The Good Stuff

Staying Present

Sometime last year, my best friend Megan told me about a daily inspirational text service called “Shine Text” that she subscribed to for free. Essentially everyday at whatever time you designate, you get a text with a short motivational message that focuses on one of the focus-areas that you indicated you were interested in when you signed up. It also usually includes a fun image/meme and links to articles and videos that further discuss the topic and provide action steps and advice.

Is it sort of cheesy? Definitely. But I do believe in the power of positive thinking, and with so many negative distractions that most of us have to overcome or try to ignore from day to day, trying to make a habit of reading my Shine Text each day is a goal that really has improved my attitude and mood.

Last month I received the image above and this message below, that has REALLY stuck with me lately:

“Our minds are expert time-travelers; bypassing the present to harp on the past or future 47% of the time… We get so caught up in the shams and delusions of the mind that we miss reality – what is happening now and here.”

The concept on focusing on what’s right in front of us and not dwelling on the past or anticipating what is to come too much, is not new. But lately it is something that I have struggled with a bit, so this Shine Text was perfectly timed.

I’ve always struggled with having too-specific expectations for things to come, and then have to deal with being very disappointed when it doesn’t turn out the way I thought it would. So regardless if the present is still good and positive, I sometimes miss out on appreciating those moments because I am stuck being upset about how it didn’t turn out instead. Another thing is that often, while I am counting down to something that I am looking forward too, I will measure the time based on all of the things both at home and work that have to be done in the meantime. This affects my attitude toward my “present” and belittles other day-to-day moments that deserve their own spotlight. Not that its bad to be excited for something in the future, but this is definitely different then setting a goal or even daydreaming about what we hope for.

I think these are easy patterns to fall into that are sometimes harder to identify. The Shine Text also shared this article, “3 Simple Steps to Stop Mental Time Traveling,” which didn’t necessarily present any groundbreaking advice, but instead broke down the challenge in a practical way that is a great reminder for how to approach each day.

I am a very observant and intuitive person. I know that those are two of my strengths, so I know that I am at my best when I shift my attention to the present moment, whatever that might be.

Being present makes me better appreciate what I have, rather than dwell on what I think I might want. It encourages me to get to the gym and say yes to spontaneous girl’s day trips. It helps me be more intentional with my conversations and commitments, and how I invest in “my people.” It makes me less anxious about what is ahead and better able to go with the flow. And it makes me notice the little moments like a stranger letting me use the last washer in the community laundry room, a new favorite jam or a flirty wink from my boyfriend.

Being present is better.

How do you focus on being more present?

And because this was a more word heavy post, here’s a jam that I have had on repeat lately. This is the slower version, but the upbeat version is great too!

Cheers!

 

Friday Jam Session

Friday Jam Session Vol. 25

I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations. Please join in and share your own picks! View past posts HERE.
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Friday Jam Session

1.Favorite New(ish) Album
Untamed – CAM

Friends, I think Cam is the real deal.
I would say it is probably pretty hard to be women in country music, but I really do not think that this is an artist that is going fade away after an album or two. After a short jaunt in contemporary pop, her country debut single “Burning House” was one of the biggest songs on 2015 and its almost a crime that it took me until this past month to check out her whole album. “Hungover on Heartache” is currently my favorite jam off of the record, but I also really like the title track “Untamed,” as well as “Mayday” and “Cold in California.”

Plus by now, I think it goes without saying that I LOVE her hair.

2. Favorite New(ish) Collaboration
I’ll Be The Moon by Dierks Bentley ft. Maren Morris

Let’s start off by saying that I have been raving about Maren Morris for months now, and I am just so happy that people are finally starting to know who I am talking about.
ANYWAY… let’s focus a little less on what the song is about and just appreciate how pretty that harmony is. Dierks has a lot of fun songs, but his voice was meant for sexy, soulful tunes. I still remember when he came to my county fair right after his debut album came out. He has always been a staple favorite since then and I would LOVE to see him in concert again someday.

3. Favorite New (to me) Artist or Band
Brothers Osborne

This song has been stuck in my head and on my regular playlists for a few months now, so I guess it was about time these guys made it onto a blog post. They have a solid country sound, and are almost a bit folksy at times. Other than their single, I really like “21 Summer” (quickly becoming a new favorite), “American Crazy,” “Rum” and “Down Home.” They are playing on tour nearby in August with Miranda Lambert and Kip Moore, and I am REALLY hoping that I can make it work to go.

4. Jam I Have On Repeat
Keeping Your Head Up – Birdy

Birdy goes into the same category as artists like Sia and Vance Joy, who could sing the alphabet and I would still be obsessed with them. I want to feature every single song these artists have. If you think I’m exaggerating when I put songs into this category, DON’T. I literally mean that at one point I have clicked the repeat button on Spotify multiple times. I love that this particular song of hers is a bit more upbeat than some of my other favorites and I love the lyrics. It’s great in the car and is also on my running playlist.

6. Favorite Spotify List
“Legendary”

The playlist description says: “The best of the best. Classics that define the word Legendary are all in this playlist.”
I mean with the Stones, Beatles, CCR, Fleetwood Mac and Queen — just to name a few — I would say this is a pretty solid jam session.

