Category Archives: Bits & Pieces

Moving sale!

I’m moving! (More on that later, I promise.) And that means I have stuff to sell. All items must go by Dec. 31. Interested? Email me at cj AT carlajeanwhitley DOT com.

 

patio

Wooden patio table and chairs: $150 OBO

This table and chair set is hefty and in good condition. Must pick up from my home.

Couch with pull-out bed, $20

There’s nothing fancy about this couch–it includes cat scratches on the arms and some stains on the cushions. But it’s sturdy and comfortable. Cat and green quilt not included. Must pick up from my home.
Frye Jackie Button equestrian-style boots, size 6.5: $150 OBO SOLD

Used washer and dryer: $100 for the pair or $60 each (Reserved for MM)

The washing machine emits a loud screech at the end of some cycles, but otherwise works fine. The dryer is in good working order. Must pick up from my home the final week of December (not earlier).

grillWeber 18″ kettle grill: $35 OBO

Good used condition. I’ve kept the grill covered, so it has few flaws. The handle is misshapen because someone put hot tongs on it and it melted a bit (duh!), and there’s a trace of rust on the clips that support the ash pan. Must pick up from my home.
Otterbox Symmetry Case in Blue Floral for iPhone 6, $25

Good used condition, shows wear at the corners.
wandering-yogiLululemon Wandering Yogi halter tank fuschia size 6: $20

This flattering top is in very good to excellent used condition. I’ve worn it several times, but I don’t see any snags or pilling. The front v-neck includes a small mesh panel for additional breathability, and the top has space for bra inserts (not included).

pure-focusLululemon Pure Focus tank black swan size 4: $20

This top is in great pre-owned condition. The only area that appears to be pilling at all is along the seams, as pictured. Questions? Ask!

inside-outLululemon inside-out tank, size 4 (I think): $20

The bra is on the outside of this tank, which makes it easy to change even after a sweaty practice. There’s no size marker inside the bra cup, so I’m not 100 percent sure it’s a 4. You’re welcome to try it on to see.

pure-focusLululemon No Limits tank with sports bra purple size 4: $20

Used, but no noticeable pilling.

New Smartwool Women’s striped chevron glove, Moab rust: $15

These gloves are new with tags and retail for $38. They’re beautiful, they’re just longer than I wanted.

 

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FAQs: Cat yoga in Birmingham, Alabama at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society

Roll onto your right side, coming into a comfortable fetal position for a final moment of rest and relaxation.

Roll onto your side, coming into a comfortable fetal position for a final moment of rest and relaxation.

Cat yoga? What’s that?

It’s as simple as it sounds: People doing yoga in a room that contains cats.

So the cats don’t do yoga?

Nope. The cats do whatever they want. They’re cats. (But in my opinion, they’re awfully yogic creatures. They don’t need my help. I need theirs. Speaking of …)

Why cats?

A few reasons. First, I’m a cat lady, and I’m not shy about it. Remember actress Cara Hartmann’s fake eHarmony profile video from a few years back? (If not, watch it here.) Yeah, OK. I’m not quite as intense as her character, but I really love cats. They make life better. They’re zen little creatures, seriously. One of my cats likes to sit in my lap and purr when I meditate, and she helps keep me centered.

But no, they’re not the best at the physical aspect of yoga. You’ll catch them in a pose now and then (especially savasana), but my cats usually like to play, rub my ankles and bat at my hair during my home practice.

It makes me laugh, and I want to share that experience with others. So, cat yoga it is!

Why yoga?

I could write a book about that. (I kind of have.) But in short: Yoga helps me slow my mind, calm my breath and take each moment one at a time.

What happens to the money?

I’ve built the Greater Birmingham Humane Society’s cat yoga program in such a way that the teacher gets paid a stipend and the organization keeps the rest.I want teachers to have the option of being paid because we’re often asked to work for free.

You can learn about the programs your money would fund at gbhs.org.

So long as I teach this program, I will decline payment. That means GBHS receives 100 percent of the money from the public classes I teach in its facility.

OK, I’m convinced. How much is it?

Classes are $15 each.

When? Where?

Join us the third Sunday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. (ish) at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. That’s 300 Snow Drive, Birmingham, AL 35209.

How do I sign up?

