Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Latest Posts

Concert favorites: A Jana and Erin playlist


Last Thursday of the month means it’s time for another playlist with Jana  and Erin – a playlist with a twist.  Often, we try not to choose themes that you’ve seen time and time again.  This month we’ve decided to highlight significant songs from concerts we’ve attended AND that concert was monumental to us for one reason or another. 
JANA:  1. The Right Stuff” by NKOTB. New Kids and Tiffany was the first concert I ever went to. With my parents, sister, best friend at the time and we saw them at Westbury Music Fair. I was in 4th or 5th grade (roughly the same age as my daughter, incidentally, who just went to her first concert this past summer. We took her to see Weezer. So there’s that). And my love of live music begins. 
ERIN:  2.  “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi.  I know.  It comes as no surprise that Bon Jovi makes an appearance on this list.  It was my first concert that I attended.  My mother took three 8th grade girls and one 7th grader to the Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet” tour with Cinderella opening (who became another live favorite).  My love of Bon Jovi was cemented.
JANA:  3. “Big Talk” by Warrant. NKOTB was the first concert I ever attended; Warrant and Poison at Nassau Coliseum was the first concert I attended sans parents. Three of my friends and I went during the Cherry Pie tour and looking back, there were quite a lot of things that happened at that concert I didn’t quite understand. Now I do. Warrant was DIRTY.
ERIN:  4.  “King of Rock” by Run DMC – The summer after 8th grade, I went to visit my grandparents in rural East Texas.  A concert was coming to the Oil Palace in Tyler, Texas … a concert like this smaller Texas town had never seen – Run DMC with others (DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Public Enemy, and more).  My aunt and uncle took me, they sat in the back while I bounced and danced in the crowd.  My uncle claimed that my blond ponytail was easy to spot.  I loved the blend of sounds (and still do) that Run DMC brings, and King of Rock is especially foreshadowing since they are now members of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.
JANA:  5. “Subdivisions” by Rush. This is my absolute favorite Rush song of all time. We might have used it in a post before but #idontcare. I saw Rush for the first time in 1991ish (mostly because Mr. Big was the opening act. Yes, I was that person but in my defense, I was 14) and despite being there for the opening act, I walked away a Rush fan. This was also the gateway concert for my love affair with outdoor concerts. Thank you, Jones Beach.
ERIN:  6.  “Crackerman” by Stone Temple Pilots.  My college roommate, Katy, dated a beautiful boy named Gregorio.  We piled into my white Honda Civic and drove from our university town to Houston for my first “live” experience with Stone Temple Pilots (1995ish).  It was an incredible show, even with Scott Weiland completely off his face.  Since his death from a deadly cocktail of drugs, this first STP is particularly poignant to me in my memories.
JANA:  7. “Tainted Angel” by Southgang. I saw these guys on New Year’s Eve. In a bar. In Atlanta. When I was 14 (14 was a big year, evidently). It was pretty fucking cool. (Also, I might or might not have thrown this in because of Erin’s love for Butch Walker. I’ll let you decide).
ERIN:  8.  “Best Thing You Never Had” by Butch Walker. No, this ain’t no BeyoncĂ© song.  Jana mentioned my love for Butch, and my entry above talks about my friend, Katy…so, let me tell you about the time that Katy and I went to Vegas to “celebrate” her divorce.  The Wynn just opened, and we scored an amazing deal on a room.  We went to see the male dance revue, American Storm, and we had cocktails by the pool.  I told Katy that she needed to trust me – we were going to see Avril Lavigne at The Joint at the Hard Rock because there was this musician that was opening that I had to see…Mr. Butch Walker.  Seeing this song live is damn near close to a religious experience for me.  He’s touring right now.  Seriously.  If you like live music, do yourself a favor and go see him if he’s coming to a town near you. 
JANA:  9. “Ain’t Going Down Till the Sun Comes Up” by Garth Brooks. I bought my husband, then-boyfriend, tickets to see Garth Brooks in Philly for his 20th birthday. Decidedly not a country music fan, I had a lot of trepidation going to the show. Turns out, I can be wrong. This still reigns as one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. The man played for 3 hours WITH NO BREAK. It was incredible. Also at that concert, the guy selling “popcorn, peanuts, crack cocaine”.   (Note from Erin: While watching this video as I was putting together this post, I got goosebumps.  His energy is infectious.  Garth is the bomb.  No shame.)
ERIN:  10.  “Between Angels and Insects” by Papa Roach.  Another time that I told a friend to “just trust me” and go to a show with me was to see Papa Roach.  Their first full album was out, and “Last Resort” was a single getting play.  I had the album (well, cd, but I still call them albums), and I wanted to see them live.  I convinced my friend, Shawn, to go with me because he likes rock shows.  When we left the show, we looked like someone had hosed us down with a garden hose.  We were soaked with sweat.  I am not sure I’ve ever lost that many calories in one show.  I picked this song because it was the one that I remember most for the crowd losing.their.shit when it played. 
JANA:  11. “Captain Jack” by Billy Joel. Returning the favor, the husband bought me tickets to see Billy Joel and Elton John. I had previously seen Billy during college but attending this concert was the fulfillment of a decade long dream. Dueling pianos at their finest. 
ERIN:  12.  “Here Is Gone” by the Goo Goo Dolls.  My two frontmen loves are Jon Bon Jovi and Johnny Rzeznik.  In 2003, they made this girl’s dream come true by touring together.  And, the Goo Goo Dolls were touring to support my favorite album of theirs, Gutterflower. 
JANA:  13. “Jesus of Suburbia” by Green Day. Perhaps the greatest song from American Idiot, and perhaps one of the most stellar shows I’ve attended. By the time we got to their concert at the Liacouras Center, we’d seen Green Day 3 times and this concert was about as close to perfection as you can get. 
ERIN:  14.  I couldn’t decide what song/band I wanted to list next, and “Gone Away” by The Offspring came on, which instantly took me to a memory that I love, so there you have it.  One of my best gal pals moved to Italy.  I went to visit.  We went to see The Offspring in Milan.  It was an unforgettable experience to go to a concert surrounded by Italians all singing along in English with this SoCal pop punk band. 

