Sit Still, Look Pretty

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my jams, which is probably because it’s been a while since one has taken hold in my head. At a recent third birthday party, the guest of honor’s mother asked if I’d heard Sit Still, Look Pretty and played it for me. I’d heard it once, but hadn’t paid much attention it. She asked because it seemed her two kids – 9 and 3 – and I seemed to typically like the same music and this was their latest fav (we’ll just leave that comment about the comparison of my musical taste alone…).

It’s got such a catchy whistle intro that you can’t help but get hooked. And the chorus is almost enough to unseat my tried and true at-bat song. I’ve been struggling a bit with motivation recently and there’s nothing quite like a good pick-me-up jam to remind me of my plans for world domination. Thanks, Daya!

Oh I don’t know what you’ve been told
But this gal right here’s gonna rule the world
Yeah that is where I’m gonna be, because I wanna be
No I don’t wanna sit still, look pretty


Awesomeness in the World

What’s Wrong with Being Confident?

Jennifer Lawrence has been in the news lately for a post she wrote for Lenny, Lena Dunham’s latest creation. The post is titled Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?” It’s short and to the point, which is that pay gap is still very real, regardless of the scale (it’s possible Jennifer and I may be in different tax brackets…). And it’s not just the pay gap – it’s the expectations around our behavior. When it comes to negotiating, sharing our ideas or stating an opinion, we’re too busy trying to be liked to be as effective as we could be. While certainly not a universal truth for all women everywhere in every scenario, this issue obviously hit close to home for many of us, given all the attention her post is receiving.

I’ve been pretty neutral on most things Demi Lovato up to this point, but her newest song is my jam. And while this might seem wholly unrelated to Jennifer Lawrence’s post, bear with me. Confident is the second release off Demi’s upcoming album of the same name. It’s no secret that I love a good pop anthem, and this song doesn’t disappoint. But in the middle of the strong bass line and ridiculously catchy tune, she asks a good question – what’s wrong with being confident? Her chorus goes a little something like this:

So you say I’m complicated
That I must be outta my mind
But you’ve had me underrated
What’s wrong with being confident?

It’s a good reminder for me to not let others define who I am (plus, the song is just fun). And that’s Jennifer’s point, too – we define our value. As women, more often that not, we need to remind others that they’ve underrated us. Yes, it’s not fair and it’s ridiculous that we need to do any reminding at all. But until that changes, there’s not a damn thing wrong with being confident.


Sometimes You Just Feel Tired

‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired,
Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.

These are the lyrics to one of my new favorite jams, Eminem’s ‘Till I Collapse. It’s from his 2002 album, The Eminem Show, but it’s new to me more than a decade later. When Eminem first came on the scene, I liked some of his stuff, but wasn’t impressed with how much specific graphic violence showed up in some of his lyrics. I took a break from anything that I didn’t hear on the radio, but since the release of Recovery a few years ago, I’ve given his music another chance. This particular song was on at my boxing gym a few weeks ago and it’s become a new go-to to get me up and running, whether it’s for a workout, a little mid-day pep talk or just to get going in the morning at the end of a long week.

What’s your go-to pep talk jam?

Career Libby

Be a Rockstar

As I write this, I sit in the common area of my son’s music school, the School of Rock. There’s a video of various student performances playing, a private lesson or two going on in the rooms behind me, teens plucking away on their guitars while they hang out eating snacks and my son’s “band” doing their best to rock Seven Nation Army – cacophony! But amazing – how many of you are brave enough to get in front of an audience – even a small one – and do something that you’re not 100% sure that you’re terrific at? And you’re only seven, or eleven or fourteen? It’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? I’m inspired to think about how we can all be rockstars at work:

  1. Try. As we get older, we sometimes forget to try something new – it’s too embarrassing to take a crack at a presentation or the creation of a program description without being sure that we’ll succeed. You know what? It’s still okay to try. What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll still have your day job!
  2. Take a back seat. This is a strange one if I’m telling you how to be a rockstar, but letting other people shine is what makes a really good band. By allowing your own talents to support someone else’s makes everyone better – just as Jon Bon Jovi would be nothing without Richie Sambora or Steven Tyler just odd looking without Joe Perry, your CSE or boss is nothing without your kicka** talents and efforts at budgeting, marketing or meeting planning. Own your place in the band.
  3. Rock your solo. When it actually becomes time for you to take your solo, go for it – Angus Young it on the floor, freak out like Flea, channel Neal Pert – and give it your all. Don’t phone it in, really make it count: prepare, practice and crush it.
  4. Practice. Despite various mythologies and seven year old fantasies, no real rockstar ever made it by just picking up a guitar and starting to play – it takes years of practice, hours of repetitive exercises and the like. If you’re new to the game, respect your elders – they’ve been doing scales and chord work for a long time…you can learn something from them. And you who have been at it a while – doing the road tours and setting up your own gigs – don’t forget what it’s like to have a fire in your belly; give them some space to try (see numbers 1 and 2).
  5. Have fun. Some of us have Very Important Jobs. Some have less cachet. But we all have people depending on us to perform some duty and we’ll all do better if we’re having fun while we’re doing it. You know those bands that totally gel? The ones who have been together forever? It’s mostly because they’re having fun. You should too – the band will be stronger for it!

