#MusicMuses: @HotChelleRae is back with a SWEET new EP Tangerine

Most people who listen to music would tell you they listen to it for various reasons. Some to dance, some to sing along, and like me, some to inspire you to write or to feel.

When I put on my headphones, I tune in to the music and away from the world. Music becomes a transportation device. I instantly go to a memory, a feeling, or in some cases, it makes me think of certain people.

There has been no band,in my opinion, like Hot Chelle Rae. They sing songs that actually lift me up and make my day, and they make me feel okay like no one else’s music does. I want to believe it’s because all three members of the band have a perfect balance of empathy and compassion for what it means to be human and insanely good writing skills.

So when they announced they were coming back after a 9 year hiatus, I felt like the world was right again. When they left music, there was a gaping void for me. Sure, I just listened to Lovesick Electric and Whatever on repeat but I didn’t want to believe they were over.

I supported the boys solo work because it was equally as good but still I longed for the day I could say to anyone who would care, “Hey, have you heard the new Hot Chelle Rae?”

And honestly, as someone who has been to two headlining shows featuring Hot Chelle Rae, I can say they also put on an amazing live show. They interact with their fans both at the show and regularly on social media and I mean, who even does that anymore?

It’s this personal feel. This friend group. This “we are still three boys from Nashville” vibes they give off in everything they do that makes you not only feel like a fan but you have 3 talented friends.

I have been a Beautiful Freak since 2011. I saw them perform on the AMAs and I literally stopped what I was doing to pay attention. And it’s this commanding sound and magnetism that steals your heart in the best way.

Their EP is nothing short of a blessed fruit found in a desolate wasteland or more currently, the last roll of toilet paper during a global health crisis. It’s just what you were looking for, and you don’t know why but you needed it.

Song by Song Review

pablo - 2019-11-10T123851.026

I Hate LA: Hot Chelle Rae’s first single since 2014, it’s a contemporary alt-rock meets pop break-up song with a Hot Chelle Rae twist. Hurray for their return to music (personally, no other band’s music gives me purpose) and their unique lyrical storytelling. Unlike their previous music, it has a more mature sound in terms of songwriting and musicality.

I mean what other band has used “Zack Galifianakis” in a song so smoothly.

This review originally appeared in a previous post.


Tangerine:After taking a hiatus Hot Chelle Rae returns with a sweet new song with a tangy twist. With their signature catchy melody and vocal performance, but with  a sound that reminded me of Maroon 5, I am into this new sound from the American rock band. Maybe it’s not necessarily a new sound but a maturing to my ears as well as the perspective of these three musicians. Either way, one could say this new song is on repeat. Why? It’s all the color I need.

This review originally first appeared on Instagram.

Honestly I just need you to stay

Stay by Hot Chelle Rae: The third single off the forthcoming Tangerine EP about the loneliness and needing someone to fill the void you feel. It’s got an EDM pop musicality while lead singer Follese’s vocals emote every ounce of how much he needs to not be alone.

Review previously appeared in this post

No matter how broke I get, no way Jose I’m still buying that good tequila

Tomorrow Me by Hot Chelle Rae: OMG, sorry not sorry that I love this band so much.

Straight after the COV-19 outbreak and pandemic, and deep into the beginning of our science fiction level quarentine in real life, it’s a great track to be released about going all in and letting the mistakes and the problems of the night and all the “sins and debauchery” be something that this person can handle after the hangover subsides the following day. The minor piano chords in the musicality hint at the subtle regret of the speaker’s lack of remorse in the moment. I haven’t stopped listening since it came out last Friday. It’s just that good, and will also be featured on the forthcoming Tangerine EP.

It’s a party anthem and a “I Like It Like That” for 2020.

Previously reviewed in this post

A New Year, a new you, a new sceneYou act like you never knew meThings wrote I wish I could unsend'Cause you leave 'em on read

Too Much: The song that makes the EP oh so sweet. Sentimental and soft musicality echoes the broken heart of the moment when you love someone too much which is what this song is all about but it has the signature sound of a Hot Chelle Rae hit and definitely hit me hard when it was released as it echoed emotions I had but couldn’t express until this song put them into perfect poetic portion as I had been feeling this way toward someone who didn’t feel the same.

download (1)

You can pick up the EP that costs the same as a literal bag of tangerines ($4.95) wherever you stream/purchase music.

