Mistress of the Mix: It’s a Beautiful Day

How do you know when a beautiful is presenting itself to you?

Is it waking up to a good morning kiss and a shoulder rub from your lover, with the smell of brewing coffee and sizzling bacon wafting from the kitchen? Is it when the weather is so nice that you sleep with the windows open, and the morning greets you with birdsongs and sunshine streaming through the drapes? Or is it the smell of rain on warm pavement after one of those 114-degree weeks? Maybe it’s the sound of two little feet padding into the room, and crawling into bed with you for a cuddle. Is that when you know it’s gonna be a beautiful day?

For me, it’s all of those things. It’s my dog giving me morning loves, and then jumping off the bed to follow me to the kitchen. It’s opening the sliding glass door in my dining room and gazing at the first bulbs I’ve ever planted, which have now bloomed into beautiful pink dahlias, still wet from an early morning watering. The smell of basil and homegrown tomatoes growing in the planter in the backyard. A fresh grapefruit from my friend Leona’s tree. Strawberries purchased from the guy on the corner with a pickup truck and a sign propped up against it. It’s playing softball with my friends out at Big League Dreams and catching the ball I didn’t think I’d get. It’s riding my bike across the Sundial Bridge and wading into the water at Whiskeytown. It’s a beautiful day when I’m on the road and the weather is so perfect that I drive recklessly for just a wee few moments, left arm out the window, right arm sticking up through the sunroof, surfing on Highway 44 over the river. Look ma, no hands!

Yes, sometimes I do that. But only when it’s a beautiful day. And only for a few moments. And sometimes even when it wasn’t a beautiful day, it can turn into one when my friend Judy calls at dusk and asks if I’m free for dinner, then we quickly figure out what bounty we’ve each got to offer for the table, and we catch up over a bottle of Retsina, a Greek salad and some watermelon on the back porch. And suddenly, it’s a beautiful evening and a good, good night.

I’m going on my tenth year in Redding, and I never get tired of these beautiful days. I consider myself the luckiest girl on the planet to have this city, this beautiful weather, my friends and my children (all of ’em … I’m counting humans, canines and the one I call my boyfriend). The only thing that really makes it even better, or can turn a so-so day into a perfect day, is having the right music to go along with it.

So let’s have a good day. Let’s have a spectacular, beautiful day. I hope this playlist puts a smile on your face and makes it perfect, with a homegrown cherry tomato on top.

Download this playlist on iTunes or Stream it on Grooveshark:

    It’s a Beautiful Day playlist:

  1. U2Beautiful Day Kinda says it all, doesn’t it?
  2. LuceGood Day This is exactly my idea of a good day. Sunshine, coffee brewing, a kiss from your sweetheart. I love Tom Luce and his band out of San Jose.
  3. Greg Street & Nappy RootsGood Day This is the only song that I was introduced to while in the act of writing this column. It’s got a weird gangstah edge but I love the peppy piano & the singing kids are adorable.
  4. John LegendSun Comes Up
  5. The Beatles and/or Nina SimoneHere Comes The Sun Take your pick…they’re both excellent versions!
  6. Norah JonesSunrise
  7. Michael Franti & SpearheadSound of Sunshine Everyone knows I have a huge crush on Michael Franti. I might include a Franti song in every single playlist! He came up with this tune when he was recovering from a serious illness & wanted to remind people how much we should appreciate everything we’ve got while our hearts are still beating.
  8. Maroon 5Sunday Mornings Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean it can’t be a beautiful day!
  9. StingBrand New Day
  10. MaysaSunshine
  11. Jesus JacksonRunning on Sunshine
  12. MosquitosSunshine Barato Remember this band from about 5 years ago at Marketfest? How lucky were we?! That was a good day.
  13. SmashmouthWalking On The Sun
  14. The BeatlesGood Day Sunshine
  15. Sheryl CrowSoak Up The Sun
  16. The StranglersAlways The Sun
  17. The TheThis Is The Day
  18. Akon featuring Wyclef JeanSunny Day
  19. ColdplayDaylight
  20. The Eels Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues Don’t let the sarcasm get in the way of this awesome, peppy song. Goddamn right, it’s a beautiful day.
  21. Lou ReedPerfect Day Sangria always makes a good day even better.
  22. Black Eyed PeasI Got A Feeling (Tonight’s Gonna Be A Good Night) Because having a good, good night is the best way to end a beautiful day.

