Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is It Too Early for Chocolate Covered Strawberries?

Is there anyone in this world who doesn't love chocolate covered strawberries?

And I know chocolate covered strawberries are usually associated with romance, long-stemmed roses, and heart shaped boxes of chocolate truffles, but a chocolate covered strawberry without the romance tastes just as good!

With February just around the corner--and that includes my birthday--I suppose I may need to get a little more lovey-dovey in my blogs.

Today I happened to see a clip of "The Cosby Show" on which Placido Domingo sang "Besame Mucho" a cappella.  I first sang "Besame Mucho" with a Mariachi band and I loved it!

Here's an accompanied version "Besame Mucho" sung by Placido Domingo.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Puppy Chow...and Puppies!

Is there anyone who can resist the combination of chocolate, peanut butter, Crispix, and powdered sugar?  I don't think I've met anyone yet who could...

Puppy chow is always a nice treat.  And when it's snowy, like it is now, it just makes me feel so...wintery!

And, of course, I not only love puppy chow, I love real puppies!  I do have a favorite breed: the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.  Yes, those funny little fox-headed, long-bodied, tail-less sweethearts!

I've talked about Dylan and Deno, the two Chaston corgis.  Dylan was with us for almost 12 years and Deno is a new addition to the family we got in May 2012!

Deno on Christmas Day--he loves rawhide!
So today's song isn't jazz...but it is a fun little tune.  Here's "Gonna Buy Me a Dog" by The Monkees!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Christmas in January

Right outside my door!
Woke up today to a "Winter Wonderland!"  It felt so much like Christmas that I listened to Christmas music as I got ready for the day.

There were even gingerbread cookies in the oven.  How could it feel anymore like Christmas?

So it may not be a birthday tradition, but Christmas is the celebration of Jesus Christ's birthday.

So here's "Winter Wonderland" sung by Ella Fitzgerald.  You may have noticed, but Ella is one of my favorite jazz singers!

Monday, January 28, 2013

(Birthday) Fruit Pizza

I absolutely love berries, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and pizza.  Naturally, that means I love fruit pizza!  Today I got an early birthday treat of Malawi's Berries and Cream fruit pizza.

I'll be honest, I only recently became a fan of fruit pizza.  My past experiences were less than satisfactory--they really just didn't taste good.  However, after Erik and I made one over the summer, I became a devoted fan.

So here's to a new birthday tradition: amazing, refreshing, delicious fruit pizza!

So how do jazz and fruit pizza correlate?  They're both tasty, of course!  And today's tasty jazz tune is "They Can't Take that Away from Me" sung by Ella Fitzgerald.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I'm Dreaming of a White Birthday...

I really can't believe it just keeps snowing...and snowing...and snowing!  It snowed again today!

I grew up in Iowa and got quite used to having snow on my birthday.  I loved it--except in Kindergarten.

That year, school was cancelled on my birthday and I couldn't take my class treat--cupcakes--to school.  Sure, I took the cupcakes the next day, but it just wasn't the same.  And neither were the cupcakes, for that matter.

Plus, I had to wait ALL day for my dad to get home from work so I could open my presents.  Apparently, dads go to work even when school is cancelled.  Talk about torture for a six-year-old.  Life doesn't get much harder than resisting the desire to open presents until 5:00 p.m.

Back to today's snow, it actually was rain earlier today.  I thought dressy heels would be okay in the rain in the church parking lot, but I kept slipping and sliding.  Fortunately, I never actually fell, but the slipping did cause me to re-evaluate my decision to wear the dressy heels...but risking life and limb for fashion is sometimes a necessity.

So maybe snow isn't quite a birthday tradition, but I definitely associate snow with my birthday.  Except for the three years I lived in Georgia.  It didn't snow on those birthdays.  Ever.

So here's to hoping I have a white birthday.  I do think I need a song with a color in the title...I've already highlighted "Blue Skies."

Okay, I give in.  Today's song is "White Christmas" sung by, of course, Bing Crosby.

