I’m working on the second chocolate bar my friend brought me from Austria. Note to all my admirers: In case you haven’t heard, the way to my heart is through chocolate.

The nice thing about foreign sweets is that you can’t understand the writing describing how much is considered a serving, and therefore can’t be blamed if you go ahead and eat the entire package because you just don’t know any better ☺️ (I wish I were kidding, but I’m not 😬)

I’ve already written about my love affair with chocolate, so I won’t be redundant.

This post is about something else I love: music.

I know I wrote a whole piece on country music and I started to wonder if maybe it sounded like that was the ONLY genre of music I like. Not the case at all. I like plenty of pop, alternative rock and something some stations refer to as “easy listening” *eyebrow raise* Always thought that sounded so odd. Also, is Disney considered a genre? 🤓

Here are a few of my current faves outside of the country genre (You may notice that these are not totally “current”. I don’t really listen to the radio that much and I certainly don’t go looking for new music on iTunes – maybe one day when I have more time on my hands.) So, these are songs I’ve come across during my sporatic radio sessions, my random bouts of YouTube browsing, and through my default stations on Hoopla and Amazon Music (que the dish gloves!).

(Ignore all the obnoxious spacing. It’s not for dramatic effect; I’m just writing on my phone again)

One Call Away by Charlie Puth

Obviously Marvin Gaye by Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor

Then There’s You by Charlie Puth

Ok, pretty much anything by Charlie Puth

Hello by Adele

Stressed Out by Blurryface

What Do You Mean? by Justin Bieber (yeah, that’s right!)

Dear Future Husband by Meghan Trainor

Like I’m Gonna Lose You by Meghan Trainor and John Legend

Stand By You by Rachel Platten

Ex’s and Oh’s by Elle King

I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons

These are in no particular order and are all off the top of my head (also, this is certainly not a list of “all time” favorite songs). Some I love because of the lyrics, some because they motivate me, some because they remind me of something, some because they make me want to dance, and some are just delicious, smooth, rich chocolate to my ears. If any are new to you, give them a listen!

What are some of your current favorite songs?


Perfect Strangers

So, early this week I was under more stress than usual; tired out from separating fights all day, arguing over silly things with my husband, feeling frustrated, anxious, and exasperated.

On Tuesday, I took my son to an indoor play area called Billy Beez at Palisades Center (expensive but awesome!) after he had been begging for two days. Both kids fell asleep within 5 minutes on the car ride home  (This fact alone may be enough to convince me to go there every day!)

After a few hours of running around exhilarated and breathless, we stepped out to eat lunch that I had packed- rice, seaweed, fruits, and acorn jello (sounds weird, tastes DELICIOUS). I settled us in at the closest table and chairs I could find, sharing the space with an elderly Korean couple and a middle aged woman. The elderly couple took one look at me feeding my toddlers and sang my praises: “You’re such a good mom”, “You’re such a great wife”, “You’re doing a wonderful job”. It was incredibly surprising and unexpected since I had never seen them before in my life and all they had seen of me was me strolling my children over, sitting them down, and feeding them. I’m not sure why they were so impressed! Maybe they are just unusually complimentary and sweet and have a knack for seeing the good in people. We chatted about our families, raising children (they have two), cooking, working, etc.

It was just what I needed. Two complete strangers to validate me. To look me in the eye with such genuineness and warmth and tell me I’m a good person doing a good job in life. I half thought they were angels sent to comfort me. The grandmother assured me that everything with my family would keep getting better over time and that we would live well and be really happy, just like her own children and grandchildren were. Obviously they have no way of actually knowing this to be true, but it was such a nice gesture.  We both said our “God bless you”s and the kids and I were on our way.

Little old man and woman from the mall, wherever you are, THANK YOU. Your simple, genuine encouragement meant more to me than you may ever know.

Country Music

Nothing can give me the feels like country music. 

