Health

A Reflection from My Time At Onsite

I’m not sure where you were when you got the news that Kate Spade had ended her life.

For me, that news will be forever etched in my mind. I will always remember the patch of grass where I was standing, the feeling of the sun hitting my face as it was setting. The lump in my throat as I tried to swallow when I heard it was suicide. My stomach physically ached.  And not because I was a Kate Spade super-fan, but because I heard the news moments after receiving my phone back on June 7th after being away from all technology for a week. Let me back up.

Onsite.

On June 1st, I drove myself about an hour outside of Nashville, Tennessee, to a place called Cumberland Furnace, TN to the Onsite Workshops. Onsite is a therapeutic retreat center and they have a week-long program called “The Living Centered Program,” or LCP. I’ve had a ton of friends who have gone through the program, who all had incredible experiences, but I never thought I would actually do it.

See, I always thought of Onsite as a rehab type of place — like, you only go there for serious problems. But, after talking with my friend Miles who is the CEO at Onsite, and another friend Jess that works there, I had a better understanding that the program was really for anyone who wanted to take the next step. Anyone who wanted to become more emotionally healthy. A safe space to work on yourself and on your stuff. And that looks like all different things for different people. It’s really just a place for you to get emotionally fit.

So, with a little help and encouragement from my friends I said YES and signed up for the June 1st LCP. Honestly, part of me almost let fear win. Like, I almost didn’t say yes. I didn’t like the fact that I would be without a cell phone/computer and all the comforts of the outside world for a week — hello SEPARATION anxiety from my life. It was a real thing.  And another real fear was that the last 8 months I’ve really felt in an emotionally healthy place…or at least A LOT better than other times in my life…so I was a little worried that a week of intense group therapy was going to leave me in a worse place than before. But, I was able to talk that out with some of the Onsite staff, and they helped calm my fears and reassure me that it was a guided process — I wasn’t going to be alone with these fears.

So, June 1st came, and at around 7pm that evening, I handed over my cell phone. Guys, it was weird. I was excited to be free from it for a week, but I also immediately felt SO ALONE. I had none of my people with me. I couldn’t text Jill if I was having a melt-down. I couldn’t send a GIF to my girls if I needed a laugh. I couldn’t call my mom. I couldn’t insta-story and chat with all my insta-people. Solo. Me. Well, me surrounded by 56 strangers. Yikes.

I’m not going to share the details of all that we did, but it was a combination of mornings spent with the big group — learning more about the science behind why we do what we do…sort of like emotional fitness classes, and then the late mornings and afternoons were spent in your small group of about 8 or 9 other individuals, and that’s when the more focused work would happen…in group therapy.

I am not even going to lie — I thought the idea of group therapy was terrible. I mean, I knew that was the thing that LCP did, but I’ve never done group therapy and I was certain I would hate it. But, OMG, it was magic. These 9 people started out as strangers, and I can tell you right now, there’s not one of them I wouldn’t fly across the country for in one hot second right now. These strangers became like family. Six days. What in the world?

I’m not even sure how to fully summarize what changes I feel in myself, but it feels significant. And full disclosure, I definitely had some personal a-ha moments that I want to keep for myself or family/close friends, but I do really want to share some of my takeaways with you in hopes that they might be useful to you. They might be jumbled or random but here’s the bottom line.

I loved it. I feel like I learned tools that will help me navigate the rest of my life. I feel like I experienced real healing in some wounds that I was carrying since childhood. I would highly recommend the program to anyone who has blood running through their veins. I think anyone and everyone could benefit. Literally there were people there from ages 19 to mid-70s. Anyone can do this.

Group Therapy.

So, you’re in a small group, where everyone has signed a confidentiality agreement and you have a therapist who is the guide for your group and you get to know these people. Like, KNOW them. As you share your story and as they share theirs, something begins to shift inside of you. You cannot look someone in the eyes when they’re talking about their pain and not be changed. My therapist group leader told me that 70% of your healing comes from just being in the room — the 30% is when you’re talking about your own stuff, but that might not even be as impactful. And I realized something…that might be the key. I think that’s what we’re all looking for in life. Someone to bear witness to our pain. We don’t need someone to fix it. Or say it’s going to be fine. Or pity us. We just need someone to see it. Someone to bear witness to our pain. Especially if the pain happened a long time ago, to go back, to uncover those painful moments and have a room full of people witness it. There is healing in that.

I am a fixer by nature. I want to rescue and fix and make a plan for change to get out of pain. Yet, that was not my role —in group therapy or in life — my role is to say, I see you in that pain. Maybe that’s it. Just, I see it. I am a witness to your pain…and I’m sorry. You take 57 strangers, and you realize that every single person there is carrying pain of some sort. Wounds. Hurt. Heartache. Some of them are scars that run deep. Some are fresh and still oozing with infection. But pain is pain. I left there and I swear I was seeing people differently. The cashier at Kroger. The guy flipping burgers at Five Guys. Every single human alive has a story and most likely has pain. It makes me want to listen more. I don’t need to fix or rescue. I need to listen and see people. I need to bear witness to their pain. It’s powerful.

It was intense.

They say the week there is equivalent to 8 months of weekly therapy. So, it’s no walk in the park. At times, it was uncomfortable…pushing me out of my comfort zone and into feelings that I haven’t felt in a while. Was it a breeze? No. Was it worth it? Yes. Because here’s the thing: I’m pretty certain that great things come after a bit of friction. Sometimes sitting in the group room, I felt uncomfortable and it felt hard. I think of it now like fire or friction. No one likes fire, but that’s how you get the refined beauty. No one likes the friction on the rock until the diamond appears. And I don’t mean it to be a cheesy analogy, but I mean it. It reminded me that most things in life that are worth it take work, and sometimes that work is uncomfortable in the process.


You aren’t allowed to talk about what you do for work. That is a true story. You arrive and you are given a name tag. Kate R. — that was all of me. You guys, I’ve been a part of the duo Jill and Kate for 15 freaking years. Do you know how awesome it was for people to get to know me? Me. Not “Kate” from Jill and Kate...or Kate the back-up singer for Kelly Clarkson. Me! Just me! This part was so helpful.  Literally, there are people that don’t know the difference between Jill and I, and honestly they don’t care to. When showing up at an event on my own people will ask me: “So, how are you guys?” Ummm…it’s just me here.

I felt seen.

This kind of piggy backs on my last point — but during my week at Onsite, I felt seen. I sort of think you can’t escape that. Seen, known, and loved. I think someone summarized those things that might be our three most basic desires and longings. I wasn’t known for accomplishments or seen because of what I did for work. I was seen as a human being not a human doing.

Also, I realized that so much of my life is work. And I love it — I love all that I get to do, but when people aren’t allowed to talk about work — you talk about who you are. Sometimes around the meal tables there would be awkward lulls in conversation because the natural flow of conversation NORM is to talk about work. Instead, I found myself asking the question “Do you have any hobbies? What do you do for fun?” A lot. It was awesome because you actually get to know people for who they are, not what they do. Yes, yes, yes. I’m trying to do this more. My way of asking people questions is now, “So what keeps you busy when you’re not {at the event or driving for Uber}?”

Another huge takeaway for me was that my job is to look after myself. Not in a “Only lookout for #1” way or a selfish manner at all, but that my role in life is taking care of and nurturing myself. I cannot control anyone else or any other situation, but I can take care of myself. A lot of my nature is to caretake — which my therapist also pointed out the difference between care-taking and caregiving. That care-taking is way more about you than it is the other person. Ummm…say what? Thanks Jim for the mic drop moment. Taking vs. giving. Dang, that was a lightbulb moment for me. But I realized that self-care is something that I need to focus on.

Meditation and the brain.

