Category Archives: Media

You Can Do It: Make a Rockin’ Playlist

Today’s guest post is from my friend, Rachel, who recounts the ups and downs (and those moments of life when you just need a theme song to play on repeat) over at her new blog–For the Record. You know how you always have that one friend who always knows the best songs to listen to for any given circumstance or emotion in time? That’s Rachel. She helped to compile THE wedding playlist for me two years ago. Seriously. It was amazing, and I still listen to it today whenever I’m feeling nostalgic or in the mood for a good love song. (Although they tried to sneak in Gold Digger. The unedited version.  Ahem. Somebody–I don’t know who–accidentally deleted that little gem before it went live at the reception.)
  {Image: Michael Le Roi}
I’m so excited that Andrea asked me to be a guest blogger and more specifically I’m excited that I get to write about music. I’m incredibly flattered that Andrea thinks I’m an “expert” in the area of music- I just think I’m obsessed! In addition to being obsessed, I also think that there should be a playlist for every possible mood or life situation- which is seemingly impossible but I’m trying. So now to the task at hand- choosing a rockin’ playlist!

1. Defining “rockin.” Since I try to be the eternal optimist, I’m going to hope that you are having an epically awesome day and that you need a playlist to match it. Don’t get me wrong- sometimes you need an angry playlist, but I’m thinking more along the lines of fun, lighthearted songs for this post.

2. You’re going to need to pick between 18-35 songs. 35 is just a number. If you have an iPod and any other MP3 player, a playlist can be infinitely long, but if you are putting this on a CD, you may need to limit it. Got to love that 80 minute max on CD’s.

Here are some of my suggestions for a rockin’ playlist:

The Classics

  1. Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody” – because every playlist needs at least one Queen song!
  2. Led Zeppelin – “Rock and Roll” – get the led out!
  3. The Beatles – “Obladi Oblada”
  4. The Beatles – “With a little Help from my Friends”
  5. The Who – “Join together with the band”
  6. Ray Charles – “Hit the Road, Jack”
  7. Ray Charles – “Hallelujah I love her so”
  8. Billy Joel – “Only the Good die Young” – not as depressing as the titles makes it seem.
  9. Tom Petty – “Running down a Dream”
  10. Eagles – “Take It Easy”
  11. Bob Dylan – “Don’t think twice, It’s alright”
  12. Booker T & The MG’s – “Green Onions”
  13. Cheap Trick – “Surrender”
  14. Steve Miller Band – “The Joker”
  15. Aerosmith – “Dream On”

The Standards/Newbies

  1. RHCP – “Danny California”
  2. John Mayer – “Why Georgia”
  3. Coldplay – “Viva la Vida”
  4. Foo Fighters – “Learn to Fly”
  5. Fruit Bats – “When U love somebody”
  6. Gin Blossoms – “Follow you down”
  7. Green Day – “I Fought the Law”
  8. Mumford and Sons – “The Cave”
  9. Train – “Save Me, San Francisco”
  10. White Stripes – “Hotel Yorba”
  11. Paolo Nutini – “New Shoes”
  12. Ryan Adams – “English Girls Approximately”
  13. Regina Spektor – “Fidelity”
  14. OkGo – “Here It Goes Again”
  15. The Killers – “All these things that I’ve done”

These are just my suggestions on what I think is required to make a rockin’ playlist. I am sure I have missed some that you would have put on here.  But that is the great thing about choosing your rocking playlist- its yours! Pick out songs that make you want to dance, smile, go for a drive, or whatever! I will leave you with this epic song, may want to considering adding to your playlist!  Enjoy the fabulously 80’s video!

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Filed under Art, Balance, Life, Media

Making Storage From Nothing

There are day, months, and sometimes even years when a “tight budget” means not a cent to spare for any purpose other than food, shelter, gas, and bills. Storage containers cost quite a bit, even in small quantities. Not many budget-friendly (and attractive) solutions fall under the completely free category.

This one does.

