Mixtape Monday: Amelia’s Mixtape

Mixtape Monday: Amelia’s Mixtape

*Note: This week’s post is brought to you by my 14-year-old daughter. She really wanted to get in on the mixtape action, and there was no possible way I could refuse. (It also had the added benefit of giving me a week off). So, here’s her first, hopefully not last, mixtape. I think she did pretty well! Enjoy!

Hello and welcome to the first mixtape by me, Amelia. I’d first like to apologize for the lame title but I couldn’t think of anything good as I was too busy putting good songs in my mixtape.

So this week’s theme is movies. This topic was supposed to be pretty broad but I realized I was sticking mostly to the same decade. So every song on this list is what I’d call the ‘title song’ of its movie. Last week was screen-free week in our household so we couldn’t watch any television, which was fine except for that every time I put a song on this list I was tempted to go watch the entire movie. Luckily I got through the week but maybe I should’ve saved this one for a different Monday. Anyways, I hope you like it. (By the way, I put the movies in chronological order. You’re welcome.)


Summer Nights, You’re The One That I Want – Grease (1978)
I know it’s a musical so I just picked two songs. Both songs are a bit sexist but that’s okay because they’re fun to sing (just ask my mom).

Footloose – Footloose (1984)

If You Were Here – Sixteen Candles (1984)
Unfortunately this is one of those movies with a disappointing ending. I mean seriously? I’m supposed to be happy that she ended up with the blandest love interest ever (except for Blane, of course)??? As if.

Ghostbusters – Ghostbusters (1984)
The video for this song is pretty dang odd. For one thing, is Ray Parker Jr. the ghost or is he just trying to provide some helpful advice? What are Chevy Chase, John Candy and Danny DeVito doing there? Is her house really made of neon lights or is that an effect of paranormal disturbance?

Let’s Go Crazy – Purple Rain (1984)
Once again, this movie is basically just an entire album so I picked one song. Sorry mom, not “Purple Rain.” Although not literally,”Let’s Go Crazy” is clearly the ‘title song’ in my opinion. Also it’s right there in the theatrical trailer.

Don’t You (Forget About Me) – The Breakfast Club (1985)
Sorry for the cliche.

The Goonies ‘r’ Good Enough – The Goonies (1985)
This video has quite a few questions to answer. Anyways, this song is excellent (especially the drum breakdown at the end of the bridge).

Bonus: “Taffy Butt” from the Goonies-themed season 2 premiere of “Bob’s Burgers.” During the credits Jimmy Jr. ‘footlooses it’ to the parody of this song performed by none other than Cyndi Lauper.

The Power Of Love – Back to the Future (1985)

If You Leave – Pretty In Pink (1986)
Poor Duckie.

Oh Yeah – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Is it weird that we always sing along to this during the credits?

Twist And Shout – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Not forgetting “Danke Schoen,” but “Twist and Shout” gets the whole city into a synchronized dance sequence, which everyone knows is the definitive element of a great movie scene.

Magic Dance – Labyrinth (1986)
Anyone who’s not completely entertained watching a bunch of goblin puppets leap around and David Bowie throwing a baby is missing something in their life.

Then He Kissed Me – Adventures in Babysitting (1987)

(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life – Dirty Dancing (1987)
If I didn’t talk about “Dirty Dancing” at least once in a blog post, I wouldn’t be my mother’s daughter.

In Your Eyes – Say Anything (1989)
Honestly this scene is kinda lame and cheesy but whatever.

Okay that’s all. You can check out the Youtube playlist here for the movie scenes and weird Ghostbusters music video. I hope nobody was disappointed this week. If anybody has additions, disputes, or better idea for a title, please leave a comment. Thank you.

Mixtape Monday: Back In Time

Mixtape Monday: Back In Time

We’ve all read books we’ve haven’t liked, right? There are a lot of books out there. Not every one will be your cup of tea. But have you ever looked forward to a book – a book that sounded so perfect it was almost like it was written just for you – only to hate it so much you couldn’t bring yourself to finish it?

