My Life’s Mixtape

I probably had way too much fun writing this post. You probably aren’t half as interested in the reasons behind these songs as I am. But, I love this prompt! Andrea over at Momfessionals has everyone talking about what songs would make up the mixtape to their lives. What would your songs be?! I wouldn’t call myself a super musically inclined person, but I always have some kind of music playing and certain songs give me chills and throw me back to certain times in life.

As a kid, Raffi was official car listening music! I’m talking in my car seat and I know I could hear Raffi playing in the car. Baby Beluga, anyone?

Of course at this time I also remember some of my parents music, too. Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen are all my Dad. And I swear I can feel the breeze of the convertible top down when I hear the song Last Dance With Mary Jane. 🙂 I remember my mom’s country music playing too, like Chattahoochee by Alan Jackson and Who’s Bed Have Your Boots Been Under by Shania Twain. In retrospect, neither of those two country songs are lyrically appropriate, but I had no idea what I was singing. Ha!

Wee Sing in Sillyville was one of my FAVORITE movies. This was partly because sing-a-long videos are awesome and partly because this movie included a sister and a brother and their basset hound, which was just like my family at the time. 😉

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The two siblings are magically transported into a coloring book where they meet up with Sillywhim and she takes them through the “pages”. This family was my favorite. I used to make my brother set up my baby dolls on all of these chairs so that it looked like this cast of characters sitting on their front porch. Bitty Booty Baby and Risseldy Rosseldy have a special place in my heart. 🙂

The first cassette tape I owned (after Raffi) was The Spice Girls. Wannabe was, and still is, a classic. I remember going to my best friend’s house when I was 5 and listening to the tape the very first day she got it. I was Baby Spice, she was Posh Spice, and three of our other friends were the Ginger, Scary, and Sporty.

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We had choreographed dances for EVERY song. Except for number 9 on the back of the tape which we always fast forwarded through because we weren’t allowed to listen to it. It’s the song Naked, and we legitimately thought it was pronounced “Knacked” until we were like 10 years old. Hahaha

Later in elementary school, it was all about NSYNC, The Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. Coming in close are LFO, BBMak, and OTown. I love that Britney and Christina broke through the boy band madness of this time. 🙂 I Want It That Way was such a hit that even my mom would sing along in the car! Britney really was my girl, though. I danced to her song Lucky in my school’s talent show and for my 100th day of school project, I made a poster with 100 pictures of her face. #notweirdatall

I had some growing pains in sixth grade. If I show you my class memory book, it says that my favorite band is The Beatles and my favorite song is My Band by D12. Yes, my teacher really let those two choices go to the printer. Ha! I guess I really thought I needed to pick an actual band and not a singer…so we can thank my Dad for introducing me to a legit band. 😉 My Band is SO inappropriate so let it be known that I was listening to the clean version as a 12 year old. #butstill #sowrong

7th grade brought my first MP3 player and a love for LimeWire. I don’t know if anyone explained to me that I was actually stealing music. #oops My MP3 player held 70 songs or a certain number of minutes of music, so if you had longer songs, it held even less. The good old days. 🙂 SOS by Rhianna was my JAM and I would always play it at the same time on the bus every day because it would end just as soon as we pulled into the parking lot at school. Seriously, that is my memory when I hear this song! In 8th grade, I babysat for a younger elementary student for a few hours after school and I would RUSH into their house when I got off the bus because Goodies by Ciara was making its way to #1 on the VH1 music charts. Hahaha

High school was a random mix of Christian rock, alternative music, and the wonderful mix of rap and pop. 🙂 I loved DC Talk’s song Jesus Freak and anything and everything Relient K and All Time Low. Let It Rock by Kevin Rudolf was my official “I know how to drive” song. I used to play that song at top volume when I would drive my brother to soccer practice and myself to dance class. I just felt so cool. 😉 Jake will still sing along to that song with me because I’m pretty sure I burned it into his brain ha!

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I got ready for my first real date to the song 4 Minutes by Madonna and Justin Timberlake. Like, it might have been playing when he texted me to tell me that he had just arrived at my house. The vivid memories are real!

Lady Gaga broke onto the scene during my junior year of high school and my friends and I loved her. We still do! Poker Face = sitting in traffic on the way to the doctor on the other side of Pittsburgh. Born This Way = playing on my computer when I purchased ridiculously expensive tickets to Lady Gaga’s concert for me and my best friend. LoveGame = driving with my prom date to take pictures at our friend’s house. Telephone = MY JAM! You can still find me dancing around to Telephone to this day. Her music videos are always beyond weird but I remember it was a big deal when they were released and we would all be dying to watch them!

