Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I just came back about a week ago from a two week house concert tour in Northern Ontario.
I had such a wonderful time playing at all the homes. The hosts were so friendly and hospitable...kind of made me feel like a mooch actually. Haha. But it's all good - and I'm so happy that I was able to be a part of it!
I've started painting again. I originally painted all the walls of my bedroom white and I am slowly filling up the walls with whatever feels right. :)
I am hoping that someday soon there won't be any space left on the walls to draw anymore pictures. I'm thinking my room will look pretty kick ass by then...
Besides the painting, I went to the optometrist today to learn how to use contacts. YAY. What. fun.
I actually only need one if you can believe it. My left eye is "legally blind". (Even the biggest letter is blurry on the screen). However, my right eye is extremely strong and takes over for my left. That's why I've survived so long without glasses or contacts.
It's always been that way. Maybe it's from me hitting my head three times in the same place as a kid. That would explain a lot.

I really love jungles even though I've never been to one. I just read an article on yahoo that mentioned the tiger will be extinct by the year 2022 if no one helps to keep the environment where they live intact. Ironically, this prediction date is the chinese year of the tiger. Strange. And I really hope this prediction doesn't come to light.
That would be bad. Really bad.

Diddy of the day: I am broke. HAHA. Oh how I love music. :)

Fact: I love parrots. A lot.
Fiction: All parrots love me. In fact, I went to visit a Dusky Conure the day before my tour. The owner failed to mention he was a little bastard. The bird stepped up, became all cuddly on my finger and started saying 'watcha doing' and crap like that. So, I said, awww, give me a kiss? He leaned in and bit right through my lip.
I will never visit that bird again.
Moral of the story...not all birds have been well socialized. :)
AND, beaks can be freaking sharp.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Turning 20

So today I am 20. My teens are behind me and I am at the start of another whole decade.
At first I was a little uneasy about it all but I think I have finally come to terms with the fact that it's a good thing to get old. I will continue learning and growing until I just simply cannot anymore. And the future is exciting. There is so much that don't know and have yet to understand.
I am actually away from home for my birthday. I am doing a two week house concert tour in Northern Ontario and right now I am in Ottawa getting ready to play my next show tonight. :)
I have had such a wonderful time so far and have met so many great and generous people. I am so thankful. It's amazing to see so much good in a world that where negative events and actions are so prominent. Environmental disasters, political injustices, the broken economy, war, murder etc etc.
I just watched a brilliant documentary on how we as a human race are connected to everything. We tend to forget that... I know I do. We go on living and become oblivious to all the extraordinary things going on around us. It truly is beautiful to just stop and smell the roses once and awhile.

Diddy of the Day: I played ping pong with a young man from poland the other day and we chatted and talked and laughed. I also received a beautiful hand-made scarf from a woman from India that same night.

Fact: Everyone can make a difference.
Fiction: One person can't change the world.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Being Vegan :)

I just bought a MacBook and so I don't really have an excuse anymore for not keeping up with my blog. Haha. :)
So here I go! No-excuse- ariana, typing full speed ahead. (But not really because I'm one of those one finger typer people).

I was incessantly pondering over what to write about today and then I had an idea. So here it is.

What it's like to be Vegan in 8 simple points....

1) Having to keep up-to-date records on all the latest health research so when someone asks you a question like, "But where do you get your protein?", you can answer them scientifically and resourcefully.
2) Having to order a salad every time you go to a restaurant and asking them to hold the cheese, creamy dressing, and meat while the waitress and the rest of your table looks at you funny and you secretly hope the entire time that someone DID NOT spit in your salad (among other things).
3) Having 20 people ask you "But where do you get your protein?" on a daily basis.
4) Having to bring food with you every where 'just in case'.
5) Having to smile politely and not strangle the 21st person today who just asked you where you get your protein from.
6) Having to be compared to a rabbit, bird or other small animal.
7) Having to constantly explain to people, no, I don't eat chicken or fish. They are animals! GAH. :)
8) Having lots of energy and feeling good about life consistently.

