re-Emerging
My Daily Walks
My Bridal Mamas
The Mitch for Wanting Me to Be Me and for Being The Mitch
Unfinished Business From Past Lives
Kindred Spirits
Energy Vibrations

Peaceful and Thoughtful Holidays to All..Love and Light

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Vermont Vibes Event Invite

Hey blog readers! This coming Saturday, November 21st, The Mitch and I are going to head down to Vergennes for a Vermont Vibes Night Out. We'll start with dinner at 3 Squares Cafe between 5:30 and 6:00 pm. Chef owner Matt Birong serves up some tasty and hearty meals with a perfect atmosphere for chillin' and chattin' while watching the lights along the main street in Vermont's oldest city twinkle in the long November evenings.

Then we're heading over to the Vergennes Opera House for a concert by Cody Michaels - the creative pianist who tunes up the gentlest of Vermont Vibes theme music. We went to see Cody last year and were blessed by one of the most peaceful evenings we have ever experienced and have been enjoying the CD we bought ever since. We're going to stock up on CDs Saturday so we can have some great Vermont music gifts for folks as well as have a wider variety to listen to ourselves.

For further exploration into our experience last year, you can read a review I wrote in the retired Vermont Music Blog here.

If there are any blog readers who are interested in a Vermont Vibes outing - please join us! The concert is at 7:30 pm and tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the door by cash or check. Bring extra to buy a CD! And if interested in dinner prior, head over to 3 Squares Cafe between 5:30 and 6:00 pm and you'll see us!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Those Pesky Vibe Depletions

I have them right now. My recent Facebook comment that I think it's amazing how differently people treat you based on whether someone speaks on your behalf in a negative or positive manner. I believe in positive, unfortunately jealousy tarnishes that ability in too many people. Sad. says it in a nutshell.

Friend drama sucks. Sometimes I wonder why I go out of my way to introduce people, and make sure I include people because that is one area that does not come back around to me in the circle of friends. It most certainly does in my business and I have to say, I love my work and I love the people I work with - clients, vendors, collaborators.

But I am sad and hurt. People shouldn't believe everything they hear and people shouldn't assume just because someone has a strong personality that they are automatically at fault. The people who cause drama among friends are the ones who you would least suspect. Does anyone else notice this or am I just losing it?

I think a lot of this is why I went into PR in the first place. Working with clients to tell what really is positive is a skill I love being able to share. Being upfront and honest is a quality I respect in others above all else and while that quality may be threatening to those who are not that way, I feel it is one of my strongest attributes. Guess I answered my own quandary - those who feel threatened create drama. If they were just honest with themselves and others they probably wouldn't feel threatened.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Between the Sunflowers

It is not often I take an entire day to do nothing. But one late summer day, I did just that and I actually wrote a poem - a very rare occasion indeed. Before the snow comes, I thought I would share this one last glimpse into the summer we barely had. To help paint a picture, below the poem are some pictures of my first ever sunflower garden in my first ever stone walled garden...

Not planning to sit in the grass
Playing with horses across the field
As they play with the heron
Between bites of apples
I gather for them between observations

Between reality and dreams
A lazy September day in the sun
With plump cats supplying never ending greetings of peace
Purrs and bees - a song of harmony on the farm

Possibly woodpeckers flit
Between tree trunks and sunflowers
Cats disturb peace with mouse captures
Miniature frogs and baby snakes escape
I pull sage from the garden
And place it in last night's smoldering fire
All stands still for the aromas floating between sunflowers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rainbows, Farmhouses & Apples Oh Wow!

Last week was a glorious week of Vermont Vibing. On my way home from getting a roof rack on the new Vibe (where I passed by my old Vibe sitting sadly in the lot), I followed a rainbow home. I think a lot of Vermonters followed that rainbow and I was warmed by the other kindred spirits out there pulling over and taking pictures as I did. I had to scoff at those who wanted to be annoyed - where are your blood pressures at? Check out my route home following the rainbow!

Interesting how a few days before, The Mitch and I had a fire and I proceeded to sing both "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "The Rainbow Connection" and we listened in love as they reverberated across the farmlands we live amidst.

