1. Be Better at…Summer.

    Hi lovies,

    It’s officially summa’ y’all! Get your american flag Budweiser bikinis on, make some watermelon mojitos and put some damn music on. What music you ask? 

    Since you asked so nicely, I made you a playlist with my own hands.

    CLICK HERE IDIOT FOR THE SPOTIFY LINK——> You’ve Got Some Sunlight in Your Hair

    Here’s the songlist, just in case you’re worried it won’t be your thing:

    Happy Summer!

    xoxo Chinae

     


  2. Be Better at…Road Trips.

    Last week I embarked on an 8 day road trip with the boyfriend. 8 days, 8 cities. It was quite the undertaking and before we took off, I’ll admit, I was nervous. Boyfriend and I get along swimmingly, so that wasn’t the worry but being trapped in a refrigerator on wheels with one person for hours on end, well…it’s tough for this NYC car-less lady. I think even Mother Teresa and I might have fist-fought before the end of the week, that is, if Mother Teresa took road trips with mediocre bloggers.

    Disclaimer: The trip was awesome.

    There were a couple “raised-voice” moments in the car (like when I was so tired, I ran a red light and Charlie thought we were going to die (btw we were not close to dying)), but overall it went seamlessly. Here are some things I learned on the way to make every road trip, easy as pie.

    -Music vs. Muzak: This is a biggie. No one has the energy to talk for every minute of the trip, so you are gonna need some good tunes to keep happy vibrations alive. Here’s how this worked out on our trip: I’m not discerning enough to only pick super meaningful, emotion inducing music, perfect for the scenario and locale. I would have Wilco followed by the Ting Tings, bookended with Jay-Z and Bob Dylan. The shuffle option is my friend, but I am realizing, that not everyone is that way. My co pilot picked the right music for each scenario (cue Fleet Foxes at high volume played through the curvy roads of the Smokies, so good) but then at specific moments, I jammed that AV converter into my jumbled Spotify account and played loud hip hop through the Atlanta streets in the early morning hours (I may have played Bieber at one point). Let whoever cares the most, pick the music and then they’ll be happy to have you takeover when you are needing to groove a bit. Chances are you aren’t dating someone with horrible musical taste anyway. Also, switch it up with a little variance, we added in a TED talk and a couple This American Life’s to get our brains functioning and to kill some time.

    -Need to Pee: I think my legs were slowly turning to mannequin legs from driving and not walking city streets, so I was a bit more inclined to stop and take bathroom breaks on this trip. If you are going to take a road trip, you can’t be mad when your fellow traveller has to go pee pee. It’s natural and it means you’ve probably had a lot of cocktails or coffee in the last 24 hours, so it’s at least for good reason. Don’t be that person (usually male) that sighs and throws a hissy fit when we have to stop and use the ladies. We don’t need to heavy sighs and the “really? again?”. Look at it this way, you’ll save money later when I don’t have f*cking kidney stones in my old age. Try to sync up on your bathroom time and then you’ll make half as many stops and eat half as many Slim Jims. (note, Charlie was great with my frequent bathroom stops, yay for male patience!)

    -Getting Sidetracked: You both need to be on the same page about wanting to take a more scenic route, or if you want to grind and just get there. OR you can accidentally give your boyfriend sleep-inducing allergy meds that you purchased at the dollar store, and then make frequent stops at boiled peanut stands/creeks/DQ while he doses in and out of a heavy slumber. Be flexible and split it up, some scenic, some grinding…that way, everybody wins!

    -Directionally Challenged: I have learned I kinda suck at directions. I also learned that women and men utilize Google maps in very different ways. For the most part in my study of ladies (because I am the proud owner of girl parts), we typically don’t use things like cardinal directions or mileage. I want to start a Google maps product for women, here’s how it would go:

    • REGULAR VERSION: “Head southeast on 6th Ave N toward Charlotte Ave for 1.5 miles and then merge onto 1-35W”
    • LADIES VERSION: “Keep going the way your car is pointed on 6th Ave toward the Starbucks and then after 2 minutes or so, take a right at the Party Wagon Supply Store and then get on the highway, yes, that highway, right there”
    I was frequently asked…”in how many miles are we going to do that?”. I sat dumbfounded. Do you men have some sort of permanent odometer built into your brain? 

    -Keep Tabs on Your Co-Pilot: One thing we constantly did, that kept us both happy and not wanting to run our car into a swamp? We checked in with each other frequently to make sure we were hanging in there, helped each other out when we could and kept ourselves fed, watered, and caffeinated.  Also, if your co pilot’s face starts to look sullen and glazed over (mine), you might want stop and take a little break with them, pump up the jams, and pacify them with Chex Mix. 

    Happy Roadtripping Y’all,

    Chinae

     


  3. Be Better…at Fall.

    New Playlist Edition:

    It’s that time of year, Fall. 

    You are going to need a new playlist, and here it is folks. Bright, Fun, and Full of Expectation!

