jill and kate

We Need Other People

Have you ever felt like quitting? Have you ever felt like giving up but you’re already “in too deep?”

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That’s how I felt when I was half-way up this hike and I almost burst into tears — for equal parts realizing how much further I had to go and that it also seemed impossible to turn around. AND I WAS TIRED. When you have a goal or vision or dream, there will be lots of days when you feel like giving up. Actually, scratch that — there are lots of days when just being a human without a goal or vision or dream is hard and will make you want give up.

So, what makes us keep going?

What gets us through those stuck moments? This is something we’ve been learning so much about over the last year, and it’s something that we’re making much more of a priority in 2019. It’s two words: Other People. That’s right. Other people. Other humans.

See, I was hiking alone. I had Beyonce in my ears telling me that we run the world (obvi) but there I was…hiking alone. But, I passed two girls who were stopped. And then they passed me when I was stopped just a few steps ahead. After about the third cycle of this happening, we began small talking whenever we passed each other. And there was this other guy. He was older than I was and the same thing happened — when he would stop, I would pass him and then vice versa. I would see him start to get up and that would be a kick in the pants for my butt to get back into gear. We never exchanged names, but we did share things with each other — how hard this freakin’ hike was. We talked about if this was their first time or if they’d done it before. I watched the gentleman breathe when he took breaks…how he would put his hands on his head, and I wondered if I should do that too. We shared how much we wanted to be at the top — done.

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I began to feel not as alone hiking. When I made it to the top, I “woohoo’d” for the people that made it before me and I cheered for the strangers behind me that mirrored my journey up the hill. We were all strangers, but all knew we were heading to the same place. It was a great reminder that we NEED other people. We need community.

We have loved being on this journey with you guys and really sharing at a new level with you guys this year. What it has shown us is that we need each other. So, we are dreaming up a place for us to gather  —  not a physical place, but an online gathering space that will connect you to other like-minded people and allow us to share some of the things we’ve learned over the past year that have dramatically changed our lives for the better. We’ve loved doing meet-ups before shows and podcast meet-ups…so much so that we want to do that in a new way. You might not know it, but if you’re reading this, you are a part of our online tribe and community. We feel honored that you’ve chosen to hit that “follow” button and be a part of the journey.

So if you’ve ever…

Wished you could find more contentment and fulfillment in your life…

Wished you could be part of a life-giving community with like-minded people…

Wanted to live a life filled with more adventure and excitement…

Wished you could wake up every day feeling more peace within yourself…

Wished you had less stress in your life and a better way to deal with the stress/anxiety that creeps in…

…Then this is something you don’t want to miss.

We will be sharing more in the next few days about how you can join the group, but for now, what we want you to know is this: You cannot do this life alone — you need other people. You are loved. You are on this earth for a reason, and we want to help make sure that you love every single day. Leave a comment and let us know if this sounds good to you :)

Much love,

J&K

You Are Not Alone - Day 1 #31DaysofBlogging

It’s December 1st, which means that it’s time to kick off #31DaysofBlogging :) Woohoo! This is one of our favorite traditions that we’ve started because it causes us to look back at the year behind us and get excited for the new year ahead. We love writing and using this blog to share thoughts, stories, recipes, etc. with you. So, bookmark this page because for the next 30 days, we will be posting a new blog every day and you don’t want to miss any of the fun!

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With all of the holiday celebrations already in full swing, we wanted to make sure that you were aware of a couple things:

We want to send you a Christmas card and you have 7 more days to get your address to us.

Just click here, fill out your address, and voila … a Christmas card shall appear in your mailbox. A real, handwritten card from yours truly.  Can I get an AMEN for fun mail and not another bill…AMIRIGHT? AMEN and AMEN. No strings attached. It’s just our way of thanking you for being an amazing community/tribe. So, whatcha waiting for?

The holidays can be hard. We totally get it. Whether you are in the middle of a tense relationship, find yourself experiencing a new loss, or just personal reasons have got you feeling down in the dumps, the holidays can just feel extra hard.

There can also be a lot of expectation that you bring to the table during the holidays — you thought things would look different by now or you were hoping for a different outcome and you find yourself in the same place. Honestly, we have both been there. Part of why we started the walkabout was because we were feeling so stuck that we knew we had to do something drastic to get out of the “stuck-ness.” I remember saying, “I just don’t want to show up for Christmas in the exact same state that I did last year. Something has to change.” So, last year, we sold everything and spent 2018 on a “walkabout.”

We’ll tell you more about that tomorrow, but if you are feeling super alone right now, we invite you to listen to this song - Tired of Being Alone — and know that you are not alone.

Tomorrow we’ll tell you more about our journey of getting unstuck. Until then, know you’re loved and not alone. Leave a comment if you need an extra boost this holiday season.

Much love,

J&K

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


Friction For Fire

Lately it’s felt like there are a million things going on in my brain. I just tried taking “a little rest” midday to regroup and my brain could not shut off. As I’m laying there I’m replying to texts and emails that I’ve been meaning to. I’m thinking about the flights I need to book, tweaking designs for upcoming projects, the run I need to do, organizing Houses of Africa web launch...all darting around in my head when I’m supposed to be resting. The number of tabs open on my web browser are equal or greater to the tabs open in my brain. Ya feel me?


If you were to ask me to describe this season right now in one word I would say this: friction. There is just a lot going on...and none of it feels breezy. It all feels like it’s all in the make it or break it stage. The fail or fly moments. The, either people are going to look back and say I’m a crazy success, or look back and say I'm a reckless failure.” Let’s be honest, friction is not comfortable, it’s the opposite, it’s uncomfortable.

It feels as though there are loads of plates in the air and I am constantly looking up trying to catch one, trying to chuck them high in the air to make sure they all stay airborne and avoid them all tumbling down to the ground at once. And when one inevitably falls to the ground, I’m trying not to get clobbered by the remnants.

If I’m being honest, all of my engines are running. Every cylinder is firing. I’m tired of the juggling. Juggling is exhausting. If you can relate, first off: Hi! You are not alone. Welcome. Second, you’re doing a good job. Keep going. And third, here is some good news that I thought of while I was lying down trying to rest: friction eventually brings FIRE (the good kind of fire, not the destroying kind. Phew.)

