Country Favorites: Summer 2017

Life

Even though it’s technically still spring, summer music is undoubtedly here.

Some of my favorites:

  • Body Like A Back Road (Sam Hunt) Talk about one of those instant feel-good jams. Goin 15 in a 30, I ain’t in no hurry, Imma take it slow just as fast as I can.
  • Craving You (Thomas Rhett & Maren Morris) Two of the top most popular country artists collaborating. What a beautiful thing!
  • Happy People (Little Big Town) This song has the best vibe and super solid lyrics too. Personal favorite line…Happy people don’t fail; happy people just learn.
  • The Fighter (Keith Urban & Carrie Underwood) Am I the only one who has a significant urge to kick-box when I hear this song? I’m still thinking about a full out routine to go with the song…
  • For Her (Chris Lane) Maybe the most adorable song ever-check it out.
  • Greatest Love Story (LANCO) This song is the first LANCO song I ever did hear and let me tell you they just might become a favorite of mine. If you have not yet heard this song, check. it. out.
  • No Such Thing As A Broken Heart (Old Dominion) Another extremely catchy song with excellent lyrics.
  • Round Here Buzz (Eric Church) This is a JAM! I have heard really great things about Eric’s Holding My Own tour and I just just imagine him singing this one live.
  • You Broke Up With Me (Walker Hayes) One of my gym buddies caught me jammmmmmming to this tune last week in my car…I had no idea he was driving in the lane next to me… The tune/lyric combination is on point. Do yourself a favor and listen to this one.
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Rest & Hustle

Health, Life

I am trying to get better at resting. Life is all about balance, right? My goal is to value rest and to balance hustling and resting.

Thankfully, I was able to go to Florida with my mom and auntie. Rollin’ with those two is definitely a restful and very pleasant experience.

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Florida was definitely rest-heavy after a season of major hustling. I am feeling SO much better after this restful trip!

 

2017 So Far: Work, Gym, Friends & Fam

Health, Life

It’s March already? It’s March already! I almost never say this, but this winter has gone by so quickly! (Maybe this is the first time I’ve ever said that. I have the 70 degree February day to thank.)

***

Life has been busy. I’ve spent a lot of time at work, the gym, and with my family and friends. This is what 2017 has been like so far:

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Turns out early morning workouts are theeeeee best, especially on Mondays and when you want to take mirror gym selfies. I normally work out after work but it’s super refreshing to avoid the after work rush sometimes.

I  joined an eight-week fitness challenge that will end next week. I. LOVED. IT! I only lost a few pounds, but my goal was to learn new ways to exercise and eat healthy and both of those goals were accomplished so I’m happy about it. I’ve had to track all my food (#OverIt), so I’m excited for that to be over soon. I hope to share more about the program’s diet.

***

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Right before this picture we went to a craft fair and ate tacos. That, my friends, is the good life.

My friend Victoria visited me in January, and I visited her in February! She’s one of my best friends from college, and I’ve only seen her a total of four times after college.

***

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Dogs! Cats! Chocolate! So many jokes and GOOD memories with this girl.

I got to visit with my friend Allison one more time before her baby comes! I’m so thankful for the ease of conversation, hilarious memories and for the way she listens and cares so well.

***

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This squad was established in the ’90s. #SJpartyof4

I am humbled and blessed by many of my friends, old and new. I’m excited for more good times with the people I love.

All About Me… At The Moment

Life

I just read my “Self-Interview” from February 2014. I have changed since then! Also regarding my post from 2014, I don’t recall Renee* from Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor but I was (apparently) a fan of her at the time.

Now that we have made it to Holiday Season 2016, here’s my life in bullet-point summary:

  • Listening To
    The Weight of these Wings (Miranda Lambert’s new double-album). Maren Morris. MKE Worship! Florida-Georgia Line. A lot of the top 40 songs right now. I’m getting REAL close to busting out Christmas music (I’m thinking about you, Pentatonix and A Very Kacey Christmas!)
  • Watching
    Lost, with my roommates. The Voice! Baby Daddy. Young & Hungry. I was watching Pretty Little Liars but that show was stressing me out so I have to pace myself on that one.
  • Reading
    I just finished See Me (by Nicholas Sparks- my first Nicholas Sparks book ever- can you believe it). Now I’m reading Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling and it’s cracking me up! I’m also slowly reading The Next Christians, one chapter at a time, and I love it.
  • Loving
    Starbucks. My current living situation. Black G-2 gel pens. Dry shampoo.
  • Hating
    Narrow bootie-shoes, since I cannot wear them (because, bunions. Ugh). Hate-posts on social media. Reptiles.
  • Crushing On
    Theo James. Halo Top ice cream. Bright orange-red nail polish.
  • Goals
    Find a new pair of glasses. Volunteer somewhere. Eat more protein, and less carbs, at night. Be nicer despite hangry-ness/tiredness.
  • Missing
    Wedding planning. My friends. Being warm.
  • Anticipating
    The arrival of my new nephew or niece! The holidays. An upcoming Maren Morris concert. (!!!!!!!)
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Here is a picture of me in my “Katniss Pants” and with the shoes that give me awful blisters if I wear them too long/walk too far wearing them. I’m also wearing an excessive amount of dry shampoo. THIS IS REAL LIFE, PEOPLE.

