What John Mayer Album Do You Need Right Now?

John Mayer just released a new album so you know it is living in my car and my kids are gradually learning every word to every song. Basically nothing has changed because over the years John Mayer has always been the background music to my life. In between fads and new favorite artists, he was always there to help me through whatever relationship stage I found myself in.

Fast forward to today and I’ve been happily married for ten years. John hasn’t caught up to me yet so now it’s more like we’re reminiscing together about the relationship stages of years past. I was thinking the other day about the sort of singular feeling that you can find in each of his albums. They all tell a pretty clear story in my opinion and they each serve their own purpose. Depending on what kind of relationship or break up you are in right now, John has an album for you.

For instance…

If you are in those warm and fuzzy days of new love you need:

Room for Squares

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An oldie but a goodie. Your relationship will resonate well with some of the top hits like Your Body Is a Wonderland, City Love, Great Indoors or Why Georgia.

Also consider: Some of his live albums like As/Is or Any Given Thursday. If you aren’t listening to the live albums, you have barely cracked the surface of John. Come for the audience interaction and stay for the guitar solos.

If you are thinking it might be time to break up, you need:

Battle Studies

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This album is like an ode to love gone wrong with angsty tracks like Heartbreak Warfare, All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye and Friends, Lovers or Nothing. Let it fuel your resolution to move on or perhaps make you go, “Oh never mind. We’re nothing like that. I must just need a Snickers bar.”

When you are licking the wounds from an ugly breakup, you need:

Where The Light Is

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This is my favorite of his live albums and in my opinion you need it regardless of breakup stage but if you are in this way there is no album better to rage against the audacity of a horrible ex. Who Did You Think I Was, Out of My Mind, Vultures, Everyday I Have The Blues, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room. This is two discs of perfection that will soothe your heart and distract you from the desire to go key your exes car. Cheaper than therapy.

When you need to literally reinvent your whole life, it was that bad, you need:

Born & Raised

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Get a hair cut, start listening to a new genre of music, maybe change towns all together. John has got you. This album has more of a country western vibe but it’s still the John Mayer you know and love. Shadow Days, Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, Queen of California, Whiskey Whiskey Whiskey. Whether you are tucking in your tail because you know your behaviors were prettttty bad or maybe you are in witness protection program and you are hiding in Florida with a new name and a longing for home (remember that episode of Brooklyn 99?) Whatever is causing this need to reinvent yourself, this album should do the trick.

When you are just working on yourself and trying not to think about relationships at all, you need:

Heavier Things

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You have more important things to do than think about some ex. You are jamming out to Clarity, New Deep, Bigger Than My Body, Something’s Missing. You are busy and I totally respect that. For added measure, grab a copy of Waiting on the World to Change and get on with your bad self.

When you are second guessing that breakup and missing someone in a bad way, you need:

The Search for Everything

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This is John’s newest album and it’s retrospective and quiet in places but a little dancey and a little different. It’s got this vibe that makes you kind of pump your shoulders up and down involuntarily and feel sad in an almost good way. There’s no anger here, no venom. A little regret maybe but also kind of a serene calm that feels like acceptance and hope. It feels like full circle. Still Feel Like Your Man, Moving on and Getting Over, Changing, and Emoji of a Wave are all great places to start.

So what album do you need when you are happily married and kind of on the other side of all this business?

That’s easy, you need all of them. You won the war, you deserve half a dozen quality albums to reminisce with and memorize to the chagrin of your spouse and children.

5 Favorite Musicians… Then and Now.

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This week for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop I’ve decided to answer the following prompt:

Write a list of your 5 favorite singers growing up…do they still make your top 5 list?

I grew up in the Oregon Trail generation – I probably first started noticing music in the late eighties and started forming real opinions on the subject in the early nineties. The first CD I remember playing on repeat was Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl. I probably started listening to her because my father liked her music, but I quickly became hooked and would play the songs over and over until I’d memorized every line of every song.