– Libby Bingham

How to be Awesome Jams Libby

Inappropriate Children’s Songs

Every parent finds themselves uncomfortable with a song their child has heard or gravitated to…they can be a source of questions that are particularly difficult and embarrassing to answer. I am no different, but here is a list of songs that my seven year old son has either misheard or misinterpreted the lyrics. Try listening to them with an alternative take in mind…you’ll get a giggle!

  1. Another One Bites the Dust [Queen] Okay, so I don’t know for sure, but believe this song is about gang riots or something…really not appropriate for a kid, but try not laughing when he earnestly sings “Another One Busts the Dust.” A vacuum cleaner is something we really don’t celebrate enough, right?
  2. Sugar [Maroon Five] The innuendo in this song is ridiculously inappropriate for children, but the literal ode to sweetener is totally appropriate for a seven year old. It’s a true love, a pure love. Delicious.
  3. TNT [AC/DC] This is another song that has a level of innuendo that is difficult even for adults to embrace (!), but when Joey sings it, it becomes a personal power anthem. Power is something that a kid has very little of, so having a way to articulate it is an awesome thing to watch.
  4. Seven Nation Army [White Stripes] Joey is learning how to play the guitar and this is his go-to song. Honestly, I’m not sure what the song is about (other than it is a play on the Salvation Army), but I don’t really care. Why? Because Joey has no idea what the words are and what it means – all I know is that he loves to sing it when playing the guitar and that it’s adorable. And on top of that, he has written out the lyrics for when he and his eight year old cousin form their band this summerLibby Post
  5. You Can’t Always Get What You Want [Rolling Stones] I love it when Joey says, “Mom! This is my theme song!” We have used this as a mantra to avoid temper tantrums when he was little, and now he’ll actually ask us for what he might “need” if he can’t get what he wants. Rockin’ AND effective!

– Libby Bingham


Summer Jams

I love new music that comes out just in time for summer. It seems summer has its own special vibe as the days get longer, we’re outside in the sunshine more and life slows down just a little bit with extended happy hours and vacations. DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince captured this perfectly in their 1991 amazingness, Summertime. And while I could never be as eloquent as that pair, I do love these lighter summer songs where you can’t help but sing along and you don’t even care about the looks you’re getting when you roll up to a spotlight and forget that all your windows are down. The concept shows up in one of my favorite shows, Parks and Recreation, as Ben Wyatt is outed for a CD found in his car, Benji’s Cool Times Summer Jamz Mix. The fact that the writers wholly committed and made the full playlist is amazing. Check it out for some old school inspiration!

Jason Derulo’s Want to Want Me is going to be impossible to escape this summer, and Meghan Trainor’s Dear Future Husband brings back the wholesomeness of the 1950’s with the fun style of 2015. Both of these songs have been stuck in my head for the past couple weeks and I just can’t seem to shake them. But I don’t mind so much, at least for now. Check back in with me again come August. 😉 What are you go to summer jams – either from this year or summers past?


Jams Libby

Come Sail Away

My repertoire of songs for lullabies is limited – when Joey was a baby, I had to reach deep into my past for songs from musicals (we didn’t have a TV for a while growing up), a childhood steeped in 70’s soft rock and teenage years rockin’ out to AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and other iconic bands before falling in love with pop (after an embarrassing spell as a Deadhead in college). Any of these songs can be turned into a lullaby with the right volume level and cadence – surprising, but true. As Joey grew older, we’d start hearing his lullabies on the radio and he’d be awfully surprised, but he has learned to love both the original and the adaptation. One of our favorites was and is Come Sail Away by Styx. It’s a great song musically – it builds slowly to a dramatic finish, in a key that is easy for me to navigate – but it also has a terrific message about hope and overcoming the inevitable disappointments of life, prompting us to “carry on” even in the face of adversity (or aliens, as the case may be). I think that as we sail upon the sea of life, we would all do well to embrace the positive and supportive spirits of friends, family and loved ones that are around us as we navigate the waters of an unfamiliar future. Oh, and you should also have a plan for whenever you run into aliens, of course.

