In the Middle of the Night … Celebrating the Piano Man

It wasn’t exactly the middle of the night, but yesterday evening Dave took me to the coolest concert/event I have ever attended — the 2014 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song Award Ceremony and Tribute Concert.

Gershwin Prize for Popular Song Award Ceremony and Tribute Concert

Gershwin Prize for Popular Song Award Ceremony and Tribute Concert

The Library of Congress honored recipient Billy Joel at the DAR Constitution Hall through a series of tributes by an amazing lineup. Kevin Spacey hosted the show, guiding the audience through performances by Boys II Men, LeAnn Rimes, Gavin DeGraw, Natalie Maines, Josh Groban, John Mellencamp and Tony Bennett. Each artist put their own spin on a different Billy Joel tune, from classics like The Longest Time and Still Rock and Roll to Me, to the lesser known Lullaby and Allentown. My personal favorites were Boys II Men, Gavin DeGraw and Natalie Maines!
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How to Cope with Anxiety

As I’ve gotten older, I find myself worrying more and more about things that never seemed to bother me before. Part of it is my constant struggle for perfection in certain areas. Note: I say certain because this usually does not apply to my appearance. Things like hair, nails or clothing somehow manage to slip by in a hot mess sort of way most of the time! When planning for an event or a big project at work (basically anything that involves logistics and multiple moving parts), I age myself at least five years. Even when something significant is happening to people around me – like on closing day – I tend to get what my BFFSM Olivia calls nervous stomach.

Nervous stomach is the worst because it creates this perpetual feeling of, well, nervousness. No one likes that feeling. I tend to have an aversion to all foods, and I love food. Sleeping becomes extremely difficult because the mind continues to race with the never-ending list of “to-dos.”

The anxiety can be almost unbearable at times, so I’ve been practicing these ways to keep it at bay.

  1. Breathing: Similar to yoga breathing, I take a few moments to pause and focus on deep breaths. Inhale through your nose, hold for several seconds and then slowly release.
  2. Chamomile or Lavender: Drinking chamomile tea (like I am right now, photo above) or surrounding myself with the scent of lavender is very calming.
  3. Music: Sometimes I play very mellow tunes and other times I jam out! Music can help you transfer your mood from one state to another. Depending on how you feel and how you want to feel, there are so many options! My Pandora station list is super long and each one is used for a different outcome. Right now I am listening to the “Pat Green” station :)
  4. Lists: I have always been a list maker and high stress times are no different. It helps to organize thoughts and also make them tangible.
  5. Distractions: After you’ve made your list to get a real grasp on the task at hand, take some time to distract yourself. I find that reading is really helpful because it’s an escape from the “real world.” I guess some may argue that this is running away from your problems, but I think it’s good for a short period of time. Speaking of running …
  6. Exercise: I always feel so much better after going to CrossFit, but even just a walk or jog around the block can release endorphins, which (we all know from Legally Blonde) makes people happy! If you aren’t familiar with the scene or need a reminder, watch the video below.
  7. Friends: Talking to friends makes a world of difference when I’m feeling pressure in pretty much any aspect of life. Everyone at some point or another has felt nervous and it is a relief to know you’re not alone. Sometimes even just expressing your feelings out loud can make them a little less scary. I am so fortunate to have wonderful friends I can talk to about anything. Olivia is always there to listen and provide support, advice or a bottle glass of wine. Lately we’ve both had a lot to chat about in the “anxiety department” since she is in the final stages of wedding planning, which is both exciting and stressful! (Update: Olivia and I both decided to write about stress and anxiety today since we’ve both been feeling it. We didn’t read each other’s posts until after we wrote our own. Check out her post here!)

Do you find it easier to become stressed as you get older?
How do you cope with anxiety?
What are some natural ways you’ve found to relax?

tuesday things – Top 10 Dave Matthews Band songs

Saturday evening Dave and I went to our third Dave Matthews Band concert in a little over a year*. Keeping up with tradition, we got Chipotle for dinner, and may have even started a new tradition of tailgating with our burritos and a bottle of Blenheim wine. The winery, owned by Mr. Matthews himself, is near Charlottesville, and we made a trip there last fall while also stopping at the bar Millers, where DMB got started. You’ve probably guessed that they are my favorite band :)

As always, the show did not disappoint, and our seats were the best yet! (Although no seats will ever top my front row center spot at my first DMB concert with my sister, Gloria, in 1998!) We were on an aisle towards the middle of the venue with direct sight of the stage and no one in front of us. Although the overall set list was not my favorite of the three shows we’ve recently seen, the band played my first choice for a song, and Dave scored his two off his wish list.

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Coming off their concerts, I’m always amped to play their albums on repeat. In fact, as I type, we are watching a DVD of one of their Gorge shows. (Dorks!) This concert was no different, and has inspired my “fave DMB songs” post for this week’s “tuesday things.” So here they are in no particular order, except that the first song is actually my all-time number one fave.

1. You & Me
2. So Damn Lucky
3. Spoon
4. Crush
5. Raven
6. Oh
7. Mercy
8. Sweet
9. One Sweet World
10. Pig

Of course there are few on this list that could swap out at various times for other songs from their repertoire.  I love all their music, and it’s so hard to choose just 10 songs!

Who is your favorite band?
Which DMB songs would land on your top ten list?

* I have to give a shout out here to my BFFSM Olivia who called while we were on our way to the concert to tell me that she and Josh are engaged! I am so happy for them and will always remember it as a special night for all!