Tunes of the Week Edition No. 4

Published 5/14/14 by:

I love May for a lot of reasons. One reason is it means there’s about a month of teaching left for me. Another reason is that it’s bright enough to wear sunglasses when I leave my house at 6:45am. I can’t really explain how my disposition changes when wearing sunglasses en route to school, but my whole demeanor changes, and I just want to pump jams non-stop. Other than when the leaves change, it’s the only other time of year that I actually enjoy my commute. Here’s what I’ve been playing to start my day right.

 

Mikky Ekko’s Kids – This song was played in the season 3A finale of Teen Wolf. Yes, I’m endorsing Teen Wolf…look for a post on that later. This song is upbeat, and reminds me of Foster the People a tiny bit. This may only be applicable to me and my weird musical associations, but when I listen to this, it feels like a warm breeze no matter what the actual weather is.

 

 

 

The Lighthouse and the Whaler’s Pioneers – One of my most trustworthy musical advisors recommended this song to me after a co-worker saw this band open for Matt Pond PA. It definitely has a Vampire Weekend vibe, and makes me want to have a BBQ really badly.

 

 

 

 

Kurt Vile’s Wakin on A Pretty Day – I discovered this song last fall when I saw one of my favorite coming of age movies of the 2000s,
“The Spectacular Now”. This song is versatile in that I like to cook to it, drive to it, write to it, and grade to it. Also, it’s lengthiness lends itself to pretty lovely daydreaming. I’m so upset that I can’t see him perform with Jenny Lewis this summer. *Sighs audibly*

 

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Tunes of the Week Edition No. 3

Published 4/26/14 by:

When the weather starts to heat up, so does my hankering for new music to play loudly with the windows rolled down. While grading I’ve been perusing Pandora (only when I’m not obsessed with The Wallflowers station), and I’ve found a few new artists that piqued my interest. I also have had some good luck encountering sweet music on NBC’s “Parenthood” and The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries”, which is always an added bonus to watching TV.  So, without further ado, here are this week’s tunes.

 

 

Emily Wolfe’s “White Collar Whiskey” – This song is from Emily’s completely stellar EP called “Mechanical Hands”. I want to crawl inside this song and live in it. The crescendos in this song drive me crazy in the best possible way. Emily’s voice is reminiscent of Ingrid Michaelson, except she manipulates her soft sopranos into loud rock ‘n roll growls with much more intensity. The guitar riffs throughout the song remind me of one of my favorite bands – The Heartless Bastards. I hope Emily Wolfe takes off in a big, big way. She’s ultra talented. Hat tip to “The Vampire Diaries” music supervisors for introducing me to this fine musician.

 

 

JP Harris and the Tough Choices’ “I’m Staying Here” – One of my very good friends from high school lives on a farm in Maine, and she turned me on to this fantastic band. Talk about a throwback. Before I saw what these band members looked like, I figured they were saloon-loving gentlemen who had been playing together since the 60s. That is not the case. They are completely reviving a country music scene that hasn’t really been popular since the late, great man in black, Sir Johnny Cash. I’m totally on board with their sound, and their message: “if there ain’t no honky tonks up in heaven, I’m staying here.”

 

 

Mofro’s “Lochloosa” – This song is from Mofro’s second album sharing the same title. I discovered this song on Pandora because I listen to Ben Harper radio. Take of that what you will. I know nothing about him as an artist, except that he can croon with the best of them and he reminds me of the band Groove Armada in a major way. Maybe they have a connection? Who knows. Enjoy this fantastic song.

 

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Product Review: Solutions for Cracked Skin and Feet

Published 3/30/14 by:

Confession time: I have incredibly sensitive and dry skin. My mosquito bites flare up to the size of a quarter when itchy, I get random bumps on my arms, and rashes when I shave my legs. Basically, I should just sit in a vat of lotion on the regular. Additionally, living in New England only multiplies these skin maladies.  Next confession: if you haven’t noticed yet, based on previous blog posts, I’m a bit of a consumer. I’d like to think my being a teacher balances out the producer aspect of my somewhat balanced humanity, but I’m not sure it works that way. In any case, I like to buy things, try things and wear things. This is who I am, and I’ve come to accept it. So when my heels start cracking so deeply that I can fit my fingernail in-between the slits, I instantly go out and buy salves and lotions that supposedly will solve my feet problems. I am here to tell you, that the majority of them don’t work, and the ones that do take some serious consistent use in order to pay off. I’m horrible at adding new things into my routine, such as slathering up my feet and wearing socks to bed, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  Below I have listed the successful and unsuccessful products that have helped with my skin (specifically my feet). I’d also love to hear from some readers what products I should avoid or purchase in bulk.

