things that made me happy in 2015

  

  • Dan, my amazing husband
  • Madison, Frieda, and Harriet, our wonderful pets
  • My fantastic family, my parents, siblings, in-laws, and extended relatives – they’re all extraordinary
  • My excellent friends
  • A challenging and rewarding job
  • Buying our incredible house!! : )
  • Getting to travel for through my job – to places I’ve never been, like San Francisco, and to places I’ve been to but got to discover new parts of, like Washington, D.C., and New York City
  • Podcasts
  • Books  (I met my reading challenge of reading 30 books this year! I’m setting the same goal for next year)
  • Lots of coffee
  • Rehabbing my knee
  • Trips to Columbus, Madison, OH, and Bowling Green
  • Hosting family and friends on trips to Cleveland
  • Indians, Cavs, and Columbus Crew games

  

  • Being diagnosed with celiac disease and starting to feel better
  • Fun nights playing Mario 3D World and Mario Kart
  • Meeting Matthew Dellavedova
  • Easter dinner at my grandma’s house
  • Many walks in the park
  • Trips to the movies with Dan and my dad
  • Getting new glasses and a new haircut
  • Attending showers for friends’ babies and weddings, and celebrating those terrific life changes with them
  • Learning to like running
  • Sitting on our deck
  • Visiting the Cleveland Zoo
  • Board game parties at my sister-in-law Cate’s apartment
  • Suppers at my parents’ house
  • Biking all over
  • Finally getting to visit the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH, with Dan
  • Cooking in our new kitchen
  • Watching football games and English soccer games
  • Decorating our house for the holidays
  • Back to the Future themed Halloween costumes with Back to the Future movie marathon leading up to it
  • Hosting Thanksgiving dinner for our families in our new home
  • A wonderful Christmas weekend with our families and time together approaching the new year : )

  

And of course, hundreds of little moments that bring a smile to your face every day – blaring Adele in the car and singing at the top of my lungs, naps under the electric blanket with my cat laying on my side, laughing with my husband over something silly, brunch after church, playing with my dog. My main focus in 2016 is to flourish – to focus on becoming healthier, growing in my faith, spending time with my family, and just plain enjoying and celebrating life.

What were your favorite moments of 2015? Any goals or hopes for 2016?

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currently

  

  

  • Feeling: very pensive and introspective. optimistic. determined.
  • Eating:  guac + gluten free pretzels. LUNA bars. edamame salad + rice + quinoa.
  • Drinking: Perfect Fit tea – Unwind at night, Awaken for a pick-me-up. Dunkin’ Donuts Caramel Coffee Cake – black, as always. Water.
  • Reading: Still plugging away through Lawerence of Arabia. The Opposite of Loneliness.  The Apple News app.
  • Watching: The last few seasons of Bones. Star Wars 4-6.  Christmas movies. Parks and Recreation, season two.
  • Listening to: Playlists I made in college. Happier podcast. Christmas music. Nothing – just silence.
  • Trying:  To go to bed at 10 at the latest and wake up at 5AM every day. To be better. To not think as much.
  • Wondering: Next steps to take (while not overthinking!). What are the best gifts to get loved ones. When it will finally snow.
  • Hoping: To be present and happy during December. To make 2016 the best year yet. To meet my Goodreads Challenge of reading 30 books this year.
  • Enjoying: Our Christmas decorations, up for the first time in our new home. Walks outside in this crazy-warm Cleveland weather. Turning off the TV and reading. Time with family. BGSU football winning the MAC Championship.

oscars 2015

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My husband and I rarely fight over the TV.  We both enjoy watching sports and most of the same TV shows. We hardly ever want to watch different programs as the same time.

Except for last night.

Last night, I wanted to watch the Academy Awards – from the very beginning, on the red carpet. Dan wanted to watch the Grantland basketball hour with guest Kobe Bryant. This meant for the last half hour of the red carpet and the first half hour of the actual ceremony, our living room was a battleground. I ceded ground during the red carpet, but surged back at 8:30 when the ceremony began. During J.K. Simmon’s acceptance speech, Dan said, “We don’t have to listen to the speeches, though, right?” and switched to Grantland.

