Book Review: Happy Clouds, Happy Trees

happycloudsHappy Clouds, Happy Trees tells the story of painted Bob Ross.  The book starts with a bit of an introduction to Bob and the phenomenon surrounding him. (I feel like everyone knows who he is and everyone loves him and loved to watch him. Or at least pretty much everyone I know feels this way when his name/picture comes up.)  Then it goes in to the real meat of the book, which is separated into 4 parts. The Life and Times of Bob Ross, The Legendary Life of Bob Ross, Reflections on Bob Ross and his Work and Bob Ross Lives.

The book begins with the author mentioning how there isn’t all that much information out there about Bob Ross – many know who he is moreso by his appearance (hair) and that he used to pain happy trees and happy clouds rather than by name. Despite the lack of information being out there, I think that what they were able to find and compile for this book was a lot!  The book does contain some artwork – but it is all other people’s depictions of Bob and not Bob’s work.

Bob will live on through his art and as a cultural phenomenon. (You can find stuff about Bob on Twitter and Tumblr – as well as other sites – that didn’t exist during his life from those who are still just discovering him.) He may even be more popular now than he was during his life.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

An exploration of one of the most beloved and talented artists and painting instructors ever to teach on American television

Readers will know Bob Ross (1942–1995) as the gentle, afro’d painter of happy trees on PBS. And while the Florida-born artist is reviled or ignored by the elite art world and scholarly art educators, he continues to be embraced around the globe as a healer and painter, even decades after his death. In Happy Clouds, Happy Trees, the authors thoughtfully explore how the Bob Ross phenomenon grew into a juggernaut.

Although his sincerity in embracing democracy, gift economies, conservation, and self-help may have left him previously denigrated as a subject of rigorous scholarship, this book uses contemporary art theory to explore the sophistication of Bob Ross’s vision as an artist. It traces the ways in which his many fans have worshiped, emulated, and parodied him and his work. His technique allowed him to paint over 35,000 paintings in his lifetime, mostly of mountains and trees in landscapes heavily influenced by his time in the Air Force and stationed in Alaska.

The authors address issues of amateur art, sentimentality, imitation, boredom, seduction, and democratic practices in the art world. They fully examine Ross as a painter, teacher, healer, media star, performer, magician, and networker. In-depth comparisons are made to Andy Warhol and Thomas Kinkade, and mention is made of his life in relation to Joseph Beuys, Elvis Presley, St. Francis of Assisi, Carl Rogers, and many other creative personalities. In the end, Happy Clouds, Happy Treespresents Ross as a gift giver, someone who freely teaches the act of painting to anyone who believes in Ross’s vision that “this is your world.”

Kristin G. Congdon, Winter Park, Florida, is professor emerita of philosophy and humanities at the University of Central Florida. Her authored or coauthored books include American Folk Art: A Regional Reference (2012) and Just Above the Water: Florida Folk Art (2006). Doug Blandy, Eugene, Oregon, is professor and senior vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Oregon. He has been published in Studies in Art Education and Art Education among other journals and has coedited five anthologies in art education. Painter Danny Coeyman, Brooklyn, New York, earned his MFA from Parsons in 2006 and received a Jack Kent Cooke Fellowship.

 

 

 

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Book Review: Indulgence

indulgenceIndulgence is a bit like 50 Shades, though much better written.  Katie goes on an interview for a job to be Mr. Lance Hardy’s assistant.  She gets hired on the spot and is to start on Monday – even though she had wanted to give her previous job 2 weeks notice.  Katie instantly realizes how attractive her boss is and develops a bit of a crush on him.  She tries to keep it to herself and keep it professional, though he keeps popping up wherever she is in the office, sneaking up on her like a ninja.

Her job is to essentially be Mr. Hardy’s personal assistant when he travels.  Their first trip is from New York to San Diego.  Katie really wants to know more about her boss, but certain things she brings up completely shuts him down from talking.  Eventually she decides that this trip is her chance to see if there actually is anything between them.  They end up hooking up, twice.  Then when they get back to the office Lance seems to be completely ignoring her.

She thinks that she no longer has a job and isn’t sure how she is going to support herself, when there is a knock at her door. When she opens the door she is punched in the face by Stacey, Lance’s girlfriend.  Or well, now ex-girlfriend.  Shortly after Lance shows up and talks to her and they are able to work out what their relationship is – AND best of all, Katie didn’t lose her job.

This book ended kind of abruptly. I mean, not really, but it was like as soon as it got good, it was over!  This was kind of annoying at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I figured if it did continue on I’d probably have been upset that it lost its way and got out of hand.  So initial reaction – why did it have to end? After thinking about it – it makes more sense and I’m ok with it now.j

I received a free ecopy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

“Katie Jade, an outgoing and assertive young woman, lands an exciting new job at a prestigious New York brokerage firm. Her boss, Lance Hardy, is a mysterious, handsome man who doesn’t talk much. Katie immediately sets her sights on him.

