It’s November, and around here that means…
It’s time to make the annual mixtapes! Since 2004, I’ve compiled two mixtapes as presents for my mum and sis. More like mix cd’s rather, which yes – I know are also becoming obsolete – but that doesn’t make the actual songlisting any less fun.
This is where you come in.
I need YOUR HELP collecting awesome songs that fit the theme for the mixtapes.
The FIRST is a Phenomenal Woman Mix – all female artists, songs you can dance to, but some ballads are great too.
The SECOND is a Cafe Mix – any artist, more mellow vibes, songs you can play while relaxing at home.
Why should you help?
Why not?! Music is the ultimate mood lifter and who couldn’t use a boost of finding new tunes to jam to and new artists to fall in love with. Go down the same rabbit holes as me sifting through song suggestions in the comments. Watch YouTube videos until you forget how to blink. Play the same song over and over until your significant other knocks on the bathroom door and asks “What, exactly, are you doing in there?”
BONUS: TWO lucky commenters will receive copies of the cds after the playlist is compiled! Free music for you! Woohoo!
So, share your song suggestions in the comments below. I can’t wait to listen. I always find new favorites and couldn’t make these awesome compilations without you. I’ll share the final picks and announce the winners in January.
Here’s some ideas from last year to get you started:
Phenomenal Woman Mix
Fallingwater ~ Maggie Rogers
Great One ~ Jessie Reyez
Shadow on the Wall ~ Ruby Amanfu
Yours ~ Ella Henderson
Two Blue Eyes ~ Tall Heights
Famous ~ Serena Ryder
Slow Burn ~ Kacey Musgraves
Beyond ~ Leon Bridges
What are your recommendations? I’m all ears!
Also, any suggestions on what platform to adapt
these mixes to once cds do go out?
Thanks, friends! Happy listening! Rock on!
Between blog comments, facebook and Twitter, I received 70 song and musician suggestions for the 2016 Phenomenal Women and Cafe Mix playlists – my annual gift of new music for my mom and sister.
Thank you to everyone who shared suggestions and music videos for my search. Several of your recommendations made the final list and I’m excited to share them with you in the new year. Here’s what I’m currently dancing to!
The 2016 Phenomenal Women Playlist
- Stranger to My Happiness by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
In honor of this phenomenal woman who passed in 2016. She is one of my favorite live performers to have seen. So much soul. Felt the need to kick off the playlist with a song from her album “Give the People What They Want”.
2. Best Kept Secret by case/lang/veirs
3. Into the Wild by LP
4. Wild Things by Alessia Cara
5. No Diggity by Postmodern Jukebox featuring Ariana Savalas
6. Million Reasons by Lady Gaga
7. We Break the Dawn by Michelle Williams
8. The Greatest by Sia
I’m a Sia fan. I love her music videos and the unusual ways the dancers move. I think it’s beautiful.
9. Heaven Knows by First Aid Kit
10. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Postmodern Jukebox featuring Maiya Sykes
Shoutout to Amber West for recommending some Postmodern Jukebox tunes for the mix, which have not been included before and leant a variety of sounds and styles. I loved this cover of a song by The Killers.
11. Heart of My Own by Basia Bulat
12. Wildewoman by Lucius
13. Tokyo Sunrise by LP
Hands down, my favorite musician this year has been LP. I discovered her last year and included “Night Like This” on the 2015 mix, but since then, she’s released another album and I’ve been playing her nonstop, so two songs made the list this year.
14. Wildest Moments by Jessie Ware
15. Scars to Your Beautiful by Postmodern Jukebox featuring Sara Niemietz
16. Beautiful Life by Judith Hill
Judith Hill is a musician I have tried to include for the last several years and could never quite fit in. Came across this song off the 2015 album, Back in Time, and fell in love. This music video is a paired down version of the song, but it’s gorgeous either way.
17. Runaway by Aurora
18. Got Your Number by Serena Ryder
19. Road Less Traveled by Lauren Alaina
20. In the Morrow by Brandi Carlile
The 2016 Cafe Mix
- Happiness by NEEDTOBREATHE
The hubs and I are both fans of NEEDTOBREATHE and this is off their new album, Hard Love.
2. Alaska by Maggie Rogers
3. Red Hands by Walk Off The Earth
4. Trying So Hard Not to Know by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
5. The Walker by Fitz & the Tantrums
6. White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes
7. Unsteady by X Ambassadors
8. Hold Back the River by James Bay
James Bay was a discovery the hubs and I found through an indie artist bio-vid we came across and we loved his sound.
