Weekly 10.

weekly 10There are so many well-written blog posts, amazing videos and interesting sites that speak to us and we want to share our favorites.

  1. We have no idea how some people can make their closets look so pretty and organized! But we’re hoping Who What Wear‘s post on “12 Absolutely Beautiful Makeshift Closets” will inspired us.
  2. The Beauty Department always has such great makeup and styling tips but mostly we’re wondering how people find such complimentary shades of lipstick, like the one in Lip Liner Must tip!
  3. We are all about trying to eat healthier and these “10 Healthy Summer Recipes” from The Everygirl is a good way to keep on track.
  4. Emery Lord, one of our favorite authors, shares an incredibly candid post about her next book and as usual, we love how she relates it to her, or anyone’s, life.
  5. And another favorite author, Katie Cotugno, talks about wanting to slow down and that it’s ok to have days where you do nothing.
  6. We’re always looking for new recipe’s to try and this charred corn with pistachio cilantro lime rub recipe by Joy The Baker looks too delicious to pass up!
  7. We love makeup recommendations especially when it’ll make our morning makeup routine quicker and we’re excited to try According to Elle’s 5 Minute Face Favorites.
  8. Rachel just recently bought a great (and cute) desk and it definitely gave me workspace envy. I’m still looking for a spot in my apartment but in the meantime, I’m taking notes on Le Fashion’s 7 Key Elements for A Stylish and Whimsical Work Space.
  9. We’re all about healthy ways to lose/maintain our weight but we must admit, the picture of this Berry Breakfast Smoothie is what first caught our eye.
  10. If you’re in or by NYC, go and witness history as we celebrate the U.S. Women’s World Cup Champs victory in NYC’s first ticker tape parade for a women’s sports team!!

Hope you enjoyed our Weekly 10!
What are some noteworthy sites on your list? We’d love to hear from you!

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Two women making ballet history

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Here’s a little secret about me. When I was younger, I use to fantasize about becoming a famous ballerina or choreographer. I would watch music videos on MTV and teach myself the dances. I would make up my own dances (which my dad would encourage all the time; like with reading, he always supported my creativity). The first time I had to write a research paper in middle school, it was about Anna Pavlova, a ballerina from the late 1800s who I subsequently became obsessed with (I read about 5 biographies). But for some reason, despite me prancing around the house constantly and my clear interest in ballet, my parents never thought to sign me up for dance classes. I eventually took matters into my own hands when I was in 6th or 7th grade. There was a dance school a couple streets over so one day I called them, signed myself up and let my parents know I would be starting ballet and jazz classes in September. They didn’t argue. (I don’t think.)

I danced all the way through my junior year of high school and even made it to pointe classes which was my goal from the moment I put on a leotard. And even after I stopped, I still loved a good ballet movie or book and went to a few performances in NYC when I could (unfortunately, it’s only been twice, maybe three times). I didn’t really know anyone else who shared my interest so you can imagine my surprise when suddenly my Twitter feed was blowing up with tweets about ballet, attending shows and someone named Misty Copeland. I tend to be out of the loop with the news but last week, I googled her to see what this was all about.

For those of you who don’t know, she is an extremely talented ballerina who recently became the first African-American principal dancer in 75 years at The American Ballet Theatre (ABT). She’s also well-known for her memoir Life in Motion where she talks about how she became a ballerina and all the struggles she faced along the way. You can probably guess that I already bought her book. I’ve watched a few clips on Youtube and she is both powerful and graceful. I really want to see her dance live!

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But she’s not the reason why I’m writing about my love of ballet. What a lot of people may not realize is that there were two dancers promoted within ABT. Misty Copeland and Stella Abrera, the company’s first Filipino American principal dancer in the last 75 years. It’s a huge moment both in ballet history and for minority women. But as a Filipina myself, I couldn’t help but latch onto the news about Stella.