And here's a heads-up surprise:  I'm releasing my version of "White Christmas" later this year on Jazzy Christmas to You III.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pesto: A More Recent Birthday Tradition

I don't know how it started, but for a few years now, I've always made sure I have a pesto dish around my birthday.  This is incredible pesto linguine with fresh spinach and cracked pepper.  It was delicious!

So it may be an unusual birthday tradition, but it's still a tradition!

When I think pasta and pesto I think...Italian!  One of my favorite "Italian" love songs is "Return to Me."  When I was learning art songs in high school, I learned to sing phonetically in French, German, and Italian.  I also learned to sing "Return to Me," though not an art song, in Italian.

So here's Dean Martin singing "Return to Me!"

Friday, January 25, 2013

Birthday Traditions--Early, Early, Early!

They came from the store, but they sure are tasty!
It's my birthday in two weeks, but in our family we celebrate early--way early!  After all, how can you confine the joy of a birthday to just a 24-hour period?

With all this studying, I'd forgotten that my birthday was so close (well, close in Chaston time).  So it was great to have my birthday start out with a surprise cupcake/cake!  You can't see the chocolate cupcakes in the picture, but they are my favorite--I've already had one.  I absolutely love to eat these cupcakes after they've been frozen and barely defrosted.  Such a great treat in between studying!

We have a lot of other birthday traditions, so I'll be talking about a different one up to my birthday in two weeks!  Some are just small things, but they are significant to us!

So what jazz song makes me feel celebratory?  Definitely "It Don't Mean a Thing If it Ain't Got that Swing" sung by Ella Fitzgerald!  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Freezing Rain: When Rain Gets So Cold...

The freezing rain today was crazy!  It caused even the University to send out an email suggesting everyone be careful walking on campus.  Basically, it was a big deal.

I didn't drive in it, but I heard stories about others slipping and sliding.

I think my favorite "rain" song might be "When the Sun Comes Out" sung by Nancy Wilson.  I've always wanted to record it--maybe on my second jazz standards album!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Quest for the Perfect Pair of Heels

One of my favorite pairs of dressy heels
I love to wear heels!  I absolutely, positively LOVE to wear heels.  Yes, I know the strain on my knees is there but I love to wear heels and I do so with wisdom.

Anyway, I've got a problem.  I have my dressy heels and then I always have a pair of "everyday" heels.  My everyday heels have given their all and they won't last much longer.  And I simply can't find another pair to replace them!

I've looked everywhere and either the heels are too thin (not good for everyday walking) or the angle hurts my knees or the heels are just plain ugly.  I would never wear an ugly shoe, so ugly heels are just out of the equation.

So I continue my quest for the perfect pair of everyday heels.  Until then, I'm resigned to wearing flats--albeit very cute flats--but they just don't have the same pizazz that a good pair of heels has.

To con-"sole" (he he) myself as I wear the flats while shopping for my perfect heels, I think about how noble my quest is...okay, it's not noble at all.  But, I do like noble quests, and because I like noble quests I enjoy the song "The Impossible Dream (The Quest)."  Here's my version from my album As American As Jazz.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tasty Soup and Tasty Tunes

I admit it.  I love soup!  And enchilada soup is particularly tasty!

I wish I could say that I make it from scratch, but I don't.  My favorite brand is Cugino's.  It's just so...tasty.  I always eat it with tortilla chips.  So good after a full day of studying!

And after a day of studying, a tasty vocal jazz tune like "How High the Moon" sung by Ella Fitzgerald ends the day perfectly!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Joys of a Good Night Sleep

What can I say?  It's great to get a good night's sleep.  End of story.

Here's to hoping for another great night's I almost fall asleep writing the shortest blog in my blog history...

Jesse Quebbeman-Turley, my drummer, saw "Blue Skies," one of his favorite jazz songs, on the list of songs to record and was so excited to record it!

"Blue Skies," will be on my jazz standards CD that is coming out this summer!

Until then, here's "Blue Skies" sung by Ella Fitzgerald!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

When Sleep Evades Your Eyes...

Okay, so it's a bad pun on "When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," which, incidentally, is today's song.  This version is from the incredible Judy Garland.