Some other musicians that I adored growing up, in addition to Paula Abdul, include:

  • The Backstreet Boys: We all chose a side in the war of the Boy Bands in the nineties. I was firmly on team Backstreet and remain an ardent fan. It is a bitter pill to swallow to admit that the lead singer of NSYNC clearly made out with the best music career.
  • Matchbox 20: I loved this group more for the music than the love sick obsession. I can’t name a single member of the band but I still know basically every word to every song on Yourself or Someone Like You. I don’t know that I’d call them a favorite band today but that album is still heavily present on my Best Of playlist on my phone, unlike most of the other musicians in this list.
  • New Kids on The Block honestly came out a little early for me. I was on the young end of their fan spectrum, but I loved them. When they appeared on Fuller House this season I was shocked at how much they have aged and had a hard time mustering enthusiasm at their cameos on the episode UNTIL they started singing one of their songs in the concert at the end of the episode and I audibly squealed and had the world’s tiniest conniption fit.
  • John Mayer: The love affair began in college which is a little bit on the end of the growing up spectrum, but I still maintain that it counts because of the level of enthusiasm that my fandom took. This was my last Backstreet Boys Level Obsession and anyone who knows me well knows that it hasn’t actually ended. I still buy all of his music, no questions asked. His concert that I attended back in 2005 or so continues to be one of my favorite concerts that I’ve ever attended. I put up with a lot of Rock Star Personality and let all the antics slide because he is still probably my favorite musician.

Honorable mentions must go to LL Cool J, The Goo Goo Dolls, Barenaked Ladies, Ani Difranco, Usher, Britney Spears, Boys II Men, No Doubt, Sublime, J Lo, Maroon 5, Snoop Dogg and Sugar Ray.

My current list of Top 5 Musicians would be…

  1. John Mayer – see, even now as a grown ass woman he continues to hold that #1 spot.
  2. Rebecca Loebe – she was on The Voice very briefly but I’ve known her since college when she came to sing at my school’s coffee house.
  3. Taylor Swift – we’re big Swifties here – my daughter and I are especially obsessed with 1989.
  4. Adele because that voice. She’s basically my Paula Abdul of the 2000s.
  5. The Beatles because they are timeless and it feels wrong for them not to be on this list, honestly. There is never a bad moment to listen to a Beatles song.

Of course I could go on, my music taste continues to be eclectic and vast. But I think this is a pretty solid representation of my music habits.

10 Christmas Songs To Add To Your Playlist This Year.

I’m a little bit of a Christmas music snob. I don’t typically go in for the holiday music played on the radio or streaming through department stores but I actually love Christmas songs when they are done well, and especially when they feel fresh and maybe a little current. That’s a fine line though – sometimes a musician is just trying way too hard to reinvent the wheel and it doesn’t work at all.

Looking for some more Christmas tunes to add to your playlist? I’ll save you some legwork and share ten of my favorites that you’ll want on a regular rotation this season.

  1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by She & Him *
  2. Baby It’s Cold Outside by She and Him *
  3. Elf’s Lament by BNL *
  4. It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas by Michael Buble *
  5. Ave Maria by Michael Buble *
  6. Wizards In Winter by Trans-Siberian Orchestra **
  7. Little Drummer Boy by Mary J. Blige (Ray Charles does a great one, too, but it isn’t available on MP3)
  8. Mary Did You Know by Clay Aiken
  9. Deck The Halls by Pomplamoose *
  10. We Three Kings by Harry Connick Jr.

*Do yourself a favor and buy the whole album.

**My husband would probably say you should buy the whole album but in my opinion, all you need is one or two of their songs and you pretty much have the situation covered.

10 Songs Found While Shuffling.

I’m kind of combining two tags / writing prompts right now. This week’s Writer’s Workshop, which is hosted by the brilliant Mama Kat, includes the prompt:

6. List your top 10 most listened to songs currently.

I thought this sounded fun but the idea of trying to pick ten favorites was weirdly stressful to me because how do you pick just ten favorite children? I’m pretty sure that’s child abuse. Or not. Anyway, I also recently saw this music tag at Book Coma that asks you to “List the first 10 songs that come on shuffle and then write your favorite lyric (or verse) from each song.” And I was like, awesome, that’s less decisions to make and also potentially embarrassing. So let’s dig into my playlist dubbed “only the best” which is typically what I’m listening to and see what comes up okay?

