September 24, 2011

Meet the new Freddie Mercury...

Throughout the day yesterday, my Twitter and Facebook feed EXPLODED with links and posts about my buddy Marc Martel of the band Downhere who uploaded a video to YouTube a few days ago which went viral. And by viral, I mean more than 1.5 Million views in less than 3 days! The video he submitted is a recording of himself singing a cover of the Queen song Somebody to Love as part of the Queen Extravaganza competition. Queen drummer/songwriter/singer Roger Taylor launched the competition only a few days ago in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the band Queen and offers the opportunity for winners to tour in the Queen Extravaganza Live Tour in early 2012. Music fans worldwide have suddenly discovered what we downhere-fans have known for years: that Martel's Freddie Mercury impression and likeness are beyond stellar. However it's not just an impersonation - Marc's actual singing voice lends itself not only to Mercury, but in the early days of downhere, he was often compared to the likes of Bono of U2 and even former DC Talk member Kevin Max. (I really should dig up a copy of Downhere's cover for U2's Beautiful Day; my husband and I preferred it over the U2 version, but I know that's a bit sacrilegious to say out loud.) Marc has even ventured into singing opera in the past few years, which may seem a little farfetched for a rocker, but as one commenter stated, "This guy is the Swiss Army knife of singing!"

Though it may seem like videos go viral all the time, Marc stated in an interview with WGBL that the reporter he talked to from the Wall Street Journal on Friday said it truly isn't that common. Nonetheless, views today (Saturday) have grown to more than 1.8 Million total views, and strangely enough many fans including myself have noticed the YouTube counter seems to get "stuck" on the play count for several hours before jumping up again.

I have known the members of Downhere, Marc, Jason, Jeremy and Glenn, for about 10 years now, ever since a friend at Word Records introduced me to them and asked me to edit a promotional music video for their first album release. From the moment I first heard clips of their to-be-released debut until now, they have been my absolute favorite band. I've always told them that someday I expected them to get a big break like Christian rockers Switchfoot did in 2003 when their fourth studio album suddenly sold 2.6 Million copies after being marketed to the mainstream music industry. While this is certainly not the same story, Marc's new-found fame will certainly prove to enhance the awareness of Downhere. Over the years I have heard SO many new fans discover Downhere's music and say things such as "WHY aren't you all better known? This band has so much talent!" However, I also believe that God has used their journey to keep them grounded as the most down-to-earth set of performers that I have ever encountered. Not a concert goes by where they don't spend at least 30-45 minutes after the show in the lobby greeting every single fan who wants to meet and talk with them. This deep connection to their concert goers has established a grassroots fan base for them that has grown and sustained them as a band over a decade when many Christian performers have come and gone.

FINALLY an opportunity has arisen that will shine the spotlight on these guys who spent 9 of the past 10 years touring North America in a 15 passenger van. Media coverage by outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Huffington Post, and the CBC to name a few, has just started. Whether Marc gets a chance to perform with Queen in early 2012 or not is yet to be seen, but many fans feel it would be a travesty otherwise.

Marc's Original Audition video:

Amazing "Mashup" video with Marc and Freddie Mercury singing simultaneously:

CBC interview:

GREAT Radio Interview out of Chicago:

Celebrity Values article:

CNN clip:

Marc Martel Facebook Fan Page:

April 7, 2011

SOUL SURFER in Theaters Tomorrow

A few months ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to pre-screen a new movie that releases in theaters nationwide tomorrow (Friday, April 8, 2011) called "Soul Surfer." Made by Sony Pictures, it includes an all-star cast including Helen Hunt (whom I loved in Mad About You), Dennis Quaid, AnnaSophia Robb (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), and American Idol's Carrie Underwood in her film debut. The movie depicts the true life story about a thirteen year old surfer from Hawaii named Bethany Hamilton who endured an unimaginable tragedy when she lost her left arm in a shark attack on Halloween day in 2003.