Me: “DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT THE OSCARS ARE?”

Dan: “Do you not understand who Kobe is?”

Me: “IT’S THE OSCARS. THIS IS MY THING. I’VE LOVED IT LONGER THAN I’VE LOVED YOU.”

It was a bit dramatic.

Once 9:00 hit and Grantland was over, peace returned to our humble abode and it was all Oscars, all night. My favorite moments of the show were:

  • How adorable Anna Faris and Chris Pratt were on the red carpet with Robin Roberts. Don’t they just seem like a couple who could live next door to you and be your best friends?
  • The opening number. I love anytime Neil Patrick Harris or Anna Kenderick sing, and Jack Black always cracks me up. Plus, I thought all the visual effects were flat-out awesome.
  • NPH in general. He was a great host, with just enough of an edge (“Snowden couldn’t be here for some treason”) mixed with just enough corny (“This Oscar presenter is just so lovely you could eat her up with her spoon”).  I even enjoyed the briefcase bit, though I know not a lot of people did.
  • Quoting Robin Williams in the presentation of Best Supporting Actor, which was a nice homage to the late Oscar winner.
  • NPH introducing Jennifer Aniston and David Oyelowo as a presenting pair by saying, “Both of whom deserve to be here,” a nod to the fact that both gave strong and well-regarded performances in movies this past year but failed to be nominated for an acting award.
  • Idina Menzel and John Travolta presenting Best Song together and joking around about Travolta’s mispronunciation of Menzel’s name last year, plus NPH’s intro and follow-up jokes to their presentation (“Travolta will be back next year to apologize to Idina for all the face touching”).
  • Acceptance speeches: J.K. Simmons’s request that everyone call their parents; Patricia Arquette’s call for equal pay among the sexes (plus Meryl Streep and J. Lo’s reactions); Common andJohn Legend’s eloquence; Graham Moore’s “stay weird, stay different” message; Dana Perry speaking about her son Evan and saying “we need to talk about suicide, out loud”; Eddie Redmayne’s adorable excitement; Julianne Moore being happy to win an Oscar because it could mean an extra five years of life with her younger husband; Michael Keaton saying, “I’m just happy to be here.”
  • The PERFORMANCES. What a year for them! The supreme talent that is Jennifer Hudson giving a beautiful tribute to those who passed away; a pure fun performance of “Everything is Awesome” complete with Lego Oscars; Tim McGraw singing “Not Gonna Miss You,” very gracefully – the lyrics of which were just heartbreaking; Common and John Legend’s incredible performance of “Glory,” with such strong lyrics, Legend’s gorgeous voice, and the crowds of people walking behind them across a replica bridge. AND LADY GAGA HOLY MOLY. She looked so classy, and her pure talent and traditional training shown through. I was so blown away.

What were your favorite moments of the Oscars this year? What winners do you agree and disagree with the most?

things that are making me happy (and thankful)

