You know the drill. We’re making a mixtape, people.
It’s old school. It’s outdated. Who even has a cd player anymore?
Well, my mother does. It’s a Bose. Because all old people own Boses.
Since 2007, my reoccurring christmas gift to my mother and sister is a Phenomenal Woman Mix Tape, and I rely on YOUR HELP to find the best songs to put on it. Bonus points – in the last five years, I also added a Cafe Mix for all those winter mug holding moments.
So tell me, who are the phenomenal women you’re listing to? And what coffee shop tunes are you chillin’ out with?
Two lucky commenters will win a copy of each CD!
Get started with these inspiring jams off last year’s CD!
Into the Wild by LP (Phenomenal Woman Mix)
I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Postmodern Jukebox featuring Maiya Sykes (Phenomenal Woman Mix)
Wildest Moments by Jessie Ware (Phenomenal Woman Mix)
Unsteady by X Ambassadors (Cafe Mix)
Growing Things by Shook Twins (Cafe Mix)
My friend Heather is a smart, lovable lady who doesn’t watch a lot of movies. Ask her if she’s seen something and the answer is probably no.
A month ago, however, she messages me and tells me I need to watch the show Twin Peaks, a cult drama I had never seen. She described it as a small town murder mystery. Ok, sure, I wanna know what happened to Laura Palmer, the dead girl. I’ll watch.
So I reserve what ends up being a season one and two box set from the library, and I message Heather when it comes in so we can have a social media shared viewing party.
Only I never hear back from her.
I message her via text, I try Facebook messenger, and I tweet at her. But if Heather is bad at having seen movies everyone else on the planet has seen, she is terrible at checking social media. Like working for the CDC is so hard, Heather? Check your messages! I have questions about this melodramatic tv show you made me watch!
So I watched all of season one and over half of season two without her. In a state of growing irritation.
I hate this show. Now all I have are questions.
I finally heard back from Heather. Her phone died and it took days to get a new one. This loss would unhinge a social media person like myself, but Heather just went on living her life, working by day, eating pizza rolls like a boss at night, probably sketching something amazing because she is a talented artist too.
So by the time I heard back from her, I had my own melodramatic show to air. I wanted to know why she made me watch this ridiculous show.
Here are the screenshots of our text conversation in which I tell Heather she is a terrible human being for making me watch Twin Peaks.
*Warning: if you haven’t seen the show, there are spoilers ahead.
This song is three minutes of teenage torture. Get your shit together, Donna! This is not a healthy relationship!
And now I find out the show is being revived and airing on Showtime! People are eating pie and dream dancing all about it on Twitter.
Also Heather has stopped replying to my texts once again. I think the owls got her.
Your turn. What do YOU think of Twin Peaks?
It’s entirely possible I’ve taken too much on.
Well, I’m not admitting anything, I’m just saying it’s possible.
I’ve been having a tough go of things at the day job, and in my attempt to focus my energy on the things that I love, I’ve said yes to a multitude of projects and commitments.
I now find myself busier than ever with a full-time job, part-time freelance assignments, rehearsals and show dates with an improv group, a once-a-week adult storytelling class, a twice-a-month writers critique group, and oh yah – I’m directing and producing a Listen to Your Mother show this spring and auditions are in less than a week!
You can understand why my main hobby right now is drinking coffee.
Hobbying like a boss.
My days off were out of the ordinary this weekend, so I tried to plot out some time to relax.
You know, in between 2 radio interviews, 2 improv shows, a six hour shift tabling for the health clinic I work at on VDay – One Billion Rising, and one of my writers group critique sessions.
I did manage to spend Valentine’s Day Eve with my main squeeze, also known as He Who Says Weird Things While Sleeping. We stayed true to our tradition of watching a very un-romantic movie together. For example, past Valentine’s films have included Tremors and Silence of the Lambs. This year we watched The X Files (1998 movie).
Anyway, enough about my crazy week, because I’m sure you’re all just as swamped with projects, commitments, running little people places, and whatnot as well.
Here’s a few of the things I managed to sneak in so I achieved some self care time.
Most of you know I’m a huge fan of audiobooks and it’s the only way I get so much reading done. I listen while I get ready for the morning, while driving in the car (even though I only have a 15 minute drive), and while I get ready for bed at night.
It is not unusual for my husband to find me sitting on our bathroom floor just listening to a good story. It’s my zen moment at the end of the day.