ONE Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey by John Mayer because this list wouldn’t be legit without John and you guys should know that I’m kind of obsessed with this song. Here’s a taste:

(ps: the beginning of this video is hysterical classic John)

Walking home with no one left
Speak softly underneath my breath
Hey world, you ain’t seen nothing yet
Great, now it’s raining

Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey
Water, water, water
Sleep
Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey
Wake up, shake it off
And repeat

TWO Jenny from The Block by Jennifer Lopez which is probably good because after pouring our heart and soul out on the last song, an up beat dance number is likely in order. Also, this is my jam because I am also still just Jenny from the block. Represent.

Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got
I’m still, I’m still Jenny from the block
Used to have a little, now I have a lot
No matter where I go, I know where I came from (from the Bronx!)

THREE Ain’t It Fun by Paramore which is super fun when you remember that you have to grown up or when you just spent time with someone who apparently didn’t get the memo that they also have to grown up. Like for realz.

Ain’t it fun
Living in the real world
Ain’t it good
Being all alone

Where you’re from
You might be the one who’s running things
Well you can ring anybody’s bell and get what you want
See it’s easy to ignore trouble
When you’re living in a bubble

So what are you gonna do
When the world don’t orbit around you
So what are you gonna do
When nobody wants to fool with you

FOUR The Heart of Life by John Mayer because my play list is like 40% John Mayer. Sorrynotsorry.

You know, it’s nothing new
Bad news never had good timing
Then, circle of your friends
Will defend the silver lining

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No it won’t all go the way it should
But I know the heart of life is good

FIVE Through With You by Maroon 5 because a million years ago I loved Maroon 5. It was back when Adam Levine either hadn’t yet grown the world’s largest ego or he’d managed to hide it for a minute.

And I don’t trust you
Cause every time you’re here
Your intentions are unclear
I spend every hour waiting for a phone call
That I know will never come
I used to think you were the one
Now I’m sick of thinking anything at all

You ain’t ever coming back to me
That’s not how things were supposed to be
You take my hand just to give it back
No other lover has ever done that

SIX Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis because these boys complete me and I’m pretty sure every song on this album made it onto my Only The Best playlist. I’m not picky. This one is important though.

It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom ’til we’re equal, damn right I support it

SEVEN Just Dance by Lady Gaga because again levity. I love Lady Gaga, she’s kind of brilliant and an amazing vocalist. This isn’t necessarily a favorite but it’s up there. It makes my husband and I laugh when we actually listen to the lyrics cause they are kind of hysterical.

Wish I could shut my playboy mouth, oh oh oh-oh
How’d I turn my shirt inside out? Inside outright
Control your poison babe, roses have thorns they say
And we’re all getting hosed tonight, oh oh oh-oh

What’s going on on the floor?
I love this record baby but I can’t see straight anymore
Keep it cool, what’s the name of this club?
I can’t remember but it’s alright, a-alright

EIGHT I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles so now I can shrug and say, yeah, I listen to the Beatles. I don’t even consider them retro because I’m not a fetus. Shut up children. This one is not the most lyrically interesting but it always makes me smile.

Oh please, say to me
You’ll let me be your man
And please, say to me
You’ll let me hold your hand
I’ll let me hold your hand
I wanna hold your hand

NINE Don’t Get It Twisted by Gwen Stefani which is possibly the most fantastic way to announce that you are preggers.

Lip locked making out again, no big deal
You always say that, but I’m not a mathematician
28 days in a normal cycle
If not I am mistaken, I think you might have made a goal

Uh oh uh oh uh oh

TEN Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots which is a recent obsession. I love singing it while driving to work or some other grown up priority that doesn’t sound nearly as good as pretending to ride a rocket ship with friends.

We used to play pretend, give each other different names,
We would build a rocket ship and then we’d fly it far away,
Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face,
Saying, “wake up, you need to make money.”