So here’s the deal. I have always heard meditating is good for you. I sort of thought it was more in the New Age vein, but heck, even the Bible talks about meditating…but I’ve never really done it, because I thought that it was something to do for fun or for spiritual reasons. During one of the morning sessions, they do a whole lecture about meditating and show you scientific scans of brains and meditation. I will not attempt to regurgitate medical information here, but let’s just say I now try to meditate every single morning. It’s like flossing but for your brain. Do it, do it, do it. I downloaded a few free apps that have guided mediations: Calm, Headspace and Simple Habit. So far, I like Calm the best.

I am so incredibly grateful for my time at Onsite. To the people that read this that spent the week with me — you know who you are, and I am so grateful to have you with me on my journey from here on out. To the ones who got me to Onsite — Jess, Miles and all the other friends I texted for advice — thank you! I am a different person because of you.

And to you, reader, who might be feeling scared or stuck or in need of the next step…reach out for help. If it’s a friend or a therapist or counselor or a week at Onsite — don’t underestimate the healing power of sharing your pain with others — that’s what we all need — we need a witness to the pain.

And so, I think that’s why the news of Kate Spade hit me so hard.

She was seen and known by billions of people. Had success. Money. Fame. But did she feel truly seen? Truly known? Truly loved. Did she need someone to bear witness to her pain? I don’t know and I never will. But hearing the news of her death was the punctuation mark to my week at Onsite that made it forever memorable.

My hope for you, dear reader, is that you feel seen, known and loved.

Much love,

Kate


Man Weeps On A Plane

I am on a plane. I’m on Southwest, so I can’t reference my seat number like classy writers do, but I’m on the left hand side of the plane about 5 rows behind the exist row.

I am sitting next to a man. It’s crowded. I’m in the window seat and he’s the unlucky one who got the middle seat. It’s a 5 hour flight. Boston to Denver. The sun is reflecting the prettiest color of orange out my window. A thick layer of clouds beneath me and ahead on the horizon. But then, this fire orange and red—it’s thick. Above it, it’s a bit lighter, then breaking into yellow and a big expanse of blue.

I’ve been working on some ideas on my computer. Lots of work. Me: typing, typing, typing. Spreadsheets and to-do lists. Drinking my wine (thanks SWA drink coupon) and I notice my neighbor reading something. He’s reading something in a different language, so I can’t spy to see what the title is or the words on a page. But, about 10 minutes ago, I noticed something. He started wiping tears from his eyes. At first, I thought maybe he was sick or he was just tired and rubbing his eyes. But, I think he is legit crying. I think those are tears. He keeps wiping his tears. 

It looks like a book he’s reading—a kindle edition on his phone…but something is moving him to tears. And as I sit here, dying to intrude and ask him a million questions, I’m reminded that words and stories move us. They change us. He is probably in his 40s, of some sort of Asian descent (also the writing is in some sort of Asian) and he has been staring at his phone for the last 2 hours...and now he is weeping. 

He keeps wiping his tears. 

As I sit here, I wonder who wrote the story he’s reading? What part of the story is so moving to him? What part of his own story is resonating so much with him that tears stream from his face? Why is he moved to tears? I’m sure he doesn’t want to cry in the middle seat of SWA flight 6387, but he clearly can’t stop. I want to cry with him and hug him…which don’t worry…I know is inappropriate, but still. What is moving him to tears?

I am reminded that our stories matter. Your story matters. No matter how we share them…'cause we all share them in different ways. Some with your kids over meal time, some in songs and on a guitar, some with a neighbor over happy hour, some with millions on a talk show, some with your BFF in high school. It doesn’t matter how, but we need you and your story. 

If you’re writing and think that your story isn’t going to move someone to tears one day, I’d encourage you to rethink that. Or if you’re an artist and you don’t think your art is going to move people, I want to tell you to reconsider. 

I wonder if the person who wrote whatever he’s reading knew it would move a man on a plane to tears. And that by his tears, a (somewhat intrusive neighbor passenger) stranger would also be moved and reminded that words matter. Our perspectives and creativity and lives matter.

Oh gosh, I hope he’s not reading my screen. That would be awkward. Ah heck, what do I know…maybe he’s just got really bad allergies and is reading an email. Haha.

Already in the time it took to write this, the magical shade of fire orange has faded. I’m glad I stopped to study it while it was there. 

I am trying not to miss as much these days.

-Kate

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Getting It Done

Hello!

Is anyone else tired of procrastinating? This kid. ME! Right here. I've got so many things on my to-do list, and I do get a few crossed off here and there...but really, it's the easy ones that I cross off first. Things I don't really mind doing.

Then there's always those lingering items...for instance, here are some worth mentioning:

  • Tax preparation. Receipts, emails with our business managers, personal taxes. the whole shabang. 
  • Returning items to Kohls and American Eagle and TJMaxx. Why God, why?
  • Returning a gift my sister sent to me from Amazon. (I already had it. Bless her.)
  • Cleaning out my makeup bag. This should be fun, but I need to do a major declutter and throw a lot out and I just don't throw out old makeup well. I want to hang on and think of all the wonderful places we could go together...but it's old and smells funky and I should just throw it out. While I'm at it...I should clean all my makeup brushes. Add it to the freakin' list!
  • Clean makeup brushes.
  • Call the NY Tollway and beg forgiveness for a $5 toll that has a $100 penalty on it because they mailed it to our Nash address and we've been traveling for the last 3 months so we didn't get it. WAHHHHHHHHHH. Please be kind NY Toll person that I talk to. 
  • Write a paragraph for a work thing.
  • Reply to unread emails x 100000000000000 (infinity.)

But, I've decided that these things are eating up my brain space with a constant feeling of always having to cross something off my list. SO I AM DOING IT ALL THIS WEEK. Please keep me accountable. I want to use my free time to write, create, and dream...and right now my brain is on LOCK-FREAKIN'-DOWN. You know when people say: set some goals! And you're like, YEAH RIGHT. I can't even think about goals because I have so many things on my perpetual to-do list! It's eating up our brains. Hahaha. Or at least mine. I am crossing those nagging items off this. DOING IT. 

Anyone with me? It's GSD week. (get s%*t done)

What are you getting done this week?

Kate

PS: One thing we DID NOT procrastinate on this week was recording our podcast, and this one is a doozie! THE DATING DIARIES! Just like it sounds. Listen to all of our Girls Just Pod To Have Fun episodes here!

New Year Wishes

Guys, if you’re reading this, you’ve made it through another year! You have most likely faced peaks and valleys, joy and sorrow, ease and difficulty, love and loss...all since December 31, 2016. Isn’t it amazing what can take place in one year?

As we all look forward to starting a new year together, we want to send you these well wishes.

May you laugh more often and uncontrollably.

May you live in each moment and recognize the magic of the present.

May you find great strength during difficulties, and conquer fear and anxiety with immeasurable peace.

May you sing and dance more.

May you check things off your bucket lists.

May you spend more time with the people you love.

May you never give up on the deep desires of your soul.

May life be kind to you, and may you be kind to others.

May you see beauty in a way you have never seen it before.

May God bless you and your loved ones.
 

Thank you for sticking with us for another year. We can’t wait for 2018, when we will bring you some new music, new podcast episodes, new blogs, and we will all learn about life together.

Your support means everything to us.

Much love,

J&K

PS. One more: May you drive immediately to the ocean whenever possible :)

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Clarity

So if you’ve been reading our blogs or listening to our podcast, you know we’ve been on a walkabout the last few months.  We’ve been traveling quite a bit on our walkabout and I’ve loved it. I love traveling. Selling almost all of my belongings and heading out to chase beauty and joy has been amazing. I can’t say enough good things about how valuable the time has been for me. It has been freeing in a way I can hardly describe.

