Monthly Archives: April 2013

iTunes Giveaway Contest: All-Time Favorite Songs

4/30  UPDATE:  CONTEST WINNER!   Shelley7 just won the gift card.  Thanks to all for playing!!

 

Instead of posting a single song and talking about its lyrics and melody, I thought I’d pick my top ten favorite songs of all-time for this contest blog post.68502_363500590428123_1983913506_n

HA—I’d assigned myself an impossible task!  I think my husband and I have close to 6,000 songs in our iTunes library, and I’m very fond of at least half of them!  Some of my favorite performers and bands did not even make this expanded list.  I had to cut it off somewhere.  Anyway, I’ve decided to classify the songs into categories to explain why I picked them.

So here goes (song title first, artist second):

About Life:

Fragile           Sting
100 Years      Five For Fighting
Watershed     Indigo Girls

About Sadness After Goodbye:

Photographs & Memories    Jim Croce
Gravity                                   Sarah Bareilles
Breakeven                             The Script
Always On Your Side           Sheryl Crow
You & I Both                         Jason Mraz

About Starting Over:

A Thousand Beautiful Things   Annie Lennox
Fix You                                        Coldplay

About Saying Goodbye:

Nothing Lasts Forever          Maroon 5

About Being In Love:

The Luckiest          Ben Folds
Falling In                Lifehouse
Feels Like Home   Edwina Hayes
Amazing                  One Eskimo

About Unhealthy Relationship:

This Is How You Remind Me  Nickleback

About A Crush:

Goodnight & Go         Imogean Heap
Possession                  Sarah McLaughlan
Fascination                Everything But The Girl
Closer                          Ne-Yo
Let It Be Me               Ray LeMontagne* (this might really be more about love)

About/For Celebration:

Club Can’t Even Handle Me     Flo Rida
Beautiful Day                              U2

Dance/Blare in Car:

SexyBack        Justin Timberlake

From Parent To Child:

Lulluby           Billy Joel

Instrumental:

Anything George Winston or Ennio Morricone
How’d I do?  Anyone share any of my favorites?  For those of you who know me well, you know my favorites will have a lot to do with the lyrics (in most categories, anyway).  If you are unfamiliar with any of these songs, I’d highly recommend sampling them.

Okay, now for the part you really care about…THE CONTEST!

RULES:

To enter the drawing for the iTunes card giveaway, please leave a reply to this post  (see “Leave a Reply” at top of post) telling me two of your favorite songs.  YOU MUST REPLY ON THIS BLOG (not via email if you are a subscriber, and not on FB), otherwise the contest widget can’t pick up your name when it is making its random selection.

The contest will remain open until 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 30th, and I will post the winner on the blog and arrange to send them the gift card.

Good luck.  Can’t wait to hear what you have to share!

xo- Jamie

Is Perfectionism Holding You Back?

The most effective way to do it is to do it ~ Amelia Earhart

Did you have to reread that quote?  Looks funny, but I love its message.  I think about all of the instances when my doubts about getting it “just right” kept me from simply starting a task.  “Paralysis by analysis,” whether professionally or personally, is not a foreign concept to me. Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 7.30.20 PM In those moments, I feel like the girl in this photo, stuck behind a fence that allows her to see what she wants but simultaneously prevents her from chasing after it.

Sometimes I wonder if women are more prone to “perfectionism” worries than men.  In my experience, most men don’t seem to have as many hang-ups as we women do when it comes to assessing their ability to accomplish something, nor do they seem as concerned with other people’s opinions of how they did it.  I don’t know the answer, but maybe I’m asking the wrong question anyway.

The right question might be asking why some of us end up with so much self-doubt in the first place?

I believe confidence is partly genetic, but I also believe our results-oriented culture may be part of the problem.  In childhood, it starts with “What team did you make” or “What’s your GPA?”  Then, as young adults, it shifts to “Which colleges accepted you” or “Who do you work for?”  And that need for comparison seems to go on into full-fledged adulthood (promotions, attractiveness, etc.).