Also make sure to follow them on TikTok because you will laugh your ass off at every video they upload. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, they are my favorite user on the platform.




#SmartCookiePR: Oscar Redden IV Featured Guest on Be A Force Podcast

For Immediate Release


April 27, 2020


Chelsea DeVries 




Albert The Albatross Taking Flight In Quarantine


Debut Children’s Author Appearing on Be A Force Podcast Hosted by Melissa Lopez


  Oscar will be sharing an inspiring and encouraging message with all listeners of the Be A Force Podcast. His episode will be recorded on May 2, 2020 and will be available soon after. Be A Force is hosted by CBS Radio host Melissa Lopez and is presented by BSquared Mgmt. A podcast where you can hear and share amazing stories about being a force in your industry!. Find out about artists, bands, musicians or creatives with new music or an incredible story of POWERFORCE! You can listen to all episodes of the podcast here: https://beaforce.podbean.com/

About Albert The Albatross:

Albert the Albatross is on a journey sharing wisdom and Knowledge while traveling around the world.On the way he will meet and greet lots of his friends and we will learn what they do, and why they do it ( and what Albert thinks about it all )A rhyming story for the young and old !


About the Author:

Oscar Redden IV is the author of “Albert the Albatross: Attitude Equal Altitude”- a book developed to function as a blueprint to teach and inspire the youth about the values of integrity and respect.  Oscar grew up in Sanford, Florida- a close-knit community where everyone knows each other, and family is monumental. Oscar has a Master’s in Business Administration from Saint Leo University and has spent over 6.5 years in Logistics with Walmart Supply Chain. Oscar believes that a positive attitude is more important than all skill-set and is the X-factor to achieving your dreams. Recently, Oscar transitioned his career and is now a 5th Grade: Math and Science teacher. There he continues to share his influence about the power of a positive attitude and motivates the youth to be the best representation of themselves. He currently lives in Ocala, Florida with his fiancée . Please visit his website at Albert The Albatross.

Be A Force Press Release

Add a heading


#PoeticMuses: Under The Shade of the Banyan Tree by Simi K. Rao

I was asked to read this book of poetry and some prose for an honest review. Once received, I was unsure of what I would find under this tree of metaphorical significance but I am happy to share not only did I find myself lost in the midst of some of these poems…that share bits of truth about self-confidence, sefl-esteem, and one that cleverly tells the story of a seed of doubt.

My favorite of all Rao’s words shared within the pages of this collection is called Love is.

I also enjoyed the excerpt from Inconvenient Relations, Rao’s novel.


Enter Giveaway Here. Ends May 10, 2020

Read some of my favorites below.

i purge my mind with music I rejoice in the space until the creatures cruise back in on roller skates

I am Abnormal Unconventional Abominable Unafraid Aberrant Unapologetic

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Words are bland unless spiced with emotion Prayer means less unless said with devotion Love is an empty pot unless filled with trust

Spontaneous Instantaneous No instruction required When it reaches the eyes, it spreads like the flu Contagious Infectious The universal language of a smile.

#PoeticMuses: Evergreen by Kirsten Robinson

I was asked to read this book in exchange for an honest review but it took me a year to open it and let it’s honesty, authenticity, and perception wash over me.

It was a beautiful compilation of finding purpose in pain, understanding when none was shown to you, hearing someone out when they tuned out your truth.

And finding peace even if the person you loved didn’t chose you.

Her words truly do help you heal, feel, and grow into more of who you were made to be, not expected to be or told to be, which leaves any reader feeling truly free.


You can connect with Kirsten via Instagram and even find a link to purchase her poetry book there.

Some of her favorites are below.





We learned in science class that pressure makes diamonds out of coal there is so much pressure to be perfect I don't want to be a flawless fashion cut bought from a velvet case where I was kept on display

We learned in science class that pressure makes diamonds out of coal there is so much pressure to be perfect I don't want to be a flawless fashion cut bought from a velvet case where I was kept on display (1)


I never told you but I like you best when no one is looking that is when you finally look like yourself. -Evergreen by Kirsten Robinson


You looked at me with the sun in your eyes and it felt like coming home




This slideshow requires JavaScript.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Just because it went bad doesn't mean it was never good Just because it turned out wrong doesn't mean it was never right. I need to give you credit for the ways you enriched my life for the ways you helped me growYou can never tie a string to someone's heart to keep them from walking away; you can only love them in their freedom and hope that they choose to stay, hope that they love you back freely in the same way.