2. Take a bath.
I know baths aren’t for everyone, but I sure love them. They are so relaxing to me, and I did manage to sneak one in. They are also a great time to listen to an audiobook!
3. Indulge in a guilty pleasure.
For me that involved watching a few episodes of Felicity on DVD. I watched while I ate my lunch or folded laundry and enjoyed an old favorite show.
BTW, Felicity and Ben are broken up right now…again, and Noel is trying his very Noel best to move on, but it’s not going so well. Javier, on the other hand, is still my favorite.
That may not seem like a lot, but in their own way, each gave me a little escape and some relaxing down time.
And I did just run across this gem of a blog post, and wanted to share it with you, my fellow busy bees. 23 Way to Treat Yo Self Without Buying or Eating Anything
How are you practicing self care this week, friends?
Hey fellow songsters!
Thank you all so much for the many music suggestions for the phenomenal woman and cafe mix cds this season! You fantastic people gave me 58 songs to check out!
I had a literal dance party listening to all the tunes you shared.
So it’s time to reveal the final playlists aaaaaand the cd winners!!
Check em out! Did your favorite bands and musicians make the cut?
Congratulations to this year’s winners of the mix cds –
Amy Kennedy Fosseen and Julie Glover!!!
Happy jamming, ladies!
Phenomenal Woman Mix
1. Little Red Wagon – Audra Mae and the Almighty Sound
2. Wherever is Your Heart – Brandi Carlile
3. Flashlight – Jessie J
4. Dangerous Days – Zola Jesus
5. Burning House – Cam
6. Alive – Sia
7. Night Like This – LP
8. Wildest Dreams – Taylor Swift
9. Lights and Camera – Yuna
10. Glow – Ella Henderson
11. Sound of a Woman – Kiesza
12. Hold Me Down – Halsey
13. Ex’s & Oh’s – Elle King
14. Love Myself – Hailee Steinfeld
15. She’s Not Me – Jenny Lewis
16. A Change is Gonna Come – Leela Jones
17. Water Under the Bridge – Adele
18. Get Up, Get On – Jill Andrews
19. Buffalo Stars – Leila Broussard
20. Stay Gold – First Aid Kit
1. Make This Leap – The Hunts
2. Diamonds – Johnnyswim
3. Riptide – Jasmine Thompson
4. Empress – Morningsiders
5. Hold Each Other – A Great Big World
6. Accustomed to the Dark – Theresa Andersson
7. America – First Aid Kit
8. San Andreas Faultline – Sugarcane Jane
9. The Heartache Can Wait – Brandi Carlile
10. Slow Motion – Phox
11. Sinner – Jeremy Loops
12. The Crossing – Meg Hutchinson
13. The Fairest of the Seasons – Anna Nalick
14. Let No Grief – The Wild Reeds
15. Shadowplay – The Saint Johns
16. Rox in the Box – The Decemberists
17. It’s Only Me – Dessa
18. Emmylou – First Aid Kit
19. Ends of the Earth – Lord Huron
20. Gulf Coast Highway – Red Molly
21. Acid Tongue – Jenny Lewis
Find any new favorites?
What are you listening to now?
Since 2007 I’ve made my ma and sis a Phenomenal Woman Mix CD at Christmas. It’s a collection of the best songs sung by women. In 2012, I expanded that to include a second CD called the Cafe’ Mix, which basically housed all my favorite tunes heard at coffee shops (which is where I hang out). This CD can have female or male singers on it.
Sure, in the age of ipods and wireless mini-speakers, a gift like a mix CD could be considered outdated, or worse…lame. But this remains one of their favorite gifts and one of my favorite giveaways of the year!
Because this is the part where you give me music suggestions!
And in turn, once it’s completed, I gift the cds to TWO lucky commenters who shared suggestions with me!
To get started, here’s a look at last year’s line-ups. And here’s a few I’m currently thinking of for this year.
Phenomenal Woman Mix
“Hello” by Adele
I don’t really feel this song needs explanation. It’s Adele’s new hit. It’s going on the cd.
“Alive” by Sia
I’m a Sia fan, especially of her music videos. This one did not disappoint.
“Lights and Camera” by Yuna
Yuna is an artist that has crept up the past three years, and I’m happy to add this tune to the mix.
“Empress” by Morningsiders
I’m loving the piano part in this song.
“Sun Hands” by Local Natives
The final verdict on this one is still out, but I do like it.
“Lost Cause” by Priscilla Ahn
This melody is haunting and beautiful.
Now, as Joan Jett says, hit me with your best shot!
