How to Have a Christmas Shindig

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comWell, my one friend had a “How To” blog…but she stopped blogging, so I guess that means I can use that title? Mine won’t be as funny- but maybe it will inspire a Christmas shindig at your home!

Now, I used the word shindig because I thought that meant small…but apparently it means a large and elaborate celebration. Whatever the size may be, any Christmas gathering is a good one! (And I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but my house is already decorated–don’t be a hater!)

I love the Holidays because I feel like it’s a good time to reflect on what’s really important in life. Thanksgiving and Christmas is a time where you take some time off work (oops- sorry retail workers) and spend time with the people who matter most to you: your family. It’s also a time to look around at everything you’ve been blessed with and what you’re thankful for, and hopefully reflect on the needs of others around you. Oh, and you also eat a lot of fattening things.

So, here are some things I did for my Christmas Shindig.

1. Make lots of cookies. Eat most of the dough…and then bake the leftovers.

shindig 1

2. Pick a Christmas charity to shop for! My friends and I chose to support Next Door, a drug rehabilitation center for girls. We made Christmas bags for their Christmas party! If you can’t think of a charity  in your area, try donating to Operation Christmas Child.

3. Go shopping!!!!

shindig 2

4. Come back and assemble your gift.

shindig 3

5. While assembling, eat lots of cookies, sip lots of cider, and listen to lots of Christmas Michael Buble. ​

shindig 4

6. Make some Christmas memories!!


Meet the Band

erica bryan,, behind the micMany people have been noticing that I mention my band a lot in my posts and have been asking me more about them. So, this week’s post is dedicated to meeting the band.

When I got to Nashville, I started hearing the term “good hang” thrown around when referring to traits people look for in band members. At first, I really didn’t understand why people cared that much about personality and thought it seemed like a popularity contest rather than based on pure talent. But now that I’ve been touring more, I understand why a “good hang” is so important! My band spends hours in the car together, on top of rehearsals, video shoots, performances, recording, etc. I feel like we’re never apart anymore! Luckily, I love these people to death. We have so much fun and spend a lot of rehearsal laughing instead of practicing (I hope you can’t tell….).

If you’ve been out to my shows, you may have seen a few different faces on stage. Sometimes I add people to the mix, or someone has to sub-in, but on the whole, these are the faces you will see with me at my shows.

PictureMeet Katherine. Katherine hails from Wichita, Kansas, and came to Nashville by way of Belmont University. While at Belmont, she studied Classical Viola Performance. Katherine and I met at a church new member meeting, and while I was getting to know her, she mentioned she played viola. After our initial meeting, I hired her to play on a video with me, and then asked her to play a show with me…and then another, and then…the rest is history. Katherine is a comedian at heart. While we’re in the car, Katherine is always pulling up new comedians for us to listen to. On our one weekend off of touring, she suggested we all get tickets to a Comedy Show…which ended up being an awesome decision.
You may find it unique that Katherine plays the viola. Many people don’t understand that the viola is different from the violin. She gets many comments about playing a “big violin” gets asked why she just doesn’t play the violin instead. Although the viola is misunderstood, I couldn’t imagine a world where Katherine didn’t play her emotion-evoking viola solos in my songs. You can follow Katherine on twitter and instagram @keholmgren.
PictureMeet Amy. Amy comes to us from the small town of Hickory, North Carolina. She came to Nashville for a recording studio internship to finish up her Commercial/Electronic Music Degree from Western Carolina University. Amy and I met at her internship and became fast friends! She told me her instrument in college was Jazz Guitar….so you can probably guess what happened next…I recruited her for the band! Amy is also a talented Mastering Engineer and is an Assistant Mastering Engineer at Yes Master Studios. (So, if you need a song mastered, contact her!!) She mastered my debut single, “This House Is Haunted,” and did a fabulous job. Amy is the one in the band that’s always happy. On stage, she’s always smiling, in the car, she’s always laughing, and on guitar, her leads are always upbeat! You also never know what Amy is going to say. One time I needed to kill some time at one of our shows because we played through our set pretty fast, so I asked everyone in the band to tell an interesting fact. Amy’s fact was that she enjoys pickle juice with her potatoes. I have never heard of this, but I guess I’ll have to give it a try before I can judge it! You can follow what Amy will say on twitter @amybrown214 and instagram @ambrown21492.


Meet Billy. Billy holds a soft spot in my heart because we’ve been dating for over 3 years (Sorry Amy and Katherine…you have soft spots in my heart too…just not the same spot). Billy grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida, and came to Nashville…well…because I moved here. (haha) He also thought it would be a good move for him so he could pursue  professional drumming after receiving his Percussion Performance Degree from Samford University. After he attended Samford, he taught Percussion at Spain Park High School for a few years and continues to teach here in Nashville. He also plays for another band, Gil and the Harbor, but I’m always happy to snag Billy to play with me whenever possible. Billy is often times the only boy on the road, so he is our resident driver and roadie when we need some heavy lifting. Billy is also a comedian at heart, and Billy and Katherine sit in the front of the car and plan out their own comedy routine, which they hope to perform soon. (Amy and I sit in the backseat and end up sleeping a lot…so it works out.) You can follow Billy’s budding comedian career on twitter and instagram @billy_gunter.
To see these bright and shining faces in person, you can check my website for our tour dates. 
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