When you are trying to build a fire from nothing (which let’s be honest I don’t know much about), I hear you have to create friction. Create friction and it will bring a trail of smoke, and where there’s smoke, there’s fire. FIRE you guys! YES.

And that’s what I am needing right now: the relief of fire. The exhale that your hard work has paid off and you can sit beside your fire while it keeps you warm, toasts your marshmallows and sends light off into the darkness of the night.

So, let’s not run away from friction. Let’s fight through it because we know it’s leading us to fire. And that's what it will take (I'm telling myself this too), fight. Keep working hard. Keep working at it. Keep on fighting. Get after it. 

Sending you love, energy, and a clear brain… werk, werk, werk, werk, werk...and cheers to YOU. You who are chasing the dream, working two jobs, juggling a million balls...we are all in this together.  Keep going.

xo

-kate


 



 

Don't Let Winter Kill You

Recently I’ve let myself slip into the mindset that change isn’t possible. The way things are right now is the way they’ll always be. That’s the lie I've been telling myself. That’s the lie that snuck in.

It’s easy for the lie to sneak in while you’re waiting. Whether you are waiting in the Dr.’s office or waiting metaphorically in life...that’s when the quiet gets quiet and the lies start to sneak in.

I was mentally trying to work my way out of this mindset a few days ago and so I went for a walk. (Holy mother-of-all-that’s-pure-and-holy, people...if you are stuck or need refreshment or are depressed or sad or frustrated or impatient...GO FOR A WALK. Get outside. It helps every.single.time.)

I saw the trees in their new lovely spring-ish glory. All bright and green and budding like it was their job.

I was reminded how a few months back we had an ice and snow storm.

There were no leaves. No buds. Just ice, snow and death. Do you know what the trees didn’t do during this time? Rip themselves from the ground, throw themselves in a fire and call it a day. They didn’t give up and adopt the mindset that this was forever. You know what these trees know that I am needing a reminder of today: SEASONS CHANGE. The trees trust the process of dying during the winter, of being pruned back, but they know that when winter is over, SPRING COMES. They submit to the process. They have accepted it. Because they know that seasons don’t last forever. They can’t. Good or bad, it’s a universal rule that the one thing you can count on in life, is CHANGE. (Guess who’s not so good at change? This kid.)

If you are in a season of waiting and deadness, I have good news. SPRING IS COMING. After the winter season, the only option is to grow. Thank the Lord above. That is hope, friends.

I love Spring. I think it’s my favorite season. When I’ve had a long, hard winter (literally or metaphorically,) it can sometimes be hard for me to get myself in the Spring mindset. Warmth. Newness. Opportunity. Growth. Hard work. Yes, there is still the occasional frosty morning that takes you by surprise, but don’t let that throw you backwards. Winter is DONE. Gone. Done-zo. Behind us. Get in the mindset of SPRING.

I just googled “spring,” for shiggles, (shits + giggles) and here’s what Wikipedia said:

Spring and "springtime" refer to the season, and also to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth.

Yes and amen to that. If you have been living in a winter mindset like I have, let’s jump into this weekend with a full on spring fling wake up call. Deal? Deal.

xo

-kate

 

 

A {Guest Post} About Our Lullabies Album

Hey friends...Happy Friday!

We saw someone tweet a link to a blog about our recent Lullabies album a few days ago and after reading it we HAD to share it with y'all. Reading her words reminds us of two things:

  1. We are all in this together. 
  2. Music has power to change us. 

So, without rambling on, and with her permission, please read these beautiful words. We hope they inspire and move you as much as they did us. Thanks Megan (@mcaro05) for your honesty, openness and for sharing your story. Much love...j&k

Lullabies

When I was in high school, a loved one was suffering from severe depression. I remember another wise friend of mine saying to this person "you need to arm yourself with the necessary tools to fight this." I loved that phrase then and I love it now. Whenever I find myself struggling, I go back to those words. Over the years I've personally found solace in many different "tools:" prayer, writing, talking it out, and, most recently, working out. I've found all of these things to help clear my head, to give me confidence, and to bring me comfort, and peace. But above all of these things, there's one that stands above the rest:

Music.

Music brings something out in me like nothing else can. I am so often comforted by lyrics or a melody. I have certain songs that I turn to for nearly every mood. When it comes down to it, music is there for me. And no matter the genre, I can always find something that sparks a fire in me, or something that brings me peace. And as someone who is very often filled with worry, peace is something I long for.

Nighttime is a parade of worry. It's like as soon as the world starts to calm down, my brain decides it's the perfect time to craft to do lists, negative thoughts, long term worries, and overall emotion. I've struggled with this for several years. There are nights I only get a few hours of sleep because I simply cannot get my brain to settle. I've tried nearly every remedy: meditation, prayer, Melatonin, oils, deep breathing, the list goes on and on. And usually, these things work. For a short time. And then it's back to the struggle. 

Music, though, has once again come to the rescue. A few months ago, one of my favorite musical acts, Jill and Kate, released an album called "Lullabies." And. As the title suggests, it is an album of lullabies that they wrote. The duo surprised a good friend for her baby shower, as this friend had been requesting this kind of album from Jill and Kate. 

So, at 28 years old, I decided to give this album a try to help me sleep. And it's worked. The songs are so beautiful and pure. Each song is special for its own reason, but the song "Sunshine" brings me a unique sense of comfort. I could see that most would think the song is intended to be a parent's message to their child, but when I listen I imagine it's God's words to me. I take great comfort in knowing that God is on my side. This song has done wonders for my prayer life.

I never quite make it through the whole album without falling into a peaceful sleep. I just put it on shuffle and let it do its work. I find something new every night. 

I don't usually listen to the album during the day. I kind of like to have it saved. I don't want it to lose it's magic. I do, however, turn to it in moments of panic, when I need something to bring me back down. 

I've been trying to figure out the best way to share the impact this album has had on me. It didn't seem enough to just post a Facebook status. This album is so much more. It's my safety net, it's the words I need to hear, and it's the tool I use to arm myself for battle. My hope is that by sharing this, others who may struggle with nighttime anxiety or insomnia will take a listen and find just as much comfort as I do.

And while you're at it, check out Jill and Kate's other music. Those two have something so special. Their songs are written from the heart and they harmonize so beautifully. Their music has been part of my life for several years now, and I'm super grateful for that.

You can find Lullabies on ITunesSpotify, or Amazon.

