Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: Entertainment

Friday six-pack: The first of 2017

Reading. Finished Today Will be Different and Salvage the Bones. Started But What if We’re Wrong? and Private Citizens (I’m trying to only read one book at a time but But What if We’re Wrong is way too intense and thought-provoking to read before bed). Picked up Blood Men, Imagine Me Gone, and Nearly Gone. Show Us Your Books is this Tuesday! Our first one in 2017! 

Writing. If you guys don’t know, I currently have a books column over at my friends’ site, Adulting. This week I introduced my Adulting reading challenge. If you wouldn’t mind, please go check it out, share it as you see fit, and if you’d like, join the challenge (it’s pretty low stress, averages to one book per month, and I’m allowing doubling up on categories. Like, I’m reading My Antonia for classic book and one written before 1950). Since I created the challenge, I’m participating in it so we can work through it together (I’m also doing one with my library and Erin peer pressured me into the Aussie Authors one, too. I’m only aiming for 3 books in that one, though. And two are authors I planned to read anyway).

Watching. On a whim, I started River on Netflix. It’s this weird British crime drama about a detective named River who is basically going crazy, hearing voices and being followed around by dead people while he’s still trying to function in reality. The main guy is the guy who was Professor Lambeau in Good Will Hunting and one of the brothers from Ray Donovan is in it, too. It’s only 6 episodes, I’m halfway through, and I really like it. Of course I do. 

Not joining. One of the moms at the child’s cheer gym invited me to join her DietBet. I’m politely ignoring declining. It’s not that I don’t like the idea, and the thought of earning money for continuing to do something I’m doing anyway is appealing, but I’m so uncompetitive that I don’t want to be bothered. Also, I don’t want to take selfies of myself in tight clothing and post it for people to see and I can’t understand why people are actually okay with doing that. I don’t even like taking selfies when I’m in regular clothing. 

Listening. No new podcasts to speak of as I’m still trying to catch up from not listening to anything over the 10 or so days the family was on vacation but I have been compulsively listening to Spotify. Specifically, Shinedown radio. For some reason, when I pick this station, Spotify insists I like Nickelback (I don’t) and Daughtry (I do) by putting dozens of their songs in the queue (thank god for the remove from playlist option). When that happens, I sometimes get to hear songs I’ve never heard before including this one from Daughtry that I *might* put on repeat. (I’ve also been listening to a lot of Phil Collins because, you know, balance)



That’s all for this first (back to school and work) week of 2017. Preparing for relatively low-key weekend with lots of cold weather (or, as I call it, the perfect reason to not leave the house). Hope you all have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Tuesday for Show Us Your Books!

resized signature 2

Friday Six-Pack: The last of 2016

This is the last recap of 2016 because next week, with the child and the husband both on vacation, I will be spending (even more) time away from my laptop to hang with them. Of course I’ll be around on Tuesday for our second Show Us Your Books this month, recapping our favorites from the year but other than that, I’ll be (even more) absent. I’m looking forward to coming back here in January with renew purpose and presence. Well, that’s the plan anyway. We’ll see what actually happens. 

Reading. Darktown by Thomas Muller. Picked up Hillbilly Elegy and Today Will Be Different. Was strong armed persuaded by my favorite librarian into doing a reading challenge she created. Also created a reading challenge which I’ll share with you guys when it’s all ready to go (it’s for the site I write for rather than this one). 

Listening. No new podcasts to share with you guys this week and as far as music, I’ve been sticking to my standards and my Spotify most played in 2016 with a splash of nontraditional Christmas music thrown in. It’s been an uneventful week.

Watching. Home Alone x45 million. It’s the child’s favorite and she doesn’t have HBO or a DVD player in her room so we all have to suffer. Also Singles. I fucking love that movie.

Giving. Since Giving Tuesday, we’ve also donated to a scholarship established by the husband’s fraternity alumni, BuildOn, and, thanks to Instagram, I learned about a new local charity that gives Christmas gifts to kids in foster care who are too old for Toys for Tots. We picked a 17 year old girl in an out of state placement because those kids have a special place in my heart, and we went all out for her. She deserves it, and I’m grateful we were able to afford it this year. 

Celebrating. Most of y’all know how disappointed and angry and frustrated I am at our government. It’s revolting what’s happening. However, this week, my school district just passed a referendum that will build 3 new schools and do capital improvements on 2 of them. Where I live is exploding, population-wise, and we desperately need the new schools to accommodate all the kids. Overcrowding presents a host of problems, and these kids deserve quality education that overcrowding will prevent. It thrills me to no end that others agree with me and that this passed by a wide margin. It gives me hope that, despite what’s going on at a national level, on a local level, people are practical and invested and make good choices. 


