The Non-Definitive Guide To Life

If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with rain" - Dolly Parton

Posts for spotify playlist

Girl In Red & other melodies

LISTEN - April 16, 2021

My favorite discovery this past month, outside of Waterloo strawberry sparkling water, has been Girl In Red. The project of Norwegian singer-songwriter and record producer Marie Ulven. When I heard her tracks Serotonin and Summer Depression, it was like hearing the lines of my adolescent diary entries woven into a bright bopping melody. Girl In Red is refreshingly earnest, capturing the truth of what it feels like to cope with depression while avoiding the recreation of a post-punk drone that mirrors the feeling and feeds the bottomless pit. I wish I had her music to play on repeat as I stared up at my ceiling filled with self-loathing and anxiety, ruminating about if this feeling would ever go away. Perhaps the audio rainbow could have helped me feel less alone while also cutting through the fog.

Music has the power to illustrate the complex emotional landscape one is navigating, either through lyrics or the notes that reverberate off our eardrums and resonate within our souls. Songs act as beacon lights, a north star to describe the feelings we lack the vocabulary to name.

It’s been two years since my last long-term depressive episode and over a decade since I’ve felt defenseless in my ability to confront my mental health struggles. Thankfully, I’ve gained tools and learned strategies that help me hear Serotonin and Summer Depression and feel connected without feeling the emotions. Girl In Red’s library is filled with songs that perfectly illustrate nuanced emotions like longing, nerves, falling in love, regret, and more. All those emotions that make life so painfully delicious and rich with meaning.

Also, highly recommend listening to “WTF is Self Care” by Open Mike Eagle — it’s pure poetry.

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It’s 2021, let’s catch up!

LISTEN, SNAIL MAIL - March 1, 2021

A quick status report of where I’m at today, and 2021 thus far…

Feel free to read it all or scroll to the section of maximum interest.

HUSTLE & FLOW

Back in September 2020, after an innocent conversation I was having with a friend over Instagram voice messages caused me to spiral into a full-blown panic attack, I realized I should hire an expert in emotions to help me move past some major blocks I had been experiencing. At the top of 2020, before the pan dulce, I was extremely agitated when I’d sit down to set goals and have to push through the extraneous stress to even open up my imagination for envisioning a life I’d want to cultivate. I’ve always been a “figure it out as you go type of person” because, at some point in my past, that was what I learned for survival. My emotional brain has struggled to evolve past immediate needs and into being capable of working toward defining my own vision of success, especially when associated with my creative aspirations. In my perspective, my ambitions have thrived more professionally than personally because professions equate to income and stability. But even in that department, I’ve had my fair share of struggles. Since connecting with a professional life navigator, I’ve been able to shift and remove a few of my mental blocks. Allowing my brain to see new pathways for professional and personal fulfillment. I’m genuinely excited for this next chapter because I feel like I just may be equipped to achieve my idea of success for the first time. It doesn’t mean I don’t shake in my brocade boots or that the mean girls in my mind are in detention – but I’m able to acknowledge them and return to the yellow brick road laid in front of me.

Not ready to publicly share my specific goals and ambitions, but to those paying attention, you might start to see them manifest.

HEALTH & WELLNESS

The start of this year has been a little trying on my mental and physical health. Due to an overly ambitious holiday card project, I didn’t have time to set 2021 goals or make a 2021 vision board. Basically, apply all the great knowledge and insight I’d gained by doing the self-work I’d alluded to above. Seemingly innocent, except my inner critic would not let up how this lack of goal setting was a reflection of my self-worth. I fought back the mental bully while finishing up 30+ hand-painted ornament for friends and family. In addition to putting Christmas décor away because, after January 6th, formally cute turns to chaos and raises my cortisol levels.  Then the weekend, I’m finally getting everything wrapped up, Christmas tree is being deconstructed, and only six more holiday ornament packages need to be sent out – I come down with the rona. The panna cotta hit home. My husband works at a grocery store, and with the surge occurring in Los Angeles, everyone in his store eventually caught the virus. If you’re curious, I shared the full story on my Instagram the first weekend I felt recovered and saved it as a highlight labeled “storytime“. It’s a little all over the place, but you’ll get the gist.