 

 

 

 

3 Things We’ve Learned In 13 Years

You might be new to us or maybe you’ve been journeying along with us for several years. Either way, here’s what you might not know: We met 13 years ago today (January 11th) on a tiny island off the coast of Massachusetts called Martha’s Vineyard. You might be thinking, 13 years?!? You were only 10 when you met? Thank you. You’re very kind. That’s right. ;)

We were in college and we both decided to spend a semester of our junior years studying music at The Contemporary Music Center. Green as can be, we each stepped off the boat (you have to take a ferry to get there) and showed up in our new digs, a rustic cabin, where we were randomly placed together as roommates. Jill, a shy basketball player from a small New Hampshire town, and Kate, an outgoing California girl who loved makeup, matching outfits and had grown up all over the world. We were as different as could be, but something clicked.

One of our oldest pics together...please note Jill's MV hoodie :) We're thinking this MUST HAVE BEEN a middle of the night rehearsal because we look SOOOOOO tired!

One of our oldest pics together...please note Jill's MV hoodie :) We're thinking this MUST HAVE BEEN a middle of the night rehearsal because we look SOOOOOO tired!

The first time we sang together was for a class assignment for which we had to co-write a song. When we started singing, we felt like Joey from F-R-I-E-N-D-S when he finds his identical hand twin. We had a musical chemistry that just worked and we formed a duo pretty much right away.

Thinking back on that time, it feels like a million years ago and sometimes we wonder what the heck we were thinking, going out into the world trying to make it in the music industry. But you never know the dreams you will find in your heart and how God will direct you towards them. We spent 4 months writing, harmonizing, recording, and planning our big jump into the world of music. Then off we went to chase the dream.

We’ve learned a heck of a lot in those 13 years and we are learning more today than ever. One of the greatest pieces of advice we ever received when we started out was to “Be teachable.” Always be willing to learn new things and never think you’re too good, too smart, too famous, too experienced, too rich, too old to learn from anyone, anything or any situation. So we wanted to share with you 3 things we’ve learned along the way. Here we go:

  1. Be thankful for small beginnings.

After we recorded our first album (which we did mostly ourselves to save money) we decided to move to LA to try to get our foot into the pop world. We had no idea what that meant, but it sounded good to us at the time. We drove from New Hampshire to LA with two of our other best friends. On the way out, we stopped by Jill’s great aunt and uncle’s house to say goodbye. They gave us an envelope with $100 and sent us on our way (thanks Callie + Bill.) It felt like 1 million dollars to us. We got to LA and shared an apartment with another friend we knew there. We shared a room and a bathroom, living in very close quarters.  We worked tons of weird, boring, odd jobs to pay the bills and we learned how to live off of very little (and a couple credit cards...thanks Amex...#sorryDaveRamsey.)

The first shows we played when we started out were coffeehouse open mics or hole-in-the-wall bars where no one listened and we were paid in beer, which we hate. (Give us some wine and now we’re talking.) But we were getting experience by playing in public. Testing out our songs, working on our show.

There were times down the road where we had much more. We eventually got bigger apartments where we didn’t have to share a room or a bathroom. We booked shows that actually paid us in money, not beer. We got to have jobs that were the opposite of boring and mundane. Dream jobs. We had more than we needed. (We paid it off, Dave Ramsey!)

We have also had times where things have been slow again, where we’ve had to go back to saving money and living off of very little. But guess what? We knew how to do that because that’s how we started out. We didn’t even mind it because we learned how to appreciate both extremes. Thankfulness is everything. Learn how to find it in whatever you are experiencing because it will change you. Small beginnings are the best beginnings.

Tomorrow we'll tell you a second thing we've learned in this 13 year journey...it's something that has drastically changed the way we navigate opportunities. Tune in tomorrow. 

Much love,

Jill and Kate

PS. If you need us for the rest of the day we'll just be partying -jumping up and down cause t's our Friend-A-Versary! A-wooo-hooo!

PPS: In honor of 13 years, we are offering 10 EXCLUSIVE packages, for a limited time only. This package is our ENTIRE catalog of physical albums (all autographed) including Finding My Own Way which will only be available digitally from this point forward. The package also includes a t-shirt, a journal and pen set, and a handwritten note from us. Get yours here!


Singing Britney Spears To The Historical Society

This blog is a part of a series #31DaysofBlogging … we are going through the year (2015) chronologically.

 

We woke up the day after Country Thunder and it felt like a dream. We had played on a huge stage in front of an amazing audience. We were treated so well and were in such great company. This was far and away the biggest show we have done. We were feeling pretty good.

One thing we love about what we do is that we get to play ALL kinds of different shows. We play in living rooms, in theaters, in schools, at festivals, in clubs...really no two shows are exactly alike for us and that keeps us on our toes.

That brings us to the show that we had in Ohio two days after we opened for Luke Bryan. It was July and it was HOT. We drove to Ohio for a show we were going to play that was hosted by the “Historical Society” in the local city park….outdoors. #Sweatfest2015

 

You guys, it was the sweetest audience. So many of the audience members were brought in on buses from their assisted living and nursing homes. We’re pretty sure they really had no clue who we were and no clue who Luke Bryan was...so telling them we had just opened for him meant literally nothing to them. It was so good for us to remember that humility is KEY! We had just come off of this BIG show and there was the possibility of us getting over-confident about it. But then we showed up in the lettuce-fields of Ohio and played to the sweetest audience who really could care less who we are. They just wanted to enjoy a night out in the park listening to music and being entertained. And we got to play a part in that....how cool is that?!

We debated whether or not we should play “Baby One More Time” (our slow-jam Britney Spears cover) and whether or not we should play our song “Skinny Jeans”...wondering if perhaps those songs were not the most appropriate for this particular audience.

But we are who we are and we do what we do, so we went for it. Do you know what it’s like singing “Get those skinny jeans out of my sight…” to rows full of Grandma’s and Grandpa’s? It’s REALLY FUNNY. Every once in awhile, we would make eye contact on stage and try not to totally just crack up.

But you know what? We got them clapping along, smiling, and whether they know what skinny jeans are or not, we think they actually had a good time! So it was a privilege to be able to spend the evening with them and all sweat together under that July sun. We are always thankful when we get the chance to share our songs with people. It’s the coolest feeling ever.