7. #SoulMusic I’m obsessing Over
Start a Riot – BANNERS

I heard this on a TV show a while ago and immediately knew it would eventually find its way into this category. I love the artist’s scratchy voice and there is a softness to the song, that pulls on a lot of different emotions #closethipster. I’m a sucker for live acoustic versions, but this one is a bit rough, so I’d encourage you to listen to both.

9. Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down
Wild Things by Alessia Cara

It is funny, how you can hate one from an artist and be obsessed with another. That is how I feel about “Here” (which is REALLY annoying) and this new single. It throws me off a bit that this girl is so young, but this “anthem-like” song is quirky, catchy and has such a rich sound — which I think ties back to the lyrics themselves. It sounds great in the car and obviously has also found a spot on my workout playlist.

10. An Oldie, But a Goodie
Today I Started Loving You Again by Merle Haggard

Friends, music lost a legend last week. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, but my love for it is rooted in riding shotgun with my Dad and in early morning AM radio stations that would play the outlaws and classics. I was never cut out to be a musician of any kind, but I sometimes wonder if that music was one of the things that helped develop my love for good storytelling. Haggard was one of the best, and certainly influenced so many of the generation of artists to follow him. If I had to choose I would probably say that the song above is my favorite of his, but of course I love other hits like “Mama Tried,”  “Workin’ Man Blues,” and “Fightin’ Side of Me,” just to name a few.

11. Work, Work It Out
Castle by Halsey

If you have already discovered this song, it is probably because you joined everyone and their mom in using the Shazam app when you heard it on the “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” movie trailer. I am sure that I was not the only one. I have not completely made up my mind on Halsey as a new artist, but this song is SO GOOD. With a dramatic flair and so many layers to its sound, I am dying to see someone choreograph a dance routine to this. (Or can I be 16 again please?) It might be a bit different for what normally goes on workout playlists, but trust me, it works.

12. Making Me Want To Fall In Love
Ophelia by The Lumineers

The Lumineers were an instant favorite when their debut album came out. Their entire production is so simple, but unique, and their new single has a light-hearted and sweet melody that I’ve had on repeat lately. Plus the video is just cute.

13. Guilty Listen of The Week
Friends by Blake Shelton

I do not actually feel guilty about this one, it just seemed like the right place to put it since it is kind of silly.  I LOVE Blake Shelton and this video and song have been cracking me up since my sister shared it last week. I think it is great when artists lend their voice to fun, kid-friendly projects like this.

14. Favorite New(ish) Cover/Remix
Stay by Thirty Seconds to Mars (Original by Rihanna)

The BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge is my favorite go-to on YouTube for live performances and great covers. This particular cover is actually 2 or 3 years old, but I was showing someone this YouTube channel the other day and it made me think of it. Of all of the covers they feature, this one is probably my favorite. I am a fan of most of Rihanna’s music, but I never really cared for her original version of this song. But Jared Leto man, his version is so good, it is wrong. It really should have been his band’s song to begin with.

15. Popular Song Making My Ears Bleed
NO – Meghan Trainor

I’ve found that most people have pretty strong feelings about Meghan Trainor. You either get her or your can’t stand her. Don’t get me wrong her music can get a bit obnoxious after a while, but I generally like her. But this song…people, it’s some level above annoying.

LOL NO.

However, can we take a moment to appreciate her hair. If I wasn’t super snobby about the fact that I’ve never colored my hair, I would go to that color in a heartbeat.

16. Country Pick
Dear Music by Bart Crow Band

A country love song to country music?
I didn’t know I needed this song, until I stumbled across it, and now it will probably end up being one of my all-time favorites. I didn’t know that Bart Crow put out a new album last year, so I am excited to check that out. “Wear My Ring” is one of my all-time favorite two-stepping songs, so they are always solid staple when it comes to red dirt music.

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So, what have you been listening to this week?

Cheers!

Friday Jam Session

Friday Jam Session Vol. 24

I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations. Please join in and share your own picks! View past posts HERE.
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Friday Jam Session

1.Favorite New(ish) Album
A Head Full of Dreams – Coldplay

Gosh, I love Coldplay. They’ve been a staple on my playlists for as long as I can remember and with so much music and aspiring artists I love that they are still relevant (umm Superbowl… HELLO!?) and putting out great music. The album’s single above “Adventure of a Lifetime,” is timeless, fun and SO different, and I don’t just mean the weird music video. My other favorite off of the album include “Everglow,” which reminds me of their older work, as well as the title track “A Head Full of Dreams,” and the instrumental “Colour Spectrum.”

2. Favorite New(ish) Collaboration
Hollow by Tori Kelly ft. Big Sean

If you’ve read this series before than you know that Tori Kelly is a new artist that I have loved since her first EP came out. Her new collaboration might me my favorite song she’s put out thus far. When I read she was pairing up with Big Sean I was excited. I am usually pretty selective when it comes to rap, only liking one or two of each artists songs, but Big Sean is an exception, I like most of his music. So I was pretty disappointed that the official music video does not feature the collaboration version. It’s a song with a lot of meaning and a really good, progressive beat, which doesn’t always happen when the lyrics are heavy.

