Category: Music

5K Prep!

By , February 23, 2018 8:37 am

I’m running a 5K on Sunday to gauge my fitness level, not to set a personal record, but I’m still going to do my 5K Prep List:

1. Get a massage (this afternoon!)

2. Make a race playlist (will do that tomorrow; it will definitely feature “Get It”)

3. Take a nap the day before the race (tomorrow)

4. Don’t run the day before the race (err… this one may be hard… no promises…)

5. Paint my nails (already done last week!)

That’s it! Nice simple list! I’ll check the weather the morning of the race, and pick out my outfit then. It doesn’t start until 11:00 am, so I’ll have time.

Not on the list, because it’s impossible: quell 5K racing nerves. I feel like 5Ks are the hardest distance to race, and it’s the ONLY distance I get nervous energy about!!! AHH!!!!!

Five Bebe Rexha songs I love

By , February 10, 2018 5:28 am

Do you ever hear an artist’s voice and know you’re going to like almost every song they perform? That’s how I was with Christina Aguilera back in the day! I could listen to her voice for hours while I was running. And I imagine that is how some people currently are with Ed Sheeran? (Although not me, ha!)

Bebe Rexha is that artist for me now. Although, funny thing, it took me a while to realize that!

A few years ago, another blogger posted her song “I’m Gonna Show You Crazy” (I wish I could remember who it was to give them credit!). I immediately loved Rexha’s voice and remembered her name and started noticing her in more songs after that. And noticing that many of those songs became “favorites” of mine.

What I didn’t make the connection on was that she was already singing smaller parts in some songs I loved, and her voice was what made me love the songs. I didn’t figure that out until I was putting this post together, and decided to listen to a lot of the songs she’s been featured on, and realized I liked her before I “thought” I did when I first heard “I’m Gonna Show You Crazy.”

Ha, I am not trying to be hipster on you! Just sharing that I’ve liked her before I even knew it.

Anyway, here are my current favorite five songs of hers (you may have to click through from your reader to see them), and some honorable mentions. Let me know your favorite, or if you’re already a fan (or if you don’t care for her music)!

Honorable mentions:

What I’m currently listening to on repeat 1

By , January 26, 2018 8:38 am

I always have at least one new-to-me FAVORITE song that I am listening to on repeat. And I’d like to share those! <— hence the optimistic “1” in the title indicating this may be a repeating series.

Right now, it’s Erin Bowman’s “Good Time Good Life,”

and Rita Ora’s “Anywhere.”

It’s funny I am sharing music videos, because hearing new music for the first by seeing its video usually makes me not care for it (at first). It gives it a different context than had I just heard it. I usually search for new music by listening to it only, on iTunes. Or I watch a dance clip on instagram or Facebook, and look up the song from the clip (that is how I found “Good Time Good Life” – on the Fitness Marshall’s page).

But blogs are visual and I don’t want to just list titles and make you have to look them up, ha!

So give them a listen! And maybe close your eyes, if you have the same issue as me, ha. (Although the first one is just a lyrics video!)

And let me know what YOU are listening to on repeat!

Tempo or familiarity?

By , January 20, 2018 7:06 am

The playlists I create for my weekend* classes are crucial to the success of the class.

I keep fitness boxing songs at a certain tempo and energy, to keep the class moving. And I put the most intense songs at the end of class.

When Mom came to fitness boxing!

My indoor cycling class relies on the playlist to lead the workout. The workout is timed “per song,” and I find appropriate songs for intervals, “hills,” riding out the saddle, sprints, and so on. (It’s quite a bit of work, ha!)

I have favorite songs, but I’m always trying to find new music so things don’t get stale.

So here’s my question! When you’re attending a group fitness class, what’s more important to you – that the song has the right tempo to get you moving, OR that you’re familiar with the song? Or a bit of both?

I am wondering if people work out harder to songs they know, or if a tempo of a song they don’t know can just take over and lead the way. IF that makes sense.