Back to the sleep reference, I really haven't gotten much sleep the past few nights, so I think I'm allowed the occasional "punny" joke.

I just don't understand why I can't sleep.  I go through the day sleepy and even almost fall asleep on my feet.  Yet I get ready for bed and POW!  I'm completely, utterly, frustratingly awake!

Maybe it's all this studying... 

Saturday, January 19, 2013


So I don't have much to say today...spent most of the day studying!  I studied, then I studied more, and then, just to shake things up a bit, I studied again!

So, what do you do when you study all day?  During your breaks you think about songs.  Today's song was "Why Don't You Do Right?"

Friday, January 18, 2013

If Only Life were a Musical

Have you ever wanted to break out into singing and dancing in the middle of your day?  I sure have...wanted to do it, that is.  I've never been brave enough (perhaps that should be "dumb enough") to randomly start singing in the middle of the Walmart ice cream aisle.  However, I realize that without the support of many others (i.e. flash mob or fictitious movies like Enchanted (2007) and The Muppets (2011), I am resigned to "sing out" my day in my head.

It just seems totally appropriate to break out singing "Blues in the Night" the first Friday night after your lousy, two-timing boyfriend dumps you, instead of just yelling at the wall all the things you wish you would have said to him.  It's equally as plausible to sing "Cry Me River" (check out yesterday's blog) when that same lousy, two-timing boyfriend calls you to apologize and ask if you'll take him back--instead of tactfully saying why you aren't interested in dating him anymore.

And of course, someday, I sure hope there is an appropriate time for me to want to start singing "Alright, Okay, You Win!"

But seriously, haven't you ever been somewhere or had a really strong emotion and just wanted to break into song?  Even if you're not a fan of musicals, films still employ strong music/visual connections by using songs (generally with vocals) as background to a montage of images.

Hooray for music!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Big Band Night: First Meeting

I love participating in Big Band Night and today I got to meet the team putting it together and the other performers!

Every February, BYU puts on the Big Band Night event to honor those in the armed forces as well as those who have served.  This year it's on Saturday, February 16th.

BYU's ballroom is turned into a 1940s canteen--similar to the one featured in Stage Door Canteen, a movie from 1944.  A formal sit down dinner is served and a veteran is honored.  Then the cast puts on a skit revolving around interactions at the canteen.  Then the dance starts, complete with BYU's premiere big band, Synthesis, and singers!

Some of the songs you're sure to hear are "Blues in the Night," "The Lady is a Tramp," "Cry Me a River," and "I'll Never Smile Again."

I'll be singing "Cry Me a River" with Synthesis in this year's Big Band Night!

Julie London made "Cry Me a River" famous.  Here's one recording of her singing this classy jazz number.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hearts and Some Days

I'm not talking about matters of the heart, just little petite hearts...that are jelly, covered in sugar, and oh so delicious!

Some days you just need a little cheer.  Some days you just need to take a rest.  Some days you need a Jimmy John sandwich.  Some days you just go to bed early.  Some days you watch the funny parts of you favorite shows.

And some days you write blogs about some days.  Today was one of those "some days" for several people in my family.  It isn't that something is so bad.  It is just that some days are just relegated to being "some days!"

And some days you wish you could be "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."  So here's my version of that classic song.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Consoles: Soon to be Demystified

The Audio Master Erik!

I admit it.  I'm not that knowledgeable when it comes to actually routing an audio console.  My brother and sound engineer, Erik Chaston, is a master of everything sound.  I'll never understand sound the way he does, but I know I can learn more about routing!

I understand routing within Pro Tools.  Check.  But once the routing gets outside the program, that's when everything gets a little fuzzy to me and I literally get wires crossed...

So I'm very excited to be taking a digital projects class from Ron Saltmarsh--hello Media Music Classes (check out my earlier blog "Commercial Music")--that is focused on understanding routing on different kinds of audio consoles.  That includes consoles engineered primarily for live/theater applications, studio consoles, and I'm sure a few other kinds of applications that escape me at the moment!

Back to Erik, here's a fan favorite that Erik engineered the recording, mixing, and mastering for PLUS he also wrote the song!  So here's me singing Erik's song "You Lied!"