The next few days we’ll be talking about a trip to Canada we took at the end of July...how we met some new friends there and visited our wonderful friend Jann Arden. See ya tomorrow!

 

That Time We Opened For Luke Bryan

This blog is a part of a series #31DaysofBlogging … we are going through the year (2015) chronologically.

This was probably the biggest show we have ever played as Jill and Kate. By the end of the night there were upwards of 30,000 people there. Country Thunder is a huge music festival where people party, {drink}, camp out, and listen to a bunch of awesome country acts for 4 straight days.

 

We were invited to play THE MAIN STAGE (WHAAAAT) at the event in Twin Lakes, WI and we were stoked. We are truly an independent band which means we usually don’t get slots like this...we are more likely to play the side stages, which we also LOVE to do! But the opportunity to play the mainstage, opening for acts like Dustin Lynch, John Michael Montgomery, and LUKE BRYAN was a huge opportunity for us! Other acts during the weekend were Jarrod Niemann, Dierks Bentley, and Blake Shelton. We were so honored and excited to be playing the same stage as these guys.

So we drove up to Twin Lakes, just the two of us. We pulled into the backstage area in our little SUV next to rows of big tour buses. Haha...it was so funny. There were no dressing rooms because it was in the middle of nowhere and everyone had buses, so we got ready for our big show in the backseat of Jill’s Toyota Highlander. We did our makeup, we changed, we went over our setlist. We laughed and loved every minute of it. This is real life and it’s awesome.

We got up and played on this HUGE stage, just the two of us and it was amazing. We had a freaking blast. A little later, we played another set on a side stage, and later that night, we were asked to play a set at the VIP after party! So we played 3 sets that day and didn’t leave until 1am. WE WERE STARVING, EXHAUSTED, AND VOICELESS, but also, we were FULFILLED.

Somehow, we got through the whole day and the only thing we had eaten was a breakfast sandwich and ½ of a power bar, each. If you know us at all, you know we love food and take it very seriously. Haha. But we were SO busy that it just got away from us.

Highlights of the day were:

-Watching Luke Bryan’s set and hearing him thank us from stage! (The guy is genuinely a nice guy and super cool. Plus, we dare you not to sing “Play it again, play it again, play it again” as you’re reading this.)

-Getting driven around the campground in a golf cart and watching people get their country on in a big way. It’s an eye-opening experience!

-Playing the late-night VIP tent where we met a cool group of folks from NYC who were SO kind to us and listened intently to our whole set!

-Stopping at Steak & Shake on the way back to our hotel and eating burgers and fries with avengeance at 2 in the morning after the most crazy-long-awesome day!

Definitely the whole day goes down as one of the most exciting/memorable days of 2015! Tomorrow we'll tell you about how another show taught us that humility never goes out of style. Haha...

Much love,

j&K

 

 

The Aftermath (#31DaysofBlogging)

Hi friends,

Remember earlier this year when we asked you to rally with us against weight shaming to promote self-love and kindness? We posted a blog called “When Someone Calls You Huge” and it told an honest story about someone calling me (Kate) “huge” on a group text that the person didn’t know I was on. What you might not have noticed is that a few days after we posted the blog, we took it down. (We JUST re-posted it again yesterday after 7 months.) If you did read the blog (which you can now...HERE) you know that we made no mention of who this person was, what we were doing when this happened, etc. The entire point of the blog was kindness, forgiveness, no more weight shaming, and loving our awesome bodies! We encouraged people to not hold onto pant sizes or negative words and to be grateful for our ability to breathe, see, touch, smell, run, etc. 

We now are going to tell you what happened to us after we posted that blog. This is the next part of the story.

We were singing for a male artist at the time and what we didn’t tell you was that the person who called me “huge” was a crew-member who we were on tour with. Two days after posting the blog, we were asked to remove it from our website because it could “reflect poorly on the personal life of our employer.” Confused. Baffled. Bothered. We didn’t get it. How could a blog about my weight affect my employer? But, okay...fine. Because we had great respect for our employer AND because ironically the blog was about kindness, we took it down. 

Ten days after we took the blog down…we were abruptly fired.

No explanation. No warning. We received a 1 minute phone call telling us that all of a sudden “the organization is restructuring and no longer has a need for female singers.”  

Yet, one week later, they hired...you guessed it, a new female singer. 

Our original intent in writing the blog was to appeal to you (the reader) to encourage us all to stop the weight shaming, bullying, negative self-talk and to focus on better loving ourselves. 

But now, our message is getting an addition: To do all of the above AND to not be afraid to tell your story, even if it costs you something.

For us, it cost us our jobs. We had the rest of our year until November blocked off and in a moment--the entire year changed for us. We aren’t trying to badmouth anyone. We aren’t trying to start trouble. We’ve worked with and for some great men in this industry. This is not a post to bash men, it is simply to stand up as women, with women and for women to not let fear silence us from telling our stories, so that all of us together can make a change. 

This has been a difficult year for us. There are more details than we can even share here with you and we haven’t shared any of this publicly until now. It's been hard but we aren't going to let the difficulties define the year. We are always encouraging people to share their experiences honestly and openly, and we felt that if we didn’t share this, we wouldn’t be following our own advice. 

This is the amazing thing…the story is no longer about us or what has been the outcome of just our situation.  This is bigger than us. We have the chance to be a voice for women everywhere who are afraid to stand up and tell their stories in fear that it may cost them something. Our voices are all stronger when they are banded together.

We have something that we’d love for you to do for us: Be kind the next time you don’t want to be. Don’t let fear hold you back from telling your story. Show love. Forgive quickly. Love yourself. Stand up against bullying. Against weight-shaming. Against any kind of discrimination. If you need someone who will listen, leave a comment or email us. We are all in this together. Our voices all deserve to be heard.

You are beautiful and worthy of love,

Jill and Kate

When Someone Calls You Huge (REPOSTED) #31DaysofBlogging

This blog title might sound familiar. We originally posted this blog shortly after we got back from Afghanistan in April 2015. It was only on our site for 3 days before we were asked to take it down…which we did, and we haven't re-posted it until today. We'll tell you more about that tomorrow. If you already read this…please read it again. Let the words sink down to the depths of your heart. You are beautiful and worthy of love. xo j&k

Have you ever been on a group text and someone didn’t know you were included on the group text and then they said something mean about you to the group?