I remember when the event happened in real life, as Rick Bundschuh, one of the writers at interlinc (where I worked at the time), lives on the same island of Kauai. I wasn't sure how Sony would depict this story of a girl who was so well known after the tragedy for her strong Christian faith, but I have to say that I was not disappointed. The pre-screening was introduced by a marketing rep, Bob Gordon, who asked the audience before the show started, "What if Hollywood decided to make a film about a normal Christian family?... Well funny thing, Hollywood decided to make a film about a normal Christian family and this is that film."

What impressed me most about the film was that the production quality was by far the highest standard that I've ever seen in a movie that focuses so heavily on characters with a Christian faith. This was not made by a cast of all volunteers, but rather has the same production quality of any other movie playing in your local theater this weekend. However, all of that being said, while it's a film about Christian people, it does not get preachy or have any kind of underlying conversion message. It just shows how this family leans on their faith to hold them together and deals with a very tough situation. Bethany did not allow the loss of her arm to stop her in anything that she wanted to pursue in life, despite the great odds that were against her to achieve those dreams. Perhaps my favorite part of the movie was the end credits, which showed real life home movies shot by her video-enthusiastic brothers that directly paralleled with earlier scenes from the film.

Helen Hunt does a superb job as Bethany's mother, Cheri Hamilton, while Dennis Quaid played her very encouraging father, Tom Hamilton. Carrie Underwood makes her big screen debut as Bethany's youth pastor from church. I even recognized Kevin Sorbo (from the 90's show Xena, Princess Warrior) who starred as a very key family friend during this story. There is a lot more that I could say about how inspiring this film was to me, but I know it definitely will be to thousands of young girls who need a fabulous and inspiring role model to look up to in life. Read more about the real life Bethany Hamilton here on her website, and watch the trailer below. Check out to read more about the movie and find it at your local theater this weekend!

February 4, 2011

2011 Spring/Summer Kids Consignment Sales (Raleigh-Durham area)

So it's been a while since I've compiled a list of all of the upcoming, local-to-Raleigh children's consignment sales. However many of you have been asking me about it, so I took a chance this past week to gather some updated sale dates and website links. I didn't get this blog post up in time for the big Kids Exchange sale at the NC State Fairgrounds as I had hoped; however I took plenty of photos this year to give you an idea of what will be there again next July 11-18, 2011.  Click on the photo below to see nearly 40 photos of the Kids Exchange.
IMG_1636 - January 18, 2011

If you haven't already read my previous posts on consignment sales, please do so to get the full scoop of how wonderful they can be for a parent's wallet! But first, before I get to the list of sales, I've got some photos from the Twice as Nice kids consignment sale that is going on THIS WEEKEND (public shopping starts Friday morning at 10 am; half-price shopping starts Sat. at 11 am). This is the sale where I sell all of my items, so I highly encourage you to go check it out! (Hint, hint!!)

Spring-Summer2011-8281 Spring-Summer2011-8338

Spring-Summer2011-8334 Spring-Summer2011-8330
Click on any of the photos above to see the full-size version or click here to see all 60 images from the Twice as Nice sale.

I have photos from many (most) other sales I've attended in the past, and if I can go back and find them all, I'd like to come back soon and edit this post to add a picture to each sale listing below to give you a better idea of what each sale looks like. In the meantime, here is the list of upcoming Raleigh-area 2011 Spring/Summer kids consignment sales. As always, if I've missed your sale, please add the details in the comments section below.

Kids Exchange
January 19 - 23, 2011 (Public sale days: Fri-Sun)
Fall/Winter Sale: July 11-18, 2011
NC State Fairgrounds
Jim Graham Building & Expo Building
Notes: With 2500+ consignors, this is the largest sale in the region, covering two buildings/123,000 sq. ft!