What I’m Into: February 2016

Happy Leap Day guys! I’m celebrating this rare day by ignoring responsibilities. Unless you count washing dishes and doing laundry and planning meals for the week and … okay, fine, it’s just Monday. But it’s also time to share What I’m Into Lately! I’m linking up with  Leigh Kramer to share what I’m into this month. Let me know if you are linking up, too!

What I’m Watching

I’ve kind of fallen down the rabbit hole that is binge watching Gilmore Girls like who really wants to watch anything else anyway? I am still only into season one but I’m all in and totally in nostalgia heaven and only sometimes whispering “kiss her! kiss her!” whenever Luke and Lorelai are in the same room. Do you guys realize we had to wait FIVE SEASONS in real time for this to happen? FIVE? What kind of monster is Amy Sherman-Palladino? In all seriousness though, that’s how it is supposed to be done. Shows that try to rush the magic end up paying for it later. *coughs* New Girl *coughs*.

I also checked out the first couple episodes of Fuller House and nostalgia wise I enjoyed the first episodes but we’ll see if the show stands up on its own. It’s super cheesy, but then I guess the original was also. The kids seem into it, so we’ll keep watching a little while longer.

We just finished watching season four of Game of Thrones this weekend and I’ve noticed that I’m a little too pleased now when some people die. When this show started I would wince and shriek and sob over any death and now I have a wish list like Arya Stark and I’m not sure what that says about me or the show.

Also still watching American Idol. Still loving Mackenzie, Dalton, Sonika and LaPorsha. Might have sobbed like a baby watching Kelly Clarkson sing Piece by Piece on Thursday. I was not alone. Keith Urban nearly lost it, too.

We also watched several movies this month – some were repeats for me and most were for the first time: Grease (the original and the new live one), Zoolander, Goosebumps, Pirates of the Caribbean, National Lampoon’s new Vacation movie, Neighbors, Pan, After the Ball and The Full Monty. Favorites of the bunch would probably be Zoolander, Pirates, Pan and The Full Monty (which features Rumpelstiltskin and Robert Baratheon back in the day btw).

What I’m Reading

I finished three books this month – two took the majority of the month to finish and one took the majority of an afternoon.

  1. 41VgvI2digL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_LOVED Winter by Marissa Meyer – Finished Feb. 23rd – This book was such an undertaking – each book in the series seems to get bigger as it goes and more characters are introduced. This book felt like the fireworks finale that it should be with #allthefeels all over the place. Every moment you were waiting for finally happens and Meyer only tries to break your heart eleventy billion times so it’s all good. I’ve already got Stars Above waiting for me to crack into.
  2. 9530LIKED Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson – Finished Feb. 24th – I wasn’t sure I would finish this one in time for the book club discussion, if at all, but I’m glad I stuck it out. Although many of the chapters felt excessively long at times and filled to the brim with information that might be fascinating for some people (not me), there were a lot of golden nuggets inside. The story this book tells is incredible especially because it’s a true story – and the people within the book have a lot to say. Lots of life lessons to be learned and everything you ever wanted to know about deep sea diving, shipwrecks and U Boats.
  3. 16000983REALLY LIKED Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick – Finished Feb. 27th – I’m a fan of Amber’s blog and this book was like a sweetened condensed version of that. My only complaints would be that some of the stories felt abruptly cut short and the book itself seemed to end so soon! I want more!

Now I seem to be reading ALL the books. I’m still working my way through The Martian by Andy Weir which I am enjoying but having a hard time settling into probably because I made the mistake(?) of watching the movie first. On the plus side, now when I read the book you know I am picturing Matt Damon doing all the things and saying all the funnies and that’s never a bad thing.

I’m also finally reading Let it Snow which is a group effort by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. It’s kind of like that high school English assignment where you write a chapter and then one of your classmates writes the next chapter and so on. So far I’ve read Green and Johnson’s stories and loved both. Maureen Johnson’s might have been my favorite of the two so now I’m adding all her books to my wish list and was psyched to realize that one of them is already sitting on my kindle so this morning I may have read the first two chapters of 13 Little Blue Envelopes.

