My Top Songs of 2020

Spotify creates a playlist at the end of each year telling you what songs you played the most throughout the year. I thought it would be fun to share my favorite songs from my Spotify Wrapped.

Here are some of my top songs from 2020, in no particular order:

‘On Call’ by Kings of Leon

I love Kings of Leon, but I like their less-mainstream songs the most.

‘Telescope’ by Cage the Elephant

Cage the Elephant is truly my FAVORITE band ever, and when I don’t know what I’m in the mood for, I always start with this song. It’s a real gentle song – I love listening to it in the car. Songs always sound better in vehicles anyway, right?

Mary Jane’s Last Dance’ by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Any Tom Petty fans out there? I think I stumbled across it listening to the radio and immediately saved it to my playlist. Now I queue it up every time I take a shower. If you love rock, this is a good old fashioned banger. Can’t go wrong with some Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.

‘Sedona’ by Houndmouth

Houndmouth is a great band, but not necessarily very well-known. They are kind of like a mix between folk music and rock n roll. They are actually really good to listen to on a road trip. I got to see them live in April of 2018. It was a small venue so we were in the front row and it was a good a** show! They had really great stage presence and are very good vocally with harmonies. I highly recommend listening to them!

‘Don’t Forget Me’ by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are another band that I always turn on when I don’t know what I want. This is one of the RHCP “less funky” songs, but I’m a sucker for a strong, slow bass lick and some deep lyrics.

‘Down in a Hole’ by Alice in Chains

I’ve also had the pleasure to see Alice In Chains live, too. Obviously, not with the original Layne Staley (one of my favorite vocalists), but they were still SO good. I love Alice In Chains and this song has such great vocal harmonies.

‘Weight of Love’ by The Black Keys

My fiancé really got into The Black Keys and showed me this song. I have to say… this song has THE BEST GUITAR SOLO I’ve ever heard. Maybe not technically, but the melody and flow of it just blows me away. This song is so beautifully put together. 10/10

I have some other songs on my playlist, but I thought these were a good start. What songs have you enjoyed in 2020? I’m always looking to expand my playlist variety 😌

Chrissy’s Christmas Review: Singer MX60 Sewing Machine

So I’ve been wanting a sewing machine for about a year now and I finally had nothing that I needed specifically as a Christmas gift, so I was able to ask for something that I WANTED. (Dylan’s parents are great gift givers – they will get you exactly what you ask for)

I never really thought I would be the parent that makes clothes for my children, but that is kinda what I want to be able to do in the future. I know this machine isn’t top-grade, but obviously I’m a beginner and I’ll write my review to acknowledge that I don’t have a ton of experience in the sewing world.

My Grandmother did teach me how to sew with her machine when I was young, but I’ve never owned one or tried to operate one by myself. It’s probably been about ten years since I’ve sewn on a machine with my Grandma.

The first night I got it out of the box and set it up, I was able to successfully figure out how to wind a bobbin and thread the top by myself. When I got to the bottom bobbin, I struggled to figure out how to get the thread to run up and catch.

It was harder to figure out because the instructions that came with the machine had no words or descriptions, only photos. You can go on Singer’s website and get the instructions with words (which is what I did), but that takes more time if you’re struggling with one section that you can’t figure out.

I gave up that night and put the machine without getting a stitch in.

The second night, I figured it out almost right away and started stitching some loose random fabric. I then thought I could try making a pillow out of one of Della’s old onesies. So I went to her room, grabbed a onesie that was too small for her. I cut it up, and successfully made a pillow!!

It wasn’t perfect, but it’s so cute! For a last minute project done by a beginner with no help, I think it turned out pretty well. Della uses it for her baby dolls.

The machine runs smooth and is very simple to thread. It doesn’t have the auto needle threader apparatus, but it’s still a solid machine for someone wanting to start out and learn the craft. The stitches are tight and the machine doesn’t run very loud. I was thinking it would be much noisier, but it surprised me. The small storage compartment is handy. It has several different types of stitches as well, so you can do a variety of looks.

So far, I’d definitely recommend this machine to someone wanting to get into sewing.

Keep following for more Christmas reviews!

Finding the Happy Medium Between Caring For Others & Caring For Yourself

I have a hard time making sure that I take time to do things for ME. I am totally the type of person to give and give and give myself away to everyone else in order to keep those around me happy. I truly believe that giving is better than receiving, but let’s be honest… It does feel good to receive!

