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.

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October Health Tip: Let’s Do Lunch

Health

I am focusing on just one health tip this month because it’s a good one! Again, this month’s tip is from the Popsugar Health Resolutions article I’ve been going through for the year. The tip is to pack lunch at least twice a week. I have so many things to say about this marvelous idea!

  • You will save money and calories by packing lunch rather than ordering it.
  • The blessing/curse of my office is that we don’t really have restaurants nearby so I’m sort of forced to bring a lunch to work most days.
  • Meal prep is one of the biggest keys to a very healthy lifestyle.
  • There are so many great lunches that you can pack!

Here are some lunches I will “meal prep” for myself:

  • Grilled chicken or tilapia with rice and asparagus
  • Grilled turkey burger with broccoli
  • A sweet potato with ground turkey and veggies
  • Turkey chili or chicken chili
  • A variation of crockpot quinoa tacos – instead of serving with tortillas, I add meat and eat it plain

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What healthy lunches do you pack? I’d love to read comments with new lunch ideas!

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!

 

 

August Health Tip

Health

I’m back with the Popsugar Easy Health Resolutions but everything I have to say today will fall under a single topic. Watch how my brain works here:

  • Tip encourages readers to try veganism for a day
  • I associate Carrie Underwood with vegans
  • Carrie Underwood is #goals when it comes to nutrition, health and fitness

Need I say more? Carrie Underwood is a healthy eater, she works out, and she looks amazing! Oh, and she has a fitness line too.

I recently learned that Carrie Underwood actually stopped being a vegan while she was pregnant, and I’m not sure if she has returned to veganism.

As far as exercising, I learned that Carrie is a fan of Tabata which is apparently a form of HIIT.

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Here’s a picture from Carrie’s own Instagram account. I think this picture is perfect because it shows off (1) how fit she is and (2) a swimsuit from her own brand.

July Health Tips

Health

I have been busy doing very fun things lately (think: weddings and related fun activities/parties/celebrations). I’m still doing my best to prioritize my health. Again this month, I have more health tips from the Popsugar Easy Health Resolutions.

Both tips are food-focused this month. Everybody wants to believe that working out a lot can make you healthy. I believe that nutrition is actually the most important key to health. Here are two nutritional tips that are totally realistic:

Eat brown rice instead of white rice. Restaurant food can be inevitable during busy times. I have to say that Qdoba and Chipotle can be healthy if you are thoughtful and smart when ordering. I order a salad (in a bowl, without the taco shell and without dressing) with chicken, black beans, brown rice, salsa, and vegetables. I order guacamole, too, because I honestly cannot resist.

Eat a serving of fruit daily for a week. Be careful with fruit, though, because fruit can have lots of carbs and sugar. I recommend eating berries as the healthiest option. A frozen banana smoothie is a great option for a weekend pre-workout (note to self, post that recipe). I also love an apple with natural peanut butter as a morning snack. You’re always best off to eat carbs in the morning, so shoot for eating fruit early on in the day.

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I’m resurfacing this Instagram picture (and hashtag) from last year since this post was about food, and because #cutefruit.

June Health Tips: Gratitude & Protein!

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We are now half way through the supereasy health tips for the year (thanks, Popsugar)!

I’m particularly fond of the two tips for this month, focusing on gratitude and protein (I’ll admit that’s quite the combo, but a pair I really like!).

Tip 1: Write down everything you’re grateful for at the end of the day. I would modify this and say to even write down a few things you’re grateful for at the end of the day. Everybody emphasizes thankfulness in November right around Thanksgiving, but this is a spirit that should be present all year long!

Tip 2: Eat some protein for breakfast – or at least eat some breakfast. There are two types of people in the world: those of us who wake up hungry, and those who don’t. Because I wake up hungry, eating breakfast is not a big challenge for me. I have shared exactly what I eat here. Since writing this post, I saw another trainer who encouraged me to decrease the oatmeal to 1/2 c. and to increase the egg whites to 4-5 eggs. Normally I bake or whip two egg whites into my oatmeal, and I hard boil another two egg whites to eat with breakfast each day.

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If gratitude and protein took a selfie . . . it would look something like this.

This One’s For The Girls

Life

I am feeling very clever about this post title, obviously referring to the Martina McBride hit from 2003. In reality, this post is for the current women of country music.

I should recognize the ladies like Martina, Faith Hill, Sara Evans, and Gretchen Wilson who rocked country music in their prime (literally). But I felt like we went through a stretch with a very few females on country radio.

Don’t get me wrong, we were all good with Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Big & Rich, the list goes on . . .

But now, the ladies are BACK, and dare I say better than before?

Check them out:

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This photo is from Carrie’s instagram account. I am biased, but I think Carrie makes for a very fine cheesehead!

First up, an obvious one: Carrie Underwood. Carrie has been around the country scene for quite some time (I was in high school when she won season four of American Idol). When I think Carrie, I think #goals . . . and vice versa. From her adorable family, to her super healthy lifestyle and CALIA fitness line, to all of her music, Carrie is theeee woman. I love her newest album, Storyteller. One of my favorite songs on it is a hidden gem called Relapse. It’s so dramatic but Carrie’s talented vocal chords are totally right for it.

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On a scale of 1-perfect Miranda is nothing less than a 10! I love this instagram picture she recently posted.

Miranda Lambert absolutely must come second on this list because she is my other role model of sorts. She has the perfect way of being girly and tough at the same time and I love that about her. Miranda consistently keeps it real with her songs and her style. Platinum is the name of Miranda’s newest album; it’s also the name of my favorite song on it.

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Kacey definitely has a unique style. I love that she often wears boots.

I got to see Kacey Musgraves a few months ago, and have really come to appreciate her as an artist! I love her entire album, Pageant Material. Kacey is an exceptionally clever song writer, and a talented singer too. One favorite song of hers is This Town, although picking just one favorite was tough!

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I love this picture from Kelsea’s instagram.

My girl Kelsea Ballerini is near and dear to my heart. I got to see her (FO FREE!) last summer, I bought her album, and I feel like I was among her first fans. I think that Kelsea is adorable, classy, and significantly talented! Besides her singles already released to the radio, I totally love her song Yeah Boy.

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This picture, from Maren’s instagram account, makes me want to see Maren live!

My very newest favorite female country artist is a lovely lady named Maren Morris. So far her only song on the radio is “My Church”but she has other great songs too like Drunk Girls Don’t Cry. I am so excited to see what this girl is going to do!