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 I used to listen to I’m Goin’ In by Lil Wayne (SUCH bad lyrics) and My Life Be Like by Grits on the bus to cross country meets. Everyone has their “pump me up” playlist, right?! I actually used My Life Be Like for a project in college where we had to analyze song lyrics in theology class. That one isn’t so bad. 😉 Britney Spears made her comeback and 3 was the most fun song to listen to when my friends and I were driving around!

College. Oh my. I seem very narrow minded in my music choices, and rap seems to be what wins. BUT! I started teaching Spinning during college so I listened to all kinds of music. One thing I can say about this time in life is I learned to like entire albums of music as opposed to the one single that everyone else knew. Know what I mean?

Freshman year was all about Eminem’s new album, Recovery. I know every lyric to every song to this day! I also know every lyric to the freestyle he released right before this CD while I was still in high school…I would drive out of the high school parking lot with Despicable blasting at top volume!

Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa were rising to fame and as a native Pittsburgher, I felt it was my duty to support them…? Really, my brother liked them and when we started sharing a car, we had to find an artist we could both listen to without wanting to kill each other. And in the end, I liked those two artists too. 🙂 I can also see, hear, practically feel move-in day, orientation week, and almost every freshman year memory thereafter when I hear the song I Like It by Enrique Iglesias. It’s such a fun song for me!

After I memorized Eminem’s album freshman year, I memorized Drake’s Take Care album sophomore year. I also played the song Strange Clouds on EVERY drive from my parents’ house back to Duquesne. But I only pressed play on this song right before the tunnels so it would be blasting loud as ever when the city skyline came into view. 🙂 My boyfriend in college loved Chris Daughtry and we went to his concert in Pittsburgh, so I have a lot of memories listening to this guy too.

Junior year I discovered Lana del Rey…her voice is kind of soothing. And Summertime Sadness made it to the radio, so it MUST be a good song! I was definitely into soothing music this year for a variety of reasons, but it led me to Michael Buble, and no one can be mad about adding him to their life’s mixtape. It’s A Beautiful Day reminds me of walking across campus…and his Christmas CD is also to die for.

Senior year of college…Wake Me Up by Avicii (because it’s multipurpose…run to it, dance to it, jam in the car to it) and Pop That by French Montana (because every bar we went to played this song). Oh the songs that take you back. 🙂

Grad school = first move away from home = many drives back home as I adjusted. Enter these entire albums…every song, every lyric. Perfect for long drives because for me, the songs fit every mood. Happy, sad, at peace, excited, lonely, you name it, it works!

Swimming and No Light are two of my favorites!

My mixtape these days cannot yet be defined. I’m loving Adele, some EDM music, and some classical music. I’ll have to let you know in a few years what sticks. 😉

Show And Tell Tuesday: Riviera Maya

The weather is finally getting warmer, so it only makes sense to reminisce about my favorite vacation…and day dream about where I want to go next!

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Check out the link up on Andrea’s blog. 🙂

I have traveled to a bunch of cool places…New York City, Las Vegas, Disney World, Niagara Falls…and then I have my favorite places…the places that my family and I go back to time and time again. We LOVE to go to the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey. I have been to Wildwood every summer since I was six months old. 🙂 It’s just the best family vacation! Stick around the blog for a few months and you will get to read all about this summer’s trip;) But I have to say that my favorite vacation EVER was one that I took with my friends last May…

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Me, Johna, and Lindsey

…we hopped on a plane and went to Mexico! It was a special trip because we had all just finished our semester of student teaching AND graduated from college, so we had a lot to celebrate! I had never left the country before (except to go to Canada and that was before you needed a passport), but Lindsey had been to the Cancun/Riviera Maya area many times with her family so she was our tour guide of sorts…making sure we didn’t get lost in the airport and such;) Our trip started out with a ridiculously early flight from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and then from there, we flew to Cancun. You can’t be too mad about an early flight when the sky looks like this!

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We stayed at Barcelo Maya Beach in Riviera Maya so it was a bit of a drive from the airport, but it was so worth it! I loved how open everything was…you could always see the sun and feel how warm it was. Sometimes, when you’re from Pittsburgh, you forget what the sun feels like;) This is a view of the fountain separating the lobby from the space where our hotel room was.