That’s how it was when I tried to read Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau. (Stay with me, here. I promise this post is not a book review.) The book is about a bartender named Karl who discovers a time-traveling portal that allows people to travel back in time to see their favorite bands. Along the way, he sends his best friend to the year 980 instead of 1980 and falls in love with an astrophysicist named Lena who tries to help him get his friend back.

I could not wait for this book to come out. It sounded so perfect I was mad I didn’t come up with idea myself. I was afraid to read it because I thought it would be so good it would destroy my will to ever write my own book. I had to wait months for my local library to get a copy and when I finally got my hands on it…I hated it. Like truly, madly, deeply hated it. I just couldn’t connect with the characters. They were a bunch of music snobs. To the point where Karl, who “owns” the portal, wouldn’t let people use it unless he liked the bands they wanted to see. So, unless you were a Sebadoh or Elliot Smith fan, you were out of luck.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Sebadoh and Elliot Smith. But if I was going to throw myself into a portal in the back of stranger’s closet, I would, without a moment’s hesitation, chose to travel back to 1989 to see New Kids On The Block.


And why shouldn’t I? After all, is it possible to feel more intensely about a live show than an adolescent girl seeing her favorite boy band for the first time? Watch some clips of girls crying hysterically when they finally see Joey McIntyre up on stage, and then try to tell those girls they can’t possibly be enjoying themselves as much as you would be if you were at a Yo La Tengo show. She will dig a nail file out of her fanny pack and cut you. Then go right back to singing “Please Don’t Go Girl” while you bleed to death in a sea of tight-rolled denim clad ankles.

I know because I was one of those girls. I had a fierce, one-sided love with Joey Mac. Ask my sister who had to share a room with me. I plastered nearly every inch of our shared walls with posters and Tiger Beat photos of Joey without her permission. Then, when she wasn’t in the room, I would stare into Joey’s clear blue eyes and try to think of ways to make him fall in love with me.

And I almost got my chance when the New Kids planned a tour stop in Iowa back in 1989. The possibility of sharing the same breathing space with Joey was finally in my grasp, but that dream was not to become reality. No, my shot at Joey was ripped away in a cruel twist of fate when my sister – the very one who slept peacefully every night in MY shrine to Joseph Mulrey McIntyre  – got invited to go to the show with a friend.

Oh the injustice! She didn’t like New Kids on the Block! I knew it, she knew it, everyone knew it! The noble thing to do would have been to give me the ticket, but noooo. Older sisters are not known for their nobility. Maybe it was just payback for the unauthorized NKOTB decor. Some wouldn’t blame her. But I did, and still do.

So, yes, I would go back to 1989 and see the New Kids on the Block. Abso-friggin-lutely! And then I would hunt my sister down at the show and dump an extra-large Mountain Dew on her huge permed head.

But, not everyone is out for revenge. And not everyone wants a mixtape of just live NKOTB songs. So I reached out to my readers to see how they would answer the question. Here’s what they had to say

“I would go back in time to see NKOTB live. I didn’t have the money for a ticket back in middle school, but I would have loved it!!”
– Jenny (yes, Jenny is a real person and not someone I paid to say that. She was my best friend growing up, and if I remember correctly, her favorite New Kid was Danny)

“2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show or Cash at Folsom”

“November 25, 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. The Band’s farewell performance which was filmed for “The Last Waltz”.”

“1959 …the Winter Dance Party concert at the Surf Ballroom. The final concert for Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper.”
-Deb (who is perhaps the very same sister who thwarted my chances with Joey)

“I think I’m going to have to go with Elvis. He was my first true musical love. But young Elvis, not old Vegas Elvis. But then again if I could relive the Social Distortion concert where I was up front all night and got to meet Mike Ness after, I might do that too.”
-Heather L.

“R.E.M. in 1984. Seeing Sleater-Kinney with you a couple of years ago was pretty great, too.”
-Shawn (my husband, an no, I didn’t pay him to say that, either)

“Well I’m gonna say something that no one would ever suspect. Frank Sinatra’s last concert and retirement show.”

“I would have loved to see a Van Halen concert! The original band would have been fun to see because of David Lee Roth’s shenanigans. However, I would have also loved to see VH with Sammy Hager because he was a much better singer. Eddie and the boys were also playing playing much tighter with Sammy. Also would have loved to see R.E.M. before they disbanded.”
– Tony

Thanks everyone who contributed this week! Here are your requests along with a few of my favorite live performances mixed in! I made a playlist on YouTube this week to make it a little easier for everyone to listen! Hope you enjoy it!

