Music - What I'm Listening To

Friday Jam Session: Rainy Days

If you ask me what my all around favorite music genre is, anyone who knows me well, know that it’s country. But if you were to ask me what my favorite “music mood” was, I think many more of you would be surprised (Or are just confused by what I just said LOL).

Making playlists is something I’ve been doing for a LONG time. From the beginning when I had an iTunes in middle school I started created playlists and mixed CDs, all revolving around different themes, events and moods. I actually still have a lot of my old mixed CDs in my car and like to pop them in every once in a while for a fun throwback. Anyway, above all, my favorite “music mood” is by far what I’ve always personally called “soul music.” I know that I should probably find a different name, because traditionally “soul music” is associated with jazz, gospel and the blues, but the label has just always stuck with me. So what I am referring to is essentially slower, laid back music, often with a single instrument. Most often, this music isn’t your really passionate love songs or really sad songs, but more of a lighter dose of either of those, or just a bit more lighthearted. And it is always best listened to on a cozy rainy day, or a relaxing, warm sunny day.

When I decided that this was going to be an upcoming feature playlist, it was way too long (hundreds of songs), so I started picking through over the past couple of weeks, and then separated that into two lists. I followed my usual rule and tried to focus on including a big variety of artists, instead of multiple songs from the same artists. Which is SO HARD, considering some of my favorites, like Vance Joy, could have whole albums on here. I’ll also say that, for the most part, I don’t really put country music on a playlist like this. In my mind, that is a different kind of playlist.

The first list that I am saving for later features my all-time favorite self-proclaimed “Soul Music,”… all songs that are permanently on repeat. But today’s post is still pretty great, and since we’ve been having quite a few warm spring rainy days where I live recently, labeling this as my “Rainy Days” playlist was perfect.

Enjoy!

What are you listening to lately?

See ALL past Friday Jam Session posts HERE.

British Artists
90’s  Country
Post Break Up
Motivation
Favorite Albums in 2017

Music - What I'm Listening To

Friday Jam Session: British Artists

I am headed to London late next week for a long girls weekend with one of my college besties, Brandi, so I thought it would be fun to throw together a playlist that focused on British artists. Which, in hindsight, was a bit easier said than done. Other than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, I didn’t have too many expectations of what would be included, but as I started to dive into my saved music as well as exploring other playlists on Spotify, I discovered that I should have been more specific, and just focused on one era and genre. There were so many artists and bands that I forgot or never realized originated from the UK!

So, my list is a bit eclectic, ranging from the “British Invasion” to current music. To keep the playlist from being too long, I did decide to limit it to artists and bands that were only from England, not from Ireland (sorry U2) or Scotland. However, please don’t go fact checking on me… I’m sure I messed up at least one or two 🙂

Enjoy!

Alright, let me know what obvious favorites I missed!

What are you listening to lately?

See ALL past Friday Jam Session posts HERE.

90’s  Country
Post Break Up
Motivation
Favorite Albums in 2017

Music - What I'm Listening To

Friday Jam Session: Post Break Up

Just keeping it real over here on all accounts.

First, it’s not Friday. But last Friday, my Wi-fi was down all day due to a crazy wind storm we had and this Friday I have a different post that I want to specifically post on that date. But hey, I definitely jam out other days of the week, so really, it works. #rebelyell

Second, I’m fully aware that it is a bit dramatic to create and share a playlist titled “Post Break Up,” but hey, unfortunately most of us need a playlist like this at point or another. You are welcome.

I’ve been adding songs to this list over the past couple of weeks and it was MUCH harder to keep it under a reasonable number than I thought it would be, which was silly to think because all artists have at least a handful of break up songs to their name. And really, I could have just made the list with only country songs… or only Taylor Swift songs.

So is this list a bit cheesy? Yes, because there was no way I was leaving Dolly out of it. And it is definitely full of angst (my teenage self would be so proud). But it is pretty well-rounded — meaning it covers every stage of a break up and quite a few different situations. So please note, I obviously don’t personally relate to every single song, quite a few are just songs that I enjoy and love to jam out to regardless of what they are about. Enjoy!

p.s. There are a few songs that are explicit, just FYI, if that’s not your thing. #sorrymom

What are you listening to lately?

See past Friday Jam Session posts HERE.

Music - What I'm Listening To

Friday Jam Session: Favorite Albums in 2017

I am SO EXCITED to bring back this series. Blogging is such a fun hobby for me and a way to both journal my life and exercise my writing skills outside of work, so in 2018 one of my goals is to blog more regularly. Friday Jam Sessions used to be some of my regular posts, but how I was doing them at the time — choosing one song to highlight for a bunch of different categories and writing a review for each — were just so time consuming so I eventually got out of the habit of doing them. But music and discovering new artists and tunes is still one of my favorite things and I missed sharing these posts. So now that I’ve become loyal to Spotify a few years ago, I am going to switch things up and share playlists I build on there around different themes. This is much easier for me to do because I listen to Spotify almost all day, everyday, regardless if I am at work, in the car or at home. And I’ve always had the habit of sorting songs into playlists based on moods or themes as I go. So right now I am aiming to get one of these posts up about every other week or so. Let me know if there is any particular theme you want me to feature!