Visit the GBHS website. If the date isn’t posted, registration hasn’t opened. We expect most classes to sell out, so register in advance. Space is limited.

How do I know when registration is open?

I’ll notify people on my mailing list as soon as I’m aware it’s up. Sign up here.

What should I wear?

Comfortable clothes you can move in. They don’t have to be “yoga clothes.” The most important thing is you’re comfortable and your shirt won’t flip up and show everything when you move into downward facing cat.

What will take place?

Join me and the felines in the GBHS conference room. The number of cats will vary class to class; GBHS selects them from one of its colonies, and the staff takes into consideration the cats’ moods that day. Eight cats joined my birthday party. Six visited the first public class.

I’ll start by explaining the rules of cat yoga. No. 1: Let the cats come to you. No. 2: If you’d rather play with cats than move through the poses, cool! Play with the cats. (You’ll catch me doing the same.)

The class itself lasts one hour. We’ll start slowly, with breath work and gentle stretches, and move into a more active practice. The style I teach is called core strength vinyasa, and it emphasizes softening before moving into a pose. That helps us experience our full range of movement. I don’t get as much into the details as I would in a typical class–you can join me for those some other time. But I remain true to this teaching. It’s a physically challenging practice, but I offer lots of stopping points along the way.

Challenging? Does that mean I shouldn’t come if I’ve never done yoga?

Nope! I’ll coach you in making smart choices for your body on this day. I always say, if you’d like to spend the entire class in child’s pose, I think that’s a great option. That’s especially true in cat yoga, when you might have a feline friend to cuddle.

What’s in it for the cats?

Important question! GBHS uses this program as a way to help socialize the cats. They get to spend time with people in a free environment. It also introduces people to adoptable pets. At least one cat found her furrever home at our October class, and others found advocates who intended to lobby friends to adopt them.

Cat yoga? In Alabama? It’s a thing – and you can join me

OK crazy cat lady, I want to know more about you–and your cats.

I’ve been owned by cats all but maybe six months of my life. The first cat I remember, Rugrat, was so gentle he let my sister and I use him as a pillow. Our next family cat, Tuffy, was a pale ginger tabby. We adopted him when I was about 5, and he lived until I was in college.

I’m currently loved on and bossed around by a pair of ginger kitties, McCartney Jane and Harrison Vann. Mac is the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received, thanks to a former roommate. I was three days catless after my previous cat, Emma, died suddenly. I’d spent those days crying myself to sleep and insisting that no one should give me a kitten. Fortunately, Abi didn’t listen.

On Christmas Eve, 2009, an aunt mentioned that she knew someone with a male orange kitten up for adoption. I thought, “Hmm. Maybe if that cat’s still available when I’m ready, I could adopt him. What would I call such a cat? How about McCartney? Ooh, but what about a female ginger cat named McCartney?!”

I arrived home that afternoon, and Abi was at the end of the hall holding an orange kitten. “I got her for you, but if you’re not ready, she can be the house cat,” she said.

“She?”

Abi confirmed.

“Well, hello, McCartney.”

Although she’d been at Abi’s parents’ house for a couple of days, Mac knew we belonged together as soon as we met.

I thought I was a one-cat girl because Emma demanded all my attention and was unsure of other people. (She was a tortoiseshell. It’s the normal tortitude.) But years after Abi and her pets, another roommate moved out and took her cat with her. Mac was lonely. She begged for attention every time my new roommate and I came home. I tried to entertain her with toys and puzzles, but it wasn’t enough. That’s where Harry came in.

A new friend requested that I like the Facebook page of a rescue for which she volunteered. When she sent me the link to Have a Heart Animal Rescue and Adoption, Harry’s was the cover photo. I was done.

Mac didn’t like him at first (what cat likes a stranger cat at first meeting?), but they both slept in my bed that night. Now I often catch them cuddling and bathing each other. He’s a momma’s boy and she’s a momma’s girl (totally different things). He irritates her sometimes; at least once a day, Harry tries to wrestle and Mac hisses to remind him that it’s never, ever a good idea in her estimation. He’s a typical baby brother and a love muffin.

I want more Mac and Harry!

Of course you do. They’re the best. You can follow them on Instagram @beatlecats (although I don’t update that often). Look to the right for links to all of my social media; they make regular appearances.