Monday, January 14, 2013

So COLD!!!!!...and Work

I can't even believe how cold it is in Utah.  It feels like the winter in Iowa (pictured above leaving work at Cumulus) that I left a week ago.

So I am in Utah going to work this morning (no picture but you can imagine) and it's only 3 degrees outside.  I could see my breath--inside the car!

Fortunately, the work was inside.  I am an on-call magazine article reader for the sight-impaired at the LDS Motion Picture Studio.

Obviously, the articles I read today are not online yet.  To give you an idea of what I sound like as a reader, here's the article "Chain Reaction" I recorded previously, when it was much warmer.  It is from the New Era, a religious magazine for teens.

Frankly, I love the cold.  I am just surprised that Utah cold feels like Iowa cold lately.

It only follows that today's song be "Baby, It's Cold Outside!"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What Would I Do Without a Smartphone?

I was thinking of all the ways I've used my smartphone today and not one of them includes actually using a phone for it's primary directive: making a phone call.

Clock app for an alarm.  No more large alarm clocks!  Definitely streamlines my nightstand.

Calculator app.  Remember when we had to look through the desk drawer to find the calculator you've held on to since beginning algebra?  Or maybe you actually had an adding machine; keeping those rolls of paper handy was maddening.  Or worse yet, you had to do the math yourself!

Clock app for a timer.  The timer on the phone is much more convenient than using the stove or microwave timer.  I can stay on the couch and turn it off.  Plus, inevitably someone heats up meatloaf and erases my microwave timer.

Dictionary app.  It is way easier to type the word in and get all the cross references than haul out the 10-pound Oxford or Webster Unabridged Dictionary and a thesaurus!  Besides, who has space for those anyway?

Camera app.  This does not have the highest resolution, but it is just right for those spontaneous moments...even if the pictures do sometimes end up looking like those fuzzy "ghosts-are-real" photographs.

Facebook app.  Just in case some earth-shattering happenings of my friends occurred, I can know about them even away from my computer.

Texting app.  The best part is most of my texts today were to people who were in adjacent rooms in the same apartment.  At least I didn't yell to the other rooms...of course, I could have just walked to the other rooms.

So it is pretty funny to think of how phones have evolved.  Remember when the earphone was cool...?

Though not directly related, my song "You've Got Your Memories" has the word "memories" in it, which is related to "remember."  So here it is!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Singing the National Anthem

Waiting to sing the national anthem
Today I sang the national anthem for the BYU Women's Basketball vs. Pepperdine game.  The BYU Women won 68-42!

I always love to sing the national anthem.  I feel great respect for my country and the flag.  I wish I had more opportunities to sing the national anthem at events!

I also appreciate feedback on my performances and today's was all good!  One of the BYU assistant coaches took my arm and told me, "That was really good!"  The director in charge of BYU sports-related auxiliaries (like selecting people for the national anthem) emphatically told me that I "killed it."  And a woman on the front row said to me as I was returning to my seat, "It's a consensus.  That was amazing!"

I hope soon to have the recording of today's performance up on YouTube, but since I don't have it yet, here's "The Star Spangled Banner" from my album As American As Jazz.  I know I posted it yesterday, but it is the national anthem, so it deserves a second day!  I love the USA!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gandalf: The Snow Storm?

Does anyone else think it's just a little weird that a snow storm has the same name as a fictional J.R.R. Tolkien character?  Is it mere coincidence that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is currently in theaters and an active snow storm is named after a main character of said Hobbit movie?

Anyway, despite the pop culture references that have obviously infiltrated even the most benign of subjects--weather--I'm still enjoying the snow storm.  Admittedly, I didn't have to drive in it today, so I don't have a reason to enjoy the snow less.

Though I do have to drive in snow tomorrow on my way to sing the national anthem at the Women's BYU vs. Pepperdine Basketball Game in the Marriott Center at 2:00 p.m. MST.  So hopefully, Gandalf (the storm not the character) will have moved on by then...

In preparation for tomorrow, here's my version of "The Star Spangled Banner" on my album As American As Jazz.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Commercial Music!