I call it Use-What-You-Have-Organizing, a.k.a. Making Storage From Nothing.

I’ve been working on cleaning and organizing our third bedroom/my crafting and shop storage room. During the process, I came across a number of CDs (don’t judge. I’m old school that way. I like to keep the cases.) I needed CD storage to get them off the floor.

In the past, I stored them in a bottom cubby of our Expedit bookcase. Now, however, more of our books occupy that bookcase, so there is no longer room. I needed to find a place to keep the CDs all in one space. Then I realized I had some open-top elongated boxes that were just about the right height. I also had leftover kraft wrapping paper and paper doilies, plus a couple of rolls of washi tape from Japan.

That’s when the lightbulb went off, and my three boxes went from this:

to this:

here’s how I did it:

  1. I eyeballed cutting the size of the wrapping paper to fit across the front side of the boxes. I just placed it against the paper and cut around it, leaving enough length to wrap from the bottom up and around the box lip.
  2. I used packaging tape to tape it down in place.
  3. I cut the paper doilies in half, taped them to the inside of the top lip and folded and creased them over the top, then cut off the edges that overlapped.
  4. I taped the doily down with a small piece of washi tape on each side.
  5. I filled in each box with Tetris-like arrangements of my CDs.

I gotta say, for a set of storage containers that cost, as my wonderful friend Joy says, “free dollars,” they ain’t too shabby.

In fact, I rather like looking at them up on top of the bookcase.

Linked up at:

Toys in the Dryer | Five Days … 5 Ways | Sugar & Spice | A Bowl Full of Lemons | Tip Junkie


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Filed under Budget Decor, DIY, Media, Organizing, Storage

Digital Organization: The Desktop

Oooohhh! The desktop! Mine’s been driving me NUTS for weeks now. I’m one of those visual types who needs to see things in order to remember they’re there. I loved having a Mac years ago because whenever I hit “download” it downloaded directly to my desktop and I never had to hunt for this PDF or that JPEG. When I inherited a PC laptop from my hubby (then boyfriend), I intentionally moved important downloads and documents to my desktop so I could keep track of them, just like I was used to on my work Mac computer. Well, despite my usual vigilance to keep things “pretty,” I let things slide and here is what my desktop looked like last night:

Woah! Stuff everywhere. It was hard on the eyes, hard to find anything important, and not very inspirational.

So, just as a quick clean-up, here’s what I did:

  1. I deleted any shortcut icon for a program I rarely used. When you install these little programs they make themselves a shortcut for you. How convenient. Except I’m okay with clicking on the Start Menu, thank-you-very-much. If I need you, I’ll find you.
  2. I dragged any shortcut icons of programs I use on a regular basis down to the start menu task bar on the bottom of the screen. I rearranged them by type (iTunes and Spotify are both music programs, for instance,) and voila! Instant order! YES. Love it.
  3. I created a SORT! folder and dragged all icons of files that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them into that file. Yes, it is delaying the inevitable, but the goal was to clean up the visual mess. I’ll get to the real digital organizing at a later date.
  4. I created a To Read folder for all the PDF downloads from great blogs I’ve visited. There are several downloads about growing your creative business that I really wanted to read, but just couldn’t see in all that mess. Now I know where to go for my reading material.
  5. I kept the folders for our different businesses and this blog, so I had easy access to those files.
  6. I went to  (at Daniel’s recommendation) to find a good background to download. The one I chose really spoke to me and my purpose for cleaning up my desktop.
  7. I rearranged the folder icons and moved my Recycle Bin a bit to be visually-pleasing and in places that made sense.
  8. Done!

It’s a great feeling to have simplified my desktop. In fact, now I’m inspired to write more and read more of the many downloads I have stored away for future inspiration. I’m pleased with the result, and hope it will inspire you, as well!

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p.s. This is it! This is the last day to enter my book giveaway of the book Organize Now! plus an At-a-Glance daily planner. It closes at 9pm CST today. Don’t miss out!