When I focus on external measures of approval or success, I lose sight of my internal drive and curiosity, and my motivation evaporates.  However, I’m slowly learning to let go of being “overly” conscientious (caring too much about doing it right the first time) so I can remain enthused and take action instead of standing still.  These things help:

–                Recognizing I will never win everyone’s approval
–                Surrounding myself with cheerleaders who genuinely care about me, regardless of whether I succeed or fail
–                Reminding myself of why I’m pursuing something (for the love of doing it and wanting to improve)
–                Accepting constructive criticism and incorporating it into my task (rather than taking it as a sign of doom and certain failure/inability)
These tips can be applied to anything, whether it’s starting a new diet and exercise program, trying a new and unusual hobby or sport, getting back into the dating game, changing careers, or taking on parenting challenges.

And the best part is, once I get started, the momentum keeps me moving forward and helps me overcome temporary setbacks.

So next time you find yourself holding back from throwing that holiday dinner party, or trying that new photography class, just get started…you’ll be amazed at how quickly excitement will chase away the doubt if you let it!

xo-Jamie
photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt

On The Way To The Wedding: A Reading Recommendation

It’s been a while since I’ve offered a romance reading recommendation.  Last time I picked a contemporary romance, so now I’ll revisit historical romance by highlighting another of my favorite historical romance authors, Julia Quinn.  Julia’s books are very playful, sweet, and romantic.  One of her most famous series is the Bridgerton series (eight books). wedding_450 I’d never read any of her books when I first picked up On The Way To The Wedding (published in 2006).  At the time I didn’t realize it was the final book in the series, but it didn’t matter.  Each book can stand alone, and you can’t really go wrong with any of them.  The book jacket summary of this one, which gives you a taste of Ms. Quinn’s writing style, reads:

 Unlike most men of his acquaintance, Gregory Bridgerton believes in true love. And he is convinced that when he finds the woman of his dreams, he will know in an instant that she is the one. And that is exactly what happened. Except…

She wasn’t the one. In fact, the ravishing Miss Hermione Watson is in love with someone else. But her best friend, the ever-practical Lady Lucinda Abernathy, wants to save Hermione from a disastrous alliance, so she offers to help Gregory win her over. But in the process, Lucy falls in love. With Gregory! Except…

Lucy is engaged. And her uncle is not inclined to let her back out of the betrothal, even once Gregory comes to his senses and realizes that it is Lucy, with her sharp wit and sunny smile, who makes his heart sing. And now, on the way to the wedding, Gregory must risk everything to ensure that when it comes time to kiss the bride, he is the only man standing at the altar…

I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this particular book so much is because, unlike so many rakish historical romance heroes looking to avoid love and marriage, Gregory actually believes in love and is seeking it out.  The fact he wants to find a wife (and not just to keep his inheritance, or some other such plot trope) is a refreshing change!  Also, I love how the book begins with him being utterly infatuated with Hermione and convinced she’s “the one” until he gradually starts to see the difference between that shallow feeling of attraction and the deeper connection he ultimately finds with Lucy.  So many romance books today (in any subgenre) spend too much time describing the lustful infatuation the characters feel, and then have them jump into a dozen sex scenes, in order to convince the reader the couple is really in love.

Maybe I’m just too old to suspend disbelief enough to enjoy that kind of portrayal of love anymore.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to do that with this story.  The love between these characters seemed organic and genuine.  Yes, there are obstacles and surprises contrived to keep them apart, but overall it is a swift, fun read.  So, if you’re looking to add a little romance to your week, pick up this book and then let me know if you agree with me!

xo-Jamie

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Too Much Sex

First, I know what you’re thinking.  Can a person have too much sex?   Apparently, yes, it might be possible to max out on orgasms!   At this point, you’re either seriously bummed, or secretly relieved.  Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to confess which was your first reaction, if you don’t ask why I decided this particular photo was perfect for this post!  😉DSC07044

So here’s the scoop on sex according to an article in Psychology Today.  Regular sex and orgasms have plenty of serious health benefits, such as curing insomnia, relieving pain, and reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and bladder problems, among other things.  Sounds like a magic cure-all, right?  Its benefits are mostly due to the aerobic component of the activity and its stress-relieving effects.