You owe it to yourself to not feel shame about doing what makes you happy. I used to think that doing so much for everyone else was simply me wearing myself down and not taking exploring the things that I love. But then I changed my perspective. I love to comfort people. I love to take weight off of people’s shoulders. Ilove making people feel welcome and at home. And just because I go out of my way to make those things happen, doesn’t mean that I care any less about myself. It makes me happy making others happy, and I shouldn’t feel shame or regret about the fact that caring for others (sometimes more than myself) brings me joy.

Find a happy medium. So… yeah. I like to make others happy. Most people do. But what you have to keep in mind is that you can’t truly be happy unless you are happy with yourself. You can give endlessly for those around you, but if you aren’t giving yourself even half of the attention that you are giving to everyone else, there is no way you can possibly be happy. I can’t stress just how important it is to spoil yourself every once in a while. Sometimes I forget that my happiness and mental health matters too, and it always end in a crying fit of rage and jealousy. So find a happy medium. It’s good to care for others, but do not forget that YOU MATTER TOO!

Spoil yourself! Believe it or not, but I am not the typical girl. I would much rather go hiking or fishing than going to get my nails or hair done. The point is, it’s important to identify the things that bring your mind and body peace and do those things! If you’re not sure what things you would enjoy to do for yourself, there is nothing wrong with exploring to find what works best for you and your schedule. You deserve to be spoiled because YOU ARE AN AMAZING, LIVING CREATURE! Life is hard! Make the most of it!

Here are some ideas of activities you can do to make sure you are caring for yourself:

  • Play an instrument
  • Read a book
  • Wash your face or put on a face mask (I tried this for the first time the other day, and even though it was a quick and subtle fifteen minutes, I couldn’t believe how refreshed I felt afterwards!)
  • Ride a bike
  • Paint your nails
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Go for a walk or drive alone
  • Put lotion on (I have recently made this a habit after every shower. It sounds silly, but that extra 5-10 minutes I get alone to myself after a shower really makes a difference! Plus, who doesn’t love soft, smooth skin!)
  • Take yourself on a date
  • Paint, write, or draw
  • Listen to music

Whatever activity or hobby you decide to take part in, make sure you are doing it without distraction and focusing on reaching a peaceful and happy state of mind. What do you do to rejuvenate your mind and body? I’d love to hear some of your ideas or recommended products!! Drop a comment and let’s chat!!

June Blogging Challenge: Day 18

Day 18 already, folks!

Something you’re embarrassed to love

Haha! I have to admit that I am absolutely obsessed with the TV show Grey’s Anatomy. I have watched the series seven times, and I am now working on watching it for the eighth time!!

Just for fun… here are some of my thoughts on the show, for those of you that have seen it. (**Please be aware that there may be spoilers in this post!**)

I feel that Grey’s Anatomy is so popular because of its stance on important real-life issues like racism, the LGBTQ community, women in the workplace, gun violence, the opioid epidemic, parenthood, domestic violence, marriage, rape, and the loss of a loved one. Nearly everyone that watches the show can relate with some character or issue that is portrayed, and that is not something that every show can do.

Favorite character(s): Who doesn’t love George O’Malley? I will be honest… his death hit me waaay harder than Derek Shepherd’s. George was a kind soul, someone that was motivated out of good morals in nearly every decision he made. He was caring and loving and just plain… good. Another character I really respect is Richard Webber. I know in early season, I didn’t like the way he handed his relationship with Meredith, but overall, I see Webber as a wise leader. Someone I hope they never take off the show. Honorable Mention: Lexie Grey, Teddy Altman, Cristina Yang, and Atticus Lincoln.

Least favorite character(s): April Keppner. Her character actually developed into a strong, determined woman; but at the beginning I absolutely could not stand her. I would contemplate fast-forwarding through the show. I just don’t like a suck-up, that’s all. I can also admit that I didn’t really care for Meredith in the beginning even though the show is practically about her. I feel like she always over-reacted when it came to her trauma. Yeah, she had some tough times, but the number of times she got all dramatic was so annoying to me. You’re gonna try to drown yourself in the bathtub? Really? They portray her as such a strong woman in the beginning, but she dramatically gave up so many times. Annoying! Honorable Mention: Amelia Shepherd and Owen Hunt.

Favorite episode(s): This is hard. I think it needs split up into categories. Most important episodes? The episode where Dr. Bailey saves the life of a white supremacist and the episode where Jo helps the victim of sexual assault. Most dramatic episodes?PLANE CRASH. One of my favorites for the simple fact that I love the way they end Sloan and Lexie, in such a traumatic, love-filled moment. So devastating, yet so beautiful. Also the episode where there is a shooter in the hospital.

I wanna hear from you, Grey’s fans!! 

What are your favorite episodes and most-liked characters? Let’s chat!