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  • My amazing husband Daniel. He works so hard every day at his job as a teacher, is fiercely loyal to his family and friends, is ridiculously passionate about sports – both watching and doing,  adores animals as much as I do, and watches all the same TV shows as me (unless they are about crime). He is my best friend and the love of my life.
  • My awesome family. Not only do they give provide me with role models to admire and be inspired by , but I am especially grateful for all the help and support they’ve given me during this first year teaching at a high school with a new school model AND with my knee injury and surgery. I love spending time with them – they are always on my side, they always make me laugh, and they will always watch crime TV shows with me.
  • My kick-ass friends. They put up with all my random, silly, and long text messages, non-stop Snapchats of coffee and pets, my early bedtime, and my weak sarcastic ability. They are hilarious, creative, sweet, caring, fiesty, and fun. I love them to death and can’t imagine how I’d get along without them.
  • My wonderful co-workers. I have been blessed to have truly great colleagues and mentors almost every place I have ever worked, but this year having a staff that supports each other as much as this staff does is absolutely essential. I don’t think any of us would have made it this far, trying to implement his new school model and make positive changes in school culture, without each other. No one “pulls rank,” no one refuses feedback, no one is unwilling or too busy to help anyone else. We are truly a team and I am so grateful.
  • My pets. I don’t have kids, and no, my pets aren’t like my kids. My pets are my pets – they are animals who love unconditionally, harbor no bitterness or ill will toward anyone, and find happiness in all the small moments. They brighten my day and the day of everyone who interacts with them.
  • The “basics” that aren’t really so basic – a place to live with working heat and a sound structure, located in a safe neighborhood. Clean, running water I can get by walking two feet to a faucet. Enough nutritious food to eat and the ability to choose what I want to eat. Shoes, a winter coat, gloves, and hat that are all in good shape. Clothes in general that are in good shape. Safe transportation. Access to the Internet and a computer in my own home. All the things so many of us take for granted on a daily basis.
  • Health care – including vision and dental. I know this is a sore point for some people in this day and age with Obamacare and all, but I can’t imagine not having it. I have maintenance prescriptions I require for health conditions, I get sinus infections a couple times a year, I hate cavities, and you never know when an emergency or a random accident will occur – like tearing your ACL on a trampoline on a school field trip. I am so grateful I have insurance to help my family and I afford the care we need.
  • My college degree and job. My job that is my dream job. It truly feels like every experience I have had, particularly since I was in high school myself, has lead me to this teaching position. A lot of the experiences were challenging, but they all prepared me for where I am right now, which is exactly where I want to be. Not only is my job, despite its intensity, emotionally and intellectually fulfilling, but it is also contributing to my family’s financial security. I am grateful for that because I know how difficult not being in such a positive situation can be.
  • And of course, the random, little things that seem silly to be thankful for but really enrich every day life: COFFEE, funny TV shows, interesting podcasts, good books, really good books,  an evening spent cooking and baking, a hot bath, that thrill you get when you’ve had an extra productive day or when you get an unexpected compliment, a cold beer after a long week at work, finding a coupon for your favorite grocery item, a sunny day, easy traffic on your morning commute, killing it in your workout, catching your new favorite song on the radio, making someone else laugh without expecting to, beating that level of Angry Birds you’ve been stuck on for weeks, a fantastic night of sleep, no line at the gas station or drugstore when you’re in a rush, a clear night sky so you can see the stars, the existence of HGTV, listening to music while driving by yourself in the rain, seeing someone do something nice for someone else for no reason but to be nice or polite, hugs from small children, kisses from dogs, and so, so much more.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

My Life: What’s Up

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What’s New:

  • She’s okay now, but Madison hurt her leg playing two weeks ago. She was crying and couldn’t put any weight on it, so we took her to the ER vet. The vet said she probably partially tore something in her leg, so we’ve made sure she’s been taking it easy, not walking up and down stairs a lot, not jumping on and off furniture, etc. We also found out she has arthritis in both her back legs, so we are looking into the best ways to help her.
  • This season our team hosted an invitational meet that is annually held between the three high schools in the district and local private high school. It hadn’t been held at our school in almost ten years, but we worked really hard and pulled it off! It went well and I’m glad it’s over.
  • This winter has been brutual! Our district used six calamity days in January alone. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up!

What I am…

  • Reading: I just finished reading The American Heiress (review to posted later this week!). I am going to start reading The Friday Night Knitting Club next. I’ve heard good things about it; have you read it?
  • Watching (TV): My favorite shows are The Mindy Project, Community, Bones, and Parks and Recreation. Are you watching the current seasons of any of those shows? I love How I Met Your Mother, too, but I didn’t enjoy the first couple episodes of this season so I wasn’t anxious to keep up, and now I’ve fallen way behind! HIMYM fans, it’s gotten better, right?
  • Watching (Netflix): Dan and I started watching and quickly finished Orange Is the New Black. It’s an awesome show about life in a women’s prison. I can’t wait for season two! We are currently watching Friday Night Lights. We can’t get enough! Does anyone else love that show?
  • Listening to: Pure Heroine by Lorde. The CD has been on repeat in my car ever since Dan got it for me for Christmas. 
  • Doing for fitness: A couple months ago, Dan and I joined a gym just a few minute drive from our apartment. In addition to swimming at the gym’s pool, I also log time on the cardio machine and do Tone It Up! routines. With swim season, I am have only been getting to the gym a couple times a week. I love coaching and will miss it when the season is over, but I am looking forward to having more time to work on my fitness goals!
  • Posting: I have a fitness Twitter account I have shared on this blog before, but I changed my username recently from @getfitgetstrong to @kcdaily_fit. In addition to my personal Instagram @beagleandbear (which I am a bit obsessed with), I have a fitness Instagram @beagleandbear_fit. Feel free to follow me!
  • Loving: Madison is recovering well, the days are getting longer again, curling up on the couch with a big cup of tea and a book, the White Barn Candle’s scent Winter, snacking on pretzel sticks.

