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Lights, Camera, Acción

Okay, so I’m doing the inevitable..which is writing a review for Lana del Rey’s new album ‘Honeymoon.’  Every critic goes cliche and rants about how broody, moody and crooning Lana’s album is. However, if you’re a true Lana fan, like myself, you understand that’s just her style and it’s a major part of the reason why you love her.

Before I offer my opinion, let’s review the facts. Lana did barely any press for this album, and the minute it went on iTunes it went to number one. She wrote every song and used all live instruments on every track. I say this because everyone today in the industry is a product of the environment it’s become. It’s pop, auto-tuned, computerized beats and lyrics. I think that’s fine and dandy, but it really takes away from what was once art. With the exception of the Coachella incident (nobody’s perfect), 9 times out of 10, Lana sounds just as good live as she does on her record. You can fight me all you want on that topic, but I’ve seen her live four times now and her sweet falsetto has NEVER failed me. Lana SELLS OUT live shows that seat thousands and all she does is stand on stage with her live band and her microphone and sings. She doesn’t need dancers, light up batons, an escalator conveyer belt catapulting her into the audience, she brings her and her music. People who pay to see Lana live come for the music, not an off Broadway performance of her album. When people don’t understand my Lana obsession, I guess it’s hard to make others understand that looking up to someone who is real and honest as supposed to someone who’s a one hit wonder, money making machine is just ten times more enticing to me.

I’ll start by saying, my favorite song off the album (as of this moment) is ‘Salvatore.’ Let’s be real, anyone who can make the words ‘soft ice cream’ fit lyrically and beautifully into a song, is a musical genius. If every Lana song ever made was to reproduce and give birth to a new song, it would be ‘Religion.’ If you can’t appreciate the jazz trumpets and vibe of ‘Terrence Loves You,’ I’m not sure you have ever experienced a great musical arrangement before. ‘Music to Watch Boys To’, ‘Art Deco’ and ‘Freak’ make me reminisce on Lana’s ‘Born to Die’ days, where that underlying beat can’t help but make you think of her singing it live and swaying back and forth. If you’re a true Lana fan, like myself, you’ll know you have heard ‘Lights, Camera, Accion’ before, but it’s ten times better in ‘High by the Beach.’ Next friend to go through a breakup is getting ‘The Blackest Days’ played for them on repeat, with maybe a little bit of Billy Holiday in between. I love that song because Lana’s usually the empowering type, but here’s a vulnerable song where she allows herself to admit she misses a lover. Wrapping up with ’24’ and the ‘Swan Song,’ I couldn’t have asked for more Lana layered with harmonies of Lana, layered with more harmonies of…well, Lana. Thanks for doing your own background vocals! And the classic signature Lana move, covering another artists song, ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,’ is just as amazing as ‘The Other Woman.’

So this doesn’t look like a Lana love fest, I’ll give you the very few nit picky cons I do have. I wish she would’ve included ‘Serial Killer’ on this album. (If you don’t know it, do yourself a favor and YouTube it ASAP.) I also would’ve loved her cover choice to be ‘Chelsea Hotel’ which she covered on the ‘Ultraviolence’ tour. (Also, YouTube) And my last little thing, was I preordered the album and it showed up way later than the release date, but I forgave her because it’s instrumentally and vocally breathtaking.

There you have it, I’m still a Lana del Rey freak and a lot of people have asked my thoughts on the album, so I blogged it! You’re my religion Lana!

Home is always where the HART is ;)

xx-Courtney


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COURTNEY ON YOUR COUCH with Josh Adams

Half way through season two and episode three is all about Josh Adams1403309_10101195984843759_1948121235_o! Josh is a dear friend and a photographer. Okay, so I admit I kind of have a thing for photographers. I wish I could see what they see through the lens, but since I can’t, I’m grateful to be able to admire their work! The thing that sets Josh apart, is he likes to photograph people as supposed to places or things. I think he has a great way of capturing people’s essence. So, Josh doesn’t have a couch, he has a Foof. I couldn’t change the show’s name, but technically this week it’s ‘Courtney on Your Foof.’ I ask Josh about his love for photography and why he wouldn’t consider filming motion pictures.  We should’ve talked more about his love for Taco Bell and his amazing painting skills, but I hope you enjoy getting to know Josh and hear what he has to say about his career as a photographer! Also, check out his website, I’ve left the link below!

JOSH ADAMS OFFICIAL WEBSITE

Home is always where the HART is ;)

xx.

Photo Courtesy of Josh Adams.