You Got It (The Right Stuff) – New Kids on the Block, live in Providence
Dance the Night Away – Van Halen, live 1979
South Central Rain – R.E.M., live 1984
The Lady is a Tramp – Frank Sinatra, live “The Retirement Concert”
Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis Presley, live 1956
Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash, live at Folsom
This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) – Talking Heads, live “Stop Making Sense” tour film
The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down – The Band, live “The Last Waltz”
I Want You To Want Me  – Cheap Trick, live 1979
What Goes Around Comes Around – Justin Timberlake, live “20/20 Experience” tour film
That’ll Be the Day – Buddy Holly and The Crickets, live 1957
Buddy Holly – Weezer, live 1996
Skinny Love – Bon Iver, live 2009
California Stars – Wilco, live Farm Aid 1998
Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin, live 1968
Crazy – Patsy Cline, live at the Grand Ole Oprey
Do You Realize – The Flaming Lips, live at the Jodrell Bank Observatory
Where Did You Sleep Last Night – Nirvana, “MTV Unplugged”
Purple Rain – Prince, live 1985

Let’s Go Back In Time on Monday

Let’s Go Back In Time on Monday

I’m gearing up for another Mixtape Monday. This time I want to know…

beatles fan

If there was a portal that would take you back in time to see any concert you wanted, who would you see? It can be a show you want to relive or one you always wished you could see.

You can play along on the Mixtapes and Cupcakes Facebook page or drop me a line in the comments below.

As always, thanks for playing along! Can’t wait to see what you have to say!

Mixtape Monday: Up Yours, Monday

Mixtape Monday: Up Yours, Monday

Rockstar (1)
Not having an office job really changes your perspective on Mondays.

For instance, I no longer wake up with a pit in my stomach dreading the day ahead of me. I don’t worry about wolfing down a bowl of granola (or, let’s be honest here, waiting until I drop my daughter off at school and then buying and Egg McMuffin) or packing a lunch that will end up sitting in the fridge at work because I decided I wanted broccoli cheese soup from the sandwich place

I don’t worry about my hair or makeup any more. I do end up looking like the witch from the Bugs Bunny cartoons, but its a trade-off I’m willing to live with.


It’s pretty great. I won’t lie. You should all consider early retirement

There are still things I need to do, though. Things like putting together a blog post and corresponding playlist because I thought “Mixtape Mondays” sounded cute and didn’t think about the fact I was actually committing to writing a blog post EVERY SINGLE MONDAY.

Then there are the domestic chores – mopping floors, making bread, washing the laundry and hanging it out to dry. It’s a regular goddamn Little House on the Prairie around here.

And just like my office days, I rely on music to get me through. Because mopping the floors to “Welcome to the Jungle” is a lot more fun than mopping the floors in silence, and we can all use a little more Dolly Parton in our lives.

So, roll up your sleeves, pop in your ear buds, and let’s get to work!

  1. 9 to 5 – Dolly Parton

  2. Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N Roses

  3. Stronger – Kanye West and Daft Punk

  4. Mutha’uckers – Flight of the Conchords

  5. You Make My Dreams – Daryl Hall and John Oates

  6. Power of Love – Huey Lewis and the News

  7. Manic Monday – The Bangles

  8. Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves

  9. Story of My Life – Social Distortion

  10. Dig Me Out – Sleater-Kinney

  11. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen

  12. You’re the Best – Joe “Bean” Esposito

  13. Groove is the Heart – Deee-Lite

  14. Short Skirt/Long Jacket – Cake

  15. Mo Money Mo Problems – Notorious B.I.G.

  16. Let’s Go Crazy – Prince

Listen here on SpotifyAnd don’t forget to check the Mixtapes & Cupcakes Facebook Page on Wednesdays for the next week’s topic!

*Special thanks to readers (and long-time friends) Heather and Sarah for playing along this week!