My husband and I feel very fortunate that neither of us had to go to the hospital and are mostly back to normal. But we’re still experiencing some effects of Covid-19, like being easy to fatigue, and I have increased inflammation in my body, triggering a skin rash all over my abdomen.

EATS & DRINKS

After Covid-19 robbed me of my sense of taste and smell for about a week, I came out of the darkness with a fire in my belly, ready to indulge in all my favorites. Plus, it was my birthday, so I kicked off the top of February with cupcakes, pasta, Japanese fried chicken, ramen, sushi, and the decadence did not stop. My taste buds traveled to several countries from the comfort of my home. I don’t regret a single bite, but the excess and richness exacerbated my post-rona inflammation. Although cute, I’m not trying to have a skin suit that resembles a speckled robin’s egg for the rest of my life. Plus, who knows what damage the long-term inflammation can have on my body in the future, especially as I have a history of rheumatoid arthritis in my family.

So, I’m working on cutting out refined sugar (anything above >1% on the label), dairy, and most meats from my diet. Fortunately, I’ve been using Daily Harvest for a few months now as a quick meal solution on busy days. With this shift in my diet, I’ll be leaning harder on Daily Harvest as my Monday through Thursday breakfast, lunch, and dinner solution. I want to eliminate the window of opportunity for my brain to go, I’m not sure what to eat, or we don’t have anything to eat – so let’s get french fries and chicken strips. My goal here is to set myself up for success, which means knowing my weaknesses and countering them with fool-proof solutions. DH also helps manage food-waste in my home. A DH meal never goes to waste.  However, the fresh produce I purchased due to unrealistic expectations for myself cooking it before it spoils is an expensive and wasteful delusion.

I also picked up this SUPER cute Poketo Food Planner. It was sold out on Poketo’s website, but I found it on Nordstroms.com. I’ll be using it to plan what Daily Harvest meals I’ll be eating each day and what anti-inflammatory meals I want to cook for my legally bound life partner and me on the weekends. 

WATCH

HBOMax has been showing up with the light-hearted, feel-good content I’ve needed to escape the weight of 2021 thus far.

Selena + Chef

I’m a pretty big Selena Gomez fan, not going to go into it right now, but let’s just say if I need to stay awake on a long drive home – Selena is one of my go-to sing-a-long artists. I love the girl, so it surprising that it took so long to start watching Selena + Chef. But it was the perfect show to binge when I felt like absolute crap and needed some comfort television, consuming delicious episode after episode with talented chefs and Selena’s sweet determination to learn to cook. The tension is real; in one episode she came out wearing a sweater I thought was awful for cooking in (sleeves for days, kitchen hazard 101 – no loose sleeves), she never lit a sleeve on fire, BUT lots of other shenanigans go down.  For foodies and novice chefs, this is a fun show. I’ve been using the French omelet technique to cook eggs since watching episode 1.

Full Bloom

It’s a wholesome reality competition involving flowers. The contestants and judges were entertaining, but I was there mostly for the floral executions and occasional takeaway tips on playing with flowers at home. This reminds me, I want to pick up some tulips from Trader Joes this week.

Honorable Mentions:

The Great (Hulu)

Fun period piece, drama/comedy, featuring the occasionally true story of Katherine The Great. Costumes are opulent and gorgeous, and watching Katherine (Elle Fanning) navigate assimilation and rise to power in Russia is fascinating, although 99.9% fictional in its depiction. Discard the need for historical accuracy and go for the ride.

Crack (Netflix)

A fascinating documentary about the crack epidemic that is heartbreaking and blood-boiling, but I’m a firm believer in consuming content that expands one’s understanding of our society, country, and how the world operates. Documentaries allow for our continued education, helping us to paint a richer picture of our reality and the reality of those who do not have our same experiences.

ADD TO CART

I love fun-size candy and travel-size skincare. Skincare can be so expensive, so I rarely buy a full bottle of something if I can try it out first in a value/gift pack or travel size version.

Here is what I’ve explored recently all as travel sizes:

Sunday Riley

Good, I like it, nothing offensive – not sure if it’s doing anything, but might purchase cause it MAY be doing something just needs more time.

Love it, will defiantly be purchasing full-size product

OSEA

Also, while in a corona-fueled moment of cabin fever, I bought the Les Mieux’s Skin Perfecter, which is a $200* exfoliation tool. I really like it, and it’s totally satisfying for anyone that enjoys seeing gunk come out of their pores.

