Happy Monday

Another Monday is here and I am feeling extremely motivated for the week ahead.

The weekend was pretty chill for us…playdates, laziness, minimizing all the clothing clutter we all seem to have built and lots of eating ha! Like pizza, street tacos and too much pasta….ughhh…

So, because of all of that food cheating I am looking to make up for that this week with a little rebalance of my diet and some workout dates with a friend. 

I am super excited for some activity outside without the kiddos where I can just focus on me (because we all need that sometimes…right?

On another note my little guy starting crawling! Yayy! So exciting and nerve racking all the same.  Major child proofing is in order as my son is way more of an explorer than my daughter was at this stage.  In a blink of an eye he’s across the room already…but this is where the fun starts! I couldn’t be happier! ūüėÉ

This will call for more fun to be had in the week ahead…so, let’s just get on with it then! ūüėĄ

Have a great week lovelies!

Christina xx

Thoughts on “13 Reasons Why”

Recently, I took about a week to watch the new Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” and I have to say it was heavy.

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Although the subject matter is not an easy one I was curious to see how this show would portray such a thing.  Especially, since this is a program that is targeted to teens and having someone like Selena Gomez tied to the project as an executive producer makes it more attractive to some.

For those who don’t know, this is a show about the 13 reasons that led a young girl named Hannah to the decision to end her life. ¬†Upon her death she explains these reasons in 13 tapes left to be heard by the people in her life…those that she blamed for her decision.

Now, let me just say there is no reason for anyone to end their life.  There is always another way.  Suicide is such a harsh finality to a temporary pain.  There is always help and people who care.  Always.

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This show was not an easy one to watch but also one that you felt yourself needing to see through.  There has been talk of the producers attempting to glamorize the subject matter, almost making it appear as though her thought process made some sort of sense.  Or that the fact she haunted these people after her death with these tapes made her appear as some sort of celebrity but I have to say that I disagree.  Although, some of the approach they took was mishandled knowing the age group that the show is geared towards.

In my opinion, this show helped to shed a light on the difficulties of adolescence in today’s day and age. ¬†Being a teenager was hard enough when I was younger, I could not imagine growing up among Facebook trolls and social media bullies. ¬†One embarrassing moment or mean comment lives forever nowadays.

This show touches on more than just suicide. ¬†It talks about trying to find out who you are among judgement and pressure. ¬†Self identification, sexual preference, bullying, rape, self-mutilation, depression and what it looks like. ¬†This show really allows a conversation to be had about what it’s like to be a young person today.

These are issues that all young people in all generations are touched by. ¬†But today’s standards amplifies everything so much more with the online lives that young people have grown up knowing. ¬†This makes the emotions from these issues seem so much bigger.

Now, I did not read the book but do know that the makers of the show did take some creative liberties to make this book into a series. ¬†I do feel that there was still a responsibility to tell this story in a way that wasn’t so graphic in showing the finality of this girls life. ¬†The choice to show the act of ending her life in such a precise way was crippling and sad, so much so, I could not watch, I turned my head until it was done. ¬†This I don’t feel was a responsible ¬†creative choice. ¬†It was meant to feel authentic and honest but at the same time showed such a feeling of calm that this may just backfire.

That was my fear after this moment of the series.  Will this make someone who is vulnerable to this idea feel as if this is the way to go.  I certainly hope not.

I do appreciate the portrayal of cause and effect in our treatment of others. ¬†Through Hannah’s tapes you get an idea of how moments, thoughts, acts of kindness and betrayal can all leave marks on us. ¬†This is something I felt is good for young people to see. Allowing people to make better choices by being better to one another. ¬†This, I think is a good message.

All in the same, these tapes seem to signify¬†some blame on those that receive them. ¬†This feels uncomfortable…NO ONE¬†is ever at fault for someone choosing to take their own life. In her choice to leave this remembrance, if you will…it shows¬†the confusion and loneliness that she must have felt and appears to still be working out even until the end. ¬†In all of these reasons she had, there was still a way to fix it. ¬†There was another way and maybe that is what this series was trying to show. ¬†Every reason that she provides is just another doorway to which she should have asked for help.

The guidance counselor provides some discomfort and anger even in her listing of reasons and I hope in no way discourages someone to ask for help from a person in a similar authoritative position.  This is another way the series showed some irresponsibility in potentially scaring off those in need to seek help by making it appear as a worthless attempt.  This is another moment I feared for that vulnerable person watching.

I myself felt lost as a young person. ¬†Not for anything happening at school but for reasons personal to my life. ¬†It brought me to a dark place, a place I contemplated with the notion of taking an easier way. ¬†But of course, I didn’t and realized that things did get easier to deal with. ¬†Although, they may not have changed in the way I may have wished. ¬†I learned how to better work with those emotions that brought me to that dark place.