That’s it. I hope you guys have an awesome holiday, whatever you do or don’t celebrate, and that you have a fun (or uneventful and boring) New Year’s, and I’ll see you in January!


resized signature 2

Friday six-pack: revelling in the mundane

What a week. Dr. Seaver died. Aleppo. The uncontained dumpster fire that is our government. Ohio. North Carolina. My daughter turned 10 and got a phone. My grandma turned 90. Emotions are all over the place. Some things I can’t talk about because they’re not for me to discuss but have affected me in all the ways. It seems ridiculous to do a weekly recap of all the mundane amidst all of this but like Alyssa mentioned, there’s grounding in the average. It gives us something to cling to when everything else is spiraling away. So, in that vein, here’s my average:Friday Six Pack

Reading. Finished We’re All Damaged and started Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil. Nothing added to the library holds list. Thanks to everyone who participated in Show Us  Your Books and I apologize for my lack of participation this time around. I was a shitty host. 

Watching. American Housewife. GUYS. I watched it for the first time this past week and I was all HOW DO THEY KNOW MY LIFE?! Especially when she said this about Santa: “We have the same body type. We both have lists of people who pissed us off.” Seriously. Does not get more accurate. 

Eating. I made bruschetta zoodles for dinner the other night. Well, I mean I made it for me. The husband refuses to eat zoodles (FINE. MORE FOR ME) so he had pasta instead and the child ate pizza because clearly I win at encouraging healthy eating but if you’re so inclined to try this, it’s super easy. Make zoodles using a spiralizer. Then combine either chopped fresh tomatoes or a can of diced tomatoes, chopped garlic to your liking (I like a lot of garlic), some salt, pepper, basil, and lemon juice in a bowl. Let that hang out for a bit. Then mix it all together. I heated it but you can probably eat it cold as well. P.S. I also found this article on Lifehacker about expanding your cooking repertoire. It’s way easier than you think!

Listening. There’s a brand new podcast called The Hilarious World of Depression. YES. I also encourage you to check out the website they mention, Make It Ok. It’s about breaking the stigma of mental illness, with resources and stories and action you can take. 

Raging and thinking. I agree 100% with everything Steph mentioned in her post yesterday. I’m appalled and horrified that more people aren’t outraged about Russia’s interference in our election. This is not a fucking joke. It’s fucking serious. And it’s up to people like you and me to rage and discuss it. Because if there’s one thing, ONE THING, I’m optimistic about with this impending administration is that we’re going to see a whole new level of activism. We’re going to see more people speaking up and fighting for what’s right and railing against this oppressive nightmare. We’re going to see our kids taking a more active role in their communities and their country. We’re fostering a greater understanding of what exactly the president can do (and what he can’t). We’re going to see more vigilance in finding truth rather than just accepting whatever information is thrown at us. The next 4 years are pivotal for the future and survival of this country the way we know it and I hope with every fiber of my being that those who voted for him recognize what’s happening and join the fight for what’s right instead of continuing to accept what’s wrong. 


Laughing. My gym posted this picture on IG. Oh, yeah. I go to the gym now. 


We’ll be finishing up celebrating the child’s birthday this weekend, along with our family Christmas prep day. Think cookies, fudge, visiting Santa, decorating a gingerbread house but done lazy style because there are also naps to take and books to read. Hope you all have a great weekend as well!

resized signature 2

Friday six-pack: The week after Thanksgiving

Trying a new format. I might keep playing with it until I figure out one I like. Please bear with me. 

Friday Six Pack

Now that Thanksgiving is in the rear window and we’re focusing on the holidays, let’s not also forgot about the mundane parts of life. Like this stuff: 

Reading. Almost finished with Tig Notaro’s book, I’m Just a Person. Then I’ll work on Chuck Klosterman’s new one along with All is Not Forgotten. Picked up Kissing in America and Darktown. Completed my Goodreads goal of 75 books but reading is the one area of my life I’m overly ambitious so we’ll keep going until the year ends. 

Watching. The Affair. I put off watching it until recently because I don’t like infidelity as entertainment but this show is so much more that I can let that part of the premise go. I kind of hate them all but I love the way it all works and I really want to know what the fuck happened. 

Listening. Besides my current obsession with the Volbeat song “Battleship Chains”, I also started a new podcast, Crimetown. It’s a true crime show (clearly) but rather than focused on one specific crime or murder, it focuses on organized crime in Providence, RI. It’s like the show Brotherhood but real life. 

Eating. I had a craving for stuffed peppers this week so I made taco stuffed peppers. It was ridiculously easy and I really like recipes that cook in the oven because not only does it give me time to clean the kitchen while the food cooks, I feel like I get a few extra minutes to read or, in the case of baked potatoes, nap. If you’re interested, here’s what I did:

  • Cooked ground turkey, then added taco seasoning, rice (roughly one cup of leftover rice but you can skip this part if you want), a can of diced tomatoes with chilies, 2 tbsp chili powder, and an 8 oz can of tomato sauce. I let that all simmer and blend together while I cut the tops off the peppers (and cleaned out the seeds and shit). Note: you can also make this vegetarian but using TVP or beans.
  • Spooned taco mixture into the peppers, about halfway full. Then I added 2 cubes of cheese, put more mixture over that, and added one more cube of cheese on the very top. Repeat for as many peppers as you’re cooking. I used 4. 
  • Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes in a Pyrex pan filled with about 1/4 water. 