This weekend The Mitch and I were Vermont homesteaders with an unstoppable force. We cleared out the gardens, finished that all important "fall weeding," added compost and mulch, and turned our compost for use next spring. Then we came inside and washed all windows, finished some basement insulating, and weather proofed the outside of our crazy windows. Now I just have to do some patchwork inside from last year's weather proofing. This was only Saturday...

On Sunday my most excellent friend Tay came over and we held our long tradition-ed "apple day!" We Vibed over to Boyer's Orchard & Cider Mill and bought already picked apples. Apple Day is a baking day and we have long learned our lesson that if we try to pick apples, we are baking until midnight. Here I am at Boyer's after we bought our apples as well as some cheese, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes - we can't help ourselves! Notice my groovy hat and hand warmers I am sporting which I purchased Saturday morning at the CVU Craft Fair (to benefit Access CVU) before I even began my house projects - serious motivation!

Tay and I then headed back to the Charlotte Farmhouse and rolled dough, peeled and cored apples, and baked and baked and baked. I must say the organizational skills of my crazy Vermont public relations business are definitely seeping into my cooking and baking alter-ego. I spent Sunday morning getting everything ready for when Tay arrived and even managed to make some local beef handmade meatballs for The Mitch and I for dinner while all the apple crapple was baking. This type of insanity keeps peeps like me sane! And check out the glorious results!!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Pontiac Love Affair

I am still wallowing. The new Vibe is cute, faster, easier to drive, and the XM is the bomb!

But...I miss the style of the old Vibe.

So, in an effort to say goodbye, I will reminisce on all of my previous Pontiacs...

First, there was the 1988 Pontiac Bonneville. I drove this beast in high school and on and off during times in college when I needed a car (as determined by my parents). This car probably has the most stories of fun so I'll list a few faves:
~ It only had and AM/FM radio so I bought a funny little tape player and tons of batteries and had it sit on the bucket seat in the front with me and I blasted The Indigo Girls, Tori Amos, and The Cranberries.
~ One day a crew of gals drove around in "Big Black" as we called it with Barbie Dolls stuck in the windows, flapping in the wind.
~ Another time a group of probably the same gals dressed in all black and played Spy Girl at the homes of cute boys we knew - we left Big Black idling for a quick escape.
~ My parents were very clear that is was THEIR car and I had to earn the privilege to drive it over and over and over. So, when I got pulled over for expired registration when I was 17, I told the police officer it was my father's car and the ticket needed to be made out to him.
~ Pictured here was a sweetheart the year between high school and college just before we embarked on my first Vermont weekend getaway without parents.

Then there was the 1993 Pontiac Bonneville (I LOVED the sedans). This one I bought from my dad for an undisclosed low budget amount after I convinced him I could not move to Nashville, TN after graduating from college and hope to find a job if I was all sweaty before each interview because the '88 Bonneville didn't have air conditioning. I think my mother also told him she would not have me driving from Massachusetts to Tennessee in a 1988 car in 1998. Whatever the reason, I got the '93 and cruised off to Nashville. The car made the trip back North two times - the second being when I moved to Vermont. It also had the most drastic transmission issues ever. I got the transition fixed by a horrific transition chain (hey - I was 22 - still a baby) for which I had to take out a loan. The transmission casing fell off one week later and the chain said my warranty wouldn't cover it - one week later! Nothing like getting played like a chick! So, I asked the women at work who seemed to be the types whose husbands worked on cars what I should do and was told to get the transmission casing welded in place. I found a welder and for a couple hundred bucks got the casing welded in place, knowing that when the transmission went again, the '93 Bonneville was done. It worked - made it to Vermont the next summer and the car lasted a whole year later...

In September 2001 I was heading out for a singing gig (back when I was in a real band) and the transmission wouldn't start. I had a breakdown and was furious that none of the boys watching me across the street offered me a ride as I stood there all decked out with a mike stand in hand. So I clippity clopped my way to the cab building in Burlington's North End - and now I was all sweaty. The next day I got a ride to Shearer Pontiac in South Burlington as they were the closest Pontiac dealership and I knew nothing else about cars. My 25 year old self couldn't exactly afford a Bonneville, but I could afford to lease a 2003 Grand Am. It was red (ick) and had manual windows (sigh), but within three hours I had myself a new car and haven't had an issue ever since. The lease was great because I didn't have to deal with welders and the miles worked because I had a short commute.