What is new with you? 

101 Things in 1,001 Days

With it being New Year’s Day, I, like a lot of society, am excited for a new year and fresh start. I’ve written New Year’s resolutions pretty much every year for as long as I can remember. Recently, in the years 2011, 2012, and 2013, I created and followed what I called the New Year’s All Year Challenge. It went okay for me in 2011, and pretty well for me in 2012, but I did not keep up with in 2013. A lot of changes occurred in my life this past year (like moving out of my parents’ house, getting married, a new job, etc.), and trying to stay focused on multiple goals every month on top of those changes started to feel very overwhelming for me. I eventually let go of them because I tend to be a perfectionist and my lack of progress on them (due to focusing on all the other big events and adjustments going on) was unnecessarily stressing me out. While my 2014 isn’t currently shaping up to have the type of life-changing events 2013, I have decided to forgo doing a 2014 New Year’s All Year Challenge for the similar reasons. I want to achieve my goals in life, but I want to make sure I am doing so in a balanced way that doesn’t put unneeded pressure on myself.  I want to enjoy the journey and make sure I am having fun and spending time with those I love.

I am a longtime fan of Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling, and I recently realized her 101 Things in 1,001 Days project is perfect way for me to approach the next year. Well, really, the next 2.75 years. As she described it, it’s a “happy medium between writing a to do list and keeping a bucket list. It’s a way to dream big and make regular progress toward meeting those longer term goals.” So, I have crafted my own list and will begin my journey today! I look forward to sharing my progress and experiences with everyone. Happy New Year!!! : )

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Start: January 1, 2014

Wellness

  1. Compete in a masters swim meet.
  2. Complete a triathlon.
  3. Meet my goal weight.
  4. Do yoga every day for a month.
  5. Stop biting my nails.
  6. Complete a Bible study.
  7. Try every fitness class offered at my gym.
  8. Take a self-defense class.
  9. Give up swearing for Lent (and see if it lasts after that!).
  10. Complete a plank challenge.
  11. Floss every other day for a month (and see if I can finally maintain the habit).
  12. Go to the eye doctor.
  13. Eat as a vegetarian for a month.
  14. Complete a squat challenge.
  15. Try 20 different workouts from what I have saved from magazines over the years.
  16. Practice meditation/mindfulness every day for a month.

Outings/Travel

  1. Attend a musical I’ve never seen before.
  2. Revisit the major museums in Cleveland (4).
  3. Go to a Blue Jackets game.
  4. Go apple or berry picking.
  5. Attend a live comedy show.
  6. Ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
  7. Eat at five new-to-me restaurants in the Cleveland or Columbus area.
  8. Go on a tour of a brewery.
  9. Attend a professional orchestra concert.
  10. Visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
  11. Go camping.
  12. Visit the Underground Railroad museum in Cincinnati.
  13. Obtain a passport and use it, even if only to travel to Canada (the only other country I have ever been in besides the U.S.).
  14. Visit the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton.
  15. Take Madison to the dog beach.
  16. Visit Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  17. Attend Dinner on the Diamond again.
  18. See a major league baseball game in a stadium I have never been to before.
  19. Go to a BGSU home football game.

Family/Friends

  1. Send Christmas cards to all of our family and friends before the holiday.
  2. Host a book club meeting.
  3. Prepare a meal for my family using an outdoor grill.
  4. Do something extra special for each member of my family.
  5. Host a fancy brunch for my friends.
  6. Mail my closest friends and family cards for each birthday during these 1,001 days.
  7. Throw a party for my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary.