Mixtape Monday: Prom Night

Mixtape Monday: Prom Night

After going back over some old posts, I realized I wasn’t really living up to the “mixtape” part of “Mixtapes and Cupcakes.” I haven’t really met the “cupcake” requirement, either now that I think of it. In fact, I really only have one cupcake recipe I use on a regular basis. Maybe I should have put more thought into the name of my blog.

Anywho … in an effort to start living up to my name, I’m introducing a regular feature called “Mixtape Mondays” because Mondays stink and music makes it better. Also, it’s the only day of the week that fits well with the word “mixtape.”

Every week I will pick a new topic and ask my faithful readers to help me out. This is primarily to keep me from only picking songs from the 90s where it appears my mixtape making abilities got left behind…along with actual mixtapes.

If you want to play along you can follow me on Facebook.

This week’s topic is prom. I don’t really have a good reason for picking it. I just heard an ad on the radio for a “Prom Rewind Party” at our local casino and thought, “Hey, people really like prom.”

I’m not sure why this is. My own proms weren’t that magical. We didn’t have to fight city hall to hold the dance. I didn’t make my own dress. I wasn’t the victim of a cruel bet to make me into prom queen.

My proms were pretty average. We had both the dinner and dance in our high school gymnasium and after it was over we all went to the commons for “After Prom” where we got pizza and karaoke. I think that’s how it was for a lot of people.

So, why do we love prom so much? I guess it’s the Pretty In Pink effect. We all want to live in a John Hughes movie. Or maybe that’s just me.

I thought I should get to the bottom of it and see if anyone else out there had a prom song or memory that wasn’t directly tied to the movie version of prom. I asked the question “What songs make you think of prom?”

Here’s some of the answers:

Our song was “I will remember you” by Sarah McLachlan. I hated it so much. We were way too young to be that nostalgic. At the time, I worked at Sam Goody with the guy who DJ’d our prom, so I’m pretty sure I got some Afghan Whigs played, though I don’t remember what song. I thought I was so cool with my indie rock and my connex with the DJ.
– Nicole

When I think proms for some reason I always think of the movie and soundtrack of Pretty in Pink…I think I watched it way too many times when I was younger. Prom Story – Junior Prom I got the flu at the prom and had to leave shortly after the dance started. Made it home and was able to change out my dress before I started throwing up.
– Sarah

The Romantics “What I Like About You” and Van Halen’s “Oh, Pretty Woman”. For some reason I remember my junior prom in 1982 better than my senior prom. And no, alcohol was not the reason! Just better songs!
– Tony

Stevie B “Because I love you.” Incidentally, it is also the one-song soundtrack to my lonely solo shuffling at Skatetown. Those were some brutal, friend-zone, times.
– Jenn

Kenny G “Forever in Love” was our theme for senior prom at RS. My first official date with Jeff (now husband).
­- Jenny

The theme for my junior prom in 1984 was “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” The version that was played at prom was by Taco, a 1980s one hit wonder. I just learned by visiting Wikipedia that it was actually a cover of a song written in the 1920s by none other than Irving Berlin. The more you know!
– Mary

Pour Some Sugar on Me, Hurts So Good. I don’t really remember slow songs due to the fact that I was dateless, lol.

Of course “Shout” (little bit softer now), with the whole Blues Brothers dance. And any song from Romy and Michelle. (Which works well for prom and reunion mixed tapes). No stories, but I did hit a cat on the way to my junior prom. I still feel bad about that one.

“This Is The Time” by Billy Joel. Other prom themes during my high school years when I didn’t actually go to the prom include “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton and “With or Without You” by U2 (that last one is a still a headscratcher).

Thanks to everyone who submitted songs and stories! And now … let’s dance!

Rockstar (1)

Footloose – Kenny Loggins
I Melt With You – Modern English
If You Leave – Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark
The Rockafeller Skank – Fatboy Slim
Teenage Dirtbag – Wheetus
I Will Remember You – Sarah McLachlan
What I Like About You – The Romantics
With or Without You – U2
Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams
Because I Love You – Stevie B.
Puttin’ On The Ritz– Taco
Cruel To Be Kind – Letters to Cleo
Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper
I Remember You – Skid Row
Forever In Love – Kenny G
Shout! – This Isley Brothers

Here’s the link to my Spotify playlist if you’d like to listen along.