Why hadn’t I heard of her before? Why isn’t she getting more attention? And OMG, she’s married to Charlie from Center Stage?! (True story.) I’ve been fangirling since I found out. She was born in Manila but was raised in Pasadena, California, where she began dancing at the age of 5. She’s been with ABT since 1996 and a soloist since 2001. She’s received awards, danced all over the world and is best known for her role as Giselle. Plus Abrera is also the founder of Steps Forward for the Philippines, a charity dedicated to serving the educational and creative needs of the children affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Basically this girl is my hero. She’s living out a dream I’m sure many girls like myself have had and didn’t know they could attain. If there’s anyone I must see dance during ABT’s next season, it’s her.

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Just me and the Whitney Museum of American Art

If there’s one thing living by myself has taught me, it’s how to be okay with being alone. Walking into an empty apartment doesn’t bother me. I revel in the peace and silence when I’m sitting at my computer ready to write. It’s surprising because I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by people. My parents, grandmother, aunts, uncles and all the relatives within a 10-minute radius barely let me out of their sight growing up. If I wanted to go to the mall or watch a movie or eat out, going alone never occurred to me. There was always a friend nearby ready to hop into the car and tag along or vice-versa. Even now there are certain things, I don’t consider doing solo (mainly vacationing).

And I love the company. When I’m watching a great movie or hearing a song that makes me want to dance, of course I love being able to turn to the person next to me and share how I feel. But there’s also something to be said for being able to enjoy your own company as well. That sometimes always waiting for a friend to be free prevents you from experiencing something you want right in that very moment. So when I found myself with an unexpected five day weekend with no plans in mind, I thought – I really want to go to the Whitney Museum of American Art. I had never been before and it’s been on my personal NYC to do list for some time, so why not? But then I wondered if I should ask my best friends or see if anyone else was free. And I realized I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to work around anyone else’s schedule or worry about feeling annoyed when someone is late or cancels. I just wanted to go to the museum on time, see whatever I wanted to see and not think about anyone but myself.

Does that sound a little selfish? Probably. Did I have a wonderful time on my own? Absolutely.

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The Whitney Museum has five floors of art and each one has an outdoor area which offers gorgeous views of New York City. My favorite view was from the 8th floor (the highest one).

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This trip made me realize that I’m a Georgia O’Keeffe fan! Just not of her flowers. The art pieces (particularly the one on the left) that caught my eye the most were usually hers. Even when I visited the Chicago Institute of Art last summer, my favorites were O’Keeffe’s. I wish I had something more eloquent and artistic to say but honestly, I just think they’re interesting to look at and I love the colors she uses, whether they’re subtle or bright.

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Modern art tends to go over my head but there is something undeniably fun about the weird ones I don’t get.

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One of my favorite things about this museum was all the color! Especially this outdoor area where I took a five minute break between moving onto the next floor.

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I didn’t know the Highline was right next to the Whitney. (Like, literally next to it.) So as soon as I exited, I climbed up the stairs to the park. It was perfect because it wasn’t too crowded and I actually got to enjoy my walk. This place really is a beautiful concept. I love all the areas to sit, the flowers and the unexpected graffiti art surrounding it.

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After walking a little bit, I ended up buying empanadas for lunch and read for an hour or so on one of the many benches. Then I treated myself to a red velvet ice cream sandwich because that’s what you do on a hot summer day.

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I definitely need to have more days like this for myself. I mean, nine times out of ten, I’m still more likely to explore the city with a friend but I don’t want to forget to spontaneously do something new on my own either.

What fun things have you done by yourself lately?

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We Should All Be Feminists

In case you were wondering, yes the title of this post is inspired by the book of the same name but the actual post itself was inspired by a friend of ours. We’ve known her since we were freshmen in college, so we go way back. In the past year, she began dating a guy who brought out a side of her we didn’t know existed. And when she posted this picture on Facebook a couple weeks ago …

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Well, the reaction was immediate. But while the two of us kept our opinions to ourselves, another mutual friend jumped in to say that this was some sexist bullsh*t (amen, sister!) assuming our friend was making a statement of sorts. Turns out she was. Just not the kind we were expecting. Nope, she actually supported this image wholeheartedly. And we won’t get into the details but things got ugly as they clashed in opinion. The two of us couldn’t stop thinking about it and as we scrolled through her page to see what else she and her boyfriend were posting, we found yet another image that had us scratching our heads in confusion. We knew we wanted to talk about it. So, here we are!