Service/Philanthropy

  1. Donate to PAWS in Madison’s name.
  2. Donate toys to kids in need.
  3. Donate to BGSU.
  4. Complete 25 random acts of kindness.
  5. Donate blankets or coats to those in need.
  6. “Pay it forward” at a coffee shop or at a tollbooth.
  7. Donate books to an organization that distributes them to those who need them or volunteer with a literacy organization.
  8. Complete 40 service hours.
  9. Sponsor an athlete at PSH or donate to scholarships offered through PCSD.

Hobbies

  1. Read 75 books I have never read before.
  2. Bake a pie from scratch.
  3. Make a pizza (dough and sauce) from scratch.
  4. Complete compiling and order a full wedding album.
  5. See a classic movie in a movie theater.
  6. Knit a scarf.
  7. Make 15 recipes out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
  8. Be inspired by Pinterest 10 times to either create/bake/cook something or utilize a cleaning/organization tip.
  9. Back up all my photos.
  10. Make a T-shirt quilt.
  11. Watch 10 Best Picture winning films I haven’t see before.
  12. Back up all my music.
  13. Create Snapfish or Shutterfly albums for each year since high school.
  14. Bake 12 different recipes of cookies and cut each recipe into an unique shape using our Year Of Cookies cookie cutters we were gifted for our wedding.
  15. Spend at least two months blogging consistently (five days a week).
  16. Watch Gone With the Wind again.
  17. Organize all my workout and recipe clippings from magazines into navigable binders/digital files.

Career

  1. Start a history podcast and publish at least three episodes.
  2. Organize all my previously written swim practices and planning into navigable binders/digital files.
  3. Obtain a full-time classroom position and/or begin earning my masters degree.
  4. Learn all of the world’s capital cities and the names and locations of major rivers, mountains, etc.
  5. Develop my Honors Project (from college) into a full book.
  6. Organize all my lesson plans and resources into navigable binders/digital files.
  7. Find a way to combine my loves of social media and the field of education into something that serves a resource and/or community for either teachers or students.
  8. Truly study (not just skim/index through) all the swimming books I own and organize my notes on them into navigable binders/digital files.

Things That Scare Me

  1. Sing karaoke
  2. Buy a bikini and wear it in public.
  3. Get another tattoo.

Finances

  1. Pay off the Honda Civic Dan and I purchased in March 2013 ahead of schedule.
  2. Save at least $5,000.
  3. Create a solid budget and begin cultivating spending/saving tracking habits by following it successfully for at least two months.
  4. Finish changing name on all accounts/relevant records.
  5. Write a will and a living will.

Home

  1. Buy big plastic bins and use them to organize the storage space/seasonal decorations.
  2. Set up a home office.
  3. Create and implement a rotating cleaning schedule and follow it for at least two months straight.
  4. Do an intake of my belongings, donate or toss what I don’t need, and organize what I am keeping.
  5. Find a more effective system for receiving mail, disposing of it/filing it, and responding to it.
  6. Style our bedroom.
  7. Style our living room.
  8. Buy an actual address book and use it.
  9. Clean my car and keep it tidy for at least two months.

Fashion/Beauty

  1. Find a skincare regimen that works for me and follow it for at least 30 days.
  2. Buy a grown up watch, and wear it regularly.
  3. Learn 5 new ways to style my hair.
  4. Get a pedicure.
  5. Find the perfect little black dress.
  6. Get grown-up luggage and use it (instead of using my backpack from high school!).
  7. Find my “signature scent.”
  8. Purchase a monogrammed bracelet or necklace.

 End date: September 27, 2016    

 

Image source

weekly gems

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Photo above: sunset over the Target parking lot. Beauty in the simplest of places!

My Life: What’s Up

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What’s New:

  • Daniel and I were married in a small, beautiful and perfect ceremony on July 20th, 2013, and then celebrated with an intimate formal reception. I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • We went on a mini-moon around Ohio during which we attended minor league baseball games, shopped, went to the movies, ate a lot of delicious food, and visited our alma mater.
  • We had an amazing picnic reception with our extended family and friends on July 27th. Again, I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • Back to work and everyday life as newlyweds and we’re loving it!

