It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year- NONSTOP CHRISTMAS MUSIC

Let’s make one thing clear- it’s no secret that I’m obsessed with all things Christmas. I’ve got Christmas sweaters on deck, decorations for days, and can recite almost any holiday movie from the nineties by heart. Let’s also not forget the fact that I was due to be born on Christmas Day. I think I’ve made my point. However, nothing holds a candle to how I feel about the truly joyous and effervescent gift that comes around this time each year- holiday music.

xmasmusicEver since a young age, I’ve been delighted and fascinated at the sound of jingle bells filling the air and carolers singing around me. My mother can even attest to the fact that I used to call into the holiday radio station (waddup 97.1 WASH-FM) and request to hear ‘Christmas Shoes’ or ‘Christmas Eve in Washington’ almost every single night. It got to the point where Glenn Hollis (the late-night radio DJ who hosted ‘After Hours with Glenn Hollis,’ obviously) and I became kindred spirits and I became genuinely upset when he was replaced with some chick named Delilah (go home, Delilah).

We should all know by now that I have a creepy unique taste in music, but trust me, this is truly the time of year when my song list shines. Take, for example, the fact that I listen to Josh Groban and Michael Buble year-round. These guys’ most noteworthy albums by a landslide are their holiday albums (sidenote: Mr. Groban’s album was the overall best-selling album in the U.S in 2008, need I say more?), so this is the time of year I get to listen to their music without being judged! Hooray for Paige!

Well, because my Spotify seems to be a treasure trove of odd playlists (see here for my movie scores playlist), along with the occasional sprinkle of Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry,’ I’ve been putting 6 particular playlists into rotation for the past month or so to gear up for the holidays. Yes, you read that correctly: I have six different holiday playlists. And because I’m a generous person, of course, I’ve included all of them in this post. I know, I know- how could I be so nice? I know that 6 Christmas playlists was exactly what you were missing in your life. They are all Spotify playlists, so if you don’t use Spotify, first of all, please re-evaluate your life, and second of all, tough (gingerbread) cookies. The best part of all? All of the playlists are collaborative, meaning anyone with a Spotify account can add any songs to them. So if you see that something is missing, feel free to add it to the playlist- the more Christmas tunes, the merrier 🙂 Happy listening!

Playlist #1: Classic Christmas Tunes
I feel as though the title should probably give this away, but this playlist is my go-to for the holiday tunes that you grew up on. You either heard these while you walked through the mall doing your holiday shopping, on your radio driving through the snow to your relatives’ house, or really just any other place that had a generic loop of Christmas songs on repeat. You really can’t go wrong.

Playlist #2: Modern Christmas Tunes 
If you’re a successful artist these days, chances are you’ve probably released at least one holiday song at one point or another. And why not? During the holiday season, who wouldn’t want some extra cash coming in from song sales? We all know Mariah Carey has been living very comfortably sine the release of her instant-classic holiday hit, given that the song is in the top ten on iTunes every single December without fail. Basically, this playlist is full of either classic songs sung by your favorite current artists, or brand new original holiday songs, like the ever-inspiring ‘Text Me Merry Christmas’ by Kristin Bell and Straight No Chaser. [Also there’s a lot of GLEE Christmas songs on here deal with it SORRYBYE]

Playlist #3: Calm Christmas Tunes
So it’s been a long day at the office and you just want to sit by the fire with some mulled wine or eggnog in your hand and de-stress, right? Consider this playlist your new best friend. We’ve got a lot of instrumentals and a-Capella tracks (think Vince Guaraldi Trio and Il Divo, respectively), but I’ve also thrown in some Barbara and even some Sam Smith to create the perfect mellow mood.

Playlist #4: Jazzy Christmas Tunes of Yester-Year
Yes, you are correct, that is the best playlist title of all time- thanks for noticing! I’ve always had a real passion for swing music, so really, it’s only natural that holiday music would be my favorite genre since that’s when Christmas music really came into its’ prime. Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, Dean Martin?! These guys right here are true icons in their own right, but even more so during the holiday season. White Christmas?! I MEAN, COME ON- WHAT A CLASSIC. Okay, I’ll stop now. Just put it on shuffle and listen for yourself.

Playlist #5: Ultimate Christmas Tunes
Since I’ve already broken the rest of the playlists out into specific categories, here’s your ultimate all-encompassing Christmas Music Playlist. This playlist has EVERYTHING: The Nutcracker Suite, Ella Fitzgerald, Willie Nelson, and even Tom Hanks (hopefully you all got the SNL Stefan reference there). Put this one on shuffle, but at your own risk- there’s truly a lot going on here. Also it’s 20+ hours of non-stop Christmas music so depending on who you are as a person, that’s either heaven or torture.