TADA! Now you know what it's like...kind-a (If you are in fact vegan please feel free to add to this list in the comment section). On the positive side of things, being Vegan is also extraordinarily rewarding, fun, vibrant and is also a very big part of my life now. But, if you are still wondering where I get my protein from even after the rant - hehe - I take a protein supplement daily and average around 60-70 grams a day - or 30% of my diet. I also eat beans, lentils, sprouts, grains like quinoa, millet, rice, corn and amaranth, fresh dark green leafy vegetables and lots of juicy fruit. YAY!

Diddy of the Day - I just made my first ever vlog that can be viewed on my youtube channel 'arianagillis'. Or here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOopVgEcnns.

Fact: I am really strange. No lie. If you ever drive with me somewhere be prepared to be totally weirded out. (Meet my dad and you'll understand where it came from).
Fiction: This bird's name is killer.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Vocal Troubles

I've been a little frustrated and down lately which is why I haven't written a post in so long.
My vocal chords were hurting me every time I went to sing a song which is incredibly shitty for someone like me whose life is so involved with music.

So, off to a vocal coach I went - Micah Barnes of the Nylons to be exact, and he is reteaching me how to use my diaphragm again. I took singing lessons before when I was younger for almost 7 years, but it's strange how one forgets simple techniques over time. I also visited a great doctor who told me that it wasn't my vocal chords at all (relief!!) but the muscles around my neck that I have been tensing up for the last little while.
Since then, I have been taking it super easy, catching up on my reading, and finding less stressful activities to incorporate into my life. Someone said I should take up yoga. I think kick-boxing would be way more rad though. Hehe. :)

I just very recently got sick - within the past week - which is also a bummer because I was asked to tour with a good friend of mine and fellow singer-songwriter Jadea Kelly. She asked me if I would go out east with her and play bass on her tunes. I was incredibly excited to head out east again, and especially, play bass! (Which I haven't played since high school. Yes, I took upright, classical bass in high school...who knew?) Unfortunately, I could feel the cold going into my chest which is scary for me because I had double pneumonia not to long ago, and I knew if I went on the road for 3 weeks I would get it again. (Which my doctor later confirmed after prescribing me antibiotics and lots of rest).

On a positive note (there are some good things that happen in my life lol), I wrote a killer new song that I am so unbelievably proud of that I want to bust a gasket and let my guts leak out rainbows and lollipops. I'm not kidding! Trust me, you'll like it.
It's sad and beautiful and haunting all at the same time.

As for things in the not too distant future, I'll be heading to OCFF in late October and finishing up that month with a string of private house concerts. That's right, I'm back in the game folks! :)

Diddy of the Day - I changed my hair. AGAIN! Now it's blonde and blue. It's actually funny because every time I dye my hair blonde, everyone mistakes me for a 12-year-old girl.

Fact: I am currently 19 but I'll be 20 in November. Ee-gad!!
Fiction: Twinkies are a food.

Oh, and I forgot to mention. I played at Shelter Valley Festival at the beginning of the month and all I can say is wow! I had such an amazing time playing and Aengus did a wonderful job directing it this year. He will most certainly be missed! :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cherries from Washington are very tasty.

I just ate a big bowl of cherries and I feel wonderful. Like I can accomplish anything (we'll see what happens when the fruit sugar wears off though...hahaha). Regardless though, this feeling is so important for achievement in my opinion. If you aren't motivated, or inspired, nothing is going to happen. So eat fruit. (I think that's my point?)

I put up a youtube vid about a month ago of myself covering Metric's 'Eclipse - All Yours' song from the soundtrack of the newest installment of the Twilight Saga. I wasn't really expecting anything to come of it - and honestly, nothing really has. BUT. It's already up to 80,000 hits with all positive comments which is pretty freaking amazing. If you haven't seen it, you can check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=um6iuwUfEAE

I've also been playing a lot of gigs lately that involve my snare drum and I. Now all I have to learn is the kick drum, cymbals, high hat and tom-tom. Perfect. :)

Diddy of the Day: One time I was walking down the stairs to my basement with a searing cup of hot chocolate in my hand. As I descended, the banister on the wall broke in one place and went up like a teeter totter. I fell all the way down the stairs on my bum and when I got to the bottom, I looked up, and the hot chocolate from my cup came cascading down upon me. I don't remember if it hurt or not....