My book club will be discussing Terrible Typhoid Mary by Susan Campbell Bartoletti next month so I’ll likely need to start reading that soon as well. It’s a biography of Mary Mallon, also known as Typhoid Mary that explores who Mary actually was and how her name became synonymous with a horrible disease.

What I’m Cooking

I made this French toast – probably the first thing I’ve made after watching a video recipe thing on Facebook. It was good but not great – but somehow resulted in me making The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon toast like fifteen times this month, so…

Then I made her chocolate cake in a mug which is dangerously delicious. I didn’t know this recipe could be perfected but leave it to Ree to make that happen. I know you are rolling your eyes like, “Jen, microwave mug cake is ancient history and only meh” and to that I say, fine, I’ll eat yours. Nothing to see here.

Kim (the other half of Critic and Fangirl) and I made it into the kitchen together this month and she made pork cabbage rolls that might have changed my life. I could eat twelve of them RIGHT NOW. Seriously, come make me more Kimmy!

What I’m Loving

The new floor runner in my hallway that lets the kids walk more than one foot into the house before wiping shoes and taking them off to put away. Floors are cleaner, mom gets to walk inside sooner and also it’s pretty.

This quote from Zachary on Project Runway Junior: “You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce. So, gotta get it done…” 

The kids and I started journaling together. I bought / repurposed some journals that we are writing in to each other at night. BB uses hers mostly to ask me hot button questions like “What should I wear to my birthday party besides just clothes?” and “Can we play Minecraft together this weekend?” MM’s has quickly devolved into us doodling Doctor Who references and him sketching comics of escape pods. But I’m interested in seeing the longevity of this idea.

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This homework station that I made for the kids after spending twelve million hours on Pinterest. The main goal was just to gather all the little things they need to finish their homework in one organized space – and for all of said items to find their way back to said station after homework is done because I was getting an ulcer from the nightly “I can’t find any pencils!!!!” game.

What have you been into lately?

Top 10 Tuesday: The Playlist Shuffle Tag.

Erika at The Book’s The Thing had the supremely clever idea to combine a Playlist Shuffle Tag that she was recently tagged for with this week’s Top 10 Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) which has a music theme this week.

The tag requires putting your music player on random, and listing the first 15 songs to come up, no skipping! Like Erika, I’m cheating a bit by doing only 10. Here are my songs, and the books that each song made me think of – the one I’d put on a soundtrack for the book if I were making a sountrack for said book. You understand.

Ready to giggle at my random playlist?

  1. 18295852Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen : The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith sounds appropriate. Their kind of one night romance / crush at first sight meet cute definitely has Carly Rae Jepsen vibes even if the book itself isn’t quite so bubble gum pop. I think it should play the morning after their first time meeting.
  2. 99561Neon by John Mayer : This song definitely makes me think of a John Green book like Paper Towns or Looking for Alaska with that manic pixie dream girl that is just giving the main characters a world of romantic trouble. Like they always manage to slip through the tracks and leave him wanting more. This would totally be playing during a downward spiral scene when the main guy is just totally not knowing what to do about their love.
  3. 22557272Someone Like You by Adele : I’m thinking the main character from The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins would be singing this like constantly while peeking at her ex huband and his new wife’s house from her seat on the train. Perhaps drunkenly and with gusto.
  4. 11870085Don’t Stop Loving Me by Pomplamoose : I think I’m going to have to pull another John Green book out of my hat because this song kind of gives me The Fault in Our Stars vibes. In between the dying and the sadness, Hazel and Gus have this kind of cool vibe that’s irreverent and fun.
  5. 13335037Sail by Awolnation : This song feels like it’s just begging to be in the soundtrack for an epic dystypian novel like the Divergent series by Veronica Roth which is rife with teens who feel like they don’t fit into society’s expectations for them.
  6. book one of the Lunar ChroniclesSay Something by Alex and Sierra from The X Factor : I’m not sure exactly which book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer that this song belongs in, but the series as a whole feel perfect for the millions of times that these crazy kids just can’t say the words to assure the other person that they are totally in this and feeling it, too.
  7. 16068905Swallowed by the Sea by Rebecca Loebe : First of all – if you aren’t madly in love with Rebecca Loebe already, do yourself the biggest favor and click the link and check her out and then keep listening to all her music because she’s amazing. Now then. I had a hard time with this one, but hear me out because I’m kind of thinking that Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell might be perfect if we interpret the “sea” as Cather’s anxiety issues. Maybe? Once I stopped trying to interpret this one literally it totally worked.
  8. 13206828We’ve Got Tonight cover by Phillip Phillips : which still gives me chills by the way. Or goosies as JLo would say. For some reason I can really picture Carswell Thorne signing this to Cress in a croony cheesy kind of way. Or maybe I’m picturing Cress daydreaming about Thorne singing this to her?
  9. 10507293Thrift Shop by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis : Okay guys – this one is really hard. I’m going to go with The Selection by Kiera Cass because I’m pretty sure that’s kind of how America felt every time she was finally allowed to wear jeans instead of another frilly ballgown.
  10. 24384702Royals cover by Pentatonix : this song could easily be on the soundtrack for a couple of books I’ve already mentioned like The Selection series or The Lunar Chronicles. Another great choice would be The Royal We by Heather Cocks – I mean seriously? I think this song would be awesome during one of the big the big break up scenes. I love the idea of playing something so ironic in a soundtrack for a book about a girl who totally becomes royal.