Rachel: Since I am single and believe in equality, I fall into that “new age, bitter single braud” category mentioned in the image. First of all, new age? Secondly, bitter? And lastly – “braud”? Seriously? Obviously, I have a lot of problems with this. I don’t like that she’s in her bra and underwear while he’s got a whole suit on. I don’t like that it’s all about what she can do for him. And I don’t like the assumption that all single women are bitter. Because, let me tell you – they are not. I want a boyfriend and if he’s the right man for me, I believe that we’ll take care of each other. Maybe that means I do a lot of the cooking because I’m the better cook. And he doesn’t mind making the long trek to the dumpster to throw out the garbage every time (this is my least favorite chore). It should be a give and take between two people who love each other and that image up there? It doesn’t show that equality at all.

Carina: I am very fortunate and blessed to be surrounded by very strong women and men in my life. My parents always being my role models. Growing up I observed my mom cook, clean, take care of my brothers and me, be my dad’s biggest supporter all in addition to her working a full-time job. I used to think she gave up on pursuing her dream to be a doctor while my dad was the one who followed-through with his career and I started to resent her for it. Then as I grew older and learned more about relationship dynamics, I realized my parents worked as a team. Though I first only observed my mom doing the housework, I started to realize my dad was also doing house chores alongside her. They took care of each other and the decision for my mom to hold off on her career was a joint decision and a temporary one. Once we were more stable financially, my dad supported my mom in the career decisions she decided to make.

So seeing the image above posted and supported on social media really makes me mad because it is very sexist, tears down the meaning of equality and says that those who support feminism are “new age, bitter single braud(s)”. I have nothing against “spoiling your man” but it should go both ways. Relationships are about teamwork and making each other happy. The image states that women should just cater to their men and we must do so half dressed and anyone who disagrees are single and bitter. Total BS!

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Then here’s the image our friend’s boyfriend posted on her wall.

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Rachel: I have to admit, I had to read this a couple times to understand what it meant. And I find it baffling. Is this supposed to be romantic? To say that loving a woman is a weakness but loving a man is a strength. Plus the whole “exchange of power” implies men have the power first and give it to women out of love. I mean, WHAT. Again, I admit my relationship experience is practically non-existent but I’d like to think that I have a good head on my shoulders and I don’t believe in what this image is trying to tell us. I think loving someone and being loved in return should give you – regardless if you are male or female – strength. I don’t think either person becomes weaker as a result of it. In a loving, healthy relationship you should bring out the best in one another and encourage the each other to always aspire to your best selves.  (Am I right?)

Carina: I also had to read this a couple of times to grasp what it was trying to say. And I agree with Rachel wholeheartedly. Why would you want to be with someone who makes you weak? And why is this image perpetuating the idea that loving a woman is a weakness? Being in a loving, healthy relationship is about being each others biggest supporters, making each other happy and giving each other strength.

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Have you guys seen either of these images before?
What do YOU think?

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Two awesome talks, one fun design conference

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Last week, my company sent me to the Smashing Magazine conference and it was kind of a big deal for me. I’ve been following that web developer and designer blog for years so it was pretty fitting that it got to my first design conference. I won’t lie, it made me feel kind of official! I had been a web developer for so long and it’s only in the last two years that I got to have designer in my title. It was nice to be surrounded by so many people in my field, who genuinely love either design, coding or both.

