Bands4Good Challenge

I was so excited to hear about the Bands4Good Challenge and all it is doing to keep music alive in our schools. This event is an amazing opportunity for unsigned artists from all over the country to showcase their talents while simultaneously helping a great cause

There are two divisions; school aged (6th though 12th grade) and an adult division (18 and over). Over the next few months, I will be bringing you interviews and a more behind the scenes tour, but for now...below is everything you need to know to sign up or encourage your talented friends to participate. 

You have until Sept 30th to apply!

Innovative Virtual Platform Changes the Paradigm of Fundraising with Bands4Good Challenge, Combining Musical Talent Competition and Donation-Based Voting Opportunities

Applications Now Being Accepted for the 2014 Bands4Good Challenge Benefiting Music Education

Raleigh, North Carolina – Aug. 15, 2014 – The 2014 Bands4Good Challenge™, presented by Doing Good Network™, is accepting applications today through Sept. 30 for its online music talent competition. It uses a proprietary virtual program to help propel aspiring artists while aiming to keep music in our schools through support of nonprofits benefiting music education. Contestants – solo artists and bands in any genre – will compete to earn both fan votes and professional judges’ scores for the chance to win prizes, such as career development, vocal/instrumental coaching, recording studio sessions, performance opportunities and introductions to industry professionals.

Following the application process, people across the United States will have two opportunities to support their favorite participating musicians. First, fans can vote once per day without cost. Second, fans can purchase additional donation votes in package bundles in which the more money donated to support the cause, the more votes granted to the musician of their choice. Professional judges will also score each contestant’s performance looking for exceptional talent.

“The Bands4Good Challenge is an opportunity for up-and-coming artists to compete on a national scale, having their songs judged by industry experts and voted on by people nationwide – all while raising money for charity,” said Fred Fletcher Jr., Doing Good Network CEO and president and Bands4Good co-founder. “It’s a chance to garner huge exposure, invaluable industry access and all while knowing you’re ‘doing good’ for charity.”

The Doing Good Network developed this unparalleled fundraising platform to support deserving causes by connecting andbenefiting nonprofits, musicians and the general public. The surprising founders, four guys with a median age of 65, embrace the digital age and believe everyone has the power to change the world with just one good action at a time. They spent the last four years creating and perfecting the competition’s virtual platform and kicked off a beta test with a North Carolina competition last year.

Now on a national stage, the 2014 competition is open to artists who are unsigned by major record labels. Singers, songwriters, duos, groups, bands and musicians of all genres, instrumentation and styles are encouraged to enter. As part of the submission process, applicants must upload audio of a song they feel best represents their musical talent. Further information, the complete rules and the application form are available at

The 2014 Bands4Good Challenge includes two divisions: the School Division is open to individuals or bands in which all members are between sixth and 12 grade. Contestants must be 13 years of age or older. The Adult Open Division is for artists who are age 18 and older. Winners will be recognized in a number of categories for each division, including Fan Favorite, Charity Champion, Judges’ Pick and Best in Genre.

John “JD” Davenport serves as head judge and is also the Bands4Good co-founder and vice president of music and artist development. His career spans three decades of audio engineering for artists such as Madonna, The Rolling Stones, BJ Thomas, Ronnie Spector, Kenny G, Michael Bolton and Bruce Springsteen just to name a few. Today, John runs a state-of-the-art recording and film studio in North Carolina, Deep River Sound Studios. He will share his studio, audio engineering expertise and mentorship with some of the competition’s top winners.

“The Bands4Good Challenge will help take exceptional, unknown musical talents to the next level; it’s a huge opportunity for artists to be discovered,” said Davenport. “The other professional judges and I will all score contestants based on voice quality, musicianship, creativity, originality and overall entertainment value. We’re looking for super talents, but these individuals will also need to know how to rally their fans to generate votes and donations to help keep music in our schools.”

The 2014 Bands4Good Challenge will focus all philanthropic efforts on music education through select nonprofit partnerships. This includes Little Kids Rock, which aims to give every student the opportunity to unlock his or her inner music-maker. Over the past 12 years, it has given more than 300,000 under-served schoolchildren across the U.S. access to fun, engaging, modern band music classes and brand new instruments at no cost to the students, teachers or school districts. Additionally, Bands4Good has partnered with Arts for Life, which builds bridges and makes lasting connections between the art and healthcare communities of North Carolina. Its programs teach visual arts, music, and creative writing to patients and run five to seven days a week, eight to fourteen hours a day in each of our four different hospital sites.