When I took group classes, it was all about tempo and style. I remember taking a few and thinking “I HAVE to find out what that song is!” I didn’t need to be familiar with the song.

It’s different when I run though – I prefer the upbeat, sometimes high tempo songs I know.

Let me know what you think – I am curious how other people operate!

(And I think my students like my playlists. I’ve gotten compliments on them, and two gave me an iTunes gift card for Christmas and said “we love the playlists you make!” Aww.)

*I’ve found it doesn’t matter as much with my weekday strength classes, but I do often put the higher tempo/more intense music at the end of class.

Random Thoughts Thursday 158

By , December 7, 2017 8:10 am
  • The Lindsey Stirling “Warmer in the Winter” concert was FANTASTIC! Watching her play the violin and dance was just as impressive and fun as I thought it would be. The concert had a playful tone with some humorous bits (and sometimes serious story-telling). Stirling performed two non-Christmas songs – Elements and Crystallize. It was a holiday concert so I was surprised and excited to hear those songs. I’d love to see her again – especially to hear her other songs!!!

  • Ugh, the opening act was painful though. An opener wasn’t listed when we got our tickets and I was hoping there wouldn’t be one. It was Stirling’s dancing partner (from Dancing with the Stars) and his wife’s group – Alexander Jean. I didn’t care for their style and got irritated listening to them. I felt like I was being forced to watch them, and just wanted Lindsey to come on stage!
  • We had crazy high winds Monday night and a tree came down in our yard. It fell in the same spot as last time – right over the log pile. Ha. I am glad the trees know right where to fall – where they need to be chopped and placed anyway!

  • Tomorrow is my nine year anniversary at work! Which sounds like a long time, but doesn’t even begin to compare to how long some people have worked at my organization!
  • I ordered our holiday cards Monday and they are arriving this weekend, yay! I am looking forward to sending them out.
  • I also set up a birthday party for Steven! His dad and brother are coming in to town on his birthday, so we’re going to have a little bowling get together with them and friends. I am looking forward to it!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 157

Random Thoughts Thursday 131

By , April 13, 2017 6:28 am
  • I haven’t posted a William picture in a long time! Aww, I miss my sweet little nephew.

  • My mom sent me home from my early April trip with an Easter basket! How nice! I have fond memories of searching for baskets (and eggs) as a kid.

  • When I was in my hometown, my dad and I stopped by his mom’s as a surprise. She didn’t even know I was in town. Or so I thought. When we greeted her, she told me Facebook told her I’d be in town this weekend. Yeah, that’s the last time I say “yes” to a public event on Facebook (that was how she knew – it notified her in the morning I was going to a nearby race the next day). Of course, my grandmother can know where I am, but I don’t like to publicly advertise when I’m traveling.
  • I’ve been having some issues with sensitivity to light lately. I am monitoring it and will see the eye doc if I need to. I’ve made it this far without corrective lenses… I hope my eyes aren’t going to sh*t!
  • I am currently listening to this song on repeat. Give it a listen. I heard it on an episode of Girls, which means I can now say I actually got something out of watching that show.

  • Did Garmin users see the new “privacy zones” setting options? Privacy zones hide your start and end points on publicly shared workouts. You can see the exact route, but other viewers can’t. This is something I’ve thought Garmin should have for awhile, so I was excited to see they added it!

  • Speaking of Garmin, I get comments on my Garmin watch nearly every time I am in the office. Funny.
  • I had a lot of fun at my coworker’s baby shower last week in Wisconsin! It was fun to chat with all her friends and family she tells me about, and of course, see all the love and support the baby is going to have! Look at this amazing trail mix bar they had at the party, to make your own bag to go. I definitely snacked on mine on the way home.

  • Awhile ago someone told me they thought I’d be a good mom because I always have snacks with me. Ha ha. Okay…?
  • Also awhile ago, we were getting a house insurance quote and the agent asked what kind of cats we have. “Regular…?” I responded. They both laughed. “American shorthair”? I tried again. Ha. It’s not like with dogs where a breed is more common!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 130


By , March 29, 2017 10:57 am

Last night I saw Journey in Madison with my fellow 80s music lover, Rachel!