One thing that has surprised me about the walkabout, is that this time of exploring has made me crystal clear on what I want.  I didn’t even know before that I didn’t know what I wanted before heading out on this adventure (haha that was sort of a tongue twister.) But, this time of wandering about has made very clear what I want. It’s been a great lead up to the new year and making goals and dreaming all the dreams--I know what I want.

Knowing what I want has been hard for me almost my whole life. I’m sort of a chameleon and can be happy in lots of environments. So, I can sort of get caught up in other people’s desires and dreams, and adopt them as my own. I think it’s why I’ve always had a hard time choosing “favorite things”...I like so many things that it’s hard for me to narrow down a favorite, which has also translated to it being hard to know what I actually want. For me. My own.

As I’ve gotten more clear on this, I’ve decided that knowing what you want is so important in life...but I also sort of hate it, because knowing what you want and not having what you want is hard. It’s like as soon as I know what I want: I WANT IT.  It’s the in between time that leaves you hanging in the balance. Knowing what you really, really want and not having it, sort of sucks. Also, when you want something that you don’t have, you are leaving yourself open to disappointment if you don’t get it. Anyone else avoid potential disappointment like the plague? Ummm me!

But, I think it’s worth it. I think it’s worth getting SUPER CLEAR on what you want. It’s your one and only life and I think if we’re not clear on what we want, we can float and drift and potentially wake up when we are 85 years old, realizing we never got what we wanted because we didn’t ever even know.

And I think the disappointment of not getting what you want is actually necessary in life. It shapes us. It’s a tool. It helps you get even clearer on the rest of what you want. Heartbreak, loss, and disappointment are all actually wonderful teachers if you let them teach you. They are also wonderful reasons to drown your cares in a bottle of booze (ha), which is helpful for a bit, but man, don’t run from those teachers. They will help you move forward and get clear on other things that you want, and maybe actually lead you to what you need.

I’ve got to admit, what we did was sort of radical, sort of insane to some people. But, I am so grateful to have done it/be doing it. Sometimes we only realize what we really want when we have freedom and clarity from our normal routine and step into something that we haven’t experienced before.

Part of me hates not having all the answers on how long we are doing this walkabout or what the next few months are going to look like.  I am a very clear-to-the-point-in-love-with-details-planner type person, so not having these sorts of answers is hard for me. But, I am learning to lean into the unknown. My goal for this walkabout was to be present in every moment. And when you don’t have a plan, it does make it easier to lean into the unknown and just stay present. No planning ahead, no regurgitating the past. No stressing about the future. Only now. Only present.

But man, I’m so grateful for the clarity of knowing what I really want. That is such a gift. I’d encourage you to get away--even if it’s just a one-day walkabout of your own to side-step from your normal routine and get clear on what you want. What you reallllllllly want. It’s scary admitting it, it’s hard not having it, but I think it’s worth knowing.

If you haven’t listened to our podcast yet, we talk about the walkabout in great detail, as well as laugh a lot, drink wine a lot, and have several ah-ha moments. Click here to listen.

Alright, I’m off. Hope you’ve had a magical day and know what day it is. We are totally lost in the in between of Christmas and New Year’s shuffle. Seriously, what day is it again? WHO KNOWS. We posted this on Instagram and it could not be more true:

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Sending love and clarity,

Kate


 

Home Remedies

So, it’s the time of year for colds, coughs and flu’s. Woohoo! Just kidding. But seriously, it seems like everyone is fighting the sniffles and we’ve both had little bout of the stuff going around--luckily it hasn't lasted long and we are both in good health now.  

We thought we’d mention some of our cold fighting remedies and the odd things people swear by to help healing faster.

  • Hot Toddy

This is a pre-bedtime drink that consists of tea, honey, whiskey and lemon. If you want to get fancy you can add cinnamon and cloves but when we make ours it’s pretty simple. The whiskey & honey both fight germs and it’s warm so it just makes you feel awesome before you get some zzzzzz’s.

  • Vick’s Vapor Rub

Now you might be thinking the conventional way...but no, here’s the funny part. Apparently when you put it on YOUR FEET, it helps your breathing. Say what? We’ve never tried it but people swear by this. Next time we get a cold, we’re trying it.

  • Vitamin C & D

These guys are like our best friends all year round but especially when cold and flu season starts. Vitamin C is the real rockstar of the vitamin gang, but vitamin D is the hidden gem. It boosts your immunity and helps fight off those colds before they start.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar Shots

It tastes so gross and disgusting, pretty much just horrid BUT, we do these when we feel sickness coming on...and sometimes just when we’re feeling laggy. It's all sorts of good for your Ph levels and is good for us...we don't really know why but we just know. Haha.

  • Steam Shower

So basic, but sometimes when you aren’t feeling well, even a shower seems like too much work. Yet, standing in a steaming hot shower and letting the moisture fill your lungs is almost guaranteed to make you feel better.

What are you go-to remedies and tricks for when you’re feeling sick?

Sharing is caring :)

Love,

J&K


 

There’s Always A Work Around 

A lot of times, things don’t go as planned. Flights get canceled (or delayed...we're delayed at the airport right now!) People change their minds. Your car battery dies. The restaurant you chose for dinner is closed on Mondays. 😐


Big or small, things don’t always go the way we expect them to. BUT...we have a little motto that we like to live by and it has helped us tremendously.


When we were recording our Acoustic Covers album, something in the studio wasn’t working. I think it was the piano. We didn’t have the right cable or something and we weren’t getting any audio out of it.


Our engineer, JD, said something that has changed the way we think about things. He ever so calmly said, “There’s always a work around.”

(Side note: there is nothing better than an easy going producer or engineer. We are very choosy in who to work with in the studio because the vibe really matters. When someone is flustered and stressed, the creative environment is ruined.)

JD is one of these easy going producers. He said those 5 words and they stuck with us. “There’s always a work around.”

He went into his magic cable box and created some special cable using his wizardly ways, and a few minutes later, those 88 keys were making beautiful sounds. No stress, no problem. 

If you stay calm, put your thinking cap on, and most importantly, stay positive...you can almost always find another solution. 

So, remember, when life throws you a curve ball, whip those five words out and find another way. You can do it and so can we!

There’s always a work around. 

Much love,
J&K

A Simple Way To Cheer Yourself Up

Sometimes, we go to Pinterest and look through the humor section to make ourselves laugh. Laughter is a cure for so much. Honestly, look through these, laugh for about 10 minutes and watch how you noticbly have more energy and a lifted spirit. Laughter is everything.  

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You're welcome. 

Love and laughs,

J&K

Boo, Don't Be A Ghost

I really wanted to post this blog on Halloween because I couldn’t get over how funny that was to me. Oh well…I didn’t get around to writing it, so I am now. 

Recently, friends, I was ghosted. SAY WHAT? Yes, it’s true. I will spare you all of the details (you’re crushed, right? Because you want all of the details don’t you…haha) well, I will spare the deets because I’m a nice person and well, I’d like to stay a nice person :)

But, let’s just say I was talking to a guy for a couple months…we’d gone out a few times (the person didn’t live in the same state as me) and then this person was going on a trip and was going to be without cell service and said "he’d text when he was back in service" AND THEN I NEVER HEARD FROM HIM AGAIN. 

Totes true story. It was the weirdest. Like, just never.again. Nothing. Now, I have no plans to talk about him for the rest of the blog. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I want to talk about you and me and this new epidemic called GHOSTING

Why do we ghost? We ghost because we lack courage, good people. I’m guilty of it too. And don’t think that ghosting is just for dating relationships or those scenarios…it’s not. Here’s a recent example: I missed calling my niece on her birthday and when I remembered two days late, I didn’t want to call. I wanted to ghost because I didn’t want to face the fact that I forgot to call. I was feeling guilt and a bit of shame, but I knew that I didn’t want to be a ghost...so I called and guess what—she didn’t care! She was just happy I called :)

So, what’s the antidote to ghosting? COURAGE. Have courage and don’t be a ghost. We ghost because we don’t want to have the hard conversation or face the uncomfortable truth/circumstances and potentially have to do something hard. But, we can do hard things and doing those hard things will keep you from being a ghost. 