But I really didn't like the Grand Am - not my style at all. So I waited patiently and when they introduced the Vibe in that timeframe I became obsessed and when I had the option to end the Grand Am lease a bit early for good behavior, I jumped and Shearer really worked the numbers with me to be able to afford the Vibe for which I am very grateful. And I vibed, and vibed, and vibed (noting the "vibing" outings started in reality living on the backroads growing up and "bushwhacking" in the car looking for land with my parents to build a house on). And before I knew it, this lease was up and the 2006 Vibe which made me famous is now the 2010 Vibe - last line of Vibes, last car on the lot, last make of Pontiac made. What will the future hold???

PS - If you are interested, the famous 2006 Vibe might still be for sale at Shearer!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Breaking News!!!

In a quick, last minute, crazy development, I have sold the famous Vermont Vibe which has made the Vermont Vibes Blog famous across the country! I can't believe it! I even shed tears - I mean it! My lease was drawing to a close and I had the option to buy my beloved Vibe which is what I have been planning since I started Vibing in it in 2006. But my favorite car dudes at Shearer in South Burlington offered me a deal I couldn't ignore to purchase the very last Pontiac Vibe on the lot and one of the very last Vibes that will ever be made!

With the country in economic drama (anyone else who is my age Gen-Xer will say, "So what? We've been in recession since we graduated from college!"), anyway, the drama caused Pontiac to shut it down and make their last line of cars in 2009. But because the Vibe is so awesome they made a limited number of Vibes only in 2010. And financially speaking, with long term planning realities, the decision to buy a new 2010 Vibe as opposed to the 2006, well, it'll be wiser in the long run. I am sad about my passed along Vibe and I will have to get used to a new look and feel without any preparation to do so (and if you know me, you know I plan, and plan, and plan). But.....when I look at the fact that I have purchased my first brand new car EVER ~ AND ~ I have one of the last Vibes made EVER, I feel pretty groovy knowing I will be able to continue Vermont Vibes for a long time to come...

But beware, the new Vibe is black, sleeker, quieter, and all around sneakier - meaning just when fame was about to catch up, I am now back in incognito mode, Vibing around with the Mitchezzzz - on your guard Vermont....heeheehee.

Monday, September 28, 2009

To Spa or Not to Spa

That is NOT even a question!

Vermont Vibes Spa Disclaimer: Please understand that a pure, "spa experience" that reflects the photos you see which describe a spa experience cost money! The facilities cost money, the wide array of treatments and their trained practitioners cost money, and to be able to operate them at resorts for day spa packages without the guarantee of hotel accommodations cost money as well! I will put it in terms Vermont Vibers can relate too - if you buy the cheap hiking boots or the cheap air mattress, they break and pop before you even have the chance to break them in. Cheap spa packages completely destroy the whole concept of a spa experience. Plus, if everyone had a spa day whenever they wanted, the experience would be dumb. Too many people, loud people, not enough cucumbers, and an annoying experience. That is counterproductive to the whole purpose of a spa experience.

With that said, I highly suggest all Vermont Vibers take the splurge and have a spa day! Save a couple hundred bucks per person and treat yourself to a day living on the other side of your daily routine. You will love it and then will be committed to budgeting for it so a spa experience becomes a cost item, not a complaint.

The Mitch and I did it!!! The weekend before The Mitch started both work and grad school we took to getting pampered. Every week is like the start of some new chaos for me, so the timing made no difference for my spa-ness. We booked our spa day at Stoweflake a few weeks prior so we wouldn't have to deal with any stress of not being able to have the treatment we wanted on the day we wanted.

Friday night we each did one of our favorite foot spas while watching Netflix (we give Netflix 100 stars - LOVE IT!). This way we classified our feet for being able to step foot into a Vermont spa and it got us in the mood. Saturday we took a hike, did garden work, and spent quality time out in the Vermont outdoors. Saturday night we listened to the spa channel on internet radio, made a very healthy dinner, and went to bed early so we could fully embrace our spa experience. Sunday morning we woke early, took a power walk, and had a healthy breakfast. These simple choices of making our weekend focused on our health and well being cost us no money to this point and we already felt wonderful and relaxed. We were ready to take it up a level and really indulge...