Even though Lance is an Executive Director at the firm, his personality does not fit the mold of the stereotypical egomaniac that Katie would expect in that type of position. He keeps her at a distance, but that only sparks her interest more.

With one flamboyant move after another, Katie slowly breaks down Lance’s protective exterior. Even though their personalities are so different, deep down inside both harbor hidden pain and loneliness.

In the fast paced financial services industry, individuals may easily lose themselves. But Katie and Lance finally learn to slow down enough to find and appreciate one another.”

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Music Monday: Roxanna

Press Photo 2

Roxanna is a new artist that I just found out about!  In February she released a music video for her single “Close Your Eyes”

“I believe music can heal. I believe music can soothe. I believe music is the language of the heart and soul. I believe you can spin tragedy into beauty.”

 

Roxanna hails from Canada and is different from today’s artists because she has a Latin flair from a cultured background.  She has joined forces with Mark Portmann (Michael Buble, Barbara Streisand) and they have created a polished and luxurious rich sound.  “Close Your Eyes” is the first single from her album, Exotica, which was released on April 15.  In addition to romantic and flamenco influenced songs, the album will also feature new renditions of The Hollies 1972 hit song “The Air That I Breathe”, Julio Iglesias’ 1975 hit song “El Amor” and Lionel Richie’s 1984 smash hit, “Hello”.

Roxanna CYE

I have gotten the chance to listen to both “Hello” and “Close Your Eyes” and I have to say I am quite impressed.  It’s very hard to cover a song that was as popular as “Hello” as everyone has already in their head what they think the song should sound like based on Lionel’s version.  However, Roxanna’s version practically made me forget all about Lionel’s version.  It is a very refreshing new take on the song.  “Close Your Eyes” is a beautifully performed ballad that tells an emotional story.

 

Roxanna links: WebsiteFacebookTwitterYouTube

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Book Review: The President’s Ladies

President

The President’s Ladies tells the story about former President Ronald Reagan and his two ladies – fellow actresses Jane Wyman and Nancy Davis.  Reagan was married to Jane for 8 years and Nancy was his wife during his politician years.  The book does take a while to get into, I had stopped and started it several times before sitting down and continuing it through the rest of the way.  Certainly a lot of information on all 3 of the actor’s lives and perhaps a bit too much information at time. (In that the book is long, not that it is full of juicy information!)

This perhaps would have been more interesting if it was on the screen instead of in print – with clips of the films mentioned that each were acting in to be seen instead of just read about.  A lot of information is in these pages and if you are interested in these 3 as actors or for their role in politics, I think you will find a lot of information in here that you will find interesting.  If you’re just a casual reader that thought the book might be interesting as I was, you may have a hard time making it through the book.

I received a free e-copy in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

A fascinating story of Jane Wyman, Ronald Reagan, and Nancy Davis

Ronald Reagan, a former actor and one of America’s most popular presidents, married not one but two Hollywood actresses. This book is three biographies in one, discovering fascinating connections among Jane Wyman (1917–2007), Ronald Reagan (1911–2004), and Nancy Davis (b. 1921).

Jane Wyman, who married Reagan in 1940 and divorced him seven years later, knew an early life of privation. She gravitated to the movies and made her debut at fifteen as an unbilled member of the chorus, then toiled as an extra for four years until she finally received billing. She proved herself as a dramatic actress in The Lost Weekend (1945), and the following year, she was nominated for an Oscar for The Yearling and soon won for her performance in Johnny Belinda (1948), in which she did not speak a single line. Other Oscar nominations followed, along with a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Angela Channing in Falcon Crest.

Conversely, Nancy Davis led a relatively charmed life, the daughter of an actress and the stepdaughter of a neurosurgeon. Surrounded by her mother’s friends—Walter Huston, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Lillian Gish and Alla Nazimova, her godmother—Davis started in the theater, then moved on to Hollywood, where she enjoyed modest success, and finally began working in television. When she married Reagan in 1952, she unwittingly married into politics, eventually leaving acting to concentrate on being the wife of the governor of California, and then the wife of the president of the United States. In her way, Davis played her greatest role as Reagan’s friend, confidante, and adviser in life and in politics.

This book considers three actors who left an indelible mark on both political and popular culture for more than fifty years

Bernard F. Dick, Teaneck, New Jersey, is professor emeritus of communication and English at Fairleigh Dickinson University and is the author of Forever Mame: The Life of Rosalind Russell;Claudette Colbert: She Walked in BeautyHollywood Madonna: Loretta Young; and several other books.