I honestly think there are few things worse than being dropped or ghosted. Leaving someone else to try and answer questions in total silence is just cruel and mean and we should all go out of our ways to not leave people in the dust. If you are dating someone and you want to stop, SAY THAT. If you’re in a friendship where you don’t want to hang any longer, find a nice way to COMMUNICATE that. Don’t leave people in the silence. 

I laughed the other day watching Pride & Prejudice because ghosting was around even way back then. Jane’s suitor, Mr. Bingley, just drops off the face of the planet. He totally ghosts her. But, he comes to his senses (finally!) and goes to her and says one of the best, best quotes of the whole movie: "First, I must tell you I've been the most unmitigated and comprehensive ass."

YES. He owns it. He doesn’t squander his words or make excuses. He straight-up knows that he’s been an ass by ghosting and he isn’t afraid to admit it. 

Let’s all take a good cue from Mr. Bingley and own our mistakes. Let’s own the times we’ve lacked courage. Who have you ghosted that you owe a phone call to? Or an email or text? All it takes is a bit of courage and honesty. No need to make excuses, just say you’re sorry and carry-on.

Mr. Bingley then immediately proposes to her…maybe don’t do that. Hahaaa….

Anyway, have courage, and BOO...don’t be a ghost. 

Love you all!

Kate

Weekend Vibes

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Weekend motivation:

  • Do what you love.
  • Follow your crazy dreams.
  • Do what makes your heart beat faster.
  • Say yes.
  • Say no.
  • Stay hopeful.
  • Stay grateful.
  • Make waves.
  • Go against the grain.
  • Try again.
  • Follow your heart.
  • Say no to regret.

You might be thinking...all of that sounds like gravy but how do I ACTUALLY do all of that.

We'll tell you:

  1.  Do the next best thing. That means, take whatever step you can. Take the next, best, logical (or illogical) step that you can take.  But the key here is ACTION. Movement. Write that email. Make the phone call. Go for the jog. Lace up your shoes. Clear you calendar. Ask the guy out on the date. Take action. Action creates other action. 

That's a way to start. Now you're on your way. And that's all you have to do. Start. Now's the time cause none of us are promised tomorrow. Go and do. We desperately need your idea. Your passion. Your heart. Don't believe the lie that someone else is already doing it or going to do it...we need YOU

Now go kick some ass. We're cheering you on.

Love,

J&K

More or Less.

Hey!

It’s me Kate. I wanted to share some things that I’ve been thinking about recently. This walkabout has given me a great space to think and ponder about life. At times in the past, life has moved so quickly that I haven’t had time in the moment to process, but this walkabout has been different. Maybe it’s the weekly podcast forcing me to check-in with my head and heart to talk about what’s going on in my head…I don’t know. It’s been different. 

Anyway, I was thinking about the person that I’m turning into to. What I want my life to look like. How I want to feel. I made a quick list of more and less that I wanted. The below list sort of tumbled out. 

  • Less guilty. 
  • More humble. 
  • More in the moment.
  • More dancing. 
  • Less planning ahead. 
  • More letting go. 

Less guilty. I find myself feeling guilty a lot. Little or big things. Guilty feelings for not texting someone back. Guilty feelings for not sending my nephew a birthday card. Guilty for eating that bag of potato chips. Whatever it is, just lots of feeling that I’m not quite meeting the mark. That I'm not enough. But, who made that mark anyway? Where is that standard coming from? I’m trying to learn to extend the same grace to myself as I’ve been trying to extend to others: I’m doing the best I can. Throw guilt out the freakin’ car window, Kate. Let it go. Guilt helps no one.

More humble. I don’t think I’m a super braggy person or anything…haha or at least I hope not! I’ve just noticed in others how attractive humility is. When someone doesn’t consider themselves above others, ugh, it’s just so attractive to me. My friend Bob says: “Humble voices carry the furthest.” Yes, so true. I’ve also realized how badly I want approval from people. I hate even typing that because it feels hella vulnerable. But, it’s true. I want the “attagirl” or the approval from others and I am trying to let that go. All I need approval from is me and God. No one else. 

More in the moment. This was/is my number one goal for this walkabout. To be in every moment. Fully present. Fully feeling it all. Not worrying about past or future…letting expectation fall to the wayside and just BE. It’s a hard thing for me to practice, but it’s a practice…I have good days and bad days…but I'm trying to not feel guilty when I don’t do the best job. 

More dancing. Because, hello? Dancing is fun and I think as I get older I get more reserved or rational or I -don’t-know-what, but I want to dance more. What did Amy Poehler say:

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Yes please. Make me childlike so that when I hear the music, even if it’s in my own head, I won’t be afraid to surrender to the music and DANCE.

Less planning ahead. This goes back to more in the moment. I’m always thinking ahead. When I park my car, I am thinking about how I’m getting out of that parking space. It’s always going. My brain is constantly thinking in the future. And I want to change that. More right now. More what’s in front of me. More what do I see/hear/smell/touch right now. The future will take care of itself, of that I’m sure. And I don’t want to miss it...the it that’s right in front of me.

More letting go. Hurts, fears, anxiety…the big and little stuff. The massive heartaches and times I’ve been screwed over. The small inconsequential hurt feelings. The expectations of “how I thought life would be” and the dreams that haven’t come to pass yet. Letting it go will make you lighter and that’s what I’m after. 

Yeah, so that’s where I’m at right now. What are you trying to have more of or less of in your life? I’d love to hear. 

Much love,

Kate

Pod Goals.

Hey, guys. Jill here. In case you didn’t know, we started a podcast a few weeks ago and we are having such a good time doing it. It’s called “Girls Just Pod To Have Fun”....yes, partly I love doing it because I love saying the name of it. Ha!

But, honestly, I love it. Are you into podcasts? I’ve been into podcasts for a couple years...I was late to the game, I know, but I got to a point where I needed something to listen to on long drives or while working out when music wasn’t doing it for me. I found a few that I liked and then I was HOOKED.

My favorites are mysteries, crime or Dateline-type podcasts. Serial, of course. Dirty John, S-Town, A Killing On The Cape, A Murder on Orchard Street. SUPER LIGHT STUFF! :)

But, really, on a less aggressive note, Oprah’s Soul Sessions, Shauna Niequist’s podcast if you want some inspiration...Strangers if you want some good storytelling, and...Gilmore Guys, if you’re feeling really light-hearted. I COULD GO ON ALL DAY, but I won’t .

Kate and I had talked about hosting our own podcast for a few years, but never really felt like we had a good topic or purpose for one. THEN, we sold everything we owned and totally flipped our lives upside down and decided, what a perfect time!

If you haven’t been listening, you can binge 5 episodes right now. We take you with us from Nashville to Vermont to New York To Colorado to Los Angeles, back to Nashville again and beyond. You can hear us talk to Ben Higgins (what up Bachelor nation), Ally Fallon (This will inspire the crap out of you) and of course, Kate and I talk to each other like it’s our job when we don’t have guests on with us. We tell you the story of how we got to different points in our career and the emotions we’ve encountered along the way. Also, we like to keep it somewhat light, so we talk about things like revolving doors, sushi, and lots of wine. *cheers*

Tomorrow, it’s all about me! (?!) Kate took over the microphone and used her hosting skills to ask me all the questions you could ever want to know about me. What would I bring to a deserted island? What song made me fall in love with music? Who is my celebrity crush? I know you are dying to know the answers to these riveting questions. Well, tomorrow, you can find out.  

