Monday, January 19, 2015

NEW Awakenings and NEW Beginnings


Visit www.chandlertherobot.com to check out my new designs!

Nick and I attended an art show in Los Angeles the other night. As we strolled down the aisles of paintings, Nick made a comment, 

"You know, music has never made me feel the way that art makes me feel."

He surprised me by this statement, (since we are both musicians.) 

"Don't get me wrong. I love playing music and listening to music, but it never makes me feel as emotional as these paintings do."

I knew what he meant. I've been deeply moved by the serenades of Dashboard Confessional and Deathcab For Cutie, but there is something about looking at a piece of physical art, taking it in, and feeling a reaction deep down in your gut. 

My mother recently became quite the spiritual being, taking up kundalini yoga and meditation. During my visit home for the holidays she showed me the beginnings of a beautiful crystal and stone collection and explained all of their healing properties. 

I've always been analytical, always looking to reason to steer my life in the right direction, but last year's events have caused me to seek out answers in unusual places.

I promise I'm not going to get all "woo woo" on you, but if you ever need a little extra guidance, a little reassurance, some hope, a lifting of your spirits, it wouldn't hurt to add a touch crystal to your life.



Baby Aura Quartz Triad necklace



Druzy Rectangle Bar pendant with 24k Gold Electroplated Edge

According to my local crystal guru:

Tangerine Sun Quartz is known to have healing properties that "uplift your spirit, help you face life's challenges, disperse dark moods, and stimulate creativity".

Aqua quartz "soothes anger, cools feverishness, and releases stress, tension, and anxiety. It also releases negativity from emotional, physical, and spiritual battles, and creates an aura of peace".

My favorite crystal though is the classic clear crystal because this crystal is said to open a blocked or unawakened third eye and enhance one's ability to communicate inner truth. 

From wikipedia "The third eye is a mystical concept referring to a speculative invisible eye which provides perception beyond ordinary sight. The third eye refers to the gate that leads to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. The third eye often symbolizes a state of enlightenment or the evocation of mental images having deeply personal spiritual or psychological significance."

I can't pretend to have ever reached a moment of "enlightenment", but I can say that if I didn't pay attention to my "perception beyond ordinary sight" or a "higher consciousness" I never would have fallen in love with a wonderful man whom I probably don't fit very well with on paper, but he is the yin to my yang, the light to my dark. 

I wouldn't have become a musician, because heaven knows we don't have the most stable lifestyles. Every day is a new adventure, some people don't enjoy this type of spontaneity, but I can't live without it.

Honestly,
Meg



Friday, January 16, 2015

One Lonely Piece of Toast

I look over at Dia, and thankfully I'm not the only one with sweat dripping down my forehead. It's insane how tiny little movements repeated over an extended period of time can be so painful. While focusing on the blaring EDM music, we tuck our pelvises in, tighten our abs, and pump up our pink three-pound weights in time with the beat.

"You guys are doing great! So strong, so powerful! I know it hurts," our peppy instructor shouts over the music, "if you don't like it close your eyes." So I shut them tight. 

On my drive home from class, I pass a sad Christmas tree wrapped in plastic laying by a dumpster on the side of the road. I begin to think about the past year. I've been living out in the suburbs of L.A. When our city-dwelling friends make their way out to visit us, they always comment on the peace and quiet of our home. We have a big back yard, plenty of space, and relatively cheap rent for the area. 

I will be saying goodbye to these creature comforts as I migrate to the heart of the city at the beginning of next month. I will be living in a tiny apartment on top of an indian food restaurant. The sounds of my neighbor's t.v. drifting through the thin walls will become my new closest companion. 

I'm looking forward to a lot of changes though. I will be within walking distance of Dia, so we will be able to spend a lot more sister time together. I'll be surrounded by inspiring and creative artists of all types (all of whom I hope will help to inspire my music and my jewelry), and I'll be much closer to my friends. 