Today BYU's Media Music department made a fantastic announcement!  My major, Jazz Studies, Sound Recording Technology, and Media Music are all being combined into the Commercial Music major in Fall 2013!

The Commercial Music degree will make it easier for Jazz Studies, Sound Recording, and Media Music majors to take classes that are tailored for their chosen music careers.  Ironically, the courses I took included all of my Jazz Studies classes and as many Media Music and Sound Recording classes as I possibly could.

FYI: Commercial Music is any kind of music that is "commercially" viable.  It includes film scoring, songwriting, Broadway, orchestration, arranging, recording (engineering), mixing and mastering, library music, producing, etc.  Basically any music that generates revenue in a non-gigging or teaching way qualifies as commercial music.

Since I'm graduating before the change takes effect, my degree will still be in Jazz Studies.  But I'm very excited that other students will have their programs designed to broaden and increase their marketable music skills.  Current students can opt out of the new program by finishing their degrees in their original major.

I would not have a co-writer if I had not intently looked for classes that music students outside my jazz studies major were taking for their majors.  Hurray for cross-disciplinary learning and merging of three programs into one!  Here's a song, "The Moment," I co-wrote with Justin Jensen, a Sound Recording Technology graduate, who I met in a Media Music class!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


You know, meatloaf really gets a bad rap.  Generally looked upon as the meal from leftovers, it usually has a week's worth of odds and ends in it.  Don't even get me started on cafeteria meatloaf...

Tonight I had just about the best meatloaf ever!  Really seriously and truly the best!

Here are some of the ingredients:
  • Ground Sirloin
  • Sausage
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Zucchini
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Red Pepper
  • Onion
  • Egg
  • Oatmeal
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Garlic
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Craisins (Yes, Craisins!)
The meatloaf was so moist and spicy (I absolutely love spicy food).

So I thought it might be fun to just put on one of my favorite jazz songs "Why Don't You Do Right?" on for today.  I guess it's a mish-mash today, just like meatloaf!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Great Semester Start!

My last semester as an undergrad is off to a great start!

I'm excited to learn more about digital consoles, film scoring, and Adobe After Effects!  I'll be uploading to this blog some of the assignment/projects I'll be doing, so stay tuned.

I'm not the most knowledgeable about digital consoles, but hey, that's why I'm taking the class!  I'll learn more about routing the audio and maybe even creating sound effects for film (foley)!

Film scoring will stretch me, but isn't that the point in life?  I'm comfortable writing songs--meaning melodies with lyrics--but have less experience composing without lyrics.  This will be a fun adventure!

After Effects is a program to create motion graphics and compositing.  Motion graphics are anything animated like the main titles of a movie.  Compositing is combining live action with drawings like in Pirates of the Caribbean.  Erik is already a whiz at After Effects, but I always like to know a little about everything!

For today's song, here's the video for "Older, and Stronger, and Wiser, Too."  Erik created this video using After Effects.  It's a great example of both motion graphics and compositing!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Radio Goodbyes...

Chris Farber and me in the Y105 studio!
Erik and I just absolutely love to help out at Cumulus!

I love to be on-air with Chris Farber on Y105 and help out Johnny Jost with commercials (and filing), and pinch hit for Jeff Robb on remotes!

It's always bittersweet when we have to say our goodbyes.  We just love to learn!

Erik and me in the Y105 studio
Me, Chris Farber, and Erik

Jeff Robb, me, Erik, John Jost

And not to get sappy or anything because I would never do that...but here's my rendition of  "Always on My Mind."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christmas Gift Success!

Mandoline Slicer
So let me just say that my and Erik's gift to our mom for Christmas was a success!

We love French Potatoes in our family and they are simple to make--except for the slicing of the potatoes.  It could take two people upwards of 40 minutes to slice enough potatoes to make a large recipe and the potato slices would be anything but uniform.

This is where mine and Erik's gift comes in: a mandoline slicer.  Basically, it's the best kitchen gadget ever.  Erik sliced the potatoes in five minutes.  It actually took longer to peel the potatoes than slice them!