Why don’t you adopt more cats?

I live in a small house, about 750 square feet, with a roommate. Until I have space for another litter box, two cats is my limit.

And how did this get started, again?

I asked for birthday party ideas and my friend June suggested cat yoga. You can find the complete story here.

Got more cat yoga questions? Post ’em in the comments.

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Filed under Autobiography, Bits & Pieces, Cat yoga, Reasons why, Yoga

Sounds of the season: My five favorite Christmas albums

I’m something of a grinch. I admit it (and appropriately, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is my favorite holiday cartoon). Parades and the hoopla around holidays leave me grouchy.

It’s probably not surprising, then, that I’m not one of those people who flips to the all Christmas music, all the time station as soon as it cranks up for the year. I don’t love most Christmas music. But the Christmas music I love, I really love. Like, move-me-to-tears-and-take-me-back-home love.

Today AL.com has a short essay I wrote about one of my favorite Christmas albums, the simply named “Christmas” by the group Alabama. As I prepare to spend the holiday with my dad’s family tomorrow and my mom’s family on Christmas day, my five favorite Christmas albums (listed in no particular order) will accompany me:

  1. Alabama “Christmas”
  2. Amy Grant “A Christmas Album”
  3. Red Mountain Church “Silent Night”
  4. Over the Rhine “Snow Angel”
  5. Vince Guaraldi Trio “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

There isn’t a Sunshine State line in “Christmas in Dixie,” the Alabama track that debuted in 1982 and anchored the band’s 1985 “Christmas album.” Although the album released while we still lived in Alabama, I associate it with gathering around the tree in our suburban Florida home. We would often crank up the air conditioning to balance a blaze in the fireplace, decorating the tree in shorts and T-shirts and running outside to unseasonably warm weather with to play with whatever gifts Santa bestowed. Read more “Alabama’s ‘Christmas’ album has called me home for 30 years” at AL.com

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Twelve Tips for Pitching a Freelance Story

Picture this: You’re an assigning editor at a magazine, and your inbox regularly overflows with pitches from freelance writers. Because freelancers write the bulk of the magazine, a good story idea is like gold. But when you’ve got 50-plus pitches to sift through, it’s hard for that gem to shine.

That’s the challenge I’ve faced in five years as an assigning editor at a monthly magazine. But here’s the good news: Using these easy tips, your idea will stand out from the rest.

Tip No. 1: Pitch!

It’s fine to ask editors how they prefer to assign, and if they’d rather you pitch or if they prefer to assign. But “let me know if you need anything” comes across as asking for a handout.

I receive so many pitches that I can’t possibly fit them all into the magazine. If someone’s pitching great ideas, they’re way more likely to get an assignment than the person who is waiting around.

Tip No. 2: Follow websites such as “Who Pays Freelance Writers?

It’s a great resource and will also help you identify possible outlets for your work.

Tip No. 3: Every time you’re reading a publication and think, “Man! I’d like to write for them!,” find their writers guidelines online. If you can’t find them, email an editor there and ask. (Associate level or higher will often be your best bet, as they’re more likely to be assigning editors, but editorial assistants may also have that info.)

Tip No. 4: Get your website up already! Make it easy for potential clients to find you. This is also a benefit because you can showcase your best work without jamming their inboxes with unsolicited clips.

Tip No. 5: Never send large, unsolicited files. If you’re attaching clips, fine, but make sure they’re not 5 megabytes plus. Here’s a hint: If the files are too large and you have to resend them attached to several separate emails, you’re clogging the editor’s inbox.

Tip No. 6: Read, read, read, read. Know the publication and its voice before you pitch. But don’t obsess to the point where you don’t actually pitch. I don’t expect my freelancers to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the publication. That’s my job, and I’m not going to look down on them for pitching something we’ve already done unless it’s in the current or immediate past issue. Then they’re just being lazy.

Tip No. 7: Keep it simple. Don’t send a multi-page pitch. If I want more info, I’ll ask for it. Something that detailed is likely to fall by the wayside because I’ll save it for when I have time to properly digest the email—and that may not be for weeks.