Well, I have. Let me tell you...not the most fun thing I’ve ever experienced. It sucked actually, but I’m going to tell you all about it for two reasons:

1) I hope it’s helpful. I know I’m not the first person this has ever happened to and we always say we are all in this together, so I’m going to share in my painful experience in hopes that it helps you if you’re going through something similar. 

2) This blog is as much for me as it is for you. It’s a letter to myself to remind myself of the truths that I know to be true. 

Here’s the backstory. I had posted a picture on Instagram the night before from my bunk on the bus and used the hashtag #bunksaresmall. Next day, a friend who loves to make fun of all the silly hashtags we use took a pic of me as I was sitting with an *empty box on my lap. (*not sure why I was sitting with a box on my lap but it was funny and we all were laughing at my ridiculous-ness.) He sent it to a group text. 

Well......

Someone responded (not knowing I was on the text) and called me: "a #HUGE singer." He called me HUGE. 

Here's the picture:

 My first and immediate reaction was hurt and embarrassment. My second reaction was, Psssh, what does he know? What a jerk. But then those dark voices began to quietly rise...This was the inner dialogue that began as I stared at the picture and I began to second guess myself: 

“Omg, was he right? Am I huge? My legs look huge. It’s just a bad angle...or is it? What does huge even mean? Does everyone think this and I don’t know it? Well, everyone thinks that now. What a jerk. Who calls someone huge? Ugh, I want to hide.” 

But then, something changed in my head/heart. I looked at the picture again. I actually thought my legs looked awesome (a little orange from my bronzer...haha...but still awesome.) I remembered the great workout I had done earlier that day. I remembered that I had felt great in that dress before walking on stage that night. I remembered how awesome it had felt singing to thousands of people.

A mirror pic before walking to stage…yes I took off the sweatshirt before going on stage :)    

A mirror pic before walking to stage…yes I took off the sweatshirt before going on stage :)

 

Jill and I began to talk. Important side note here: Don’t ever say anything mean about me because my IDK my BFF Jill does not handle such things well. She was maybe more mad than I was :) Ha! Love her.  Anyway. I started thinking. 

SCREW THAT. Are you kidding me? My body is awesome. I am healthy. I can run for 3 miles RIGHT NOW if I want to. My body can propel itself. Both of my lungs function on their own and all of my blood is rushing through my veins. When I put my hand to my chest and feel the beating, I remember that I’m alive and have a purpose. I don’t have cancer!! I can run and climb and jump. I LOVE MY STRONG, AWESOME BODY. My body could make another human being. I can smell and see and touch and feel. That's amazing.

 

Like any woman I’ve ever met in the whole universe--we fluctuate in our weight and I’m just tired of focusing on it and making it the center of the world.

AND I’M TIRED OF ALL THE WEIGHT SHAMING. It's happening to celebrities and non-celebrities alike. It’s just got to stop. If someone is looking at that picture and calling me huge, I just don’t know. Not that it’s anyone’s business, but full disclosure moment: the very day "dude" called me huge I was pumped because that day I happened to look at the tag of my jeans and I was wearing a size 8! A size SMALL sweatpants from Victoria’s Secret. A medium T-shirt. Here’s the flip side...I also have pants that are a 12/14, sweats that are a size L and shirts that are an XL. WHAT THE HELL DUDE? Who cares?

When I look back on my life I do not, I repeat, I do NOT want to remember what pants size I could squeeze into. Good Lord people, we’ve got THINGS TO DO! We’ve got dreams to dream and goals to be achieved and ain’t nobody got time for the ‘ole weight shaming game. (if you could hear me typing I’m getting heated and may break my keyboard.)

Don’t think the weight game is not something I haven’t had to deal with...cause I have. I won’t drag you into the long history of my story right now (saving that for my book!) but let’s just say I have fought the inner demons that tell me I can only receive love if I’m a certain size or weight. 

Being in my early 30’s now, I feel like I’m starting to find my feet. The grounding of the truth that I know. One of those truths that I believe is that we are all valuable. Each and every one of us is worthy of love. If you're a size -0 or a size 125--whatever is your healthy and happy place--it doesn't matter! 

I also believe that God created me to be exactly who I am and that I was not a mistake landing on this planet at this time. I am loved by the creator of the Universe. My 5 foot 9 inch body is perfectly and wonderfully made. 

Let me get back to this part. I AM HEALTHY. Guys, do you know how many people I know right now that have cancer and would literally do anything for a healthy body that may or may not have a few extra pounds on it? I am determined to be thankful for my healthy, amazing, awesome, strong body. I love feeling in shape and I love seeing pictures of myself feeling confident. Some days I feel that more than other days, but I am desperately trying to not make that the gauge of my mood or let it effect the trajectory of my day.

Here’s the kicker. Because part of my life is in the public eye and on the interwebs, strangers have said mean things to me before. It still hurts--I don’t care who or what anyone says--when you read something mean about yourself, it hurts--even if just a little. But, this was different. This is someone that I know. 

So, what to do? Well, I’ve forgiven him. He hasn’t asked for it or even apologized but that’s okay with me. All I can do is forgive him in my heart and move on. To wish him un-well or to try and hurt him back is foolish and honestly it goes against what I think God has called me to. “Don’t repay evil with evil, repay evil with good.” 

It reminds me that I want to do the opposite. I want to build people up. I want to encourage other people. I want to cheer for them as they are running their race. Competition and jealousy can just go take a freaking hike! We women have a knack for competition and jealousy and I say, let’s just all cheer for each other, ok? Let’s have the mentality that when one of us is winning, WE ARE ALL WINNING. 

If I could leave you with one thing, it’s this. Please repeat after me:  "I AM BEAUTIFUL and worthy of love. I AM BEAUTIFUL and worthy of love." 

Write it down. Make it your screensaver. Take a sharpie and write it on your hand if you need to. When the little voices start to creep in, say (yes, even sometimes out loud): I AM BEAUTIFUL and worthy of love.

And one more thing….let's be kind, friends. The easy thing is to always cut someone down and make a jab, but words hurt. They just do. I think words cause some of the deepest wounds...so let's all give pause before we say something mean. Be kind to the person that doesn't deserve it. Be kind to the person you always disagree with. Be kind.

Sending lots of love to you on this fine Monday morning. 

