Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My blog is moving!

Hey, 5 people who read this blog (Thanks, mom)

I'm moving this blog to rileyhall.net

It's got a fun, new look. See you there.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Gaither's are my New Kids on the Block

Much like most 70-year-olds, I love southern gospel music. Seriously, some of the best conversations I've had with the blue-haired have been about southern gospel music. I see no shame in it either. There's no shame in having blue hair either. (You rock it, Ethel. Wha what!) I mean, you'll never hear tighter harmonies than in southern gospel music. But give it a chance. Here...watch this. It's the Gaither Vocal Band. My favorite gospel group singing my favorite song.

Ok, yeah, the set is a little TBNey, but come on. Pretty good, huh?

A friend of mine got some friends and I tickets to the see the Gaither's in Ontario last weekend. I couldn't sleep the night before I was so excited. THEN, while we were driving up there he said that we were meeting one of the guys in the band for dinner.


Was my childhood dream of meeting a living, breathing Gaither going to come true!?

I tried to stay calm and said, "That's cool." While inside I had just wet my pants.

We drove to the arena and around back to the tour busses and standing on the curb waiting for us was the Gaither baritone and funny man, Mark Lowry. I've listened to this guy since I was a kid. This guy is one of the funniest people I've ever met. Such a fun dinner.

I won't go into huge detail about the night but we got incredible seats, backstage passes, and got to hang out with the Gaither's after the concert. It was a super special night for me.

Ok, so here's a little-known fact about me. Growing up I wanted to be a christian recording artist. Yeah, like a singer who sings songs about God like Carman or Michael W. Smith or Michael English. Michael English has always been my all-time favorite christian singer. So, yeah, I wanted to be a christian singer. If I went home and looked hard enough I could probably find the list I made when I was 12 years old listing the Dove awards (aka God's Grammy's) I wanted to win and at what age I wanted to win them. Someone once told me that if I wrote down my goals they were more likely to happen, which is a heaping load of crap given my empty Dove award shelf and unmaterialized marriage to Carrie Underwood.


Ok, back to the story.

So I got to meet Mark Lowry AND Michael English that night. They were both in the video above.

Ok, so one last video. Thank your stars that I only included 2 videos because I whittled it down to these 2 from about 50.

If you want to get a feeling for a what Gaither's concert is like watch the whole video, but if you just want to hear one of the most incredible a'cappella start playing this at 3:14.

So as I'm moving to Laguna Woods in my 40s, you better believe I'll be jamming out to my Gaither's.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


From time to time I like to write about the things I am swooning over. These 3 things will make your life better. Guaranteed.

This American Life
I've developed an unhealthy addiction to This American Life. I get it any way I can. The podcast...Netflix...from the shady dealer behind Staples on Aliso Creek Road. I can't get enough. This American Life is primarily a weekly hour-long radio program produced by Chicago Public Radio and hosted by Ira Glass. It's also a series on Current TV. But I watch it on Netflix. I can't speak highly enough about this show (radio and TV). It's up there with Buffalo Wild Wings and southern gospel music. Each week's show loosely centers on a particular theme. The theme is expanded upon in several first-person narrative "acts." The stories range from following a Marxist, former-Mormom "Jesus"-model and his internal conflict with posing as "Jesus" for a local artist to a troupe of people living in an old folks home writing, acting and producing an independent movie. It's brilliant!

Hercules Hooks
My mom introduced me to these. They're totally a "As Seen on TV" product but it's got the Billy Mays, God rest his soul, stamp of approval. These little wire hooks will hold anything. You could hang a bear or a car hood on these things. Not that you would ever need to hang a car hood on your wall, but a bear you might want to sometime if you were like a hunter or something or if you wanted to take "Pin the Tail On" to the next level. I hung some mirrors and a picture with them. They make a tiny hole in the wall and you don't need a hammer or anything. They're the coolest.

Mocc Socks - They are socks that you can't see. I have unusually sweaty feet so I'm not a sockless kinda guy. But the cool kids don't wear socks, so instead of having swampy feet I found these. Mocc Socks are basically really short socks. I mean, I could probably make these myself, but what fun is that. I'd rather pay $30 for 5 pairs and know I'm supporting a fellow swampy-footed business.

The runners up...
Mach 3 razors
Bandera restaurant in Corona del Mar
Trader Joe's Gummy Tummies
Mathis Brothers furniture

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hey...Sweet Ax

So, my birthday is just around the corner and there is really nothing that I need. I mean, I would love an new iPhone since mine got stolen at church. Seriously, Saddleback Church. In addition to "worship" and "fellowship," we should add a 6th purpose and call it "leave crap where you find it." I would love some new shoes. The ones I currently wear every day were $30 at Nordstrom and have so many holes that if I walk in a parking lot, they get filled with rocks. But it's ok, because I can shake the rocks out the huge holes in the back of the shoe, it's just a nuisance. I could use pots and pans. I don't foresee a wedding anytime soon so acquiring a pot that has an attached handle would be a nice treat.

But after many hours of thinking of what I really want for my birthday, I arrived on one gift.

a Best Made ® Ax

I want one really bad.

Come on, how cool are they? I haven't decide which one I want because they are on backorder and there site only offers the "do it yourself kit" ax which I couldn't be less interested in. I want my ax delivered to me fully painted and in this bitchin box

So I'm throwing practicality and frugality to the wind and requesting the most frivolous gift I've ever asked for. iPhones will come and go and pots and pans will only get used, let's be honest, 2-3 times a year, but a sweet ax will last forever.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

See you later Urban Outffiters!