Contestant applications will be accepted through Sept. 30. The 2014 Bands4Good Challenge preliminary round voting will officially start Oct. 3. The final winners will be announced during a live digital streaming performance show on Nov. 22. To apply, learn more or gear up to vote, visit

About the Bands4Good Challenge
The Bands4Good Challenge™, presented by Doing Good Network™, is an online music talent competition that combines an innovative fundraising platform to help propel aspiring artists while supporting a cause and great nonprofits that serve it. The 2014 Bands4Good Challenge™ is raising money to help keep music in schools across the United States, including nonprofit partnerships with Little Kids Rock and Arts For Life. The entire competition is concepted and produced by the Doing Good Network™, a North Carolina-based organization founded to drive awareness for the benefits of embracing social purpose while creating opportunities for people to “do good” as a lifestyle. It aims to change the paradigm of fundraising by bringing an entrepreneurial approach to helping the less fortunate. Learn more and get in on the action at

Are You Envious

I am really excited about today's Friday Favorites as it pertains to a good friend of mine. Candy and I have known each other for about five years because our husband's used to work together. We became fast friends and usually can be found together eating and drinking wine.

Candy has always had great style and after being a stay at home mom for a while, she has parlayed that into a nice little business for herself in the form of an on line boutique and, even better...if you are local she does mobile parties and brings the goods to you! 

Check out her website, Candy's Closet Envy 

The clothes are fashionable and what you'd expect to find at a boutique...what you wouldn't expect to find at a normal boutique are her prices, you can actually afford to splurge on a few pieces, go ahead...I did!

and while you are at it, grab yourself some adorable (and affordable!) accessories.

So go ahead, have yourself a look and follow her on instagram or facebook and you may get lucky and win a giveaway. 

and keep in mind shipping is $2.99 and $1 each additional.

Linking up with Amanda, Hey Friday and Momfessionals.

Raspberry Rum Pops

Yesterday was national lemonade day, did you know this? I didn't...until it was too late. I didn't even have any yesterday. How sad. 

But that shouldn't stop you from having some today. and I know the perfect way for you to have some, my raspberry green tea rum pops. That's correct...Rum pops. 

I was lucky enough to be able to guest post for one of my good blog friends, Megan at Fashionista Momma. Megan and I met earlier this summer at Blog U and formed a fast friendship. She is one stylish momma who has lots of healthy recipes, exercise tips and great fashion advice.

Click here to check out my easy summer recipe!

No Pictures Needed

I tend to live my life snapping away. I love capturing the scenes that make up our daily life.  We are often doing fun things that a simple picture allows me a way to remember the small details. 

and then, sometimes, there are weekend like this. Where we really did nothing picture worthy and yet I had one of the best times in a while. When you are in "go, go, go" mode...slowing down is such welcome relief. 

On Friday, Wiki came home from work and whipped me up a steak. With a side of bacon. Cause that is how I roll.  And it was delicious. There are few steaks better than his.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it! 

We were originally supposed to head to our usual summer theater spot at the art museum to watch Bull Durham, but he got home a little later than expected. I was a little bummed as Bull Durham is one of my all time favorites and I could probably quote it line for line, but instead we headed to the theater next door in time to catch the 100 foot Journey...maybe one of my new favorite movies. I entails food, love and a charming French village. What is not to love?! Not to mention Helen Mirren. Enough said. I read the book and I still loved the movie. 

Saturday we lounged around for most of the day before I headed out to do some damage at the Bath & Body Works candle sale. and I did do some damage. hello, coupons.  I then headed over to Nicole's to hang out for the night and have drinks, a bonfire and a slumber party. Because why in the hades not?

Yesterday was another diddle daddle type of day.  Just got some stuff done around the house. My suitcase is completely packed for Italy and we still have 10 days left. I had a horrible dream I forgot to pack and we missed our flight. Definitely not happening;)

How was your weekend? Anything fun or adventurous?