Oh! And let’s not forget that Asia opened for them. Ha. I had actually completely forgotten. Bonus?

Kind of… we all know one Asia song – “Heat of the Moment.” They saved that for the end, naturally, so I spent most of the time wondering what I was listening to (I did get “Sole Survivor” stuck in my head) and hoping Journey didn’t sound as bad as them (mostly just the set up… and a little bit of the singing, ha).

But Journey came on and sounded AMAZING! They opened with “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” (here’s the complete set list) and played all their hits and only one song (“Chain Reaction”) I’d never heard before.

I’m someone who enjoys concerts the most if I know the music* so seeing my favorite “older” bands is perfect for me! And I also like that it means that the audience is older, and people are less likely to be on their phones the whole time! It was nice to look down at the audience and see only a few people recording/taking pictures the whole time, compared to Milky Chance, where almost EVERYONE was, and the musicians asked people to stop. At this concert, they actually asked us to bring our phones out for “Lights,” to use our flashlights in place of lighters. Ha. That was fun.

The whole thing was fun! There were three screens so you could see close-ups of the musicians, which I appreciated during the guitar solos. They also had some wacky 80s graphics they would overlay with the musicians on the screens, too, which made me laugh! Journey puts on a great show, and I would totally see them again! Although I do imagine Rachel and I will be keeping an eye out for the next 80s band to come by…

*it’s rare I like a song after hearing it just once, but if I do, it means it’s one I will be obsessed with and play on repeat for awhile!

Random Thoughts Thursday 125

By , January 26, 2017 11:27 am
  • We took Khali to the vet today and it went really well (Snow had an appointment too, but he ran off in to the woods when we tried to put him in the carrier). She was super chill in the car and at the vet. I’m impressed. Khali is now chipped (as Khaleesi OurLastName), has all of her vaccinations, and is confirmed FIV free. And she has an appointment to get spayed. She was (is?) definitely in heat which has made for some x-rated interactions with Snow recently. Sigh.

  • File these two studies under “duh, but good reminder” (and as with most studies “questionable research methods”) -“Facebook can actually make us more narrow-minded” (pdf here) and “Get Up and Move. It May Make You Happier” (pdf here). Like I said, both very “duh” statements, but ones I have been thinking about lately – how one-sided most of the social media I follow is, and how while I LOVE working from home, that all that sitting around is BAD for my mood. Bad, bad, bad.
  • Milky Chance’s second album comes out in March! I wonder if I will love it as much as the first. I am not digging the first single, but I think it’s because it was accompanied by a music video – watching music videos often ruins the song for me.
  • Did anyone else watch Beware the Slenderman on HBO? The stabbing happened close (well, within 60 miles) to where we live and it’s something I’ve followed since. I didn’t care for the documentary though and was somewhat shocked the girl’s parents agreed to be in it.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 124

Zie Magic Flute!

By , January 21, 2017 7:24 am

The performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute we saw last night in Milwaukee was a great introduction to opera for me. The presenters mostly stuck to the original story line (which Steven and I had learned about in advance to know what was going on) but translated a lot of it in to English, using colloquialisms and modern language. A few of the songs were still sung entirely in German, and the program had translations (as well as a helpful synopsis and breakdown of the acts by songs, which I used to follow along).

I was expecting to recognize some of the music, and I did! But not from where I was expecting – I’d heard it before from Trans-Siberian Orchestra! One of my favorite songs of theirs, “Queen of Winter Night” is a rework of The Magic Flute, particularly “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen.” (If you listen to :28 and :46 here and here you can hear it.)

The singers/dancers/musicians (yes, some did all three!) were amazing. I was expecting the production to be cheesy based on the program cover, but it wasn’t (thankfully)! It was playful and funny and the cast was FANTASTIC. They were great singers but the Queen of the Night really outshone everyone.