What song recommendations do you have for me to add to the
Phenomenal Woman and Cafe’ Mixes?
I can’t wait to listen!
The Husband and I have been planning to have a movie marathon for months now. A themed marathon. A celebrity-themed marathon.
We all have our celebrity crushes and idols. My husband’s is Keanu Reeves.
And Jane Fonda. But we’ll host her party later.
So, we’ve decided to host a #Keanuthon. A Keanu Reeves themed movie marathon for the month of September!
Here’s the scoop.
Starting September 2nd, we’ll watch one Keanu Reeves movie every wednesday. And we’re going to live tweet the movie using the hashtag #Keanuthon. Find me on Twitter @jesswitkins and let’s talk all things Reeves-related.
Feel free to dive in the fun using whatever your favorite social media hangout is, just use #Keanuthon so we can find you.
At the end of the month, I’ll share a wrap up post featuring the funniest and best tweets and photos from #Keanuthon.
So tell all your friends! Head to the movie rental store (AKA: Netflix), and get ready for #Keanuthon!!!
It’s all starting with Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
Spread the word! #Keanuthon starts in one week!
I’ve been known to achieve ‘fangirl’ status now and again. You can pretty much count on it whenever anything Jane Austen or Anne of Green Gables pops up. I know those aren’t the popular characters that teens fangirl over today. But, I can get down with those too.
I am Team Edward. A Gryffindor. Divergent. And Team Gale (in the book). Team Peeta (in the movie).
Oh and I’m a full-fledged member of Team Christian Gray needs a restraining order.
I have made real life, lasting friendships through joint fangirling. My pal, Misty, and I became soulmates after discovering a mutual love for the film Singles. And Reality Bites. Talking with Misty is like that scene where Winona Ryder and Janeane Garofalo are in the gas station and their jam comes on.
Yah, it’s like that. AND, that’s why I can send her a chalkboard thought bubble and she can send me a kabuki bottle opener and a cup with a Gremlin on it. We just GET each other.
Thanks to fangirling.
But back to my obsessions. It’s true, I can fangirl over just about anything. I have a loud, energetic, and passionate personality that friends euphemistically call “quirky.” Thanks, friends.
We all go back to what we know, right? And when I was growing up there were two things I came to know very well. Jane Austen movies and Anne of Green Gables.
And Rodgers and Hammerstein’s showtunes. So, three things.
Well, and Shirley Temple movies, so four. Four things.
And then came Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman…
I’m basically a WEALTH of nerd know-how! Like, if it involved singing, Regency Englanders or the fucking prairie, I knew about it.
What can I say, I was raised by old people.
These things haven’t left me. I still love all of them. Because I am a fangirl and my love does not wane.
My sole purpose of having a Pinterest account is a place where I can pin pictures from Jane Austen movies and Anne of Green Gables, losing hours upon HOURS of my day. You can check them out on my pinterest boards So Austentacious and You May Call Me Cordelia.
Here’s what you will find there:
I’m thinking of starting a new board called “Sashay-Bronte” where I can pin things from Wuthering Heights.
I recently scored a new addition to my collection of fangirl swag. I purchased a copy of Shirley Temple’s autobiography Child Star. It’s out of print and you can only get used copies now. Plus Target released the Little Darling Collection of her films, which is to date the most comprehensive of all the sets. I was pretty psyched about this. And I displayed my little “Good Ship Lollipop” of joy for my husband to see.
He wasn’t that amused. In fact, I think he may have been frightened.
No worries. His lack of excitement and psychiatric concern could not put a damper on my spirits!
Because I am a fangirl!
What do you fangirl about?
Do we share a propensity for all things Austen, Anne, or Shirley?
What are your favorite fangirl crazes that stick out from your childhood?
I’m in love with Stich Fix. The delightful in home personal stylist company that sends five items picked just for you each month.
I blogged about them before when I first signed up.
Since then, I’ve received a dozen fixes and have so much fun seeing what’s inside each box.
Stitch Fix is a personal styling business that sends a box of handpicked items just for you each month (or less if you prefer) for the cost of $20/month.
Using a style profile you fill out, their expert team of stylists hand select items for you based on your preferences and notes to your stylist.
You don’t pay any shipping to or from. And your $20 styling fee goes toward any items you wish to purchase. If you keep them all, you get 25% off the box!
Pretty sweet, right?
You can sign up here using my referral link.
Love it? Refer your friends and get a $20 credit for each person that signs up!
Here are five reasons I think you should try out Stitch Fix.