But, and this is a big BUT, my boyfriend will be missing a lot this year. He will be touring a lot and will be temporarily moving in with his band members for a time to a place two hours away from me. I know it seems like a two hour drive isn't that big of a deal. And I hate to complain when I'm sure so many of you are missing loved ones in a different country, but that doesn't mean I have to like my situation. What we all sacrifice for the sake of art...right?

Sometimes, when I'm alone in our house, when he leaves for band practice for a couple hours, I try to practice what it will be like when it's just me. I practice being spooked by wispy reflections in the mirrors and windows at night. I practice cooking for one: one egg, one cup of tea, one lonely piece of toast.

It's times like these, I think about my aerobics teacher with her tight floral leggings and her perky pony tail telling us "If you don't like it close your eyes." So I shut them tight.

In my guitar lesson today there was one little lick that I couldn't quite master. My teacher showed me a whole-step bend on the fretboard with my first finger. It HURT!

My guitar teacher said, "It's okay", smiled and gave my knee a paternal pat, "You're getting stronger."

I imagine when I'm laying in bed in my new apartment, as I settle in to fall asleep, I'll swat the empty space beside me and attempt to ignore the sirens and the artists' laughter in the street as they stumble home. I'll remember  

"Close your eyes if you don't like it." So I'll shut them tight.

When I wake I'll greet the soft hum of the t.v. from next door with a "Good morning" because my man will be off creating art on an avocado farm two hours away. I'll get dressed, turn the key in my lock, and as I leave I'll remember, "It's okay. You're getting stronger."

Honestly, Meg

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I Finally Found You... Again.

I once knew a girl who wanted to be in love more than anything. For a few years she searched for love as hard as she could. She went to all the places she thought love might find her. She dressed herself up, and smiled, and waited patiently at first, and not so patiently later. She saw other people in love and tried her best not to envy their happiness.

Each night she would set a lovely table by herself with a single lit candle and a glass of wine. She would let the loneliness wash over her. Many nights she would feel sad, but she never let go of her faith that someday a great man would come and find her. 
 
When he did find her, they wasted no time falling in love. They spent every waking moment together, learned the answers to all the questions that a person in love ought to know about their lover. Everything and anything they did felt like a marvelous adventure.

One night, while they lay quietly by the fire, watching the orange and yellow flames dance and sputter, she pulled his arm tighter around her waist, because she knew what this night would have been like without him. She would never let him go.

I feel like that girl, but not with love, but with passion. I've been in a pop band for a large portion of my life, and when that band broke up, music lost its magic. I watched the singer of the band take off like a shooting star, and in her light, although it was brilliant to watch, I couldn't help feeling apprehensive about continuing to play my guitar alone.

 
After that, I didn't know how to spend my days. Although, the guitar was once an instrument that fulfilled me, I was unsure if it still could.

I spent a few years searching for a new passion, for that thing I was put on earth to do. No matter what I did, I couldn't find it. 
 
I was like a man in his mid-life-crisis, except for going for exotic women and fast cars, I tried more quiet activities like knitting and gardening. I tried writing fiction. I tried cooking and salsa dancing.

I went to all the places that a person looking for their passion would go. I dressed like a person looking for their passion would dress.
 
My boyfriend, exasperated by my efforts, offered me some advice:
 
"Stop searching for it." I felt like he was trying to reign me in, like worried parents holding on to their two-year-olds' human leash at Disneyland.
"But, then I'd just do nothing all day."
"So, do nothing all day."
 
So, I did nothing all day. 
 
After a few months of doing nothing, and the dust swirling around my gut settled, I decided I would take a guitar lesson.This instrument used to bring me a lot of pleasure. Maybe it would again? 


Photo by Philip Toshio Sudo in his book Zen Guitar.
 
I walked into a music store by my yoga studio. A kind frenchmen asked me if I would be interested in trying out a lesson from the "guitar teacher of the stars!" I think he meant stars like Elvis, but I imagined in that instant the stars up in the night sky, and since that image seemed right to me, I told him, "Yes, I would."
 
After I took a few guitar lessons, I found a blues cover band to play with on Craigslist. (Are you beginning to see the tiny baby steps I took to find my passion again?)
 