– Libby Bingham

Book Reports Jams

10,000 Hours: Gladwell and Macklemore Style

Malcolm Gladwell brought us the concept of 10,000 hours, and while I’m about halfway through his book, Outliers, I find myself more inspired by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ take on Gladwell’s idea. Maybe the writing in the book is a little dry for me, or maybe I should listen to more books on tape because the spoken word resonates more with me. Either way, on the album The Heist, Macklemore introduces himself as “some Malcolm Gladwell, David Bowie meets Kayne shit,” and I find myself listening a little more closely. Macklemore was apparently so inspired by Gladwell that he devoted a whole track to it: 10,000 Hours. And in summarizing Gladwell’s take on where talent comes from, Macklemore gets it pretty succinctly: “The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint. The greats were great because they paint a lot.”

It’s this notion of talent coming from a place of interest and then a whole lot of practice. Lots and lots of practice. 10,000 is the number of hours Gladwell suggests will make us an expert in something. For most of us, that means a minimum of five years of full time work, which assumes a 50-week work year at 40 hours per week.  If you happen to not be working in the field in which you’d like to be an expert, you’ve got to find that time in your nonworking hours. Assuming you were devoted and spent 2 hours every single day of every single week (in addition to all the things you need to be a responsible adult!), you’re looking at something just shy of 14 years.

It’s an impressive devotion to something, and I can really only think of a handful of things that I’ve ever spent 10,000 on. Swimming comes to mind, but having participated in exactly zero Olympics, I don’t know that I can quite claim expert status yet. When I look at my professional and personal lives, the theme of people seems to be my common thread, and I don’t have a hard time seeing myself as a people expert. Through all my years of volunteer management work, I’ve spent a long time listening to people, hearing what they really want and working to help make that happen. In my personal life, I take pride in being a friend to turn to for advice, comfort or a good laugh (all usually accompanied by a glass of wine). In both areas of my life, I want people to feel they are better off having spent time with me. That’s what drives me, and that’s what I continue to practice. 10,000 hours and counting. Where have you logged 10,000 hours?


Throw Some Glitter, Make it Rain

Some mornings are harder than others for me to get out of bed (okay, okay – most mornings). I love the idea of being a morning person, but it’s just not me. I’m much more of a second wind in the evening sort of gal, though that’s not necessarily the best schedule for everything I like to get done in a day. So on days like today when the alarm goes off and I hit snooze (three times if we’re being honest), I need a little extra help. And that’s easiest for me to find in my playlists.

Music is important to me. It has the power to transport me to another time in my life, make me feel connected to something bigger and most importantly for me, music makes me want to have fun. I love the songs where you can’t help but sing along and dance around while you’re getting ready for the day. I’ve been accused of having the musical taste of a tween and I’m okay with that. There’s something to the catchy pop beats, easy-to-sing lyrics and the raw emotions found in these songs. Sure, they’re mass produced and there probably hasn’t been a truly original song in the past couple decades, but I’ll take them just the same. I like other genres of music, too, but my 25 most played give me away. You’ll find Ke$ha, Christina Aguilera, Nicki Minaj, Miranda Lambert, Kanye West, Fall Out Boy and an embarrassing amount of Britney Spears (she’s got 8 of the top 25 slots). These songs all help me set a tone for the day and transition from my morning workout to breakfast to getting ready for the day. I love the inspiration to have fun, kick some ass and enjoy doing it all – what more can you ask for from a playlist?

Jams Libby


Can we talk about the song Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield? First of all, this woman has some pipes. And even if you’re not a fan of pop, it is quite the catchy tune. But more than that, this is one inspirational ditty. I think it was originally introduced to me by my colleague, Megan, who is one of the most upbeat, positive, inspired people I know. I am sure it was after some confession of anxiety or self-doubt over coffee (aka martinis) that she sent me the link or had me connect to her iTunes player, and man, it did the job – I went from zero to hero just listening to it (I’m sure I cried a little, too). Since then, the song has become a touchstone for me on a pretty regular basis – it is really about having faith in yourself and forgiving yourself. We all make mistakes (some of us, ahem, more than others) but that doesn’t mean everything is an epic fail. At the very least, we are wiser from our experiences. Our futures are not static and therefore can be changed as long as we believe in ourselves. So, stop beating yourself up, take a deep breath, “open up the dirty window” and “feel the rain on your skin”…try again. Starting fresh is liberating and a great way to stay positive. Every day can be a do-over if you need it to be…the rest is still unwritten!

-Libby Bingham