Dia de los Muertos | A Paloma and a Playlist


The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated over the course of several days. It begins on October 31st and ends on November 2nd. During this time friends and family gather to remember and celebrate their deceased loved ones. Below I share a little of how I’ll be celebrating this year and share a recipe for a Paloma and a playlist for the occasion.  


I’ve been on my own personal journey recently around my relationship with death and after a viewing of the movie “Coco” earlier this year, it dawned on me that I could change that dynamic by trying a different approach. What’s absolutely beautiful about this holiday is that it’s not based in fear or scary Halloween-related visuals. Sure, there are skeletons involved, but really it’s about the lives that the deceased lived and a celebration of things they loved.


There are lots of great articles and videos out there that go into detail about the Aztec Ritual & Catholic tradition around All Saints Day that fused into modern manifestations of this holiday so I won’t get into too much of that here (highly recommend a good Google search, but this overview by Nat Geo is a good place to get started) but what I want to focus on are just a couple of ways that I plan on embracing the holiday in my own life this year.


As someone who has always had an aversion to skulls, I’m not going with full-blown skeletons around the house (except my fake longhorn pictured above) but I am going to prepare a celebratory feast, listen to some beautiful music from Mexico, and have a wonderful tequila-based cocktail that is famous throughout the country, the Paloma. Beneath my papel picado (the paper flags you often see throughout Mexico) I have a marigold plant surrounded by candles. This is where I will be placing my thoughts of love, gratitude, and appreciation for those that have gone before me. They say the dead are always with us and in my past, I think that idea used to just scare me. All representations we have about ghosts, the afterlife, and the idea of past lives are typically unpleasant. This re-framing of of an afterlife where we, the living, still get to connect with them in a special way on a regular basis is very comforting and beautiful to me. So if you’re feeling like you’d like to take a moment to remember your loved ones, consider taking some time between Oct 31st and Nov 2nd to enjoy some things they used to and celebrate their impact on your life. Cheers friends. May this feel as peaceful to you as it has been for me.


This is one of my favorite cocktails. It’s tangy and bright and it can be adjusted so easily to give it all sorts of new tastes. While commonly made with a grapefruit-flavored soda like Jarritos or Fresca, I opted for actual grapefruit juice. If you really want to mix it up, consider options like muddling in cilantro for herbaceousness, or jalapenos for heat, or a spicy salted rim for some spice. I’m a very make it up as you go kind of gal, but loosely:

In a salted rim glass add:

1.5 oz of tequila

.5 oz of lime juice

Then add ice and pour in grapefruit juice + soda to taste (and a smidge of simple syrup of you’d like it sweeter)

Spotfiy Playlist - Dia de los Muertos

This mix is a blend of sounds from Mexico during the 1940s-1960s (with a shout out to “Coco” at the end). These tunes are reflective of some personal favorites: beautiful percussion, swinging brass, and guitars that sing. One of the most interesting (and again, very research worthy) things I discovered upon trying to identify a specific genre or style to feature is that there is so much blending brought by travelers and immigrants from neighboring nations. It creates an incredible fusion musically that I really wish I knew more about and now I’m intrigued to learn more. This Wiki entry should get your rolling while you take a listen.  I hope you enjoy it.


Valentine's Playlist

Valentines Day

Whether you're celebrating galentines, taking a moment for self-care, a night with your sweetie, or raging because this holiday is made up and you're over deciphering code to understand a text...I've got a little mix for your mood. February is a challenging month. Many of us are still knee-deep in snow and there's no spring in sight but what's actually kind of cool about Valentine's Day is that you can twist it around to mean anything you want (plus, there's so much good candy). Sure, it's for lovebirds, but it can also be a wonderful time for a little acknowledgment of your own awesome. Maybe it's a day to just love yourself for who you are, or a day to say, hey friend or family member - you're the best and I appreciate you. It can even be a day to just snuggle with your pet a little more than usual and maybe give them a special treat just for bringing you so much joy in your life. No matter how you spend the day, I hope you give yourself a little hug and that these tunes give you a soundtrack to feel whatever you need.

Be My Valentine

  1. Vivrant Thing - Q-Tip
  2. Crazy in Love - Beyoncé
  3. Finesse (remix) - Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B
  4. Want to Want Me - Jason Derulo
  5. You Want This - Janet Jackson
  6. Some Kinda Wonderful - Betty Who
  7. Into You - Ariana Grande
  8. On My Mind - Ellie Goulding
  9. Hang With Me - Robyn
  10. My Type - Saint Motel
  11. Let Me Take You Out - Class Actress
  12. Feels - Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Big Sean
  13. Get it Together - Drake, Black Coffee, Jorja Smith
  14. I Feel it Coming - The Weeknd, Daft Punk
  15. Company - Justin Bieber
  16. Girl Like You - Toro y Moi
  17. P.D.A (We Just Don't Care) - John Legend
  18. Let's Take a Walk - Raphael Saadiq
Valentines Mix