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 It was an all-inclusive trip and it was so nice to order food and drinks at our leisure! We could try as many new-to-us dishes or drinks as we wanted and indulge. It is vacation, after all! I specifically remember one afternoon when I left my margarita next to my beach chair and went to wash the sand off my legs in the ocean…when I came back, one of the workers had taken my drink away thinking that I was finished! So I ran (literally ran…;) back to the bar and quickly ordered another one. #priorities We had access to pools, outdoor activities, and of course, the beach…which was about 20 steps from my hotel room. I couldn’t ask for anything more. 🙂

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Our resort was nice because there were five different “hotels” on the property but it felt like we were all neighbors. Hahaha there was a golf cart that would trolley people back and forth between the buildings which was perfect when you wanted to go see a show or shop somewhere else on the property. From end to end, it was only about a mile long [I know, because I ran it every morning;)], but once we started walking around, especially in and around all the different buildings, we were exhausted! Ha!

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Thanks to Google Images, you can see what it looks like from the sky:) The red rooftops are the five different little hotels on the property and you can see how grand all of the swimming pools were!

Every morning, I liked to start the day off with a nice run around the resort. So many walking paths and different routes to take!

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I quickly learned that paradise doesn’t always look this pretty…sometimes when you wake up, there are workers out there clearing palms that fell down in the night! Haha

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Our favorite breakfast spot was the buffet. There were SO many different kinds of food…breakfast food, lunch food, salad bar, fruit, dessert, pastries…you could have anything! I decided it was only appropriate to finish breakfast with a crepe and a mimosa daily. 🙂

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Then, we would head to the beach. It was nice to get some sun before it got TOO hot! Riviera Maya is the only place I have ever been where I needed to put sunscreen on the tops of my feet and on my ears. The sun is SERIOUS! Although one day, even though it was 82, it was so windy we were cold at the beach…

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We only looked a little crazy. 🙂

The beach was always lots of fun. We would read, take walks, people watch…and occasionally, someone interesting would walk by…one day, we got henna tattoos, another day, we posed with this parrot.

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When it was my turn to hold him by myself…well, I almost ran away. I wanted to hold him but his creepy little bird feet were scary!

And then there was beach yoga. I don’t know if there is anything better.

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At noon, we would walk over to the pool for water aerobics. Yes, water aerobics. It was so fun!

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The fitness instructors were hilarious and always included some kind of crazy challenge that made you swim with a partner or run around the pool. They played crazy loud music and were so energetic! And they started to recognize us because we were there every day. We made friends. 🙂

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We liked to take crazy pictures…

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…and order fun drinks…

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…because hey, if you don’t like it, you can order something else! #nbd #iloveallinclusive

And we liked to find random things to do. Like paint pottery!

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We chose our pieces, painted them whatever colors we wanted, and left them to be glazed. I painted the fish on the bottom with its mouth wide open…and I love it because I keep my everyday jewelry in it on my nightstand!

Dinner was always fun because we would dress up and go somewhere new. We usually ate at the same place for breakfast and the pool side spot for lunch, so it was nice to put on real clothes and eat in something other than our bathing suits. 😉

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Then we would walk around and find the entertainment for the night…on this night, there were very talented dancers on stage. We also saw an acrobatic type show, but the best shows were the ones where there was karaoke singing or some type of audience involvement! We watched five couples on stage one night competing against each other in strength challenges…it was hilarious to see the men and women fighting with each other to win!

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Pretty much every day, we heard someone at the resort tell us that we needed to go to Coco Bongo that night. We were kind of afraid to go anywhere else even though a ton of people went out every night…we were happy in our little resort bubble. 🙂 The closest we got to Coco Bongo was this Spiderman dude by the pool!

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So because we felt like we needed to do SOMETHING adventurous while we were there, we decided to swim with dolphins! This was not included in our trip but it was so worth the extra money. We purchased a CD of photos from our time with the dolphins and we have a video of it all too! So. much. fun.

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First, we all stood in a line at the edge of the pool. It was very deep so the dolphins could easily swim around, but there was a ledge on the side for us to stand so the water was about waist level. Our instructor had worked with this dolphin for YEARS so they kind of had a little relationship going on which was so cool! She had the dolphin do tricks for us first and in between tricks, he would swim past and we could pet him…kind of get used to us, I guess. 🙂 Then it was time to actually swim with the dolphin! One person in our little line would swim to the other side of the pool and wait for the dolphin to come past…you just had to cross your arms across your chest kind of like the letter T, hold his fins, and you were off!

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I actually did have fun, even though my face says otherwise. 🙂

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But I wasn’t so sure about kissing him…

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When it was time to go home, I sat under this baby palm tree until the airport taxi pulled up. Seriously. I thought Lindsey was going to kill me! Haha! It was such a fun trip and I would go back to this very place with these very people any day of the week. The resort was beautiful, the food was delicious, there was so much to do, and the people were so friendly! I was very impressed with my first venture out of the U.S. Now if I could just make it across the Pond…