I hope you feel sufficiently caught up on my life! What are YOU up to? I’d love to know in the comments.

*I just googled Renee from Juan Pablo’s season of the Bachelor. She was the one who looked like Jennifer Aniston. She WAS awesome!

November Health Tips

Life

Friends and family, we have finally made it to November 2016. What a fun-filled-action packed month this is shaping up to be, including the World Series, the presidential election, the CMAs and with Starbucks distributing first green and then red cups!

I am going back to the basics with two health tips this month. I’m continuing with these ideas from the Popsugar article. I’m trying to be realistic when I choose the tips to make sure they’re do-able. (As opposed to 95% of the ideas on Pinterest of all the fancy and heavily detailed recipes, workout routines, crafts, events, etc.)

Tip 1: drink lemon water. The article says to begin your day with lemon water, but I would recommend drinking lemon water any time of the day. When I had a cold this summer, I found lemon water to be unbelievably refreshing. Lemon obviously also adds flavor to water, so adding lemon helps reach your daily water-drinking goals.

Tip 2: make your own salad dressing. I try really hard to keep my meal prep as simple and healthy as possible. Healthy and simple do not always go together and salad dressing is a great example of this! Friends, beware because there are some straight-up bad for you salad dressings and using them will (in my opinion) completely contradict your salad eating efforts. I am aware that there are some truly healthy dressings in grocery stores. However, if you want to be super healthy and keep things simple, you have another option! Use a little olive oil with apple cider vinegar as your dressing and you won’t be disappointed. Another bonus of this clever option is that you just might already have both ingredients in your pantry!

I challenge you to try one or both of these ideas this month!

CMA’s 50, Reviewed

Life

Is today Christmas? I woke up with the same giddy excitement for the 50th CMA show!

So it’s not Christmas but I do have TONS of snacks, sparkling grapefruit water (I really went cray-cray on that impulse buy) and not-gonna-lie I’m wearing the same dress I wore to my sister’s wedding. (WHO SAYS YOU WON’T WEAR YOUR BRIDESMAID DRESS AGAIN? I’LL GIVE YOU AN OCCASION.)

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Let me recap for you the first ten solid minutes of the CMAs in one sentence. Basically anyone who has been involved in country music for over 10 years sang a medley of all-time hits, including Reba’s Fancy, Randy Travis’s Forever And Ever, Amen and Alan Jackson’s Don’t Rock The Jukebox.

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are singing “the election is lasting, forever and ever.” Clever start to the hosting intro. (And I mean… amen. Pun WAY intended.)

Entertainer of the Year nominees are mentioned, Carrie Underwood’s one of them. Brad proclaims, “#ImWithCarrie.” Love it.

Aweeee you guyssss! Five of our Olympians from this year are giving the first award tonight for single of the year. They look adorable all dressed up. My money was on Chris Stapleton, Nobody To Blame. The adorable Thomas Rhett is the winner, though, and he and his wife both look so happy about it. I’m happy too.

Home girl has taken the stage! (I should specify… this is Kelsea Ballerini.) She’s singing Peter Pan – a slow version with two people dancing in the background. She looks sincere and has such solid stage presence. PS, the people dancing are aerial dancing (is that even a term?) Read… one or both of them are regularly… not on the ground… I love the creativity and level of entertainment I felt from this performance.

Olivia Newton John is part of the group – who knew, she was 1979’s female vocalist of the year? Song of the Year will be announced. Tim McGraw wins with Humble and Kind. The song writer, Lori McKenna, gave the sweetest thank you speech about how this song was a prayer she wrote for her children, and how she writes songs for Tim McGraw because of Faith Hill. Faith is (adorably) crying at her seat. I LOVE MOMENTS LIKE THESE.

Jason Aldean is singing “Brand New Man” with Brooks & Dunn. Jason’s voice sounds great with Ronnie and Kix in this classic performance.