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Scrapbook Saturday: April 2013

April 2013 – so it looks like I’m only a year behind now on scrapbooking! (I think I’ve pretty consistently been about a year behind all year though, so I’m not sure why I am getting excited)  This month we have Hanson at iHeartRadio, Action Item House Party, Kris Allen at the Wolf’s Den and Lockley at the Wolf’s Den.  Although they’re not in date order.  Oh well.

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Book Review: The Dumbest Idea Ever!

dumbestI had previously decided I wouldn’t review any more comics (they don’t really look good on my Nook) but I couldn’t help but want to check out The Dumbest Idea Ever.  It is a book about a boy that decides that he is going to make comic books.  The comic is all about him deciding to make a comic and trying to come up with ideas – while being stuck home from school with chicken pox and then pneumonia. The book is a memoir about Jimmy Gownley’s life – as he now is a comic creator and this is how it all started!

The book is geared for kids and has a great lesson – don’t give up! Definitely a must read for any comic lover or anyone who wants to try and make their own comics!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Jimmy Gownley’s graphic novel memoir about the “dumb” idea that changed his life forever!

What if the dumbest idea ever turned your life upside down?

At thirteen, Jimmy was popular, at the top of his class, and the leading scorer on his basketball team. But all that changed when chicken pox forced him to miss the championship game. Things went from bad to worse when he got pneumonia and missed even more school. Before Jimmy knew it, his grades were sinking and nothing seemed to be going right.

How did Jimmy turn things around, get back on top at school, and land a date with the cutest girl in class?

Renowned comics creator Jimmy Gownley shares his adventures as he grows from an eager-to-please boy into a teenage comic book artist. This is the real-life story of how the DUMBEST idea ever became the BEST thing that ever happened to him.

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Cozi Pinterest Sweepstakes!

Here at Cozi, families are our top priority. Do you know what helps make many of those families run? Moms. Mom’s Day is a very small token of appreciation for everything our moms do for us. This board has meal ideas, gift ideas and more to celebrate Mother’s Day. Enter to win an Amazon gift card now by following Cozi’s Pinterest and re-pinning a pin. Happy Pinning!

http://www.cozi.com

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Product Review: Almondina

amondina

 

Almondina is the inspiring success story of a man whose great loves include both music and wonderful food. For generations his family loved his Grandmother Dina’s most secret cookie, which she called Petit Gateau Sec. Yuval Zaliouk, an internationally known symphony conductor and gourmet chef, always had a special place in his heart (and stomach) for this exquisite, crunchy wafer with the delicate flavor of roasted almonds, the natural sweetness of plump raisins and the warmth of vanilla.

“Generous as she was in giving away her recipes, Grandma Dina kept the one for Petit Gateau Sec a total secret until the end of her life. Only then did she finally reveal the secret to her daughter, Ahuda, my mother. It is with her blessing and with pride that my family shares these delicious, healthful wonders with your family,” says Yuval.

Within seven years, having started baking in his kitchen, the biscuits (renamed Almondina after Dina, his grandmother), were available in all fifty states, sought after in seven foreign countries and had brought him recognition as Entrepreneur of the Year.  These all-natural, wonderfully crunchy almond biscuits do not contain cholesterol, added fat, trans-fats, salt or preservatives. Unlike biscotti, ALMONDINA brand biscuits do not have to be dipped. They are a delightful accompaniment for coffee, tea, soft cheeses and dessert wines, or just as an everyday snack.

Since the introduction in 1989 of the classic The Original flavor, eight more distinctive variations have been introduced, all of which continue to be packed with roasted almonds. The Company is celebrating a Delicious Crunch for More Than 20 years. Its mission remains the same: “To put a delicious healthful cookie on every table.”

Additional flavors include:

Choconut
Cinnaroma
GingerSpice
Almonduo
Anniversary
Bran Treats
Sesame
Pumpkin Spice
Chocolate Cherry

Recently I had the chance to try out several of the flavors. I have to say, that for such a low calorie snack, they sure taste great!  My favorites were the sesame because it was the softest to bite into and the chocolate cherry just because it contains just a few of my favorite things :) I had them as just a snack whenever I ate them, but they would be absolutely perfect to dip in coffee or tea (and I’d then have no problem of them being hard to bite in to!)  It’s really hard to imagine cookies that are healthy AND taste good – but Almondina certainly hit the mark!

At only roughly 30 calories per slice you can have just one as a snack or you can have a handful and not have to feel bad about going overboard on your calorie intake for the day. Almonds are also my favorite nut so the fact that each of the cookies contains them was an added perk as well!

