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What I'm Listening to | September

Each month I'll share five songs I'm been loving all month and hopefully you'll find a song or two (or all of them!) to love as well.

Just press play to listen to all the songs!

I'm doing something a little different today! For starters, I'm sharing 8 songs instead of 5 and more importantly, there's a theme! Usually when I can't find any new music to listen to, I fall back on my usual favorites, which tend to be garage/alternative/indie rock. But since last year, I've added a new genre to my list of fallbacks – country. Specifically, female country singers. I think it all started when I fell in love with Jana Kramer's music and then Maren Morris' album last year. For the last couple weeks I've had my country playlist on repeat so I thought I'd share some of my favorite songs. Most are old-ish but there's a couple new ones on there too.

If I Were You
 - Jillian Jacqueline (feat. Keith Urban) | I heard this for the first time last week and it quickly became my most played song this month! She's got a great voice and the lyrics really struck a chord with me.

I Wish I Was - Maren Morris | I've featured this song before and played it more times than I can count but the words still get me every time ("Cause you're looking for true love / And I'm not the one / But I wish, but I wish I was").

Just Another Thing - Maren Morris | It's one of her more upbeat songs but not in a poppy way. It's just really sassy and I adore it.

End Up With You - Carrie Underwood | I used to listen to Carrie Underwood when she first started out (Some Hearts and Carnival Ride) but not much since. Then I heard this song a few weeks ago and it reminded me of catchy her songs are and how great her voice is.

Vice - Miranda Lambert | I fell in love with this song the moment I heard it. The mood, Miranda's voice, the lyrics.

Sway - Danielle Bradbery | Sway is definitely more on the country-pop side but it's so catchy. It makes me think of warm summer days.

Love - Jana Kramer | I've seen Jana Kramer twice now (and would totally see her a third time) and while I've loved both her albums, this song never fails to be a fave.

Tennessee - The Wreckers | I have such a fondness for Michelle Branch. I actually forgot The Wreckers were considered country until Estelle mentioned it (and this song). Thanks to her I added this song to my playlist!

Yay for new (to me) country music!

Which song is your favorite?

Here's my full country playlist if you want to know what else I'm listening to!

Mini-reviews: 500 Words or Less + Strange Grace

pub 9/25/18 by Simon Pulse
Young Adult - Contemporary (Verse)
Received from pub via Netgalley
I went into 500 Words or Less not knowing it was written in verse. It’s not a style I gravitate towards (despite my love of poetry) but I wanted to give it a shot because I like the premise of her story. It’s about Nic Chen, who is dealing with the aftermath of cheating on her boyfriend, a very popular and beloved guy at her school. To distract people from her new and very much unwanted reputation, she uses her excellent writing skills to write her classmates’ college essays. I actually really enjoyed the essays and while they’re about her classmates, if you read between the lines they say a lot about her too. But I still never felt as if I truly got to know Nic or feel invested in her circumstances. That said, I wanted to. I wanted to know more about her, this “perfect” ex-boyfriend and the guy she cheated on. And while we do eventually learn about what happened and who was involved, there was still a huge disconnect for me. I think that might’ve been attributed to the verse format, which didn’t seem necessary or conducive to telling this particular story.

Do I recommend? If you enjoy verse, I think it’s worth giving a shot but if you’re on the fence like I am, I might pass on this one.

pub 9/18/18 by
Margaret McElderry Books
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received from pub via Netgalley
In the village of Three Graces, everyone is prosperous and healthy but in order to ensure their good fortune, they must sacrifice a young man to the Devil's Forest when the Slaughter Moon rises. The man to be sacrificed is seen as good and pure by the people – practically a saint. So when the Slaughter Moon rises early, three friends are thrown into turmoil and each chapter switches between each of them as they deal with that this means. There's Mairwen, a young witch tied to Three Graces and its rituals but finds herself longing for the forest she's not meant to enter. Then there's Rhun, expected saint, who truly is a good person and probably my favorite character in the book. And lastly, there's Arthur, an outcast with a complicated history with the village and who struggles to define who he is. In terms of world-building and the story itself, I found it to be just okay? It's dark and mysterious but lacked clarity. It was hard to picture what was being described and truly immerse myself in it. Instead what I found the most interesting was the dynamic between Mairwen, Rhun and Arthur. Aside from their collective friendship, the relationships between Mairwen/Rhun, Mairwen/Arthur or Rhun/Arthur were equally complex and I wish more time had been spent on that.

Do I recommend? It wasn't for me so I can't personally recommend but as always, if you're interested you should check it out.

Table for Two #21: The Blue Box Cafe

Alexa of Alexa Loves Books and I have teamed up to bring you Table for Two, a collaboration that involves two of our favorite things - New York City and food. The two of us will be highlighting restaurants and dessert spots in New York City. You'll be hearing our personal opinions on the place and the food, as well as where you can go to try it out for yourself.

For this month's Table for Two, I'll be chatting about The Blue Box Cafe and Alexa is featuring Blank Slate Tea.

As soon as I heard that Tiffany's was opening up a cafe inspired by Breakfast at Tiffany's in their flagship store, I knew I had to go. Unfortunately, it would take months before Alexa and I could get a reservation because, of course, everyone wanted to go and they only opened up reservations a month in advance. But luckily, Alexa and I came up with a game plan (or rather she did). She set an alarm for when the next set of reservations would become available and at 9am, we both logged in and I was able to snag one for us! Seriously though, in a matter of minutes times were selling out and sometimes I'd have a reservation in my cart only for it to become unavailable by the confirmation screen. So friends if you want to go, plan ahead

All that being said, it was totally worth it to have the experience of brunching inside Tiffany's. We both wore blank dresses/skirts a la Audrey Hepburn and it was just so fun! I couldn't help feeling a little giddy just seeing the cafe and walking inside. It's an explosion of their signature color, which I loved. The staff was also super nice and clearly used to how excited people are to dine there (basically everyone was taking photos). I will say their menu is very simple but we knew we wanted breakfast which made it really easy for us to order. We got: the Tiffany Blend Tea and Buttermilk Waffle, which came with croissants and fruit. And we topped it all off with the Blue Box Celebration Cake (I'm usually not a fan of chocolate cake but I thought this was pretty good!). If we ever decided to go back, I'd love to go for Tiffany Tea, which seems to be their version of afternoon tea. 

Dining at The Blue Box Cafe is definitely a must for any fan of the movie!

You can find Blue Box Cafe at 727 Fifth Avenue. Let us know if you check it out!