What I am…

  • Reading: City Girl, Country Vet by Cathy Woodman (not my favorite so far but still enjoying it!) and Truman by David McCullough (loving this, just soooo long!)
  • Watching (TV): Dan & I binge-watched Community earlier this summer and loved it! Now I’m catching up on last season of Parks & Recreation.
  • Watching (movie): On our minimoon, Dan and I saw Pacific Rim, World War Z, and Despicable Me 2. Pacific Rim was all-around entertaining (loved the music!), World War Z totally freaked me out but was awesome, and while I did not enjoy Despicable Me 2 as much as the original, it was cute and funny.
  • Listening to: The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles (beautiful and chill but boosts my mood), The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake (JT can do no wrong), and Pioneer by The Band Perry (my favorite new music purchase of the year!)
  • Doing for fitness: I recently officially became a Tone It Up! member. I had been following the community along from a distance for awhile, and finally decided to take the plunge. After the wedding, things slowed down tremendously and I feel so much more settled and content. I began walking 2-4 miles everyday and eating less processed foods in smaller portions. My anxiety has been much easier to manage and I’ve felt much more positive. Tone It Up! (TIU) is all about eating clean and exercising regularly, so it just felt right for me at this time. I’ll keep you updated on my journey! Loving it so far!
  • Posting: I have a fitness Twitter account I have shared on this blog before, but I changed my username recently from @getfitgetstrong to @kcdaily_fit. In addition to my personal Instagram @beagleandbear (which I am a bit obsessed with), I created a fitness Instagram @beagleandbear_fit for my TIU check-ins and to connect with the TIU community more. Feel free to follow me!
  • Loving: my new running shoes and feeling better running than in the past, the last few weeks of relaxing summer, longs walks with Madison and listening to my favorite podcast, cooking different rice bowl variations, the Cleveland Indians (despite their recent – now broken – losing streak), the approach of a fresh school year, and new pieces of furniture and decor here and there that are making our apartment truly look and feel like home.

What is new with you? 

things that are making me happy

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  • The photo above, which is my church’s weekly bulletin, because it shows the church’s weekly schedule for this week includes Dan and I’s wedding!!!!
  • Baseall
  • A good book
  • Funfetti cake
  • Naps
  • Singing loudly while driving my car
  • Early Sunday Starbucks treat
  • Visits with and calls from great friends
  • Finding a hilarious new favorite TV show
  • Sunshine and cool breezes
  • A clean house
  • A happy Madison

What is making you happy as of late?

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 14

For the month of March, I am participating in Fabulous Finds by Tiffany’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. Today’s prompt: What’s on your iPod? 

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There is a lot on my iPod. I listen to several different genres of music. I make playlists and then listen to them ad nausem. I get on kicks where all I listen to is a particular album. Still, there are certain songs I listen to more than others, mainly for comfort or because I am pretending to perform. It also summarizes the type of music I enjoy most pretty decently, though of course some things are missing. These are the top 25 most played songs on my iPod:

  1. Vienna – Billy Joel
  2. Feels Like Home – Chantal Kreviazuk
  3. Desperado – The Eagles
  4. Bless the Broken Road (acoustic) – Rascal Flatts
  5. Let It Be – The Beatles
  6. Heartache Tonight – The Eagles
  7. Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ – Journey
  8. The Boys of Summer – The Ataris
  9. To Make You Feel My Love – Billy Joel
  10. Brand New Day – Joshua Radin
  11. Good and Broken – Miley Cyrus
  12. Hotel California – The Eagles
  13. Hold On – Michael Buble
  14. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) – Mamma Mia! movie soundtrack
  15. Up Around the Bend – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  16. The Climb – Miley Cyrus
  17. Iris – The Goo Goo Dolls
  18. Only the Good Die Young – Billy Joel
  19. Livin’ On a Prayer – Bon Jovi
  20. Weeping – Josh Groban
  21. The River of Dreams /Keeping the Faith/Only the Good Die Young – Movin’ Out soundtrack
  22. Lost – Michael Buble
  23. Summer, Highland Falls – Movin’ Out soundtrack
  24. Come Pick Me Up – Ryan Adams
  25. Hallelujah – Rufus Wainwright

 What songs are in your top 25 most played?