See past Friday Jam Session posts HERE.

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To start us out, I decided to look back at 2017 and feature my favorite 10 full albums that were released that year. My music tastes stretch far and wide, but not surprisingly, artists that came out with full albums that I listened to over and over to, were almost all artists that I consider some of my all-time favorites. I decided to put three songs from every album on the playlist, which was NOT EASY. I should also note that Chris Stapleton technically came out with TWO new albums this year (because he’s amazing) but I counted them as one in this list…and still included three songs from each.

  • Ed Sheeran // Divide
  • Maren Morris // HERO
  • Chris Stapleton // From a Room Vol. 1 and 2
  • Logan Mize // Come Back Road
  • Harry Styles // Harry Styles
  • The Greatest Showman Soundtrack
  • Aaron Watson // Vaquero
  • Taylor Swift // reputation
  • Turnpike Troubadours // A Long Way From Your Heart
  • Halsey // hopeless fountain kingdom

A few playlist notes…

Halsey was a bit of a surprise to me because I don’t recall really liking much from her first album, but I really liked her sophomore album this year. Harry Styles’ freshman solo album solidified that his talents stretch far beyond his work with One Direction and I spent most of 2017 demanding that my friends listen to it. I was over the moon that Logan Mize finally gave us a new full album and proceeded to reminisce about all of his concerts I went to in college. My obsession with Ed Sheeran continues to know no limits and after discovering Maren Morris when her original EP came out a few years ago I have to remind myself that she’s still considered a new artist. After listening to him a bit in college, Aaron Watson shot up my list when I finally caught one of his concerts back in September and was kicking myself for having missed out on more of his music for so long. Maybe its because we’re the same age and I feel like I’ve grown up with her, but I’m still a shameless fan of Taylor, and after being a little concerned about LWYMMD as the first single off the new album, the rest of it was everything that it should be. Turnpike Troubadours has such a distinct sound, and I finally made it to one of their concerts for the first time, which only solidified my love for their music. Chris Stapleton’s sound continues to memorize me and I will never be able to wrap my mind around the fact that he spent so many years writing for other people before making it on his own. I FINALLY saw him live in concert this past year, and he is even so much better live — if that is possible. Finally, I couldn’t not mention the album that seems like everyone can’t stop talking about, and that is The Greatest Showman soundtrack. The movie was SO GOOD and the soundtrack has been on loop in my car for weeks. I think I know every word to every song by now.

I am sure that I forgot or overlooked a few albums,  but I did have these others on my list when I was planning this post, so I suppose they deserve honorable mention.

  • Little Big Town // The Breaker
  • Thomas Rhett // Life Changes
  • Old Dominion // Happy Endings
  • Grace VanderWaal // Just The Beginning
  • Demi Lovato // Tell Me You Love Me

And these are artists with albums coming in 2018 that are on my radar so far that I am looking forward to.

  • Dierks Bentley
  • Vance Joy
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Twenty One Pilots
  • Brothers Osborne

What are you listening to lately?

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Favorite Things I Need to Tell You about Right Now

Favorite Things I Need to Tell You About Right Now- Vol. 1

A few weeks ago I saw a lot of bloggers with posts centering around their “favorite things of 2017.” Most of these posts focused specifically on categories of products like beauty, fashion, home decor, etc. I thought it would be fun to do my own list for the year, but with a little bit of a twist 🙂 These lists also started to make me think of two things: the MTV show that was called “Best of (insert year)” or something along those lines where each episode focused on all of the trends, news, phenomenon’s that were big in pop culture that given year.  The second is a similar series “3 Things You Need to Know About” from a blogger I regularly follow (and you should too!)

So this is my “Best of 2017,” covering what trends I was into, random finds and the things I became obsessed with. I should also add that this post in not sponsored in any way. I just genuinely enjoy it all. I actually I think I might make this a quarterly piece moving forward.

Trader Joe’s

I have become a part of the cult and am volunteering myself to be their poster child. Practically anytime someone refers to Trader Joe’s I have to reign in my excited response of how in love I am with that place. I think it’s important for people to understand that I loathe grocery shopping. In college I would always try to convince my roommates to come with me and to this day I’ll call my mom up to chat while I’m shopping which is always a clear mistake because I can’t actually multi-task. Its also taken me a good portion of my almost-3-years living in the DC area to adapt to smaller weekly shopping trips and balancing my grocery budget out with the fact that you inevitably eat out more while living in the city. But Trader Joe’s has changed all of that. I like the environment of the store, its quality vs. price ratio always shocks me and I just really love so many of the products.  Specifically, for someone who cooks for one and doesn’t like to cook, I really do think that doing the bulk of my shopping there has helped me make healthier decisions, explore a bit more with cooking and has cut down on my food waste. Plus, I love that there are so many random finds that end up being new favorites. I could really do an entire blog post this. But until that time some of my favorites are:

Fresh flowers, candles, Black Cold Brew Coffee (in the can), Citterio Genoa and Provolone snack packs, deli fruit and nut spinach salad, beef tamales (the “handcrafted” ones with 2 in a bag), tubs of soup in the deli section, good AND affordable wine, the fresh asparagus/mushroom/onion mix, fresh pre-made vegetable kabobs, almond butter, steel cut oatmeal, frozen asparagus risotto, frozen vegetable stir fry, olive oil popcorn, scone and muffin mixes, whole wheat toaster waffles, chili lime seasoning

Nickel & Suede Earrings

I honestly can’t remember where I discovered these but I am obsessed! These leather earrings are essentially weight-less, come in a few different sizes and shapes, and I think the quality is great. In their original teardrop style I prefer the medium size. The rose gold pair were my first and their leather is a bit lighter than the others which does tend to make them curl a tiny bit but I’ve just stuck them in a book overnight a few times and they were fine. I have always been into big and flashy earrings, but as I get older I really don’t like when they are too heavy and I like how versatile these are with my clothes. Plus, the couple who own the company started it in their basement in Kansas City, and I am always a big fan of a good small business story. I love them so much I gifted three pairs at Christmas this year.

Game of Thrones

I finally jumped on the bandwagon, and spent about three months binge watching the series. I always knew that it was probably something I would like, but for many years none of my friends were watching it and I typically like to have people to discuss shows with. But two of my best friends finally got in to it and practically drug me along with them. I probably would have finished it a lot more quickly but I took about a three week break after watching the “Hold the Door” episode because I just couldn’t deal…

Harry Styles

Half of you are rolling your eyes at me and the other half is nodding in agreement. I shamelessly admit to jamming to One Direction in the car with my roommates in college, but regardless of your sentiment toward the group, don’t condemn Harry as a solo artist just yet. His debut album is SO SO GOOD! Its soulful with more intricate lyrics, in more of a Lumineers and Mumford and Sons type of way, and you’ll realize that being part of a boy band really didn’t do him justice. My favorites off the album are “Two Ghosts”, “Sweet Creature” and “Ever Since New York.” He also recorded a cover of Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” that makes me think it should have been his song from the start (and I love LBT’s version).

Filly Flair

This spring one of my best friends turned me on to this online fashion retailer out of South Dakota, and now it is one of my favorites. They have a lot of fun dresses, but they also have a great selection of what I consider staples for mixing and matching. I usually find that online retailers aren’t consistent at being true to size, but this one has been the exception so far. Plus, once again, it started as a small business by a woman entrepreneur, which I love and actually follow on Instagram because she engages with her customers there.

All of the items I have from there are not in stock so I can’t show any pictures from the site and this picture is the only one I have on hand of me wearing something from the boutique… which is odd because I practically lived in a basic black tank top dress from there this past summer. So much so that I regret not buying it in other colors too.

The Home Edit

This duo and their company make their living by organizing (mainly famous) people’s lives… you know the magazine worthy Instagram pictures you see of perfectly curated pantries? Yah, they do that, and then offer tips, tricks and products you can buy on their website. But the real reason I am obsessed with The Home Edit is because of two ladies behind it are HILARIOUS and share my affinity for good grammar. They chronicle their real-life sarcasm and adventures via InstaStories, and last year they finally started to sell shirts with their funny, often-used phrases. For Christmas I received the “Surviving Not Thriving” sweatshirt from my friend Brandi, who is equally obsessed.

InstaStories

Personally, I’d venture to say that in regards to social media platforms, InstaStories owned 2017 across the board. I know it became my go-to for following people on social media over scrolling through Facebook and even regular Instagram posts, which seems to be more of a time suck.

FabFitFun

I LOVE THIS BOX. PERIOD.
Maybe a year ago or so, I decided that I wanted to try out some sort of box service and started looking around at what would be the best bang for my buck and would fit me best. I settled on FabFitFun, which sends you four boxes a year – one for each season. I chose it because: it was the most well-rounded, meaning it covers beauty, fitness, decor, fashion and hobbies; it sends you full-size products instead of samples; and the retail value of one box is typically more then you pay for the entire year subscription.

So after a year of four boxes, I am sold! Out of the four boxes there is only one thing I can remember that I flat out didn’t like at all. Past that, there were maybe maximum 5 or 6 things that just either weren’t my personal style or preference, and so I just re-gifted those items, which was kind of fun to do anyway. Everything else, I have LOVED and there are a few things that I do plan on buying again for myself or as gifts from the original retailers. Boxes like these aren’t for everyone, but as someone who likes to try new things, but doesn’t particularly like to aimlessly shop, this is a fun surprise to gift yourself with a few times a year. Below is what came in the most recent Winter box and were all thing that I loved.

If you are interested in these, let me know because I have 3 starter boxes that I can give away (you would just pay the shipping). I also have this referral link – http://xo.fff.me/hy0DY – which gives both of us a discount off a box if you use it to sign up.

And of course… Miss Sawyer June

Because more than any trend or material thing I’ve been loving recently, Sawyer June and her baby talk have been my favorite thing of all 🙂

Should I make posts like these a semi-regular thing? Let me know!

Linking up with both the Friday Favorites crew (here, here and here) and The Blended Blog.

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