Check it out and thanks for letting us make our dream of being podcast hosts a reality.

( PS: If you don't have Apple Podcasts or iTunes, you can listen at www.jillandkate.com/girlsjustpodtohavefun )

PEACE!

-Jill

Kicking off #31DaysofBlogging With A Free Gift!

Hey party people, it’s December 1st. Which means today is day number 1 for 31 days of blogging. Yeahhhh. We are excited and are so glad that you’re here and reading this right now. 

We are going to be blogging about all sorts of random, fun stuff this month, but we wanted to start out this blogging spree with A FREE GIFT! Holidays can be stressful and exhausting, so our gift to you is to help you rest and sleep. 

We have a whole album of lullabies that will help you sleep and hopefully bring peace to your home this holiday season (and well, every season after that too.)

It's been tried and tested AND we offer a money back guarantee. Just kidding, it's free so there is no money involved. 

Ok, that's all. This blogging season is going to be funnnnnnn.

Here's the link to grab the whole album for FREE!

DOWNLOAD HERE.

If you already have the album, pass it along to a friend!

Love and sugar-buzzes,

J&K

 

What A Tree Taught Me

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Got up early for a run & the sun was just coming up (thanks Daylight Savings.) I am loving being in Denver--there is the most charming park near my friend’s house & it was almost empty as I ran down the winding path this morning. I had to stop to take this pic of this tree. There is something about trees that I love. They are grounded. Confident. Standing so tall. They don’t fret over the seasons changing. They understand that loss is a vital part of change and growth. They withstand pain and brokenness. They’re steady. They do not fear the future or whether or not their needs will be met.  And that’s just what you see on the surface. Their roots go down deep and that’s where they find their strength. If there is something that I want for myself during this walkabout season--it’s that my roots will go down deep. That I’ll be grounded in Love. Confident. That I will stand tall. That I will not fret over seasons changing. That I will understand that loss is a vital part of change and growth. That I will withstand pain and brokenness. That I will not fear the future or whether or not my needs will be met. And that what you see on the surface will be only a small part of my roots that go down deep into Love.

-kate

Bouncing Around Boston

A few Fridays ago we decided to take a day trip to Boston. We both went to college just outside of Boston on the North Shore so we are quasi-familiar with the city, but decided to really get lost in the city--no plans, just to enjoy the day and see what happens.

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And let’s just say that it was one of the most spontaneously magical days we’ve ever had... and it included multiple people bringing us free booze. No lie. But we’ll get to that.

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We parked at around 10am and decided the first stop needed to be brunch. We found a tiny little spot that boasted great reviews and so not shockingly it was JAM PACKED when we arrived. There were 2 seats open at the bar so we jumped on them. We both got a version of eggs benedict--which was sort of weird for both of us to order such similar things but...we’re glad we did! It was so delicious.

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We left full and happy and decided to hit the streets. We walked and walked...and it was perfect weather. We stopped in some stores to do some shopping--thank you Nordstrom Rack for always being there for us in a time of need. Haha. We're trying to keep it simple seeing that we just sold almost everything we own...but the season is changing and we realized we don't have all the proper attire! 

The only thing that we did have planned for the day was to meet up with a guy named Will who had reached out to us about doing an interview for his college paper. We met up at a coffee shop and chatted with him about our new adventures, the podcast, and our new music we’ve just finished recording. Will was super sweet and you can read his interview with us here.

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After wrapping up with Will, we decided to wander around some more and shop/see whatever we could. There is just something about seeing a city by foot--it’s such a wonderful way to discover a place...even if you’ve been there a bunch of times...seeing things from that vantage point will open your eyes to new things.

At around 4pm we were a little tired of walking and decided it was the perfect time for a margarita. We used Yelp to help lead us to the best little Mexican place, Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar, where we grabbed some seats at the bar and rested our weary feet. Since it was only 4 o’clock-ish, the place was relatively empty but that changed quickly. We got some margaritas and chips & guac. This is basically all you need in life, are we right?

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As the bar filled up, we noticed some people waiting behind us and noticed that a few of their party would be able to sit if we scooched down a seat. We offered and they were super thankful. So thankful in fact that they were like, we want to buy your next drink since you were so nice to scooch. {small fun fact...who doesn’t love the word scooch?} We declined, but they insisted. HOW NICE ARE PEOPLE? We made new friends from Wisconsin, drank our drinks, took a selfie with our newfound friends and gave up our coveted bar stools.

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We started walking and asked our friend Meghan who works in Cambridge if she could meet us for dinner and she said yes. Why was this day just so perfect? Spontaneous plans are the best plans. So we walked across the Harvard Bridge and met her...then walked to an Italian Place called Sulmona.

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The place was awesome and our server was the sweetest. Then somehow, when we thought the day was pretty perfect and couldn’t really get much better...the manager/owner brings us a free bottle of bubbly. Not sure if he thought we were someone else (haha) but he said it looked like we were having a fun girl's night & that we needed a bottle of bubbly. What was happening?

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Anyway, it was awesome. But the point of the day was not about free alcohol...it was about enjoying every moment. What we’re learning on our walkabout is that gratitude can be found in every single second of the day--you just have to choose it. And you have that choice to choose joy and gratitude in every moment--it’s up to you.

We loved our adventures in Boston. What a great city. Can’t wait to return and play a show next time. So many dear ones that we’d love to see at a show.

Love you all,

J&K

Vermont, I love you.

First off. Thanks to everyone who has sent us sweet messages, emails and tweets after that last blog. It really means so much hearing from you as we go venture out into the unknown...it feels like you are here with us and that makes us feel less alone. So, thank you. It’s like you’re in our pockets with us and so you get to adventure with us.

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Last week, right after posting that blog, we left for a weekend adventure in Vermont with two friends to celebrate both of their birthdays! YOU GUYS. I’m officially in love with Vermont. How is this magical place still a secret? I feel like Vermont doesn’t have nearly the street cred it should because...it’s quaint, lovely and everyone is kind. And the food. You know my love for food and cocktails and Vermont did not let me down.

Just as a preface, things that are important to me in life, but especially on a vacation are: beautiful aesthetics and surroundings, great food, great cocktails/wine & some sort of physical activity. There will be a lot of the aboveforementioned things in this blog. 

We drove about 2.5 hours from New Hampshire and arrived in the dark so we didn’t have much context for the town, but arrived in Killington where we’d be spending the weekend. I (Kate) got super excited and giggly when I found the town name and proceeded to say: “we’re gonna be killing-it in Killington” and it was probably just as annoying as you think it would sound cause I said it any chance I could. All the other girls are from New England so they’re familiar with the town because it’s where people go ski, but I was new and LOVED my new catchphrase. #killingitinkillington

We arrived and got all checked in. We’d found this adorable mountain lodge online that’s nestled right in town. It had big leather chairs and over-sized couches surrounding multiple fireplaces, a giant hot tub, fire pits and a little cozy bar. We were either on a mountain vacation or on set for a new Hallmark Christmas movie (my literal dream.)

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Obviously, we hit the bar first where I ordered an old fashioned (I know I’m an 85 year old man) but the bartender asked if I’d rather have a Manhattan. I’ve never had anyone ask me that and she proceeded to tell me that it would be the best Manhattan I will have ever had in my whole life. How was I supposed to say no to that?

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She poured our drinks from their pretty fancy glasses into plastic ones so we could go sit out by the fire pit/hot tub area. It was a tad chilly outside but the fire (and whiskey) kept us warm.