Me, Myself, & I

  1. Me, Myself, & I - G-Eazy, Bebe Rexha
  2. Me & The Rhythm - Selena Gomez
  3. Magic (feat. Rivers Cuomo) - B.o.B
  4. My House - Flo Rida
  5. The Greatest - Sia, Kendrick Lamar
  6. Tightrope (feat. Big Boi) - Janelle Monae
  7. Rollin' With My Homies - Coolio
  8. Me, Myself, & I - De La Soul
  9. Do My Thing (feat. Janelle Monae) - Estelle
  10. Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple
  11. Roar - Katy Perry
  12. Pumpin Blood - NONONO
  13. Parking Lot - Nelly Furtado
  14. Groove is in the Heart - Deee-Lite
  15. Me, Myself, and I - Beyoncé
Valentines Playlist


  1. Promises, Promises - Naked Eyes
  2. I Can Change - LCD Soundsystem
  3. Issues - Julia Michaels
  4. You Oughta Know - Alanis Morissette
  5. Rumour Has It - Adele
  6. Breakin' Dishes - Rihanna
  7. Get Him Back - Fiona Apple
  8. Always Alright - Alabama Shakes
  9. Trouble - Iggy Azalea, Jennifer Hudson
  10. Night Drive - Ari Lennox
  11. Toxic - Melanie Martinez
  12. Same Old Love - Selena Gomez
  13. Send My Love (To Your New Lover) - Adele
  14. Precious - Kevin Garrett
  15. Almost is Never Enough - Ariana Grande, Nathan Sykes
  16. One More Try - George Michael
  17. Don't Speak - No Doubt
  18. Don't Dream It's Over - LOLO

New Year's Eve Playlists

New Years Eve Playlist

We've all been there party animals, New Years can be super pressure-filled or absolutely delightful and there's really no way to predict it. Thankfully we can always control what we listen to and who we choose to surround ourselves with as we ring in a new year and that alone is a good start. So here are a couple mixes to set the mood regardless of who you might be smooching at the end of the night, if you're in your pjs or fancy sparkles, or if you even make it to midnight at all.  Here's to a beautiful new year full of love, support, strength, and good energy my friends. Cheers!

Jazzy New Year

  1. Knock Me a Kiss - Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five
  2. Oh, You Crazy Moon - Frank Sinatra
  3. Hallelujah, I Love Him So - Ella Fitzgerald & Ray Charles
  4. Deed I Do - Ray Charles
  5. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) - Rosemary Clooney & Duke Ellington
  6. C'est Magnifique - Kay Starr
  7. What a Little Moonlight Can Do - Billie Holiday & Teddy Wilson
  8. You Go To My Head (live) - Rufus Wainwright
  9. I've Got You Under My Skin - Frank Sinatra
  10. My Baby Just Cares for Me - Nina Simone
  11. All About That Bass - Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox & Kate Davis
  12. Don't Stop the Music - Jamie Cullum
  13. Somethin' Stupid - Robbie Williams
  14. The Way You Look Tonight - Michael Bublé
  15. It Had to Be You - Ray Charles
  16. Love is Here to Stay - Harry Connick, Jr.
  17. Freddie Freeloader - Miles Davis
New Years Eve Playlist

Happy New Year

  1. i - Kendrick Lamar
  2. 24K Magic - Bruno Mars
  3. Feel It Still - Portugal. The Man
  4. DARE - Gorillaz & Shaun Ryder
  5. Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke, T.I. Pharrell Williams
  6. Take Back the Night - Justin Timberlake
  7. Despacito (remix) - Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Bieber
  8. Havana - Camila Cabello & Young Thug
  9. Feels - Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry
  10. Rehab (remix) - Amy Winehouse & JAY Z
  11. All Night (feat. Knox Fortune) - Chance the Rapper
  12. For U (feat. Charli XCX) - Miike Snow
  13. Shutterbug - Big Boi & Cutty
  14. Lose Yourself to Dance - Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams
  15. I Feel it Coming - The Weeknd & Daft Punk 
  16. Provider - Frank Ocean

Holiday Playlists

Cranberry Campari Holiday Cocktail Playlist

Ok ok, so you've heard Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" a few too many times and if you're like me, and you once worked in retail, music during this time of year can actually cause you to break out into hives.  Not to mention the stress of it all...awkward work parties, travel woes, family drama, and oi vey getting things crossed off of your damn to do list.  Flip side though, I freaking love the holiday season.  I love the crisp air, the smell of cocoa, baking, the coziness, and the magic of chilly winter nights full of shimmery things that twinkle. So how do you deal with all the highs and lows? I've got a bunch of musical feelings so in my case, I make playlists...a lot of them, with some of my favorite songs (over and over b/c well they're that good).  So here's one for every occasion (and yes, Mariah makes an appearance) to help get you and your family through the ups and downs of this merry little time in one piece. And now we weekend! -->  