When we are young, emotions ride high, puberty ensues and we are a chemical mess.  In trying to deal with others, ourselves and the fearful thought of the big future ahead and all that comes with that, it can be a really scary time.  This show felt like it was trying to share in that fear and make it known that it exists.

How young people will take this is unsure….and I am still not quite sure if I had a teenager that I would want them to see this.

As an adult I can relate to what those fears felt like. ¬†They can be scary but it will always get better, there is always another way, there is always someone who cares….always.

This show may have another season. ¬†It is still unknown. ¬†The maker’s seem to want to continue telling these characters stories. ¬†The ending left for more interpretation to be had so we will see what happens. ¬†There may be more to talk about next season. ¬†Maybe a conversation is all you need.

it WILL and CAN get better...

If you ever feel alone or consumed with fear or depression…seek help…it WILL and CAN get better.

 

Take care lovelies,

Christina xx

 

40ish Days Without Social Media

Hello there!

I have returned after a bit of a cleanse from all things social media.  It became apparent that I needed some time for reflection and a vacation from my news feed and in some ways even this blog.

Lately, this cleansing of sorts, seems to be more of a regular requirement in my life. Why? ¬†I’m really not sure. ¬†Maybe the amount of time that is sucked away to the consumption of useless information, or the obscene lists of notifications that flood my inbox, or the choice¬†I make to scroll through the lives of other’s when I could be maximizing my own time. The struggle is real and it is entirely a pathetic one.

So, to feel less pathetic, I stepped away for a bit. ¬†Forty plus days or so, without any interaction on social media (although, I did have to answer a couple of questions on the Book from an inquirer that I did indulge but just once and maybe to check on a particular service I was looking into (reviews people) but that would be the jist of it! ūüôā )

40ish Days

All of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat were avoided. ¬†All of those devoted apps were dissolved from my device and never to be installed again for a month and a half (and some never will be). ¬†If I didn’t remove them from my phone this would not work….I would look just out of habit!

At first, you go through a bit of withdrawal…not kidding. ¬†You feel as if every moment that involves nothing needs something and those are the moments we go to our devices. So, in those moments I had to learn to be okay with having nothing to do or better yet find ways to fill those quiet lulls with constructive activities.

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finished my gallery wall
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keeping a workout program priority…love Fitness Blender

I truly think people just can’t be in their own thoughts anymore. ¬†Boredom ensues fear nowadays.

What is so bad about being in our own heads…our own lives, essentially? ¬†This is what matters, our lives, our thoughts, our goods, our bads, our empty moments, our full ones….

Not the hand-picked reel that others lay out for us to see in their storylines. ¬†Social Media has become such a detached way of communicating for me lately. ¬†Nothing feels organic or sincere. ¬†I miss the days where learning about someone’s life was gained through conversation and one on one connection.

Or maybe, these are things I need to work on in myself. ¬†This disclosure is why I have an incessant need to break away from today’s ever popular ways of connecting and find comfort in the authentic happenings that arise everyday.

I love stepping back from the mindless scroll and actually get some shit done!

And that’s what I have attempted to do….get shit done, think outside of the box, enjoy the quiet moments and savor the time I share with my family. ¬†Without a phone attached to my hand.

It’s really nice. ¬†You should try it!

I actually felt less anxious…believe it or not. ¬†Today’s technology has definitely increased the anxiety people live with. ¬†It’s really in recent years that people complain about having to deal with the annoyance that is anxiety. ¬†In some cases, it can be crippling.

The reality is…everybody. is. anxious. ¬†Who could blame them!

We live on autopilot, constantly moving, taking in way too much information at a supersonic pace. ¬†We can’t just be in the moment anymore. ¬†We are just always waiting for the next thing.

‚ÄúBe happy in the moment, that‚Äôs enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Mother Teresa.png

Well, I don’t want to live like that any longer. ¬†What this whole experiment has taught me is that I want to be in the moment. ¬†Exhaust the beauty in the small things and all the details. ¬†I want to live slower and relish in my relationships with people.

I wish to be more creative and allow boredom to lead me on a path to better ideas.  Being in my own thoughts is okay and one I feel compelled to engage in.

Just this past Monday I returned to Instagram…just a single post of a beautiful rose from a bouquet my husband gave me. ¬†Just to say I had returned.

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Taking a moment to enjoy that flower means something to me.  As it should.

I don’t feel I will be engaging as frequently as I found myself doing a couple of months ago.

