Figuring Out What’s Important

real simple

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When You’re Down on Your Luck

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If you’re feeling not-quite-at-the-top-of-your-game, researchers at Fordham University (oh hey alma mater!) found that listening to hip hop can boost your spirits, especially if the song contains lyrics you identify with, or that match up with a struggle you’re going through. The March issue of Self magazine reported that this particular style can boost your mood, and help you cope with your personal issues. So next time you feel like you have 99 Problems, crank some Jay Z to help you get through it.

 

Or, if hip hop isn’t your thing, try putting on that one song  that really gets you going. Back in the days before MP3s, I bought a lot of CDs. Most of them had a few good tracks and the rest were garbage. Then I found the one album that I loved every song, and it soon became my go-to morning music. Listening to Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits and singing along as I get ready for work is guaranteed to start my day off on the right foot, though it might not win me any bonus points with my neighbors.

 

Then if you’re still not feeling great try making yourself a get happy mixtape. I am a big playlist person to begin with (see previous comment about most songs on albums sucking), but having one full of upbeat, peppy tunes can distract you from all that bad stuff at least long enough to get through the work day. Here’s an insider tip – it’s pretty hard to stay upset when listening to songs about sunshine and love, and anything mo-town or by Hall and Oates. Here’s what’s on my mix:

 

  1. You Make My Dreams Come True: Hall and Oates
  2. No Rain: Blind Melon
  3. Only the Good Die Young: Billy Joel
  4. Dreaming on a World: Tracy Chapman
  5. Gold to Me: Ben Harper
  6. Wreckless Love: Alicia Keys
  7. Banana Pancakes: Jack Johnson
  8. I Am Not My Hair: India Arie
  9. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: Marvin Gaye and Tammi
  10. Signed, Sealed Delivered: Stevie Wonder
  11. I Want You Back: Jackson 5
  12. O-o-h Child: Chi Lites
  13. Oh Happy Day: Mahalia Jackson
  14. Fantasy: Mariah Carey
  15. Suddenly I See: KT Tunstall
  16. Three Little Birds: Bob Marley

 

What’s music do you listen to when you’re down in the dumps?

 

Birchbox for Exercise Gear

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By now, most people have heard of Birchbox, the beauty website that lets you subscribe for a monthly rate, and then receive a mixed package of hand selected samples to try. Some may have heard of Jewelmint, an accessories company founded by Kate Bosworth on a similar concept. Pay a flat rate each month, and select any piece in the collection. Now there is a website in the same lines, but for exercise fashionistas. With Ellie, you first take a style quiz to evaluate your tastes in workout gear, and how you like to exercise.

Then you have the option to become a member or shop on your own from the pieces they select for you. With a $50/month membership fee, you can pick any two clothing items each month to arrive at your door, shipping included. Members also gain preferred access to that month’s picks, and the inventory is constantly changing, so it will always infuse a fresh look into your gym-going attire.

Rev Run and Tyrese Wrote a Book

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So obviously I will be begging my book club to read it this month. It’s called Manology, and it promises to reveal the secrets of your man’s mind. While I haven’t read it yet, so I can’t fully comment, I will just say this. A book about how to be a hip hop mogul full of inspiring 160 character quotes from Rev, sure. A book about how to look pretty, while crooning to your lady from Tyrese, or even notes on how awesome it was to star in a Fast and the Furious movie, that I would expect. Still, I can’t resist a piece of hot literature from two of my favorite pop culture icons, and will be putting this on my must read list.

Track Your Favorite Wines in Your Phone

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If you ever find yourself standing in the liquor store, pondering which bottle of wine to buy, trying to remember what that delicious bottle you had with dinner was called. Well, now there’s an app for that. Vivino lets you scan the labels of wines you like, and keep a log of the grapes that caught your fancy while also viewing your friends tastes. No more having to phone a friend for help. You can rate it from zero to four stars, while it tracks the winery, region, country of origin, and grapes used to make it. The app will even offer up serving temperatures, give you tasting notes, and food pairings. It’s the sommelier best friend you never had. Peruse ratings from other users, and add personal notes to remind yourself of when you drank it. No more losing track of wines you like just because you are a little tipsy at the bottom of the bottle.