Off to Stowe - we arrived at Stoweflake several hours before our treatments so we could enjoy the facilities. We both enjoyed the lavish changing rooms and I rocked the cucumbers! We each spent quiet time by ourselves before meeting in the coed spa room. In addition to cucumbers, I enjoyed spending time in the hot tub, steam room, and my personal long time favorite - the sauna. There was no one in there and I had the whole facility to myself which was absolutely fantastic. The Mitch got a little lost in the men's area, but managed to find his way to the coed area where we both enjoyed the waterfall pool and then languished in the mineral bath. We both rested and neglected our reading on the lounge chairs and taking photos until it was time for our treatments...

The Mitch had the Men's Eucalyptus Wrap and I opted for the Reiki. Both treatments were amazing an while I know I should explore other treatments in the future, I really love reiki. The Mitch is a little more adventuresome than me - maybe he needs the Mountain Man Massage. Following our treatments, we both spent more time in the changing rooms for more hot tubbing, steam rooming and of course the sauna! I then fully enjoyed the women's shower facilities (The Mitch said he enjoyed the men's as well) and we met back in the lobby to head off for a spa dinner. After a cleansing weekend like that, the only food I can imagine eating is sushi, so we went to the Hani Hibachi Japanese Steak House in Stowe (The Mitch gets the steak - he is anti-sushi - sigh). Perfect ending to our spa weekend.

Spa Suggestions:

There are multiple levels of spa experiences in Vermont, but my suggestions for a true "spa" indulgence include:

The Spa at Stoweflake - With a side entrance solely to the spa and all of the facilities, Stoweflake is divine for a full day of spa and their treatment selections are fun to choose from and include fascinating options such as sound therapy.

Topnotch Resort & Spa - Located on it's own island of sorts deep in the mountains of Stowe, I would have to say an overnight experience would definitely enhance a spa day if for nothing else but to see the sun both set and rise in this glorious mountain notch.

The Spa at Equinox - While the treatment lists are not as extensive and diverse as those in Stowe, the Equinox completes the gentile Vermont image of a sprawling estate with the spa in its own building and is certainly the day spa outing option for those in Southern Vermont.

Spa at The Essex - Moving its way into Vermont's premier spa options with an amazing marketing force, The Essex offers some intriguing spa options with a unique culinary twist. I haven't checked out The Essex beyond large events, but it's definitely offering some performances on Vermont's spa channel.

Stepping Stone Spa & Wellness Center - I'm always intrigued by the Northeast Kingdom's twists on the rest of Vermont's intriguing experiences. And the spa department does not disappoint. I've come across the Stepping Stone Spa & Wellness Center and thought I would share. While I haven't been there in person, it does seem to offer the unique spa experience that is in line with the magical Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

In closure, while the Vermont Vibes Blog is dedicated to backroad experiences in Vermont (including those at the Charlotte Farmhouse), sometimes a pampering is necessary to your well being no matter where you live and it's always an eye opener to see what the folks I pass in the Vibe spend their money on!

Love and Light!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Vibe Makers Recognize Vermont Vibes!

Many of you may know by now that Pontiac Performance Magazine featured the Vermont Vibes blog in their quarterly magazine this summer with fantastic photos taken by Andy Duback out at the Charlotte Farmhouse. Recently several area media outlets have shared this news with their readers - thanks to The Charlotte Citizen, The Charlotte News, The Addison Eagle, and the Burlington Free Press. This is all so much appreciated - thank you.

Now for the insider scoop - the best part of the whole adventure was how The Mitch worked very, very hard at detailing the Vibe because I was way too busy being Miss PR do take care of beautifying my Pontiac Vibe (note - this blog was ENTIRELY my idea and it took quite some time to get Pontiac to notice, so don't anyone think I'm getting anything out of it except for being me). Anyway, The Mitch did a fantastic job cleaning the Vibe and when Andy Duback showed up for the Vibe photo shoot, it was sparkling - just like Pontiac requested...

Then we had the photo shoot - car close up, car far away, holding computer, sitting with picnic basket, reading atlas, gazing across the Vermont landscape. As I am more goofy looking than photogenic, the picture taking process involving me was definitely secondary to having The Mitch be the photo assistant. The Mitch ran inside to grab props, adjusted the wind in my hair, and best of all got skilled in using the big gold light deflector - that was an absolute hoot!