The big 5-0

I have finally hit 50 followers! I just wanted to dedicate this to all of you awesome readers that follow my journey, read my story, and leave your comments.

When I started this blog, I had no idea what I’d be getting into. I’ve always had a passion for writing, and I knew exactly what my platform was going to be. Writing has always been a great outlet for me, and it’s something I love to do!

I started to write a book back when I was in high school, but kind of just let it go to the way side. I’ve decided I wanted to get back into creative writing and work on publishing chapters of a new book! I already published a prologue for it, if you are interested in reading it I have left the link at the bottom of this article. I think it will be a fun journey and a great way to challenge myself while also pursuing a long-standing dream of mine.

Anyway, THANK YOU for your follow, your friendship, and your support! 50 followers may not sound like much, but this blog has turned into way more than I ever could have dreamed!

-Xoxoxo, Chrissy-

❤️

Read Prologue here.

The Windy City: A Review

Okay. So I swore I would do this a long time ago, (considering that I took the trip back in March) but I got a little busy… What can I say?

Anywhooo, I needed a little getaway right around the time that Spring Break came around, (I got lucky, huh?) so I decided to take the Amtrak to Chicago for five days. If I were to drive to Chicago from where I live, it would have taken me five hours and a boatload of money for gas. It ended up the Amtrak was only a three and a half hour ride and it only cost me $22 a ticket. The train is also a cool way to see the country, so I highly recommend trying it sometime!

I left for the Windy City on a Monday. The great thing about my mini vacation to Chicago was that I had a friend up there that offered to let me stay on his pull-out couch. I saved a lot of money by not having to pay for a hotel every night!

By the time I got there, it was too late to do much, so my buddy picked me up and we had dinner at Bar Louie and visited a bar in Naperville before heading for bed.

Tuesday morning we got up and decided to hit the city! The first thing we did was take the Metra Train to Ogilvie Train Station, which is the train station that is literally right in the middle of downtown Chicago. From there we walked to Millennium Park and saw The Bean (just about anyone who visits the city makes sure to get a picture with The Bean!). Millennium Park is surrounded by skyscrapers and incredible buildings, so if you really want a cool “inside view” of the city, Millennium Park is a good place to go.

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The Bean, Millennium Park

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Maggie Daley Park

If you keep walking through the park, you’ll eventually make it to Maggie Daley Park Plaza. It’s really just a big park, dedicated to the first lady of the city Maggie Daley, who died of cancer in 2011. The city had plans to add on to it when they wanted to make a bid on hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics. Of course, that didn’t happen, but the park is still a pretty neat sight!

All of this isn’t located too far from Michigan Avenue, one of Chicago’s well-known streets for shopping. We were hungry, so we found a cool joint called Burger Bar. The pictures of our food don’t even do it justice, but just take a look and I’m sure you’ll believe me when I say it was the best burger I had ever had!! And the milkshake was probably the most beautiful shake I’d ever seen! I think Burger Bar has a few locations, but if you’re ever on Michigan Ave, I HIGHLY recommend Burger Bar!

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This trip involved a lot of firsts for me! Not only was it the first time I ever rode on a train by myself, I also had the pleasure of trying my first Krispy Kreme doughnut. Oh man. I think it’s safe to say that I am glad I live in a small town so that I don’t have access to all of the amazingly delicious (and unhealthy!) food choices the city has.

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The Field Museum

While in the city, we also visited The Field Museum. I had been to Chicago before this trip with my sisters when I was in the fourth grade. On that trip, my family and I went to The Field Museum, but it’s always a lot more interesting and worthwhile when you experience it as an adult. I’m kind of a nerd, so I genuinely love museums, but I honestly think The Field Museum has a little bit of something for everybody. The architecture of the museum itself is just something to behold! It does cost admission to visit; however, they do offer discounts for seniors and military gets in free.

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Firehouse 51, as seen on NBC’s television show “Chicago Fire”

One of the coolest things to happen to me while I was in Chicago occurred when we went to visit Firehouse 51. Firehouse 51 is the firehouse they use to film the show Chicago Fire; however, it’s an ACTUAL firehouse. We parked along the road in front of the firehouse and were walking up to take pictures when a firefighter walked out and asked us if we wanted to take a look inside. I used to watch Chicago Fire religiously, so of course I probably squealed and said YES!!!

 

I probably just got really lucky that day when they offered to give us a tour, but if you have even heard of the show Chicago Fire, Firehouse 51 might be something to check out! It’s pretty cool to see a place where a hit TV show is filmed!