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COURTNEY ON YOUR COUCH with Kristy Bleau

Often times, I stop and think about the poverty and the homeless on the street that live within a ten mile radius of me and why no one is helping. I also901850_10151456570633512_2133951632_o wonder why those who show up to help only show up to benefit themselves and Instagram their volunteer work. It’s thoughts like these that make me wish there were more Kristy Bleau’s in the world. Kristy is a single mom, raising an excellent, well mannered daughter. She works a full-time job, you ask her what she does in her spare time and if her answer isn’t being at Disneyland, it’s servicing those in need. She used to bring church services and food to parking lots for the homeless. She shows compassion for the mentally ill and helps them get help from the state. Kristy has not once Instagramed, Facebooked, or bragged about her work. She truly does it from an absolute selfless place, which is why I asked if I could sit on her couch.

I talk to Kristy about the stigmas and misconception of society’s view points on the homeless and mentally ill. It’s something we both feel strongly about. She gives advice for those who are looking to be of service in their community. Not everyone’s couch I sit on is an entertainer. I do this show because every human has a story and a place of passion. Once I enter their home, I ask about their heart and their lives. This has truly been one of my favorite episodes yet. Stay tuned for our next episode, and have fun getting to know Kristy!

Home is always where the HART is ;)

xx.

 

Image courtesy of Kristy Bleau and Shawn Hadland.


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Bon Voyage

The best part about traveling is the opportunity to learn more about yourself through other cultures, experiences and people. I recently traveled to the U.K. and Paris, France. A lot of people have asked me about my travels, and I think the best way to sum it up would be through a blog post.

Let’s startIMG_8650 with London. I stayed downtown London and started off trying British Indian fusion cuisine, which was AMAZING. The highlight of the meal? Sea bass. I definitely played the role of a tourist on this trip. I squeezed as much as I could into the five days I hadIMG_8729 in Britain. The next morning, I got up early to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The London Bridge, Parliament, Piccadilly Circle, and the changing of the guards. Did I mention that I am fascinated by the British monarchy? I love that traditions continue to be upheld in Europe for centuries. My dad and sistIMG_8895er and I walked about 12-15 miles a day. On our walk to Big Ben, we discovered the BEST frozen yogurt I’ve ever had. If I have one weak spot, it’s frozen yogurt. This yogurt place was unique because it was a shop built out of a double decker bus. It was called SNOG, which is British slang for ‘kiss’ or ‘cuddle.’IMG_8971 The bottom half of the bus was the registers and employees and the upper level was turned into a restaurant lounge area overlooking the Thames River. The following day, we took a day trip to Windsor Castle, The Roman Baths and Stonehenge. I was most fascinated by the Roman Baths and Bath, England. Windsor Castle was beautiful and had so much history, Prince Harry was there at the time, but with no such luck, I didn’t run into him. We ended our time in London by shopping and eating more and visiting Abbey Road and Abbey Road Studios, where the Beatles and James Taylor spent time recording there. As a songwriter, that was exciting for me.

 

IMG_9194Next stop? Disneyland Paris. Naturally, I had to visit Minnie Mouse. She was in her Springtime outfit this time of year and it was magical! Their castle and ‘Small World’ were by far my favorite of all the parks. The simplicity of the park and all the rides and attractions allowIMG_9266ed it to feel like classic Disney, nothing was too modern. Their other park, Walt Disney Studios, was a lot like Universal Studios meets Disney’s California Adventure. They had Ratatouille World there and my favorite? Crush’s Coaster. It was based off ‘Finding Nemo’ and you sit in an upside down turtle shell and spin while on the roller coaster, a definite must ride if you ever get the chance to visit.

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And last, we stayed in the heart of Paris. The architecture and easy going people made it easily one of my favorite cities. We did a bike tour around Paris, which was an absolute blast and I highly recommend that as well. MyIMG_9355 sister and I have dreamed ever since we were little of traveling to Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower together. Dreams do come true! Paris had the best coffee and bread I’ve ever had.

 

IMG_8756To wrap things up, the people were my favorite part. Everyone is so polite and courteous. The men wear belts and tucked in shirts and it was very attractive to me to see men who were proper and took care of themselves. The citizens took care of tIMG_9011heir cities,    London was clean and people were so respectful. Kids weren’t glued to iPads, they were well behaved and had manners. Things are very different on the other side IMG_8918of the pond, and I wish some factors we would have here in the United States. I wish I could tell you every detail about my trip because it was the experience of a life time, but this was just a glimpse!

 

Home is always where the HART is.

 

XOXO,

Courtney

 

 

 

All personal pictures are Copyrighted by Courtney Hart and are to not be reused or reposted. 2015.


