The return of #inthedrawer: Holiday Instagram fun

Hey there! Just popping in from my turkey coma/readcation to bring you a special announcement. 

Remember last year when Nadine and I did the Instagram challenge #inthedrawer? It was based on this picture (and also a little bit my hatred of the Elf on the Shelf): 


Well, we decided that since we had so much fun with it (and also we both shit the bed on our own challenge, mid-challenge) we’re going to do it again. All you need to do is find a Barbie doll (or any doll, really. Even a stuffed animal is fine. No stuffed animal or Barbie in the house? You can buy one for about $5 or $6, or even $1 at a dollar store, and use it. Then, when you’re done, if you don’t want to keep it, donate it to a homeless shelter or battered women’s shelter or group home) and follow the prompts. Nadine will have a linkup every Friday on her blog so you can share what you’ve done.

Also, make sure you follow both of us on Instagram (I’m @saysjana, she’s @lifebynadine) and tag your pictures #inthedrawer. Don’t use the word “whore”. We don’t want to cause any kinds of trouble (or bring about weirdos and creepers). 

Here’s the prompts:


Do your best. Be creative. Don’t feel pressure to do them all. But we hope you do!

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Thanksgiving playlist with Erin and Jana

Ordinarily Erin and I do these playlists on the last Thursday of the month but since the last Thursday of this month is Thanksgiving, we’re bringing it to you a few days early. Also, we usually group all of our songs into one big list; this month, we’ve broken it down because we wanted to explain why we’re thankful for the songs we picked. So when you’re done reading my picks, go visit Erin to read hers. 

When Erin and I thought of the idea for this playlist, I thought picking songs would be easy. After all, there isn’t a day that goes by I’m not thankful for all the music in my life. But as I narrowed down the list, it became increasingly difficult to choose (only picking about 5 or 6 songs didn’t help). So I added some criteria: songs that I’ve listened to for years, songs that transcend stages of my life, songs that have a special meaning, and songs that I go to when I need something specific. 
I confess that it didn’t make it much easier to pick but it helped some. So here’s what I’ve got for you:
Count on Me by Default–This song was a loose interpretation of popular when I was pregnant with the child way back in 2006 and maybe it was the pregnancy hormones, maybe it was the lyrics, but every time I heard it I got a little (read: a lot) weepy. It still makes me choke up at times and if I ever made a playlist of songs for my daughter, this one would be at the top. So, I’m thankful that this song gives me words to say to her when I’m at a loss, or the words that I will say to her when I can’t.

Reach for the Sky by Social Distortion, Troublemaker by Weezer, and The Middle by Jimmy Eat World–I’m lumping these songs together because they’re my go-to songs for motivation or when I’m feeling down about my career choices or stage in life or just a case of the blahs about everything. They’re my kick in the ass trifecta, if you will. Every time I listen to them, it gives me just the mood boost I need to realize I didn’t make all the bad choices and eventually, I’ll get to where I need to be. I’m thankful for these songs because it’s nice to have some rockin’ jams to help me when I’m feeling like crap.

This is the Time by Billy Joel–I know! A HUGE departure from the rock songs you’re used to from me. But once I explain, you’ll get it. If there was ever a song that encapsulated nostalgia for me, it’s this one. Not only does it bring up many, many fond memories of sleepaway camp, but I feel like it’s what describing living in the present and cherishing all the moments should sound like. I’m thankful for this song mostly because it’s just so beautiful. (see also: Here’s to Us by Halestorm)

Subdivisions by Rush–If you read Ready Player One, you most likely remember (or don’t) the reference to this song. I threw a bit of an excited fit because it’s basically my favorite Rush song. I first heard in high school, around 1991 or 1992 (it was released in 1982 but I was 5 so it makes sense that I didn’t hear it for another 10 years), and my first thought was “OMG, this song! It gets me! This is exactly what it’s like living here!” And then it was on repeat on my CD player. I’m immensenly thankful that this song came to me at a time in my life when I needed it and helped a very weird, very lonely girl feel not so lonely and weird. 