    Sorry for the short post today y’all, wisdom tooth is coming on out today and I gotta head to the dentista!

    Download playlist link for Spotify HERE.

    Be Better Y’all.

    X Chinae

     


  4. Be Better…at the Internet.

    Online Music Roundup:

    Most days I feel like my head is going to explode when it comes to music. Overwhelmed is an understatement and something that should be fun as shit has become a nightmare. I want to listen to new music, I don’t want to spend a million bajillion dollars on an album that I’ll end up hating, and I am lazy about hunting for music. Also, I’m the asshole who wants that shizz to sync right up to my best friend, iPhone without me having to digitally Macguyver my way into a rainy day playlist. 

    BUT as of this morning, I think I got myself sorted here people. For the rest of you, who feel a little overwhelmed by the world of iPanodifty…I’ve made a handy dandy guide to the best ways to get your music fix. 

    Spotify

    Pros: Spotify is by far my favorite of the bunch here. A music lover’s dream, Spotify offers a huge selection of music, that you can drag and drop right into fully customizable playlists. It’s free (to a point) and getting an invite is pretty easy. (If you need one, email me at bebetterblogger@gmail.com) Another sick feature of Spotify, and what sets it apart is the share feature. Basically you can make online “mixtapes” (playlists) and send them to other Spotify users for no cost. Feel free to share on FB, Twitter, or in the blogosphere with ease. Spotify offers free service, but it’s limited, so do yourself a favor and pay the 9.99 a month…think of it as Netflix for music. I promise, you won’t be disappointed and you can cancel anytime. The cherry on top is the offline mode feature. Basically (if you are a premium user), Spotify can become your iTunes, and you can even listen to your playlists when you aren’t getting cell reception…i.e. riding the subway just got WAY better. 

    Cons: The free version is limiting, unless you only listen to music at your desk and comes with some jarringly irritating ads. You also aren’t going to be able to listen for an unlimited amount of hours…so if I were you, I’d buck up and pay the 9.99 a month. Another limit of the free service, no offline listening, but you can still sync your playlists to the VERY easy to use mobile app. 

    You should use Spotify if you… are a music lover, are insatiable when it comes to new music, want to listen to full albums, and know what you want to listen to. It’s not great if you want to be fed playlists, or want to have music suggested to you OR if you are wanting to “own” your music, a la, iTunes.

    Pandora:

    Pros: Sometimes it’s nice to turn off your brain and let the computer think FOR you. Pandora’s been around for a while and most of you probably have already used it, and probably still continue to. Pandora makes music simple and pretty much effortless and if you aren’t into seeking out new music, and you want new music to find you, it’s perfect. Pandora also has a mobile app that works pretty seamlessly, just like their site. It’s also nice to have Pandora open in your web client rather than having to download an application on your computer.

    Cons: My main complaint about Pandora, is that if you are a picky music listener, like I tend to be, the Pandora algorithym can be VERY off…here’s how most of my Pandora experiences go:

    ::Enters Fleet Foxes into Pandora::

    (loading…loading…loading)

    1st song: “Oh perfect…Helplesness Blues…I love this song”

    2nd song: “Umm…Coldplay’s Fix You….I guess this song is ok”

    3rd song: “Higher by Creed!!!! WTF (commence furious hitting of the “skip song” button until no more free skips are allowed and headache ensues)

    ::Close Pandora tab::

    The point is, if you want to control what you are listening to, it’s not great. Also, I wonder how deep their library is because I ALWAYS end up listening to some god-forsaken Kings of Leon song for way too many times per session.

    You should use Pandora if you…don’t want to control your playlists, don’t want to search out new music, and if you are ok with ads. Theme stations tend to also be great on Pandora, hello Summer of the 90’s station.

    Grooveshark

    Pros: Free, make your own playlists, and easy to use. Pretty much the older, less agile Spotify that lacks some good features.

    Cons: No sharing playlists, and not as intuitive and robust. 

    You should use Grooveshark if you…somehow didn’t get a Spotify invite yet.

    Turntable.fm

    Pros: If you want chatroulette, IM chat, unlimited music, and a way to kill lots of time at the office, Turntable.fm is for you. The great thing about Turntable.fm is that you can share and create a musical environment with your friends, and sometimes strangers (if you want). I love that you can comment and chat about song choices, give people DJ points for a great song played, and also, give yourself a break from g-chat for a couple hours. They have a pretty deep selection of music and the chat works seamlessly within this web-based music client. Also, who doesn’t love their little avatars? ADORBZ.

    Cons: Not a music listening service for those who want to stand back and just put their music in the background. Also, choose your friends and DJ’s wisely…as it can go awry REAL quick. You are pretty much one bad song choice away from ruining your work vibe. 

    You should use Turntable.fm if you…want to waste copious amounts of time during the work day. And you want an interactive listening experience. 

    Cheers to navigating the information super highway musically together,

    Chinae