3. Favorite New (to me) Artist or Band
LANco

This young, new country band is a fun group with a strong single above “Long Live Tonight” and an EP from last year. I don’t know all that much about them yet but they have a lot of energy and stand out to me, among a lot of new country male/band acts. My favorite song so far is “American Love Story”,  and I also really like “Trouble Maker” and “We Do” off of the EP.

4. Jam I Have On Repeat
Drink You Away by Justin Timberlake

I know I already highlighted Chris Stapleton and his performance with Justin Timberlake at the 2015 CMA Awards. But recently I haven’t been able to take JT’s soulful single off of replay. Gosh he’s come along ways from his “Bye Bye Bye” days.

6. Favorite Spotify List
“Young and Free Mix” – Spotify

Soulful and just a tad bit hippy. Signs of spring starting to show outside are perfect for this mix.

7. #SoulMusic I’m obsessing Over
Smokestacks by Layla

This song has been featured on a few different TV shows and you know its something special, when you fall in love with a song without ever hearing the vocals. It’s a ballad, but unless you pay attention to the lyrics, it doesn’t stand out as one. The vocals are warm and textured, and I’m excited to hear more from this indie artist that reminds me of a mix of Florence + The Machines and Lana Del Ray. Definitely check out the rest of her new EP.

9. Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down
Bang My Head – David Guetta ft. Sia and Fetty Wap

Obviously we knew Guetta and Sia were a good match up after “Titanium,” but Fetty Wap too?
Who knew?
It’s also a great song for my running playlist.
Also, also… I have no idea what this music video is about, but it looks pretty cool.

10. An Oldie, But a Goodie
Brighter Than Sunshine by Aqualung

Back in January my friend Jancey was visiting and got snowed in at my apartment with me during Winter Storm Jonas. With not much else to do we obviously we watched a lot of movies, and I introduced her to “A Lot Like Love” with Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet. This 2005 movie is virtually unknown, but it is my favorite rom-com. Yes, even over classics like How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Sweet Home Alabama. This song was the movie’s theme and after watching the movie for the first time in a couple of years, the song went back on my current playlist.

11. Work, Work It Out
Irresistible by Fall Out Boy ft. Demi Lovato

I’m sure I’ve already said this before, but I am SO happy that Fall Out Boy got back to together making music full-time. Honestly, overall I think I like their comeback music better than their original stuff. Patrick Stump was fine as a solo act, but the sound the guys have as a band, is still pretty unique after all this time. They are always a solid choiceon my workout playlists, and I love this feature with Demi.

12. Making Me Want To Fall In Love
Suitcase by Steven Moakler

This is such a simple, sweet song, and I love this live version above. I’ve discovered this guy back in college, and am kind of disappointed that he is still pretty unknown, because for me his voice and sound rank up there with some of my favorite staple artists in country music. Maybe this single and new music to come will be his turning point.

13. Guilty Listen of The Week
PILLOWTALK by Zayn

I really, really tried to not like this, and I’m pretty sure it will be a phase that will pass quickly
Nevertheless, sorry Mom.

14. Favorite New(ish) Cover/Remix
Fast Car – Jonas Blue Dakota

I’m really picky about remixes, and even more so when it’s also a cover of an older song. Tracy Chapman’s 1988 “Fast Car” is a classic, but I am loving this new remix. It still captures the trademark tone of the original, but gives it more of a modern beat.

15. Popular Song Making My Ears Bleed
Work by Rihanna ft. Drake

I’m usually a big Rihanna fan but this song is so annoying. What is she even saying?!? One day at the gym I forgot my headphones and the girl on the elliptical next to me must have too… except she decided it was OK just to play the music off her phone anyways, and had this song on repeat THE WHOLE 30 MINUTES. It took everything I had not to scratch at my eyeballs ask her to change the song.

16. Country Pick
Red Fire Night – Green River Ordinance

I just want it to be summer, and to have endless amounts of cheap, bar concerts to go to where half the crowd has never heard of the band.
I recently discovered this band, though in true country fashion, it looks like they’ve been around for a while.

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So, what have you been listening to this week?

Cheers!

Friday Jam Session

Friday Jam Session Vol. 23

I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations. Please join in and share your own picks! View past posts HERE.
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Friday Jam Session

1.Favorite New(ish) Album
Illinois – Brett Eldredge

I’ve been meaning to feature this album since it came out in September. Even though his voice is very recognizable, Eldredge wasn’t really someone who was on my radar that much. I liked a few songs from his debut album, but he didn’t stick with me, and I listen to enough music that that’s an important factor. With his new sophomore album, I feel like we get much more genuine personality and there is a really good balance of the types of songs that are on it. I am loving the stripped down version of the single “Drunk on Your Love” above (original HERE), and also enjoying “You Can’t Stop Me” ft. Thomas Rhett, “Wanna Be That Song“and “Fire

2. Favorite New(ish) Collaboration
Back Home – Owl City ft. Jake Owen
Listen HERE

When I saw this in a playlist of new music on Spotify, I clicked out of pure curiosity. I never would have imagined putting these two voices together. I’ve never been much of an Owl City fan and I like Jake Owen, though sometimes he can be a little too much for me. Coincidentally, I’ve actually seen both Owl City and Jake Owen in concert.