I won't claim the stereotype of hating to shop. I mean I like shopping for furniture. I love going to Whole Foods and Trader Joes to prepare for the 2 times a year that I cook. I like car shopping.

I don't much enjoy clothes shopping. Maybe it's because I'm 6'3" and skinny.

"Yes, do you have size 31x36 jeans? No? You've never heard of a jean that ill-proportioned? Cool. Thank you."

When I buy a shirt I have to mentally add on $30 to cover alterations.

It's annoying.

My go-to is a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. If I'm feeling like dressing up, I'll throw on 4-year-old flannel.

Sometimes I'll go to the mall with a little motivation to buy some cool, trendy clothes. So I'll go in Urban Outfitters and try on something, but let's be honest, red floppy high tops, a teal deep-V, and skinny jeans don't belong on a me. Have you met me? So then I'll go all bipolar and head over to Banana Republic and go straight back to the sale section where clothes go to die. And there I'll find a sweater that kinda fits. I'll try it on and notice that in the light it's strange metallic blue and then I realize why it's on clearance but I buy it anyway because I believe I can pull it off. I'm wrong....and I kinda know it and it just sits in my closet getting hid behind t-shirts and jeans.

So, all that to say. Shopping. Clothes. No bueno.

So on my flight home to Texas, I read this article about this new service called Trunk Club. You sign up online and a personal shopper calls you. They ask you questions to find out of what you do for a job, what you typically wear to work, what you wear on the weekend...pretty basic stuff. Then a week later a giant box is delivered to you with a ton of intentionally-selected clothes. You keep what you want and send the rest back free-of-charge with the included return FedEx sticker. When they get the box back, they see what you kept and charge your card for that. Wham. Bam. Done.

Its like Christmas when you get a gift you love that you didn't even think to ask for. Plus, 5 minutes after I signed for the package, my style consultant contacted me to see what I thought of the stuff she sent.

She had everything already matched for me. She idiot-proofed it for me by wrapping a pant, 2 shirts, and a sweater together and bundled them together. Then she thew in a sweet wool overcoat to top it all off.

Here is what was in included in my "trunk":

Joe's Jeans - Rocker slim fit bootcut jeans
Lacoste - Pima Cotton 1/2 Zip Sweater
Jeremy Argyle - Dress shirt pink/white checked

AG Jeans - Protege MMR
Ben Sherman - Shawl Collar Sweater
Jeremy Argyle - Dress shirt blue-white checked
Jeremy Argyle - Dress shirt red/navy check

Bonobos - Khakistan khaki mid-weight corduroy
J.A.C.H.S. - plaid long sleeve button down
J.A.C.H.S. - blue long sleeve button down
Life After Denim - Tournament Crew Sweater

Schott NYC - Wool Carcoat

So now, I know what you're wondering is how much all of this cost. It's not cheap. The clothes are not sale clothes so you are paying full price which I am find with if it means I don't have to battle the gaggles of high schoolers at the Spectrum. The pants range from $110-$195. The button down shirts range from $70 to $142. The sweaters range from $78 to $158. And the coat, which I really like but don't have a huge use for in CA, was $285.

It's a bit on a pricy side for me who thinks $20 for a t-shirt is unreasonable, but I am keeping several things from my first trunk. I contacted my consultant and let her know that even though the $142 button downs fit great with no alterations needed, I couldn't justify spending that much on a shirt I would only wear occasionally. So I am sending my trunk back and she'll send a new one in a few weeks with new stuff.

So far I am really impressed and love the service. I see it as something I will probably do a couple times a year.

So, see you later Urban Outfitters. I wish I was going to miss you, but honestly I won't.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Back like the McRib

Well fancy running into you here.

I know I have been distant for a while. Quite a long while actually.

Much like the McRib to OC McDonalds, I hope that my return to blogging is met with similar excitement.

Over the past few months I have:

• purchased my first home
• been back home to Texas twice
• become the last remaining single member of my team at work
• inherited the most kick ass computer at work
• joined a new church
• expired the warranty on my car
• furnished said home with furniture
• spent too many hours at Panera
• started watching Mad Men
• discovered the coolest new service that allows me to never shop for clothes in a store again

So what would you like to hear about first? How my new place.

My first decision was decided on what city I wanted to live in. I narrowed it down to Rancho Santa Margarita, Ladera Ranch, and Aliso Viejo. Here is the breakdown.

So, after months and month and looking all kinds of condos, one of which was a pot grow house. That was an interesting one. I ended up landing on Aliso Viejo. I liked the young community, location, proximity to the beach, freeway/toll road access, and it seemed a bit out of the busyness of Orange County. There are ton a running and hiking trails. I loved it. So, I found a place and here it is:

I am so thankful for it. Come over anytime! The door's always open unless it's closed. Then just ring the doorbell.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Flying Solo

As I was reading through my blog reel this morning, I ran across this interesting article on AdAge on how marketing and advertising to singles has shifted in the past few years. It really got me thinking how drastically the number of married people in this age range has decreased since 2000...not since the 60s...but the year 2000! Wonder why that is? I'm not saying it's bad or negative, in a lot of ways I think it's great. I mean, I am contributing to this drastic shift myself.