9. Lost Stars by Adam Levine
10. Growing Things by Shook Twins
11. Dreams by Fleetwood Mac
12. Out of My League by Fitz & the Tantrums
13. I Found by Amber Run
14. Snow by Lisa Hannigan
15. Wicked Game by Chris Isaak
16. House of Mercy by Sarah Jarosz
Sarah Jarosz has been another musician I’ve had in my collection and tried to include for several years, but hadn’t. This year her 2016 album, Undercurrent, was added to my iTunes and I loved this song.
17. Home Nights by Sugarcane Jane
18. Woodwork by Sleeping at Last
19. Morning Noon & Night by Ryan Shaw
20. Thank You by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Here’s another group I can’t help but groove to when I listen.
And now, the winners of the mix giveaways! Thank you all again so much for the song recommendations, I love listening to all your favorite tunes and they are a huge help in making these playlists.
Hey Music Lovers,
For the past four years, I’ve called on you to share your favorite songs and musicians with me for a reoccurring nerdy gift I always give my mom and sis for Christmas. A mixtape.
Since 2007, I’ve made them a personal playlist of phenomenal women. Every song is a female musician. And the tunes are typically upbeat. It’s the kind of thing you’d play before going out, or pumping yourself up for some hours in the kitchen or cleaning. Songs that make you move.
When a need arrived to add some more mellow songs, as well as male musicians, I created the Cafe’ Mix. The songs you’d listen to while holding a mug of your favorite warm beverage and gazing out the window, or curled up on the couch while reading a book.
It has become a favorite gift of my mother and sister (partially because they are busy women who don’t have time to search for new music and don’t have smartphones yet – my sis does now though). When they get the new Phenomenal Women Mix and Cafe Mix, they play them all year long.
This is where you come in.
I need your help! Tell me your favorite songs! The ones you’ve thumbs up’d, hit replay on, shazam’d, go back to again and again when you hit “a mood”.
Tell me in the comments what your favorite song recommendations are for each album. Last year, you gave me 58 songs to listen to!
To thank you, I’ll draw two random commenters to also receive copies of the cds and post the complete lists in the New Year!
Thank you all so much for your input. I’ve missed you. Here’s to making the new year…well, phenomenal!
Song Ideas to Get You Started:
Phenomenal Women Mix
Wolf by First Aid Kit
Knots by Lisa Hannigan
Wild Young Hearts by the Noisettes
Fare Thee Well by Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac
Heart Beats by Johnnyswim
You and Me by Sara Watkins
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!
Happy Holidays Everyone!
May your homes be filled with peace and love. May you be surrounded by all those you call family. May you enjoy quiet moments and uproarious laughter. May you be thankful for all you have, and share with those who have less. May your new year bring only as much struggle as what will help you grow, and two times as many joys. May you be inspired to create and share your talents with the world. And may you get to sleep in at least once this week.
Love to All this Holiday Season,
Jess & Joe
With Christmas just a month away, I’ve got to get cracking on my go to gift for my mum and sis.
The Ultimate Mix CD Project
Since 2007 I’ve given them each a Phenomenal Women’s Mix CD, a compilation of all female artists and the songs are usually upbeat and dance-worthy. A few years ago I added in what I call a Cafe’ Mix – mellow music for hanging at home and which allows male and female artists. Since 2012, I’ve enlisted YOUR help with creating those awesome playlists.
I need your brilliant ideas again now!
And to thank you, I’ll pick 2 commenters at random to win copies of the 2 cds!
I’m guessing no one wants my fake NaNo album – created in a black hole of stress rage. I called it Blames it On the Hormones.
No takers? None? Ok.
Then here are some ideas to get you thinking about types of songs to suggest!
For the Phenomenal Women Mix:
My Silver Lining ~ First Aid Kit
This is the song I keep playing on repeat. Lurve!
Hideaway ~ Kiesza
She did this music video in one take. One take!!!
Enough ~ The Mrs
The ladies behind the magic talking mirror. Had to be included!
For the Cafe’ Mix:
Paper Cup ~ The Shoe
Did you know actress Jena Malone has a band? And it’s awesome! This video is flippin’ weird, but I love this song, and every other song on their debut album I’m Okay.
Poison & Wine ~ The Civil Wars
Haunting and beautiful. Hurt and yet thankful. Haven’t we all felt this way at some point?