I LOVE this song. It’s sweet and simple, and I enjoyed the contrast in their voices, especially in the harmonies. And really, I’m a sucker for any song that is an anthem for small towns, the country and anything that reminds me of home.

3. Favorite New (to me) Artist or Band
Chris Stapleton

I am all about finding new artists and there is a special place in my heart for outlaw country and red dirt music, but I get kind of annoyed when people insist that anything else labeled “country” is trash. OK, maybe we need new labels, but I do enjoy a lot of the new acts from the last few years. Anyway, when Chris Stapleton was nominated for CMA New Artist of the Year, people were beside themselves and carrying on as if the guy was an unsung legend, though surprisingly, I had never heard of him. I never got around to listening until his performance at the award show with Justin Timberlake blew up the internet. Holy crap, I regress. I totally understand the fuss now. That performance, shared above, as well as the performance of Timberlake’s “Drink You Away” immediately after, was amazing. I’m definitely a fan now. Off his new album I’m also really liking “Traveler“, “Fire Away“, “Nobody to Blame“, and “When the Stars Come Out.”

4. Jam I Have On Repeat
Lush Life – Zara Larsson

If you ever wonder what jamming out in your bedroom in front of the mirror with your hairbrush looks like, I’m pretty sure this music video is a great example. At first I thought the song was kind of flat, but over the past week on my walk to and from work I found myself pushing repeat. Don’t know how long that will last, but right now its my jam.

6. Favorite Spotify List
New Boots – Spotify

Always something new to listen too. It’s fun to think back to when so many of my favorite artists, country and not country, were just at the start of their careers.

7. #SoulMusic I’m obsessing Over
Speaking of Truth (Orchestrated) – Lelah

I heard this on a TV show a few weeks ago and instantly pulled up the Shazam app on my phone to figure out what it was. I guess you could say its a bit indie but I LOVE the artists voice blended with the instruments. This is a song that I would LOVE to see used in a dance routine.

9. Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down
America’s Sweetheart – Elle King
Listen HERE

I have mixed feelings about this artists debut single, “Exes and Ohs,” but this song caught my attention right away. It’s an edgy anthem, and GREAT to jam out to in the car. I keep waiting for it to get old for me, but it hasn’t happened so far.

10. Taking Me Down Memory Lane
Eyes Open – Taylor Swift

I often identify songs that I think would make a great track on a soundtrack for books that I read, so I really enjoy seeing how the real soundtracks are interpreted when those books become movies. (For example, all opinions aside on the Twilight movies and books, I still LOVE each of the soundtracks.) I was really disappointed when I learned that the last installment of the The Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 2 was not going to have its own.  Overall, I think the first movie’s soundtrack was my favorite and although the other Taylor Swift track got all of the attention, this one above was one of my favorites.

11. Work, Work It Out
Bitch Better Have My Money – Rihanna

Grandma, you probably don’t want to listen to this one. I’ve always been a big Rihanna fan and I love turning this one up with I’m working out. I’ve also become with watching dance videos from this studio featured in the video above. I think because I did dance growing up, I might appreciate their talent even more. Seriously, not in a million years would I have ever been that good.

12. Making Me Want To Fall In Love
I’ll Be Your Man – Zac Brown Band
Listen HERE

Zac Brown Band has one of those sounds and music personalities that remind why I love music. They have carved out their own special spot in the music industry and you can rely on the fact that they will never disappoint you. This one above off of their new (awesome) album is adorable and makes me tear up almost every time. Of course I then found this video that shares the meaning behind the song and how it was recorded, and I did indeed, tear up.

13. Guilty Listen of The Week/ Favorite Cover
Torn – One Direction (Original by Natalie Imbruglia)

Go ahead and judge me. I don’t care, I’ve explained listening to One Direction before. Before I saw this video I didn’t know that this was actually one of the songs they covered when they were on X-Factor. It’s a pretty common song to cover, but it seemed far enough out of their wheelhouse that couldn’t help but check it out. It’s different, and I still think I like it better as a female solo, but I did enjoy their version.

14. Song I Originally Loved But Now Is Overplayed
Here – Alessia Cara
Listen HERE

I wouldn’t say I ever loved it, but it was catchy and different when it first came out. Now it’s just really gets on my nerves. Definitely over it.

15. Popular Song Making My Ears Bleed
My House – Flo Rida
Listen HERE

I can’t handle this song. Flo Rida just needs to stop. Yes, I jammed in my teeny-bopper years to “Low” and a few other songs, and still would if they came on the radio, but I’m pretty sure this one is killing brain cells and you can’t even dance to ti.