*Editors note: I have not been paid by any of these companies to endorse them, but if someone wants to send me free things, I’d dig that.

 

 

Body Shop Peppermint Foot Repair

The Body Shop’s Peppermint Foot Rescue – This is an entire line of foot repair items. They have a “foot mask” that exfoliates your hooves that’s a grainy type of ointment, and then you coat your feet afterwards in their extremely thick peppermint foot lotion. Seriously, the stuff won’t completely soak in for hours. At first I thought that this line of products would solve all of my problems, but really it just made the skin on my feet feel like silk, and my heels still cracked, dry, and hard as rocks. In others words: it didn’t repair much. I will say this: if you started this foot remedy treatment before your heels crack, it could be a really solid preventative tactic. I haven’t gone that route, so if you’ve found success in doing that, please chime in! Product grade: C

 

Skin Fare Lotion Stick

Skin Fare Lotion Sticks: Heal – This is a line of lotion sticks (think of Push Pops from back in the day), that vary in what they help protect, prevent and soothe. I chose the one called “Heal” because it claims right on the label to help with wounds, cracks and damaged skin. It’s essentially a tube of chapstick for the heels of your feet. When you start to rub it on your feet it feels like a chunky lip balm, but as you rub it becomes very oily and soothing. I highly recommend putting socks on immediately afterwards to keep it absorbed. I have found a fair amount of success with this product because it does soften your skin. My only complaint is that if you do it inconsistently, or if you’re not generous with the amount you lather on, it doesn’t work. Plus the stick is no bigger than a chapstick, so you go through it fairly quickly. Product Grade: A-

 

 

 

 

Watkins Foot Salve

J.R. Watkins Foot Repair Salve – This stuff is super oily and greasy. I’ve wrecked a few pairs of socks with how oily it is, because in the directions it tells you to cover your heels in it, throw on some socks and go to bed for “overnight repair”. While this stuff is magnificent, and probably the best foot item I’ve ever purchased, I would’ve liked to have known that I should wear really thick socks that I don’t give a crud about with this salve. I suppose it’s a bit my own fault for not thinking it through, but this stuff is aggressive! Again, consistency helps, but I see drastic differences even when I remember to do it once a week! Product Grade: A

Grapefruit Body Butter

The Body Shop’s Pink Grapefruit Body Butter – This stuff is the best overall body lotion I’ve ever encountered. All of the scents are phenomenal and may as well operate as perfume, but the grapefruit is my favorite. While this lotion doesn’t necessarily repair severely cracked feet, it definitely rejuvenates my wintery skin throughout the coldest months of the year. You really don’t need to consider any other lotions, because this is as good as it gets. It’s also an excellent post-shave moisturizer on your legs. For the gentlemen: if you’re shaving your face, I wouldn’t recommend using this stuff because it’s really thick, and may be a bit too oily for facial skin. Product Grade: A+

 

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Tunes of the Week Edition No. 2

Published 3/26/14 by:

The past few weeks I’ve had social commitments on Sundays – gasp! I know! Sundays for some people are reserved for worship, brunch, or in my case, grading. For whatever reason I’ve had a lot of requests to socialize on Sundays, and I’ve gladly accepted. As a result of this, I’ve been in my car driving for the past few consecutive Sunday mornings and it’s been a music revelation. Some of my favorite stations do “Sunday Morning Over Easy”, “Acoustic Sunrise” or my new favorite: “Sunday Morning Country Oldies”.  All three of these stations play music that’s either unplugged, rare, old or live. It’s been so fun hearing new renditions of some of my favorites, or a Lorrie Morgan single that I forgot existed. I encourage you to check out your local stations to see what they’re up to on Sunday mornings. I’m planning on making it a more regular occurrence in my own life. In the meantime, here’s what else I’ve been listening to this week. Enjoy, and please let me know if you have recommendations!

 

The Black Keys’ new single “Fever” – This is the first single from their upcoming album of the same title, which will be released on May 13th. It’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, a bit psychedelic, but still has those grainy vibes that are so fun. I always find their upbeat tunes to be great highway driving music – that is, if you like to drive fast.

 

Indian Summer‘s  single “How Sad” – I discovered this band through a few bloggers who wrote about bands to watch at SXSW. They’re equal parts Bon Iver, MGMT, and Vampire Weekend. I don’t know much about this band, but the catchiness of this song, and the cleverness of the video made me a fan.

Granville Automatic‘s “Don’t Come to Tennessee” – Another discovery via SXSW, but this is much twangy-er than what I’ve posted in the past. Truth be told: I love country music. These gals are channeling Patsy Cline, The Dixie Chicks and Zooey Deschanel simultaneously, and it’s divine.

 

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On My Birthday: My 29 Song Soundtrack

Published 3/17/14 by:

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