When my boss asked me and my other coworker what our favorite panels were, she immediately responded with the UX design one. Which makes sense. We are UX designers after all. But of course, I had to be the odd one, because my two favorite talks were the ones featuring a self-proclaimed curmudgeon ranting about the Internet nowadays (he was hilarious!) and a design legend who spoke a lot about how beauty is just as important as functionality in design, architecture and his philosophy on sabbaticals.

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So the two speakers were Christian Heilmann and Stefan Sagmeister, respectively. Both had such stage presence and I was very much captivated by what they had to say. With Heilmann, he spoke a lot about how it feels like we’ve broken the web and new technologies are just coming every week for the sake of recognition but the real question is, for what purpose? Are any of these new techniques actually good or beneficial in the long run? (Which I totally understand and is part of the reason why I didn’t want to be a full-time developer anymore.) By the time you learn one thing, there’s something new and “hot” out and then what? He was just looking at the big picture in a way that felt honest and funny (I enjoy a good rant!). But the line that probably stood out to me the most was this one:

It’s a line that could applied to any field of work. Know who you are, know your strengths and go for it. It was something I didn’t know I needed to hear in that moment.

And then there was Sagmeister! He closed out the event and I can see why they chose him to do so. He’s an amazing speaker plus paired with his Austrian accent – I could’ve happily listened to him talk design for hours. He’s obviously a man who appreciates art, beauty and architecture. Someone who takes risk in his work and doesn’t want to become repetitive or boring. He showed us slide after slide of things he’s seen or projects he’s done with his team. It was inspiring. It made me want to broaden my own horizons or visit the nearest museum. I was pretty much a fangirl by the end of his panel. But one of the best things I learned about him was his work/design philosophy. (You can learn more in detail here.)

Basically, every seven years he shuts down his studio for an entire year to go on sabbatical. Like his TED talk says, he believes in the power of time off and the need to rejuvenate yourself mentally, emotionally and creatively to get your best design work. I had never heard of anything like this before! It’s very much along the lines of what I’ve been saying lately. Burnt out = bad. It was just very validating to hear someone considered a design legend express my thoughts. I’m not saying I need an entire year off but at the current rate my job is going, I’d settle for a even a month or two off this year.

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So that was my design conference experience! Those two talks really stuck with me and I wanted to share their thoughts and my own with you all. Hope you enjoyed the recap and if by coincidence you happened to be there too, I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

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Apartment Shopping Fun (Take 2!)

It’s been two months since we last went apartment shopping. We don’t know if it’s the warmer weather or our (healthy!) obsession with interior decorating, but we both wanted to find some new decor. So after grabbing breakfast together, we headed over to Hobby Lobby. Neither of us had ever heard of the store until recently (and how misleading is that name?) but it might just be our new favorite place to shop!

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The whole store is organized really well and there is so much to look at! At first we were just going to browse but after 20 minutes, we quickly realized not buying anything would be impossible. We went back to grab a cart and immediately we each found art and gold accents (which we’re both loving).

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Then we spotted our initials and of course, a photo (or two) was required. It was just fun to walk up and down all the aisles – getting new ideas, buying cute stuff and chatting the whole time. If we’re being honest, we’ll probably never be completely done decorating. There will always be some new project to take on or decor we’ll get bored with and want to change. Or walls to be a painted a different color (yes – we’re painting this summer!). That said.. we have a feeling we’ll be back here again soon!

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Have any of you guys been to Hobby Lobby? 

Until next time!

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A Conversation & A Leap of Faith

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Six years ago defined the start of my career. I was sitting in an IHOP with my younger brother Rick discussing the all too common question, “What do we want to do with our lives?”. Both having graduated from college and holding down steady jobs, we still felt so lost. We both wanted more for ourselves, but what it was at that time, we didn’t know. A year after that, I quit my job and decided to take another year “finding” myself. I wish I could regale you with exciting stories of a year spent traveling and exploring the world but due to my financial state at that time, I ended up spending that year doing freelance work and applying to various jobs. I landed a few interviews but my lack of confidence and insecurities were so apparent that at one point I applied to a volunteer position and was rejected (worst and most nerve-racking interview ever!).