16. Country Pick
It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To – Billy Currington
Listen HERE

Considering this song has been on my favorites list for most of 2015, I’m not sure why it hasn’t been mentioned in one of my blog posts yet. Billy Currington is another artists that has been around a while now and in my opinion, still doesn’t get enough attention for his talent. His voice is rich, and his sound choice and sound is always strong.

AND

Dark – Ryan Beaver
Listen HERE

These song could fit under quite a few categories include my selections for #SoulMusic and song on repeat. For me it just has one of those smooth addicting sounds, and the lyrics stand out to me as something a bit different than what I’ve been hearing recently. I haven’t listened to anything else by this new artist yet but this particular song was perfect for his vocals.

BONUS: My Voice Picks, Week 7 – 11

We’re in the second week of live playoffs and honestly, it stresses me out. It’s so hard to choose! The contestants are just now starting to really settle into their own styles and becoming comfortable, so there are so many that still stand out. While song choice is still a big factor is what performances I like, I am finally starting to pick favorites based on wanting to hear more from them regardless of what they are singing.

Week 7 Knockouts
Dare You to Move – Evan McKeel
A Women’s Worth – Nadjah Nicole
Jesus Take The Wheel – Carrie Underwood
Turning Tables – Jeffery Austin
Cowboy Take Me Away – Emily Ann Roberts

Week 8 Live Playoffs

I Drive Your Truck – Barrett Baber
In The Garden – Emily Ann Roberts

Brand New Girlfriend – Zach Seabaugh
Something in the Water – Celeste Betton
Songbird – Madi Davis

Lips of an Angel – Morgan Frazier
Halo – Jordan Smith

Barton Hollow – Chance Pena
Say You Love Me – Jeffery Austin
Never Tear Us Apart – Blaine Mitchell

Week 9 – Top 12 Live
My Love – Zach Zeabaugh
Great is Thy Faithfulness – Jordan Smith
In Color – Shelby Brown
Let It Go – Jeffery Austin
Who Will Save Your Soul – Madi Davis
Blame It On Your Heart – Emily Ann Roberts

Week 10 – Top 11 Live
Why Not Me – Emily Ann Roberts
Love is Blindness – Madi Davis
Only Hope – Korin Bukowski
Delta Dawn – Barrett Baber

Week 11 – Top 10 Live
I’d Love to Lay You Down – Barrett Baber
Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Zach Seabaugh
Hallelujah – Jordan Smith
Go Rest High On That Mountain – Shelby Brown
She’s Got You – Emily Ann Roberts

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So, what have you been listening to this week?

Linking up with these blogs today!

Here, Here and HERE.

Cheers!

So There's That Series

What’s Up Wednesday: November 2015

Oh hey, what’s up? Is it SERIOUSLY the end of another month?!

This link up happens the last Wednesday of every month with the same list of questions and is hosted by The Larson Lingo, Mix & Match Family andPinterest Told Me To.

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What I’m Eating This Month…

This month went by quick and though I kept up with cooking more and more original things, I didn’t really take pictures. It is the start of the holidays and I love to share with people so I when a made a few things ahead of time for Thanksgiving I also made a few things to share at work and give away to a few people including my great grandma’s nutty sour cream cinnamon rolls and Dad’s smoked salmon dip.
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What I’m Reminiscing About…

Last year I surprised my whole family by coming home for Thanksgiving for the first time since I was in high school. It was great fun, but I’m not sure I could ever go that long without spilling the beans. I was super proud of myself.

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My suprise trip home for Thanksgiving 2014.
My suprise trip home for Thanksgiving 2014.

What I’m Loving…

All of the social media Thanksgiving posts throughout the month.
Listen, I know lots of people think it can be superficial (or annoying) and that “we should be thankful everyday of the year,” but that attitude makes me so mad. Quit trying to find a way to be a gloomy hipster. So what if its really cheesy? I think the world needs a little bit more of that, especially lately, and I enjoy reading those tweets and statuses much more than your well-crafted, bandwagon political opinion. 

NARS Lip Pencils.
http://www.sporcle.com/… long story, but my co-workers and I addicted.
The Bloggess’ Awkwarding Brings Us Together series.
The Timehop App. It’s a brilliant idea, and it never fails to make me smile every day.
My new flannel sheets.
The Prairie Californian’s “Thirty Days of Food” blog series
The Total Wine store.
This quote.

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Joseph Gordon Levitt’s mad lip syncing skills

What I’ve Been Up To…
I started out the month at Lake Tahoe for my job’s Fall Board Meeting. It was a beautiful location and I managed to sneak away for a few minutes for some great picture taking…

My Spoo grandparents, who I haven’t been able to see in a few years, live a few hours north of Lake Tahoe. Because of the time difference my flight got in mid-morning, so they made the trip to spend the afternoon with me. Being back in Nevada and visiting with them brought back so many childhood memories of the summer I would spend there with my sister and our cousins. These two are such an important part of who I am and I just love them so much.

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What I’m Dreading…
I’m pretty sure I’ve said winter for the last 3 months…

 So, ummm holiday travel? That’s different, right?

What I’m Working On…
Finishing buying and making Christmas gifts… DUH. I am DETERMINED to be done when I leave to go home for my week off.