Tip No. 8: Unless it’s a time-sensitive piece for a publication that publishes frequently, do not follow up in 24 hours. And never follow up to say, “Hey, did you get my email?” I receive about 75 emails daily. I will respond to yours, but likely not within 24 hours.

Tip No. 9: Do follow up. I try to respond to every sincere pitch (that is, something that came from a person, not a mass email). However, things slip through the cracks. Following up in a week or two is perfectly appropriate.

Tip No. 10: Value your time and your work. You’re a professional writer, and the payment you receive should reflect that. If you work for free or cheap, be sure that it’s worth it to you. For example, I’m working on a low-paying piece for a site where the reader is the target demographic for my books. I’m getting more than money out of that.

Tip No. 11: Establish your boundaries, and respect those of the editor. It irks me to get pitches on my personal email account and text message.

Likewise, know that it’s OK for you to say no to an assignment. If you don’t have time, be honest about that. A good editor isn’t going to avoid using you in the future because you weren’t at his or her beck and call. That’s part of the deal with freelancing. You aren’t on staff. We don’t have the high overhead of having you on staff. And you have the flexibility to work on other projects.

Tip No. 12: Negotiate. The terms of most stories are negotiable, and as long as you’re professional, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Rates, deadlines, word count, even rights and sometimes payment terms (upon acceptance or upon publication) can be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

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I have a scar from a container of deodorant

Can you see the little white line? Barely? Maybe? Yeah, so you can see I was right not to worry.

Can you see the little white line? Barely? Maybe? Yeah, so you can see I was right not to worry.

I remember the scene like this:

My best friends Amy, Erin and I sat in Erin’s bedroom, lights out, black light on, black light posters glowing on the wall and Smashing Pumpkins’ “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” (ed.: thanks for the catch, Renita!) playing over the boom box. It was the middle of another bright, sunny afternoon in suburban Florida.

No, we weren’t doing anything illicit. In the years since, I’ve realized that this set up may sound as though we were up to something. We were merely 14, and therefore a bit odd.

Amy and Erin lounged on one side of the room as I perched on Erin’s dresser, my back to the window. I don’t think we were doing anything particular; we were high-school freshmen, and therefore our time together consisted of a lot of angst about nothing in particular, the occasional dance party (“Pump Up the Jam,” anyone?) and a lot of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s the same story teenagers have acted out throughout the generations.

But on that day, Erin took an ordinary afternoon in a different direction. She picked up a canister of deodorant, intending to startle me by throwing it at the wall beside me. Erin had a great arm.

And terrible aim.

The deodorant slammed into my chin, its wheel slicing through the skin and into the fat below. I covered it with my hand, hurt but mostly startled. When I moved my hand away, Erin saw blood and burst into tears.

Perhaps I should have gotten stitches, but Erin’s mom was a nurse and applied butterfly bandages as her daughter continued to weep. My dad later worried that I’d be so badly scarred that we should consider plastic surgery. I thought the incident was funny, and for years prized the “boo-boo bear” Erin brought me the next day, its chin also covered in a bandage.

The scar is almost untraceable; no one notices it unless I point it out, and they quickly forget it thereafter. But the story of how a stick of Secret Summer Breeze lacerated my chin lives on.

I’ve shared this story a few times over the years, often as a random, context-free fact that no one would guess about me. After a recent comment on my friend Rachel’s blog, I decided it was time to finally write it down. Erin wants you to know that she felt immense guilt. I want you to know that I, too, feel remorse–I didn’t fully appreciate that Smashing Pumpkins album till years later.

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Write, write, write, write

I’m not being the best friend right now–and that’s hard for me. I love being able to swing by a friend’s house when she calls and says dinner’s on, or enjoy a mid-week girls’ night with another while her husband is out of town. But right now, I’ve got to hunker down and write.

My manuscript is due on April 7. It’s hard to believe! And there’s still plenty of work to do (isn’t how these things always go?). But I’m excited to be racing toward the finish. I’ve left the “I can’t do this!” phase, am growing increasingly comfortable in the “I can probably do this” phase, hope to soon move into “I can do this!” and can’t wait to get to “I’ve done it!”

In the meantime, I’m still allowing myself a few minutes here and there to write personal projects–including my semi-regular blog posts for Church Street Coffee and Books, where I’m documenting my journey as a first-time author.