Definitely let me know if you decide to play along with either the Playlist Shuffle Tag or if you are doing Top 10 Tuesday this week.

Idol Thoughts: Hollywood Week & The Top 24

The Top 24 Contestants of the Farewell Season of American Idol have officially been named and for the most part, I was in total agreement with their decisions (although honestly at this point we’ve only been exposed to what they want us to be exposed to – you know?). There are some contestants that still seem a little too green to me for this competition, but overall I’m excited by the amount of talent in the Top 24.

Here are the four people that have me the most excited right now. By no means a complete list – but these ones stood out from the pack for me:

Dalton Rapattoni had me at hello. I loved his first audition and I thought he held his own in Hollywood Week. He does occasionally border on the young and moody side but I love his voice and his artistry.

Mackenzie Bourg gives me John Mayer vibes in a very good way. They have a similar stage presence and attitude and I just kind of puffy hearts adore his voice right now. I hope America loves him as much as I do so far.

La’porsha Renae has a lot going for her. She has a big ole voice, memorable appearance and possibly the cutest child ever (and a survival story that America will love). But more than that she has a presence. She commands the stage in a way that isn’t cocky or showy – she’s just on another level. I’m looking forward to seeing where she goes from here.

Oliva Rox has a fun name, a great voice and pink streaks in her hair that make me want to visit a hair salon asap. I think she has a great vibe – and I’ve loved her since her audition. You know I love the people who can croon at the piano.

Are you watching this final season? Who are your favorites?

Idol Thoughts: The Farewell Season Auditions Begin!

I’ve been blogging on and off about American Idol for several years now, telling you guys who I loved and who I hated and it’s been fun to look back and see who I rooted for early on and who took my by surprise near the end. It’s hard to believe that this fifteenth season will be their last and though it’s bittersweet, I love how upbeat they are being about their cancellation and I’m glad that they were able to come back for one final farewell season instead of the show just grinding to a halt. It feels right.

And even better? There is already some phenomenal talent showing up for the auditions that are exciting to see. Here are a couple that made me sit up a little straighter on my couch and pay attention. I’m sure there were more, but these three were pretty memorable.

This guy blew me away and maybe I’m just biased because I love that song but I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next. And the fact that he works with young kids is just the sweetest.

I really liked her, too. I’m a sucker for an indie voice. I loved her confidence – she was humble but also professional which is cool for her age. She’s the real deal.

Her voice is just beautiful. I’m interested to see how she holds up in Hollywood week because her voice is solid but is it memorable? I’m not sure. It always seems a little harder for the girls that “sing pretty songs” especially when America starts voting because girls are so much more critical of girls. But I think she is promising.