Dierks Bentley and Elle King are singing “It’s Different With Girls.” I love this song and they’re performing a classic, sweet version of this song.

GUYS MY OTHER FAVE IS PERFORMING! Maren Morris is singing My Church. Her hair is way curly, “fro-ed out” even. She’s got a little church choir behind her, and she’s wearing a trendy black dress. She seems real happy and comfortable rockin’ out to her first hit.

Let me take a minute to say, Carrie Underwood has been dressing to honor each decade. Everyone knows she’s like model-level beautiful so she looks amazing in each dress. #GOALS.

Jennifer Garner is giving the award for New Artist of the Year. Kelsea Ballerini, Brothers Osborne, Maren Morris, Old Dominion, and Cole Swindell are all nominated. We have some great new artists! Side note, she is rocking her outfit. Maren wins! Hooray sista, I am PROUD O YOU. She’s way humbled and emotional. Last year she was watching the CMAs at a bar and here she is today. CRYING up a storm and thanking her favorites. She is a wreck and I absolutely love her perfectly flawed thank you. Maren, you have arrived my friend.

Brad Paisley straight up admitted that Carrie is doing one of her “legendary outfit changes” and I love that.

Garth and Tricia are singing a tribute medley. Watching the crowd react to each song introduced is really fun. Words to explain the way this audience is receiving the performance: giddy excitement, sentimental tears, true appreciation.

Oh snap, Carrie Underwood is looking SASSY singing Dirty Laundry. She literally is crushin it tonight.

Faith Hill is giving out the next award, for Album of the Year. Nominated: Black (Dierks Bentley), Hero (Maren Morris), Mr. Misunderstood (Eric Church), Ripcord (Keith Urban) anddddddd Storyteller (Carrie Underwood). Ok, I am WAY surprised. Eric Church is the winner! Mr. Misunderstood is a solid album though, so I’m happy with him. Eric mentioned that he presented his album last year at his performance at the CMAs and I totally remember that.

Little Big Town is singing their new song, Better Man. Fun fact, Taylor Swift wrote this song! Listen to the lyrics and you will believe it.

Miranda Lambert looks like she 100% knows what she’s doing. She’s singing Vice… acapella for the first several measures and completely on key. I actually love her very simple hairstyle.

Matthew McConaughey has taken the stage! (Alright alright alright!) He’s introducing Tim McGraw who is singing Humble And Kind.

Brad Paisley sang with the Oak Ridge Boys.. until commercial break… It was a nice moment of fame for them.

Cue the happy tears, Alan Jackson is singing Remember When. He looks completely authentic. Clips from CMA shows are being played overhead. Don’t mind me while I sob on my couch. George Straight has entered the stage and he’s singing Troubador, with Alan still on the stage too.

I have no clue who the couple is currently on the stage, announcing the next award. They did give the score to the World Series though (and I must admit I’m pulling for the Cubs, even though I’m a pretty serious Brewers fan). Vocal Duo of the Year goes to Brothers Osborne. I’m shocked because I was expecting Florida Georgia Line to win. Side note, turns out Brothers Osborne are brothers… 😉

Keith Urban is singing Blue Aint Your Color. The performance is very classic. I’ve noticed a theme of authentic, slow, serious songs tonight.

The award for the Vocal Group of the Year is up next.Awe, Little Big Town wins! I love them so I could back this any day.

The time is here. BEYONCE and the Dixie Chicks have taken the stage. They’re singing “Daddy Lessons.” Out loud, I meaningfully said in a confused tone, “I like this.” We have fiddles, a harmonica, your classic guitars and the Dixie Chicks harmonies. This dynamic girl-power collaboration is now singing “Long Time Gone.”  My roommates have really good opinions and they say this was the “best. collab. of the night.” They have some credibility and I have to say it was an unforgettable performance.

Kenny Chesney is receiving the third ever Pinnacle Award. I’m so happy for Kenny and proud of all he has done for country music. One of my favorite life moments thus far was watching Kenny perform live at Country Thunder several summers ago. KENNY, U DA MAN.

Thomas Rhett is singing “Die A Happy Man.” We have another heart-felt performance delivered by Thomas who already won an award tonight for this very song.

Chris Stapleton is performing “Seven Spanish Angels,” which I believe was by Ray Charles. I am remembering my complete confusion last year when he won so many awards. And here we are today with Chris as another household name in country music.

Luke Bryan has taken the stage, and he’s singing Move. I’m honestly thrilled to hear a party song as we have experienced a lot of the sweet-serious songs tonight. Luke Bryan will always come through for a good time.