And as for what apps I will be re-installing onto my phone…it won’t be all of them…that is for sure. ¬†Instagram (my main chick), Snapchat (my side chick) and Pinterest (my every now again girl ūüôā ) should suffice. ¬†These are my faves at this point and all I really need in this world of connecting.

All other sites will be an occasional visit from my PC when it suits me….or not…

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playdates, my baby finally sitting and trying to crawl and seeing how their bond grows daily…every moment counts…
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the color is here shortly but when it appears it is beautiful…

Take care lovelies!

Christina xx

 

 

 

Have you had a recent detox from Social Media?  If so, I would love to hear about it.

 

 

 

 

 

EX Item of the Week

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Hey you!

Whenever I try a new product that I just love I want to share it.  So, to do that I will be featuring an EX Item of the Week from Endless Xpressions.

I don’t love everything but the things that I do I have to talk about because who doesn’t love a good product?!

Today is all about the Charcoal Cream Masque!  In the past, I have tried tons of hydrating, toning and firming masks but activated charcoal has become increasingly more popular for its natural benefits.  It is used to trap toxins and the all around yucky stuff from your pores, leaving your skin feeling clean and renewed.

There are the thick charcoal masks that rinse off and there are the peel off masks that can sometimes hurt your skin more than help it.

This particular mask is completely light weight. ¬†It goes on like a cream and just sits on your face until dry, roughly 8-10 minutes and then just removed with warm water. ¬†So easy…and a huge reason why I was attracted to it.

I am pretty low maintenance in the grand scheme of all things beauty. ¬†I love taking care of my skin but don’t have all the time in the world to do it! ¬†I want something that works and does it quickly. ¬†I have used this mask for a few weeks now (just once a week is needed) and love its simplicity and the ease of its workings. ¬†It keeps skin care simple while providing the benefits of soft and hydrated skin.

This masque is loaded with:

  • clarifying Activated Charcoal
  • extreme hydrators like Hyaluronic Acid, Organic Olive and Jojoba Oils
  • antioxidant rich Organic Rooibos
  • toning DMAE¬†

This is definitely a new permanent addition to my skin care regime!

 

Stay tuned for more faves!  Also check out lippies and leggings!

Learn more about EX here.

 

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Weekend Recap

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I woke up this morning with an intense pain in my arm as if I had been sleeping in the shape of a pretzel all night. ¬†Any direction I move this thing is painful…wtf. ¬†I got out of bed, started the coffee pot and took a peek out of the window. ¬†Woo hoo, snow is back in Chicago! ¬†Sarcastic emphasis on woo hoo.

Also, while I sit here writing about my affection of this particular morning, my son spits up all over my shirt and so adorably laughs afterwards. ¬†Eh…don’t you just love Monday’s?

The weekend was a chilly one and one I was feeling a bit under the weather for. ¬†Just didn’t feel myself. ¬†Maybe these winter blues are just hitting me as our weather has been a bit bipolar the last couple months. ¬†20170313_082618

With the current chill factor we kept it pretty calm the last couple of days. ¬†I attempted to finish all the laundry in this house which quickly just became another pipe dream…because who am I kiddin…every time I see my daughter she has a different pair of pants on or socks because the girl in her, has already decided that multiple outfit changes are needed throughout the day. ¬†And, the amount of drool coming out of my teething baby is on a whole new level leaving a change to be needed quite often…so laundry is forever an endless cycle.

The largest spider I have seen in a while decided to visit me in the bathroom as I was trying to take a shower. ¬†I have a sad, sad, fear of these creatures and this thing looked like it came right out of a horror movie! ¬†I mean this thing looked like it was pregnant and that it’s babies were pregnant it was so big…much larger than a half-dollar coin…I mean what has happened to the species of these creepy things…since I was a kid they have gotten larger and larger and I sware this thing was following me with its eyes.

Anyways, I definitely go into freeze mode when these creatures decide on a visit and the kicker is…my husband hates them too! ¬†So, this usually causes a battle of who is scared most to decide on the one that has to make this thing GET GONE!¬† Well…I won!

Now, it can get pretty comical watching this grown man figure out the best way to rid our house of this thing without getting too close. ¬†What would probably take someone a second took my husband close to 20 minutes…ha…first, a nice wrestle head to head with the spider using a broom. ¬†Then, patiently waiting to see if he had met his maker only to be startled by the awakening of it. ¬†I think he may have come back with a vengeance for my husband as I can hear the amount of force that my husband was using that broom, this time around. Finally this thing was brought to its final demise but then we argued for some minutes on the reasoning of picking it up with a paper towel and flushing it down the toilet. ¬†My husband for some reason, thought this idea was crazy and that somehow the carcass¬†would just disappear on its own…

I mean, if I were watching the two of us during this ordeal I would be completely entertained as this did not seem to be an easy feat but the vacuum helped to give this eight-legged freak a final resting place and I am happy to say it is no longer terrorizing my family and I…thank goodness!