LISTEN [ Hyperlinks go to Spotify]

Music

Still making playlists, this year’s start has been light in development hitting around 40 – 45 mins for both monthly mixtapes.

2021 January Playlist

2021 February Playlist

This radio station has been my go to for the workday –

Mista Izm Radio

Podcasts

Good Word with Kirk Franklin  –  so far, he’s interviewed Pharrell Williams, H.E.R., and Chance the Rapper. Each conversation has provided nuggets of insight around the human experience, reflection on our relationship with God, faith, or church. Chance the Rapper educated me on Chicago’s segregation issues that added colors and context to the conversation around black on black crime. Great podcast – looking forward to more episodes.

Thanks for catching up with me! What have you’ve been eating, watching, listening to, or adding to cart? How have you been hustling and flowing? No winners or losers here, only wins and lessons – got any you want to get off your chest? Let me know in the comments.

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2020 NOV : 23 Songs, 1 HR 30 MIN

LISTEN - December 16, 2020

Top Four Songs of November:

“Two Sugars” – Matthew Bones

“Books About UFOs” – Hüsker Dü

” My Drug Buddy” – The Lemonheads

“Wordy Rappinghood” – Tom Tom Club

“New Big Prinz” – The Fall

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2020 Sept & Oct: 17 Songs, 1 hr 17 min

LISTEN - November 2, 2020

Top Four Songs of September & October:

“That’s How I Got To Memphis” – Tom T. Hall

“I Don’t Cry” – Payday

“Excuse Generator” – Lithics

“When You’re My Age” – Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose

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2020 AUGUST: 21 SONGS, 1 HR 36 MINS

LISTEN - September 13, 2020

Top Five August:

“Six Pack” – ESG

“Tezeta” – Mulatu Astatke

“En cavale” – Juniore

“What Is Love?” – Deee-Lite

“Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” – Baccara

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BEST SONGS OF 2019: PART 2

LISTEN - January 5, 2020

The best songs of 2019, that may or may not have been released in 2019, part two

Only a mere stone’s throw away from December, I feel punctual in my publication of the best songs of 2019 part 2. The videos below highlight the top two tracks from each Spotify playlist I created, Q3 2019 and Q4 2019. A sampling of the melodies that filled my head during the last two-quarters of this past decade. Despite what my Spotify end of the year recap may suggest, I listened to a lot of other music besides the cast of Nashville.

I think it’s really cool that in 2029 ( if our planet hasn’t imploded and the AI apocalypse hasn’t hit), I’ll know exactly what I was listening too in 2019. Music can stimulate memories and retrieve forgotten feelings, passions, dreams – I’ll want to recall this time in life.

“Cool for Cats” – Squeeze | A playful earworm with some silly storytelling, and after watching the music video I feel I need to track down a pair of American Apparel red metallic spandex pants.

“You Push I’ll Go (feat. Alex Sanchez)” – Baby Dayliner | The singing/ lyrics give me Mark Kolzik vibes but the melody has a few more pop notes in it than the brooding irreverent singer-songwriter usually produces. The video for the song is NOT what I expected, and I assume was created with a bit of self-awareness, with that said, I’m here for it.

Dan feels the video detracts from the song. So you may want to just play it on the Q3 playlist.

“Hello?” – Tensnake | I imagine Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan prepare Sunday brunch for their closest group of friends with this song playing in the background. The centerpiece is a decoupage bowl filled with pushpin covered apples, bananas, and oranges.

“Oh Me I’m Never” – ShitKid | I wish I was thirteen discovering ShitKid and not in my thirties. They are cool as hell, and teenage Bekka would be ALL OVER the grunge punk-influenced garage rock. Now, I’m just an adult, wishing I wasn’t, so I could enjoy the tunes with that special verve one possesses as a teen.

Q3 2019 //

Q4 2019 //

Follow me on Spotify for all my playlists – blanket_fort_adventures

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Spotify Playlist : Road Side

LISTEN - November 8, 2018

Q3 2018 Spotify Playlist| Road Side

Another playlist another life update… 

How is it already November? How are we already in the second month of Q4?

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately, ok let’s be honest, when am I not self-reflective.