When you are thinking of someone and wondering if they are thinking of you_ the answer is yes and no the truth is you will never know if they don't tell you they'll never know if you don't tell them so speak

#PoeticMuses: Beyond Worthy by Jacqueline Whitney

Coming out of the other side of trauma is the part people notice. They didn’t notice you within the trauma feeling stuck, losing the fuel to your fire, losing the best parts of you to appease those people who were absolutely blind to your worth.

They didn’t notice when you were broken and reaching out to everyone and everything to help you understand the pain that had doubled you over. That made you think that this was it. The story was over, and no one checked in or showed up for you like you did for them, you turned to a higher power and internal healing, and to be free of the pain you had to let go of what or who was holding you back.

Then, dead on arrival, the truth, the clarity washes over you and you come out strong. Like a phoenix you rise and begin to fly.

And when you rise, you help others like you heal.

For me, that is the poetry of Jacqueline Whitney. It is written from a place of severe trauma, from a place where people say something is wrong with you because you are depressed  and only see darkness, and from a place where light washes over you in streams and waves until the darkness flees from you, and the place you are stuck in, becomes the place where you danced right out of the flames.

It was everything I didn’t know I needed post-trauma. And I thank her for putting her words, her heart, her story out into the world because they helped me heal even more.


You can connect with Jacqueline via Instagram and even find a link to purchase her very vital book of poetry.

Below are some of my favorites of hers.

The more we try to make sense of the memories or the current moment that doesn't make sense, the more we lose ourselves and our healing. There are some experiences that just aren't ever going to make sense, and ma



You only live once.

You were created for nothing mediocre. You are meant to tear down walls with your heart, push through oceans with your voice, and love all souls with all of your soul. You were made to love. You were made to stand

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Add a subheading

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you

Progress can be measured in breaths. You are still breathing, therefore, you are making progress. -Beyond Worthy by Jacqueline Whitney

Being you is enough. You don't have to explain yourself to anyone. You don't have to defend where you are. You are where you are, and that is where you need to be right now. -Beyond Worthy by Jacqueline Whitney


#SmartCookiePR: Did you miss the LIVE Poetry Reading Series?

The winners were all announced LIVE but if you missed it here is a replay that you can watch as often as you need a positive and uplifting message.

I also forgot to mention this but you can connect with Oscar


Twitter: Albert The Albatross

Oscar Social Media Graphic


#PoeticMuses: Poetry Review Mike Mac’s Of Welter and Whim

Poetry has always struck a chord with me. I was a poet before I became a novelist but it is rare among all of today’s modern poets that poetry strikes both a chord and a nerve.

Yet, Mike Mac’s poetry did just that like a strum of guitar chords among a thumping bass, it reads like a musical accompaniment any person may need to dance in the key of life.

I was asked to read this book for an honest review and am glad I took the leap and the chance to do so.

His topics range from love and relationships to powerful poetic statements.

Some of my favorites are below.

of welt and whim

Purchase this and Mike Mac’s other poetry collection here

She Had Gone I could no more outrun thoughts of her then I could outrun the rain And I would have it no other way

I was unable to disuade my eyes from her. She was extraordinary. A serendipitous confluence of quirk. An ethereal sumphony of vitality amidst the dull drone of our doom. A windfall of cosmic liberty in stark defia

I could never lose someone as much as I lost you. -Of Welter and Whim, Mike Mac

Her words were curt,irate, and keen primed for print in a rolled up magazine Mike Mac, Of Welt and Whim

She was both fire and flame but never the same -Of Welter and Whim, Mike Mac

My casket will bear the corpses of a man and his remorses

Add a heading

I saw vultures in her eyes circling overhead I knew that I had died when she left me for dead

He was big headed And small minded A walking contradiction And a running joke


I let you walk all over me but next time I'm going to be a Lego Of Welter and whim, Mike Mac

If only truth had the endurance of gossip -Of Welter and Whim by Mike Mac

I have an exorbitant literacy rate -Of Welter and Whim by Mike Mac


#PoeticMuses: Interview with Living Lightly Authors Dale Curd and Kimberly Alexander

Authors Dale Curd and Kimberly Alexander  authors of Living Lightly were nice enough to take some time out to virtually answer these interview questions so grab a cup of espresso and enjoy!