Playlist #6: Paige’s Favorite Christmas Tunes
YOU’VE MADE IT. Honestly, I’ve you’re still reading this far and are genuinely interested in this much holiday music, please call me immediately so I can officially declare you as my best friend. Obviously, I like all of the other playlists in their own right, however, I managed to narrow it down to my favorites of all time. The playlist starts with truly the greatest Christmas song ever created: the main title song from Home Alone. If you disagree, GOODBYE. This song used to be on repeat when I lived with Heather, so I know she’ll appreciate it when I say it’s definitely still on repeat now (sorry Megan). Missing from this playlist is unfortunately one of my other favorites which is not available on Spotify for whatever reason- ‘Winter Wonderland’ by Jason Mraz. Trust me, you’ll like it.

Again, if you’ve made it this far, Feliz Navidad, Mazol Tov, and just, all-around congratulations. From my ear-buds to yours, happy holidays, y’all.

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2014, let’s see what you’re made of

Let’s start this off on an honest note: I debated for a pretty long time about whether or not I would write a synopsis of 2013/welcome to 2014 post. In terms of articles and things people talk about, it’s pretty high on the popularity list, hence I didn’t want to just be another post among the Facebook statuses, tweets, and other buzz you saw in the final days of December. In my defense, I’ve also had quite a bit happening in the last couple of weeks: going home for Christmas, best friends visiting the Windy City for almost a week before New Year’s Eve, winning the Orange Bowl, turning 23, and surviving the deathly Polar Vortex cold, also known as #ChiBeria (this last one is still up for debate). Now that the chaos has died down a little bit, here I am, nestled in my apartment in Old Town Chicago, watching the snow fall (once again) outside my window, and a Daisy Cutter in a coozie next to me. 2014, you look pretty dashing so far- besides the potential frostbite.

I find myself very fortunate to be the same age for practically an entire calendar year (does this make me weird?), so 2013 and 22 go synonymously for me. That being said, 22 brought a lot of ups and downs. There were the obvious big life events that happened: graduated college, moved to Chicago, got a job. But to me, what’s more important than the big moments is the details put in to them. And it’s the details that I want to remember about 2013, not the big events.

IMG_0106My final semester of my Senior year at Clemson was probably one of the hardest for me (yep, even harder than Freshman year) because, to me, it meant that change was coming. I have never, ever, been good with change. The idea of change- I am absolutely infatuated with it. But actually putting my feet on the ground and going through the motions is just something that is really hard on my soul, no matter how much I crave it and no matter how good it is for my well-being. However, even though it was a hard one, that final semester Senior year was probably my favorite one, filled with incredible memories with amazing people.

It is this fear of change that kept me at Clemson for a month after graduating. No plans, zero to little money- just me watching all of my friends pack up their things and move onto the next chapter in their lives. Don’t get me wrong- that was a pretty good month. There was a lot of sleeping in ’til who knows when, sitting at the pool for who knows how long, and taking ridiculous road trips to who knows where with my fellow vagabond Melissa, who stuck around for that month in Finley with me, thank goodness. But at the same time, it was extremely terrifying. This time, I knew that change was imminent: it needed to happen.

IMG_1752Flash-forward two months and I am driving 13 hours to Chicago in a rental sedan packed with everything I could manage to fit. Did I have a plan? Nope. Was I terrified beyond all belief? You betcha. But it was the most excited I had ever been for anything in my entire life. I couldn’t count on two hands how many people told me I was crazy for doing what I did, but it is probably the proudest I have ever been of myself. This was something I did not need to do; I could have easily lived at home, saved some money, been comfortable in a city I already knew, and been completely fine. But, hey, where’s the fun in that? 

This is nothing against those who did something along those lines; to be quite honest, I commend you. However, for me, if I had done that I just know that I would not have been happy or fully satisfied. But you go, glen coco.

It hasn’t been a walk in the park; I will be the first one to admit that. There have been a lot of rough days where I have wanted to give up and take the first flight home. I even reserved floor space at one of my friend’s apartments in DC in the event that that might happen. But I will say one thing- having the extreme fortune to live with one of my most cherished friends in this city that we both used to call home when we were younger has made this process so much better than it could have been. I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again- the life that Laura and I lead would make an extraordinary reality show.

So, again, here I am on January 9th, freshly 23 years old, fully employed, and feeling like a true Chicago-an, meaning I am freezing to death walking to work every morning in -11 degree weather. In all seriousness, I’ve come pretty damn far from the girl who stayed in Clemson because she was too terrified of what would happen next, and it’s hard to believe it’s only been 7 months since then.

2014, I’m pretty jazzed to see what you have in store for me. I learned quite a bit more about myself than I thought I would last year, so, swing away- I’m sure I can handle it.

PS- I’ve included my Spotify playlist that was never very far from me during June-December of 2013. There’s a lot of John Mayer on it, sue me.

An Ode to the PDjeep

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Writing this might be one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in a while, and that is really saying something. So, here goes- Yes, the rumors are true. I am selling my beloved PDjeep.