Linking up with Meghan, Leeann and Kimberlee

Gettin My Fall On Y'all.

I know it is August, but since Fall is my absolute favorite season...I always get started now so I can enjoy the scents and taste of the season. and I keep all my decorations up until December 1st. I love me some Christmas, but caramel apples, pumpkin, cinnamon and bourbon take Santa on and win in my world.

These are the Fall things I am crushin on for the time being and a few things I am most looking forward to.

Football. Ok. Truthfully, I have been ready for football since February. I am always so remiss when it ends and find myself counting down the weeks. and this year...Duke is ranked in the pre season poll for the first time in I don't even know how long. Yes, the perennial loser of not only the ACC but all of college football is ranked in pre season. I am overjoyed.

and then, to top it off, our town just started it's own Patriots fan club and so we don't have to drive the half hour to the one in Downtown Raleigh.

Boots. Oh, there are few things that I adore more than a pair of boots and skinny jeans. Each year I patently await the new styles and then I wait til they go on sale at the end of the season. So basically, I am always a season behind I am all of a hundred percent cool with that. For example, last year I got a $350 pair of Frye boots for less than $75 and they will last me for quite some time.

Over sized sweaters. Ok, when I said there are few more things I adore than a pair of skinny jeans and boots, one of those is when they are paired with the most comfy and stylish over sized sweater. Cable knit tends to be my favorite.

Candles. I mean...this is self explanatory. I wait all year for the new Fall scents and I burn them in my kitchen/living room pretty much year round. If it smells like apples or baked goods, it belongs in my matter the season. Here are the ones I am crushin on right now. and by crushin, I mean already been burning for over a week.

Bourbon drinks. hahaha who am I kidding? I love bourbon drink all year long. I love it so much. but I do have a few recipes that scream Fall. Here is one I came up with last year and you can't go wrong. Perfect for a party and so easy to whip up.

Especially if you plan to have a party and maybe have yourself a bonfire. Because why wouldn't you? Bonfires are the best. Music and friends. Yes, please.

What are you favorite things about Fall?!

The Faces Are Everywhere

August the 11th is my date of infamy. It will probably always be my before and after. Each year has brought about different feelings.  This year, in particular, was a day for me to sit and reflect on.  For this time...August the 11th meant it has been 20 years since my mental health battle began to rage on.

It was 1994 and I was 15 years old.  I had been struggling for a while after having been brutally sexually assaulted the previous year. This had brought about flashbacks of being molested as a toddler. Eventually... death beckoned. 

 I answered the call. 

 The pills led to cardiac arrest and my death lasted but a few moments before I was shocked back to the here and now.

I shared this on my facebook yesterday, mentioning how I had been dealing with the ups and downs of my illness and how I am finally winning the battle.

"20 years ago on August 11th, 1994, my 20 year battle with mental health began. I tried to end my life by overdosing and was rushed to the hospital where I suffered cardiac arrest. My parents were warned that I may not make it through the night. They were told that if I did I may suffer severe brain damage and be in a vegetative state. Well, *spoiler alert*  I did survive and was left with only frontal lobe brain damage that sometimes causes seizures (and I will often lose train of thought mid sentence) I was diagnosed with bipolar. 

It took 17 years and 13 hospitalizations later, but, I was also diagnosed with ptsd from childhood traumas.

I rarely discuss this on here, but this is why I am so passionate about mental health. I am living, breathing proof that the right team of doctors, medications and, in my case, a healthy dose of Jesus, work. 

On here you are usually bombarded with my funny quips (maybe that is an opinion;) food pictures, cocktail recipes or our frequent travel. My pictures are usually of my smiling face, but that is oftentimes a facade. 

Everyone has a story...this just so happens to be mine.

You can click on the link here to see how I beat PTSD and am working every day to show bipolar who is boss. It is the most difficult, yet truthful, piece I have ever written. 

 Then, just two hours after I posted that on facebook and as I was watching Jeopardy, the news broke on the passing of Robin Williams and the belief that it was suicide.

It took me a few moments to wrap my head around what I was seeing and process the news. I am still not even sure that I actually have.  The sadness and desperation he must have felt, such a familiar foe.  The stark reminder that none of us are immune to this illness.