What I’m Excited About…
2016.
Really though, 2015 was incredibly unexpected, exciting, challenging and rewarding… and all in ways that I couldn’t have imagined when I rang in the New Year. But looking ahead as I start to fill in my calendar, set some goals and continue to explore my new home (which will probably always feel new to me), I am so incredibly excited for 2016.

What I’m Watching…
As I expected, shows are starting to lose my interest. I LOVED the first season of How to Get Away With Murder, but there is just way too much going on this season and some of the characters are really starting to annoy me. I just don’t see where the show can continue to go from here and not have those problems. I am about 3 episodes behind, and at some point I will probably binge watch and catch up to the Fall Finale because I “HAVE TO” know a few things in the plot, but after that, who knows. I also dropped Blood and Oil. I really liked the idea of it and the acting is pretty good but its too slow and considering I watch way too much TV, it was easy for me to forget about it.

I’m still kind of keeping up with the Voice but that’s primarily because I just turn the TV up really loud so I can go off and do other things around the house. I still regularly watch Gotham, Criminal Minds and Scandal, though sometimes its later on my computer. The two new shows that I am loving are Blindspot and Quantico.

What I’m Reading…
Except for re-reading Mockingjay before the movie came out (which I haven’t seen yet) I haven’t found the time or haven’t as interested in reading the last two months. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve been indecisive and picky, so I’ve legitimately started 5 different books in the last month and a half and haven’t finished one. I typically don’t have this problem and I’m sure with the cold weather that it will go away soon.

What I’m Listening To…
As always, check out my Friday Jam Session series for what I’m listening to every week (or so). Lately I’ve been enjoying albums from Adele, Eric Church, Sia and Ellie Goulding. There are always a number of new singles that I’m into, and I’ve joined the bandwagon and am STILL obsessing over Chris Stapleton’s (check out his whole album) and Justin Timberlake’s performances at the CMA’s

What I’m Wearing…

ALL THE WARM THINGS
…and November here is not nearly as bad as January and February.
(I also failed at taking pictures.)

I’ve had to refrain from buying every flannel I see because they don’t really fit into my work wardrobe, so I just got one new one that is seen in the picture above with my grandparents.  My tall/skinny jean boots are also at their two-year mark and probably wouldn’t make it through another winter just on their own, so I recently got these Steve Madden boots from Off Broadway (I LOVE THAT STORE!) I’m so picky about shoes so I was happy when I finally a pair that worked for me.

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What I’m Doing This Weekend…
Friendsgiving!!!

I am headed down to Raleigh, NC, which will be a little over a 4 hour drive, to spend Thanksgiving with my friends Jake and Nicole. These are two Oregon kids that I helped recruit to K-State and became good friends with along the way. They are now out in North Carolina and I am so excited to see some famiilar faces from home (Oregon AND Kansas!) Based on the chatter from the past few days I think we are going to have plenty to eat (and drink) over the next few days! It should be a fabulous time!

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What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month…
 One word.

HOME.

This Month’s Bonus Question: What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?

– I’m not sure how early it started, but my sister and I have always had this rule or understanding that we DO NOT under any circumstances go look at or go through our stockings until the other one is awake. When we were younger that meant one of us shaking the other awake at 6 am. Last year at ages 20 and 24, I got a mean text message from my sister at 9:28 am (as I could also hear her all the way up the stairs) that she was starting without me at 9:30 and that in the future, if I wasn’t out of bed by that time, she was taking my stuff.

– Pancakes for dinner on Christmas Eve.

– My family is usually pretty tired from our store being busy during the holidays, so Christmas Day is pretty laid back. Someone always gets a movie of some kind so we usually end up watching it and pulled out a board or card game.

– Uncle Jay’s unique gift wrapping. Trashbags are the most repeated, but past years have included newspapers.

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Well, that’s what’s up this Wednesday!
Cheers, and Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

Friday Jam Session

Friday Jam Session Vol. 22 – Guest Post

I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations. Please join in and share your own picks! View past posts HERE.
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Friday Jam Session

I had another busy week of travel and meetings, and Megan did such a great job on her first music guest post that it just made sense to ask her to help me out again. And considering it’s Sunday and not Friday, I should probably add that she definitely sent her post to me on time… I just didn’t get it posted in a timely manner.

Also… how awesome was her candy corn Halloween costume? Thanks for helping out again Megan!

candy corn megan

1.Favorite New(ish) Album
So There – Ben Folds

I’ve always been a big Ben Folds and Ben Folds Five fan. But this album is different. The first 8 songs of the album he recorded with the classical sextet yMusic. He also has a three part “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra” that is recorded with the Nashville Symphony that is just wonderful. My favorite from the album is “So There” (above) as well as “Capable of Anything”.

2. Favorite New(ish) Collaboration
Whip It! – Lunchmoney Lewis ft. Chloe Angelides

Catchy? Check. Dance-y? Check. Fun to listen to? Check. Yup, I’d call this one good.