Are you watching the auditions?

Anyone else you are super excited about?

What I’m Into (July 2015)

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer to share some of the things I’ve been into this month. This is a great opportunity to fangirl all over the place about what you’ve been reading, watching, listening to – or to give said things a harsh critique when necessary. Here’s how the month shook out for me.

Reading

Right now I’m reading three different books which is actually kind of rare for me as I don’t usually like to divide myself between stories. It tends to make me feel like I’m not really reading anything – but with Kindles and Kindle smartphone apps, I’ve gotten more into the habit – especially when I’m trying to finish a book club book in a certain amount of time and find myself starting before I’ve finished my last read.

All that said, I’m currently reading Looking for Alaska by John Green (on my kindle, for funsies if you can call it that), The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (which I nominated for our book club so luckily I’m enjoying it) and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (whose last name isn’t a color unfortunately because that would make this list way more magical).

reading-july

  1. LIKED Goddess Interrupted (book 2) by Aimee CarterFinished July 3, 2015 – It took me a little while to ease back into the world of this story, just as it took the main character awhile to ease back into being in the Underworld with all the gods. This story quickly becomes action packed though and will have you on the seat of your pants waiting to see how it all turns out – and then ends on a major cliff hanger!
  2. REALLY LIKED The Geography of You and Me By Jennifer E. SmithFinished July 6, 2015 – This book was giving me a serious case of wanderlust in addition to being a really sweet, YA love story. I loved the main characters of this book, they were very easy for me to relate to and to root for and I loved all the descriptions of the places each character traveled to and their thoughts and musings throughout.
  3. LIKED The Goddess Inheritance (book 3) by Aimee CarterFinished July 10, 2015 – Everything has finally come to a head as we start book 3 and the book continues at a suspenseful pace. I was truly on the edge of my seat to see how everything would work out for the various characters. I thought it was all pulled together brilliantly.
  4. REALLY LIKED Normally, This Would be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness by Danielle FishelFinished July 23, 2015 – I was a major Boy Meets World fan growing up and I loved getting to know the girl behind Topanga. Danielle is very funny and had a lot of good stories to tell, but I also loved that she seems to have remained pretty down to earth all told. I like to imagine that we’d be total BFFs if we ever met.

readjuly

Watching

The-IT-Crowd-the-it-crowd-24356450-859-1024Has anyone else ever watched The IT Crowd? We just discovered it on Netflix this month and were sucked in immediately. It probably helps that I am a nerd who was raised by a nerd and then married a nerd. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s a British show which is somehow a merit of huge significance for me – most of my favorite shows are British shows. But it’s also just plain hilarious. In less than a week, this show completely permeated our lives and we find ourselves quoting it constantly.

We also finally started watching Game of Thrones thanks to an awesome friend who loaned me the first two seasons on DVD so eventually I’m going to be totally in on all the jokes and references and I’ll finally be cool!! Except by then, there will be another Must Watch It Show that everyone will be watching – on that one channel that we don’t get – and I’ll have to start all over again. ::sigh::

I went to see a stage production of Pride and Prejudice at my favorite outdoor theater this month with some of my favorite friends. It was pretty hot out and the giant walk up a small hill continues to make me question my love for said theater but then the show started and I remembered – ohhhh right. The Cast. The cast is just so brilliant, the shows so well done. And being one of my all time favorite stories definitely didn’t hurt. My favorite actor in the theater, Marcus Truschinski, was cast as Darcy and we momentarily worried “Can he pull of Darcy? Isn’t he too silly?” But he was ah-mazing. Every time we leave this theater we seem to say, “This was the best play I’ve ever seen here.” And it continues to be true.

We’re going to see the Minions Movie tonight. Has anyone else seen it yet? I assume it’s going to be amazing.

Listening to

We were on a road trip for two weeks so most of the music we were listening to was the same songs that we listened to on loop last year. Lots of John Mayer, Matchbox 20, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles. My husband got me a tape deck adapter so that my car can join the 21st century music-wise and we were able to plug our phones into the stereo and listen to our playlists through the car speakers instead of the tinny little things built into the phones that are apparently totally unacceptable to my husband’s ears. One day I’ll have a blue tooth adapter in my car (probably never this car) and we can say goodbye to those cables, but for now I’m pretty thrilled with the new set up.