Fact: I am very clumsy.
Fiction: You can outgrow being clumsy. (I am living proof that this is a fallacy).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blog Time!!

For some reason I can never find the time to update my blog anymore...but I will strive to write a new post at least once a week.

I came home about a week ago from my first little "tour". Like mini me. But what it lacked in longevity it made up for in kick ass-ness. I played a wonderful festival in Bardstown KY and was also one of the live feature artists on the main radio station in Louisville. Very cool - and fun! It was about a ten hour drive there with the band - and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that the time flew by - both there and back.
Even though, on the way back, Ben thought he locked his keys in his car and so we had to wait for AAA to come break in, only to find (2 hours later) that the keys weren't even in there to begin with. Yes. Wonderful. Haha.

The morning after we came back my family and I left for Nova Scotia. It was only my dad, David Gillis, and I on all the gigs this time, but it was extremely enjoyable. :)
We played at two places on our way out to Stanfest. It's absolutely beautiful out east. And I have a feeling I may be moving out there in the years to come...maybe move near a lake or something. I love swimming.

When we finally arrived at Canso for the Stan Rogers Folk Festival we were already tired. Little did we know of the late night jamming that was to come. It was definitely my favorite festival by far and I still have the bruises to prove it. I met so many amazing people and musicians there, and staying up till 4am both nights playing music and swapping songs made it even more incredible.

Best story of Stanfest: It was 2am. I had drank 2 bottles of water. I had to go to the washroom. Picture an old summer camp site with cabins, surrounding a mess hall. To the right of the mess hall are the washrooms (more like 5 wooden sheds with toilets in them). It was very dark. Everyone forgot to leave the lights on in the washrooms so I couldn't see where I was going. But, Oh Joy! There were two minuscule blue solar lights right beside each other lighting up the pathway. Unfortunately, they only lit up about an inch of the grass around them. I had to weave in and out of cars to get to the pathway. Finally, when I thought I was home free - charging towards those little blue lights with much charisma and determination in my heart, BANG! I smashed into the invisible wooden picnic table that I swore was not there during the daylight. My shin felt like it was going to explode and I fell flat on my face on the top of the table. And you wanna know what the absolute worst part about this was??!? I still had to go to the washroom....
All in all though. It was the best time of my life - with one final gig at the Carleton in Nova Scotia to put a sword through the cherry on top of the sundae.

Fun Diddy of the Day: I can impersonate the actor of "Kevin" on the hit TV Series the Office so well that it actually scares me. In fact, the whole tour everyone kept nagging me to do it.

Fact: Bears eat beets.
Fiction: glabba glabba glorf glob

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Music is the Best

Rob came over yesterday and we recorded an "EPK" in our basement. Three songs, Caroline, Simon Brooke, and Samuel Starr.
You can actually view them all on youtube:




We had a so much fun recording it.

Because we were filming in our basement, we had to make due with what we had.
We stuck some curtains up with tape to cover the mirrors behind us. We stole them from the upstairs living room . :)
While singing Caroline, I could hear the tape cracking and knew that they were going to come down. I was just hoping it would wait until the end... Too bad things never work the way you plan them. But that's a good thing, the unexpected is much more interesting in my opinion.

We left it in because we all thought it was pretty funny, even though Caroline is supposed to be a serious song. Ah wells. :)

My sister, Briar, just bought a baby parrotlet. He is very cute, but could never replace my other bird. He also still needs to be taught everythingggg. Ahhh. Which I know that I am going to have to do. Briar takes care of something for the first month and then moves on to better and brighter things. Hopefully she will prove me wrong this time. Besides, I am moving in September and no one else but her will be responsible for 'Toby' when that time comes along. Here is a picture of the little squirt. :)

diddy of the day: I ate a dead dried up potato bug when I was a year old. I don't remember doing it though and it kinda goes against my views of me being a vegan and all. Actually....I'm not sure it really does, I mean, he had been dead for awhile - or so I've been told...