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Here’s the first thing that I loved about this place that I want to take with me. Fire pit culture. It’s a thing. People come and sit around the fire and they want to talk. We weren’t sitting there 10 minutes before we made our first new friends and it was awesome. It’s like when you come to the fire pit and pull up a chair you are expected to be kind, cool, and talkative. Everyone making small talk about where they’re from, what they’re doing in the mountains for the weekend...it is really quite lovely. It’s like there's an unwritten rule that you are not allowed to be an asshole if you take a chair around fire pit. People come and go as they please and it’s just casual but personable. Ya know? It was funny because a group of 4 women who were a little older than us came and sat down...they had us ROLLING in laughter. Sort of fun to see the 4 of them and the 4 of us. Anyway, we talked about Nashville, the adventure we’re on and when we told them that we were a duo they didn’t believe us and forced us to sing a line of a song to see if we were telling the truth. Bahaha.

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We got up the next day and ate the hotel breakfast because it was FREE and amazing. Can you say homemade cinnamon and sugar donut balls? And 12 different kind of homemade jams to go on your homemade bread? Heaven. Nothing better than sipping pumpkin spice coffee and eating fresh toast in your sweatpants with your friends...am I right? 

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One of the things we all wanted to do was hike, so after breakfast we set out to find a trail. We knew we wanted something that would deliver awesome views but not something that was going to have us re-enacting any part of 127 hours if you know what I mean. The hike we picked was about an hour each way and so we decided to do it. Ok, it also had an Irish pub at the bottom. That is why we picked the trail. Good people, I cannot hide the truth-- that is why we picked this hike because we heard you can get a nice cold beer at the end of you hike. DREAMS PEOPLE, DREAMS. And by beer I mean cider because I don’t drink beer, but that’s a whole other blog.

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The hike was gorgeous. Fall colors swirled all around us. Greens, reds, oranges...the first half of the hike had a serious incline that got our glutes burning but it leveled off after that. We passed other hikers and again, everyone was all talkative and friendly. We got to the top viewpoint and there were these massive boulders you could climb up and sit on. All I could hear in my head was my mother’s voice telling me not to get too close to the edge. Weird how those things come back so clearly.

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We sat and took it all in. We tried not to wig out about how high we were or how one solid gust of wind could derail us completely. We took pictures and I took pictures for other people. Here’s a small side-note which Jill totally makes fun of me for. Anytime I see a couple or group of people struggling to take a selfie or taking solo shots of each other I will 100% offer to take a picture for them. If I pass you and you look like you’re struggling, I will offer to take that pic for you. It’s my contribution to the world :) Ha!

After spending some time at the top (and taking just a fewwwww pics) we hiked back down and passed these two older couples who were hiking down the mountain like BOSSES. It had sprinkled a little so the ground was sort of wet and we weren’t about to let any of these precious pies break a hip on our watch. No way. They were from Illinois and said that this was on their bucket list and they were crossing it off the list today. Whattttt? That’s incredible. Loved their spirit and I hope I’m climbing mountains, crossing things off of my bucket list in 50 years.

We promised to save them some beers at the bottom and did just that. We ate some nachos and drank some ciders--I sort of want all of my hikes to end in this manner from now on. (I took no pics of said cute Irish pub. That means I have to go back.)

The afternoon was spent in the hot tub, playing cards, napping...it was great. While we were playing cards the bartender even brought us a sample of her signature cocktail for us to test out. Again, is this real life guys? It was a Fall Sangria and it had cider, chardonnay, spiced rum, and a few other things in it….it was so good.

For dinner we went to a place that was recommended to us called Casey's Caboose and boasted a complete gin & tonic menu. Like, an entire page of the menu was just devoted to different types of gins and different types of tonics. It was incredible. Also, they had a cheese plate that had “bacon jam” on it...I don’t even know what bacon jam is but I was a total fan. I ordered the mac and cheese for dinner which I’m not sure I’ve ever ordered in my life but it was the dish that was recommended to us and I am so glad I did! The bowl was bigger than my head and sooooo good. We ended the night around the fire pit again and made all new friends. Seriously, fire pit culture needs to extend to other places.

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I got Casey's Special G&T....highly recommend it. 

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The next morning we lounged around playing cards in the lobby and drinking coffee. We heard about a place with the best pancakes in town and Jill’s main request of the weekend was that she has an excuse to use real VERMONT maple syrup. I don’t particularly like pancakes but was willing to give these “best ever” pancakes a tester...when in Rome ya know? All the hype turned out to be true because when we got there it was going to be an hour and fifteen minute wait! We put our names in and headed out on a trail while we waited...how Vermont of us right? The trail we hopped on was actually part of the Appalachian Trail and it made me think of all of the people that have made the journey on that exact path. It made me feel connected to all those people who’ve done that journey and reminded me how we really all walk the same roads don’t we?

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We worked up an appetite and scooted back to Sugar & Spice for what turned out to be one of the best breakfast experiences of our lives. The pancakes. You guys. THE PANCAKES. And I don’t even like pancakes but, really, they were incredible. Plus, can you even see the pancakes under that ice cream scoop of butter? Ahhhh! I got the special cinnamon and sugar ones and I may never eat any other pancakes again. Literally, so delicious. We had a good laugh because on the menu it said there was an extra charge for “fake syrup.” Haha.

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Vermont, I love you. You delivered on so many levels. I even bought the beanie. 

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Oh and on our drive home we stopped at this gorge...you know, just breathtaking gorge’s to stop and ooooh and ahhhh over.

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You know that quote about doing what sets your soul on fire. Travel. Music. Storytelling. Beauty.  Literally sets our souls on fire.

Much love,

Kate

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Big News. Big Changes.

Hi friends!


How are you? We are doing just fine--thanks for asking :) No really...we are and we have some major news for you. We want to share it with you...and it’s finally time. Hoo-freaking-ray!

Have you ever felt stuck? Like, really stuckkkkkk. Not a temporary “funk-stuck”---but in a really, really, thick stuck-ness? (Very technical term.) Well, if you’ve ever had that feeling, we feel ya. Cause that’s where we’ve been. And I hesitate to say “been” like it’s past tense...because we are still kind of in that...but we are taking active steps towards getting unstuck, like woah, and we’re going to tell you what that means.

Last year we wrote an eBook about finding inspiration and one of the exercises we suggested is to “change up your routine or shake things up” when you’re feeling stuck. So, being people who don’t like to give advice unless we’re willing to take it, we did. Like, we reallllllllly did. You ready for this? Here’s the short story:

  1. Jill sold her house in Nashville where we both were living.
  2. We sold almost ALL of our belongings.
  3. We are going on an adventure (and you’re coming with us. Please don’t leave us. Ha!)

WHAT? Have you guys lost your ever-loving minds? I’m envisioning your brains squealing to a halting stop right about now. Say what? Yup. We did it guys. Sold every piece of furniture. Sold every piece of artwork except for one painting. Had a garage sale. Gave approximately 2 full car loads to Goodwill. We each kept a few bins of “keepsake memorabilia” in storage, but other than that, we are FREE. We are now each traveling with one suitcase, carry-on roller bag, a backpack, and a purse (and of course our guitars!). And it feels amazing. So freeeeee! We’ve really taken the minimalism thing to the next level...haha! (Thanks Marie Kondo)

Now, let’s back up to how we got to this decision.

In May of this year we recorded some acoustic covers. We had such a good time recording our Acoustic Covers Vol 1 album in 2014, that we decided to do more. Our awesome licensing company in LA was also excited about having these new songs to pitch for TV/Film because covers are SO HOT RIGHT NOW...or so sayeth the cool kids.

So, we decided the theme was going to be “throwbacks” and we sat down to try and make some of these favorite songs our own. We started with the upbeat, life-giving anthem by Cyndi Lauper: Girls Just Want To Have Fun! We began messing around with the song, and low and behold, this EPICALLY sad, slow, tear-at-your-heart, make-you-refill-your-wine-glass-5-times version comes out. We sort of just looked at each other with blank stares. Then there were a few tears. Because we had this realization: we weren’t having any fun anymore.