Lee Greenwood is singing “I’m Proud To Be An American” with Brad and Carrie and absolutely everyone at the CMAs. I LOVE AMERICA, AND I LOVE COUNTRY MUSIC.

Florida Georgia Line is singing “May We All.” I’m looking for you, Tim McGraw. AND THERE HE IS! Tim has joined Tyler and Brian on the stage for the second half of the song, and I loved the solid performance.

Vince Gill is on the stage to present the Female Vocalist of the Year award. He also announced that the Cubs are up 6-3 and I’m gathering that a majority of the crowd is pulling for Chicago tonight. Carrie Underwood is tonight’s winner! I would like to personally congratulate Kacey, Maren, Kelsea and Miranda as they were also nominated for the award. All five of these women are doing amazing things for country music.

Eric Church is singing Kill A Word. Eric is an incredibly talented singer and I will always appreciate his work.

Dolly Parton is now being honored. She is definitely iconic. Jennifer Nettles and Pentatonix are performing Jolene. (CUE ALL THE EXCITED VIBES!!!!!!!!!!!!!). I. loved. their. performance. BOOM. REBA has entered the stage. She’s singing Dolly’s “9 to 5.” Now we have Kacey Musgraves singing “Here You Come.” Kacey is crushing this sweet performance and Dolly appears to be very pleased with the performance. Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride have joined the stage singing “I Will Always Love You.” (Carrie and Martina, would you pleaseeeee collab more often?!). Jennifer, Carrie, Martina, Kacey and Reba are all singing and I am shivering and have tears with all of the emotions. The performance was sweet, special, beautiful, and altogether lovely. The Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award is given to Dolly. “I would’ve cried but I didn’t want to mess up my eyelashes.” Gosh Dolly, some things just never change!

Sharon Stone has taken the stage to award the Male Vocalist of the Year. Nominees are Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Tim McGraw, Chris Stapleton, and Keith Urban. Our winner is Chris Stapleton.  Again, all five nominees are phenomenal, but since I never lie I will admit that Chris would not be in my top four preferences for this award. Nevertheless, Chris is WAY talented and he gave a very nice speech, so kudos to you my friend.

Now it’s Brad Paisley’s turn to perform. He’s wearing jeans and a cowboy hat, and he’s singing Today. Country history clips are being showed on screens behind Brad, which contributes to the sentimental touch of this year’s show.

Taylor Swift is back at the CMAs! She is presenting the award for Entertainer of the Year! Nominated: Garth, Keith Luke, Chris, Carrie. The 2016 Entertainer of the Year is awarded to Garth Brooks. Garth is our winner and he gave a very classy and heart-filled thank you acceptance speech.

Carrie, wearing a beautiful black dress, and Brad, wished our viewers a final good night.

The current score of the World Series is 6-6 so while the CMAs are over, American TV has more history to be made tonight! Goodnight all and thanks for reading the post!

Were you surprised by the performances and award winners? I’d love to hear in the comments.

September Health Tips

Health, Life

Can you believe that we have made it to the month of September? I recently had a conversation with my roommate about how September might actually be the best month (at least, it’s the best if you live in Wisconsin and when you’re not a student).

Since I’m no longer a student, I figured I should wear a cute “First Day of September” outfit since I don’t qualify for a “First Day of School” outfit. I wore cowboy boots which was cute and festive but also a little hot… OK really hot… by midday.

Now that we have made it half way through September, I’m continuing to have fun mixing the warmer and cooler clothing articles. Today I got a compliment on my outfit which included jeans, a shorter-sleeved sweater and sandals. Only in Wisconsin.

On another note, let’s keep it healthy this month! Popsugar‘s Easy Health Resolutions has more great tips for us:

  1. Ditch Soda [for a day, or a week].
    Soda is like a bad boyfriend. You know he’s not good for you, you know you should ditch him, your life is better without him. You don’t need that added sugar in your life! You can try to convince yourself otherwise, but you’re best without him. And by him I guess I mean soda…I hope we can still be friends after that awful analogy!

  2. Give someone you don’t know a compliment.
    I don’t want this to be be a hater post, so let’s focus on a positive habit. I’m actually not sure why it’s healthy to give someone you don’t know a compliment. I do know that the world needs more kindness, more nice people, more grace. So why not give someone yo don’t know a compliment?!I double dog dare you to hand out a compliment, to a stranger, today.
  3. Try green tea.
    Tea has a really good reputation for being so very healthy. (And we’re keeping with the positive vibes on this tip!) WebMD has offered some health benefits of green tea, listed below:

greentea

 

Since we are half way through the month, there’s no time like the present to try out these tips!