Fact: I watch the Office a lot.
Fiction: Marshmallows and Jello are vegan foods.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Books and Bruises

Wow. It's been so long since I have posted anything - I actually didn't even realize how long until I looked at the date.
I've been working to save up some money so that I can move to Toronto. It will most likely be in September, but I'm not quite sure where yet. The job was mostly for the month of April because gigs were slow. Now that they are starting to pick up again I think that they'll fire me for asking for too many off days. Haha. :) (we'll see)
Just yesterday and the night before I played my first gigs in a month. I forgot how amazing it feels. It's a beautiful musical high that just reconfirms that I want to do this for the rest of my life.

I've also written a few new songs which is very surprising considering how busy I've been.

I would really like to start reading again - it's been so long since I picked up a book. I used to read avidly, around 2 to 3 books a week. I'm a strong advocate for literature as it is such an important aspect in songwriting. It's amazing how much it can inspire you. I especially love Charles Bukowski and his cynical, profound and dark writing style. It is so dramatic and genius, and his poetry allows my creativity to flow freely in every direction, letting it's tendrils wrap around whatever deep lyrical stories and engaging melodies I can find. I love music. I love songwriting, and I especially love how they make me feel. Like everything is right.

diddy of the day: At work I bump into pretty much everything and come home with bruises on my shins because I am too lazy to "step over" the object and think that I can make it around without hurting myself.

Fact: I heal extremely fast.
Fiction: I am part lizard and can regenerate a tail.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Review

It's been such a long week for me. I am ridiculously exhausted, but with a new sense of being. I have pushed myself to the absolute limit everyday and I feel stronger for it. Refreshed even. And very motivated.

I was up last night thinking about the music industry and all the politics that go on underneath it all. I recently read a review of my CD 'To Make it Make Sense' in Penguin Eggs Magazine. You can view it here. It was definitely not a big confidence booster that's for sure, actually the other way around. And the strangest part about the review is the fact that my music isn't even the issue that is discussed. It seems to me that when 'Scott Lingley' received my CD, he took one look at the picture on the cover and made an instant judgement about my character based on my purple hair and 'auggie'. Haha I guess it serves me right to send my CD to a folk magazine to be reviewed. But even still. I dyed my hair that colour on purpose. I wear fun make-up and neat dresses on purpose. I don funky boots on purpose. Not because I want to be something big and exciting, but because that's my personality. And I am unafraid to be myself and bend the rules. I'm not trying to be profound when I'm writing my songs, I just write down what I feel and make sure it holds some truth with me. Music shouldn't be about fitting the cookie-cutter sounds, it should be about originality and expression - the way it used to be. But please, read the review, I would love to hear your thoughts. :)

On a side note - I have improved a lot on the snare drum which is extremely exciting for me. I don't really know how much better I'll get - probably not enough to play a whole drum-set. No, I'll leave that to the pros. But hey, at least I can keep time.

diddy of the day: I wear socks to bed and in the morning I wake up with bare feet. I kick them off when I fall asleep.

fact: My parrot sleeps in a tent.
fiction: I sleep in a popcorn.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Down in the Rain

It was raining really heavy today. The power even went out for about 10 minutes. It was exciting.

I happen to love the rain and usually go out and dance in it. Haha that probably made me sound like a hippie freak but it's true.
I went to the bank today and commented to the teller on how beautiful a rainstorm is. She looked at me like I was a nut-case.
Maybe I am. But I'm not afraid to push the boundaries and I'm certainly not afraid of what people think of me.

I read a great quote by Dr. Suess today.
“Be Who You Are and Say What You Feel, Because Those Who Mind Don't Matter, and Those Who Matter Don't Mind.”

I wrote a song last night - I actually wasn't even going to write it. I was fumbling around with chords and a melody - kind of experimenting when Briar came out of her room and was like, "Hey, I like that. If you don't write it, I will." And so the challenge began. I still have yet to come up with a strong chorus that I like, but I know something will come to me eventually so I'm not too worried.

diddy of the day: I grew 2 inches in the past year. Don't ask me how, I thought I was done with the growing part of my life. Yet it seems I still have some heights that my heart and body are set out to accomplish.