 The various people who have taken to commenting about how it isn't a disease , he chose to kill himself and he "had everything going for him and they don't feel sorry for him"

 I sat dumbfounded and sad at the ignorance. Surprised? Not so much.

Mental Illness (especially depression) doesn't care who you are. It cares nothing about your stature, your career, your mark on the world. It cares little about the perception that anyone may have of your life. It just doesn't give a damn.

It rears its ugly head whenever and wherever it feels like and sometimes it can be beat. Other times, it wages war and comes out on top. Nothing can stop it. 

I know this truth firsthand.  I had people who loved me, who surrounded me with help and support and my illness still didn't care. This illness is full of lies and takes away your ability to see the truth. 

Getting help for depression, or bipolar or anxiety or any form of mental illness does not make you weak. It simply means you have an illness and you are doing your best to combat it.

When someone ends their life, it is not because they are selfish. It is not because they are weak minded or the opposite of strong. It simply means that they lost their battle and the illness won out.

Just like cancer. Just like heart failure. Or kidney failure. Or car accident.  The illness simply couldn't be denied this time. When you "choose" suicide, it is not a logical choice. That is what this illness does, makes you completely illogical and unable to see a way out. Your mind leads you to believe you do not have a choice. 

This illness is devastating. Robin Williams death is devastating, but he is not the only face of mental illness. Look around the sea of people you are in everyday...and one of them (probably more than one) is wearing a mask that enables them to get through their day by pretending.

 The faces of mental illness are everywhere.

But with more and more people bringing awareness to this disease, with more people talking about it, surely we can lessen the stigma and more and more people will find a combination that works. 

We must do all we can to combat the fight against mental health.

If you are struggling and need help, please call someone, reach out to someone you trust and if you don't feel comfortable talking to someone you know, please call the suicide prevention hot line.

I know how simple it is to say that. and I know when you are hard it is to decide to do that. but just in case...

My ordeal has taken me 20 years to get to a healthy place. There may be no miracle fix, but I promise you the road is worth it.

Dollar, Dollar Bills...Y'all.

I have been traveling so much and have so many things to post about but for my Friday favorites, I am keeping it pretty simple this week. 

and both are concerning one dollar bills. The things that bring excitement to me these days;)

First up was when my friend and I ate at Thurman's Cafe in Columbus. It is supposedly an institution and I will say that is for sure lived up to the hype. Once you walked in, it is dark except for the neon shining from blacklights and the whole place is covered in dollar bills that have writing on them. 

What was even better than my burger was the fact that at the end of each year they collect all the bills and match the amount to donate to charity and start all over for the next year. What a great concept!

and secondly, I was at the mall yesterday when they asked if I was interested in a quick survey to make $25.  I am not insane so the answer was obviously yes;) It was regarding potty training. thank you years of babysitting and being a nanny...this was right up my alley. 

15 minutes later I was off...with my wad of 25 ones. I felt like I was back being a server. Whatever, I will take it! 

Living large up in here.

I have so much to catch up on for next week, but for now these were two of my good times from the week.

Enjoy your weekend and see you next week!

Pinehurst: A Little Porch Sittin

This weekend has been eventful. I went up to Virginia, came home for a few hours to Carolina and am now in Cincinnati for the next few days. Last minute moments with friends are always fun. But since I never got to post about our trip last weekend to Pinehurst, I figured I would post it today. 

Pinehurst is just about an hour away from us and it is the most charming town, or more specifically, village. It was started in the late 1800's by the Tufts family from Boston. It is surrounded, of course, by pines. There is good food, a top notch resort and one of the highest rated spas in the country. 

Oh...and I suppose there is golf to be played. I wouldn't know about that. Or maybe I should say care? 

Here are a few photos I snapped during our visit to see Wiki's cousin, Christina and her husband Andy. (Hi, love you guys!) They are down from Boston and he is working the Kids championship they host every summer. Kids (and their parents) come from all over the world to participate.

Now, go find yourself a porch, some sweet tea and have at it. 

and you can check out our lunch at the historic Holly Inn on my other blog.

linking up with Meghan, Meg, Leeann, WWU

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