3. Favorite New (to me) Artist or Band
Saint Motel
Listen HERE

The soundtrack for the movie Paper Towns introduced me to this band with the song “My Type” which I absolutely love. And because once I find a new band I like I must hear ALL THE THINGS by them, turns out I love all their other stuff too. My second favorite is “Puzzle Pieces”.

4. Jam I Have On Repeat
Electric Love – BØRNS
Listen HERE

This band is a little weird…this song is a little weird. I’m not actually sure why I like it, but I keep hitting replay.

5. Favorite Cover
Hotline Bling – Justin Moore



Ok, disclaimer #1: there is technically no actual singing in this cover…so it probably can’t even be called a cover. Disclaimer #2: I don’t love this “cover” because I love the song. I love it because I hate this song. What do you get when you have a country singer from Arkansas with a heavy twang read an obnoxious popular rap song? Gold. You get pure Gold! He’s sarcastic and adorable and this whole thing is hilarious. I’ve probably watched it like 6 times. Not even exaggerating.

6. Favorite Spotify List
Rise and Shine – Spotify

A little Vance Joy, a little Of Monsters and Men and a little of other random chill music that makes my heart happy. Perfection.

7. #Soulmusic I’m obsessing Over
Blue Moon – Beck
Listen HERE

For whatever reason, this week I became obsessed with Beck and this is one of the songs that I keep coming back to.

8. I’m not sure what genre this even is but I love it
2 Heads – Coleman Hell


Obviously this isn’t a normal category, but I struggle with the Oldie but Goodie category. This song is hard to even describe. The words don’t make a whole lot of sense and then there’s a random banjo playing for a while and the video is reeeeally weird, but somehow it all goes together and just makes an awesome song.

9. Current Beat That Makes Me Want To Dance
Stand by You by Rachel Platten

While I am sick of hearing Fight Song on the radio, I am hooked on Rachel Platten’s new one.

10. Taking Me Down Memory Lane
Soul Meets Body – Death Cab for Cutie
Listen HERE

This was one of those songs that was always on my homework playlist in college. Death Cab always makes me think of coffee shops and textbooks and takes me back to those happy and stress-filled school days.

11. Work, Work It Out
Uh-huh – Romans
Listen HERE

Apparently I am in a weird band kind of mood this week, because this one is a little out there too. But it’s got a great beat and is awesome to run to and I love it.

12. Making Me Want To Fall In Love
Head over Boots – Jon Pardi

This isn’t a typical slow, fall in love kind of song for me. But Jon Pardi is just so adorable you can’t help but love him while he’s singing. Plus the song is cute and the play on words of “head over boots” makes me smile.

13. Guilty Listen of The Week
Cake by the Ocean – DNCE
Listen HERE

This actually isn’t even a good song. DNCE is Joe Jonas’ band. So maybe the only reason I like it is because I really do still like the Jonas Brothers. Either way, it cracks me up and I always turn it up.

14. Song I Originally Loved But Now Is Overplayed
Exes and Ohs – Elle King
Listen HERE

It actually makes me a little sad that this song is now slightly annoying to me. When it first started playing on the radio I really liked it. She’s got a great voice and the song is fun and clever, but the radio has just beat it to death and now I’m very done with it.

15. Popular Song Making My Ears Bleed
Trap Queen – Fetty Wap
Listen HERE

I know everyone loves this song because of the Royals or for some other reason that I don’t quite understand, but I think it’s extremely obnoxious. I don’t think I’ve even listened to more than the first 30 seconds of it because it makes me want to shove my head through a wall. I have very strong feelings.

16. Country Pick
Headphones – Jackie Lee

This song is pretty much describing me when I listen to music. You can’t listen to music sitting still! You have to move with it! I’m the person you will see at the red light completely jamming regardless if you’re staring at me laughing. I dance when I’m shopping and the store radio plays my jam. I even dance and sing when I walk my dog and I’ve got headphones in. I’m not even embarrassed about it either.

Bonus 5: Newish Country Songs I Really Loved This Week But Didn’t Fit Any Category
Turn It On – Eli Young Band
Love This Life – Locash
Broken Windshield View – Chris Lane
Our Town – Cold Creek County
We Went – Randy Houser

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So, what have you been listening to this week?

Linking up with these blogs today!

Here, Here and HERE.

Cheers!

Friday Jam Session

Friday Jam Session Vol. 21

I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations. Please join in and share your own picks! View past posts HERE.
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Friday Jam Session

Yeah, so the past few weeks just weren’t happening on the music/blogging front. I usually work on these post throughout the week, but I kept getting to Thursday evenings with nothing started and no motivated to bust one out in one night. My sticky notes in my planner and notes in my phone were getting a bit ridiculous though so I’m back at it.

1.Favorite New (new-to-me) Artist/Band
Eric Paslay


Eric Paslay isn’t actually all that new to me, he’s one of those country song writing- turned artists that I’ve listened to since his very first single, “Never Really Wanted.” I sometimes wonder how its possible to continue to find what I think are fresh, unique sounds in country music, but I’ve loved everything that this guy has put out so far. His entire debut album is worth a listen with my favorites, “Keep On Fallin”She Don’t Love You”  and “Deep As It Is Wide” ( a remake of the original song he cut with Amy Grant and Sheryl Crow.) Right now I’m obsessed with his new single above, “High Class.”