Giving. I had wanted to rant about Trump but I cannot right now. I’m at an absolute loss for words with what is happening. Please don’t mistake my silence for compliance or acceptance. Far from it. I’m enraged. And when I get my thoughts together, I’ll unleash the fury but for now, I’d rather focus on something positive.  Like the fact that Giving Tuesday raised a record amount of money this year. It warmed my heart that despite the direction this country is probably headed, there are still more people who want to do good. As for me, I gave to Forgotten Cats, which is a local cat rescue and TNR program that helped us with our cat; the Philadelphia chapter of the Hebrew Free Loan Association (we don’t have one in Delaware and thanks to my friend Brynne, I now know this organization exists and I am in love with their mission); and Toys for Tots. 

Laughing. This gave me all the giggles.


Thanks for sticking around this week! My weekend involves a quick trip to Long Island to celebrate my awesome grandma’s 90th birthday and then spending Sunday recovering. Hope you all have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here on Tuesday!

resized signature 2

Through the decades, 1970s style: A Jana and Erin playlist

A lot happened in the 70s. Some of it good, some of it bad, some of it in the middle. However, most notable is the fact that this is the decade in which Erin and I were both born! Yay for 70s babies! Granted I have approximately zero memories and I don’t think Erin’s are that clear but still. WE WERE THERE.


You know what else was there? Great music. The dawn of punk, the dawn of rap, the abomination of disco, the big sounds of arena rock and so much more. In fact, this was the most difficult playlist we’ve put together because we seriously didn’t know where to stop. This is actually our biggest playlist at 39 songs (and that’s with leaving off a lot) and we’ve linked to the whole list at the bottom, with our favorites highlighted below. 


“Closer to the Heart”–Rush. As you all know, this is Jana’s favorite band. Picking one song was a challenge but this one was selected specifically because of the poignancy and significance and relevance to the current state of politics in the US. (ex., And the men who hold high places must be the ones who start. To mold a new reality. Closer to the heart.)

“Dream On”–Aerosmith. There are A LOT of 70s Aerosmith songs that I (Erin) love, but the quintessential song that still gives me goosebumps that still has a powerful message “Dream until your dreams come true”

“Prelude/Angry Young Man”–Billy Joel. Like Rush and Aerosmith, HOW DO YOU PICK JUST ONE?! Well, you pick one with his incredible piano playing that’s also fun to sing along to and one you never, ever tire of hearing.

“Dance the Night Away”–Van Halen. Again, A LOT, because I’m (Erin) a DLR fan over Van Hager fan and this one started my love of “rock music that you can dance to”.

“Who Are You?”–The Who. So, it’s one of my parents’ favorite stories to tell about me (Jana) and how I used to walk around at the age of 3 or 4 singing this song. Specifically, the “who? who?” part, like a fucking owl. Also fun to know is that they say “who the fuck are you” in the song so it’s pretty evident where my love of that particular word comes from.

“Crazy on You”–Heart. Heart Those fucking Wilson sisters broke so many glass ceilings proving that women rock just as hard as men (we actually have a whole badass women playlist. The Wilson sisters are on it. Obviously). 

“Bat Out of Hell”–Meatloaf. I (Jana) probably should have picked Paradise by the Dashboard Light because it’s one of my all time favorite songs but this one is like the opening line from The Martian. It’s unforgettable and makes a statement you never forget. 

“Strutter”–KISS. So many Kiss songs are more well known, but I love this little gem of a song. Fun fact: my Paul Stanley doll was my (Erin) favorite doll as a kid for a while.

“Bohemian Rhapsody”–Queen. Arguably one of the greatest songs ever written. It is still original and unique 40+ years later. Fun fact: It’s the only song that was a duplicate from both of our lists. Another fun fact: I (Jana) think of Wayne’s World when I hear it. Every. Single. Time.

“Already Gone”–Eagles. I’ve (Erin) explained the significance before, but I’ll say it again – after living in a turbulent relationship, getting married at 19 (with no business doing so), I packed up my white Honda Civic at the age of almost-21 and left that asshole.  When I pulled out of the drive-way, I opened the sunroof, and this song started.  Tears streamed down my face as I sang it at the top of my lungs.  It is “my victory song”.

“Horse with No Name”–America. My (Jana) victory song is not from the 70s but here’s another embarrassing story about me instead. I called this the camel song for years. No real clue why. Just did. 

“Hot Child in the City”–Nick Gilder. You know how some random memories from childhood are still so vivid?  I (Erin) have a vivid memory of standing on my swing on our backyard swing set singing the song aloud for all the neighbors to hear. (Jana’s note: glad to know I wasn’t the only weird ass child).

“Good Hearted Woman”–Willie Nelson. He IS Texas to me (Erin)

Okay, so now that you have the highlights, here’s the whole list. Let us know what songs from the 70s you enjoy and we should add!


resized signature 2