Honorable mention: If You’re Going Thru Hell by Rodney Atkins. Yes, it’s a country song. Yes, I know that’s WAY off base for me. But this song meant a lot to me when I was in the deepest recesses of my depression and I’m thankful for its understanding and message that yes, things are bad now but don’t let it get you. Ask for help. It’ll get better. 

I had a dozen or so other songs I could have used but many of them are by women and Erin and I have a playlist devoted solely to badass women coming up in January and I didn’t want to duplicate songs.
While these are the ones that stand out, I’m mostly thankful for music in general. It means as much to me as books do. I appreciate music like some people do a painting or a photograph and it makes my life that much fuller when I can put a song to an event or memory. It reminds me of people who’ve come and gone, times and places I might have forgotten, and helps me work through emotions, good and bad. 
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What are some songs you’re thankful for?

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This week in…: Volume 40

This week’s edition brought to you from a haze of NyQuil.

this week

    • Finished Gangsterland and Maybe in Another Life. Started Beneath the Bonfire. Picked up Some Luck and Rising Strong. I am now fully stocked for my readcation next week. And don’t forget, next Show Us Your Books linkup is December 8. We have another giveaway planned for you. 
    • Thanks for all the suggestions about what to binge watch next! And since the most commonly suggested show was Master of None, I’ll be making my way through that series during some down time from my readcation.
    • So Kurt Sutter canceled his own show. That’s pretty badass. Au revoir, The Bastard Executioner. Although I have a feeling you might get picked up elsewhere. 
    • Our first full week at the child’s new cheer gym was awesome. I am beyond pleased with the staff, the child is happier than she’s been in a year, and one of her friends from her old squad even joined as well! It proves that sometimes, a hard decision is definitely for the best, even if it’s uncomfortable. 
    • After not wearing nail polish for over a month because of the horrid conditions of my nails, I finally painted them the other day with a brand new color (Essie Frock N Roll. It’s a dark, sparkly purple. LOVES). I feel like myself again. 
    • We are now just about 2 weeks through our Whole30. Definitely eye opening, some days are harder than others, but I’m glad we bit the (grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free) bullet and are doing it. I don’t know that I can go back to eating the way I’d been but I am looking forward to maybe adding back some cheese. I’m thinking about writing a post about our experience with it. Would anyone be interested in a post like that?
    • Some internet reading about reading–20 problems only book lovers understand (from Goodreads’s blog). This very long piece from The New Yorker, Can Reading Make You Happier (side note, I want to be a bibliotherapist). This Bookish Mix-Tape from BookRiot (a post idea I’m borrowing at a date TBD). And, while this isn’t bookish or reading related, Broadway is now offering a $15/month streaming service for their shows (h/t Lifehacker). As someone who loves Broadway but doesn’t have the funds to afford all the shows, I will definitely be checking this out. 
    • This funny:

Have a wonderful weekend and to those who will be celebrating, Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll only be posting once next week (in a joint playlist post with Erin) but other than that, I’m taking a much needed internet and social media break. I’ll see you soon!

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Pop culture things older than me

The other day, while talking to a friend, it dawned on me that my age (38) is closer to 50 than 21. And that 50 really no longer seems that old (I mean, it seems a little old but not intimidating old like 30 did when I was a kid. Or in my 20s). And that freaked me out. Because does that mean I’m old???

I think maybe it does, a little. 

So I got to […] Continue Reading…

The Story Behind the Picture

Today I’m linking up with the lovely Elle for her Story Behind the Picture linkup. And since my family doesn’t make visual appearances on my blog and I’m anti-selfie (except in certain circumstances and also when someone forces me to. cough-Steph-cough), we’re going to examine a picture of my cat. 

Specifically, these pictures (which you might have seen on Instagram)

So, yeah. That’s my cat climbing up our screen door, desperately trying to get back […] Continue Reading…