Almondina cookies are available in a variety of stores – here in Connecticut you can find them at Fairway, Trader Joe’s, The Fresh Market, Hannaford, Whole Foods, Walmart and Cost Plus World Market!  If you’re not from Connecticut and want to find Almondina cookies near you, head to their Store Finder on their website for more details!  If you can’t find a store that is nearby, you can also go to their website and order directly from Almondina. They have a variety of gifts and samplers in addition to their cookies as well as their toastees. (Detailed nutrition facts can also be found on the website!)

 

http://www.almondina.com/

 

I received a free product in exchange for writing this review. I was not otherwise compensated.  All reviews and opinions in this post are 100% mine.

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Book Review: Bigger Than The Game

biggerthanthegameDirk Hayhurst’s 3rd book, Bigger Than The Game, follows his career as a pitcher trying to make it in the major leagues.  After finally getting the call up from the minors by the Toronto Blue Jays, he ends up getting injured.  The book gives an inside look to his time recovering from surgery and the inner workings of a baseball team.

There are teammates who are giving him crap for writing a book – and think that he is going to expose all sorts of “secrets”.  I found this book to be very insightful, and a nice look behind the scenes. I also found Dirk to be an excellent writer and I had no problem imagining the scenes that he was describing – no matter how weird they may have been.

I received a free e-copy of the book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

Bigger than the Game 

About the Book

“The best writer in a baseball uniform.” –Tyler Kepner, The New York Times

After nearly a decade in the minors, Dirk Hayhurst defied the odds to climb onto the pitcher’s mound for the Toronto Blue Jays. Newly married, with a big league paycheck and a brand new house, Hayhurst was ready for a great season in the Bigs.

Then fate delivered a crushing hit. Hayhurst blew out his pitching shoulder in an insane off-season workout program. After surgery, rehab, and more rehab, his major-league dreams seemed more distant than ever.

From there things got worse, weirder, and funnier. In a crazy world of injured athletes, autograph-seeking nuns, angry wrestlers, and trainers with a taste for torture, Hayhurst learned lessons about the game–and himself–that were not in any rulebook. Honest, soul‑searching, insightful, hilarious, and moving, Dirk Hayhurst’s latest memoir is an indisputable baseball classic.

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Tyler Hilton StageOne Fairfield

Sunday night Tyler Hilton returned to Stage One in Fairfield CT.  He brought with him Russell Howard as the opening act.  Russell kicked off the show at 7:45 and played for roughly half an hour.  He did that cool thing where he played his guitar and then recorded it to loop back so that he could play along with it and make it sound fuller than with just one guy on stage. Always fun to see.  He also mentioned that he went to the beach and ate a sandwich in Fairfield since he lives in land and it was a nice day here.

At 8:35 Tyler hit the stage, I was thankful for an early set because I was exhausted! Tyler did a 12 song set and 2 song encore.  Before he started One Foot in the Bayou he was saying how he was surprised people cheered that they liked the songs and often times it is “one for you one for me” with songs.  He also tried to play the harmonica and then got mad yelled “Fuck it! No harmonica on this song!” and threw it down.  Later he had given it another chance and it seemed to come through for him.  He threatened to leave his harmonica if it didn’t cooperate and then teased how he was blaming the harmonica but he probably should have been blaming himself.  He also threatened to leave his guitar after it made a big POP noise when he plugged it in.

Before Leave Him he talked about how as far as guys go he is probably what would be a “Nice Guy” as opposed to a “Dick Head” when all the girls he was attracted to wanted a “Dick Head”, he said One Tree Hill kind of let him live out that other personality.  The song Leave Him came from when he was hanging out with a guy and a girl that were dating – he was friends with the guy and liked hanging out with him – but knew that he was a shitty boyfriend and just kept kind of hoping that they would break up and then he could date the girl instead – but it didn’t work out that way.

He also talked a lot about what a great vibe the crowd had and how he kind of forgot we were there and felt like it was just a party.  He said he’s not working hard at all and loves what he does and would be doing it even if he had to live in a shitty apartment – but he is lucky enough that he doesn’t have to.  He also talked a bit about his other hobby, acting, and that he is going to be in a new TV show on CBS this summer with Halle Berry (I believe it is called Extant) where he gets to build and play with robots.  He said he doesn’t get religious often but that the song Hey Jesus kind of reminds him of how lucky he is that he gets to do what he does.

Since mentioning “One Tree Hill” always got him such a huge cheer from the crowd, he ended the encore with “When the Stars Go Blue”.

Tyler is currently trying to raise money to record his new album – check out all the details at Pledge Music http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/tylerhilton

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Category: Concert  Leave a Comment