-kate

USO Tour (#31DaysofBlogging)

Early in the year, we got an email saying that the male country artist we were currently singing with was going to be going on a USO tour in April to Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Germany and we were going to be a part of it. We would be playing shows and meeting soldiers at various military bases all over these countries.

Enter Jill’s COMPLETE AND UTTER PANIC.

Enter Kate’s PURE EXCITEMENT AND EXHILARATION.

Guys, you may know us as “Jill and Kate” and find it hard to differentiate between the two, but we are VERY different people…no better demonstrated than in hearing this news. 

So we are going to each write about how we felt anticipating this trip.

Jill:

I’m not exactly proud of how nervous I was about this trip, but it’s the truth, so here it goes:

What you may or may not know about me is that I’ve got a little bit of the “Nervous Nell” syndrome. My sense of adventure exists, but exists within reason. I’m not a thrill seeker. I’m a safe, logical person for the most part. I think through things and like to have a plan. I like to have control of situations or at least know that they’re under control somehow. I live to know timelines. And I need to feel safe. Also, I’m a major introvert and need my alone time to keep my sanity.

What I knew about the USO tours was that basically everything was the opposite of my guidelines. You really don’t know what’s going on. Flight information isn’t shared with you for privacy/protection reasons. You might get to sleep and you might not. (GUYS, I LOVE MY SLEEP. So this one was especially scary.) You will probably get no time alone. And safety is always a risk.

Everything was unknown. I was also nervous to travel to that part of the world because I have never been there before. Don’t get me wrong, I felt safe knowing that we would be protected by the greatest military in the world, but even knowing that, I felt so uneasy about the whole thing. I went to my doctor and said “GIVE ME EVERYTHING.” Haha. Antibiotics, anti-anxiety, sleep medication. Judge me if you will, but I got it all.

The honest truth is that I was not looking forward to this trip. I’m a little ashamed to admit that, because I should’ve been able to suck it up. After all, we were going to support/thank our troops who spend months and months at a time over there risking their lives for ME, and I was freaking out about going for a week? I felt selfish, but at the same time, I was scared and dreading this trip.

I was trying not to be a total buzzkill for Kate who had extremely different feelings about the whole thing….

Kate:

When we got the email that delivered the news of the USO tour, my face immediately lit up. Like, a giant smile was splattered on my face (which coincidently did not make me a good, consoling friend as Jill processed the news. Sorry Jill.)

A USO tour had been on my bucket list ever since we started doing music and I found out that USO tours were a thing. I have a brother who served in the military and so the armed forces are near and dear to my heart. My brother has since retired but still...the thought of going over and meeting people like him made me want to be the first on the plane.

Now let’s talk about the fear factor. I am not an  “adrenaline junkie.” No sir. No thanks. I don’t like rollercoasters or riding fast on motorcycles and the thought of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane sounds insane or like the recipe for me having a literal heart attack. I do not like the feeling of falling.  I like playing it safe. If friends are jumping off a waterfall I’m the one panicked that there’s going to be a rock and someone is going to paralyze themselves. I’m all “oooh careful….are you sure….is it deep enough...wahhhh…” Some of my most frightened moments have been driving snowmobiles up the sides of mountains at night or four-wheeling in muddy terrain down steep ravines. But, oddly enough, flying in active war-zones did not frighten me. Not one bit. Not sure how that adds up, but it’s the truth.

I had full confidence that 1) the USO would not send us anywhere where the danger was very significant and 2) I love adventure. I crave it. I get it from my parents who raised me all over the world and pumped it into my veins at a young age. I loved leaving thinking of the people that I’d meet, the lands I would see and the stories I would be able to tell. I love telling stories. And again, the fact that my brother had served so fervently for my freedom for so long, I figured this was the least I could do. I so badly want to connect with my brother in this way. I wanted to look people in the eye myself and say thank you. I felt like this also might give me a tiny understanding of the life he lived for so long.

Plus...you may not know this about me but I’m sort of a military aviation nerd. Like, I may or may not have watched documentaries on it...haha...this sounds even more lame as I type it. #yesiamstillsingle. I love military aircrafts and so the thought of potentially riding in blackhawks or C-130’s literally made me giddy with excitement. Living in Colorado Springs for a few years as a kid, my dad would take me to the Air Force Academy and we’d watch F16’s fly by and I was in total awe. Just to be clear though...I have absolutely no desire to go in a fighter jet...wayyyyy too fast and “rollercoaster-esque” for me.

So, I tried to assure Jill that all would be well and to just accept this gift of adventure and the unknown. And then we prayed. Like, a lot.

The truth is, we could never have prepared for the experience we had over there. We aren’t able to share every detail and picture because of the safety of the men/women still over there, but we are going to share with you what we can. We wish everyone was able to do this trip. It was challenging at times, but it was such an amazing learning experience and an honor to be a part of.

At one base in Afghanistan, we arrived in our dorm-like room (bunk beds and all!) to find instructions on what to do in case of an incoming rocket. (We memorized those instructions immediately and then prayed that we would not have to use them.) We heard helicopters flying back and forth over us all night. We woke up to the sound of people in the city saying their morning prayers. We flew in blackhawks and chinooks and huge military airplanes that we’ve only ever seen in movies. We rode in tanks (holy claustrophobia!) We met Generals who gave us military challenge coins. We went to a hospital and visited wounded soldiers. You guys, this part of the trip made it all so real. Like, these were men who had just suffered major injuries hours earlier. They were being awarded purple hearts. We got to stand in the hospital room and it was hard to even focus on the honor being handed out with all of the beeping of the IV machines, the smell of blood and the palpable tension in the air. This was one of the last stops on the trip and we were exhausted but this forever will be ingrained in our hearts and minds. Tears welled up in our eyes as we thought of their loved ones getting the dreaded call earlier that day. It was all I (Kate) could do not to just run over and hug them, hold their hands and be their family while they had none closeby. It literally was a harsh reality of the cost of freedom and of the giant looming reality that these men and women face each day.

While we were on the ground in most places we had to wear protective gear every time we traveled (which was often.) Walking to and from planes/helicopters, etc. we were weighted down with 40lb flak jackets and helmets. These were both non-flattering and non-comfortable but we wore them with great gratitude.