I journal on a daily basis, and it’s interesting how the same frets, insecurities, anxieties, hopes, dreams, aspirations – they just cycle through the pages. To be super honest and transparent, I don’t feel like I’ve grown in the ways I’ve hoped to grow over the last few years. And yet I KNOW I’ve grown in different ways that I didn’t anticipate or plan. It’s like my life is one long road trip, and instead of getting to my desired destination, I discovered something different and interesting in a roadside attraction.

Now, what I need to come to terms with and accept is that although I didn’t get to my destination, I can’t regret the experiences and lessons I learned by the roadside. Life is the greatest adventure, the only thing linear about it is that there is a beginning and an end, but everything in between is filled with curves, roundabouts, peaks, and valleys. This year is almost over, and I think it’s fair to say that I’ve done the best I could with it. But it’s not over yet, and I’m not racing to the finish line. I’m back on the road, with a new map in hand, and ready to burn rubber!

(*ok I’m done with the road trip metaphors – for now 😉)

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SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – DORMANT VOLCANO

LISTEN - August 2, 2018

Q2 2018 Spotify Playlist | Dormant Volcano

I’m practicing this radical truth thing which is incredibly uncomfortable and yet healing

I seem to always use playlist publications as a time to give a little life update. So, if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I’ve had a rocky Q2 of 2018.  At the end of March, a bunch of dirt was stirred up in my life and I had to start confronting a lot of pain and anger from my past. I’m practicing this radical truth thing which is incredibly uncomfortable and yet healing, so in the last few months, I’ve been supporting (with the help of my sister) my estranged father. Trust that the emotional and at times physical demands  (I’ve unloaded two large stuffed storage units in the last 2 months) of that relationship is incredibly draining.

But I’m sick and tired of being so god damn tired. I’m done with thinking and talking in circles. Yes, I don’t LOVE my life right now, and I feel so off track and removed from my center. Yet, I know I am the only one that can change things. I’m a firm believer in positive action yields and attracts positive results. I don’t know what exactly I’m searching for, but I know I want to be at a higher vibration – so here goes me sharing and putting some positivity out into the world with a fun new playlist.

Follow me on Spotify for all my playlist in one place! 
username : blanket_fort_adventures
 

Playlist: Dormant Volcano | duration 52+ mins
“Pretty Woman” – Lo Noom / “E.V.P.” – Blood Orange/ “My Offwhite Flag” – Dirty Projectors  / “Hope the High Road” – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit / “Let Me Get There” – Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions/ “Jane Eyre” – Sur Back / “We Are Going to Be Friends” – Bright Eyes, First Aid Kit / “Baby” – Angharad Drake / “Something for you M.I.N.D. ” – Superorganism/ “Truly Madly Deeply” – Yoke Lore / “Seventeen” – Sjowgren/ “Brass in Pocket” –  Pretenders / “The Bus Song” – Jay Som / “God Only Knows” – JR JR / “Promises” – Aly & AJ

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SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – J’AI NE PAS FRENCH FRIES

LISTEN - April 18, 2018

I just got out of my French class, but by the time you read this “just” will no longer be relevant.

I’m also currently craving french fries. By the time you read this, the sentence will still be relevant as I’m always craving french fries. Perhaps when you read this, I will have satiated my craving momentarily, or still be yearning for their salty goodness.

However, I created a playlist that I’ve aptly titled “French Fries” that has the songs that peaked my curiosity in Quarter 1 of 2018, and surprisingly has a lot of French tunes.

à la prochaine, prendre plaisir | see you, enjoy!

p.s. At the end of 2017 and start of 2018, I was also working on my “WAKE UP BEKKA” playlist that I thought I’d share as well. That playlist is always taking good “wake up” songs, so feel free to listen and leave a recommendation.

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SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – FINALLY MARRIED

LISTEN - December 1, 2017

Once upon a time, I would publish monthly playlists on this here blog. Well since May, when wedding planning went into overdrive, I stopped posting playlists but didn’t stop creating them. Then in August when wedding planning went into hyperdrive, I stopped creating playlists because I was focused on creating the playlist of music that would be played at the wedding. So now that I’m finally married, I have an aptly named Finally Married Playlist. I’ve taken the two unpublished playlists, Dada Movement and Dusty Pages and compiled them into one 3 hours and 17 min long playlist with a few bonus tracks starting from God Only Knows – our first dance song.

 

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