But the kicker was after we finished at location A, we needed to move the Vibe to Location B. While I was floating in Vibe/The Mitch/Photography/PR heaven, I carelessly drove across the farm and got majorly stuck in the mud. Oops. Then I got really stuck, tore up the lawn, and worst of all, made a complete muddy mess of the Vibe! The Mitch had to go running around gathering towels while I tried to make sure Andy wasn't mad at the botched shoot. We wiped the car off a bit, but then collectively decided it was much more real for the Vibe to be covered in mud since we live in Vermont and the article is about Vermont Vibes after all! Plus, I don't really drive around with a computer! Seriously! I drive around with a Vermont atlas!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

In Honor of The Mitchezzz

I love getting emails from folks who read the blog commenting on how they feel like they know The Mitchezzz! Thank you (and The Mitch thanks you too!)!

So, in honor of my beloved and in tribute to our engagement as today is our one year anniversary of getting engaged, I would like to share a story...

The Mitch is a teacher at an elementary school. At teacher in-service prior to the start of the new school year, The Mitch was hanging out with all the ladies and they were discussing their husbands and baseball and one gal asked,

"Mitch, are you a baseball fan?"

The Mitch responded with...

"I have been known to attend a game or two, but I am really much more a fan of rock-n-roll."

This is why I love The Mitchezzz! Rock on everyone, I am heading to moe.down where The Mitch and I will be on fire with our inflatable guitars!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Long Awaited Emerald Lake State Park Post!

This is how summer in Vermont for folks like myself and The Mitch rolls:

We love Vermont. We love Vibing in Vermont. We love the seasons of Vermont. But, this summer had the stupidest weather I have ever seen and every single vacation we planned was afflicted by it. By this point in the summer, I am over it and in fact today am wearing a snowflake shirt. In the middle of the summer I was bitter and mad and had a few temper tantrums over the fact that the weather rained on my parade every single time I planned for something outside. But at the beginning of the summer (even though the rain had already been ridiculously intense), I was optimistic and cheerful that I can have fun in any situation....

The Mitch and I aim to take a vacation to a Vermont lake every summer of our lives. One day that will involve renting a cottage for a week or two, but until the perpetual recession Gen Xers like us live in ends, it involves camping for a few days. This year we did decide to make it an actual vacation and planned for a five day camping trip to Emerald Lake State Park down in Southern Vermont near Manchester over the Fourth of July holiday. We chose Emerald Lake so we could enjoy the beach, swimming, canoeing, fishing, and some sunbathing! We also chose Emerald Lake so we could attend the Vermont Symphony Orchestra performance at The Hildene.

We arrived with the large canoe on the small Vibe and got prepped for camping...

We set up our fantastic camp and prepared for the nasty weather we were in for...

We made yummy food (camp tacos are the best!) and made good use of the park's picnic areas...

While the wet weather canceled out plans for swimming and sunbathing, we managed to canoe and fish quite a bit. Canoeing and fishing for The Mitch and I involves The Mitch fishing and me paddling him around while conducting photo shoots...

We also missed out on The Hildene and had to see the VSO inside without our heady spread, wine, and cheese. But, the music was lovely and we had a fine time staying dry afterward at The Perfect Wife and grooving to the tunes of The Battenkills. They even forced us to stay longer by playing a few Phish tunes as we were leaving causing us to buy another round and chill a bit longer. Thanks fellas!

By the time the Fourth of July came around, we had been camping in the rain for four days. I had had it. The Girl Scout in me tore free and I used all skills I could remember to make the most intense fire ever. Then the hippie in me put on Jimi Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner from Woodstock in the Ipod cooler and as the final notes climaxed to the famous finish, I dumped all of our sparklers in the fire and cursed the rain and celebrated my freedom to be me. The Mitch claims he fell in love with me all over again at that moment. Hmmm...

Regardless of the rain, my affinity for Vermont State Parks grows and I'd also like to give a shout out to Rochelle Skinner, the Sales & Service Manager for the Vermont State Parks who was just named the Vermont Hospitality Council's Allied Member of the Year!!! Congratulations Rochelle - you have earned it!!! Offer your kudos by becoming a Fan of Vermont State Parks on Facebook!