When we got off a giant plane there were 4 blackhawks fueled and ready to go...rotor blades turning. I immediately leaned over to Jill and said, “Omg, I hope those are for us.” She politely replied, “Oh gosh, I hope they’re not.” Ha. Well, they were for us and let’s just say it was the coolest flight of my life. Well, second coolest because the next day we were in a different helicopter and the pilots invited me to sit up in the jump seat. That’s right. I got to sit in the cockpit and be on radio and hear everything. Incredible.

We met good looking soldiers ;) who took good care of us and told us how long they had been there and how long until they got to go home. Everyone knew EXACTLY how long they had left. We met moms who hadn’t seen their babies in 8 months. We ate in the Defac (dining halls) with rows and rows of tables full of YOUNG men and women who are sacrificing so much for us and it was humbling. We heard their stories and they asked us ours. We ate a lot of ice cream after every meal which they found hilarious for some reason. (We have a newfound love for Pralines n’ Cream.)

We sang them songs. They were so grateful to have concerts that let them escape their reality for an hour and a half. Music MOVES people. We know this. We’ve seen it all over the world. But this was different. These guys and girls were so happy and appreciative of the entertainment that our group was bringing to them. That was such a huge honor to be a part of.

We can sometimes struggle with the belief that what we do (music) can be trite or unimportant, but this helped us see that the opposite is true. Music brings joy, peace, escape, nostalgia...and so much more. To be a part of that was one of the greatest privileges we have had so far in our career.

So in the end, Jill’s nerves and fears were far outweighed by the amazing experiences that Kate had anticipated all along.

We will absolutely never forget this trip and it has truly changed our perspective in a big way. THANK YOU to everyone who has served this country. We are truly humbled and so very grateful for your sacrifice.

God Bless the USA.

Coming up tomorrow...we’ll be talking about women, body image, and how being called “HUGE” shifted our year in a big way.

With much love and appreciation,

j&k

Getting all ready for the trip...

Getting all ready for the trip...

Hey Kate, your headband is upside down. Cool look, though.

Hey Kate, your headband is upside down. Cool look, though.

Kate's on cloud 9.

Kate's on cloud 9.

Jill's FREAKED OUT face. Subtle, but true.

Jill's FREAKED OUT face. Subtle, but true.

Driving through Kuwait.

Driving through Kuwait.

Kuwait City.

Kuwait City.

Crazy cool sunsets. 

Crazy cool sunsets. 

Getting a tour of the base.

Getting a tour of the base.

Kate in her happy place.

Kate in her happy place.

Selfie in a tank.

Selfie in a tank.

Flak jackets and helmets ready to go.

Flak jackets and helmets ready to go.

Ready to travel...

Ready to travel...

All strapped in.

All strapped in.

On another plane...

On another plane...

With our new friend Cherie who was the official USO photographer. We love her!

With our new friend Cherie who was the official USO photographer. We love her!

Sleeping quarters...

Sleeping quarters...

Wide awake at 3am. Hello jet lag.

Wide awake at 3am. Hello jet lag.

Can you hear me now?

Can you hear me now?

Epic.

Epic.

So grateful.

So grateful.

God bless the USA!

God bless the USA!

One Of Our Favorite Shows Of The YEAR! (#31DaysofBlogging)

New York City is one of our very favorite places to play shows. There is something about the energy there that cannot be topped.

Many of you have seen us play in NYC and you know every show is a blast! Remember the time we played out on the street corner after our show at The Bitter End? So fun.

This March we got to play at a new venue (new to us) called Rockwood Music Hall in NYC. DUDES. This place was awesome. We were 4 tickets away from selling out the venue! The room was packed and everyone was there to listen which doesn’t always happen...especially when there is a bar involved! :)

We played our whole set and it went by so fast that we wished we had had another hour to play. This show was a huge LIFT for us. It’s amazing how one show can change your morale.

There had been some discouragement career-wise so far in the year, and there was more to come in the next few months that we didn’t even know about yet. But this show literally lifted our spirits and made us SO THANKFUL that we get to do what we do.

It’s hard to explain, but you guys really have no idea how much it means to artists when you support us by showing up at our shows and listening. It seems simple, but it is a huge gift. There are times that we want to stop doing this music thing because it can feel overwhelming, defeating, too hard. But then we have a show like Rockwood in NYC, and it keeps us going! So, THANK YOU for coming out to our shows. For tuning in to our StageIt shows. For ordering our albums and sending us emails/tweets/messages. You may think you are not heard or appreciated/noticed by artists when you do those things, but you ARE.

So, what did the year hold next for us…? A trip to a place we’d never been...and didn’t know if we necessarily wanted to go to….tune in tomorrow to read more!

Hope you're enjoying #31DaysofBlogging :)

xo

j&k

 

New Albums in 2015 (#31DaysofBlogging)

As today we put out a brand NEW album...LULLABIES....today’s blogging train takes us to a different album we released this year, ELEVEN.

Flashback with us for a moment if you will:

It’s 2005. We are still just starting out as “Jill and Kate” and we are driving across the country for one reason or another. (Can’t remember exactly why, but it likely involved us playing really awkward open mics at venues with names like “Uncle Buck’s Rock & Roll Grill” or “The Fat Bean Coffeehouse.”) *True*

Anyways. We stop in NYC to see a friend of ours who worked at a big record label there. She gives us a huge stack of CD’s to listen to on our road trip. Some were older bands with new records and some were brand new bands. So we work our way through the stack...and about the 3rd CD we pop in, we hear this band that we begin to FLIP OUT OVER.

“Everyone knows I’m in over my head, over my head….with 8 seconds left in overtime, she’s on your mind, she’s on your mind….”

REPEAT. REPEAT. REPEAT.

The band was called The Fray and they were about to explode. And little ol’ J&K over here were their new biggest fans. We wore that album OUT for the rest of that year.

Now Flash Forward with us...to 2012.

We are singing backup for Kelly Clarkson and we find out that the summer tour is going to be a co-headlining tour with...THE FRAY. We were so stoked. Their music had been the soundtrack to so many of our long drives from city to city in our silver minivan playing our little hearts out across this country over the last 7 years.

So we toured with The Fray all summer and got to know the guys in the band really well. They were as super as we’d hoped they would be.

When we got off the road, we continued to hang out with Dave Welsh (the ridiculously talented guitar player in The Fray) and his hilarious wife Emily in Nashville. He produced some re-mixes of some of our songs from Heart Of Stone and we started talking about making some new music together. Enter our album: ELEVEN.