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‘Just because’ flowers from the hubs

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On another note, near our home we have the yearly South Side Irish Parade and some of the neighbors always make a celebration of it…with the cold we decided against taking the kids but we were gifted some yummy treats regardless. ¬†Delicious¬†corned beef, cabbage, corn bread and some divine Bloody¬†Mary’s! ¬†Heyyyy! ¬†I just love the neighbors! ūüėČ

That sure was my weekend in a nut shell…let’s see what the week brings forth!

Cheers.

 

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Vegetable Soup

Hey guys!  Friday is here once again and the weather is dropping this weekend in Chicago. So, what better way to warm up than with a nice bowl of soup.  Vegetable soup to be exact.

Now, once a week I make a completely meatless meal. ¬†It gives my family a chance to break from meat, chicken and fish that we regularly eat. ¬†This week was this soup…which became a hodge podge of all the veggies that I wanted to cook up before planning next weeks meals. ¬†I love Vegetable soup for that reason, it’s a great way to use up what you have and therefore, this soup is NEVER the same. ¬†It is always different depending on what I have on hand.

My daughter who is 3 loves anything in soup form. ¬†If it is in a bowl and has a broth she will eat it up. ¬†That’s a sure win for mama and an easy way to get her to eat her veggies. ūüėČ

 

What You Will Need:

Basic Base

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 8¬†oz. cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 qts of chicken broth
  • 2 pinches of ground thyme
  • 1 tbsp of dried parsley
  • 1 bay leaf

Veggies I had on hand

  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 4 small white potatoes, chopped
  • 8 oz. of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cups of shredded cabbage

 

Directions:

Lightly coat Dutch oven with olive oil and turn on medium heat.  Add onions, carrots and celery and a pinch of salt and pepper, cook until softened.  Add garlic and when fragrant, about 1 minute add the rest of your veggies, thyme, parsley, bay and another pinch of salt and pepper.  Stir.  Pour in your tomato sauce and chicken broth.  Bring pot to a boil.  Cover, lower heat to low and cook for 30 minutes or until veggies have cooked through.

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Serve with your choice of baked bread.

Enjoy!

Note: ¬†This soup can be anything you want it to be. ¬†I have added canned tomatoes, canned beans, corn, green beans, you name it. ¬†Use what you have, the versatility of this soup is endless and like I mentioned a fantastic way to use up the fresh veggies you may have on hand. ¬†Have fun! ūüôā

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Girls Nights Are A Must: 6 Reasons Why I Need Them

The infamous Girl’s Night Out is something of a necessity in my life. ¬†Since, becoming a mother, life can get a bit overwhelming at times. ¬†It can stress you out, scare you, confuse you, annoy you, and create moments of immeasurable anxiousness. ¬†Sometimes, you just need a break!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my mama status. ¬†Even among all the chaos, the benefits far outweigh the non…but let’s be real I am only human and sometimes I need to call a time out!

One of the things I look forward to most is a night away with my girls. ¬†Whether it’s just one girlfriend or a few, getting away for a few hours to talk, have some drinks and get a break from mom duties is everything I need to stay on point!

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So, here are some reasons I need my occasional night out with the girls:

  1. Face time.  Sometimes you just need to see your girls face to face without texting or phone calls.  Looking people in the eye is the best way to communicate on all levels.
  2. I can drop as many f-bombs that ¬†I fn want! ¬†Let’s face it, with motherhood comes censorship. We can’t possibly allow our children to run around being potty mouths so we watch what we say and that shit gets old. ¬†Ha! ¬†Sometimes the best term needed to express my feeling at the moment just can not be censored. ¬†But a girls night out is a perfect forum to let all that shit out! ūüėģ
  3. Opportunity to vent about all the things that drive us crazy about motherhood, (or relationships) in a healthy way.  My girls are the best listeners and to have them to express frustrations and concerns with, is truly a lifesaver.  Also, knowing I am not alone in these emotions works wonders.
  4. Time away. ¬†Everyone needs this every so often. ¬†You need a couple of hours on a regular basis to be with people other than your kids and your spouse. ¬†This is just REAL talk! ¬†We all need a break, it keeps us sane…or at least it helps me! ¬†That’s all.
  5. Dancing. ¬†Now, this isn’t every time but when this happens it is a blast! ¬†Sometimes, you just want to hear loud music and dance with your girls! ¬†This is the best way to let off steam in my opinion and it’s always a good time.
  6. Coming back home, fresh minded with new perspective and ready for what’s ahead. ¬†In some cases, you may have a small hangover to nurse but all for the better because you had some time to get things off your chest, swear a little, laugh a little and have some quality time with your best girls. ¬†What more could you ask for?

