What to Buy With All That Money You Got for Christmas

things to buy yourself edit

Everyone made gift guides for you to figure out what to buy others, but what about the gift guide to figure out what to buy yourself?

It’s nice to have a few people give you money so you can determine your own gift-giving destiny. It’s much easier to get stuck with a whole bunch of cash and gift cards than a pile of unwanted gifts.

Here are a few suggestions as to what you should treat yourself with this Christmas.

what to buy for christmas

1. Lush Bath Bombs, $6.25/each$72.95/set, Lush USA.
It’s been a long year. Go take a relaxing bath with one of these glorious bath bombs from Lush Cosmetics.

2. Portable Charger Stick, $18.39, Focus Camera.
Make this the year you don’t run out of phone battery.

3. Nutribullet, $89.99, Macy’s.
Start the year healthy with the infamous Nutribullet. Marcus Butler and Niomi will show you how…

(Cheaper Alternative: Magic Bullet, $49.99, Macy’s)

4. Headphone Hoodie, $19.99, Rakuten.
Jam out to your favorite tunes in your favorite hoodie!

5. Dancing Water Speakers, $29.99, Boscovs.
Who’s got the better moves, you or the water speakers?

6. Spotify Premium, $0.99/3 months,* Spotify.
What better way to use items 4 and 5 than with Spotify Premium! I just got the three month deal, which expires on New Year’s Eve,* and I love it! Take your music underground, and listen without shuffle!

7. Tablet Pillow Holder, $19.88, Walmart.
Quit straining your neck. Get a tablet pillow.

Whatever you decide to buy, I hope you enjoy it! Happy Holidays!

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Taylor Swift Pulls Music from Spotify

Looks like some of us Spotify users will never get to hear 1989.

Taylor Swift made the decision to boycott Spotify, pulling every single song from her artist profile except Hunger Games track “Safe and Sound.”

Spotify issued a statement after the singer’s harsh move, saying,

We hope she’ll change her mind and join us in building a new music economy that works for everyone. We believe fans should be able to listen to music wherever and whenever they want, and that artists have an absolute right to be paid for their work and protected from piracy. That’s why we pay nearly 70% of our revenue back to the music community.

PS – Taylor, we were both young when we first saw you, but now there’s more than 40 million of us who want you to stay, stay, stay. It’s a love story, baby, just say, Yes.

Too bad we’ll never hear the song that lyric is from.

Taylor Swift's Spotify

According to TIME, “Artists earn on average less than one cent per play, between $0.006 and $0.0084 to be exact.” It’s no wonder Swift took her music off the app.

As an avid Spotify user, I demand that artists be paid more per play. Spotify has many advertisers and premium users, and they should be able to pay artists their fare share.

As Swift said,

Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.

I hope Spotify will once again host Swift’s rare music gems sometime in the near future.

This Week in Music: Mike Tompkins’ “Shake the Ground”

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 was a big day for Mike Tompkins.

Why?Shake the Ground

The genius of a musician released his first original single.

ORIGINAL.

NOT A COVER.

For those of you who have yet to meet the Canadian YouTube phenom, I’ll show you what this guy is about:

Yeah. His voice is his instrument. Literally.

He does covers like this regularly. Most of the songs he remixes with his mouth are of the pop genre, including Demi Lovato, Rihanna, and even Owl City.

You can imagine how excited his fans were when they learned of his original single.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to song beats, since he can rely on his own instrumentation. So would he choose a ballad or something fast paced? Heavy base or loud snare? Vocals or instrumental?

I was itching to know. So I went onto Spotify and listened.

And I loved it.

At first I was kind of disappointed. I stared at my computer thinking, no, Mike Tompkins can do way more than just a chorus of “Oh”s and a steady snare.

And then the beat dropped.

He went electronic on us.

Holy crap, that was unexpected!

“Shake the Ground” is a song about what it feels like to be in the party scene, or even on stage, where the flashing lights transform you.

He sings, “Somehow I feel born again tonight.” The feeling of bursting out of your own skin to show the world who you really are shines through in the lyrics of this song.

This song should definitely be on your next party playlist.

“Shake the Ground” probably describes exactly how Mike Tompkins felt when he performed his original song at Playlist Live.