A year later, after multiple talks with my parents, I ended up in nursing school. I must admit, nursing was not my first choice. I adamantly refused to take up nursing when my mom first suggested it. I ended up choosing and graduating with a computer science degree and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t choose it out of spite, but part of me feels like my spoiled, bratty, past self somewhat subconsciously did. But in defense to my past self, I did enjoy web design and development. And the choice of going back to school for nursing with the possibility of marrying it with my computer science degree sounded like an exciting career path to follow.

At the start of nursing school, I made a timeline (a practice I learned from my dad) and that initial excitement almost wore off. It looked like an eternity before graduation and another eternity to figure out how to create a career out of my two degrees. But with the mindset that persistence, optimism, motivation, faith and hard work along with passion pays off, I took the leap (and a bunch of loans) into nursing and it was the best decision I ever made for myself in terms of my career.

I learned a lot about myself these past few years. I learned (and still learning) how to feel comfortable in my own skin, that you fail more than you succeed and that failure isn’t really failure if you learn from it and build from it.

A few years later, my brother and I found ourselves back in IHOP resuming our previous discussion years back. We were both amazed by how much things have changed and how are past feelings of being lost and not knowing what to do were replaced with confidence and excitement for our futures (he recently graduated from medical school and is starting his residency this July).

I’m still fairly new in my career but I’m proud to say that I truly enjoy what I do. Not only that, I was recently given an opportunity to work in a field that will utilize both of my degrees which surprisingly came sooner than the timeline I had planned for myself.

And to think, it all started with a conversation and a leap of faith.

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I’m a work-to-live type of person

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“I’m a work-to-live not a live-to-work type of person.”
Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Forever, Interrupted.

Ever since I started my new job two months ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about work-life balance. Probably because my definition of what that means seems to very different. When I think of the ideal work environment, this is what I envision: smart people, friendly atmosphere, 40 hour work weeks, productivity and the occasional after work thing. I think that’s pretty normal and for the most part, what I’ve experienced at my previous jobs. But I’m realizing lately that these days, especially in the New York startup world, what I consider ideal is a “myth”. (Seriously, I googled work-life balance and I kept getting articles calling it that.) What supposed professional experts recommend is a work-life integration instead. Making your coworkers your friends (implying to neglect your longtime friends) and indulging in dinners and constant after hour outings so work doesn’t feel like work anymore even though you’re in the office for twelve hours or more. This may be a dream situation for some but for me, it’s not.

I’m not some fresh out of college new professional who doesn’t know any better. I have 10 years of working experience under my belt and I’ve always had a sense of what I looked for in a job. At least on a basic level. I want to like what I do and I want to like my coworkers. Simple enough, right? But this year, I find myself knowing with absolute clarity what I want in the company I work for and verbalizing it in a way I’ve never had to before. I want to show up at the office, do my job and do it well and collaborate creatively with my team. I want to be proud of my work. But I also want to do that for nine hours and then go live my life the rest of the time. That could be going straight home because I want to veg out on the couch or getting dinner with friends or going to one of the many book events happening in the city. The point is, after 5 or 5:30, my personal time should belong to me. Like the quote above says, I work to live, I don’t live to work.

To some that might be seem unambitious but I believe it’s the opposite. I do want to do well and grow professionally, but I truly believe in balance in all aspects of my life. Just as I wouldn’t want to spend all my time at the job, nor would I want to spend all my time at home alone either. And even in my personal hours, it’s a juggling act between me time, family and friends. I think that balance prevents me from getting burnt out and ultimately decreases stress. Because when I’m burnt out and tired, that doesn’t exactly get my creative juices going and as a designer, that’s a problem. And let’s be real, no one likes that feeling of being spread out too thin or constantly exhausted. Especially for me, who’s more of an introvert, I need that alone time to recharge and I need to see my loved ones because there’s nothing like a good conversation or a night of laughter to lift my spirits. Then come Monday morning, I genuinely want to show at my job ready and, dare I say, happy to do my work.

