Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE Christmas songs. I can’t even explain why. So when I saw A Great Big World released a cover it made my year:

I’ve a little obsessed with Meghan Trainor since she released “All About That Bass” and thought this was a nice addition to my Holiday music collection:

This another ALL TIME FAVORITE Christmas song, and sung by one of my favorite artists from the last year, Sam Smith. Gorgeous.:

I love the whole album released by Idina Menzel and while this isn’t actually my favorite song, the video is cute:

and, finally, of course I love the newest Christmas album by Pentatonix. Seriously, you should go check out all the videos on their YouTube channel, but this song is the one that’s been going through my head the most:


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I read an interesting article this week on the psychology of why we love songs from when we were teenagers more than current music. According to the article:

Brain imaging studies show that our favorite songs stimulate the brain’s pleasure circuit, which releases an influx of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and other neurochemicals that make us feel good. The more we like a song, the more we get treated to neurochemical bliss, flooding our brains with some of the same neurotransmitters that cocaine chases after.

The article goes on about why this is particularly true when you are between the ages of 12-22 years because the “pleasure circuits” are more like fireworks than sparks. Of course it got me thinking about songs that have specific memories for me. Unsurprisingly many of these are from when I was 12-22 years old and also unsurprisingly, according to the article, many of my memories are attached to dancing to that particular song. Some are recent and I wonder if they will remain in my memory the same way the songs from when I was younger have.

So, without further ado and with little explanation, here are the songs that came to mind when I was reading the article. I’d love to hear yours in the comments!

First boyfriend

First kiss

Maseru dance parties

Playing volleyball on the courts in front of my dorm in university

College debate team

and the entire 1200 Curfew album by the Indigo Girls

Attending church dances with my first boyfriend, before I was old enough to officially date

High school trip to Washington, DC

High school in general

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Another collection of YouTube videos of the new music I’ve added to my iTunes library recently:

Million Pound Girl (Badder than Bad) by Fuse ODG – I dare you to NOT bop around to this song. I can’t get it out of my mind.

Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz – I downloaded the song and then learned the music video was shot in Maun, Botswana!

Sing by Ed Sheeran – When I was looking for the music video on YouTube I learned that the song was co-produced by Pharrell Williams which explains why I love it. Also, falsetto.

All of the Stars by Ed Sheeran – From the “The Fault in Our Stars” soundtrack. *sigh*

and finally, Something I Need by One Republic. Pretty sure this has been out for awhile, but I only recently got around to downloading the whole album after running up tons of plays of Counting Stars.


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First up, Josh Kaufman who’s competing on The Voice. I don’t watch The Voice, but stumbled on a clip of his audition and immediately fell in love developed a small crush. (I’m a sucker for a guy with a great falsetto.) This song hit the iTunes Top 10 last week week:

Of course that led me to search down the original, which led me to discover Sam Smith. (Again, with the falsetto. I may have pre-ordered his album that’s releasing next month.) It’s a tough choice for me between “Stay with Me” and this one “Not In That Way”:

I have argued that iTunes was invented for me because I *LOVE* buying song by song and almost never commit to a full album. In the last couple of weeks, though, I have broken with this tendency and downloaded the whole albums of three bands and I’m loving them all:

Fitz and the Tantrums


and Neon Trees

and, finally, this song was on Glee last week. I’ve said before that I’m anxiously waiting for this season to END so that I can stop feeling compelled to watch mostly because I think that music has BLOWN recently. This is one of the few from this season where I sought out the original artist to download:



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Currently (April 2014)

Watching: The West Wing Season 2. I love that they’re still vaguely familiar to me even though I haven’t seen these episodes in YEARS. The music is cheesy, but I think they generally hold up over time.

Anticipating: My trip to Mpumalanga/Panorama Route for Easter. Hello warmer weather!

Listening/Reading: Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny (Kindle) and Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley (audio).

Eating: Nothing special.

Working On: So much, but nothing very exciting to describe here.

Wanting: Clarity. Don’t we all? (How’s that for existential?)

Playing: Switching between Threes and 2048 games similar goals but different approaches. I learned about them on my new favorite podcast “Pop Culture Happy Hour.” They’re the kind of games that has me thinking of patterns even when I’m not playing, like Tetris.

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Currently (March 2014)

Watching: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (charming, but not a fave)

Anticipating: The return of the art I finally brought to the frame store in Ladybrand, hopefully this week. It includes the oil painting of the Okavango Delta by my grandma, a piece I bought at the Rosebank flea market 3 years ago that’s been hanging over my bed with bostick and the woodcut print by this artist I fell in love with in Stellenbosch. Now I just have to figure out where I’m going to hang it all.