Another pretty cool thing I got to do was walk through Guaranteed Rate Field, which is the home of one of Chicago’s baseball teams, the White Sox. I got kinda lucky here as well because the friend I was staying with while in Chicago works security for the stadium. So I had the opportunity to walk down in the tunnel, on the field, and sit in the dugout. Anyway, they’ve put a lot of work into making the stadium look just absolutely beautiful. If you enjoy visiting all of America’s baseball stadiums, make sure you check this one out! I’m a Cardinals fan, but I wouldn’t be shy to say that this stadium is AMAZING! Five stars! Also, they added an area that looks over the city skyline, and it is a cool place to get a good view of the city from afar!

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In the White Sox’s dugout

Needless to say, I think Chicago is a beautiful city!

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Other note-worthy places to visit:

  • Gyros Express, Villa Park: Literally the best gyro I’ve ever had, and probably my favorite meal of the entire trip.31311363_1928706133868272_4799620172254019584_n
  • Portillos: Okay, so I feel like every Chicagoan is obsessed with Portillos, and even though hot dogs aren’t really my thing, they do have AMAZING Italian beef. Make sure you try a chocolate cake shake, too!
  • United Center, Home of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks
  • Middleterranean Mediterranean Kitchen: MAKE SURE YOU GET THE GREEK FRIES with Parmesan Cheese and Garlic Mayo!!
  • Brookfield Zoo: I looooove going to zoo. The Brookfield Zoo would be a good thing to do if you just wanted to get outside for a few hours. Also, military gets free admission, you just have to pay to park.

     

    I wanted to make sure I personally thanked Nick Oplawski and his family for the hospitality and for showing me the great city of Chicago! I got to experience the city life like I never thought possible!

Blogging: A Beginner’s Thoughts

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I have sat at this computer nearly all day reading other peoples’ blogs trying to find inspiration on what to write about. Still, as I sit here typing this, I have nothing. As a beginner at this whole “blogging” thing, (as I’m sure you all have) I’m struggling with trying to come up with something that other people will want to read. I just came to the conclusion that I DON’T CARE about what everyone else thinks a blog should be. I’ve watched YouTube videos from famous bloggers giving their advice on how to be successful at blogging and I’ve also looked through countless websites on issues that could be appealing to readers. Screw that. This website is mine, and I can write about whatever I please!

I’m still relatively new to this, but before I become obsessed with trying to write about what I think others want to hear, I want to remind myself and others that a blog belongs to the writer. We all started the blogging process for different reasons. For me, I wanted an outlet that I could express my thoughts and share my story with people from around the world. And what an amazing concept that is! We have the power at the tip of our fingers to put our thoughts onto a canvas for anyone and everyone that wants to read it. I have always considered myself to be a naturally eloquent writer, and now I have the perfect opportunity to share what I love to do with people that have the same interest. Maybe I’m a nerd, but I think that is absolutely incredible!

I graduated high school in 2015 and from there I did a semester at Eastern Illinois University before I enlisted in the Army National Guard. I did my military training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina from May to October of 2016. I returned back home to Illinois and decided to continue my education. Currently, I’m attending John Wood Community College and I will graduate this May with an Associate of the Arts. From there? I have absolutely no idea! I still have two more years of school before I achieve my goal of a Bachelor’s degree. College is a long, expensive investment in the United States, so I want to make sure I don’t waste any time in studying something that I won’t be happy doing. That’s part of the reason I decided to try out blogging in a more consistent way. I think blogging can teach anyone more about themselves, especially if you just sit down and put your feelings and thoughts onto the page.

As part of my blogging experience, my goal is to talk to new people from all over the world. I’ve always had a fascination with learning about new cultures and how people live their everyday lives in other countries. That being said, I’d love to hear from some of you fellow bloggers out there in the WordPress world! Feel free to leave a comment introducing yourself in the comment section of this post. I can’t wait to hear from some of you and learn along the way!

My advice:

Don’t try too hard. Everyone’s pace is different. If you aren’t comfortable feeling like you have to post something everyday, don’t. Wait until you have something worthwhile and meaningful to you before you try to force words onto the screen. However, sometimes it’s fun to just sit down with no leads, type whatever pops into your head, and see what it turns into. Everyone’s style is different, so we shouldn’t feel like we have to conform to what our idea of a “good blog” is. Let your personality and style be revealed through your work!

Don’t be afraid to try something new! I think some bloggers feel as if they have to stick to one topic. I think that’s crazy! We all evolve throughout life and our interests change! Write about the things that you care about most, regardless of if you think others will like it. Having passion is hard to come by. Like I said before, you’re the writer, so own it!