Playing

We learned how to play Pitch this month with my in laws and it might be my new favorite card game. The downside is we need more than just myself and my husband to play, so who’s coming over tonight?

We also played a lot of Munchkin which my husband loves and I tolerate and a tiny bit of We Didn’t Playtest This At All which I thought was terrific and my husband was meh about. Between the two of us, we love a lot of games – but finding the right balance to make both of us ecstatic fans seems to be tough. I’d like to try either Pandemic or Zombie Dice next I think. Any opinions?

What have you been into lately?

jenloves

Idol Thoughts: Top 5

idolthoughts

This week the Top 5 was revealed on American Idol. I’ve had to say goodbye to a few favorites this week (loved Joey Cook and Qaasim Middleton) but overall I’m pretty pleased with how America has been voting. I’ve been voting this year, too, which is relatively new for me as I never really had time to vote before voting closed in years past. They’ve finally accepted the large amount of DVR viewers though and allowed us plenty of time to chime in with our opinions.

Here’s how I voted this week:

idoltop5

They are doing the Round 1 / Round 2 thing now because there are so few contestants left to fill 2 hours and god forbid they cut down to one. I guess I like this though because there are contestants who basically bomb one round but absolutely slay another.

I thought Clark Beckham was overall strong in both rounds. I loved his first performance of Yesterday by The Beatles and although I’m not a big Biebster, I also liked his rendition of Boyfriend in round two – I disagree with the judges on this one. I liked his arrangement and I wish they would stop trying to change him. I did have to laugh at his interpetation of this week’s theme which was Arena Anthems – I think he just interpreted that as “really popular songs by these popular people” – but I digress.

Jax always wins me over. I adore her voice, so even though I honestly thought the energy in her first performance of Are You Gonna Be My Girl Guy by Jet was just off somehow – like the crowd wasn’t as amped as she was and I hate it when contestants change pronouns in songs – just own it, you know? But I love her voice so it still sounded good – and in round two she got back behind the piano where I love her and sang White Flag by Dido and it was just everything.

Rayvon was a lot more like the Rayvon I’ve known and loved from the beginning this week. His first performance blew me away and I was like “YES! HIM! THAT!!!!!!” after he finished singing  Sam Smith’s Not the Only One. I think it’s the first time he’s not smiled while singing and although I personally love his smiley songs, this was reallly good, too. I’ll be honest, his round two performance of Go Your Own Way was just meh for me for the most part until he’d get to the melody and you could actually hear him but it didn’t matter because round one was everything for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I thought Quentin did really well this week – at least I  really enjoyed his interpreation of Shake it Out by Florence & The Machine which seemed weirdly perfect for him and I was pleased to see that he wasn’t acting like a thug that was about to mug Harry this week – and part of me sees him and thinks “He’s got that it factor!” but I’m not sure it’s an American Idol it factor at the end of the day so I wasn’t really disappointed to see him go.

Nick Fradiani is a conundrum for me because he seems like a sweet guy and he does have a good voice but he’s so one note to me – like he bores me to tears, honestly. I’m glad he’s doing well because he is working hard and “he’s got a great personality” but if I’m going to be honest with myself, I wouldn’t buy his CD.

I’m feeling guilty about not giving any votes to Tyanna because she has a princess name and she’s so talented but the truth is I didn’t like either of her song choices and I’m worried she’s petering out. I thought Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus sounded completely wrong for her voice and did her no favors because it’s shallow and vapid and she is clearly not – and then Heaven by Bryan Adams just seemed… too mature. She’s somewhere in the middle and she knows it and it felt like she was just trying to pander to other age groups / genres or something. I don’t know – it was just – off. But I’ll forgive her if she’s back next week and she probably will be.

Are you watching this season?

Who is your FAVE this week? Who are you ready to see go home?

jenloves