I promised myself I would only continue an activity if it felt right. There is a difference between feeling "wrong" and feeling "afraid". When asked to take a solo in the blues cover band, I always felt "afraid", but I knew that that wasn't the same thing as feeling "wrong".
 
Once, I started on the path that resonated with my soul, I was handed opportunities. Calls from friends of friends asked me, "Would I like to play guitar for Hilary Duff on Good Morning America?" or "Would I be interested in playing guitar for Kate Nash, the British pop-star, in downtown L.A.?"

During the previous years, while I searched for my passion, no one called me for opportunities like this. I believe when you align your thoughts with the right passion for you and open up your chest to receive, the universe somehow knows you're ready.
 
Today, I am working on a song by Jimmy Hendrix called "Little Wing". My guitar teacher taught me how to play this song because he said it would "impress people". I know that this isn't really important in the long run, but I have to admit that sometimes it feels good to show off just a little. 
 
When I play the song, painstakingly pressing down with my left fingers with the lightest touch to make the notes sing, and strumming with my right hand smooth and easy, I think it must feel like that friend of mine who laid by the fire with her lover. My whole body is purring with this instrument leaning against me, because I've known what it feels like to be alone, to not have it, to be searching for it.

I'm never letting it go.

Honestly,
Meg
 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Remember To Breathe


I just returned home from a short journey. I spent a week and a half on tour with Springtime Carnivore. I could go on and on about the astounding energy of Dasha, the bassist, or Greta's incurable optimism.  

Greta jumped out of bed every morning with a cheerful "Good morning!", did her yoga stretches, and went on a morning walk, all before I could rub the sleep out of my eyes. I kept waiting for the moment when the tea-kettle lid would pop off, and all of her hidden fury would erupt, but it never happened. 

Sometimes being around striving musicians, screenwriters, and composers in L.A. can be disheartening since there is a lot of rejection, and the way they look at situations most of the time, a lot of failure.

It was truly a breath of fresh air to see an artist doing exactly what she was put on this planet to do with a skip in her step. 

This photo was taken by a good friend, Yoori Shin, at The Bardot in L.A. 

 A personal theme develops on every tour I participate in. I discovered a mild pain that would come and go in my left hand and forearm early on in the tour. This, my friends, is a guitarist's worst nightmare. I am no stranger to the pain and damaging effects of carpal tunnel. My little sister has suffered from carpal tunnel at too young an age. I've watched her struggle to put down her paint brush as she waits to recover. (Thankfully, I'm all better now, just want to throw that out there so you don't worry!)

The pain had a very important lesson hidden for me. During one of our shows, I couldn't ignore the dull aching which wouldn't allow me to focus on my interaction with the audience (my favorite part!) I didn't want to let the experience of playing music for the kind people of Toronto slip away from me, so out of frustration, I turned to the wisdom of my body and began breathing deep. 

I became aware of my breath filling up my lungs and then leaving my body. I realized that I normally breathe shallowly on stage, due to nerves or too much excitement. Breathing deep, allowed me to relax my fingers and my wrists. I instantly began to play with better technique. The music came back into focus. 


During this tour I received news that my uncle had died. I tried to keep it together in front of my new bandmates. 

Luckily, everyone left the cabin we stayed in to see some old friends, and I had some time alone. I tried to implement my new "deep breathing" technique I learned on stage the night before, to allow my body to relax into the feeling of overwhelming sadness, but I couldn't do it. I kept tensing up, and I couldn't find my breath.

I had to remind myself, 

"Meg, It's o.k. if you can't find your breath right away, you've been tense and unaware of deep breathing for most of your life. Give it time."


I'm sorry to bring up this sad, personal moment, but I'm telling you this to show you I'm still a work in progress. I learn a lesson, and I still need to work on it day by day. 

We concluded the tour with a visit to The Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, on a beautiful overcast day. I left that place with a keen sense of the importance of a tight-knit community, tradition, and culture. 