IMG_0568Before you cry out in confusion and anger saying “but, Paige?! How could you do such a thing?!” let’s be honest- this was inevitable. I am currently living in a big city exactly 700 miles away from my where the PDjeep is currently situated. When the time eventually comes around for me to need a car in my life again, it is very likely that the PDjeep won’t be able to start, and will, instead, have dug her own grave.

So, now that you understand where I am coming from, I would like to pay homage to my relationship with my car. I wish there was something that I could compare my connection to my car to, but, sadly, there is not. We’ve been through a lot together, the PDjeep and I, and I wouldn’t trade the hours spent in my car with anything in the world.

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I can’t even believe I’m making this public.

I remember when we first began our relationship when my parents had surprised me with her shortly after I received my driver’s license. I was a brat then, and was displeased with my new car. To my parents, I can’t tell you how sorry I am for that. You both know how much the PDjeep means to me now, so, thank you for bringing her into my life. I distinctly remember you giving me the vanity plates that didn’t mean the ‘Paige Dolton’ jeep, but meant the ‘Paige/Peter’ jeep. Whoops, sorry Peter. Also, yes, my car is a female. What did you expect?

341_1024562734249_28_nHigh School was a great time for me and the PDjeep. She unfortunately took the brunt of my sub-par driving skills and got a little too friendly with several stationary objects. Remember that basketball pole at Marshall? The minivan in the church parking lot? Liz’s parked car in our driveway? The mailbox? Sorry for running you into things- you deserved much better than that. The mailbox incident left you looking a little damaged for a while- I swear, you looked much better without a side mirror than with one. But we both got through it together. I wish it was only the exterior that was affected by my high school days, but, sadly, that is not the case. I’m sorry for that one time we used my car as an outdoor music festival in the school parking lot after lacrosse practice and we blew your speakers out. That was a mean thing for me to do, and I apologize.

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367_1026660506692_8451_nBut we had our good times in high school. That’s when we really connected, the PDjeep and me. It was in high school that I learned to love driving. I jumped at any opportunity to drive my friends around because not only did I love my car, but I loved driving people in it. Much to my parents’ dismay, it was always the PDjeep that was the mode of transportation for any night out, adventure, or roadtrip we might take. She made a lot of friends, that’s for sure. My high school friends understood my connection with my car. I was asked to homecoming via window paint not only on my side windows, but on my front windshield (because that’s really safe), we decorated her for so many events I can’t even begin to list them all here, she took us to the Kanye concert, and pretty much any other summer concert after that (she was a concert freak), and she took me to camp every summer. We had some good times in high school, that’s for sure.

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My first year of college was the only time that the PDjeep and I were separated. It was a rough year, but we both knew that it was necessary in order for me to get the most out of my freshman year. She gained her sorority letters, though, much to Peter’s dismay. We also weren’t together my first semester of sophomore year, but it was okay; we got through it.

399298_4086835889164_1462799449_nMy last two years of college were some great ones spent with my car. Most notably, she was used for tailgating and any roadtrip you could possibly imagine. She made it down to Panama City, FL for Fall Break, and it was then that I realized she was starting to get a little old, per the rocket ship sound she was making the entire way. She then made it to Orlando, FL for Spring Break that same year. All the while, getting me back and forth between Clemson and NoVa every now and then. She was starting to get old, and my wallet my dad’s wallet was starting to notice. I naively chose to turn a blind eye because this was my friend, my confidant; I couldn’t part with her, no way.

Senior year, she spent almost every Saturday in the parking lot of Friars right next to the speakers. She got a lot of traffic and made a lot of new friends during football season in Clemson, where she also gained some questionable memorabilia and smells. But she was there for me. She always was. Except for that time she broke down at 8 am during Finals Week on College Ave in front of Subway; that was rough.

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 9.18.56 PMThis last semester of senior year was probably the toughest on her. Most bizarrely, a stranger chose to sleep in the PDjeep overnight. I learned to never keep my car unlocked again after that lovely incident. She made it all the way to the University of Michigan to visit Nomas, and she didn’t like it one bit. Breaking down in the middle of Ohio was her way of saying, “listen, Paige, I am an old woman.” But throughout all of this, we were learning a lot about each other. I was forced to learn about cars, and she learned that I was stubborn as hell. After the Ohio incident, I continued pushing her limits and brought her to Savannah, GA, and then to Charleston, SC for Spring Break. She had a big of a temper tantrum in Charleston, but, by then I knew exactly how to cure her. I truly put her to the test when I attached a U-Haul to the back of her with my entire life (and some of Kate’s) in tow. That was probably the most emotional journey I had with her because I knew it would be our last. We made a great pair.

I am glad that I said my goodbyes to her when I moved up to Chicago, because I knew this day would eventually come. I truly cherish every hour I spent with the PDjeep, whether it was driving to Virginia Tech for the hundredth time, tailgating for football games and concerts, or just getting me to where I needed to go. She was a good car, and I will miss her immensely, but I know that it is time for her to make someone else happy. Love ya girl, you’ll always be in my heart.

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My significant other.