I spend many a sink load of dishes with country music. I love the depth of the lyrics, the guitar, the imprint it has left on my soul since I first fell in love with it. My current fave is still “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw, but a close second is “She’s Got a Way With Words” by Blake Shelton. The latter is definitely not as meaningful and profound a song, but it’s just catchy and sort of endearing. Also, Blake Shelton

There are scores of country songs that are cathartic for me. At the moment, they’re mostly the ones about missing loved ones because that’s what I relate with most right now. “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice and “You Should Be Here” by Cole Swindell are great. 

This reminds me of my guitarist mama

I used to sing along to songs constantly. As a rule, if a song I knew came on the radio, I would belt it out. It made me feel free and alive and intoxicated. I still do sometimes, but that part of me has changed a little in the last few years. In general, I’ve become a bit more of a listener and a bit less of a vocalizer. Not that I used to be rude and cut people off before, but I’m more reflective and less chatty now. Part of this is about my mom, but I think my husband also taught me to be this way. He has this quiet, reassuring demeanor. It’s very calming. One way that he’s so good for me is that he doesn’t get riled up and explode when he’s angry. He stays really cool and matter of fact, which in turn helps me remain calm and collected. If he were the type to yell and hurl insults at me, I would react very differently. Fighting fire with fire, we would likely burn the house down. See all the impressive insights you can come up with when you listen to this stuff?

Speaking of houses, I’ll throw a couple final suggestions in here: “The House that Built Me” by Miranda Lambert and “Burning House” by Cam.

My people! Whoever you are, wherever you are, whyever you are reading this, if you haven’t yet (or if you’ve only tried a couple times. I think it took me fourteen tries) give country music a chance! If you’re in the NY/NJ area, check out 94.7 NASH FM (This may or may not be the only country station in New York). Or maybe go find someone (even if that means doing some traveling!) who loves it and can enlighten you and enjoy it with you. It just may change your life.

14 Pieces of Advice from Diane: Sage, Prophet, Intellectual, and Overall Genius

I wrote something for you guys. Just to help you out a little in life. And it goes something like this:

1. Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. (Ok, ok, I stole this one off the Internet. But it’s so profound! Thank you, Oscar Wilde.)

2. If you want to learn a language, marry a man whose mother ONLY speaks that language and live with her for the first year or two of your marriage.

3. If you have sweaty armpits (like me), never wear gray shirts. Better yet, stick to sleeveless shirts.

4. Speaking of armpits, baking soda is THE best deodorant. Pat a little on and Voila! Odor, be gone!

5. Don’t cry right before bed unless you enjoy unseemly puffy eyes that hardly open in the morning.

6. Sometimes you just have to find the way to not CARE. You can’t let every thoughtless, snide comment (about your looks, your cooking, how you’re living your life) and random rude behavior from strangers (or people you know very well!) bring you down. If at all possible, don’t even react. Let it go. Becoming a mom has made this very easy for me. I simply do not have the energy to get bent out of shape over every disappointment thrown my way. Let those annoying instances slide right off your back. They are not worth ruining your day over. That person does not deserve to have that power over you. The reality is that that person is probably having a terrible day (or terrible life?) and just doesn’t know any better than to bring people down with him/her.

7. If you want to learn true patience, have children.

8. While I’m at it, if you want to have every last limit tested and button pushed, and be brought to the point of really questioning your resolve, intelligence, decision making abilities, and competence over all, have children (bonus for multiple children!).

9. A final one just to be fair: If you want to discover just how much love you are actually capable of, have children.

10. Be more efficient: to answer calls while washing dishes, tap the receive button with your nose.

11. Don’t sleep with wet hair unless you want to catch a cold (at the very least, put a towel under your head).

12. Have zero expectations. That way, you are never disappointed.

13. Wear that dress you’ve been saving for a special occasion. What if that occasion never comes?

14. Don’t type out blog posts on your phone. This is unnecessarily time consuming and rather frustrating (fix your bugs, please, WordPress app!)