 

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As our lives become fuller with kids and family, we always have to make time for friends. Having people in our lives outside of the household keeps our hearts and our souls feeling fulfilled. ¬†Sometimes, especially with motherhood, we can have moments that can be tough. ¬†Sharing all of that with your girls helps tremendously…and all while having an amazing time!

Until next time ladies, until next time! ūüôā

Cheers.

 

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What Will Inspire You Today?

 

Inspiration; the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

inspiration

Inspiration surrounds you…

What will inspire you today?

Your faith?

That kiss left on your forehead before he leaves for work?

The sound of birds chirping in the morning?

That first cup of coffee?

That look your child gives you when they first wake up?

That positive affirmation you take in early on?

The smell of fresh air?

That mind clearing run you squeezed in?

The preparation of that delicious new recipe?

The music you can’t help but turn up?

The beauty that encircles you?

The laughter that echoes throughout your home?

The fabric against your skin?

The people that bring you joy?

The love in your heart?

The life that you live?

What will inspire you today?

Take a look around and find it, see it, accept it…

take it in…

something is always there…

be inspired…

 

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Ropa Vieja

Recipe courtesy of the book Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009.

Today I wanted to share a recipe I came across in my cookbook collection, named Ropa Vieja.  This is part of my effort to utilize the references I have on hand (stated last week) and this turned out to be a very good recipe.

This is a Cuban Stew that requires braising of the meat until it can be shredded.  I braise a lot in my house so I was happy to try this out.  I used skirt steak for this instead of flank, only because it was what I had on hand.  It turned out really well.

This can be eaten with tortillas and served with some rice.

I halved this recipe to make 4 servings.  Written as such.

What You Will Need:

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 lb¬†Flank Steak, trimmed (I had Skirt Steak on hand)
  • 1/2 large red onion¬†sliced thin
  • 1¬†red bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 1¬†green bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 2¬†garlic cloves, minced
  • 3¬†tablespoons thinly sliced pitted green olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups of beef broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

Coat a Dutch oven with Olive Oil.  Heat on medium-high heat.  I seasoned the steak with salt & pepper and browned them on both sides, about 2-3 minutes each side.  Remove and put to the side.

Reduce heat and add the onions and bell peppers and cook until tender.  Stir in garlic, olives and next 5 ingredients.  Cook until fragrant.  Add vinegar, loosening the brown bits at the bottom with a wooden spoon and cook 2 minutes or until some liquid has evaporated. Then add the beef broth, tomato paste and bay leaf.  Cover, reduce heat and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove steaks and shred with two forks.  Return to the pot along with the cilantro and stir.

Enjoy!

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Recommended to bring some heat to the table to add. ¬†We like things hot in our house. ¬†ūüôā

Reference the original recipe for wine pairing ideas!

Excited to see what else I can find right under my nose. ūüôā

Cheers!

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Songs that got me blushin 1

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Hey there! ¬†It’s March and Spring is around the corner! ¬†With that comes new inspiration and for me music is HUGE in relation to that…so I thought I would bring in the new month with some songs that got me blushin at the moment… ūüėČ

 

Gary Clark Jr. – The Healing. ¬†This man is the ish! ¬† This is an amazing artist and I am in love with his style and skill. ¬†This song isn’t new but awesome nonetheless and perfect for my #Marchfeels! ¬†If you can see this man live do yourself a favor and do it! ¬†He opened for a band I went to see a few years back and he may have been more exciting than the main event. ūüėģ

Marion Hill – Down. ¬†This song just got me! ¬†It’s got a funky vibe¬†that I am feeling¬†right now.

Ed Sheeran – Shape of You. ¬†I have liked this guy from the beginning. ¬†I think he’s a good songwriter and I can pretty much get on board with most of what he does. ¬†Plus, this makes me want to dance a bit and I am always down for that!

Adele – Water Under the Bridge. ¬†I mean it’s Adele…but I love this song and everything she does I find relatable and her voice is beautiful.

Jon Bellion РAll Time Low.  This has a cool vibe.

James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go. ¬†I just came across this song recently. ¬†I am not too familiar with this artist but this song is just so pretty. ¬†It touches me and I am for sure blushin over it.

Hope you all like! ¬†Find yourself some inspiration this month…happy March!

Cheers!

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