The Smart Cookie: Hello to both of you and thank you for sharing such a lovely book with the world. How do you define living lightly?

Dale C &Kimberly A:

The title is, in and of itself, a bit of a paradox. The more I look for light, the more I must work with everything that is in the way of that, being revealed. The more I let go, the more tightly I cling to what remains, it’s importance is revealed to me.   The beautiful cover design is an indicator of what Living Lightly feels like, on the inside. Our outer landscape is as individual of an experience as each reader. We encourage readers to take in a ‘simple, not easy’ philosophy to cultivating the relationship with your self and with life.  Living Lightly is who we are when we are at our simplest, most content relationship with ourselves.
The Smart Cookie: In your book, you mention how you now live on a farm full-time. How has living on a farm helped teach you about life in regards to the journey and our relationship with self and others?

Dale C and Kimberly A:
Our move from the city to a historic farm is a dream come true for us both.  Before we met we were both looking to move into nature.  While farm life isn’t everyone’s dream come true, we highly recommend the pursuit of a bucket-list dream!  It is absolutely magical to be in the flow of making a dream come true, no matter how long it takes; the synchronicity, the learning, the people, all make a process we would describe as living lightly. Being on a farm, living in a rural community, and in nature, offers a slowing down that makes it easier to see my behaviours, patterns and habits. It has been quite a revelation, and much of it we share in the book!  I start to notice how I am with people, I hear the voice in my head more loudly, I become aware of my breathing.  Living in rhythm with nature; sleeping when it’s dark, slowing down in winter, being higher energy in the longer light of summer. Life and death are regular experiences with farm animals, and this is strengthening our capacity to love and blurring the lines of life and death.  So there are opportunities for connection every day for all of us, and living on the farm makes it easier I think to grasp them.
The Smart Cookie: Nature does have a lot to teach us if we keep our eyes, heart and minds open to it. What drew you to writing a book?
Dale C and Kimberly A:
Well, we tried writing a timeless Christmas song but that is a lot harder than it seems.
The Smart Cookie:  Haha song writing sure is a whole different beast for sure. What is the hardest part of being a therapist? What is the most rewarding part of being a therapist?
Dale C and Kimberly A:
We both were introduced to therapy as clients first, experiencing the life-saving benefits firsthand. It is heartbreaking to witness another’s pain, yet that sacred space between client and therapist is one of the most beautiful, intimate experiences we can have.  Hearing a client speak their truth for the first time or reach a new awareness, is incredibly humbling. Our spirit can crumble limiting beliefs, old pain and blocks and it can happen in an instant, never to be unseen again. We write often about the value of listening and witnessing in our book, and our work is dedicated to a vision that one day we will hold this intimate, healing space for each other in daily living.

The Smart Cookie: Listening and witnessing pain and trauma first hand does create a very clear intimate space.  This global health crisis is effecting everyone worldwide, and creating a sense of isolation that we have not seen in such a very obvious way. What is your advice to the people of the world dealing with the COV-19 crisis?

Dale C & Kimberly A:

We would not prescribe nor advise, rather we encourage people as we do in Living Lightly; to pursue our own truths and to be kind and empathetic towards others.  History and this current situation show us that the basic elements of human connection are what have us come through our greatest challenges.  Kindness and caring, empathy and resilience are innate and it is only our ego that betrays us in our true time of need.  If we focus on what makes us human and humane exclusively, as if it is all we have, we will be rewarded by a rich and meaningful experience of ourself and of life, beyond our imagination.
Thank you for enlightening us and sharing your insights. May we all seek to Live Lightly every single day, especially now in this time of global health crisis and social distancing epidemic.
Keep up to date with all things from these insightful kind souls on FB and IG
Purchase a copy of their great book here