I know what I’m looking for exists because I refuse to believe it’s a myth. But I am starting to think it’s kind of a unicorn in a world where work-life balance means “really cool perks” like in-office nap rooms, gyms, provided lunches and dinners, meetings from 6-7pm, weekend team-building retreats and partying in the cafeteria until midnight.

You know what I think would be the coolest perk ever? A work day that ended at 5pm.

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Keep Calm, Summer is Coming

We both love summer. We count down to the first day of summer like 5th graders counting down to the last day of school. Unfortunately, our countdown does not end with a 3 month long hiatus and reminiscing about our carefree college days has become all too frequent. Don’t get us wrong, we are extremely grateful and feel very fortunate to have full-time jobs but with our long and opposing work schedules, it’s been really hard to coordinate a time to meet. But of course, that’s not going to stop us! We’re optimistic that we can make this summer as enjoyable as our college years and to make that happen, we’ve planned ahead. Here is what we have lined up this summer (looks pretty fun if we do say so ourselves)!

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Birthday Celebrations!
We have a lot of summer babies amongst our families and friends so our summers are always filled with celebrations. I, Carina, am a winter baby but my dear friend Rachel celebrates hers in June. From dinners to exploring new city neighborhoods, we always try to do something fun on each others’ birthdays. We don’t want to go into too much detail (don’t worry, you’ll definitely read about it in an upcoming post) but we have a pretty fun itinerary mapped out for her birthday celebration!

Beach Days

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The Jersey shore gets a pretty bad rap but don’t be so quick to judge! If you know where to go you’ll find some pretty nice beach spots along this fine state. We always talk about driving down to the beach and these past few years have not been successful. We’re looking to change that this year! Our goal is one full beach day if not 2 or 3, hell, let’s make it 4!

Roadtrips/Weekend Getaways
Since college, we used to try to fit in one long roadtrip but lately, we’d be so lucky if we got down to the shore. Though we haven’t officially planned out a roadtrip for this summer, we’re definitely both itching to take one. From visiting out of state cities to spending a relaxing weekend at a B&B in our home state or upstate New York, we have a lot of options! Now all we have to do is pick a long weekend and go!

Summer Concerts
We haven’t gone to a concert together in a while and NYC has some pretty cool (and sometimes free!) concerts we’d like to check out. If you’re in NYC and interested, here is a line up of free concerts: NYCGO.com or OhMyRockness.com.

New York City
There are so many things we’ve been meaning to check out in NYC (to revisit or see for the first time!) and whenever summer rolls around, we can’t help but think of them. There’s the Brooklyn Bridge, The Cloisters, museums, picnics in Central Park, walking along the Highline and lots of ice cream places. We have to cross at least two things off this list!

What are YOU hoping to do this summer?

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R & C Summer Playlist

We used to make lots of playlists especially in preparation for our annual roadtrips. We haven’t gone on a trip together in a while but hopefully that will change starting this summer. In preparation, we’d like to share our Summer Playlist! Enjoy!

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1. Circa Waves T-Shirt Weather 9. Meghan Trainor No Good For You
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers The Zephyr Song 10. Bob Marley & The Wailers Is This Love
3. Zak Waters Over You 11.Rixton  We All Want The Same Thing
4. Tori Kelly Nobody Love 12. Demi Lovato Neon Lights
5. Florence + the Machine Ship to Wreck 13. Moije Fais rien
6. Jack U, Skrillex, Diplo, Justin Beiber Where Are U Now 14. Tanto Metro, Devonte Say Wooee
7. Ariana Grande One Last Time 15. MADE IN HEIGHTS Slow Burn
8. Ne-Yo Sexy Love 16. Maroon 5 This Sumer’s Gonna Hurt Like a Motherf****r

To subscribe, you can find our Spotify playlist here! Or just press play below.

We’d love to hear what you’re listening to! What’s on your Summer Playlist?

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