(I’m crossing my fingers that the link works. I’ve been messing with it all morning. If it doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll try to get it fixed for next week.)

Mixtape Mondays Coming Soon (Like Monday)

Mixtape Mondays Coming Soon (Like Monday)

Starting Monday, I’m going to start a regular feature called Mixtape Mondays and I need your help! My first topic is prom….so readers….

What songs make you think of prom? It can just be a song from a movie, but it’s even better if it’s your own! Please include any stories (school appropriate of course). Your answers will help me compile my first “mixtape.”

Head over to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mixtapesandcupcakes/ to submit your answers. And while you’re there, please click “Like” and “Follow.” I’m going to use this site to get more feedback and conversations going, although you can still use the comment section below if you like.

Can’t wait to read your stories and suggestions! Let’s have some fun!


My So-Called Mid-Life Crisis

My So-Called Mid-Life Crisis

A while back I wrote about trying to figure out whether or not I was having a mid-life crisis. I was going through the usual growing pains of turning 40 – saggy cheeks (of both varieties), confusion over the terms “woke” and “bae,” finding myself leaving the radio on the classic and soft rock stations more and more. But I didn’t feel I was quite there yet. How could I be sure?

Well, one way is to quit your job of 13 years with no backup plan other than a blog that hasn’t been used in almost a year and lofty goals of baking bread every day to save on groceries.

Will this plan work for you? Not sure. But I can tell you that for me, it worked like a charm. I am now sure I’m deep in the middle of mid-life crisis. Like saggy-cheeks-deep.

My daughter said this graphic is evidence that I am having a mid-life crisis.
How does one get to this point in their lives? Well, again, I’m not sure about you, but I for me, it started with “Days of Our Lives.”

Way back in 1994, I picked journalism as a career because I wanted to be like Jennifer Horton on “Days of Our Lives.” Not because I had a passion for journalism or ambitions of winning a Pulitzer Prize. No, I wanted my life to be like a soap opera. Seriously. That’s it.

jack and jen
Ahhh…life at The Spectator
And it sort of worked. For nearly 20 years, I fooled people into believing I was a journalist. I even fooled myself for a bit. And while my life in the newspaper business certainly was no soap opera, it was a job I was fairly good at. I even won a few awards.

As time wore on, though, it began to feel less and less like a world I belonged in and more like an less sexy version of Ernesto’s Cruise of Deception. I was apathetic and bored. I would spend an afternoon stewing over the fact that someone decided to bake a goddamn potato in the microwave for lunch, tying up the microwave for a whole six minutes! The highlight of my day was usually the Egg McMuffin I talked myself into buying. And that was before I even got to work.

Quitting was always in the back of my mind, but didn’t have the courage (or money) to actually do it. I convinced myself I needed the job. I’m not sure what changed exactly. Maybe it was the goddamn potato in the microwave. But it became clear that my job wasn’t working any more. My husband and I agreed we needed to find a way for me to make a change. We started budgeting a little better, started to pay down some lingering bills, and tried to change our relationship with money. I started to ask myself “Is having money for this dumb Egg McMuffin worth being unhappy?” Sometimes the answer was yes, because, honestly, Egg McMuffins are delicious. But more and more, the answer became no.

Then, four weeks ago, after yet another Monday when I came home practically in tears because I was so unhappy, my husband and I decided it was time to just do it. It didn’t matter that I had no job lined up or no real plan in place. It was worth it to both of us to take the risk.

The most surprising part of all of this was that telling my boss I was quitting wasn’t nearly as gratifying as I thought it would be. I spent years dreaming about marching into my office, quitting in a “Voshell out!” mic drop sort of way, and then marching right back out while Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” played me out.

It didn’t really happen that way. In fact, I felt like I was going to throw up. It was my career for almost two decades, after all. And the question “What do I do now?” still lingered.

I’m two weeks into my “early retirement” and I’m still not sure I have that all figured out. But I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be … for now. And I’m hoping returning to my first real love – the dashing and witty Jack Deveraux –  um, I mean, writing will help me find my way.

jack and jen wedding
Here’s to hoping I’m as happy as Jack and Jennifer!