The countdown is on: My manuscript is due to my editor three weeks from yesterday.
Although it’s been 11 months since he verbally accepted my proposal and nearly nine months since I received the signed contract, these final days are proving the most intense part of the book-writing process. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised; writers, like people in a number of other fields, are renowned for their procrastination tactics. Just earlier today, a former newspaper columnist told me she enjoyed having written, past tense.

Read more “Keep Calm and Get Over Yourself” at churchstreetshop.com.

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Filed under Autobiography, Bits & Pieces, Books, Insecurity, Journalism, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

So, I did this today.

I’ve published 542 posts on this blog over the course of 10-and-a-half years (this entry will make No. 543). That’s a lot of creative output, especially for a hobby, and I’ve long wished for an aesthetically pleasing way to capture those words in print. Years ago, I kept a running Word Document with those entries, and I periodically printed and clipped them into a three-ring binder. That worked OK, but it wasn’t precisely what I was after.

Last month I learned my daydreams could be fulfilled by the Espresso Book Machine. I received a press release announcing that a local Books-A-Million would install an EBM, which allows for on-demand printing of a variety of books as well as self-publishing options. My interest was piqued, and after I told her I wanted an excuse to use the machine, the publicist for the launch party suggested I print a copy of my blog.

Genius!

Today, that dream became reality. I spent about an hour at the bookstore, working with the technician to ensure that my PDFs met specifications and then watching my book being printed. It was a remarkably simple process, although I must confess I had a few advantages. One, I work in publishing, and so I was already familiar with the process of setting up a PDF. Two, my sister is a photographer and was willing to design the cover for me. (I promise you, it wouldn’t look nearly as professional if I’d taken the project into my own hands!)

I spent a week fussing over the pages, determining which entries to include and which to leave out. (Ultimately, I went for a near-completionist approach. I omitted a few password-protected entries for which I no longer recall the password and a few memes.) I decided to use the font this blog theme utilizes, and then I decided which photos to leave in and which to delete. I wrote an about-the-author blurb (awkward!) and told Cheryl what I hoped to have on the cover. And then I dumped my files onto a USB drive and took them to Books-A-Million.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTE0JphrAng&w=420&h=315]

The final project cost about $39–$20 for the set up and $16 for the printing, plus sales tax. I decided to make this a one-time-only run; while I was eager to hold my blog in printed form, I have no interest in distributing it to others.

And I’ve got to say, it was worth it. I giggled with delight when the book came off the press, and I’ll be working on excuses to use this device again.

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Filed under Autobiography, Bits & Pieces, Hittin' the books, Journalism, Reading

Maybe if you hang together you can make the changes in our hearts

I’m not much of a crafter. I went through a phase probably 15 years too young, when I was in college, and I kept a full-to-capacity storage bin of acrylic paints, brushes, hot glue sticks, stamps, scrapbook paper and other supplies in my bedroom closet. But sometime after graduation, I decided those things weren’t really me anymore. My last crafting effort was creating tea-stained mats for photos that hung in my bedroom during grad school—10 years ago.

But sometimes a project will catch my eye and I’ll wish its creation was within my skill set. That’s certainly been the case with wreaths made of book pages. I’m a sucker for anything covered in the written word; even my bedside lamp’s shade is decorated with lettering. And as a writer and aspiring author, books are particularly precious.

So when my friend Christina offered to teach another friend, Amy, and I how to create such wreaths, I was excited, if a bit skeptical about how mine would turn out. I know Christina’s far more versed in such projects (thus the offer!), and so I was eager for her instruction. The worst case scenario: We would walk away with so-so projects after a night of laughter and conversation.

Before we got together, Christina asked us to decide what kind of wreaths we wanted to make. (It hadn’t occurred to me that there would be so many choices, but Google “book page wreaths” and you’ll find an abundance of ideas.) I picked out a rolled-page wreath, sent Christina the picture and marked the date on my calendar. I literally didn’t give any more thought to how the project would come together.