Also, I snapped the below photo, which inspired me to create some clay creatures that I will be showing everyone soon! I'd also like to remind everyone that my jewelry shop will remain open during Thanksgiving and Christmas of course. I'm bringing all of my jewelry supplies with me back home. They will be tucked in between Dia's ice chests of Korean food and Earl Grey pie she is bringing home to my mother.


I'd like to wish everyone happiness and joy this coming Thanksgiving Holiday. Please take time to find your breath and relax when your aunt Juniper asks you to "please pass the turkey", and "are you still doing 'the music thing'?" and if so, "how do you manage to keep your lights and water on, dear?" 

The appropriate response being, "Why my dear aunt, what use to me would lights and water be if there wasn't music?"

Honestly,
Meg





Tuesday, September 30, 2014

(Limited Edition) "Wicked Witch Melting" necklace!


Is it too early to start thinking about cozying up to the fireplace with a book and hot chocolate or taking a walk with a lover while leaves the color of fall float down to the ground? Even in sunny California, I can detect a slight drop in temperature and a dampening of the air. Fall is well on its way. For me, the most exciting part about fall is Halloween! (Well, that and the candy corn:)

I know, I know. I'm not an eight-year-old kid, ready and waiting with my giant pillow case, itchy in my nylon super man costume, but I still love the imagination this holiday brings about. 
With scary movies, creepy camp-fire stories, the undead, hands reaching up out of the ground to grab your unsuspecting ankles, what's not to love?

Instead of making a whole witch for this years limited edition design, I wanted to focus only on the bottom portion of her body (ha! this sounds creepy already!), so I could really work on the details of the striped tights and buckled-shoes. 

I learned two new polymer clay techniques with this piece: the seven-petal rose and how to make flush stripes. 

On Instagram, someone mentioned to incorporate bats. I rather liked that idea, so I added that little touch on one of the witch legs. 

I think my favorite part about this piece though, is being able to use bright, neon orange tones. I enjoy using fun pops of color, and usually those colors detract from the vibes of my pieces, but they only added to the energy of this one! Swirly coils of hammered copper on the edges of the design are the finishing touch to tie this spooky necklace together.
  • ONLY 20 "Wicked Witch Melting" necklaces will be available.
  • These will be released on October 1st at 9 P.M. Pacific time and midnight Eastern time. 
  • Piece measures 2 1/4" tall, 1 3/4" wide, and includes a 27" copper chain.
  • Each piece will vary slightly since they are all handmade.
  • Ships within 3-5 business days from California. 
  • $50 each.

Happy haunting!

Meg

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The NEW Junto Collection available TOMORROW!

In the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin founded a club he called, The Junto Society, for the mutual improvement of its members. They discussed things like politics, business affairs, social matters, basically anything important to them that would make their lives and the lives of others better.

I recently played a show with Kate Nash, and was honored to subsequently be invited to join a local and modern "Junto society" Kate organized called Girl Gang. A Girl Gang is a group of passionate individuals who come together to discuss important matters and make positive changes in their communities and even the world. Girl Gangs also help inspire girls to rock, not only their instrument, but also any other entrepreneurial venture they feel passionate about.

Coming together with other artists to create something awesome has been the theme of this season for me, not just in musically and socially, but also in designing jewelry. 

I will be releasing The Junto Collection tomorrow, September 25th! The planning for this collection has been happening behind the scenes for the past six months with the help of a trusted friend. I can't tell you how excited we are to finally be launching these new pieces!

For my new Junto collection I collaborated with Vil Luangraj who goes by Agent Bear these days.

I think many of you already know Vil. We met at a Meg and Dia concert way, way back. He was sitting on a curb in the parking lot, quiet and thoughtful. He had a sketch book out and was drawing these beautiful pictures. We saw him at many of our other shows after that.

Eventually he started working with our band, designing merch for us. Even after the band stopped performing together, I continue to collaborate with Vil. He designed Pip The Penguin for my last jewelry collection. 

I asked Vil to design a boyfriend for Willie because she was feeling lonely. He went the extra mile and added a bouquet and a bow tie. He's so creative, no?!