Twice as Nice Kids Consignment Sale
February 3-5, 2011 (Thu-Sat)
Hope Chapel
6175 Old Jenks Rd / Apex, NC 27523
Notes: This is the sale where I sell all of my items. Come buy my stuff! ;-) {Happening this weekend!}

The Monkey Exchange
February 10-11 (Thu-Fri)
North Hills Club Ballroom
4824 Yadkin Drive / Raleigh, NC  27612
Notes: upscale and boutique children's clothing and accessories. FREE babysitting across the hall on Thursday, Feb. 10 from 9am - 12noon

First UMC Cary Spring/Summer Sale
February 18-19, 2011 (Fri night/Sat morning) *Added 2nd day!
First United Methodist Church, Cary
117 S. Academy Street / Cary, NC 27511

Kids Everywear
February 19-28, 2011
Morrisville Outlet Mall
1001 Airport Blvd / Morrisville, NC 27560-8935
Notes: Voted Raleigh's Best Consignment Sale in 2010 by Also has early shopping days for Pregnant & New Moms (must pre-register). Has maternity, Juniors and Ladies clothing, as well as "Home" furnishings section as well.

The Friendship Closet Consignment Sale
February 25-26, 2011 (Fri-Sat)
Apex United Methodist Church
100 S. Hughes Street / Apex, NC 27502
Notes: Accepts/sells maternity clothing. Digital barcode tagging for consignors

Just 4 Kids Consignment Sale
March 1-3, 2011 (Tue-Thurs)
Life Spring Community Church
501 Wake Chapel Road / Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526
Notes: Digital barcode tagging for consignors

WINGS Consignment Sale
March 5, 2011 (Sat)
Holland's United Methodist Church
9433 Ten-Ten Road / Raleigh, NC  27603

Chapel Hill/Durham Mothers of Multiples Sale
March 5, 2011 (Sat)
Yates Baptist Church (new location)
2519 Chapel Hill Road / Durham, NC  27707

Upscale Resale
March 10-12, 2011 (Thu-Sat)
Cary Masonic Lodge
1142 SE Maynard Road / Cary, NC
Note: Trunk Show, Boutique & higher-end consignment sale clothes up to tween sizes. Digital Barcode Tagging for Consignors.

Divine Consign Show - Raleigh
March 14-17, 2011 (Mon-Thurs)
Location: TBA
Notes: Exclusive Trunk Show & Boutique Overstock and Consignment Sales; Also has a Grandparent Preview Show & New Mom Shopping (must pre-register)

Church Kidz Stuff
March 17-19, 2011 (Thu-Sat)
Hayes Barton Baptist Church
1800 Glenwood Avenue / Raleigh, NC 27608
Notes: Digital Barcode Tagging for Consignors

KidCycle Sale
March 18-20, 2011 (Fri-Sun)
University Mall, Chapel Hill (former Kerr Drugs)
201 S. Estes Drive / Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Nearly New Clothing Exchange
Tentative: March 12-22, 2011  (Fri-Sun)
Location TBA

TMOTT Sale (Triangle Mothers of Twins & Triplets)
March 26, 2011 (Sat)
N.C. State Fairgrounds / Raleigh
Kerr Scott Building

Kidaround Kidsale
March 25-27, 2011 (Fri-Sun)
The Factory in Wake Forest (MVP Factory Sports indoor basketball court)
1839 US 1-A South Main St. / Wake Forest NC

April 6 - April 10, 2011 (Wed-Sun)
Cleveland Gymnasium
8994 Cleveland Road / Clayton NC 27520

Second Blessings Consignment Sale 
TBA (Fri-Sat)
Greenwood Forest Baptist Church
110 SE Maynard Rd. / Cary, NC 27511

***Chatham Kids Consignment (Chapel Hill/Pittsboro) asked me to let you know that they have closed up shop and will not be hosting a sale this year.

If you don't live in the Raleigh area, be sure to visit for a VERY comprehensive listing of children's consignment sales all over the United States!

Join PaperbackSwap to trade your books for titles like these!