Stay With Me ~ Bernhoft
A great male addition to my mix. Love the song, and hadn’t heard much buzz about him before, but found this song via my Songza app.
What do you think of these tunes so far?
What other songs should I add? Share your favorites!
Happy Early New Year Everyone!
I’m feeling very blessed these last few days of 2013. Joe and I spent Christmas Eve with my family, made it back to La Crosse safely for Christmas day with his extended family, and spent friday night with his family for a Christmas pajama party sleepover! Over the weekend, one of my best friends, who I’ve known since high school, came with her boyfriend to stay the weekend with us!
And bonus of all bonuses, this was the first Christmas in 6 years I didn’t spend in retail during the ho ho horror of the holidays! Yaaaaaaay!
So Clue, originally called Cluedo, was created in England in 1949 and is quite possibly my favorite board game. A whodunnit mystery with quirky suspects and unlikely murder weapons! Hidden staircases you say? What’s not to love?!!
Happy Thanksgiving Week Everyone!
As a descendant of two of the Mayflower pilgrims, I’ve been sharing Thanksgiving stories on my blog all month. If you missed out, feel free to check out:
This week, I thought I’d share a history of the actual Thanksgiving.
Are you ready for this?
It happened in 1863.
Wait! The pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621! Your date is over 240 years later?!
That’s right my little pilgrims. The first official Thanksgiving happened in November of 1863, when President Lincoln made it a national holiday at the urging of Sarah Josepha Buell Hale.
Sarah was a New Englander who was interested in bringing a war-torn country together. She wrote editorials for a lady’s magazine on the importance of Thanksgiving, in addition to writing the President, all state governors, and every member of Congress once a year for 17 years!
It is Sarah Josepha Buell Hale who can be thanked for our national holiday being credited to the pilgrims. Many New Englanders did observe an annual Thanksgiving, however in 1863, the states were still divided about the holiday. The South believed the North to be celebrating their current success in the war, so many of them opted to celebrate on an entirely different day.
What the pilgrims really did in 1621 was celebrate their harvest. To truly understand how important that first gathering was for the pilgrims and the Wampanoag native tribe, you need to know that the pilgrims would not have survived without their native neighbors.
A local comedian and storyteller in my town put it like this:
If the pilgrims hadn’t invited the Wamanoag people, that first Thanksgiving would have been an all-you-can-eat barley buffet.
They were still learning how to live off this new land. Much of the food that became staples of their diet was learned through the Wampanoag. And it is a Wampanoag tradition to give thanks throughout the year at harvests. Since they lived off the land, they took time to celebrate it at every season. They knew the peak times for picking berries, fishing in the river, planting the crops, and hunting the forests.
So in act of gratitude, the pilgrims invited Chief Massasoit to their harvest. He brought with him some 90 men, and the harvest feast lasted for three days.
The only known description of this first harvest was found in a letter written by pilgrim colonist, Edward Winslow. He was a key person who helped foster the friendship between Wampanoag and pilgrim. He wrote:
Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their great king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.
Clearly Edward Winslow didn’t care about run-on sentences.
Eh-hem. So there you have the first harvest, which we now refer to as the first Thanksgiving.
Other noteworthy topics of conversation you can toss around the turkey table this week with family, include…
- The first Thanksgiving had no forks. They used knives, spoons, and their fingers. Forks were not yet invented.
- Eels were considered a delicacy and lobsters were lower class.
- Venison was the main course served, followed by turkey.
- The Wampanoag word for “time of harvest” is Keepunumuk.
- Beer was considered a normal drink regardless of age, gender, or class.
- Both cranberry sauce and pumpkin pies came years after the first Thanksgiving.
- In the 1800’s celery was the featured vegetable – pricey, but available, it was often laid on the table in a fine silver bowls filled with cold water to let the stalks crisp up.
- Sports have always been present at Thanksgiving. After dinner was over, the men would go to the fields to play ball or pitch horseshoes.
- It was President Franklin Roosevelt who made Thanksgiving a truly official holiday, signing the Congressional bill that made it law in 1941.
How will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this year?
Happy Redhots Day!
It’s another month’s edition of The Redhots and Marcia Richards and I are back and bolder than ever!
Ok, you caught us, we’re both crazed madwomen right now!
Let’s face it, the holidays are stressful! Believe me, I work in retail. I’ve put in an insane amount of days and hours for the past month – hence the disappearance of me from the blogosphere. But I’ve missed you all and wrote you a little poem while I was away. So settle into your pajamas, kiddos, Jess is going to read you a story!