JANA:  15. “Absolutely Still” by Better Than Ezra. Laugh if you will, but I love these guys. And I loved, LOVED seeing them at Power Plant Live in Baltimore. FOR FREE, Y’ALL. Of course it was on the hottest day Baltimore has ever had and my sweet tea crush melted but still. Awesome. There’s something about going to see a once popular band but who wasn’t really that popular and who’s a little past their prime because you know all the fans are FANS. And they covered a Rush song.

ERIN:  16.  “Angel Eyes (I’ll Never Let You Go)” by Steelheart.  Talk about seeing bands a little past their prime……..I went to the inaugural Rocklahoma in 2007.  Glam bands, hair bands, hair metal, call them what you want.  My love for them will never die.  I was joined in a field smack in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma by others who still loved this music too.  We met people from different countries, different states, and different ages.  Many “big” names from this era were there (Poison, RATT, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Vince Neil, Dokken, more) – but, when the lead singer of Steelheart belted out this song and still hit those notes, it is safe to say that the crowd was blown away. (Note from Jana: I am jealous as hell that Erin went to Rocklahoma)
JANA:  17. “Enemies” by Shinedown. Going all the way back to two weeks ago when I attended Carnival of Madness. I can’t even properly convey how I felt this concert in my bones. In my soul. Shinedown’s music speaks to me like no other band’s and to see them live…well, I can’t quite process it all yet, never mind write about it. AND. As if the concert wasn’t amazing enough, they opened up their set with Let’s Go Crazy. The real Prince version. Not a cover. 
ERIN:  18.  “All out of Love” by Air Supply.  They started their career over 40 years ago playing in Sydney restaurants.  I saw them play at the Sydney Opera House.  Let me tell you, there is something to be said for any band that can stay together for 40 years (the duo claim they’ve never even had a fight) and can fill a room full of people who will sing all of their songs word for word back to them. 

We left out plenty that we wanted to add, but this is no longer about us…tell us about your live music experience and a significant song from a monumental concert in your musical journey.

resized signature 2

Thanks, but I think I’ll pass

I am decidedly not a trendy person. I don’t wear trendy clothes or use trendy language (and often have to use Urban Dictionary or rely on the kindness of others to explain such things to me) or have trendy home furnishings or anything else. I like what I like and I stick with it. That works for me.

That said, I might occasionally partake in something trendy. Like, I watched Stranger Things on Netflix this summer. I know who Chrissy Teigen is. I am waiting for The Girls by Emma Cline to come in at the library. So, I’m not totally living in my only little Jana sized bubble. However, there are a number of trendy (or maybe they’re not even trendy anymore. I don’t know) things I have not nor will I actually do. 

For instance:

  • Bulletproof coffee. This is essentially coffee with butter in it. I feel like Paula Deen had something to do with this trend because I’m confident she’s in cahoots with the butter industry (is that a thing? I feel like it’s a thing) but seriously. Butter. In coffee. No, thank you. If I’m going to put butter in something, it’s going to be a cookie. 
  • Contouring/nontouring. So, more work for makeup. Not going to do it. I have my 10 minute routine and unless I’m being photographed for some professional reason, I’m not adding anymore time to it. Maybe not even then. Hard pass.
  • Tiny houses. FUCK THAT SHIT RIGHT NOW. I get that it’s environmentally friendly and economical (unless you have one of those pretentious Tiny Houses like on that show Tiny House Nation which I watched for approximately 4 minutes before I went all ragey) and a wonderful, practical solution to homelessness but unless you want me trading my tiny house for a jail cell, I’m not living in one. I need my space, y’all.
  • Ombre hair. Not even sure if this is still a thing but I have basically the equivalent of a long haired animal living on my head. My hair is dark and thick and long and curly (well, unruly, but let’s just say curly for now) and I can’t even imagine how much money and time it would take to ombre my hair. I don’t want to sit still that long for anything that’s not a book.
  • Oil pulling. It sounds gross, it seems like it hurts, and I’m fine with a toothbrush and mouthwash. Sometimes I even floss! I know. I live on the edge.
  • Those long, pointy, oval shaped nails that look like talons. OMG, how do you function with those? Like basic functions like buttons things or wiping or typing a text? Doesn’t all kinds of shit get stuck in them? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW (fellow old ladies, please tell me you get that). So I’ll stick with my short, square nails that enable me to go to the bathroom and not fear impaling my uterus. 
  • CrossFit. So this is all the rage right now. And I’m intrigued by it but I’m wholly uncoordinated and I’ve heard there’s the box that you have to jump on for one of the exercises and I’d most likely miss the box and fall and break something so skipping this one is more for my personal safety considering I was taken down by a rogue grape a few weeks ago. I can’t imagine CrossFit ending well for me. 
  • Bullet journals. Like CrossFit, I’m intrigued by this one. If I had ambition and remembered to actually keep track of shit, I’d be all over it. I’ve seen examples of ones for mental health and for books, not just for your daily life, and those seem like they’re more up my alley but they also seem like a shit ton of work and let’s face it, I’m pretty fucking lazy. So Goodreads and a daily planner and ye old blog it is. 

How about you guys? Do you participate in trends or abstain? Or some combination? 

resized signature 2

Something to Believe In

There’s a quote I’m going to use but will most likely butcher since I struggle with remembering anything that’s not a song lyric or movie line verbatim. It says that the way you volunteer your time is a reflection of the kind of community you want to live in. I agree with that. I think that not only is it reflective of the kind of community you want to live in but also reflective of your personal values and choices, although maybe we can discuss that a bit since sometimes maybe I want to donate to or volunteer for something but due to money or other constraints, I just can’t (I guess in that case I can always share and bring attention to it so there’s that workaround). And if I’m being honest with you guys, I’ve been struggling a bit with what I believe in. 

I think I have cause fatigue. There’s JUST SO MANY and it’s been increasingly difficult to pick just a few. It’s not that my morals are compromised. I think it’s more that I want to help everybody. And I know I can’t and I’m finally at the point where I’m okay with that. But I’ve had to spend some serious time thinking about what causes I truly believe in and how I can best contribute to those causes. Well, maybe not so much how I can contribute because I have a pretty solid method for that (which I can share with you if you’d like) but where should my money and time go?

After a ton of soul searching, these are the 4 causes that rose to the top of my list:

  1. Literacy. It makes me sad to think of all the people who struggle with reading or have little access to books. Books are amazing and life changing, and it is critical to me that people can read and get books into their hands.
  2. Food security. It is close to impossible to concentrate on anything when you’re hungry (says the bitchiest of the bitchy when she’s hangry) and it kills me to think that people, especially kids, go to bed having their growling stomachs sing them to what is probably a very restless sleep.
  3. Cat rescue. I  know, I have two dogs and I should just say animal rescue. But for some reason, stray cats tug at my heart more than dogs. Probably because on the whole, cats are more reviled than dogs. I also have a rescued stray cat.
  4. Mental Health awareness. For obvious reasons. 

I know that people tend to gravitate towards issues that affect them personally and that’s probably true for me as well. In my past, I’ve donated regularly to organizations that didn’t but I felt were important anyway. But I don’t think it stuck as a cause to champion because I didn’t have that personal connection to it. I know that there are plenty of people who involve and immerse themselves in causes that have no connection to their history but for me, I need that bond. Knowing how I felt makes me want to help others not feel that way (which is actually a weird thing to say about literacy since I started reading at age 4 but I’ve worked with people who struggle with reading and I’ve seen how hard life is for them and I don’t want people going through that if I can help) 

What’s nice about this list is that it still leaves room to make donations and support other causes but it gives me a place to focus my efforts. Because giving is not a mutually exclusive activity. Volunteering at a cat adoption event or the school library or writing a post about suicide prevention does not preclude me from making a donation to Relay for Life (or even participating in Relay for Life) or buying toys for Toys for Tots. But when time and money are at a premium, and since charitable giving is a core priority of mine, it’s good to have a frame of reference for where to put my limited resources. 

How about you guys? What are some of your most important causes? 

Show Us Your Books, August edition: The one with short books

Second Tuesday of the month. You know what that means. 

Don’t forget to visit both me and Steph, some of the others linking up, and let me know what you’re reading in the comments if you forgot to write a post and/or you’re a non-blogger. 

You guys. The Devil in the White City is murdering my reading mojo. The parts about the serial killer are fucking fascinating but getting through the parts about the coming together […] Continue Reading…

Just some good old fashioned rants

You know what’s a good way to really get back into blogging? With some rants. 

Instagram. REALLY?! Is the Snapchat ripoff necessary? I don’t use Snapchat for many, many reasons and I liked that Instagram was a safe haven from its nonsensery. And now it’s there, lurking at the top of my feed. All. The. Time. I dealt with all the other nonsense changes with nary a word but this. This is too much. 
[…] Continue Reading…