Before today's success with the mandoline slicer, I was almost regretting getting it for my mom for two reasons:
  1. I was shopping with my mom and my older brother when we got her a real food processor (one of those door buster deals.)  It had a slicer attachment.
  2. We tried to make sweet potato fries on the mandoline slicer and it didn't work.  The sweet potatoes are too hard.
So I was feeling like the mandoline slicer had been an "epic fail" gift.  But we hadn't tried it yet on the very dish we bought it for.  It ended up working perfectly.

Since this is such a domestic blog post, let's go with one of my favorite "domestic-y" songs.  Here's "I'm a Woman!"

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Favorite TV Show

Back in October, BYUtv started showing a series called Sue Thomas: FBEye.  I happened to see it when I was waiting to watch a sporting event my brother, Erik, was mixing the sound for.

I immediately loved the show!  So for Christmas, it was great to open up my presents and get the entire series on DVD.  (What did we do before those magic discs were invented?)

The series is based on a true-life story of Sue Thomas, a hearing impaired woman who worked for the FBI.  The actress who portrays Sue, Deanne Bray, is also hearing impaired.

I love shows that depict characters with integrity, a sense of right and wrong, and moral fiber.  This series definitely fits the bill.  I felt a kinship with Sue's character, having had to deal with my own health challenges that affect my everyday life and often isolate me from others.  A lot of people in the course of my life experiences--okay most people--cast doubt, even demeaned, my efforts to be a performer and singer because of my health problems.  But just like Sue Thomas, here I am doing what so many have told me I couldn't do.

And of course, I love the bond between Sue and Levi, her hearing dog.  I had that kind of bond with my dog Dylan.

I've never been one to like those kinds of characters who, as we say in the Chaston home, "wiffle-waffle."  I like characters whose true moral selves are revealed under duress.   They do not shrink, hide or run away.  Unlike the weak-minded, loose-moral characters media predominantly portray, there are more people like those characters who can stand up and work hard to make a positive difference in their families, communities, and the world.  I like to view characters in the media who remind me that there are real-life people who want to be and do good.

My single My World expresses some of my feelings and response to being told I should not, would not, could not do what I do.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My January 4th New Year's Resolution

My 2013 New Year's resolution is that I will blog every day!  Pretty lofty goal, I know, but I think I can attain it!

I may have made my New Year's resolution a few days late, but at least I made it!  And I'm definitely going to keep this resolution.

I'm trying to remember any other New Year's resolutions I've made in my life and I honestly can't recall any of them.

Since this blog is about "resolutions" and being "resolved" here's my pop ballad "Strong and Sure," which in reality is about a girl asking her boyfriend to be "resolute". . . but you get the idea!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Work and A Nice Clean Room...

You know that accomplished feeling that distills on you when your room is clean?  My, it's a mighty fine feeling!

Okay, I'll have to be room is only partly clean.  It will take another day to get everything in place, but it's much more organized!  And I finally got everything out from under my bed.

Now if only I had a dog's life!  But then again, I love to work!  Which reminds me, tune in to tomorrow and Monday 7:00-10:00 a.m. CST to hear me on-air during the Morning Wake-Up with Chris Farber!

So, in honor of work...well, actually I don't have a song that has to do with work.  Consequently, this song has nothing to do with work or anything else in this post, but it is a great tune.  Here's "Doubts."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What To Do When You Feel Under the Weather

So today I felt a little under the weather.  I did what any smart, sick person would do: lie down on the couch and veg.  Except that it is really hard for me to just sit and rest.  So I do other things...

I look for recipes and I knit.  I even prepare my taxes...really!

And sometimes when you're feeling not-so-good, you need a little lift!  Here's my uplifting single "My World."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolution: Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwiches!

Homemade Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich
Most people make New Year's resolutions.  I make peanut butter cookies.  My brother makes peanut butter cookie ice cream sandwiches.  Now that's a mouthful!

But really, is there anything better than a good old-fashioned peanut butter ice cream sandwich?  Well, maybe, just maybe a tasty jazz tune like "This Time" could possibly be better...but I'll let you be the judge!