You can enter by commenting on this post. And if you’re new to my blog and would like to read more, start here, or subscribe via RSS! Thanks!

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Filed under Digital Organization, Media, Organizing

Digital Organization: Blogs

Today I’m returning to the topic of digital organization. My first post on the topic was directed toward my email Inbox, but today I am turning my attention toward keeping up with all the blogs that I follow.

I love writing, and I love reading blogs. It seems like every time I find a new blog to follow it connects me with others and keeping up with them all can become overwhelming. For awhile, I subscribed to most blogs by having them sent to my Inbox, but that got old fast. The more connected our world gets, the more I want my Inbox to be set aside for just my friends, family, and important business contacts so I don’t see 5,000 unread emails staring at me each morning. Or better yet, I’d rather just see my loved ones in person or speak on the phone.

I had tried using RSS subscription services in the past, but they always seemed so clunky and I couldn’t easily browse them like I thought I should be able to do. Reluctantly at first, I dabbled with Google Reader. That dabbling quickly became my central hub for tracking all of the blogs I found and enjoyed.

Here’s why I like me some Google Reader:

  • Sorting – I can sort by newest, oldest, or “by magic.” I’m not exactly sure what “by magic” does, but it came up with a post full of human interest and lots of photos of people doing family things, mixed in with some DIY and hairstyle tips. So maybe it sorts by content? (A quick check online indicates it works a bit like iTunes Genius … it shows you content similar to the feeds you check the most. I think it got it right in my case, too.)
  •  Access – There is a frame on the left-hand side that keeps up with all my feeds, alphabetically, so I can skip right to the one I really want to read if I’m not in a slowly browsing kind of mood. Or you can hide them all with a quick click of the button and just browse away, based on the sorting method chosen.
  • Playtime – You can view your items in “Reader Play”, which, instead of a vertical read, shows up as an item-by-item timeline, similar to how you would view digital photographs or iTunes music in browse. It has a black background, instead of the usual white background.
  • Suggestions – Browse for Stuff > Recommendations is brilliant. While it did suggest many blogs I already follow, that just goes to show it really works. And yes, I’ve added blogs this way.
  • Simplicity – Despite my love for new technology, I’ve become an old fuddy duddy in that I like my tech simple. I don’t want a million new ways to do things, I just want one way to do things quickly, easily, without hassle, and without too many visual distractions. Google Reader does this for me. I love it.

So, here’s a screen shot from this morning’s feed:

This was from a “Sort by Newest,” and it showed my feed from Design to Inspire’s newest post. You can see that on the left is my lineup, as well as browsing options. Across the top is where I can mark items as read, sort my feeds, etc.

Here is a sample of viewing in “Reader Play,” sorted by Magic:

Uh, hello. Star Wars snowflake tutorial? Sign me up!

And that’s about it. I just keep rolling the scroll wheel on my mouse and can browse all my favorite and new favorite sites at my leisure. Now the only problem is keeping my list pared down to the essentials and not wasting time. But that’s another post.

Until then, have a lovely day! And go sign up for Google Reader so you can keep all your favorite reads in one spot. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be hunting for that lovely RSS feed logo on each blog you visit and clicking away, happy in the knowledge that you can visit at any time you please simply by signing into Google Reader when the time is right for you.


Filed under Balance, Media, Organizing

How to Hang Artwork from Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy is a constant source of inspiration for me. It’s a daily read and a useful tool. I’ve shown other videos from them, but this one I need to re-watch and apply the next time I hang a picture!

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Filed under Art, Home Improvement, Media

The Great Media Console Search

The dresser has to go.

The current arrangement is adequate, but not ideal. We have our flat-screen tv on a vintage dresser. The subwoofer, audio unit, and Blu-ray player sit to the side. Wires for the surround sound criss-cross the living room floor and I’ve tripped over one of them at least once a day. Not so fun. We both agree the time has come for a new media stand.

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Filed under Living Room, Media