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THINKING OUT LOUD

Thinking out loud logo2Hello everyone!

I’m launching something today that I’m really excited about. Mental Healthcare Awareness is something that’s really important to me. I’m not asking you for money, or even asking you to believe what I believe, but I do think awareness is important. The suicide rate in our country is tragic. As Dana Perry said at the Oscars, “we need to talk about suicide out loud.”

My mental healthcare awareness organization is called ‘THINKING OUT LOUD.’ The idea behind the name is to encourage people who are struggling and keeping thoughts inside to voice their thoughts, or for someone who may see someone struggling to also be supportive and voice their thoughts. It’s important for people to get educated. Do you know what bipolar disorder is? Or is someone who is bipolar just ‘crazy’? As a society, we tend to fear mental illness because we don’t know much about it. It’s time we STOP THE STIGMA and get educated. I’m doing my first STOP THE STIGMA shoot this week with some amazing people, and I’m really excited to start spreading the word and standing up for mental illness. Because of our fears, we forget it’s a disability and a disease. Please view my video below for some facts and check out my Official Facebook Page for the organization.

THINKING OUT LOUD Official Facebook

Home is always where the HART is ;)

xx,
Courtney


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COURTNEY ON YOUR COUCH with Josh Del

It’s that time again! Another day, another…COUCH!

It’s been awhile since I’ve been couch surfing, and this week, I’m on Josh Del’s Couch. Josh photographed me for the launch of my website. He has a thing for shooting musici1275777_10203648241754401_2029814553_oans, which is lucky for me. Josh is inspired by great acts like The Beatles and great work like that of Annie Leibovitz. For our collaboration, Josh and I bonded over the effortless beauty of Lana del Rey and wanted to capture our own rendition of that in our shoot. If you ever get the pleasure of meeting Josh, he’s super funny and surprisingly timid. It took a lot of convincing for him to do this interview and I’m glad he did! He sees the world in a different light and likes to be behind the camera, instead of in front of it. He’s very passionate and works really hard. He is currently working for a record label and shooting musicians for their album covers and at live shows. (Dreams do come true kids.) One of his most recent shoots was of Mr. Universe (swoon) and he has work featured in Italian Vogue. Josh Del really doesn’t get any cooler in my opinion. He enjoys anything pineapple, body-building, and has a fiancé named Courtney, so he loves Courtney’s. I hope you like getting to know Josh as much as I have! Make sure to visit his full site for more of his work! Until the next couch…

Josh Del’s Official Website

 

 

Home is always where the HART is ;)

 

xo,

Courtney

 

Photo Courtesy of Josh Del


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Cinderella

Hey Everyone!

Okay, so I’ve been holding off on posting about this for awhile, because WARNING SPOILER ALERTS! I want to talk candidly about the movie, but give people time to see it. It’s been a few weeks since the live action ‘Cinderella’ has been released. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re missing out.

Disney is known for it’s magic, and I’d say they nailed it with this rendition. I was hesitant to see it and believe in it, considering I hold Cinderella very dear to my heart. Lily James beautifully portrays an elegant Ella. Although, I wish she had blue eyes like the classic. I loved that Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) narrates Cinderella’s story. The costuming was award worthy in my opinion.

As far as tCourt1he story-line, I appreciate Disney sticking true to the classic film, while adding special moments or characters. For instance, I am so happy we see Cinderella’s mother in the film and the relationship she has with her father. Her ongoing message of ‘have courage and be kind’ truly resonated throughout the film. Cinderella and the Prince run into each other in the forest prior to the ball and it’s a ‘Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip moment’, and I liked that. It made it even more magical, when they saw each other at the ball. I’ll mention last but not least, Cinderella’s animal friends. They were just majestic and the way they saved her at the end was different from the original, but just perfect!

Lauren Conrad designed a line for Kohl’s based on the ‘Cinderella’ movie. Of course, I HAD to have a few pieces. I really like the way she incorporated the elegance of Cinderella into an everyday look for simply modern girls like myself. The skirt was a little on the puffy side for me, but even Cindy herself rocks the puff, so I decided to embrace it! If you love Cinderella as much as I do, check out the collection!

Home is always where the HART is ;)

 

xo,
Courtney

 

Image Courtesy of Miranda Andersen and courtneyhart.com


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Courtney on YOUR Couch with Dylan Neal

10443169_891518534197311_594573655701836735_oHi everyone!