We wanted to...but we just weren’t. We still knew that we loved music. That we loved songs. We loved writing. Singing. Harmony. Melody. The way music just reaches down deep inside of you...we still loved it...but we weren’t having any FUN anymore. In all of the hustle and bustle...the trying to make it work...we lost the element of fun. It was work. It was struggle.  And if you know us at all or have been following us for any amount of time, you know that we LOVE fun. Fun is life, guys. And we just weren’t having any. We wanted the lighthearted, the laughter, the spontaneous....and it just wasn’t happening.

The last few years have been a hard blur of sorts. We lost one of our dearest to cancer. We lost jobs. We lost money. Loss was a common theme. Not sure what it was, but we just couldn’t seem to get over the hump of stuck-ness. However, we weren’t ready to be done either.

We DEFINITELY don’t feel like it’s over. So don’t go thinking this is a “the end” blog because we know and we hope you know: the only way to fail is to quit and we have about ZERO plans of quitting so...yeah. Just needed to put that out there :) People like you have kept us going and keep us going. Your emails, meeting you at shows, hearing you respond and relate to our songs and our blogs. You guys bring meaning to us and inspire us to keep making music, writing, and sharing life with you guys. 

We’ve had an incredible career so far and we are honestly so grateful...and we’ve definitely had bouts of success. It’s not like we’ve totally failed. But, the last couple years have been so stressful...and mostly stressful because we’ve been trying to make money from music and like any indie musician will tell you, it’s tough. For the past couple years we have invested, invested, invested in every aspect...and we have seen the return on investment in almost every area, except for financially. And we’re still believing that one day that will turn around--we 100% believe that we will make livings off of our music and songwriting, etc. But right now, it’s not happening. We’ve been so fortunate to have other awesome jobs to help us pay the bills, and we still do.

Anyway, we just sort of found ourselves in this spot where we’d played the big stages, traveled the world, lived the big dream...but also, nannied, eaten beans and rice, and gone into debt from making investments in our career. We invested everything we had and got to a point where we had to decide. Stop? Change? Quit? Keep going hoping for the best? 

So, one day in June, Jill said out of the blue: what if I sell my house and we can pay off some bills, chase some fun, find some inspiration, and kick-off a new season. We needed to get unstuck and shake things up. Chase the things that are life-giving. My immediate answer was: YES. And so twenty-something odd days later, the house was on the market and 10 days after that, it sold. Sayyyyy whaaaaaaat? SOLD.

Honestly, and this is hard to say, but neither one of us thought that life would turn out like this. At this point in our lives we both thought we’d have songs on the radio, be touring more, be winning Grammys (hello 7th grade dream), have “established” careers and so on. And on personal levels, we thought maybe we’d each have awesome husbands right now...maybe have each had some kiddos….but that’s just not the way things have turned out. And of course we struggle with comparing our lives to our friends, peers, and strangers our age. 

But, life doesn’t always go the way you think it’s going to go and maybe you’re reading this also thinking that you thought you’d be somewhere else or life would look differently. And you know what...that’s okay. Why? Because we’re all in this together. And it’s never too late. Ever. And where we are, and where you are, in life, is right where we’re supposed to be. We truly believe and trust that this is true. We also believe it’s possible to make change. Don’t believe the lie that says you’re stuck, it’s over, things will never change, etc. It’s just not true.

One thing that we’ve talked about FOR YEARS and you all have told us to do FOR YEARS, we are finally going to do. This new adventure season is the perfect time to do it. Friends, will you go on this adventure with us?

We give you: GIRLS JUST POD TO HAVE FUN (coming this fall!)

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Ahhhh that’s right. (Also, doesn’t everybody have a podcast now?) This is our podcast about fun and what to do with life when it hasn’t turned out the way you thought it would. This podcast will be following our journey (it’ll be a journey because we really don’t have many plans yet or know the outcome of anything) back to finding the FUN in life....interviewing our fun friends, having serious talks and ridiculous talks...all while recording it for you.

Here’s something we talk about in our first episode, but it’s crazy you guys. When you move, movement happens. Change begets change. The day after we decided to sell Jill’s house and go on this adventure, we had told a total of zero people. But, literally the day after our decision, our phones both buzzed with a text from our friend Luke who is a ridiculously talented producer. His text said he wanted to produce 4 songs for us and that he had a hole in his schedule freeing him up to work most of August and September. We’ve been wanting to work with him for ages, but he’s a really busy dude. He’s produced stuff for Walker Hayes, David Kroll and so many other awesome artists. So, we did it. The last 6 weeks before closing on the house we recorded 4 new songs! We made HAVING FUN a priority and IT WAS SO FUN. (Scroll down to the bottom of this blog to see more pics from the studio.)

So, we are also going to be releasing NEW MUSIC too. It might be those 4 songs or we might go back and record a few more, but really...those 4 are almost done and we think you are going to love them. We LOVE them.

So, our first stop on this new adventure is New England. Because, obviously. New England is where we met and started this whole shindig circa 14 years ago. New England is where we both graduated from college. It is also where Jill is a straight-up native and her parents still live in a house that is a quarter-mile from the ocean (all the praise hands!) New England is where some of our best friends still live. So, last Friday, September 29th, we loaded up Jill’s car (mine is staying in Nashville so we have wheels when we’re back) and we hit the road. We drove all day, spent the night in Virginia, and made the rest of the drive Saturday. We literally drove straight to the ocean and it was pitch black, but we had to see it. We had to document the end of a hard, stuck season and feel the 40-degree ocean air fill our lungs with hope, newness, and an excitement down deep in our bones. We took this picture and had to use the flash because it was PITCH BLACK. But look at the excitement on our faces! Look at it, guys. It’s real.

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People have asked us what “our plans” are, and frankly, we don’t have many or any that are set in stone.  Except to be in the moment and to be present as much as possible. To chase the things that are life-giving to us. To experience freedom and joy again. To re-ignite our passion for what we were made to do: sharing stories through making music. When you don't have plans, it leaves room for anything to happen. And we are up for anything. We can't wait to find out what it is.

So there you have it. We told our friend Bob our “plans” (ps. what’s a word for non-planned-plan, cause we need one) and he said, “Oh, it’s what the Australians call a “walkabout.” Yes, perfect. Of course the Aussie’s know what’s up: A walkabout. So we want you to join us on this walkabout for two reasons:

  1. We like you and we’d like the company.

  2. We will test out this theory for you. We will see if you can really get yourself unstuck and turn your life around. Therefore, if it turns out really badly, you can learn from us and not do the same thing...haha. But if it works...it’ll be proof that you can get unstuck and chase fun yourself too.

So, let’s do this thing. Podcast, coming soon. New music, coming soon. FUN, coming soon. Change, coming soon.

Thank you guys for being in this with us. We’re in it with you. Let’s go.

Jill and Kate

 First day headed into the studio..

First day headed into the studio..

 Working on a song. That's Luke in the middle and  Seth Earnest  who co-produced these songs with Luke. He is a GEM. So creative. So humble. 

Working on a song. That's Luke in the middle and Seth Earnest who co-produced these songs with Luke. He is a GEM. So creative. So humble. 

 Jill in her happy place.

Jill in her happy place.

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What Makes You Healthy?

Yesterday I was scrolling the socials on my phone and started seeing multiple posts about Chester Bennington. He was 41 years young. The lead singer and frontman of Linkin Park committed suicide. Anytime this happens I feel like my heart just breaks.

How long was he feeling like this? How dark were his last moments? How could we have helped him? Those are the questions that run through my head and heart.

You look at a guy like that and think, why? You seemed to have it all. A successful career. Songs that were listened to. Fans that showed up to shows. It was success in most senses of the word. He had a wife and six kids. Why? What pain is so constant, so grievous that you have to escape it? I think it’s hopelessness and loneliness.