Valerie Ing-Miller has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for nine years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She’s the mother of a teenage daughter and a 7-year-old West Highland Terrier, and can’t imagine life without them or music. Valerie wakes up with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Valerie Ing
Valerie Ing has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for 14 years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She and her husband are parents to a couple of college students and a pair of West Highland Terriers, and Valerie can’t imagine life without them or music. The Mistress of the Mix wakes up every day with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.
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13 Responses

  1. Avatar rmv says:

    God bless you Valerie.

    From your article you sound like a person who LOVES Redding

    and the Northstate for what it IS and what we HAVE!

    p.s. glad you didn't mention (greenish/brown palm trees on hilltop drive).

    WE THE PEOPLE, also love our area for what it is, (unlike the rest of the state)!

  2. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    "It's a Beautiful Morning," the Rascals!

  3. Avatar Badmom says:

    Don't forget the 70's 🙂


    Hot Summer day by It's a Beautiful Day

    • Avatar Steve Fischer says:

      This is exactly what I thought of first! I always called the group "Beautiful Day," although a quick look at the albums shows the error of my ways. And, yes, albums; vinyl; two of them; on the shelf between Beatles and Beck. Which suggests a good tune for the theme of this list: "All Shook Up," the Jeff Beck version – or Elvis if you like. What say, Valerie…?

  4. Avatar amber asaro says:

    Nina Simone's 'Feelin' Good' always makes my day a little brighter. Excellent list!

  5. Thanks, M' Lady, Valerie! It's a 'GR8' Day & a Beautiful Day! Love the Music Mix', as well as, your article! Hey, I believe you & I shared the stage once, @ The Shasta Blues Society's Annual Blues by the River Festival! I have a picture of it on my computer, I was the SBS/Festival/M.Cee…..Love to you & Thanks again for a "Beautiful Day" Valerie Ing-Miller. Sincerely, Helynn Miller

  6. Valerie Ing-Miller Valerie Ing-Miller says:

    Yes Helynn, I remember you! That was another beautiful day, wasn't it? I love all the additions to the playlist, keep 'em coming! My dad also suggested "It's a Good Day," which has been belted out by many a fine singer (Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee….the list goes on). Steve – glad you mentioned Beck. He'll come into play in a playlist coming to A News Cafe in the near future, for sure! Maybe more than once, actually! Thanks for reminding me about his genius!

  7. And Amber… you hit the nail on the head with Nina Simone. I included that very song in my column from last month, "Let's Give Cancer The Finger" (click on my name to go find it), and I'm reluctant to repeat a song so soon…but if I had, I would've included not only that one, but would've repeated ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" too.

  8. Avatar Sheila Barnes says:

    "Come Sunrise" by Rita Hoskins, multiple bluegrass award winner and Shasta High Graduate, is an absolutely beautiful tune. She and her band, Cousin Jack, will be performing on Saturday, August 6th in Oak Run as part of the Oaksong Music Society performance series. This song makes me smile every time I hear it.

  9. Sheila – I'm wondering how I didn't know about Rita Hosking! I looked her up though, and heard the first 30 seconds of the song. Very sweet. I can see how it makes you smile every time you hear it! Songs that make me break out in a big, toothy grin. Those are the ones that always make my day!

  10. Avatar Daria O'Brien says:

    The song "Good People" by Great Big Sea always reminds me of why I love to live in Redding. Every time I hear it I smile and dance. (I play it a lot) I was privilidged to hear and see it performed live a few months back at my favorite Redding spot, The Cascade Theater. It makes the song even more awesome!

    Thanks for introducing me to a few new tunes.


  11. Daria – I had to leave before that song was played, so I missed it when they played at the Cascade. Thanks for turning me onto it. I like it! And in return, here's your Great Big Sea anecdote for the day from their Redding show: Before I introduced them, I was standing backstage getting ready to go out, and they were standing there warming up by singing, "Let's not suck tonight!" They were good people.

  1. August 26, 2011

    […] dig this group. 9. Gregg Street & Nappy Dread – Good Day I discovered this tune while writing It's A Beautiful Day – a recent installment of Mistress of the Mix – and so far, I'm still charmed by it. 10. Family […]