A Very Retro Christmas

  1. White Christmas - The Drifters
  2. Winter Wonderland - Darlene Love
  3. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - The Crystals
  4. Sleigh Ride - The Ronettes
  5. Run Rudolph Run - Chuck Berry
  6. Santa Claus is Coming to Town - The Crystals
  7. Merry Christmas Baby - Otis Redding
  8. White Christmas - Darlene Love
  9. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
  10. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Lou Rawls
  11. What Christmas Means to Me - Stevie Wonder
  12. Santa Claus is Coming to Town - The Jackson 5
  13. This Christmas - Donny Hathaway
  14. White Christmas - Otis Redding
  15. Someday at Christmas - Stevie Wonder
  16. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - The Jackson 5
Holiday Snow Day Playlist

Holiday Cocktails

  1. I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm - Kay Starr
  2. Sleigh Ride - Ella Fitzgerald
  3. Winter Wonderland - Peggy Lee
  4. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! - Frank Sinatra
  5. Christmas Night in Harlem - Louis Armstrong
  6. (Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With the Bag - Kay Starr
  7. Shake Hands With Santa Claus - Louis Prima
  8. White Christmas - Ella Fitzgerald
  9. I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm - Rosemary Clooney
  10. Zat You Santa Claus - Louis Armstrong
  11. Winter Weather - Peggy Lee
  12. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Ella Fitzgerald
  13. The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
  14. Christmas in New Orleans - Louis Armstrong
  15. The Christmas Waltz - Frank Sinatra
  16. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Ella Fitzgerald
  17. Cool Yule - Louis Armstrong
  18. Snow - Rosemary Clooney
  19. Winter Wonderland - Ella Fitzgerald
  20. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra
  21. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! - Lena Horne
  22. I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm - Billie Holiday
  23. The Christmas Song - Ella Fitzgerald
Holiday Playlist Fa la la la la

A Jazzy Bluesy Holiday

  1. It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Harry Connick, Jr.
  2. All I Want for Christmas is You - Michael Bublé
  3. Merry Christmas Baby - Lou Rawls
  4. All I Ask for Christmas - Mighty Blue Kings
  5. Let is Snow - Jamie Cullum
  6. Sleigh Ride - Harry Connick, Jr. 
  7. Christmas Celebration - B.B. King
  8. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Mel Tormé
  9. The Christmas Song - Vince Guaraldi Trio
  10. Do You Hear What I Hear - Pink Martini
  11. What Child is This - Lauren Daigle
  12. Winter Wonderland - Harry Connick, Jr.
  13. O Tannenbaum - Vince Guaraldi Trio
  14. White Christmas, Part 1 - Pink Martini
  15. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Michael Bublé
  16. Christmas Medley - Mel Tormé
  17. Winter Wonderland - Tony Bennett
  18. Christmas Is - Lou Rawls
  19. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Harry Connick, Jr.
  20. Show Me the Magic - Jamie Cullum
  21. It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Michael Bublé
  22. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! - Harry Connick, Jr.
  23. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Lou Rawls
  24. Santa's Blues - Charles Brown
  25. Here Comes Santa Claus - Ramsey Lewis Trio
  26. (It Must've Been Ol') Santa Claus - Harry Connick, Jr.
  27. Auld Lang Syne - Pink Martini
Pine Tree Christmas Playlist

Merry Merry

  1. The Christmas Song - Aloe Blacc
  2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - She & Him
  3. Mele Kalikimaka - Kacey Musgraves
  4. Frosty the Snowman - Fiona Apple
  5. All Alone on Christmas - Darlene Love
  6. Winter Wonderland - Leona Lewis
  7. (Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With the Bag (Thunderball Mix) - Kay Starr
  8. 'Zat You, Santa Claus (The Heavy Remix) - Louis Armstrong
  9. Santa Claus is Comin' To Town (Q-Burns Abstract Message Remix) - The Pied Pipers
  10. All I Want for Christmas is You - Mariah Carey
  11. Last Christmas - Wham!
  12. Christmas Don't Be Late - Kacey Musgraves
  13. The Christmas Waltz - She & Him
  14. Mistletoe - Colbie Caillat
  15. Step Into Christmas - Elton John
  16. I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (Stuhr Remix) - Kay Starr
  17. Feliz Navidad - Kacey Musgraves
  18. Last Christmas - Bossa Nova Orchestra
  19. Mele Kalikimaka - She & Him
  20. Present Without a Bow - Kacey Musgraves

Halloween Playlist


Snickers or KitKat? Butterfinger or Candy Corn? I was obsessed with candy when I was younger (pictured below as that little court jester). Now that I’m older, not much has changed if we’re being honest however, now there’s slightly more grownup tastes in music. There's something about a moody mix around Halloween to just put you in the perfect state of mind for cider and candy and helloooo movie-watching while all those trick-or-treat muffins pop by your door. So here’s a Halloween Spotify playlist to set the mood while you get in costume and prepare the spooky punch. The mix is a little bit dark & moody and mostly sits in a minor key.  It makes you soak up the energy of those changing fall colors, crispy fallen leaves, smoky fireplaces, and the crisp air. The songs celebrate the creepy and weird and make you ponder some spellwork. It's a mix with 80s & 90s classics and dips in and out of indie & pop then finishes with some retro rhythms and stylings. Light a candle for added effect.  Have a happy and safe Halloween all!