(And no, they’re not paying me to do so. I just really like this company.)
1. Your stylist WANTS you to love your fix.
My first 6 fixes or so had a different stylist each time. But after I got a fix from Alix, I was hooked. She has been styling for me ever since. She pays great attention to my notes – which I make specific to help guide her. And she checks out my pinterest board for more inspiration on what looks I like. I have kept more items because she pulls colors and details I like. By pinning things of Stitch Fix’s profile, I’ve also received some of the items in my shipments.
2. Avoid malls, fitting rooms, and try things on with what you already own!
If malls and fitting rooms overwhelm you, or you often suffer from buyer’s remorse. Stitch Fix could be a great solution for you. When your shipment arrives, you get 3 days to try stuff on – AND DO TRY IT ALL ON! And since you’re at home, you can mix and match the items they send you with what you already own to see various looks and feel good about your purchases.
And bonus, you’re stylist also sends you style cards with two looks for each item she sends you. This will give you tips for how to wear the looks and what colors are great to coordinate with it.
3. Feel pampered.
Everyone deserves to feel good about their wardrobe and that it expresses their unique style. I love that Stitch Fix feels like a treat. The items are packaged neatly and their customer service is exceptional. I had one bad fix that was not my style at all. I left detailed notes about why the items weren’t right me and I immediately got an email apologizing and thanking me for my feedback. I was not turned off and found my next fix much improved.
Plus on the style cards you receive, your stylist also writes you a personal note. I love that Alix always refers to the events I have coming up and how she picked out pieces to wear for them. Makes me feel like I am shopping with a good friend.
4. Find unique pieces for your wardrobe.
I grew up in a small town, and even now, there is one mall where everyone shops. It’s nice to have some unique pieces in your closet that you won’t have to worry about someone else showing up in the same thing. I tend to ask for workwear in my fixes and I love the bright colors and unique prints my stylist sends me.
5. They are great social media friends.
I follow Stitch Fix on multiple platforms. Their blog has great style tips for every season and occasion. They share what’s new on Pinterest and Instagram. They tweet back to clients when you write about your fix. And they have a photo contest every friday where you can enter to win a Stitch Fix credit. Just tag your photo with #StitchFixFriday!
What are you waiting for? The most you can lose is $20.
Give Stitch Fix a try!
Want to see what else came in my fix? Here are a few of my fave fix items.
Happy fixing! Be sure to send me pics of your first fix so I can seeeeeee!
What is your most dire wardrobe need?
Mine was shorts. Why do they make them all so… so short? 😉
What books are on your to read list right now?
The recent signs of spring have me extra energized to tackle my To Be Read Pile. I’m a pretty avid reader, and I recently discovered the blog, The Broke and the Bookish, who hosts a Top Ten list every Tuesday focused on various book themes. Today we’re talking about the Top Ten Books On Our Spring To Be Read List. I don’t know about you, but I have the hardest time whittling down what book to read next because I want to read All. The. Books!!^$?!
Hmm, maybe not.
But here are the Top Ten Books on my Spring To Be Read List:
1. Persuasion by Jane Austen
The last of Jane Austen’s six novels I have yet to read. Once I finish the story of Anne Eliot I will have completed her most well known works and can move on to some of her novellas like Sandition and Lady Susan. Judging from the film versions I’ve seen (many times), Captain Wentworth is indeed worth waiting for.
2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Claimed as the new Eleanor & Park meets The Fault in our Stars, I’ve been hungry to read this book for awhile but busy finishing up some other titles. I even bought this one in hardcover. I don’t even really like hardcover. I’m a paperback girl. I just wanted to read this one that badly. It’s the story of two teens – one a total loner who contemplates death and looks to the future with a strict eye, the other a free spirit who lives in the moment and sees life as an adventure. Their worlds are about to collide. I want to find out what happens!
3. Cress by Marissa Meyer
The third book in The Lunar Chronicles; I’m committed now. I absolutely loved the first book, Cinder. I thought the second book, Scarlet, was ok. But friends assure me that Cress is worth the read. A futuristic spinoff of classic fairytales, this is the continuing adventure of a cyborg named Cinder who is on the run after the evil Lunar Queen, Levana, has a call out for her head and plans to marry the good-intentioned Emperor Kai. With the help of some fellow misfits, will Cinder overtake Levana before the Queen takes over their world?
4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
It’s been too long since I’ve read any Neil Gaiman and I must remedy that. What’s more intriguing than a pond that becomes an ocean? As a middle-aged man returns home for a funeral, he is reminded of the people he grew up with and the stories they each told.
5. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Bestseller in the early 2000’s, all my friends read this one, but I didn’t. I was afraid I couldn’t handle the subject matter. But this winter I happened upon the book in a Little Free Library near my house and decided it was time I checked it out. Despite its serious subject matter, I’m really looking forward to reading this one.
6. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Long before there was Christian Grey, the leading man with the wealth and power was Dorian Gray. A favorite old film of mine, the black and white version of course, I’m excited to read the novel for the first time. This title was selected by my book club as our classic this year and I’m really looking forward to our discussion.
7. The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless
Another book I had to get in hardcover because I couldn’t wait. I’m a huge fan of author Jon Krakauer, who wrote Into the Wild, the story of Chris McCandless. Now, Chris’s sister, Carine, has written her own telling of her family’s history and the days leading up to her brother’s nomadic life.
8. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
A few years ago I had a year of comedy, where half of the books I read were humorous memoirs. I think this year may be my year of YA. I’ve got so many young adult books on my list. And one of them is Eleanor & Park. Even the colored pencil sketch cover looks like spring to me. How could I possibly say no to a love story between two misfit teens when the leading lady has red hair?
9. Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova
I’m not shy about admitting the fact that I disliked Jane Eyre. I know, I know, such sacrilege from an English major! What can I say? I’m more of a Heathcliffe/Wuthering Heights kinda girl. However, I really enjoyed This House is Haunted which is an adaptation of Jane Eyre, and Wildalone has some notes of Eyre as well. I do enjoy a good paranormal read and this one seems intriguing!
10. The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
I’m embarrassed to admit how long this beautiful book has sat on my TBR shelf. It’s been an alternate in the TBR Challenge for 2 years and since I never had to use my alternates I didn’t get to it. This year I made it part of my challenge, determined to finally read it. I love the idea that the lead character can see ghosts by cooking up recipes from them. And this is what sets her off on a journey of family secrets.
That’s my Top 10 books to read this spring.
What titles are on your spring list?
I thought it was time I revealed the master playlists from the Phenomenal Woman and Cafe Mixes. Every year I create 2 mix cds as gifts for my mom and sister – a phenomenal woman mix full of upbeat dance tunes, and a cafe mix for relaxing at home. I’ve enlisted help from the blogosphere for the past several years in finding just the right tunes to add and I hosted a giveaway for those that shared ideas.
Thank you all so much for sharing your musical suggestions with me. To see all the recommendations, check out The Ultimate Mix CD Project.
Here are the winning contenders!
Phenomenal Woman Mix:
1. Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
2. Hideaway by Kiesza
3. Mother and Father by Broods
4. His Gorgeousness by The Shoe
5. Tough Love by Jessie Ware
6. Ghost by Ella Henderson
7. My Silver Lining by First Aid Kit
8. The Chain by Brandi Carlile
9. Knots by Lisa Hannigan
10. Gun by CHVRCHES
11. Coffee by Sylvan Esso
12. Wings by Birdy
13. Safe & Sound by Savannah Berry
14. Pompeii by Jasmine Thompson
15. Wolf by First Aid Kit
16. Last Bus Out by Jillette Johnson
17. Spectrum by Florence + the Machine
18. Beating Heart by Ellie Goulding
19. Higher by Lia Ices
20. Rockstar by Emily Kinney
21. Enough by The Mrs.
1. Paper Cup by The Shoe
2. Long Way Off by Gungor
3. Fare Thee Well by Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford
4. Kids by Emily Kinney
5. Stay With Me by Bernhoft
6. Michigan by The Milk Carton Kids
7. Li’l Red Riding Hood by Laura Gibson
8. Just Another Day by Stacey Earle
9. I See Fire by Ed Sheeran
10. Come Out Wherever You Are by Paul Cook & The Chronicles
11. Like a Dream by Francis and the Lights
12. Woodstock by Joni Mitchell
13. Somebody That I Used to Know by Madilyn Bailey & Jake Coco
14. Mull of Kintyre by Wings
15. Be Not So Fearful by A.C. Newman
16. Shadow on the Wall by Brandi Carlile
17. Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars
18. 18th of December by The Deep Dark Woods
19. You and Me by You + Me
20. Go To Sleep by The Avett Brothers
There are the ultimate playlists! Happy listening.
And the winners of the cd giveaway are…
What were your favorite tunes of the past year?
Find any new favorites from these playlists?