I asked Vil to make some men's accessories. He came up with the Wise Owl cufflinks and the Moby Dick tie bar. (Nick stole my first prototypes to wear to work, so that's got to be a good sign:)

Honestly, Meg



Monday, September 15, 2014

How To Play A Rock Show With Kate Nash


Step 1: Receive a phone call from your ridiculously awesome best friend who just happens to be Kate's personal assistant. (She already confirmed you as the lead guitar player before she called, because Kate's manager had someone else in mind. Weaseling you into these types of opportunities are what BFF's are for!)

Step 2: Freak out on the phone, have a panic attack, cancel all other plans for the week (including eating and sleeping), so you can practice her songs and pour through her youtube channel. Then accept the gig. Duh!

Step 3: Annoy your boyfriend by listening to her songs every waking moment, in the car, in the shower, etc… Silence is the enemy.

Step 4:  Practice, practice, practice.

Step 5: Buy a rad distortion pedal from Amazon.com, because if they can deliver reams of printing paper and kitchen appliances straight to your front door, why not order musical gear as well? 


Step 6: Figure out how to work the damn thing.

Step 7: Practice, practice, practice.

Step 8. Seriously doubt that you have any shredding skills at all and consider calling BFF to cancel.

Step 9. Realize that that would be insanely dumb, kick all self-doubt to the curb, and get back to work!

Step 10: Go to first practice session with talented and intimidating female drummer. Smile from ear to ear because you've never played in an all-female band, and it feels incredible. Meet Kate Nash for the first time in person. Be blown away by her optimism and charm. 

Step 11: Have one last practice in her garage (Girl Gang Headquarters). You don't have any equipment with you, so make do with jenga blocks tapping on a wooden coffee table for a drum kit, and plug into a tiny, pink kid's toy amp. Kate doesn't have a mic or P.A. so she just screams into the night. Jump around, because your life is freakin' awesome! 


Step 12: Don't sleep at all the night before the show because you are too excited. You contemplate getting out of bed, and going for a run at 2 a.m., but then you realize that would make your boyfriend think you are even crazier than he already does. 

Step 13: Go to the rock show. All of your friends unexpectedly show up which makes you even more nervous. (As if that were possible.) Proceed to forget all the solos, riffs, and licks you practiced during the week. Do you even remember how to play the guitar? 

Step 14: Watch Kate own the stage, the show, and the night. Be reassured by her confidence, and plug in and play the rock show. Everything is LOUD. Your hands shake, but it doesn't matter. After the first song is over, you settle into the energy of the crowd and the stage, and you just 


LET GO AND WAIL!


Photo courtesy of someone's Instagram.
Photo courtesy of someone's Instagram.

After the show your boyfriend tells you, "you looked like a badass and you got 15% cooler!"(You are slightly confused because you thought you were already 100% cool.) While you mop the sweat from your face with your soaked t-shirt, you say to your boyfriend,

"Thanks. Did I play at least half of the notes right?"
He looks at you incredulously and says, "yes, of course! There is one thing you can do to improve for the next time though."
"What's that?"
"Well, Kate had on gold-glitter eye makeup and wore a cape, and the drummer wore a ripped t-shirt and had a mohawk. What do you think about some sort of signature look?"
"Hmm"

Step 15: Make a mental note to figure out your signature rocker-chick look? Dye your hair blonde maybe??? A tattoo?

Step 16: Hug your boyfriend because even though he played the show in the band before you, and he is tired and sweaty as well, he still carries all of your heavy equipment back to the car.

Step 17: On the drive home ask yourself what you are supposed to do now...

Step 18: Schedule a massage appointment for the next morning, because your neck and shoulders will feel like roadkill due to the constant head-banging. 

Step 19: Disappoint your mother, because you forgot to take videos of the event.

Step 20: Forget to take photos because you were so busy living in the moment. (You did manage to take a picture of the toilet at the venue, however, because for some reason that seemed important.)


Honestly, Meg