The opera was performed in the Tripoli Shrine Center, a nationally registered historic place whose design is based off of the Taj Mahal and is home to the Milwaukee Shriners… which is interesting for this play, because The Shriners are Master Masons and there is a lot of Masonic symbolism in the original version of this opera. And… that is as much as I will pretend to know about the meaning of the opera, from what Steven and I learned before going.

The opera was performed in the space under the dome, and had action going on on the main level and balcony. It was an intimate performance – we were only a few feet behind the musicians and the performers went by us countless times! Their use of the space was clever and created the scenes without any backdrops.

Photo from here, showing the Queen of the Night

Their costumes were neat, but what really amused me was their use of props. When Prince Tamino is shown a “portrait” of Pamina they used a view-master! And there was a pause in the performance of that song for the First Lady to hand Tamino a new slide reel. That cracked me up. They used hand puppets for a scene where Tamino is traveling in the forest and has to use his magic flute to tame the animals (that is what I interpreted was going on), and they had an impressive huge (paper-mache?) dragon for the end scene.

One of the singers sometimes did her scenes on roller skates, zipping around the audience and musicians, which impressed me. She could sing, dance and skate at the same time. Like I said, it was extremely playful and we laughed a lot! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

And it was fun to dress up! We didn’t need to AT ALL, but wanted to.

I rented my dress, earrings and clutch from Rent the Runway, and got my hair done at a local favorite salon, which was a treat and fun for date night!

I did my own makeup, and remembered, less than an hour before it was time to go, that I threw out most of my makeup when we moved to the rental house at the end of 2015. Oops. Quick CVS trip to get lipstick!

We ate at the Palomino Bar in the Bay View area before the show. This is one of my go to places with vegan options in Milwaukee. We all ordered dessert to enjoy after the show and I dug in to mine as soon as we got home (well, after finishing my leftovers)! I needed sustenance to stay up for a few more hours playing games!

And, as I am up writing this, I’ve gotten three and a half hours of sleep. Totally worth it for a fun night! (And I totally see a nap in my future!)

Random Thoughts Thursday 118

By , December 1, 2016 6:44 am
  • Ha, when Steven and I were at Target on Sunday, I stopped in the cat food aisle to get the ONE flavor of wet cat food Data likes (Mariner’s Catch) and that Target only had three cans of it left. I had bought the last five cans at a different Target earlier that week. So I say to Steven “This must be really popular – it’s sold out at both locations!” And this lady walking by in the main aisle (not the cat food aisle) turns around and says “What’s so popular, I have to know?!” (not in a nosy way, but in a “is it so popular I need one too?” way). And I am like “this flavor of cat food…?” “Oh.” Ha ha ha. Ha.


  • We saw Arrival last night. Has anyone else seen it? It’s definitely a movie you want to discuss after seeing it. And a movie where I did not see the twist coming (but that’s why it’s called a plot twist, ha).


  • Gosh, our leisure schedule is so much different at the new house (as expected). We used to see movies much more frequently. The last time we saw a movie was five months ago!
  • Rihanna’s song “Love on the Brain” is my new “listen to it on repeat five-six times while running” song.  Anyone else digging it?


  • All of the new sets of balls we got to decorate the tree came with some glitter balls (first picture below). And we have a STRICT “no glitter in the house” rule (Steven HATES glitter). So… we have lots of glitter balls that won’t get used (second picture below). Maybe I should put them on the mailbox garland?

161126sets 161201somuchglitter

  • Something strange happened at Starbucks the other day when I had them reload my card (in the store). They accidentally charged 20 cents instead of 20 dollars and there was no way to undo the transaction and fix it… but somehow, Starbucks still put 20 dollars on my card. They said it was like a Christmas present from Starbucks! I was using it to get someone holiday gifts, but had to add on the guy behind me in line’s drink too!
  • I think I can get to 2000 miles run this year if I don’t slack off this month! I am at 1845 miles right now, and I typically run 40 miles a week. So if I stick with that, I should be good! It’s going to be hard with all the travel and guests BUT the people I am spending time with run too/or understand that I run! I can make it happen!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 117

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