A relic from grad school

A relic from grad school

Last night we gathered at Amy’s home for wine and wreath making. Christina mentioned that she had wanted to bring her husband’s outdated AP Stylebook for me, but he wouldn’t allow it. I just happened to have my 2003 edition in my car; although it’s out of date and I have two newer copies, I hadn’t been able to part with it. I dashed out into the chilly rain, retrieved the book from my trunk and, equipped with an X-ACTO knife, began slicing the pages free from their spiral binding. I read amusing or unexpected entries aloud as Amy began ripping and then rolling pages from books and Christina rolled my AP pages into small scrolls.

After we had accumulated enough scrolls, Christina covered the wire base of my wreath in pages to ensure it wouldn’t distract from the look. She then began hot gluing the scrolls to the frame. The bottom layer was comprised of rolled pages. We then topped it with two more layers of strategically haphazard pages, each tied with a piece of twine.

Meanwhile, Amy created a base layer of cylindrical scrolls and then topped those with pages rolled into a more conical shape. The finished effect was akin to a star burst, and we discussed the variety of items that could be glued to the center (ornaments, baubles, a miniature book).

Tonight I made my first visit to Birmingham’s new Paper Source and spent more on ribbon with which to hang the wreath than I did on supplies to create it. But that’s really not the point; the best part of this project was conversation with two women who I enjoy and respect.

Today’s subject line comes from Arcade Fire’s “Normal Person.” The song has nothing to do with wreath making, I’ve just been listening to their new album “Reflektor” a lot lately.

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Filed under Autobiography, Bits & Pieces

You can live it up, live it up all over town

I posted this on Facebook earlier today, but I thought it merited repeating.

Libraries and E-Lending: The ‘Wild West’ of Digital Licensing?

I’m newly interested in ebooks, but this story stood out to me for another important reason: Earlier this week, a friend emailed after listening to this piece and expressed her concern about the future of libraries. Could libraries become ebook services more than physical locations? What would that mean for literacy? She asked for recommendations on how she can support our local libraries, and I suggested joining Friends groups (I’m a friend of Birmingham Public Library and Emmet O’Neal Library), volunteering, serving on library boards (I’m on BPL’s YP board) and donating. I’m honored to serve my local libraries in these capacities, and I hope that you, too, will read and support whatever matters most to you.

Today’s subject line comes from Escape Club’s “Wild Wild West.” Because why not?

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Ain’t that the song we’d sing in the car, drivin’ downtown

Reading: Tonight I read “King of the South,” an article about sports talk radio host Paul Finebaum, in the current issue of the New Yorker. I interviewed Paul in 2007, and I was admittedly starstruck. The man controls the blood pressure of half the people in this state! I was tickled when, later that week, a friend called and asked if I had talked to Paul Finebaum recently. Apparently he referenced a conversation we had while on the air, and my friend thought it sounded like something I would say. (I would like to add “paraphrased on the Paul Finebaum Radio Network” to my resume, along with my 2004 College Football Pick ‘Em victory, if I only had more space.)

This morning, I read “4:52 on Christmas Morning,” a New York magazine story about a house fire that killed five people last year. It was a horrifying story, but well written and reported.

Next up, I’m reading “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick in advance of a bookish gathering I’m hosting next week. I’m tempted to try and read “The Hobbit” before the movie is released (and my book club goes to see it for our December meeting). I’ve never read any Tolkein. But considering the number of library books on my floor, I think that one may have to wait.

Listening: I picked up “A Charlie Brown Christmas” soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi Trio at Rite Aid this weekend, so I’ve been driving around town with some very pleasant tunes. I’m excited about this show at Bottletree in two weeks, when Jeffrey Bützer and T.T. Mahony will perform the album in its entirety.

Smelling: OK, weird category, I know. But tonight I took a bath with Aveda Stress-Fix bath salts, and it was awesome.

Watching: I’m on a “New Girl” kick. Zooey Deschanel’s character is irresistibly likable, and I want her entire wardrobe. Except the maroon-and-pink striped sweater she wore on an episode a few weeks ago. I already have that.

Making me happy: Being surrounded by people who I care about, work I find satisfying (and coworkers I care about!),  my cat, piles of books, the holiday season, coffee, a board-game night, life.

And this video.

Today’s subject line is from Rascal Flatts’ “These Days.” Sorry. It’s stuck in my head now. The 16th #bloglikecrazy prompt was to share what you’re into currently. 

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Filed under #bloglikecrazy, Autobiography, Bits & Pieces