I’ve couch jumped again! This time to Dylan Neal’s couch and this segment is the funniest segment yet. Dylan teaches me how to sing heavy metal and he had the giggles, so I present to you the first ‘Courtney on Your Couch’ blooper reel as well! Dylan has a solo music career where he goes by ‘THIEF.’ He’s also in a band called ‘Botanist.’ I find it fascinating that his band doesn’t use guitars, but another stringed instrument called a hammered dulcimer. I personally like the differences between his solo music and his band. THIEF does a music video called ‘Greed’ where he eats a mouthful of crickets. Don’t worry, I ask him about it in the interview. I like the vibe of this song, it’s upbeat and electronic, but not mainstream. It has a darker vibe to it. Botanist is light and airy in the music and the vocals bring the edge of metal and distress. Botanist is getting ready to go on a European Tour this summer! I hope you enjoy getting to know Dylan, giggles and all. Check out his cricket eating video, ‘Greed’ posted below. For information on Botanist visit their website, and to listen to Botanist (which I highly suggest you do) visit their Bandcamp page. Thanks for watching! Until next time!

THIEF’s Greed Botanist Website Botanist Bandcamp

Home is always where the HART is ;)

xx- Courtney

Image Courtesy of Dylan Neal


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Studio Time!

Hi everyone!

You may or may not know, I’m going into the studio to record my first professional EP. I’m really, really, REALLY excited! I decided I’d like to blog about the process as it’s happening.

IMG_7046I feel like I’m finally at a point in life, where I’m comfortable in my own skin, I’m aware of who I am, and I know what I want. For me, that has changed my song-writing 100%. There are many ways a song starts to formulate in my head. I can see something, someone, hear something that triggers words in my mind. It always starts with words. As I evolve as a writer and a person, I’m sure that could change. However, I’ve been pretty much on the same path since I was little. I can remember my first song at age 5, “Who’s Going to let the Bad Boys Out” (don’t ask, I don’t know either..). My mind moves a mile a minute and I’m constantly thinking and observing. After I get an idea for the words, I sing it out loud until I get a melody I like. I usually do this in my car and fellow drivers probably think I’m NUTS, but who cares! Once the melody is picked, I decide if it’s strong enough to be a chorus or is it a verse? I build the song from that point out.

Voice-memos on my iPhone, is my best friend. I record whatever craziness is happening in my head and I send it to my producer, Aaron Andersen. I like Aaron because he’s honest with me. There’s so much coming out of my head and I’m sending him so much that some is good and useable and other stuff is scratch. Aaron’s best advice to me and any artist he’s working with? JUST KEEP WRITING! He likes a song I’ve picked! Yay! We meet in the studio to map out a rough idea of what we want the track to sound like.

Mapping out a song may sound like an easy task, but for a ROUGH, very rough cut of this first song, we sat and went over it for three hours. Aaron asks me where my sound comes, what artist inspired me for this particular track. My answer? No one. I’m not sure he understood my answer, but to be honest, I didn’t even understand my own answer.  All I know is, I want to remain as organic and true to my process and myself and not try and shadow a previous built career in music. I’m still molding my “sound.” With a rough track and some lyric changes to be made, I’m confident this will be a bad ass song when it’s done. Building a song is like layers of a cake, we just keep adding and layering tracks and ideas until you get a beautiful, edible project that started from absolutely nothing. I can’t wait to tell you more about it!

Home is always where the HART is ;)

xx, Courtney


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Courtney on YOUR Couch with Miranda Andersen

Hello everyone!

I hope your day is truly GOLDEN, I know Miranda Andersen’s is! She’s my next interview for my mini series, ‘Courtney on Your Couch.’ Miranda resides in Orange County, however, her jewelry, ‘STAY GOLDEN JEWELRY’ (formerly known as ‘Beach and Stone Jewelry) is currentFullSizeRender-3ly being worn all over America. She’s new to the design world, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t making a wave! Inspired by the beach, sun and sand, she brings to life accessories that enlighten any outfit. My personal favorite things about her line is the pieces are timeless, you can mix and match them, and anyone of any age can where them. I have a few pieces myself!FullSizeRender-2

I sat down and talked with her about her inspiration and her favorite pieces. She also let me in on a secret that she’ll be coming out with new designs just in time for music festival season. WHAT UP COACHELLA LOVERS. Her simplistic, yet dazzling items are perfect for anytime of year! I hope you enjoy getting to know Miranda! Here’s a direct link to her Etsy store! http://www.etsy.com/shop/beachandstone I wonder who’s couch I’ll visit next!

Home is always where the HART is ;)

xx, Courtney

Photo Images Courtesy of Miranda Andersen of Stay Golden Jewelry LLC. and Tanya Dimapindan