So, back to current day….

On February 17 of this year, we released our album ELEVEN which was produced by Dave Welsh of The Fray. And Ben Wysocki, drummer in The Fray, played drums on it. We were so stoked for you guys to hear this album. It was different for us. More pop. More production. Songs that we wrote that reflected on our 11 years of working together. An album that was produced by someone who we were a fan of 10 years before. Crazy.

We put this album out in the midst of a strange time. We didn’t get to promote it as much as we would’ve liked. We were waiting to see what was going to happen with the reality show.

ELEVEN was recorded in our 11th year of working together. We have journeyed through a lot in those 11 years and we had no idea what was about to come in year 12….more on that as #31DaysOfBlogging continues….

{Side note}: DREAM BIG, guys. Don’t limit your dreams and goals. Who would’ve thought in 2005 when we were just hearing about this new band, The Fray, that several years later, one of them would be producing OUR album? It’s crazy.
Same with us singing with Kelly. Who would’ve thought that when we were rockin’ out to SUBG with the rest of the world in our cars, we’d be singing that WITH her every night on stage for 6 years? Don’t ever forget that you can dream big and expect GREAT things. Life is one huge opportunity. 
Much love.....j&k

 


 

 

 

Reality Show….Keeping Up With Jill and Kate (#31DaysofBlogging)

We know what you’re thinking...OMG, are our pals j&k going to be the new Kardashians?

Well, late last year we were approached by a production company about shooting our very own Jill and Kate Reality Show {insert applause here!} Ha! It seemed like a crazy adventure that we’d definitely be up for and so we began the process of developing the concept with them. It would be following our journey as independent artists. The production company we were working with is AMAZING. We seriously love them. The first step was that we began filming little pieces on our iPhones of behind the scenes stuff, normal every-day life stuff, etc. for the production company to piece together and get networks interested. Then, in early January we got a call saying: A NETWORK IS INTERESTED & THEY WANT TO SHOOT A SIZZLE REEL! Woohoo. Wait. What’s a sizzle reel? Hahaa. Exactly our thoughts.

Basically a sizzle reel is a mini, mini pilot episode. It meant that a network is interested enough to pay to have this made and we have a real shot at the show becoming a reality. Insert excitement. Insert fun freak out. Then they said, oh btw, it’s happening in a week!

So, a crew showed up. Put cameras in our cars. Put microphones on us. Moved furniture. Added lights...lots of lights and we shot a sizzle reel. You guys, IT WAS SO FUN. It was exhausting but energizing at the same time. We loved that the director let us do us. He wasn’t creating false drama or making us people that we weren’t. The shoot was supposed to be a “day in the life”...so in a day this is what we did:

-did some baking at home

-hair & make-up glam session

-had a fitting

-did a faux video shoot (yes, that’s why you never got a Rocky Road official video...we were faux shooting it for the reality show...and we had every intention of going back and finishing it but we never did. our bad.)

-did a photo-shoot

-had coffee with our friends Chip & Patty (Chip plays Deacon on Nashville)

-finalized a mix in the studio with our producer Dave Welsh

Yeah….all in a day! So, after we wrapped we felt good, that we did our best and knew that we’d just have to wait. Wait to see if the network liked us. Ugh, that part you guys was not so fun. Nothing like literally having your life up to be judged by random television producers. The waiting went on FOR MONTHS. Tune in tomorrow to see what the outcome has been...

Here are some never-before-seen-pictures from the sizzle reel shoot. Life is crazy y’all.

Love,

j&k

Just act natural. Sure, okay! This is totally the norm while fixing my morning coffee. 

Just act natural. Sure, okay! This is totally the norm while fixing my morning coffee. 

Move a little more this way….very complicated stuff happening during our fitting for the video shoot and photo-shoot with our talented friend Lesley. 

Move a little more this way….very complicated stuff happening during our fitting for the video shoot and photo-shoot with our talented friend Lesley. 

Interviews….talk, talk, talk...

Interviews….talk, talk, talk...

Valerie helped us for the shoot. She was awesome-sauce per usual.

Valerie helped us for the shoot. She was awesome-sauce per usual.

Glam time!

Glam time!

Jill's best side-eyed-smize with Joseph fixing up her hair.

Jill's best side-eyed-smize with Joseph fixing up her hair.

Studio vibes...

Studio vibes...

Mr. Dave Welsh ladies and gents...

Mr. Dave Welsh ladies and gents...

Interviews in-between faux video shooting...

Interviews in-between faux video shooting...

Video shooting...

Video shooting...

Took a bit to adjust to cameras being 5 feet from your face all day.

Took a bit to adjust to cameras being 5 feet from your face all day.

Coffee shop with Chip & Patty. 

Coffee shop with Chip & Patty. 

Fingers crossed…..

Fingers crossed…..

31 Days of Blogging 2015 Kickoff!

We are back for #31DaysOfBlogging (holllllla) and we wanted to do something a little bit different this year. In the past we have posted {very} random blogs every day and although they are fun, they don’t necessarily all fit together to tell a story.

This year we’ve decided to take you through our 2015 with us and highlight the good, the bad, and the ugly that happened this year. See, there’s a lot we haven’t told you yet about 2015...partly because we couldn’t. Partly because it was HARD. Partly because we just didn’t know how to tell it.

But now we are going to spend December taking you through the year with us. We hope you’ll follow along!

We’ll tell you about things we did this year like: how we filmed an episode for a LEGIT “Jill and Kate” reality show, how we traveled to the Middle East for the first time, how we met tons of crazy-awesome new friends in Canada, how we wrote a blog about our body image that pissed some people off, how s%#! hit the fan after we posted that blog, how we played the Bluebird for the first time, how we recorded a secret album in our office...and much, much more.

Something we’ve learned about a LOT this year is the importance of STORY. (Thanks Donald Miller and Storyline.) Our brains are wired to process life in story…and we want to take this month to share our story with you.

As we share our year with you, we’d love to hear your stories too. If something we write resonates with you or reminds you of your journey, please share it with us. We all need to be brave sharing our stories...because that’s what reminds us that we aren’t alone and that we are truly all in this together.

So, just stay tuned. Every day this month we’ll be revealing a little bit about our crazy year. We hope you'll journey with us through the ups and downs and all-overs. Isn’t life exciting? Thanks for reading. See ya tomorrow!


J&K