2.Jam I Have on Repeat
Hello – Adele


I’m pretty sure most of the world hasn’t taken this off of repeat.

3.Favorite Collaboration, Cover, Remix or Mashup
 I Know Places – Vance Joy ( original by Taylor Swift)


I swear I really do try to focus on not repeating too many artists each week, but obviously my love for Vance Joy knows no end. This was my initial favorite off of T-Swift’s 1989 and Joy’s stripped down version just sounds so beautifully sad and I don’t think its meant to be a sad song.

Whatever, I’m pretty sure Vance Joy is what angels sound like…

4.Favorite Spotify List
 Heartland Drive – Spotify

Guys, this is a solid list. Country, rock, classic’s and new singles. Now I just need a road trip…

5.#SoulMusic I’m Obsessing Over
Tiger Striped Sky – Roo Panes


This soothing indie jam popped up on my Spotify a few months ago and has become a staple on my #soulmusic playlist. 

6.”Oldie, But a Goodie” I Heard This Week
 Srubs – TLC
Listen HERE

When this popped up on my Spotify, I about choked on my coffee from laughing… I had completely forgotten about this song. The 90’s man, they were one of a kind. Chick bands just aren’t the same anymore. Of course this led me down a rabbit hole on YouTube, so while we’re at it, why not also listen to “Waterfalls.” You are so very welcome…

7.Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down
Getting Ready to Get Down – Josh Ritter
Listen HERE

I vaguely remember listening to Josh Ritter before, but when I first heard this song, I couldn’t quite remember who this contemporary folk singer was. Well, I think it’s safe to say that I am definitely a fan right now.

8.Taking Me Down Memory Lane
I’ll Be There For You – The Rembrandts


I’ve mentioned a few times that I have been watching Friends from start to finish on Netflix over the past few months. I finally finished a few weeks ago… so this is me, continuing to mourn a show that end over 10 years ago.

9.Work, Work it Out
Fire N Gold – Bea Miller
Listen HERE

I have no idea who this chick is, she looks like she’s 13 and I can’t decide whether she reminds me of early Paramore or if she’s more of a pop singer. I wouldn’t say that the song is all that brilliant but its a song beat to add to your running/workout playlist, and maybe a few jam sessions in the car.

10.Making Me Want to Fall in Love
Like I’m Gonna Lose You – Meghan Trainor ft. John Legend


Not a Meghan Trainor fan? That’s fine, she’s even a bit much for me sometimes. But this song has a timeless sound, and though I never would have thought to put her voice with John Legend, it’s magic.

But then again, I also think John Legend sounds like an angel. Maybe he and Vance Joy can start a band. Anyway, moving on…

11.Guilty Listen of the Week
Friend Zone – Danielle Bradbery

Friends, I really did make an effort to not like this song. I quickly skipped it the first few times I heard it and I’m sure I have a lot of friends rolling their eyes. But it’s just fun and so stinking catchy. I didn’t watch her season of The Voice, but you have to admit that the girl has got pipes.

12.Popular Song That Is Making My Ears Bleed
Me & The Rhythm – Selena Gomez
Listen HERE

Ugh. I swear I love her songs or I hate them. There’s no in between. This is obviously the latter. It’s just annoying. 

13.Country Pick of the Week
Heartbeat – Carrie Underwood


If you know me, then you might be surprised by this one because I’m typically not much of a Carrie Underwood song. It’s not that she’s not talented, I’ve just never been a huge fan of most of her songs. But I’m a sucker for a solid, simple country long song, and I shamelessly love that Sam Hunt is on the harmonies. AND its great to blast in the car, so I’m sold.

BONUS: My Voice Picks, Week 3 – 6

The main problem with slacking on these posts is that now I’m behind on my weekly  picks for The Voice and wish I had the space to add some commentary. But obviously that is not happening so here is just a catch-all list of my favorite performances.

Week 3 Auditions
“Stars” – Shelby Brown

“Photograph” – Sydney Rhame
“Drops of Jupiter” – Blaine Mitchell
“Downtown Train” – Dustin Christensen

Weeks 4 -5 Battles
“I’m That Kind of Girl” – Emily Ann Roberts vs. Morgan Frazier
“Wherever You Will Go” – Andi & Alex vs. Chance Pena
“Samson” – Chase Kerby vs. Korin Bukowski
“Walking in Memphis” – Barrett Baber vs. Dustin Christensen
“Baba O’Riley” – Keith Semple vs. Manny Cabo

Week 6 Knockouts
“All I Want” – Korin Bukowski
“On Broadway” – Darius Scott
“Hold Back The River” – Blaine Mitchell
“Feeling Good” – Braiden Sunshine
“A Case of You” – Madi Davis
“Colder Weather” – Barrett Baber
“Demons” – Chance Pena

See my picks for Week 1 Auditions HERE and Week 2 Auditions HERE

Cheers!

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Linking up with these blogs today!

Here, Here, Here and HERE.