Fact: I have about 8 pairs of rain boots.
Fiction: I still play with Barbies.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ze Fish Bowl of Death...

I have a gig coming up tomorrow - a private party. I feel special. :)
But, my sister, Briar, will be joining me this time which is super exciting. I love playing with her. The energy we generate together is so human. It's that instant feel good organic emotion that usually only occurs between family. I'll be playing drums (aka my snare) with her on one of her songs. We had a practice today and it went over amazingly - it sounds so great.

I really love being just a musician sometimes. Either being the one playing guitar, drums, accordion, whatever while someone else takes over as the 'front-man'. I can enter my own world and concentrate on just the music. It's different - but extremely refreshing and invigorating. I just have to remember to 'warm up' before I play my snare. I was a little shaky at the beginning of the practice today, but got more comfortable as time wore on.

It was beautiful out today. I can't wait till the summer where I can spend most of my day outside - get some much needed vitamin D. And a tan!! Haha, I'm as white as a ghost.
I've noticed that most musicians share this trait though. Probably due to the fact that they are much too busy practicing and promoting themselves to care whether or not they're 'sun-kissed'. Regardless. I really would like to go one summer where someone doesn't comment on my lack of a tan. :)

Experts say that jumping on a trampoline is one of the many cures for depression. Reason being......how can you seriously be depressed when you are bouncing up and down. I know I can't. Try it. You'll smile. :)

Diddy for the day: I have a betta fish and he's still going strong. I feel bad for the little guy because sometimes forget to feed him...and change his water. On a postive note, when I do change the water, he comes back to life again and swims around like he is a happy fish.

Fact: I used to work at Petsmart.
Fiction: I enjoyed my job.

ps - I found this picture sad. Probably because I feel guilty about denying any type of animal the life of freedom it deserves. And the fish on the right looks identical to my betta.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Second post eva

Today was pretty uneventful. Except for a few exciting things that happened.

1) I went to the grocery store.
2) I read two paragraphs of a book
3) I took a nap

I know, I know! So incredibly awesomely amazing. Don't worry, I know!

On another note, or should I say beat - hehe - I finally practiced my snare drum today. I bought it almost a month ago and it was sitting in the corner of my room for ages. I wasn't really doing much, just trying to start a book - which I wasn't motivated in the least bit to read anyways.

I popped in Katherine Wheatley's newest CD, "Landed" and started playing along. Until of course, I realized how hard it actually is to play with a CD. You can't 'feel' it as well as if you were to play the songs live. I can't really explain it, and if you're not a musician you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference. But there is this groove, this pocket, the way everyone kind of sways to the beat...
Anyways, I gave up after about half an hour. I'm going to try for longer tomorrow.

I would also like to start practicing my accordion again. Haha, there is a lot of stuff I would "like to do".

I watched the movie "Finding Nemo" today with my little sister. It brought back memories of how I used to have a fish tank and used to be an aquarium fanatic. Actually, for a moment, I was even considering getting a tank again - this time saltwater. But, it's incredibly time consuming - and very expensive $$$, and I love my parrot, of whom I will be talking about in posts to come.

Fun diddy for the day: I went to Niagara Falls about two weeks ago and my sister persuaded me to go in a haunted house with her. I almost didn't go in and I cried.

Fact: I don't like scary things.
Fiction: I am a Walrus...Goo goo ga joob.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

First post eva

So I have never officially been a blogger before, and in the past I always felt that they were a bit of a waste of time. However, my opinions and values tend to change from day to day - I'm a very whimsical person - and today I thought, 'I'm going to create a blog!'
After all, I do have thoughts and opinions, and it's nice to voice them. About music, art, books, health, etc. And it's just another way of "meeting me" but not actually meeting me.

So there it is. My explanation for the blogging extravaganza.

I just recently picked up a new CD. The artists in question are 'Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band.' You might have heard of Conor before - he is from the previous titles band 'Bright Eyes'. He was a huge inspiration to me while I was growing up.

I actually thought this CD was they're first, and was a little disappointed when I found out it wasn't. But the music is good regardless. :)

I need to start reading some good books again. Suggestions would be most appreciated.

I like cantaloupes.