Listening/Reading: To Pharrell Williams’ new album. The fact that he was in three of my favorite songs last year (Happy, Get Lucky and Blurred Lines) pushed me to buy the whole album instead of single by single like I normally do.

Eating: Vegetarian chili. I made a big pot and now have to eat it all up!

Working On: Normal work stuff. It’s a nice break after the craziness of February.

Wanting: Is it too late to say “Summer to last forever” (again?) Yes? Then how about a mild winter. (Side note: I recognize how blessed I am to only want for better weather. I honestly can never think of anything else to put here!)

Playing: Nothing, still! I just haven’t been in a gaming mood recently.

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It is still February, right? Yes? Okay. Here we go:

Watching: Season 3 of the BBC series “Sherlock”

Anticipating: My trip to Cape Town next week.

Listening/Reading: Two fluffy YA coming of age stories. It’s just what I need right now.

Eating: Lots of microwave popcorn – my default meal when I’m stressed.

Working On: A proposal for our largest donor that is due on Friday. (See “Eating” above.)

Wanting: Summer to last forever. (Did I say that before?)

Playing: Nothing these days. Any game recommendations out there?

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Coming soon

A view from today's Hash - it's summer and my favorite time of year here.

A view from today’s Hash – it’s summer and my favorite time of year here.

There are lots of big things coming my way over the next month that have me both excited and overwhelmed right now so apologies in advance if things are kind of quiet. I find that I don’t have much to say here especially when I’m overwhelmed at work so it may be just creative team assignments for the next little while. What’s keeping me so busy?

  • Preparing an important presentation to senior program people in my organization for later this week. I’m pitching our country strategy in order to get their ideas/support for diversifying funding to our office.
  • Leading my team to develop a proposal to our largest funder that will reduce maternal, newborn and child deaths in Lesotho. You don’t want to get me started on this but I’ll summarize by saying the problem is big and action is needed.
  • Dealing with an HR crisis at work
  • Some exciting scrapbooking related news to share hopefully soon 😉
  • My third beer fest in Clarens.
  • The departure of one of my dearest friends in Lesotho *sob* with a preceding trip to Cape Town/Cape Winelands.
  • A need to significantly improve my training regimen for the Two Oceans 10k Trail Run over Easter Weekend in April. (Oh, jeeze, did I just write “significantly improve” in a blog post? Clearly I’m having a hard time separating work and pleasure.) Let’s just say I’ve been off my game the last few weeks.

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The one with all YouTube videos …

Bruce Springsteen released an album last week and I happen to have tickets to see him in Joburg at the end of the month. “The Ghost of Tom Joad” with Tom Morello is my favorite song from the album so far. Also, this is me swooning over Tom Morello on the guitar in this video –  *swoon*

While looking up the previous video I came across this version of the same song but more of a folk version than rock  that I’m also loving:

Someone told me about this method for eating apples a few months ago and I randomly decided to try it out this week. It works!

I discovered this acoustic version of Titanium (originally by David Guetta featuring Sia) on a video someone shared on Facebook and have been listening to it ever since. Gorgeous.

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Currently (January 2014)

Do you see the sheep who were stalking us on the Hash last Sunday?

Do you see the sheep who were stalking us on the Hash last Sunday?

I am following the lead of Allison and Anandi and doing a Currently list for the month.

Watching: Season 3 of “Downton Abbey” using my iTunes season pass. Also Season 2 of “Homeland” at weekly get togethers with Brian & David.

Anticipating: A weekend trip to Sani Pass where we are going to hike to the highest peak in Lesotho/the highest point south of Kilimanjaro at 3482 meters (= 11423 feet).

Listening/Reading: Three books at once! Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley which is work related; The 500 by Matthew Quirk as an audiobook and We Are Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler for fun.

Eating: Lunch with several of my team members outside on our patio at the office almost everyday.

Working On: The agenda for our team retreat in a week. I have team retreat related PTSD (it’s a long story) so I’ve borrowed heavily from the suggestions of a friend.

Wanting: Summer to last forever. 

Playing: Settlers of Catan on the iPad. The current obsession started after Kameko asked if I had it on my iPad at the beginning of our Madagascar trip (which, of course, I did) and then resulted in many games between the two of us over the two weeks.

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