The lyric video features scenes from his performance at Playlist 2013. No word of an official video yet.

Have a listen here. I dare you to challenge his Skrillex-like capabilities!

Album Review: Tegan and Sara’s ‘Heartthrob’

I first heard Tegan and Sara sing one day while shopping at a shoe store in Kings Plaza Mall. “Feel it in My Bones” came on, and I immediately dug my phone out of my purse to Shazam it. The girls teamed up with Tiesto for the Dance number. I feel in love with the song instantly.

However, I didn’t bother to do any research on the girls since the song was under Tiesto’s name. Come Friday night I find out that they’ve just released a new album on January 29th, and they’ve released seven other albums since 2004. Excuse me for a moment, but I have some music I’ve got to catch up on!

heartthrob

Tegan and Sara are 30 year old twins from Vancouver, Canada. They began playing the piano at age eight, exposing them to a world of music. They’ve collaborated with various artists, including Tiesto and Margaret Cho. Spotify labels them as a folk-rock duo, but their new album Heartthrob has an 80s feel to it. What I like about these girls is that they don’t beat around the bush with their lyrics—they sing it like it is, and that gives them spunk. Here’s a bit about the track listing:

1. “Closer”: Track number one is the album’s first single. The song is very dance-pop sounding, and the way they sing the word “closer” is sure to turn you on. The song is about turning an innocent love into something physical. The video for “Closer” features the twins at a house party with friends having a blast. Be prepared to see some serious makeout sessions and indoor camping scenes!

2. “Goodbye”: Track two is my absolute favorite off of the album. The lyrics of this song are so profound. The chorus goes,

You never really knew me, never ever
Never ever saw me, saw me like they did
You never really loved me, never really
Never really loved me, loved me like they did

Talk about a serious breakup! The girls sing this song with perfect harmony, adding to the melancholy of the lyrics.

3. “I Was a Fool”: This song is more of a ballad. It talks about being a fool for love. Who hasn’t? Many of us can relate to the feelings that this song brings, the sitting by the phone, staring at his Facebook profile page, waiting for him to call or message you. That feeling of hoping that it’ll last when deep down inside you know its over.

4. “I’m Not Your Hero”: On this track the girls sing about men who have had high expectations of them in a relationship. They leave the constant reminder that they aren’t heroines, but they’re definitely strong, brave women that cannot be taken advantage.

5. “Drove Me Wild”: The title says it all! Who doesn’t love a song about how a significant other makes them feel? No one? Thought so! The first few lines of the song are so sweet,

When I think of you I think of your skin, golden brown from the sun
Your arms outstretched, your hair cut shorter than it’d been
But still blowing in the wind

Whoever this song is about, he must be very special. Tegan and Sara paint the picture of a person so intriguing that it seems as though just watching them walk is the best thing since sliced bread!

6. “How Come You Don’t Want Me”: This song mulls over the painful realizations of a significant other losing interest. Tegan and Sara ask the million dollar question: “How come you don’t want me now?” Sometimes, the saddest part is that they don’t even have an answer.

7. “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend”: You know that one person that you see as more than a friend, but they don’t see you the same? Sometimes its kind of difficult to stay friends with that person afterwards. That’s exactly what this song is about. Even if you try again, you just can’t be friends.

8. “Love They Say”: This is my second favorite off the album. It oozes sappy romance, and I love it! The twins sing about how love is said to fix everything. The line “there’s nothing love can’t do” resonates with the listener long after the song is over.

9. “Now I’m All Messed Up”: Messed up indeed! This song touches on the subjects of one-night-stands, leading someone on, and mixed signals. Definitely one of those songs you would see in a movie scene where the girl is curled up on the couch crying while eating all the chocolate she could find at the corner store.

10. “Shock to Your System”: Last but not least, this track is about realizing one’s solitude. It’s like a shock to the system that “knocks your heart right out of sync”. Pretty deep, I’d say.

I hope these song descriptions made you curious about Heartthrob. Tegan and Sara do a great job of sticking to the theme of “heartthrob”. Some of these songs should definitely be added to your break up song playlist. So head over to iTunes and download the album!
What’s your favorite track off Heartthrob?