The Sale Before ChristmasIt was the sale before Christmas and all through the mall the customers were shopping for gifts big and small! The registers were ringing, the managers running. And somewhere in their temporal lobes – a constant, steady drumming! This coupon! That special! Lines the length of trains! – Had this particular manager wracking her redhot brains! There were gifts to still wrap, Heck presents to buy! Not to mention the store potluck, that dang peppermint pie! There was severe lack of sleep and a small bought with the flu. But Christmas was coming! What’s a girl to do? The dishes began to pile at home, and the laundry was crawling the walls. Is this what Kris Kringle had in mind when he said “Deck the Halls?” At last the day came and went, though short, it was full of cheer. With family members, grace and thanks I can wish you a Happy New Year!
Your turn! This Redhots edition we want to hear YOUR holiday stories! Marcia and I are each posting a picture about the holidays and we’d love to hear your reactions, stories, perhaps poems (who doesn’t love a good limerick or haiku?) all about the holidays! Thanks for sharing and we hope you all had a very happy holiday!
I know, I know, I’ve been completely MIA in the blogosphere this season!
Forgive me. I work in retail. You won’t see me in full swing until January.
However, doesn’t mean I can’t play along with…
See the Full Holiday Yum Schedule – Tasty Treats You Won’t Want to Miss!
- On November 17th, Jenny Hansen kicked off the hop with her Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Meal. There are lots of great tips for folks who need to eat GF, including some sneaky foods to watch out for!
- On November 19th, I shared the salty-sweet, super-easy Spiced Pecans appetizer.
- Ellen M. Gregg has us all drooling with The Chocolatiest Chocolate Cake – Evah on Monday, November 26th.
- Jenny Hansen introduces us to her luscious Almond Roca, famed of song and story, on Wednesday, November 28th.
- Estee Lavitt shares her mouth-watering Baked Latkes on December 2nd, just in time for Chanukah!
- Natalie Hartford starts us off on a cookie binge with her fabulous French Lace Cookies on December 5th. Mais Oui.
- I’ll be back on Dec 10th with a Christmas cookie staple that’s yummy and versatile – butter spritz cookies.
- And if those last two posts aren’t enough “cookie” for you, Ellen M. Gregg will also be making her Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Sugar Cookies, along with Bulldog Punch, on December 14th.
- Natalie Hartford continues the yummy sweets with her favorite cheesecake recipe on December 17th.
- Jenny Hansen teaches us not to fear candy-making with her super-easy, super-yummy Holly Candy recipe on December 19th.
- Jess Witkins is still plotting and planning, so we will either be treated to a comfort food or appetizer recipe on December 23rd.
- On December 26th, I’ll be posting about my super-easy beef rib-eye roast with currant jelly brown gravy that I make every year for Christmas dinner. Hope my holiday guests don’t mind me taking more pics of the food than of them, LOL.
- And, finally, to help us ring in the New Year, Natalie Hartford will share some festive and delicious Mocktail recipes on December 28th!
On With the Food!!!
Today, I’m sharing a comfort food dish that I tried this year and loved! And working in retail, I’m all about the little comforts when I get home!
Here’s what my roommates said about the meal:
If you wanted to make this again, that’d be alright.
This is f#$@ing good!
But don’t take their word for it! Try it yourself!
Pumpkin Curry Chicken
Found in Simple and Delicious Magazine, Contributed by Aysha Schurman from Ammon, Idaho
2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 tsp. curry powder, divided
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup apple butter
1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
1/3 cup chopped cashews, toasted
Minced fresh parsley
Cook rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with 1 tsp. curry powder and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet; saute chicken for 5-6 minutes or until no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
Stir in pumpkin, broth, raisins, apple butter, five-spice powder and remaining curry powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until heated through.
Stir cashews into rice and serve with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with parsley.
Blue Cheese Herb Bread
Found in Simple and Delicious Magazine, Contributed by Janet Allen from Sarasota, Florida
1 tube (12 oz.) refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
1 Tbsp. dried minced onion
2 tsp. dried minced parsley flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. minced chives
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Separate biscuits; cut each into quarters. Arrange into an 11 inch long loaf on a greased baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; brush over loaf.
Bake at 375° for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Voila! Gourmet comfort food without all the fuss!
Cheers to you and yours this holiday season! May each of you celebrate with all those you love, and take a little comfort in some homemade treats!