I know mental illness is something that we as a society don’t talk about a lot, but I wish we did. I wish there weren’t stigmas surrounding treatment and therapy and seeking help. Because none of us can escape the dark times. Dark times will find us all, but the only way we make it out of them is through and the only way we make it through is with other people.

Jill and I always say that loneliness is the worst disease. When we are going through a dark time you often hear the lie in your head that you are the only one who has ever felt like this. You are the only one with these circumstances...but it’s not true. That’s what lies do. They isolate. They want you to stay small and alone, but that’s why we as humans have this incredible gift to care for one another. To watch out for each other and to share in each other’s grief, loss, fear, hardship, etc.

I never met Chester, but I did share an elevator with him once about 5 years ago in Vegas. We were both headed to the same venue for an event and were in the bowels of this fancy hotel, both taking the dingy service elevator with a kind security guard leading the way. He was tall, seemed very kind, and for about 5 minutes we shared the same oxygen. I don’t have anything poignant to say about that story, just something I recall.

All of this got me thinking that I want to be healthy and I want you reading this to be healthy too. The headline is far too familiar...someone successful, wealthy, and good-looking has ended their life. By their own volition they couldn't bear the pain any longer that breathing was causing them. So, it makes me think. What are the things that make us healthy? I’m not just talking about eating kale vs. donuts...although physical health is definitely a component. I’m talking about what makes you feel alive? What issues have you not dealt with? What brings you joy? Who do you love...and are you seeing those people enough? Are you in a job that you hate? Do you have something to look forward to? What keeps you up at night? What makes your body feel great? Are you happy? What makes your heart beat faster?

In the entertainment industry, there is sort of this weird thing. Unhealthy people sometimes make great art (write great songs) but at the cost of hiding/running/drowning themselves in numbing the pain that they’re feeling. Call it being a “tortured artist” or what have you. But, it’s definitely something we’ve seen. If you’re writing great songs or putting on a killer show... no matter the cost on you as person, sometimes people want you to keep doing it. Keep drinking. Keep shooting up. Keep doing whatever it takes. Anything to keep up the “product” you now are.

And I just want to say no. Personal health is so much more important. Because you can have the number one song and all the money in the world, but if you are dealing with pain, real pain...none of that will satisfy. Nothing will ever be enough to cover the pain. You have to deal with it. I want to be a healthy person...and I think I can be a healthy person and a great artist. It takes work, but I value myself and my health more than a #1 or a million dollar bank account.

For me, my faith in Jesus has also helped me overcome pain and I think that old adage of a “God-shaped hole” inside of each of us is true. We will try and fill it with whatever we can find...and sometimes something works for a little while..or maybe it even fills the hole for years...but it won’t last. If you’ve never talked to God, you can start wherever you are. If you’re looking for a starting place for purpose in your life, The Purpose Driven Life is a great book. A group of us read it on tour a while back and it was a great guide.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that the news about Chester broke my heart. It also breaks my heart to think that his death was reported because he was a celebrity and yet there are suicides happening all day, EVERY day. Ughhhh….this is just so sad and heartbreaking.

We’ve always said, there is no shame in needing help. Both Jill and I have sought counseling and therapy. We even see a therapist for band counseling and it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done. So, if you are in a dark spot, please reach out, ask for help...you were not meant to carry all of your feelings alone. It is SO helpful to speak them out loud.

If you’re reading this and you find yourself NOT in a dark spot right now...excellent. Keep up the good health. But, someone in your circle of friends or neighborhood or office is probably not in the same place. Sit and think of the people you know and see if there is anyone you think might be having a hard time. The best thing you could do is extend kindness and a listening ear. Again, a LISTENING ear. Our job is to sit in their pain with them and let them know they’re not alone. Our job is not to give them a “how-to” or to tell them anything for that matter. We listen. We hug. We hold their hands. We hand tissues. We tell them that we are for them and that we’re with them.

I don’t really know how to wrap this up, except to say: You are not alone. We are all in this together. Life is precious and WE NEED YOU HERE. If you want a list of songs we’ve written from our sadness and dark times, you can see that here. We need your thoughts, your smile, your ideas, your work, your inventions, your laughter, your writing, etc etc etc. WE NEED YOU HERE.

Hug the ones you love tight today. Let’s all aim to be the healthiest versions of ourselves.

Love to you all,

Kate

 

Who Wants To Have Fun?

Hey!

So if you’ve been following along the last few days via email or on our social media, you will have heard this exciting news that we have to share: WE RECORDED NEW ACOUSTIC COVERS!

Woohooooo! We are so pumped. At live shows and on our socials you guys have been pretty vocal about your love for our first acoustic covers album, so we thought...WHY NOT DO MORE? We are so living on the edge, folks. Hahaha…

Our first Acoustic Covers album had a theme. They were all female pop songs that we loved. If you haven’t listened yet...you can listen to them here! Our #1 streamed song on Spotify is Baby One More Time...yes, you read that correctly! So, we obviously wanted to do a theme for these next covers and we landed on THROWBACKS. Who doesn’t love a great #TBT y’all? We do. So, that’s the general theme for these new covers and we are SO FREAKING EXCITED FOR YOU TO HEAR THEM. Like--they might be some of our most favorite work that we’ve EVER recorded.

So, you want to know what our first release is going to be? We have been leaving hints on our socials...some of you guessed….both correctly and incorrectly, but we LOVED all of your guesses...and by far our favorite guess/suggestion was that it was going to be Smelly Cat from FRIENDS. Hahaha. Best. Idea. Ever. Why didn’t we think of that??

So, without further ado...our first release is: GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN. And you know why we picked that one? Because, GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN. Hahaha...ok, maybe it’s not that simple. Here’s the backstory about why we landed on this song.

There are SO many unbelievable songs out there that sometimes it’s hard to narrow down which songs to cover. But, as we started looking at songs, we wanted to take popular throwbacks and put our own twist on them. Put our very own j&k stamp on them. Some covers are fun to make very similar to the original...but, with most of these new covers we wanted to make them totally different and totally our own.

We have always loved this song...with its carefree attitude and synth glory...and when we started singing the song & messing around on the acoustic guitar...this slow, sort of epically heartbreaking song came out. The song is harmony-driven and since we slowed it down it makes you think of the words in a different way than before. This song sort of unlocked something in both of us. We went to record this happy song and somehow this sad song came out. Weird how music teaches us something about ourselves that we might not even know yet.

For us, we realized that we aren’t having as much fun as we want to be having. That may be that balance has gotten a little bit out of whack--the pressures of being an adult human have maybe encroached on the ability to let loose and have fun. You obviously need balance in life and it can't all be fun-tea-la-la, but we think that we’ve gotten a bit out of balance. Funny how this song opened our eyes to that. It was sort of several layers underneath in both of us but singing this song (over and over again) brought that to the light.

Not sure if you are like this, but sometimes it’s the music and lyrics of someone else’s song that just causes something inside of you to break open and come alive. Who knew that Cyndi Lauper would have that effect on us? Haha! It was a good wake up call and we have made some changes because of it. We’ll be sharing more about what we mean by that in the days and weeks to come...but...for now...we are just excited for you to hear the song! Oh, what’s that you say? You want to see that single artwork for GJWTHF? (Yes we’ve resorted to typing GJWTHF because typing out Girls Just Want To Have Fun over and over again is taxing, people!)

So here it is:

The photo was shot by the incredibly talented Pockets Of Film photography. 

We can’t wait for you to hear it. YAY. YAY. YAY.

Thanks for the excitement and for being the best fans/friends two girls could ask for. Keep your eyes on our socials...we'll let you know when it hits iTunes & Spotify, etc.

Lets.Do.This.

j&k