Now you’re scratching your head and thinking, “that sounds like something I should be doing twice a day, everyday…like brushing my teeth.”  But apparently there really might be too much of a good thing when it comes to the Big O.

A University of Pennsylvania study found that having sex twice per week bumped up germ-fighting antibodies by 30%, but engaging in sex 3-4 times each week eliminated the improvement because an excess of an important peptide released during orgasm can actually act as an immunosuppressant.

Another study of men showed that those who ejaculate less then three or more than twenty-one times per month have much lower risk of prostate cancer than those who fall in the middle.  Something to keep in mind when you’re deciding whether or not you’re in the mood…

Bottom line, there is no perfect amount of sex prescribed for optimal benefits without the negative side effects.  It seems the old adage “moderation in all things” probably applies to sex, too.  But in case you are wondering what the typical American adult sex life looks like, here are some statistics:

–                77% of married couples 30+ have sex 2+ times per month, for singles, 36% of men and 17% of women mirror that statistic

–                43% of married men in their late 20s have sex 2+ times per week, while only 7% of husbands over 70 do with that frequency

–                Married couples between 18-24 are having the most sex, with 60% having it at least twice per week

Since I’m twenty years past my prime (according to these stats), I prefer to focus on the quality of sex rather than the quantity.  Let’s face it, “obligatory” sex isn’t really good for anyone – ever!   I wonder if there are any studies about THAT?!

Any brave readers care to comment on this post?

xo-Jamie

Song of Hope for Peace

This week we held our collective breath while watching the events unfolding in Boston.  Dismayed by the senseless violence (and the recent failure of our government to act in accordance with the majority of Americans’ opinions regarding background checks), friends and family members reiterated fear and worry about what appears to be an increasingly vicious culture.

We can debate the roots of the apparent rise in violence (as I did in an earlier post), but at this point I feel the better route is to look to healing.  We offer our sympathies to the families who lost someone beloved in the mayhem.  The men and women in law enforcement, who swiftly acted and captured the perpetrators, have won our esteem and congratulations.  The brave residents who vigilantly helped those officers by obeying the lockdown, and calling in tips, have earned our respect.  If anything positive can be taken away from the tragedy, it is the confirmation that, when we act together to reach a goal, we can overcome great odds and do amazing things.  Such a confirmation gives us hope as we move forward and face another day.

With the foregoing in mind, I looked at songs about hope and peace for this week’s Sunday Love Song.  An obvious choice is John Lennon’s Imagine.  While the melody and lyrics are truly beautiful, I wanted something a little less expected.  U2’s Pride, John Mayer’s Waiting on the World To Change, and Cat Stevens’ Peace Train all came to mind.  But I’ve decided to highlight the Dixie Chick’s I Hope.  Funny, actually, that my recent song choices have leaned a little country, which is NOT a genre I favor.  But since what I feel at the moment is hope for a safer tomorrow for everyone, the lyrics of this song seemed apt.

I Hope

Sunday morning, I heard the preacher say,
Thou shall not kill
I don’t wanna hear nothing else about killing
And that it’s God’s will
 
‘Cause our children are watching us
They put their trust in us
They’re gonna be like us
So let’s learn from our history
And do it differently
 
I hope, for more love, more joy and laughter
I hope, we’ll have more than we’ll ever need
I hope, we’ll have more happy ever after
I hope, we can all live more fearlessly
And we can lose all the pain and misery,
I hope, I hope
 
Oh, Rosie, her man he gets too rough
That’s all she can say, is he’s a good man
He don’t mean no harm
He was just brought up that way
 
[refrain]
 
There must be a way to change what’s going on
No, I don’t have all the answers
 
[refrain] 

I hope, I hope, I hope

 

Take a listen here (video courtesy of thesignsteam channel on Youtube, which contains some nice images):

Did you like the song?

I hope you all start the new week with renewed commitment to enjoying the life we’ve been given, and to helping our kids build a future with less violence and more compassion.

xo-jamie